Tag Archives: Release Day

Review: Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan

Suddenly Last Summer (Hqn)Suddenly Last Summer by Sarah Morgan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER makes me wish yet again that the Snow Crystal resort in Vermont really existed. I would sit out on the deck of my lodge suite and just admire the view all day, especially if it included any or all of the O’Neil brothers. In this book, Sean O’Neil is so appealing as a romance hero, especially once he realizes how wrong he’d been about everything, including his grandfather, and how he can be a positive force in Elise’s life instead of just another man she has to push away. Elise was a decent heroine in her own right, although she did start to grate on me after a while with her over-the-top über-French drama about how it was all her fault about Walter and the inevitable delay in opening the new restaurant in the resort’s old boathouse. I think part of my reaction was because this is now the second romance I’ve read in the past year with a passionate French chef heroine named Elise. While that’s not this book’s fault, I am hoping very hard that this is not a new romance trend.

I also had a problem with one of my personal reading pet peeves: inconsistent condom use. There was a specific point where one was explicitly referenced the first time they had sex, but never again thereafter, despite several scenes where I would have expected there would have at least been a passing mention. Considering how adamant both the hero and heroine were about never settling down or having children, I was worried about the possibility of an unintended pregnancy throughout the rest of the book, so I was quite relieved when that did not happen.

Beyond those minor issues, Elise and Sean were a joy to read when they let themselves just enjoy the moment and be honest about their true emotions. I loved how he handled the fallout from their final Big Misunderstanding, and when they finally shared their feelings for one another, their HEA was worth every moment of earlier doubt. SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is a worthy followup to the previous book in the O’Neil Brothers trilogy, and I’m so glad that there will be one more book in this series so we can see Tyler and Brenna get their own happy ending, too.

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Review: The Billionaire Submissive by Joely Sue Burkhart

The Billionaire Submissive (Billionaires in Bondage)The Billionaire Submissive by Joely Sue Burkhart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

Joely Sue Burkhart is one of the writers I wish would release more books each year because I enjoy reading them so much. Her Connaghers series is one of my favorites in contemporary BDSM romance, so I was thrilled to hear that she was starting a new Billionaires in Bondage series with this first title, THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE. Sure, it’s an overplayed trope, but who better to breathe new life into it than someone who has already established her credentials in the BDSM romance field? After reading this book, I can say without hesitation that Ms. Burkhart has more than validated my confidence in her ability to make the BDSM Billionaire trope her own, with a story that’s as beautiful and touching as any romance I’ve read in a long time.

The premise of THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE is as simple as its title, and as complex as its hero and heroine. Donovan Morgan has learned the hard way that only money and power can get you what you want, and even then, they aren’t always enough. He has employees all over the world at his beck and call, but what he really needs is to serve at the feet of a woman worthy of his submission. As a public figure, Donovan can’t just wander into any BDSM club, or show up at a local munch, so he asks his trusted private investigator to find the best and most trustworthy Domme in the immediate vicinity. But when his ace PI uncovers a woman who could be more than just the perfect Mistress, Donovan will soon discover that true submission is only part of what he needs, and just the start of what he wants to give her.

Lilly Harrison is a stained glass artist by day, Dominatrix for hire by night. Both feed her soul, but only one pays the bills. When she first meets Donovan under his pretext of hiring her for an elaborate window design project, Lilly senses the submissive inside the bossy billionaire. But when she realizes why she’s really there, it’s only against her better judgment that Lilly decides to take a chance with Donovan and all the possibilities he brings. Their sexual connection is instant and undeniable, but a happy ending is far from certain, and the road there could break them both as easily as the stained glass in Lilly’s window. It will take everything they’ve got before all the delicate and jagged pieces come together for their hard-won Happy Ever After.

