Posts Categorized: Contemporary Romance

His Every Need by Terri Austin

March 6, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★★★

His Every Need by Terri AustinHis Every Need by Terri Austin
Series: Beauty and the Brit #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 5, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 336
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-stars
Allie Campbell is determined to take care of her family, no matter the cost. But when her father loses their home to British tycoon Trevor Blake, Allie finds herself forced to plead for more time to pay off the loan...and if she has to use her own body as collateral, then so be it.

Trevor isn't moved by Allie's story. But when Allie impulsively offers to do anything to keep the house, he's intrigued enough to raise the stakes: for the next two months, she must cater to his every need, no matter how depraved. To his amazement, she agrees.

Allie has no intention of enjoying her time with the arrogant, domineering Brit, but it doesn't take long before he's got her aching for his touch-and he'll do whatever it takes to make her beg...

Five years ago, Allie gave up everything to support her family when her mom was diagnosed with cancer.  She dropped out of college, got a job, and became pseudo-mom to her two younger sisters and housekeeper extraordinaire when her father was unable to complete the simplest of tasks like pay bills and take out the trash.  She comes home one day to find out her middle sister has run off with her new druggie friends and that her father defaulted on a massive loan that puts the house in jeopardy.  Desperate, Allie puts herself – literally –  at the mercy of the money lender, Trevor Blake.  For two months, she agrees to cater to his every whim in exchange for wiping her Dad’s debts clear.

Interesting premise for an erotica novel, but surprisingly this turned out to be more like a contemporary romance instead.  Yes, the plot was premised on sexual acts, but the real narrative focus is more on the family dynamics of Trevor and Allie as well as their developing relationship.

Allie is a “fixer.”  She’s the kind of woman who steps in to pick up all the pieces after a meltdown and put them back together again.  She sacrifices her own needs to put other first and strives to solve everyone’s problems.  Even when doing so creates more problems for Allie.  That’s not to say she’s a pushover though.  When necessary, Allie stands her ground with great determination.  It might even involve her unflappable “customer service face” – the face that lets nothing and no one ruffle her feathers and will calm even the angriest of customers.

I wasn’t sure I was going to like Trevor.  When we first see him, he’s…well, he’s an asshole.  Cold and mean-spirited, his dispassionate assessment and uncaring attitude towards Allie’s situation was not a pleasant introduction to what should be the Hero character.  Thankfully, the very next scene jumps to Trevor’s POV and we’re able to see that he’s not as stoic and monstrous as initially presented.  In fact, he can be quite charming when he puts his mind to it.

Although I really liked Trevor and Allie’s dynamic, it was a great cast of secondary characters that really rounds out this book.  Trevor’s mom, Mags, is an absolute delight and plays an important role in both Trevor and Allie’s character development.  Allie’s sisters, Brynne and Monica, bring some interesting counter-points to the narrative as well (Although I wanted to slap Monica from here til Sunday for her selfish, bratty nature).

There are many layers to this book, mostly centered around family dysfunction and relationship/intimacy issues.  Trevor and Allie must struggle for their happily ever after, but it’s well worth the journey and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it.  A realistic family drama with plenty of hot sexual tension between Trevor and Allie.

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Wallbanger by Alice Clayton

February 27, 2015 Contemporary Romance, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Wallbanger by Alice ClaytonWallbanger by Alice Clayton
Series: The Cocktail Series #1
Published by Gallery Books on February 14, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 385
Goodreads
four-half-stars
Caroline Reynolds has a fantastic new apartment in San Francisco, a Kitchen Aid mixer to die for, and no O (and we’re not talking Oprah here, folks). She has a flourishing design career, an office overlooking the bay, a killer zucchini bread recipe, and no O. She has Clive (the best cat ever), great friends, a great rack, and no O. Adding insult to O-less, she also has an oversexed neighbor with the loudest late-night wallbanging she’s ever heard. Every moan, spank, and—was that a meow?—punctuates the fact that not only is she losing sleep, she still has—yep, you guessed it—no O. Enter Simon Parker. When the wallbanging threatens to literally bounce her out of bed, Caroline, clad in sexual frustration and a pink baby-doll nightie, confronts her heard-but-never-seen neighbor. Their late-night hallway encounter has…well…mixed results. Because with walls this thin, the tension’s gonna be thick. A delicious mix of silly and steamy, this is an irresistible tale of exasperation at first sight.

