Tag Archive | sexy

Killing June, A Dark Romance, (Saved by Sin 1), May B. Bridges 

 

Killing June, A Dark Romance, (Saved by Sin 1), May B. Bridges 

Killing June: A Dark Romance (Saved By Sin) by [Bridges, May]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica.

I enjoyed this book, a sensual romance with a very interesting story-line.
I’m always interested when the BDSM side of a story comes with a psychological angle and here June exists to help Alex cope with her past. Is it June that needs the pain or Alex?
Alex wants to leave June behind but she’s tangled up with some dangerous characters and its not an easy decision.

Alex is a very successful business woman, has two parents that adore her, traditional southern church going types, and she thinks if they knew about June they’d be ashamed of her. So she keeps that part of her life very separate, and presents a different front to them, a career woman doing well, who only has time to pop back home to visit and attend church with them every few weeks…

In her alternate life she plays the part of June, her own creation, a woman who dominates men for money, all arranged by her old school friend and former lover Rob.
He’s an odd guy and a bit of me felt sorry for him when Alex is talking about their childhood. It doesn’t excuse the man he’s become though, a dangerous criminal, with some strange delusions about Alex and what she needs. He’s helping her track down someone from her past, as well as arranging clients for June.
They have a strange relationship, she seems to think of him as the sad, gentle boy she knew, not the vicious drug lord, moneylender he is now.

She’s busy with one of her clients when Cade and two other men burst in. That’s a part that I’m uncomfortable about. She sees first hand how Cade works, how he’s a hired mobster, happy to dish out physical violence.
When he’s with Alex we see another side to him, and I really liked that man but he’s also the man that is part of the underworld, works for Rob, doing whatever he needs to keep people in control.
Its why I usually stay away from MC or Mafia style romances, I have issues accepting that level of violence as OK, that men can dish it out, beat up, blackmail people, commit murder,s  and still be a romantic lead.

I really enjoyed the psychology of this though, seeing just why Alex craved the pain, seeing how it let her mind free from the guilt she carries, even though it wasn’t her fault. It was interesting the way she created June, thinking of her as a separate person with differing needs, and yet the past interacts with June too, dictating how she allows people to respond to her, what she wants/needs them to do.

I liked how Cade took care of Alex, how he tried to understand her, anticipated her needs, tried to keep her safe even when it meant risking Rob’s wrath, knowing just what he is capable of doing to get his own way.
When things went wrong between them I understood his reasons, and sympathised with him, even though I don’t like the violent part of him.
That drama part was perfect for me, played out well, lasted some time, not just over in a couple of pages. That’s just how I like the emotionally sad parts of stories to be.

Stars: Four, a great read, perfect suspense, great balance of sex v story with neither dominating, but I just can’t go five stars and accept that Cade can be a romantic hero, knowing he’s also a violent thug and very likely a killer too.
That’s my issues though, won’t affect others of course so it could be a five star read for you 😉

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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Strong Enough, Melanie Harlow.

Strong Enough, Melanie Harlow.

Strong Enough by [Harlow, Melanie, Romanov, David]

Genre:  Romance, LGBTQIA

I’ve enjoyed some of Melanie’s past novels and was delighted to get this for review – I do so like a good M?M romance, somehow there’s so often the tenderness, the real romance side that’s often lacking in hetero novels. And this book had bags of that, along with some very sensual heat.

I loved Maxim, he’s just such a true gentleman, loves his mum and little sister, opens doors for ladies, always polite, that sort of guy.
He wants more than the life waiting for him in Russia, with its anti-gay stance, and has taken a 6 month visa to the US to follow his script-writing dreams. Sadly though, like so many he’s unprepared for the vicious, cruel world waiting to take advantage of an innocent.
The guy who’s meeting him and showing him to his new home doesn’t show up, then having a drink in a bar wondering what to do next his luggage gets nicked, and he’s homeless, jobless, cashless all in one fell swoop.
Luckily Derek’s sister has a penchant for strays, for helping people and animals and when she hears whats happened she invited Max to stay with Derek, then rings Derek and tells him 😉

Derek’s kind of  a neat freak, a place for everything and everything in its place. His friends take the mickey but its how he is, along with his long held dream of wife and family. Times passing though, he’s approaching forty and hasn’t got there yet despite trying hard.
Of course when we see him with Max its clear why, he’s really not that into women, maybe he’s bi, but its clear he wants Max. He’s had an upbringing though that’s taught him Gay Is Bad.

