BOOK REVIEW: The Allure of Julian Lefray by R.S. Grey

From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Justin Timberlake Nudes!

Lily, you predictable perv. I knew you’d open this email faster if I tempted you with a glimpse of JT’s “PP”. Well, put your pants back on and grab some bubbly because I have much better news to share.

I GOT A JOB!

As of tomorrow, I’ll be the new executive assistant at Lorena Lefray Designs. I am SO excited, but there’s one itty bitty problem: I won’t be Lorena’s assistant. I’ll be working for her older brother, Julian.

I know what you’re thinking- “But Jo, what’s the problem?”

Google him. Now. He’s the man in the fitted navy suit whose face reminds you that there’s hope yet for this cruel, ugly world. Keep scrolling…Do you see those dimples? Yup. That’s the Julian Lefray I will be reporting to tomorrow morning.

Lord, help us all.

XO,
Jo

review

“He was sharp lines, hard edges, subtle lips, and inviting eyes. Every detail blended into an alluring combination, one that called to me like a bad habit.”

There are some authors who never fail to make me feel happy while reading their books and R.S. Grey is one of those authors, as I’ve come to rely on her distinctive sense of humour and ability to pen sexy, light-hearted romances that make me swoon though fits of giggles time and time again, not to mention that she writes sexual tension like a boss. This story was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Once I started reading it, I pretty much gobbled it down in a single sitting, glued to the pages and the feel-good vibe of the story, and I still catch myself smiling every time I think of these characters. A delightful, fun read start to finish that I recommend wholeheartedly.

“First, I needed a joke to break the tension between us. Why’d the chicken cross the hard body of Julian Lefray?
To get laid.
Which came first?
The chicken or me?
Shit. I was in trouble if I couldn’t think of a non-Julian related sex joke.”

Josephine Keller is twenty-three and broke. She left her small home town in Texas and moved to New York City to pursue her dream of working in the fashion industry, but her hopes and dreams slowly start withering as she struggles to find a job, thus facing the very real possibility of having to give up her ambitions and return home defeated, proving all those who did not believe in her right. A chance encounter at a Fashion Gala, however, proves to be the very opportunity she’s been hoping for, resulting in a job she desperately wanted, if only her new boss weren’t also one of the best looking men she’s ever laid eyes on.

“He didn’t even know the effect those dimples had on my girly parts. One word: Ijustgotpregnant. Yeah, that’s one word.”

Julian Lefray might come from money, heir to his family’s old-money fortune, but he’s worked hard to build his own wealth, loving the independence it gave him from his family’s tight strings. He loves power and responsibility, but finds no personal fulfilment in the monotony of the corporate world, craving for a challenge. And that very challenge comes in the form of a curvaceous brunette begging him for a job, a job she would be perfect for, if only he could keep his hands off her.

“Josephine was quickly becoming my favorite fantasy.”

As they commence their working relationship, their mutual attraction is at the forefront of both their minds, but the more they get to know one another, the more that attraction grows into something they cannot ignore. They fight it, pretend it is not there, but their every thought is consumed by that attraction and the feelings they fail to hide at every turn.

“The continuous tease of having to be around him the last few weeks had built up the desire in my veins. Each day the passion had built with no outlet for escape.”

Now, you might think this is just another repeat of the well-knows scenario of girl-falling-for-her-wealthy-boss, but everything about this story feels fresh and unique. We are given a modern Cinderella-style setup where the “Prince” could very well ride in on his white horse, sweep the heroine off her feet and thus save the day, but this heroine is no helpless damsel in distress. She is proud and independent, and most importantly, determined to pave her own way in life, at the cost of her own heart if needed. Even at her lowest point, she never loses her drive, bravely forging ahead, and eventually “saving” herself.

“A weaker woman would have thrown herself at him a long time ago. Me? I had goals. Goals that didn’t include seducing Julian Lefray, my one and only friend in New York City.”

A charming love story, heart-warming and engaging—there is truly nothing I did not love about it. I loved the quirky characters and the sexual tension between them, I loved the humour with which this author never fails to paint even the bluest of situations, I loved the depth of emotion driving this story forward, but I loved its positive outlook on life the most, never showing life as anything less than a glass half full.

“Do you always carry a t-ball in your pants?”
“Jesus, Jo. Can we not talk about youth sports while I’m aroused?”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

The ride of her life . . .

Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .

In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .

review

“Jesus, you do it for me.”
“I do…what for you?”
“Everything.”

