Posts Categorized: Contemporary Romance

The Truth About Him by M. O’Keefe

July 18, 2017 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Truth About Him by M. O’KeefeThe Truth About Him by M. O'Keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #2
Published by Random House on November 24, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-half-stars
We played our roles, told each other lies.

But now Dylan is no longer just a mysterious deep voice on the other end of the line. We’re face-to-face and our relationship is very, very real.

We still have secrets—but so much is crystal clear:

The thrilling danger.

The raw, naked desire.

The need to keep feeling the way he makes me feel. Forever.

Dylan is putting up walls, trying to keep me safe, but he can’t shut me out. He has seen my darkness and rescued me. Now it’s my turn, if only he will let me.

THE TRUTH ABOUT HIM is told in the dual POV of Annie and Dylan.  You must read the first book in the series before beginning this one because this book picks up right where the first one left off.  Trouble follows these two wherever they go and right from the start Dylan and Annie are in physical danger.

Annie is trying to heal and move past the events of the last book.  Dylan wants to protect her, but is afraid his presence in her life is just going to complicate things further.  Together, they’re a hot, complicated duo that can’t seem to keep their hands off each other.  And where the last book focused entirely on Annie’s growth as a character, this book focuses on Dylan – his relationship with his estranged father, his MC brother, and the accident that changed his entire life.

Overall, I really enjoyed all the suspense and action packed into this second book.  The writing sucks you into the story and is phenomenal.  THE TRUTH ABOUT HIM  is a quick, super-steamy read perfect for a summer beach trip!

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Getting Rough by C. L. Parker

January 26, 2016 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★½

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Getting Rough by C. L. ParkerGetting Rough by C L Parker
Series: Monkey Business Trio #2
Published by Bantam on January 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Hotshot San Diego sports agent Shaw Matthews and his sexy professional adversary Cassidy Whalen have gone head-to-head in the boardroom—and the bedroom. Now Shaw has scored a big promotion—but only because Cassidy turned it down and ran off. There are many things he wants when it comes to Cassidy—just not her pity. So Shaw rushes to a small town in Maine to retrieve his dignity—and maybe the woman he’s hungry to claim once more.

Cassidy has pushed herself to the max to realize her career dreams—until a family crisis brings her home. But Shaw isn’t letting Cassidy go that easily. Neither is gorgeous heartthrob Casey Michaels, the childhood sweetheart she left behind—and who now wants to win her back. As the rivalry between the two alpha males intensifies, and Shaw’s seductive moves reach a whole new level of heat, Cassidy has to make a choice. And this time, it’s for the highest stakes of all.

GETTING ROUGH is the second in a series and it is highly recommended that first-time readers read PLAYING DIRTY (first in the series) before reading this novel.  This installment of the trilogy picks up right where the last book left off.  Shaw is about to enjoy his new promotion and Cassidy has run off to her hometown in Maine.  Despite their animosity-hiding-possible-love, Shaw makes the decision to follow Cassidy to Maine and when a hurricane comes hurtling through the sleeping lobster-catching village, Shaw and Cassidy are forced to confront whatever-it-is simmering underneath the surface of their fights.  Add to this volatile mix the presence of Cassidy’s childhood sweetheart also vying for Cassidy’s heart and readers are in for a steamy, passionate treat!

I enjoyed this new set of characters we meet in Maine as well as the new setting.  Cassidy and Shaw are very much city-folk, so to see them trying to figure out whatever-it-is between them in the sleepy Maine town was endearing.  I just hope they’ll be able to maintain it once they go back into the city.  Told from multiple points of view, readers get inside not only Cassidy and Shaw’s heads, but also that of the childhood sweetheart and a few others.  While this isn’t my favorite form of storytelling, it was helpful to get the plot moving along while providing some explanation as to why characters were acting in certain ways.

 

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Wild Ride by Cathryn Fox

December 25, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Wild Ride by Cathryn FoxWild Ride by Cathryn Fox
Series: Playing for Keeps #2
Published by Entangled Publishing on October 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 98
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Good girl, meet bad cowboy...

Marketing Tycoon Tyler Mackenzie, a.k.a. Wildman Mac, has a knack for knowing what people want and, more importantly, what they need…so when he decides to show sweet and sexy yoga instructor Jess Gray that she's the one for him, he puts a seductive campaign into motion.

When Mac defines the terms for the week and insists she do everything he says, Jess can't help but be intrigued. Since this good girl wants to break free and do something naughty, she agrees to his terms and soon finds herself embarking on a sexual journey that knows no limits. For Jess this is one week of living out her fantasies, but Mac is determined to make this wild ride last forever.