What a disservice parents do when they inflict their bias and views on their kids, and how hard it is to come out and go against parental dictates.
Its not good parenting doing that, but sadly for so many people its what they get. I get the feeling its not so much homophobia, as not really understanding it and fear that drives his parents.
Never the less Derek is not going to act on his attraction, it makes him angry with himself and Max, just knowing its there. And then it all gets too much and he snatches Max into one searingly sensual, erotic, life changing kiss that shocks them both.

Gah, Derek made me so angry with his hot/cold, not-my-fault attitude, and poor Max was totally confused.
I did understand and sympathise with Derek though, he’s repressed these feelings for so long, won’t even acknowledge them to himself, so he’s had his world turned upside down when he cant do that with Max.
Max isn’t going to be anyones dirty little secret though, had to hide himself in Russia, isn’t doing that again…

So can they make it through, can they find a HEA or is their romance doomed?
Its heartbreaking at times wanting them to be together and yet seeing Derek’s barriers fall down tight again.
I really enjoyed their story, the emotions, the sweetness, and of course the angst.

Stars: five, a really emotional read, with a sweet and yet steamy romance.

ARC supplied for review purposes by author

Exclusive, A VIP Desire Agency Romance, Mel Teshco

Exclusive, A VIP Desire Agency Romance, Mel Teshco
Exclusive (The VIP Desire Agency  Book 3) by [Teshco, Mel ]

Genre:  Romance, Erotica

Ping, Rock-star romance and erotica? Yes please 😉 I was keen to read this, sneaked it up the TBR list but its wasn’t a must-keep-reading book. I enjoyed it but its not a keeper/re-reader for me.
Its quite a short read at 125 pages, and I hadn’t realised that. Maybe if I’d read books one and two I would, but I hadn’t, simply noticed they were there but that each novel was a stand alone but connected one.

I felt that Amos, the definitely no-relationships Amos, fell in love and changed his mind about that far too quickly for me.
Likewise that Tiffany was ready to give up everything for a man she’d known a few days when she has a serious and compelling reason for working in the VIP Agency.
I guess the books brevity meant that was inevitable, but its why I so rarely read novellas, they just don’t have enough detail and timescale to make the stories feel real.

There’s some sensual, erotic heat here, really well written, not just the same scene churned out ad-nauseum as often happens, and that fitted the story perfectly.
There was a secondary thread, an issue that was one of the reasons Amos didn’t do romance, that if the book was longer would have been a really great addition, but it was simplified and soon over 😦 Tiffany’s issues too with the man she thought she was in love with would have been good if expanded but…

As a full length book I think I’d have loved this, the writing is good, the background plausible and the characters great, but it just felt too abbreviated, plots over almost before they start and with the romance full pelt from the off, that it didn’t make for a great read for me.  Others love novellas though, perfect length for them so you choose.

Stars: Three, at full length this would probably be a five, but its just too short and condensed for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Hunter’s Captive, Cassandra Bella. Memory of Love, JJ Keller

Hunter’s Captive, Cassandra Bella

Hunter's Captive by [Bella, Cassandra]

Genre:  Romance, Mystery and thrillers

I enjoyed this story, but parts were a little hard to take, and though they moved the tale to where it needed to be they lacked real credibility.

Paxton, rich girl, daddy’s girl, trust fund baby, shared a beautiful summer with Hunter ten years ago. Then it all went wrong, and he’s been bitter about it ever since.

He’s focused on his career, and the boy from the poor side of the town has done well, is a top agent and he thinks he’s moved on.
Then the case he’s on involves Paxton. He can’t bear to think of her locked up just because its her wedding day to the jerk who’s finally being brought in. So….he kidnaps her.
That part one of the hard to take bit. Would a professional really do that? and get away with it with his boss and colleagues? Still, they’re on the run now and it seems her fiancee has sent killers after them.