I always say it—there’s nothing like a Kristen Ashley book, my heart skipping a beat at the mere act of turning that very first page, but a love story set within the realm of the Chaos Motorcycle Club is a reading experience like no other, a thrill ride that leaves our hearts blazing in its wake from the sheer emotion present in every single word. A story of second chances in life, of two people who find all they’ve ever dreamed of having in each other, but also a story of families, of people who might not share the same blood but who would do anything for one another—this is in many ways the ‘quintessential’ Kristen Ashley novel, her unmistakable style and tone of storytelling present in every word, letter, and comma, and yet there was something quite unique about this story, and its powerful message of never losing hope, and the true meaning of family. I’ve loved every book in this series, but I lost my heart to Joker and Carissa’s story, and no amount of re-reading would give it back.

“It’s you. It’s always been you. It’ll always be you. F*ckin’ always.”

Carson “Joker” Steele’s childhood was not an easy one, raised in an abusive home by a drunken single father, but he eventually found his path in life by becoming a patched member of the Chaos Motorcycle Club, a brotherhood of men whose unbreakable bond and loyalty make them family. And even though he worked hard at leaving his painful past behind and only forging forward, he never forgot those who showed him kindness when his life had been a living nightmare, cherishing in particular the memory of a beautiful cheerleader who was never his but whose smile could light up even the darkest of his days.

“One day, Carson Steele, you’re going to be a magnificent man… And one day, you’ll see past what you’ve been taught and you’ll believe it too.”

All Carissa Teodoro ever wanted in life was a family of her own, to be a good wife and a great mother, and while she once believed she could have it all, her life steadily moving in that direction since her high school days, she finds herself divorced in her twenties, with a baby, no friends, no family, no money, a dead-end job, and her self-confidence in smithereens. The only bright light in her otherwise glum life is her little baby boy, a child she would do anything for, and whose happiness and wellbeing remain her only objectives in life.

“I hadn’t been about me. Not for a long time. Maybe never. I had been coasting in life for so long. I actually didn’t know who me was.”

When Carissa finds herself stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is a man from her past who never knew all that she had felt for him before he up and left. And although Joker’s feelings for her have not changed in the eight years since he last saw her, he is now convinced more than ever that a woman like Carissa deserves a better man than him, so he fights her pull at every turn, prepared to protect her and her child, but unwilling to claim her as his own.

“She doesn’t need dark. She never shoulda had it and she’s had a lifetime of it. What I got in me gets loose, it’ll engulf her.”

As Carissa’s troubles only intensify, Carson finds himself falling even more in love with the young mother whose selflessness and determination never waver, never lose focus, and eventually giving himself permission to do so too. Her honesty and compassion start melting his frosty disposition, revealing a man who has waited all his life to love unconditionally, and to become someone important to a woman like Carissa. They fill each other’s lives with the kind of happiness they both dreamed of finding in life, supporting one another and feeling something they had long forgotten how to feel—hope.

“It was always you. Only you. I was into you back then, Carissa, in a big fuckin’ way. And that hasn’t changed.”

But as their past and present start colliding, Joker and Carissa’s bond is put to the test, showing us how unfaltering true love can be and how much the support of those we love the most can empower a person to cope with any curveball life throws our way. Against her trademark backdrop of charismatic secondary characters we already know and love, Kristen Ashley has given us another ‘badass’ alpha male who wastes little time to claim his leading lady, and a ‘kickass’ heroine who might have always dreamt of a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day, but whose strength and resilience make her pick herself up and then fight never to be brought down again. This was the kind of story that I had a hard time letting go of, certain scenes replaying in my mind over and over again, and filling me with an overwhelming sense of hope and positivity. It’s a story that tells us never to throw in the towel in life, to keep fighting for happiness, and when we find it, to never let go of it. A true Kristen Ashley classic, perfect beginning to end.

“I’ve loved her since high school, man. She means everything to me. You gotta drag her down, that’ll suck, but I’ll pick her back up. You gotta rip her apart, I’ll f*ckin’ hate watchin’ it, but I’ll put her back together. Do what you gotta do to make you feel like you got the bigger dick. But know this, in the end, it’s gonna be her and me.”

5stars

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Chaos – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Own the WindMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Fire InsideMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Ride Steady: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Walk Through FireAmazon US | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Priest by Sierra Simone

There are many rules a priest can’t break. A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.

Until she came. Then I learned new rules.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.