I’ve read dozens of billionaire BDSM romances, and more than a few with a FemDom theme, but THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE is currently the only one where every aspect has clicked perfectly into place for me all the way from the first page to the last. Both Donovan and Lilly are fully realized individuals who aren’t forced together by external events, but who agree to an exclusive D/s relationship in spite of Donovan’s initial heavy-handed tactics and Lilly’s reluctance to make him her sole client. As their story unfolds, we get both points of view without ever being bogged down in superfluous descriptions, or confused by excessive head-hopping. Best of all, their romance is shown as an ongoing work-in-progress throughout the book, with the natural give and take that any two people with reasonable boundaries and expectations would experience, albeit one where the woman is dominant in the bedroom and the man is dominant outside it. Lilly is never awed by Donovan’s wealth or status, but learns to accept that he will never allow her to jeopardize her own safety and well-being. In turn, Donovan learns that you can’t force love and trust; you can only show yourself worthy by giving it without question in return. And when some terrible misunderstanding threatens to derail everything near the end, Joely Sue Burkhart once again avoids manufactured drama, instead giving us the ultimate scene of trust between Donovan and Lilly that demonstrates all they’ve learned from each other and proving their love and trust is both genuine and mutual. Their HEA is as real and as beautiful as the glass window Lilly has created for Donovan’s office building, only infinitely more precious. That ending and the journey to it is why THE BILLIONAIRE SUBMISSIVE is now officially the best FemDom romance I’ve ever read, and my best romance for this year so far. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series.

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Review: Naughty Bits Part II: The Training Session by Joey W. Hill

Naughty Bits Part II: The Training SessionNaughty Bits Part II: The Training Session by Joey W. Hill
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at SeductiveMusings.blogspot.com.

Wow. After I finished reading Part 1, I knew when Logan and Madison’s first real scene together was going to be amazing, but THE TRAINING SESSION blew me away. I think it helped Madison to have Troy there as a buffer while she got used to seeing Logan in his true element as a confident and unforgiving Dominant. The first quarter of Part 2 is this training session where Troy learns how to control his reaction to what he receives from both Logan and Madison, although by the end it wasn’t clear where Troy’s training stopped and Madison’s started. When the scene is over, Madison realizes she can’t go back to the person she was before. Not just in terms of her sexual nature, but in the way she approaches life as a whole.

As Madison lets go of all her old rules and expectations, she begins to relax more within herself, starting to feel more liberated even as she grows closer to Logan. This freedom to embrace her true nature without fear immediately improves her interactions with customers who come into the Naughty Bits shop. Not only does her new approach result in better sales, but more importantly, she can now sell customers what they really need, even when they don’t know what that is when they first walk in. Madison’s new open attitude also gives her the courage to walk right into Logan’s hardware store next door to request a second date. Logan assures her there will be no sex, but by the end of their first evening alone, there will be no question about what is yet to come. For the only rule Madison has now is what her sister said in her last letter: Trust Logan.

Every expectation I had for this next installment was more than fulfilled, as I loved seeing Madison finally take the necessary steps to liberate herself from all the bad memories and inhibitions that had held her back her whole life. Not only does she learn to stop fearing what she feels, but in the process, she learns to be the person that her shop customers need to guide them toward their own emotional and sexual liberation. Each scene between Madison and Logan showed exactly how he is slowly leading her to trust both herself and him to always take care of her completely. As for me, I will continue to trust Joey W. Hill that each future installment of NAUGHTY BITS will be just as compelling as the previous ones.


Overall: 5 stars
Sensuality level: 4.5 (multiple BDSM scenes with 2 and 3 people, including oral sex and anal play)

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Release Day: Dare To Resist by Laura Kaye

We are thrilled to tell you that Laura Kaye’s DARE TO RESIST is now available!! DARE TO RESIST is being published by Entangled Publishing, and only $.99 right now!!


DARE TO RESIST is the prequel novella to the sexy wedding event of the year! The Wedding Dare Series brings together five New York Times bestselling authors, one sizzling story of how the bride and groom fell in love, and four super sexy tales of bridesmaids who hope to get lucky in lust—or maybe even love—at their friend’s wedding. Here’s the story that starts it all!