I read this book in a single afternoon.  I made lunch and dinner with one hand.  I ignored my phone and didn’t even look at the door when letting me dogs out in the yard.  I ignored the outside world entirely because I honestly could not put this book down.

Caroline is feisty and full of snark.  Simon is confident, charming, and oh-so-delightfully cocky.  Their encounters begin with a standoff in the hallway over their shared bedroom wall and Simon’s not-so-quiet sexcapades with his harem of women that are literally shaking paintings off Caroline’s wall.  A mutual acquaintance forces Caroline and Simon to call a truce to their war-of-the-wall, thus setting up what I think is one of the finest examples of friends-turned-lovers romance I’ve read in a very long time.

The dialogue is snappy, witty, and had me laughing out loud for much of the afternoon.  And you could cut the amount of unresolved sexual tension between Caroline and Simon with a knife.  (Seriously, there was so much build-up that by the time they finally got together, it was almost anti-climactic.)

Now, I will say that there are a few scenes towards the 75-80% mark that fall flat, particularly the chapter where the characters are coming back from Tahoe and the POV jumps around and around into each character’s head.  This was disappointing as the characters’ thoughts were quite juvenile and frankly the whole thing just seemed like filler.  Actually, the whole trip to Tahoe could’ve been cut significantly.

But in the end, this was still a delightful afternoon read.  It’s light and fun with a great big dose of spot-on humor.  Pick this up if you’re looking for a book with wicked, innuendo-laced banter and sizzling comedic romance.

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Naughty Little Wishes by Nina Crespo

January 9, 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.

Naughty Little Wishes by Nina CrespoNaughty Little Wishes by Nina Crespo
Series: Birthday Dare #2
Published by Entangled Publishing on January 5, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 174
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
four-stars
Opposites attract. Enemies ignite...

There's nothing personal stylist Tabitha Drake loves more than pissing off Andrew Bode. He's uptight, he refuses to agree with her on anything, and she loathes the hideous brown suits and red power ties he wears. The man even hates ice cream. How can her best friend work for a man who hates ice cream? But the absolute worst thing about Drew? He's sexy as hell, and she's totally and ridiculously attracted to him.

Andrew Bode, CEO of the Bode-Wynn military contracting firm, is convinced he and Tab will never get along. Unfortunately, the infuriating—and sinfully tempting—stylist is his ticket to a major account. The only way to get what he wants is to agree to Tab's terms: a style makeover. However, Drew has a few terms of his own, most of which involve her naked in his bed. But neither of them are prepared when their lust-fueled hostility turns into something altogether unexpected...

I have to say, I absolutely love the enemies to lovers fiction trope.  It’s hot.  It’s snarky.  It usually has stubborn, passionate characters.  All the things I love in a pairing.  And Naughty Little Wishes delivered on all three.

Tabitha is a sexual woman who revels in her passionate nature and isn’t afraid to let her lovers know exactly what she wants from them.  She’s a successful businesswoman running an enterprise of fashion consultants with many big-name clients. But she’s also a bit too nosy and butts her nose into places where it doesn’t belong.  This trait causes problems with Drew later on in the book too.  Andrew (Drew) is a more uptight and rigid when it comes to his life.  Everything has a place, must be in order, and planned down to the very minute of details.  Unfortunately, he’s also a little hung-up on his Ex and what happened in a car accident several years ago.  And those hang-ups form much of his personality and way he lives his life.  These two characters could not be more opposite if they tried.  Their clashing personalities make for entertaining encounters at parties, much to the amusement (and sometimes horror) of their friends and co-workers, but underneath that edge of frustration lies a great deal of sexual desire.

Now, I will say that Tab and Drew coming together was a little out of the blue.  I didn’t think there was quite enough set-up to make their first sexual encounter the natural progression, but this is an erotica novella and there is only so much space to work with so I will forgive this small sin because the stellar writing more than makes up for any small falters in the plot.

Overall, a good afternoon read.  Very hot when it comes to the erotica scenes (for which there are many, but not so many as to get boring or repetitive).  Inventive and sensual – I loved some of the imagery Ms. Crespo evokes – but also humorous and ends on a happy note.