I am a priest and this is my confession.

review

“I was supposed to be a shepherd of the flock, not the wolf.”

Taboo . . . the word alone gives me tingles. Put it in a romance novel and you’ve got my attention. But give me a forbidden love story involving a priest sworn to celibacy, add some kink, throw some phenomenal writing into the mix, and I will push everything else aside in order to let my mind flutter like a hummingbird in the delicious illicitness of such a tale. And yet, this is not just a taboo romance. Every sentence in this story has been carefully and expertly crafted to give us not just a love story, but also the story of a man searching for his purpose in life, for his true life, for the life that fulfils both his faith as well as the carnal man he was born to be, and the end result is simply spectacular. If nothing in this scenario alarms you, offends you, scandalises you, I cannot urge you strongly enough to lay yourself at the altar of Father Bell and expect to be titillated.

“One woman, no matter how hot, was not going to unravel everything I held sacred about the priesthood. She was not going to destroy everything I’d worked so hard to create.”

In charge of a small town parish for the past three years, Father Bell is endlessly devoted to his parishioners and his faith, but the twenty-nine-year-old Tyler Anselm Bell has not always seen the Church as his calling, spending his youth recklessly and wantonly, until a family tragedy changed the course of his life and the clerical collar then offered his life purpose and solace. He spends his days helping his parishioners, supporting them, trying to improve their lives and leading them by example, but his quiet life comes to a standstill the moment a beguiling young woman enters his confessional and seduces his senses with her husky voice and her unexpected honesty.

“Messy and passionate and raw and creative—a cyclone forced into an eggshell.”

Poppy Danforth had her entire life paved before her, but she left it all behind in order to find true happiness. Even though she was raised to put riches and social standing before love and emotional fulfilment, Poppy always knew she could never be that kind of woman, her heart aching to be loved and to be owned unequivocally by another. She enters Father Bell’s confessional in hopes of finding absolution for the life she has lived, but she walks away with her mind consumed with a man she is not allowed to have, her body burning for him and her mind craving his.

“When it comes to you, I’m rootless and helpless and at your mercy for sunshine and water. And I’m not even supposed to be yours.”

As Poppy confesses her carnal sins to Father Bell, candidly and boldly, the young woman’s intelligence, vulnerability and alluring sexuality draw him to her like a moth to a flame. The attraction between them grows at a rate that neither of them can control or deny, each moment spent in each other’s company turning into an addiction that they both struggle with but are unable to give up. And then one confession changes it all, making them lose all semblance of self-restraint and give in to their dirtiest fantasies and desires. They begin a very physical affair that quickly obliterates all chances of them staying away from each other, their bodies connecting at an almost primal level, with abandon and unrestrained passion, and their hearts following suit.

“This was something raw and real and undeniable and it was not going to go away.”

But as we remain in the hero’s head all throughout the book, we become intimately acquainted with the inner turmoil raging inside him, with the very real spiritual struggle and the unrelenting guilt resulting from their affair. His faith, however, remains a constant in his life, giving him comfort when he finds himself in the throes of self-flagellation and regret, his trust in God and His plan for him appeasing his guilt and making him question his true calling.

“Why would God bring Poppy here if I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with her?”

I find it absolutely remarkable how this author succeeded in making us perceive these characters’ every touch, their every word, their every forbidden act of ‘debauchery’—as dirty and as risqué as it gets—as something utterly sexy and irresistible to watch. Whenever Poppy and Father Bell share a scene, the air between them just about crackles with chemistry and sheer raw emotion. We are overcome by the intensity of the emotional ‘communion’ between them during their most intimate moments, blinding us to the severity that such careless abandon would carry in a real life setting, and making us cheer for a relationship that would most likely be reprehensible to us in reality.

“My little lamb, you are so very, very wet right now.”

I am almost ashamed to admit how much I actually enjoyed and truly liked this book…because I loved it. I loved the message it carries, I loved the characters and how perfectly imperfect they are, I loved the confident writing style that oscillates seamlessly between elegant, philosophical prose and explicit, steamy erotica, but I loved the unconventional nature of the love story the most, in all its illicit beauty. This is a story that will have you directing a fan towards you and keeping it there, but it is also a story that celebrates the courage it takes to follow one’s true path in life. This is taboo at its dirtiest and its absolute best and…did I tell you how much I liked this book…?