Dare to Resist

By New York Times Bestselling Author Laura Kaye

May 12, 2014

Trapped and tempted, this battle of wills rages all night long…

Kady Dresco and Colton Brooks click on a level that defies logic. There are only two problems. One, he’s her older brother’s irritating best friend, and two, they’re bidding on the same military security services contract.

When the competition heats up, Colton is torn between wanting to strangle Kady (and her annoying brilliance) and kissing her into submission. Which is a bad idea for a million reasons, because Kady’s submission is exactly what he craves. Being trapped in a tiny motel room with the object of his darkest fantasies will require every ounce of his restraint.

Kady doesn’t want his restraint, but Colton knows better. She deserves love, marriage, and a white picket fence—three things Colton can’t give her. But her proximity and the memory of their steamy near-miss three years ago slowly destroys his resolve. And he’s not sure how much longer he can keep his hands off…or his heart closed.

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About the Wedding Dare Series:

When four bridesmaids dare one another to find lust—or maybe even love—at the destination wedding event of the year, the groomsmen don’t stand a chance. But little do the women know, the men are onto their game, and sparks will fly alongside the bouquet.

Four bridesmaids. Four groomsmen.

Four New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling authors. Long-carried torches, sizzling new attractions, and forbidden conquests will ensure a wedding never to be forgotten.

Tessa Bailey, Baiting the Maid of Honor

Diane Alberts, Falling for the Groomsmen

Katee Robert, Seducing the Bridesmaid

Samanthe Beck, Best Man with Benefits

Coming June 9!

All Wedding Dare Series Books on GoodReads

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Laura Kaye Bio:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

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Review: Giving In by Maya Banks

Giving In (Surrender Trilogy, #2)Giving In by Maya Banks

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

This review may contain spoilers for LETTING GO, book 1 in the Surrender trilogy. You can read GIVING IN as a standalone, but I believe you’ll enjoy it more if you’ve read the previous book first.

GIVING IN continues the story of a group of friends and family devastated by the untimely death of Carson Breckenridge and how their lives have changed since then. In the previous book, we saw Carson’s best friend finally acknowledge his long-suppressed feelings for Carson’s widow after three long years of mourning. Here in GIVING IN, Jensen Tucker, the man who replaced Carson as partner in his successful management consultant firm seeks to rescue Carson’s still-grieving sister from the emotional black hole she’s been in for most of her life. What neither Jensen nor Kylie could have anticipated was that Jensen needed rescuing just as much as Kylie, and that together they would find the path toward real healing and true love.

Kylie Breckenridge and her beloved older brother Carson had already survived a horrific childhood, thanks to his success at planning their escape and unwavering determination to keep them both alive. But Carson is gone, and Kylie feels abandoned all over again. Now there’s no one who can understand what she went through and why she can’t bring herself to live the full and happy life he’d always wanted for her. What Kylie doesn’t realize is that there is someone who senses what she feels and what she really needs, and it’s the one person who makes her angry enough to fight for what she wants, even as she resists him every step of the way. That person is Jensen Tucker.

Jensen may have only recently arrived in Kylie’s world, but he can already see that letting her continue to drift through life would be the same terrible mistake that her late brother and their friends have already made. Now Jensen is determined not only to drag Kylie out from behind her walls of self-protection, but to seek her complete emotional surrender to him as the only man who can protect her from everything she’s been hiding from for much too long.

Although I’m a big fan of how Maya Banks incorporates BDSM into many of her other books, including LETTING GO, it was just as satisfying to see GIVING IN focus more on the non-physical aspects of Dominance and submission, and how one can provide the emotional grounding for the other, even when the roles are switched. Jensen is willing to do just about anything to prove to Kylie that he can be trusted unconditionally, including suppressing his innate desire to dominate her. But Jensen’s need to be Kylie’s protector is tangled up in the damage from his own violent childhood from which he’s never completely recovered. When this unresolved trauma triggers Jensen into doing the one thing he’d promised Kylie would never happen, his heartbreaking decision to keep her safe becomes the catalyst for her to finally give him the surrender they both need for a genuinely happily ever after together.