Paxton is so angry at Hunter and thinks he’s just doing this out of revenge. Her fiancee a wanted man? Please ( roll eyes), he’s not like that she says, he’s a good man, her father admires him, he’s a solid businessman.
She won’t believe Hunter until the others track them down and they’re running ( well driving) for their lives, at breakneck speed down the mountain side. How did they find them?
Well, that’s the second hard to take part. She’s an intelligent woman and would she really do that? I can see the first part, out of concern and worry but the second thing she lets out, perleease…she’d have more sense surely. Or maybe she is just a dumb blonde…

Anyway, there they are running out of danger and the tensions are high. The attraction between them that each thought was gone is clearly still there, and before long they’re talking about the past, have become close again, very close and are into some erotic and sensual sex. Can they have a future?

Well, first thing is to escape the danger they’re in..

Its a fun read, some hot and heavy sensuality, some danger and excitement and made for a decent read to pass away a coupe of hours.

Its not one I’d re-read, but I did enjoy it despite those couple of irritations in inconceivability factor.

Stars: four, a decent but one off read for me.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Memory of Love, The Valkyrie Series, JJ Keller

Memory of Love (The Valkyrie Series) by [Keller, JJ]

 

Genre:  Romance,

I was so taken with the synopsis that I didn’t do my usual checks so missed that this was thrid in a series, and also its a novella. My bad.

Lots of readers love them, but for me they just don’t work, I don’t feel they have the space I need to understand the story, the characters or really get to feel for them.

Its a good read if you are following the series, and of course, if you like novellas.

I was able to keep up with the story OK, but it would have worked better for me if I’d read the first two books, as the characters and plots follow – or I assume they do – from things that happened back then. It meant I had to guess at parts, and how each person was connected.

Its a fun read, I liked the Viking legend part, something not often seen in fantasy sadly, as its very interesting and can create some great stories.

If you’re happy with shorter reads this could be a great series for you. For me it’s just not in-depth enough, even if I had read the first two novels.

Stars: three, interesting premise, and a good series if you like shorter novels.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

 

I Knew You Were Trouble, An Oxford Novel, Lauren Layne

I Knew You Were Trouble, An Oxford Novel, Lauren Layne

I Knew You Were Trouble: Oxford 4 by [Layne, Lauren]

Genre:  Romance, Humour

I’m always wary when a book is classed as Humour, too often I find its overdone and forced, but Lauren’s books aren’t like that, they’re perfect for me with lots of humour but of the more subdued type. The sort where words and undercurrents provide the laughs, where its what’s left unsaid that is often the part that makes me smile.
Its often clever, subtle snark, not in-your-face, dumbed down comedy.  Its not laugh your head off humour but the gentle sort that makes me smile, feels so satisfying and provides a counterpart to the the emotions floating round the story.

This one was typical, full of drama and action, people with real issues, hard backgrounds, sad stories, who just knuckle down and get on with life and don’t give up, don’t turn it into drudge and bitterness, where the humour shows us they can still smile, can still appreciate the lighter side of life.

I loved Nick back in Lincoln and Daisy’s story, and here we get the full-on Nick experience.
Part time Oxford worker, part time fiction writer and part time bartender, he’s a busy man and yet still finds time to help others, appreciate his freinds. I felt he and Taylor were just perfect together.
If only they could see that…Taylor is prickly though and something about Nick rubs her the wrong way, she snarks at him and he’s reciprocates in a similar vein. Methinks the lady – and the gent – doth protest too much. Its kind of how their freinds feel too.

Taylor though is about to move to a new apartment with the love of her life…until she finds a note at the flat in place of Bradley. The jerk dumps her by a note on moving day. What a first class burke he was, gone back to his old love.

Taylor has a sad past, orphaned young, brought up by a career driven aunt and now she’s no-one left.
She very focused on her career, knocked hard by Bradley’s actions, and feels lost. Lucky she’s got her good friends who can see the attraction between her and Nick, and are on hand with some advice!

Its a fun story, lots going on, great characters that are very believable. You can feel this story, these people could be real, imagine it happening to people you know.
Life is a b itch sometimes, we do get cut back just when it looks like things are going well, and that’s where good friends come in.

I love the whole Oxford crew, Lincoln has a special place in my heart, he and Daisy are my favourite couple, but Nick comes close to Linc, he’s such a lovely man, can see under Taylor’s act, supports her even when he thinks she hates him.
His actions towards the end were hard to take but I understood how he felt, loved the way that played out, the deep emotions that plot engendered.
Have to mention Twinkle (Twinkie?) I adored her, a great character, fitted the story really well 😉

Its another great read, and I know it Should be the last…but Lauren, what about Hunter and Brit? I’m sure there’s loads of us rooting for them too.