“Whatever happens after this, I just want you to know that this was worth it. You were worth it. You were worth everything.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: The Song of David by Amy Harmon

TSODShe said I was like a song. Her favorite song. A song isn’t something you can see. It’s something you feel, something you move to, something that disappears after the last note is played.

I won my first fight when I was eleven years old, and I’ve been throwing punches ever since. Fighting is the purest, truest, most elemental thing there is. Some people describe heaven as a sea of unending white. Where choirs sing and loved ones await. But for me, heaven was something else. It sounded like the bell at the beginning of a round, it tasted like adrenaline, it burned like sweat in my eyes and fire in my belly. It looked like the blur of screaming crowds and an opponent who wanted my blood.

For me, heaven was the octagon.

Until I met Millie, and heaven became something different. I became something different. I knew I loved her when I watched her stand perfectly still in the middle of a crowded room, people swarming, buzzing, slipping around her, her straight dancer’s posture unyielding, her chin high, her hands loose at her sides. No one seemed to see her at all, except for the few who squeezed past her, tossing exasperated looks at her unsmiling face. When they realized she wasn’t normal, they hurried away. Why was it that no one saw her, yet she was the first thing I saw?

If heaven was the octagon, then she was my angel at the center of it all, the girl with the power to take me down and lift me up again. The girl I wanted to fight for, the girl I wanted to claim. The girl who taught me that sometimes the biggest heroes go unsung and the most important battles are the ones we don’t think we can win.

review

“I’d rather have a piece of a dream than no dream at all.”

There’s nothing like a book that devastates you in the best possible way, and then leaves you seeing the world through different eyes. Amy Harmon’s words have the power to make us see what we are often too blind to notice, or to present a whole new perspective on life, her unconventional stories touching every hidden corner of our hearts, and embedding themselves so deeply in there, changing us, changing our perception of life itself, while inevitably raising the bar for every great book we read after that. Just like all her other stories, this is a book that takes the reader on an unprecedented emotional journey that is as distinctive as it is utterly beautiful in its approach and honesty. A story of true love, a love in its purest, most selfless of forms—this is a book I savoured in its entirety for as long as I could, basking in its exquisiteness and drawing comfort from its gentle bravery. Give Amy Harmon a pen and she’ll show you the kind of breathtaking beauty you never even knew existed, and with this book, she most definitely took my breath away.

“The world was a scary place for most people. For Amelie, it was downright lethal. She was completely vulnerable… And yet she didn’t hesitate at all.”

This story takes off at a very distressing moment in these characters’ lives, but we do not know the reason behind what has happened. So, as we slowly peel off the layers of a love story like no other, we are made privy to every single detail of their courtship, all leading us toward the instant when their lives change forever.

David “Tag” Taggert is a free-spirited young man who spent his youth searching for a place to belong to, a place that would ground him and give him purpose, and he has found that very place in everything he’s built under the ‘Tag Team’ label and in the people he surrounded himself with, especially his best friend, Moses. But something in Tag has snapped and he has abandoned the love of his life, leaving her with their entire story narrated on a collection of tapes.

“She was a brand new species, an intoxicating mix of girl and enigma, familiar yet completely foreign.”

Amelie “Millie” Anderson is a blind girl who entered Tag’s life like a quiet hurricane, filling his senses with her enduring courage and tenacity, kindness and generosity, until all he sees is her. She becomes his whole world, loving her and protecting her from harm becoming his first priority in life, until he becomes convinced that that power is taken away from him forever, making him unworthy of her love if he can no longer be the strong one in their relationship.

“Millie had become my favorite sight, my favorite smell, my favorite taste, my favorite sound. My favorite.”

But Millie’s strength is one of the things that made him fall in love with her in the first place and it is that very strength that brings things back into focus for him, showing him that some people are worth suffering for, regardless of how much one wishes to protect them from harm.

“I’m always going to try to protect you. That’s who I am. That’s what I do.”

A slow-burning, heart-warming romance that enchants us with its simplicity and candour—this is a book that made my heart hurt, on more than one occasion, but it never made it stop growing too, filling it with positivity and hope. Amy Harmon has this uncanny ability to make us care for every character she creates, whatever their story might be, turning us from silent observers into emotionally invested participants. Millie and Tag were no exception, their tender love story enthralling us with its gripping pace and momentous set of life lessons colouring its every page. I had no idea where this story was heading, I was crushed by it too many times to count, but I walked away with a spring in my step, knowing that life is made of as much darkness as it is of light, and that one does not need to see either to know they are there, forever intertwined and making life worth living for.