GIVING IN is a remarkable story of two damaged souls who find their perfect counterpoint in each other. It never flinches from showing the long-term effects of domestic violence and child abuse while always keeping the delicate romance between its hero and heroine front and center. Up next is TAKING IT ALL, and it will finally address all the problems we’ve seen between Chessie and Tate caused by his repeated work-related absences. As sad I as I’ll be to see the Surrender trilogy end, I still can’t wait to read it.

Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 3.5

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Review: East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye

East of Ecstasy (Hearts of the Anemoi, #4)East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


This review may contain spoilers for earlier books in the Hearts of the Anemoi series. You could try to read EAST OF ECSTASY as a stand-alone book, but I would strongly recommend that you read the previous three books first.

After all the life and death struggles for the brother-gods of the Anemoi, those who seek to stop their brother Eurus from destroying all in his path have come together for the final battle between good and evil. We have already met the good Anemoi, and seen them fall in love with human women as they work against Eurus, he who controls the East Wind and seeks to wipe out humanity along with his fellow gods and goddesses of Nature. EAST OF ECSTASY is our formal introduction to Devlin, middle son of Eurus, and one who may be good or evil, depending on who is telling the story.

In previous books, we saw Devlin from afar as he appeared to be doing his terrible father’s bidding, and heard how the other Anemoi believed him to be a threat to their cause. But in EAST OF ECSTASY, we discover that appearances are not as they seem, and that Devlin himself is the key to any hope of success in defeating Eurus before all is lost. But before Devlin Eston can find redemption, he has to find love. And that love comes from a woman who may contain more than a mere spark of divinity herself.

Annalise doesn’t look or act like anyone else in her family, or anyone else in their part of Maryland. Her countenance is almost colorless, including her pale gray eyes, and although she’s a gifted painter, the only time she can actually experience color is when she’s in the middle of creating a new work of art. When she spots Devlin hiding in her studio, it’s a toss-up as to who is more surprised, as no one has ever sensed his presence when cloaked in invisibility before now. But that’s just the start of all the unusual abilities Anna manifests in the initial moments after he reveals himself to her. It’s clear that Anna must be a descendant of one or more divinities, but when her parentage is revealed, even the Anemoi are taken aback. Yet it’s Anna’s concern for Devlin’s well-being that makes her valuable to their cause, and to him. Love can’t cure all, but it can be the missing element that helps a wounded hero heal in time to save the world.

Devlin would never consider himself any kind of hero, wounded or otherwise. Though he may be a god, his father Eurus is a stronger one, and that strength has been used against Devlin as the worst sort of weapon. Devlin has been judged unfairly by those unaware of just how greatly he has suffered at the hands of the one who should have loved and cared for him. And like so many other victims of parental abuse, Devlin has taken blame for his father’s evil deeds upon himself in the mistaken belief that somehow he personally could have prevented all the death and destruction. When Anna shows Devlin that he can love and be loved, it causes him to lash out at her at first. But Anna is resolute, and her unwavering need to show him he deserves better is what helps both him and those who should be his allies come together in shared purpose to stop Eurus from carrying out his plan to destroy the earth with a powerful storm unleashing all four winds. The question remains, however, as to who will survive among the Anemoi and their loved ones before success is finally theirs.

EAST OF ECSTASY is a wonderful payoff for loyal readers of Laura Kaye’s Hearts of the Anemoi series and an enjoyable romance in its own right as the abused and misunderstood Devlin finds the one woman who can see beyond his ingrained defenses to the gentle soul who has been starved for love his whole life. Even though the events of the past few books have taken place in only a few weeks’ time, the ultimate outcome never feels rushed or truncated. The final battle is just as fierce as I had anticipated, and the road to the Anemoi’s happy ending had me crying both sad and happy tears in turn.

I wasn’t a big paranormal romance fan when I began reading this series back at its start. But through the previous three books, Laura Kaye made me a believer in the Anemoi, and this final entry, EAST OF ECSTASY, is her crowning achievement.