Stars: five, a fabulous story, not quite up to Lincoln and Daisy, but very close.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
 

Twist, A Dive Bar Novel, Kylie Scott

Twist, A Dive Bar Novel, Kylie Scott

Twist by [Scott, Kylie]

Genre:  Romance

I love well written rock star romance and Kylie is the Queen of the genre IMO.
This series isn’t rock band romance, more romance with cameos from rockers ;-), but its so well plotted and carried out, plays out the same magical way the Stage Dive books did and is perfect for me.
I’ve recently reread Dirty, the first Dive Bar story, so the characters were fresh in my mind. I enjoyed Vaughn and Lydia’s story even more the second time round, so was keen to see to the characters and where they’re going now. But beards….I don’t do beards. Face fungus. Yuk. Still each to their own 😉 I guess I can Just About live with a sharp neatly trimmed short beard….

Joe reminds me of Ben in description, bearded, huge, quiet, and Ben isn’t my favourite character so I wondered what I’d think of Joe.
I liked him, which surprised me. He’s a kind of gentle giant, and he’s a real people pleaser. I feel for him, I’m one of those, find it really hard to say no, and end up with too much on my plate.

Poor Alex, what an embarrassing situation she found herself in, and what a total jerk Eric was. He is anyway, but his reaction here really took the biscuit! She was crushed, (oh – crumbs…) gutted, destroyed. She’s really put herself out, traveled across the country when normally she is so stay-at-home she finds it hard to interact with people, and works from home much of the while.
She’s got one good friend, Val, who’d chosen her outfit. Val’s style of dress is perfect – for Val, not so for poor Alex. There she is dragging her suitcase, dressed in skintight LBD and sky high heels, feeling pretty uncomfortable and Eric hasn’t a clue who she is. She thinks he’s kidding, he thinks she’s a stripper or something hired by the family for his birthday. Then the truth comes out, she’s been emailing Joe, who used Eric’s photo and details….oops. Big shock.
I so felt for her, its like everyone’s worse nightmare, certainly hers. She’s taken herself out of her Comfort Zone, hoping the guy she’s been emailing, who seemed keen on meeting her when they started, will be delighted to meet her. Instead she’s humiliated. Not a good start to a relationship.

Through a catalogue of events Alex ends up staying longer than planned and becomes friends – and more – with Joe. He’s really taken by her but doesn’t do relationships after getting his heart broken years back, but freinds, he can do that. Friends with benefits when the friend is as hot as Alex, he’s in! They’re in a hot and steamy relationship, kidding themsleves they’re just friends, insisting to family and friends there’s nothing more when its plain to the others how it is.
Then tragedy strikes, everything gets changed, someone from the past creeps in – and I love characters like Star, fantastic the way Kylie does them.

Its a great read, so good to catch up with Eric – even though he’s a real self obsessed jerk, Pat, Andre, Nell, Rosie, Vaughn and Lydia. The Stage Dive guys and girls drop in too at the end and it was fun seeing them a couple of years after we left them.

Kylie does a great line in strong females, great drama that’s a mix of sadness, pathos and lively, fun action, men that can be jerks but also men that can be sensitive, thoughtful and gentle. The sex scenes are hot and sensual, the funny parts are perfect, the sadness nicely drawn out and the comic scenes off the wall quirky at times, snappy one liners that could be missed at others.
I found rereading the first book, and when I reread the stage dive ones that I’d missed some of the humour first time round, being too engrossed in seeing where the story took me next, so I’m already anticipating rereading this one.

I’m really looking forward to the next story, and at some point to what/how Kylie is going to do/deal with Eric. How can she make this overconfident, ar sehole, this selfish, immature guy into one we readers will like? But I have no doubt through her magical writing she’ll do it 😉

Stars: five, another cracking read, meeting old freinds and new. A great keeper book for rereading.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Twisted Luck, Mia Downing

Twisted Luck, Mia Downing

Twisted Luck by [Downing, Mia]

Genre:  Romance, General fiction (adult)

This sounded fun, and there were odd moments that made me smile but overall its not a book I particularly enjoyed. Its not a bad book, just not a great one either for me.