“You can’t see a song. You feel a song, you hear a song, you move to it. Just like I can’t see you, but I feel you, and I move toward you. When you’re with me, I feel like I glimpse a David nobody else knows is there. It’s the Song of David, and nobody else can hear it but me.”

5stars

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The Standalone Prequel…

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BOOK REVIEW: Secret by Kindle Alexander

Tristan Wilder, self-made millionaire and devastatingly handsome CEO of Wilder-Nation is on the verge of a very lucrative buyout. With tough negotiations ahead, he’s armed with his acquisition pitch, ready to launch the deal of a lifetime. There’s just one glitch. The last thing he expects is to fall for the hot business owner he’s trying to sway.

Dylan Reeves, computer science engineer and founder of the very successful social media site, Secret, is faced with a life-altering decision. A devoted family man with three kids and a wife, Dylan has been living a secret for years. Fiercely loyal to his convictions, his boundaries blur after meeting the striking owner of the corporation interested in acquiring his company. For the first time in his life, reckless desire consumes him when the gorgeous computer mogul makes an offer he can’t refuse.

review

“Love’s hard to find, and when you do, you don’t throw it away.”

Ever since I finished this book, I haven’t stopped smiling. Smiling because stories like these fill me with an indescribable sense of hope and positivity. Smiling because some stories are just so wonderful in every single way—inspiring, brave, honest, relevant—that they fill my heart to bursting. Smiling because some love stories touch us so deeply that we never want them to end. And this is a book I wanted to grow old reading.

“…he was a gay man buried so deep in the closet he questioned if he would ever find his way out.”

Dylan Reeves is a married man in his late thirties—a man married to the same wonderful woman for the past nineteen years, a father to three well-adjusted kids, a successful businessman on the verge of the greatest professional accomplishment of his career—and yet he has been living a lie all his life. Dylan’s marriage, as supportive and loving as it is, has been a sham from the start, an arrangement between two best friends who agreed on living separate lives while raising together the three people they love the most in the world. But while his wife has given herself permission to find true love outside their marriage, Dylan has denied himself the same, putting his children’s happiness before his own, and living by a strict moral code of always doing the right thing, at all costs.

“…they didn’t ask to be born. It wasn’t their fault I didn’t have the balls to be me.”

While on a weekend business trip, as part of his company’s merger negotiations with one of the most successful technology companies in the world, the last thing Dylan expects to find on the other side of the negotiating table is a man who suddenly makes him forget all he’s pretended to be for so long, awakening all his suppressed yearnings, and igniting the very sexual man he was born to be.

“I’m in trouble…”
“That you are. I think we both are.”

Tristan Wilder is a man at the top of his professional game, a self-made computer mogul who has the world at his fingertips, but his success has also cost him his personal life, rarely finding the time to engage in anything more than commitment-free trysts with men who never ask more of him. Until a closeted man walks into his life, and ends up turning it upside down. Never one to have to pursue his conquests, Tristan finds himself in uncharted territory as he romances a man struggling to let his desires consume him. But the more time they spend in each other’s arms, exploring each other’s bodies and stealing each other’s hearts, the more it becomes apparent to them both that their weekend together would end up changing their lives forever.

“There’s no way this will end well for me, but not taking the few moments you’re willing to give me seems like a far worse fate.”

And this is all I will tell you about the storyline because even a peep about what comes next would deprive you of the very special way this story unfolds and eventually comes together, of the way these characters react in certain pivotal moments in the story, of the way their unique bonds are attested, because it is those unexpected actions and reactions that make this book so extraordinary in its approach. This is not a story that trivialises the vows of marriage, or validates infidelity—this is a truly inspiring story about living one’s truth, about the kind of selfless love and devotion that puts most of us to shame, about finding the courage to show’s one’s most vulnerable side to those we love the most. Love does not always mean an easy road ahead, but stories like these make us believe that there might be a happily-ever-after for us all. There is something truly uplifting about tales like these, tales that show us how life should be, the life we should all have the right to live, and I am always astonished by the sheer beauty of these authors’ stories, consistently inspiring but inexorably sexy. Whether a seasoned m/m reader or new to the genre, this story should be on top of your reading list.

“I’ll wait for you, however long it takes. I don’t care. I’ll wait.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Asking for It by Lilah Pace

“This is who I am. This is what I want. Now I need a man dangerous enough to give it to me.” 