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Release Day Blog Tour: Dare to Desire by Carly Phillips


Title: Dare to Desire

Author: Carly Phillips

Release Date: April 10th, 2014



Dare to Desire



Quarterback Alex Dare, had it all — an all-star football career with the Tampa Breakers and his choice of willing women — until a severe injury forces him into early retirement. When he is offered a ground-breaking position with a rival team, he’s intrigued, but there’s a catch. He’ll be working alongside the same woman he hasn’t been able to get out of his head for too long.

Social worker Madison Evans grew up in foster homes and knows first hand what it means to have-not. She isn’t impressed by Alex Dare’s wealth or charm. Not since she fell hard for him once before, only to discover she was just one of his too-easy conquests. This time around Madison refuses to succumb to Alex so easily.

But Alex wants Madison. And if there is one thing Alex does well, it’s to get what he wants. The playboy athlete must prove he’s got game in more places than on the field. He means to prove that he’s a changed man but no sooner does he begin to break through Madison’s defenses when a new opportunity comes knocking and threatens her new-found trust. Can he make Madison take a risk and dare to love?


Without replying, Ian opened the door. They stepped into the room, and Alex laid eyes on the one woman he hadn’t been expecting to see. The same woman who’d haunted his dreams and sidetracked him from many of his nightmares.

Madison faced him head on. Her shoulders drawn back, golden-blonde hair pulled away from her face, she didn’t back down from his stare. She wore a pair of black slacks that hugged her curves and a white silky-looking top that clung to her generous breasts. And those unusually blue eyes frosted over at the sight of him.

“Alex, I believe you know Madison Evans.”

Blindsided — and his half brother knew it — Alex strode up to her. He inhaled her familiar fruity scent, which only served as a reminder of the hot times he’d spent breathing her in as his cock moved inside her body. Her effect on him was potent, and even the most common expressions failed him.

“Alex,” she said, her cool tone bringing his head out of the desire-filled fog he’d found himself in.

“Hey, Angel,” he said, using the endearment he’d started calling her during their brief time together. Another sign he’d had it bad, whether he’d wanted to admit it or not.

Her head whipped up, her eyes narrowing and settling on Ian. “This won’t work.” She turned to go.

Alex still had excellent reflexes, and he grabbed her arm before she could stride past him.

She glared.

He didn’t look away, determined to win this battle of wills. This potential job, which had interested him on an intellectual and emotional level initially, suddenly felt even more important, and she was the reason.

“We need to talk,” he insisted.

“I have nothing to say.”

“Ian’s proposition said otherwise.”

Madison looked over his shoulder in search of Ian and frowned. “Well, the traitor is gone. No big surprise there.”

Smart man, Alex thought. “If I let you go, will you stay long enough to discuss this position Ian and Riley want me to take?”

She let out a frustrated puff of air.

He took that as a yes and released her.

“Us working together is not a good idea, and somewhere in that thick head of yours, you know that.”

“Because we slept together? More than a couple of times?”

She set her jaw. “That was a mistake.”

Ouch. That hurt, he thought, and filed away the why to deal with later. “I want to know more about this training program and what my role in it would be.”

“Why? You can’t possibly be interested.”

“It sounds more like you don’t want me to be interested.”

She rolled her shoulders back even farther, stiffening her posture. “You’re right. I don’t. This is a serious project that could help a lot of people and have far-reaching positive repercussions for years to come. I need a partner willing to go all in. And let’s face it, I’ve seen your staying power. It’s nonexistent.”