Its starts well, and I was feeling for poor Olivia, she really had endured the post appalling string of bad luck. Yet even though I felt sorry for her I just couldn’t seem to like her, or her mum.
They were just so kind, loving, perfect it gave my teeth that shiver that over-sweet drinks do. Weird isn’t it to dislike someone for being too nice. It wasn’t quite that though, more that they both just felt unreal, too good to be true.

Then along comes Leo, and of course I know he’s a demon, but Olivia doesn’t. Before she knows it her soul is sold.
Leo may be tall dark and handsome but…he’s a jerk, a selfish jerk. Even when Olivia is working on him and we get a glimpse of the person under the demon, his jerk behaviour always comes through.
I just found it hard to like him, hard to believe Olivia was having feelings for him.

There’s some real surprises at the end, turnarounds I wasn’t expecting that were good, but overall this was just an ok read for me, not one I’d read again.

Stars:Three, an ok read for me, will be a hit for others of course.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Home Fires, Common Law 4, Kate Sherwood

Home Fires, Common Law 4,  Kate Sherwood

Home Fires (Common Law Book 4) by [Sherwood, Kate]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

This is an amazing wrap up to what’s been a beautiful quartet, fabulous characters, not just Wade and Jericho (Jay) but so many others, plots that feel so real, and events that are characteristic of small town life.
I’m really sad to see these guys go, and yet I guess there’s potential for Wade and Jay Mark 2. Somehow though I think maybe best to stop at the top – I’ve felt not ready to leave characters before and then author has written more books and they never seem to have that first magic.
Kate is certainly an author that gets searched for now by me, I really enjoy the way she puts a story together, and how each of these reads has ended without cliff hangers (my bugbear) but still had me wanting the next book.
I was really lucky here getting ARCs, as I got the last two together so Tuesday saw me finishing third book, Wed I wrote review and cracked on to book four. With everything fresh in my mind it was such a  great read.
I love to read whole series in one back to back sweep for that very reason, total immersion into the story and characters.

What could I pick out from this book? Wade – I’ve loved him from the start, he’s so enigmatic, so quiet and yet so clever he seems to know what’s going to happen, when and what to do about it.
I get the feeling he’s not exactly a criminal, though the law has been trying to tie him to many crimes, but that he’s one of those guys that sees what needs doing and gets on with it. If that means crossing a few legal issues so be it. Not in the vigilante style, he’s more of a preventative person than a pursuer of justice, if that comes along then great but if not, well he’s not worried.

Jay – a staunch believer in the Law, he’s been in the Army and seen service in some terrible places, been a city cop where life was always busy and he didn’t have time to ponder and worry, and now he’s back in Montana, wondering if he and Wade can have something together after all this while.
He’s learning to trust Wade too, to see he’s not just the criminal in waiting his colleagues seem to think.
The sensuality between them is incredible and yet for most of the while its just been looks and quick touches, though it finally heats up here when Jay decides he doesn’t care any more, he wants to be with Wade, and isn’t bothered who knows it.
He’s always been open about his sexuality, but with Wade there’s the history they share – along with Kayla – and the little fact that most of his colleagues feel Wade is on the opposing side of the Law to Jay.
What I love is they’re just ordinary guys, people we could know, live with, work with, meet in the pub. There’s no big I’m Gay placard hanging over their mannerisms, no cliched Tells as so many books make. That’s what I love, it emulates real life where sometimes its obvious someone is gay through their actions, in the same way sometimes its obvious someone is a bigot, but most of the while people are just people, gay or not is just another facet of their character, not the defining one. And I’ll stop drum banging now 🙂

There’s some real action in this book, a few deaths too, and a feeling of satisfaction tinged with sadness when its over.
As so often happens maybe if things had been done differently, if the top brass listened to the locals….but life is full of What Ifs, and speculation can’t change results.
I love the mix of small town policing v out of town Important Top Cops ( well seems to be how they regard themselves)
There’s a point where the out of towners, the alphabet cops, are busily engrossed in stopping an upcoming conflict, a mass rally of MC people with guns, rockets, tanks even, and they’re keeping the locals out. Jay is so irritated and Kayla says words to the effect of “go and do some paper work”, or “see if Mr x is trapping the neighbours cats again”, somewhat sarcastically. They know the others are being hoodwinked, yet all their efforts to say so get ignored with a “leave it to the pros “ kind of pat on the head. Kayla and Jay are so frustrated and using irony about the realities of small town policing. Probably for 99.9% of the time it is like that, but when it really matters, and they have the local knowledge to make a difference, save lives, pre-empt disaster and they’re being shut out they’re both upset but stuck.