One week can change someone for a lifetime.  Tyler Mackenzie has always known that his childhood friend Jess was the perfect woman for him and has harbored deep feelings for her since their high school days together.  Tyler convinces Jess to come to his ranch and spends the week showing her exactly all the ways he is as perfect for her as she is for him.  And of course, he is the only one who is able to fulfill all her shy, dirty fantasies she’s kept hidden from the rest of the world.

Wow, wow, and wow!  What a fun and naughty read!  I loved this novella from start to finish and really wish it could have been longer.  In true novella fashion, Tyler and Jess fall into bed pretty quickly, but this was somewhat believable knowing these characters had a long past together.  The sex is steamy and even kinky!  This is the perfect book for those looking for a quick read that may spark some new ideas for your own bedroom.

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Tempting the New Boss by Angela Claire

December 22, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tempting the New Boss by Angela ClaireTempting the New Boss by Angela Claire
Series: Sleeping With the Enemy #3
Published by Entangled Publishing on October 19, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 200
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Sometimes you have to break the rules…

When Camilla Anderson loses her job just as a position at Talbot Inc. opens up, there's no way she's questioning the lucky break. Working for the quirky, reclusive CEO will pay off her student loans within a year, and they're flying to Europe in his private jet.

Mason Talbot isn't good at talking to women. Well, to anyone, really. But when his new lawyer boards his plane, biology kicks in. But he can't tell if her adverse reaction is to him or his painfully awkward attempts at flirting.

As the flight gets bumpier, Mr. High IQ gets calmer. And…he holds her hand? Maybe the guy is redeemable after all. As soon as they land, she'll have to teach her endearingly awkward new boss how to seduce a girl properly.

That is, if they don't die in a fiery plane crash first.

Mason Talbot is incredibly blunt, almost registering on the Asperger’s scale.  He’s a billionaire who unfortunately needs more than a little help navigating social situations.  Thankfully his new lawyer, Camilla Anderson, is a whiz at reading people and diffusing tense situations.

This was a slow-start kind of book.  I didn’t really connect to the characters, but was eventually entertained by their story.  Mason’s bluntness is almost comical at times and as a reader I almost felt sorry for him.  Camilla was a little wishy-washy.  She’s say one thing and do another, which I felt was a little off-putting and disingenuous to her lawyer-background character.

That said, the romance was sweet and the sex steamy, just the way I like my erotica!  I definitely gave bonus points for having such an unique hero like Mason.

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Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Marie Bradley

November 6, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Paranormal Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Viking Warrior Rising by Asa Marie BradleyViking Warrior Rising by Asa Marie Bradley
Series: Viking Warriors #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on November 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Leif Skarsganger and his elite band of immortal warriors have been charged to protect humanity from the evil Norse god Loki.

Under attack from Loki’s minions, Leif is shocked to encounter a dark-haired beauty who fights like a warrior herself. Wounded and feverish, the Viking kisses her, inadvertently triggering an ancient Norse bond. But when Naya Brisbane breaks away and disappears before the bond is completed, Leif’s warrior spirit goes berserk. If Leif doesn’t find her fast, he’s going to lose himself to permanent battle fury.

But Naya doesn’t want to be found...and he’ll do anything to find her. Because they’re both running out of time.

A strong start to what I’m sure will be a great series, VIKING WARRIOR RISING was a rollercoaster from start to finish.  Filled with fantasy and mythological elements such a Norse gods, Valkyries, and Berserkers, but also liberally peppered with science fiction too (Naya is a super-human thanks to genetic experimentation), this novel was difficult to categorize but a thoroughly entertaining read!  Moreover, there are still many questions to be answered in upcoming installments (I hope) in this series which will have readers coming back for more.

Naya Brisbane is a super-human.  She was captured and experimented on until her abilities outgrew those who held her captive.  It is these abilities that allow her to rescue Leif, King of the Beserkers and leader of the army sent by Odin to battle Loki’s minions on earth.  Once Leif recovers from the drug Loki’s minions used on him, instant attraction blooms between him and Naya.  But Leif and Naya have major (make that MAJOR) trust issues which make up most of the back-and-forth romance between the two lovers.

The romance isn’t really the focal point of this novel, however.  Sure, it plays an important role, but I felt as though much of the plot was devoted to the first stirrings of battle between Odin and Loki’s armies.  Regardless, I still very much enjoyed VIKING WARRIOR RISING and look forward to more novels in this series.  Can’t wait to see what happens next!