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About the Author

Carly Headshot small

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips

N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips has written over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels that today’s readers identify with and enjoy. After a successful 15 year career with various New York publishing houses, Carly is making the leap to Indie author, with the goal of giving her readers more books at a faster pace at a better price. Her Serendipity books will still finish up in January/February 2014 via Berkley as planned. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find all information about Carly at her website and other social media sites …

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Review: Dangerously Bound by Eden Bradley

Dangerously Bound (A Dangerous Romance)Dangerously Bound by Eden Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

Eden Bradley was one of the first authors I read when I was just starting out with BDSM-related erotic romances, and she’s still one of the few I can always count on to provide a story in that specific sub-genre that’s as accurate as it is enjoyable. DANGEROUSLY BOUND is the first entry in her new Dangerous series, and much like all her previous books, it’s one that left me thoroughly entertained and ready for more to come.

In this new series, we are introduced to a related group of characters in New Orleans and the BDSM club where some of them meet to play and fall in love. This first book is the story of a hero and heroine with a long history that they’ve both tried to move past in their separate lives, before coming back together to give it one more try. When Mick’s newly discovered inner Dom emerged during the one night of passion he shared with Allie, her tears made him think he’d damaged her, ruining their chance at true love. His abrupt departure the next morning was followed by her own, resulting in a separation that lasted nearly a decade. But after years of training overseas as a pastry chef by day and experienced submissive by night, Allie is back in New Orleans for good. Mick may not be ready for what she has planned for him, but she is determined to confront him in any way necessary to force him to see her as she is now, not as she was then.

One of the things I love about Eden Bradley’s books is how she so easily sets up a new series without spending excessive time on things that are best revealed as the story unfolds. We know right off that Allie and Mick have a history that has kept them apart despite their obvious love for one another. We also know that there are other traumatic events in Mick’s past that are keeping him from fully committing to Allie, ones that she can’t help him get past if he won’t forgive himself. But all of these details inform our understanding of their push-me-pull-you relationship without intruding on what’s important, namely their rekindled romance here and now.

The best parts of DANGEROUSLY BOUND for me were the numerous and lengthy intimate scenes between Mick and Allie, especially when they were in a BDSM scene featuring rope bondage and Mick’s apparent fondness for biting. His struggle to keep a Dom’s control over his emotions as he plays with Allie tests him more than he can bear, and he runs away from her more than once, which did become a bit frustrating for me. But Allie wouldn’t give up on him or their relationship, not until she realized that she had to let him go so he could realize that he needed to return for good. Their hard-won happy ending made me eager for more tales of BDSM romance when Eden Bradley’s new Dangerous series continues with DANGEROUSLY BROKEN.


Overall: 4 stars
Sensuality level: 4 (several intense scenes between H/h with biting and rope bondage, brief descriptions of BDSM club play)

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Review: Unwound by Lorelei James

Unwound (Mastered, #2)Unwound by Lorelei James

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

This review contains spoilers for BOUND, the first book in the Mastered series. You could read UNWOUND as a stand-alone, and I’m not entirely convinced that would be a bad thing. But others might disagree.

UNWOUND, book two in Lorelei James’s Mastered series, continues the story that began in BOUND. I did not love BOUND. I thought it sacrificed both plot and character development for the sake of an absurd cliffhanger ending just to ensure a second book would be needed to supply the rest of the story. Yet the quality of its intimate scenes provided a compelling enough reason for me to want to read UNWOUND. if only to see if it would contain all the pieces missing from the first book. When I started reading UNWOUND, I did something I almost never do: I skipped to the last chapter just to make sure the happy ending was there. That’s how burned I felt by BOUND.

I’m happy to report that UNWOUND more than made up for my mixed feelings about BOUND. It did a great job of showing me exactly why its hero and heroine belonged together, culminating in a happy ending more along the lines of what I’ve come to expect in an erotic romance by Lorelei James.

When we last saw Amery Hardwick, she’d just walked out of Ronin Black’s life after finding out he had never told her about being the heir to a billion dollar multinational corporation. There were so many other secrets about Ronin’s life that he hadn’t shared with Amery, mind you, but that one was the dealbreaker for her. After the loss of Amery, Ronin has resorted to engaging in the type of underground Mixed Martial Arts fighting that he’d given up years before, presumably in an attempt to drown his sorrow with violence. But Ronin isn’t as young as he used to be, and his most recent fight has left him bleeding and semi-conscious, pounding on Amery’s front door at 2am. But why is he at her door when they aren’t together anymore? The story then flashes back to 6 weeks earlier, where we see how unhappy the two of them are apart, and how they were mysteriously brought together again on the night of Ronin’s near-fatal fight.