A perfect quartet of novels for those readers who want a tender and sensual romance, action and drama but situated in a small town with locals involved, plots that are full of characters that feel real, that have connections, where the law isn’t black and white but shades of grey (50?? Maybe… but no sex accoutrements here. Just solid characters with real emotions).
Each book is complete but together they make up a wider story. I’ve just reread my review of the first book, and my thoughts about the series back then are interesting, and have pretty much played out as i expected.
Its been a series that will definitely be a re-reader for me.

Stars: Five, a fabulous end to the series, perfect wrap up.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Danced Close, Annabeth Albert

Danced Close,  Annabeth Albert

Danced Close (Portland Heat) by [Albert, Annabeth]

Genre:  romance, LGBTQIA

I love romance reads, love a HEA, but don’t like to read the same recycled story over and over, and sadly its a genre where that gets served up far too often.
I discovered the M/M genre a couple of years back and found that hurrah – its romance, but mostly of the authors strive for that missing extra, the thing that makes their story stand out, and not read like a thousand others but with different character names…Maybe I’m over exaggerating here…just a bit 😉 but some days that’s how reading romance feels.

I’ve only somehow caught one book in this series, and loved it, that could be my fault, I tend to ignore shorter reads. I find usually they don’t give me enough character depth and story, but though this and the wonderful Delivered Fast are short, they still gave me a good solid read, great characters and real plots.
So, the something different I look for – well, double bonus here, Todd has some issues related to his past that rarely get seen in romance, but which do affect many people, and Kendall – well, he’s just so unique.

I so felt for Todd, he’s come such a long way, worked so hard and yet doesn’t seem to feel good enough for Kendall, seems to feel the way his ex treated him was what he deserved. He’s such a great guy, but can’t see himself as Kendall sees him, someone gorgeous, solid, good, worthy.
His past, from family, the circumstances he found himself in, and then his ex have all impacted so badly on his self confidence that he’s afraid to step out of the routine he knows.

Kendall, what a great character. He’s gender-fluid – and why not? I’ve always wondered why we obsess over putting people in pigeon holes, labelling them. I guess its that society wants everyone to conform, to be different makes someone a target and there’s strength and protection comes from being one of the crowd.
Kendall won’t compromise though, wants to be true to himself, be who he feels he is, and that varies from day to day. Why shouldn’t men wear dresses and nice fabrics if they choose? No-one bats an eyelid at women in trousers, however mannish the outfit, but a man is a dress, or men’s clothes but with delicate fabrics and pretty embellishments? Shock horror!! Stupid isn’t it?

QUILTBAG, that’s a new term to me but fits perfectly. I love the way that slowly society is coming to the idea we aren’t just M/F but encompass so many different types. Sadly there’s still a lot of aggression about those who don’t stick strictly to the MF definition. One day….

Back to the book, Todd, big burly Todd, is perfect for Kendall, but again turning perceptions upside down when they dance Todd lets Kendall lead, something new to him. Being the person he is others have always assumed he wants to be led, not take the lead, and he finds he’s actually good at it, enjoys it.
The thing I mentioned about how others perceive anyone a bit different, well, we see it at the dance lessons when poor Kendall gets the side eye from another couple. You’d think being gay themselves they’d be more accepting but they’re not. They don’t know how to deal with folk like Kendall, and giving him some unpleasant looks, definitely not up for swapping dance partners.
Then we meet one of Kendall’s clients who takes the opposite view, the bride and friends who probably pride themselves in being open minded, accepting and liberal, but who treat Kendall as an exhibit, someone who’s “costume”/style of dress for the day is just an addition to the wedding.
There’s too many like her, and she’s disappointed when Kendall isn’t feeling good and has dressed down, no lace and frivolity, and she makes it clear she thought that was part of the wedding package.
I was so outraged for Kendall, and yet I guess that kind of thing also happens too often. I was so glad he stuck to his guns and didn’t let her walk over him with her entitled, money-buys-everything attitude.