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Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance

October 23, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Gambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah BallanceGambling on the Bodyguard by Sarah Ballance
Series: What Happens in Vegas #8
Published by Entangled Publishing on October 12, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 154
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
He'll guard her body all night long...

Ski instructor Ellie Montgomery hits Vegas during a romance convention to meet the man of her dreams...only, the man of her dreams isn't the cover model she's there to see. He's the hot-as-sin bodyguard who catches her sneaking in the back door of a meet-and-greet, and he seems more than ready to do what it takes to prove he's twice the man her pretty boy crush could ever be.

Jax Mathis couldn't resist snagging a date with Ellie, but he didn't count on the attraction being more than physical. They connect on a level he didn't think possible--and he can't run fast enough. She makes him want things he thought he'd never have, and maybe, just maybe, they're within reach. But to have it, he'll have to face the one mountain he swore he'd never climb...and with no guarantee she'll be waiting on the other side.

Ellie Montgomery’s love life is stagnated, caught up in the fantasy of finding Mr. Perfect like the heroes in the romance novels she reads.  When she wins a ticket for an “intimate affair” with her favorite cover model, she’s off to Las Vegas and the local romance novel convention.  But when her ticket to excitement goes down the toilet – literally – Ellie is determined to still meet her cover model hero.  Instead, she’s met with a wall of muscle while attempting to sneak in the back door – Jax Mathis.  With a little blackmail, some bacon, and a lot of false confidence, Ellie and Jax soon create an intimate affair of their own.  What happens in Vegas, right?  Wrong!

This novel was a fun-filled fantasy from start to (a very sweet and satisfying) finish.  The plot is engaging, the characters witty, and the romantic sizzle an absolutely perfect balance between lust and love.  Ellie and Jax connect suddenly, but deeply and though their love develops in about three days (this is a suspend-your-belief-and-enjoy-the-fantasy type novel), it’s clear they are soul mates whose love will last a lifetime.

Ms. Ballance does an excellent job packing a lot of drama, action, and romance into one short, entertaining novel.  I’m excited to see what she comes up with next!

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Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’Keefe

October 13, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Everything I Left Unsaid by Molly O’KeefeEverything I Left Unsaid by Molly O'Keefe
Series: Everything I Left Unsaid #1
Published by Bantam on October 13, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
I didn’t think answering someone else’s cellphone would change my life. But the stranger with the low, deep voice on the other end of the line tempted me, awakened my body, set me on fire. He was looking for someone else. Instead he found me.

And I found a hot, secret world where I felt alive for the first time.

His name was Dylan, and, strangely, he made me feel safe. Desired. Compelled. Every dark thing he asked me to do, I did. Without question. I longed to meet him, but we were both keeping secrets. And mine were dangerous. If I took the first step, if I got closer to Dylan—emotionally, physically—then I wouldn’t be hiding anymore. I would be exposed, with nothing left to surrender but the truth. And my truth could hurt us both.

Tired and worn from years of systematic abuse – first from her mother and later her husband – Annie McKay sneaks out at 3am with little more than the clothes on her back and $3000 cash in her pocket.  She soon finds herself in a middle-of-nowhere trailer park and sets herself up as Layla.  Her neighbors keep to themselves and that’s just how Annie likes it.  Until she answers a cell phone stuffed in the cushions of the couch.  That’s when she hears Dylan’s voice and suddenly she’s got herself a job keeping an eye on the owner of another trailer two spots over.  But reconnaissance turns into flirting and flirting turns to lust.  Dylan opens Annie up to all sorts of new experiences she just didn’t get to see on her isolated little farm back in Oklahoma.  All from the other side of a cell phone.  For now.

Annie is a complex character.  Her father wasn’t around when she was a child and her bitter, mentally ill mother was emotionally abusive.  Annie’s husband stepped in and began to physically assault Annie too.  Somehow, Annie manages to retain her shredded innocent outlook on life and genuinely wants to help those around her, especially the fellow abuse-victim mother of four and the old man living close by her new trailer home.  But Annie’s no slouch and has a work ethic that keeps her moving and motivated long after others would quit.  It’s this part of her nature that has Annie re-creating herself into Layla, a brave, will-try-anything-once persona that leads her to flirt with Dylan, play voyeur in a strip club, and make pasta sauce for the murderer next door.

Dylan is harder to pin down.  He’s still something of a mystery since readers don’t get much insight into his half of this story.  He’s isolated himself on a mountaintop, but retains the dominant, boundary-pushing persona of his racing days.  I look forward to learning more about Dylan (hopefully) in the next book.