Graduate student Vivienne Charles is afraid of her own desires—ashamed to admit that she fantasizes about being taken by force, by a man who will claim her completely and without mercy. When the magnetic, mysterious Jonah Marks learns her secret, he makes an offer that stuns her: they will remain near-strangers to each other, and meet in secret so that he can fulfill her fantasy.

Their arrangement is twisted. The sex is incredible. And—despite their attempts to stay apart—soon their emotions are bound together as tightly as the rope around Vivienne’s wrists. But the secrets in their pasts threaten to turn their affair even darker…

 

review

“Not all fantasies are things we want in reality.”

I’d like to think of myself as a reader with very few boundaries when it comes to picking my next book, only a few things in life triggering emotions I choose not to feel while indulging my mind with its next great escape. So, when I came across this book, my mind tingled from the get-go, yelling at me to dive into this story blindly and see where it would take us. And what an exciting ride this has been! A perfectly written, masterfully assembled storyline that captures your attention with its brutal honesty, somehow making the unthinkable sexy—this is a book that I devoured in its entirety and would urge anyone to sneak a taste of it before dismissing it at first sight. Its entire premise might turn many people away, but nothing about this story glamorises what it shouldn’t, dealing with a problematic theme capably, sensitively, with purpose rather than for kicks, often pausing to reflect on scenes rather than forging ahead thoughtlessly. I am drawn to the taboo, that I will admit, but I never lose the magnifying glass, the critical eye with which I read these stories because in order to enjoy them I need to perceive them as love stories rather than stories of the forbidden, and this book never crossed that line. It intrigued me, fascinated me, owned me start to finish with its beautiful prose, and it left me pondering on it long after it ended.

“I wanted the dirtiest, filthiest brutality, and I want it badly. Wanted it for so long.”

Vivienne Charles is a twenty-five-year-old woman with a secret. While in possession of a healthy sexual appetite, she is incapable of experiencing sexual gratification unless a certain scenario is met—Vivienne needs to imagine being raped. But while her sexual fantasies have always remained just that—fantasies—a random encounter with a handsome stranger on a deserted highway changes everything, turning into an unexpected offer to fulfil each other’s dirtiest fantasies with no strings attached.

“You like to play one role. I’d like to play another… On your terms, and within your limits. But I think we could . . . satisfy each other.”

Vivienne’s handsome stranger might be exactly what she has always dreamed of finding in a man, intuitively sensing all her darkest desires, and satisfying them one by one, but Jonah Marks has also found exactly what he’s been looking for in the woman whose body he reads so well. Their fantasies complement each other perfectly, igniting a purely sexual relationship that inevitably leads to more, becoming the most honest and gratifying relationship either of them have ever had. They feed each other’s dirtiest fantasies, fulfil each other’s most repressed desires, their role-plays becoming the only way to silence the memories that both of them fight to forget.

“This fantasy that dominates me—it’s sick, and it’s twisted, but it’s not going away. Fighting it hasn’t done any good. So I’m giving in. Surrendering.”

But once they grow closer to one another and the unspoken secrets between them start itching to come out in the open, the very reason Vivienne and Jonah connected in the first place becomes the wedge that eventually drives them apart.

“Each of us assumed the other was simply indulging a kinky fetish, when in fact we were shepherding each other through our nightmares.”

Since Vivienne’s inner voice is the only one we get to hear, her character is the one we feel closest to, her doubts, fears, and insecurities adding a very ‘real’ element to a story that can be at times difficult to relate to. The author has gone to great lengths to make us understand Vivienne’s mind and the way it has somehow merged rape and arousal into one, making her unable to peel them apart anymore, and eventually turning the very event that has changed her sexual nature altogether into her ultimate sexual fantasy. Given great character introspection, we are able to perceive Vivienne and Jonah’s relationship as a romance, albeit a very dysfunctional one, but a romance all the same. The guilt and the shame associated with their respective fantasies and the unveiling of the events they stemmed from play a vital role in this first part of their story, setting the scene for so many possible outcomes, and inevitably leaving us gasping for more. This was such an unexpected treat, a story I never expected to delve so deep into the human condition, and I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone with an open, judgement-free mind and an occasional taste for a darker, out-of-the-box kind of love story.

Vivienne and Jonah’s story continues in Begging for It

“It’s your fantasy, and mine. Chances like this don’t come along often—two people twisted in the same exact way.”