The romance was perfect, not without hiccups, not all smooth sailing and we really get to see “inside” the two guys, about how they feel, and why, and how the past affects them both.
Its a great read, full of emotion, angst, and had me thinking how on earth could they get a HEA or even a HFN? Its a shortish read, but contrary to most shorts, packs a huge and very real story in it.

Stars: Five, a fabulous romance that felt very real.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

Royal Affair, Parker Swift

Royal Affair,  Parker Swift

Royal Affair (Royal Scandal Book 1) by [Swift, Parker]

Genre:  romance, erotica

So, a debut book I think, can’t find any more by Parker anyway.
Its always a gamble not knowing what writing style you’ll get in a debut book, could be perfect for you or could be something you hate – I got lucky here, I love it.
Actually I’ve had several really good, well written and fun debut reads this year.

Inevitably this will get Fifty comparison. That trilogy has spawned so many others, some good, but far too many more that are really dire IMO.
Reading is subjective, and everyone wants different things. When I read an erotic romance I want sensuality, heat, and steamy sex but I need the  simmering tensions and dramas that make up the balance for me and a read I can enjoy. royal does that.
In fact rather than Fifty it reminded me much more of another favourite, Pippa Croft’s Oxford Blue trilogy. Both feature US females, UK titled males, and have a perfect for me balance of sex to story.
That’s really important, for me too much sex is just off-putting, I want story first backed up by the steamy parts, not dominated by them.

I’m pleased too that plans are for the next two books to be released fairly soon, later this year. I really, really hate waiting for further parts of a story.
I hate the trend into splitting romances up, they used to be either stand alone, or a series such as fantasy paranormals reads, but after Fifty though its all trilogies, some with very long gaps between releases, some that turn trilogies into five book series 😦 ( As the Crossfire one did. I got the “final” release delivered to my kindle after pre ordering, to find I needed to buy two more, unspecified price and date – returned it and gave up on that one. In my opinion its taking readers for a ride, abusing them)

Anyway, having got that off my chest more about this book.
I really really liked the story. Lots of steam, well written and fun, some proper dramas, perfect storylines, it all felt very real. I loved the UK setting, as a UK resident, though I think maybe we’re less hung up on titles than US readers 😉
It is an odd world though, duty and tradition do still reign in so many titled families, so Dylan’s family pressures didn’t feel wrong.
He’s an intelligent, successful man in his own right, has turned his life around but parental/family pressure is hard, and add on the media invasions….Yep, sadly the UK press laps up every little bit of “news” that helps them sell papers. Truth doesn’t really matter to them so long as they’re first to break a story, and they’ll go to scurrilous lengths, legalities get cast aside, anything to crack that first bit of news, without any thought for their actions on the people concerned.
Yep – you can tell what I think of UK media outlets, papers, TV, magazines – they’re all awful, and I don’t buy papers or magazines and only read news online where I can stay away from, the stuff that hurts people involved. That part of the story added real authenticity though, as a UK reader I can confirm its horribly true.

I loved Dylan and Lydia, they were perfect together, and the secondary  characters, Lydia’s best friend, her work colleagues and boss, Dylan’s family and friends all felt genuine. I need that, need to feel people and situations could be real or I just don’t enjoy it. I really want things to work out for them as characters I like, but of course as a story I really want fireworks along the way!! Lots of in depth, solid drama, blocks that seem imsurmountable, the stuff that makes me feel emotional for them.

There were some partsthat niggled me, but thankfully only cropped up in the early pages….Chapter 2, loc 178, she claps eyes on him and instantly is rambling on about the wonders of his hair, how she imagines running her hands through it, then a couple of paragraphs later she’s looking at his hands, imagining them grabbing her hair, holding her…I thought it was going to turn into one of those novels where the girl had wet knickers every time she looks at him, but I was wrong. Thankfully. I always think that must be horribly uncomfortable 😉

So its a great start, fun but solid story, sexy without being OTT, plenty of potential dramas and I’m looking forward to more.
Bonus points too for avoiding the – to me – dreaded cliff-hanger. I HATE  those, fiercely hate them, and I know many other readers do too. In fact I rarely buy romance trilogies until all parts are released (see my earlier rant…) so I can read straight through – far better experience for me that way.
This time we’ve a proper ending, but a sneaky set up for book two promising some fireworks without leaving the readers hanging in limbo.

Stars: Five, a fabulous start to the trilogy.

ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers

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