This first novel in a two-part duet does end on a cliffhanger, so be prepared!

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Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones

September 29, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee JonesEscaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones
Series: The Secret Life of Amy Bensen #1
Published by Gallery Books on June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 337
Format: eBook
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
His touch spirals through me, warm and sweet, wicked and hot. I shouldn't trust him. I shouldn't tell him my secrets. But how do I not when he is the reason I breathe? He is what I need.

At the young age of eighteen, tragedy and a dark secret force Lara to flee all she has known and loved to start a new life. Now years later, with a new identity as Amy, she's finally dared to believe she is forgotten--even if she cannot forget. But just when she lets her guard down, the ghosts of her past are quick to punish her, forcing her back on the run.

On a plane, struggling to face the devastation of losing everything again and starting over, Amy meets Liam Stone, a darkly entrancing billionaire recluse, who is also a brilliant, and famous, prodigy architect. A man who knows what he wants and goes after it. And what he wants is Amy. Refusing to take "no" as an answer, he sweeps her into a passionate affair, pushing her to her erotic limits. He wants to possess her. He makes her want to be possessed. Liam demands everything from her, accepting nothing less. But what if she is too devastated by tragedy to know when he wants more than she should give?

At eighteen, Amy lost her entire family in a horrific fire.  Since that time, her life has been upended by her memory loss, painful blackouts accompanied by flashbacks of her previous life, and mysterious instructions stop whatever she is doing and leave town immediately.  She doesn’t know who exactly is sending her these instructions – only that he has a tattoo on his wrist and is referred to as her “handler.”  Because it turns out, the horrific fire was the result of an arson plot to kill her family thanks to some hush-hush dealings her famous archeologist father was involved in.  Those people are still after Amy, so when she gets a note telling her to go to the airport immediately, Amy picks up and is on her way to Denver.  En-route, she encounters Liam Stone, a recluse billionaire architect, who expresses immediate interest in Amy.  Is it safe?  Is he safe?  Or will Liam be the next in a line of victims?  Because everyone who has ever been close to Amy has died.  Is Liam and whatever they have together worth the risk?

This is the first in the “Secret Life of Amy Bensen” novels, though as I read, there were so many questions that I felt as if I was reading the second or third book in the series.  We don’t know anything about what happened to Amy’s family or why.  Amy doesn’t either, for that matter.  But it’s enough of an interesting premise that I wanted to keep reading.  But there’s a warning: This book ends on a cliffhanger!  We still don’t know why Amy is running, who this mysterious “handler” person is, or what happened to Amy’s family.  But we do get some information that begins to paint a picture of Amy’s backstory and I hope these plot threads will continue to weave together as the series progresses.

Amy suffers from blackouts and amnesia.  She doesn’t remember much of anything before her life became a long series of aliases and cities coordinated as strategic hiding places by her “handler.”  But what we can glean from Amy is that she is a brave, headstrong woman with a definite sense of what she is and is not willing to do.  Her survival skills are honed and she trusts her instincts.

Liam is a little…intense.  Money is not object to him, so he spends it frequently and generously on Amy, making sure she has everything she could possibly need in a new city and then some.  At first, this came across as sweet, then it started to become a little creepy and overbearing, before finally turning into freakishly controlling.  I’m not sure what to think of Liam, to tell you the truth.

I wouldn’t classify this as erotica (yet), but rather contemporary romance.  There are a few sex scenes in this novel, but they don’t overpower the main narrative nor are they terribly explicit.

This book will have you looking twice at every single character Amy encounters.  Friend or foe?  You tell me!  Can Amy even have friends?  Every character seems to be hiding something and when coupled with the general uncertainty of what happened to Amy and why she is always running, the paranoia ratchets up as the book progresses.  This made for a very interesting read since I was constantly wondering what was happening and if I could trust these characters.  I’m excited to continue reading the rest of this series!

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Under My Skin by J Kenner

September 18, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Under My Skin by J KennerUnder My Skin by J Kenner
Series: Stark International Trilogy #3
Published by Bantam on September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
He’s the only man I’ve ever loved, and the one man I can’t bear to lose.
 
Jackson Steele is my light in this world. Charismatic, bold, and always in control, he knows what he wants and how to get it—and absolutely nothing stands in his way. His hold on me is magnetic, his claim on me complete, his kiss my ultimate escape.