5stars

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Series Reading Order and Purchase Links

Asking for It: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | Paperback
Begging for It
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW & EXCERPT: Moonlight on Nightingale Way by Samantha Young

MOONLIGHT ON NIGHTINGALE WAYLogan spent two years paying for the mistakes he made. Now, he’s ready to start over. He has a great apartment, a good job, and plenty of women to distract him from his past. And one woman who is driving him to distraction…

Grace escaped her manipulative family by moving to a new city. Her new life, made to suit her own needs, is almost perfect. All she needs to do is find her Mr. Right—or at least figure out a way to ignore her irresistible yet annoying womanizer of a neighbor.

Grace is determined to have nothing to do with Logan until a life-changing surprise slowly begins turning the wild heartbreaker into exactly the kind of strong, stable man she’s been searching for. Only just when she begins to give into his charms, her own messy past threatens to derail everything they’ve worked to build…

review

“I can’t walk away from you even if I wanted to. And I don’t want to. You are reality and sweet oblivion wrapped up in one annoyingly argumentative, always-bloody-right, classy, gorgeous-as-f*ck package.”

Six full length novels, six couples I loved from the get-go, six unforgettable love stories that will forever remain some of my favourite books of all time, and we now say goodbye to the wonderful world of the On Dublin Street series with this unputdownable finale—a touching friends-to-lovers tale that had me either squirming in my seat from the unrelenting chemistry between the characters, or clenching my chest from all the angsty emotions it stirred in me page after page. I loved this book, loved it so much I couldn’t help but re-read parts of it right after I first finished it, leaving me with a bittersweet smile on my face knowing I was saying farewell to a ‘reality’ I learned to depend on whenever I was in need of a true romance to warm my heart.

“I’d worked hard to become my own person and not a shadow of the girl lost in the manipulations, cruelty, and neglect of her family.”

Grace Farquhar is a young woman who left her privileged past and the person she once was behind to embrace the woman she always hoped to become. Having grown up in an disparaging environment that left her with serious self-esteem issues—raised by parents who either ignored her or belittled her continually with demeaning comments and self-serving expectations—she was forced to sever all contact with her family in order to heal and become her own person. But years of feeling inadequate and never speaking out her mind have left her fearful of confrontation, constantly craving the approval of others. So when a very loud new neighbour moves into the apartment next door, his late night sex antics keeping her awake night after night and leaving her too tired to work during the day, she reacts uncharacteristically, having no qualms about expressing her distress and frustration at his behaviour. Even when her words seem to fall on deaf ears and her new neighbour’s mocking stance only serves to aggravate her even more.

“Logan MacLeod is the least likely candidate for boyfriendhood of any man in the entire world.”

Logan MacLeod is not the man the world believes him to be. One mistake in his life, one act of fierce protectiveness towards a beloved sister, has cost him two years of his life and a lifetime of shame, but behind the bad boy façade hides a man looking for forgiveness, self-fulfilment, and a fresh start in life. When the cute spitfire next door confronts him about his late night shenanigans, he is instantly drawn to her, but the more life pulls them closer to one another, and the more he gets to know her, the more he believes that she deserves someone better than him, someone worthier, someone whose past is not weighing heavily on his shoulders, making him wish he were a better man for her. Even though in Grace’s eyes he is all she’s ever dreamed of finding in life.

“Although I was actively looking for the man I wanted to spend my life with, I wasn’t looking for a fantasy man. I was looking for someone understanding, protective, and funny. I didn’t expect perfection. I just wanted to like the person I was dating, and I wanted him to be kind.”

When Logan’s past comes unexpectedly knocking at his door, changing his future forever, Grace becomes the person he learns to lean on the most in life, her kindness and generosity helping him face a reality he never believed possible. But as their lives become more and more intertwined, their attraction grows as well, leading to a climax of epic proportions. One which only one of them doesn’t regret in the end.

“I’d fallen in love for the first time. And he didn’t love me back.”

This is a very emotional but also downright scorching tale of a love born suddenly, unexpectedly, a love free from judgement and prejudice, whose sheer magnitude heals both young lovers from the ugly scars from their respective pasts. It’s also a story that shows the true definition of a family, of the incomparable power of friendships, and how much the two can sometimes become one in life. Grace and Logan break the cycle they were born into by becoming the kind of people they always wished their parents would have been—two people who love selflessly and unconditionally, and whose love and devotion to those closest to them becomes the one thing they are most proud of in life.