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Wild Ride by Juliette Jones

December 26, 2014 Contemporary Romance, Erotica, Reviews 0 ★★

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

Wild Ride by Juliette JonesWild Ride by Juliette Jones
Published by Juliette Jones on February 24, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 135
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Goodreads
two-stars
For Lacey Callihan, things couldn’t get much worse. She’s working a dead-end job, living with a dead-end boyfriend and stuck in a dead-end town. When Lacey’s boyfriend steals her meager life savings and hits her for questioning him, it’s the last straw. She skips town in her rustheap of a car – which she can only pray will get her as far as Texas. And it does. Spluttering to a final stop just as she crosses the border. But when two ultra-hot cowboys pull up in their convertible red Mustang and offer her a ride, Lacey has a feeling her luck is about to change …

I struggled with this one.  On one hand, the erotica is incredibly hot, especially if you enjoy reading about sexy threesomes with rough n’ tough cowboys.  On the other hand, there were some parts that took me out of the story entirely – for example, soon after meeting Nate and Riley, Lacey gets into their car and there are long passages describing these men taking off their shirts, drinking hard liquor, and practically having sex with Lacey in the passenger seat all while the car is in motion cruising down the highway.

I enjoyed the dynamics between Nate and Riley, true compliments of each others’ personalities.  Nate is the strong, silent type whereas Riley is much more flirtatious and talkative.  And Lacey is the free-spirit who might just have to choose between them.  And the sex?  Holy crap on a cracker!  Better get the cold shower started because you are definitely going to need it after reading this book.  That, or a lot of fresh batteries.  😉

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Snap by Katie Porter

December 23, 2014 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.

Snap by Katie PorterSnap by Katie Porter
Series: Command Force Alpha #2
Published by Samhain Publishing on September 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 287
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
Trust is a four-letter word…

Command Force Alpha, Book 2

Captain Laurence Madigan is an anomaly—a levelheaded risk taker who learned the dark side of life in Manchester’s slums. He needed those skills to survive fourteen months as a prisoner of Firebird, a shadowy Russian cartel.

When rescued, he receives less than a hero’s welcome. He’s considered a wild card—or even a double agent. After enduring agony and degradation for Command Force Alpha, he’s determined to clear his name and bring Firebird down…even if it means escaping CFA’s London facility with a very personal hostage.

Oxford-educated psychologist Gemma Calloway should fight her abductor tooth and claw, but loyalty to her old friend wins out. Isolated in a rustic hideaway, she tends his wounds and can’t help staring at his scars and prison tattoos.

Their impromptu safe house becomes a haven of uneasy trust and potent, gathering desires. As they sort present dangers from past affection, Gemma realizes she’s in over her head…and up to her heart with longing for a good man whose last reason for living could be revenge.

Warning: This book contains a sexy British spy whose year-long imprisonment has left him a little…pent-up. And scarred. And possibly untrustworthy. Watch out for fast-and-furious sexuality, dares that cement a friendship against all odds, and oh-so-wrong but oh-so-sexy tattoos.

This is not my usual fare as military-type stories  don’t generally appeal to me, but I’m very glad I kept reading this book!  Capt. Laurence Madigan is a tough, commanding man who is used to getting what he wants.  He is loyal and determined to complete his mission.  Gemma Calloway is a great compliment to Laurence’s personality – kind, but with a spine of steel, she can simultaneously care for Laurence’s psychological pain without taking any of his crap.

Laurence and Gemma’s survivalist journey brings their fiery personalities together with primal, sensual results.  This passion combined with the constant, well-paced action makes for an exciting and compelling read.

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Make Me Take Me by Amanda Usen

December 19, 2014 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.

Make Me Take Me by Amanda UsenMake Me Take Me by Amanda Usen
Published by Entangled Publishing on December 15, 2014
Genres: Erotica
Pages: 197
Format: eARC
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
three-stars
He's every fantasy she's ever had...
Betsy Mouton knows that easy doesn't last forever. She's working her butt off to launch the Last Call Café so her family can leave the New Orleans bar business—and its heartaches—behind forever. That is, until the hottest one-night-stand of her life shows up next door, twice as uncompromising and two million times hotter, offering to buy the bar and send the Moutons to Easy Street.
Hotelier Quinton James has never forgotten the unbelievably hot night he and Betsy shared. Never forgotten how beautifully she submitted to him, or how he found the only peace he's ever known in her arms. Now that Betsy is the only thing standing in the way of his new hotel, she's the one in control. But there's more at stake than her cafe or laying their past to rest—Quin wants a future. With her. All he has to do is convince her...one sensual command at a time.