We both harbor dark secrets that could tear our lives apart. Though we’ve tried to bury our pasts, there are certain people who won’t let us forget. But the closer danger comes, the brighter the fire between us burns—our ecstasy consuming and soothing us both.

There’s no telling what lies ahead, but I know that Jackson never gives in without a fight. I’d do anything he wants to keep him safe, give him anything he needs. And now that we’re in deep, nothing can make me run.

Before we begin this review, I must state – You need to read this series in order!  Each book builds upon the plot and character development of the previous novel.  Before reading UNDER MY SKIN, please read SAY MY NAME and ON MY KNEES first.  As such, this review will make reference to – but not spoil – plot points covered in prior novels in the series.

After the bombshell dropped at the end of the last novel, Sylvia and Jackson are reeling.  Everything around them is falling apart – the Cortez resort, Reed, Ronnie.  Nothing is going right and the stress is beginning to put a strain on their relationship.

Sylvia must learn to face her long-held fears with Jackson rather than continually pushing him away.  Yet she must then turn around and also push Jackson to channel his own fears and frustrations into a healthier, more sensual outlet.  This constant push-pull which has plagued Sylvia and Jackson culminate in the final installment of the series.  Unfortunately, Sylvia spends a lot of this book internally whining to herself (and sometimes Cass) about whether or not Jackson really loves her and if she is “good enough” to be with him and Ronnie.  After three books of Jackson constantly showering her with love and affection, you’d think Sylvia would have realized this by now.  However, I had to keep reminding myself that Sylvia is the victim of decades long emotional, physical, and sexual abuse, which went a long way towards explaining her self-recrimination and doubt.

I loved the bonding between Damien and Jackson.  After being at odds for so long, it was heart-warming to see these two powerful men finally become brothers.  Ronnie is an adorable ball of sunshine and I would love see see future novellas featuring this precious child.  And, of course, I liked that we found out who the killer and saboteurs were and that Jackson and Sylvia finally got their HEA.

A little rushed towards the end, but overall a great finish to another fantastic trilogy by J Kenner!  I sincerely hope this is not the last we see of Sylvia, Jackson, Damien, and Nikki.  The characters are complex, the sex is scorching hot, and there are just so many possibilities to explore.  Loved it!

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Rough Justice by Sarah Castille

August 21, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★½

Rough Justice by Sarah CastilleRough Justice by Sarah Castille
Series: Sinner's Tribe Motorcycle Club #1
Published by St Martin's Paperbacks on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Format: Audiobook
Goodreads
three-half-stars
IT TAKES A GOOD, STRONG WOMAN

Raised in a motorcycle gang, tough, beautiful Arianne Hunter has always dreamed of a normal life. But no sooner does she escape her father’s domineering grasp than she wakes up to find herself in a rival gang’s clubhouse—at the mercy of the dangerously sexy Jagger Knight.

TO TAME A MAN WHO’S HELL ON WHEELS.

The alpha leader of the notorious Sinner’s Tribe, Jagger Knight is all muscle, all biker, and all man. But somewhere inside this hard tattooed outlaw, Arianne senses a kindred spirit—and she can’t ignore their tempestuous attraction. Can she beat him at his own game in a revved-up blaze of glory? Or will their passion spark a war that’s the end of the road for them both?

I picked this up as “something different” to try.  Motorcycle Club (“MC”) books seem to be a fairly popular genre, so I though I’d give it a shot.  And while I probably won’t be reading any more MC books, this one was pretty good.

Plenty of action keeps the plot moving forward at a very rapid pace.  Intrigue surrounds the rival motorcycle gangs and the members.  The romance take quite a while to get going though (which is more or less why I was turned off by the MC genre).

Adrianne “Vexy” Hunter was born into the Viper MC, daughter of it’s current President.  Unfortunately for her, she has no interest in remaining under the brutal thumb of her father.  On the night the Viper MC burns down the Sinner’s Tribe clubhouse, she tries to save her brother from getting involved but ends up as a prisoner of the Sinner’s Tribe MC and it’s wickedly attractive President, Jagger Knight.  And despite a hundred of his MC brothers clamoring for Adrianne’s head, Jagger refuses to kill an innocent woman.  Especially one he reluctantly lusts after.

The writing in this novel is absolutely superb.  Although I quickly realized a few chapter into the book that MC novels probably wouldn’t interest me, this author’s turn of phrase and whip-tight narrative pacing kept me glued in my chair eager to learn what happened next.  An interesting cast of characters and plenty of subplots, I highly recommend checking this out if you are a fan of the MC genre.

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