It is with a heavy heart that I let these characters and all the wonderful couples who came before them go, certain of many a re-read in the future. Ms Young has given us the perfect kind of closure for all six storylines, and even though there will never be another Jocelyn and Braden, Johanna and Cameron, Olivia and Nate, Hannah and Marco, Shannon and Cole, or Grace and Logan, I am certain the best is yet to come from this truly extraordinary author whose words never fail to blow my mind.

“I never thought you’d light up for the likes of me… I’m going to f*ck you until you see stars.”

5stars

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excerpt

“I’m right here.” I slowed to a stop in front of the blue door to my building. “Thank you for dinner.”

John did a little skip back to me. “I could come up for coffee.” He grinned down at me hopefully.

I gave him an apologetic smile. “I’ve got work to do.”

“Oh, come on.” He edged closer to me, and I stumbled back against the wall. “Ask me up, Grace. You know you want to.” He fingered the collar of my light coat, and I instinctively slapped his hand away.

“I’m going inside. You should leave.”

He held his hands up in a surrender gesture but took another step toward me.

My stomach flipped, and I glanced right and then left. The dark street was empty. “Really, John. I’d just like to go inside. Good night.”

“You’re nervous,” he said softly. “I get it. I had to have a few glasses of wine to loosen up tonight I was so nervous about meeting you, but we don’t have to be nervous, Grace.” He brushed his fingers across my cheek, and I flinched away. “We’re two adults just looking for company.”

“No. You’re drunk, and I want you to leave. Now, please step back.”

The door to the building opened before John could react. A large figure stepped outside, and when he shut the door behind him and turned his face, the moonlight revealed Logan. He stopped a moment at the sight of me and gave me a nod before turning his back. He was dressed for work. And he was leaving.

Fear forced my mouth open, and I was just about to call out Logan’s name when he halted and turned around. He looked at me, expressionless, and then he looked at John. Despite the blank look on his face, I knew right away he’d deduced the situation when, without a word, Logan pulled his keys out and opened the door. He pushed the door open and stepped toward me. “Grace,” he said.

Relief flooded me, and I knew I couldn’t hide it just as I hadn’t been able to keep the panic from my face when I thought he was leaving. I darted past him and inside, glancing over my shoulder to see John take a step toward the door. Logan blocked the doorway, and I watched, fascinated, as he intimidated John into retreating without saying one bloody word.

John ran a shaky hand through his hair, suddenly looking anywhere but at Logan, and then he spun on his heel and started striding a little unsteadily down our street.

Logan entered the building and closed the door. We just stared at each other for a second before he gestured for me to move.

I started down the hall, hearing him fall into step behind me. He followed me all the way up the stairs until we reached my flat, and he watched as I fumbled for my keys in my purse. When I managed to get ahold of them, they rattled in my trembling hands.

Logan’s warm hand curled around mine, and he gently eased the keys from my grip. He opened my door for me. “You all right?”

“Yes, thanks.” I gave him a small, grateful smile. “I just feel like I’ve been stuck in episodes of Sex and the City on my last few dates. There are some bizarre men out there.” He didn’t reply, and I shifted uncomfortably. “Well, thanks again.” I moved to go inside, and he said my name. “Yes?”

Logan was no longer expressionless. There was a tautness to his features and a shadow of dark purple in his eyes. I recognized that look. He was angry. “Never let a drunk man walk you home again.”

Flummoxed that his anger seemed to be born from concern, I could only nod, tongue-tied.

He stared at me pointedly, and I stared dumbly back at him.

Logan sighed impatiently. “Close your door, Grace. I’m not leaving for work until I hear the sound of your lock turning.”

“Oh.” I flushed at my silliness and eased the door shut. I turned my lock and put the chain in place. “Good night!” I called through the door.

“Good night, Miss Farquhar,” he returned, and I heard the rumble of dry amusement in his voice before the sounds of his footsteps faded into the distance.

Excerpt posted by arrangement with New American Library, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company.
Copyright © Samantha Young, 2015.

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On Dublin Street – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
ondublinstreet3 Untilfountainbridge2_322x500 downlondonroad3_322X500 castlehill
beforejamaicalane fallfromindiaplace echoesofscotlandstreet MOONLIGHT ON NIGHTINGALE WAY

On Dublin Street: My Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Until Fountain Bridge (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Down London Road: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Castle Hill (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Before Jamaica Lane: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Fall from India Place: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Echoes of Scotland Street: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Moonlight on Nightingale WayAmazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback
One King’s Way (novella): Amazon US | Amazon CA

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