Betsy Mouton has spent her life working her butt off to provide a decent living for herself, her mom, and sister slinging drinks at her Mom’s tiny bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  Burned by the string of rich men who used and left her mom, Betsy is dead-set against falling for any of the rich, business types that occasionally pass through the Quarter.  Until she meets Quinton James.

Quinton is a rich, successful hotelier in town to survey new sites for another of his fancy hotels.  Fighting off bad memories of New Orleans, he enters the Last Call bar and encounters Betsy.  Lust flares and he is determined to take her back to the hotel with him.  But after a wild, passionate night with Betsy, he wakes to find her gone.

I struggled with this book.  I thought Quinton was incredibly shallow, arrogant, and a little self-centered.  I didn’t care for the secondary characters (particularly Betsy’s sister, Kate) and found it difficult to connect with Betsy or understand her motives.  The sex was ok, nothing terribly earth-shattering or remarkable.  It does get much better as the characters connect on a more emotional level.  But in the beginning, when it was just about lust, I thought the descriptions were lacking in sensuality – too much “this goes there and then that happens” and not enough sensory words; tell me how things sounded, tasted, felt – not a textbook description.

The book does improve as the story progresses, but getting past the initial few chapters which felt very disjointed and abrupt definitely knocked stars off for this review.  That said, Ms. Usen does a good job of sprinkling in enough detail to where the reader really gets a good sense of the look and feel of New Orleans.  And eventually Quinton and Betsy got to a point where it made sense why they were together.  For much of the book, their relationship was purely physical – animal attraction culminating in lusty release.  But as they grew closer and developed, it was easier to see why they needed each other on a more emotional level, which was very satisfying.

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Deconstructing Lila by Shannon Leigh

September 23, 2014 Contemporary Romance 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.

Deconstructing Lila by Shannon LeighDeconstructing Lila by Shannon Leigh
Published by Entangled Publishing on September 23, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 350
Source: the Publisher
Goodreads
one-star
Preservationist Lila Gentry returns to her small Texas hometown to restore the famous Chisholm Trail whorehouse where her great-great-grandmother was a madam in the 1880s. On her agenda is winning back Jake, the one that got away. But how do you rope a man who doesn't want to be wrangled?

Jake lives by one creed:  Keep it simple. His ex showing up in town complicates his life and makes him think about things he'd rather forget.

When Lila's restoration project is threatened before it even begins, she turns to Jake for help. Working together stirs up old feelings, but while Lila and Jake always sizzle between the sheets—or wherever the moment takes them—it will involve some sweet-talking and finesse to bring these two together.

Lila Gentry has had a tough life.  Her father died when she was very young and her mother left her soon after.  Raised by her Granny, Lila managed to do well in school and married her high school sweetheart, Jake Winters, right after graduation.  But then Jake was diagnosed with cancer and he spent the better part of a year trying to get her to leave him.  His efforts finally wore Lila down and she left Hannington, Texas for Dallas and hasn’t been back in ten years.  But now business has brought her home to an injured Granny, a still-lustful yet distant husband, and a mystery diary linked to the condemned building Lila buys shortly after arriving.  Lila is determined to get her husband back and, lucky for her, Jake is the contractor assigned to the condemned building.  Lust flares between Lila and Jake, and although he’s been cancer-free for a year, will it be enough to bring the two lovers back together?

All right, I’m going to come straight out and say that I did not like this book.  It was boring, slow, and failed to ever engage my interest.  The characters are flat, quirks are thrown in for quirky-ness sake, and neither the hero nor the heroine could form any kind of consistent personality to save their lives.  The “obstacles” in the hero and heroine’s lives were superficial and did not appear to play any significant role in the story since the “obstacle” was only an obstacle when it suited the plot’s purpose.

The plot was promising, but failed to engage my interest I think due largely in part to the writing.  There are a myriad of unnecessary details bogging down the plot’s progress, so much that is is at times borderline purple prose.  The “diary entries” from Miss Pru’s diary do not read like diary entries at all and are instead just another story within the story.  This would be fine except that there are times when the point of view of the “diary entries” change from traditional third person (like the novel itself) into first person (diary entry style) and then back again.  Already thrown by the third person-styled diary entries, I found this jumping back and forth even more jarring.  Combine this style with the lack of transition or connection with the main plot and I was more than a little frustrated by this book.

I almost quit reading this book so many times.  If the publisher had not provided a copy in exchange for an honest review, I would not have bothered to finish it at all.  I dreaded each time I had to pick it up and was not interested by the characters or plot at all.  Skip this one.

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