As Ronin and Amery’s rekindled romance unfolds in UNWOUND, we finally get everything that was withheld before: all the secrets Ronin had kept from Amery (and why), all the triggers from Amery’s past which had exacerbated her feelings of betrayal, and more of their individual experiences and motivations. They have both been guilty of assuming the worst without bothering to ask for the truth, and of letting their mutual lack of trust keep them from a more substantial emotional connection. But even as Ronin and Amery are finally being more honest and open with each other in UNWOUND, there are new betrayals yet to come, and other more dangerous secrets that could damage more than just their second chance at love together.

UNWOUND confirmed my decision that it would still be worth it for me to see Ronin and Amery find their happy ending together, despite how I’d reacted to the book which preceded it. There is a large amount of background and plot packed in this second book, but Lorelei James somehow manages to unveil everything in due time without losing track of the romance. Even the newly revealed threat against Amery fits well into the story and never overshadows the undeniable progress she and Ronin are making in learning to trust each other with more than just their individual sexual needs. I especially enjoyed how Ronin’s sister was believably transformed from a vaguely threatening enigma into a genuine friend and confidante for Amery, and someone who could provide Amery with additional insight into the part of Ronin’s past of which even he was not aware.

I may not have loved BOUND, but I’m so glad I stuck with the Mastered series and read UNWOUND. It restored my trust in Lorelei James as an author I can rely on to provide a well-written erotic romance, and reminded me that you can’t judge a writer (or even a series) by a single book.


Overall: 4.5 stars
Sensuality level: 4 (multiple rope bondage scenes, discussion of past extreme BDSM interactions with other characters)

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Review: Up In Knots by Gillian Archer

Up In Knots (Pleasure Code, #2)Title: Up In Knots
Author: Gillian Archer
Series: Pleasure Code #2
Genre: contemporary erotic romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Format: ebook
Release Date: March 17, 2014

A copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review.

Publisher Summary:

Book 2 of the Pleasure Code Series

After the loss of her Dom and first love two years ago, the time has come for Kyla to again allow herself the pleasure of giving up control. She isn’t looking for anything serious yet, just the comforting embrace of rope and a firm hand on her body for the night.

Rope-top Sawyer is extremely skilled and he doesn’t do relationships—but he’s fascinated by the gymnastics instructor who approaches him at a kink con. By the end of the day he’s vowed to help her feel submissive pleasure again, and to introduce her to a few Doms she can choose from.

But as Sawyer breaks down Kyla’s emotional defenses, his barriers also come down. Soon he can’t imagine giving Kyla over to any other Dom—and Kyla can’t imagine being with anyone else. When their feelings are put to the ultimate test, they’ll learn that while taking risks in the bedroom is easy, taking risks in love is terrifying.

My Review:

I quite enjoyed WICKED WEEKEND, the first book in Gillian Archer’s Pleasure Code series, so I was glad to see the series would continue with Sawyer, the snarky and infamous rope bondage expert who was the good friend of Jamie, the hero in that first book. Best of all, UP IN KNOTS is a full-length book (unlike the previous novella) so I was excited at the prospect of reading a fully realized romance from start to finish.

UP IN KNOTS begins with our introduction to Kyla, a former nationally ranked gymnast who now teaches tumbling to young children along with her younger sister, while continuing to mourn the loss of the only man who had been both her true love and perfect Dom. It’s been two long years since Adam fell to his death from a construction scaffold, and Kyla has finally decided it’s time to seek out another Dom for the kink she’s missed since then. She’s always had a crush on Sawyer – the most famous rope top in Vegas – but never thought she’d ever meet him, let alone get a chance to be his sub. But when they meet by chance at the local kink con, it seems like her perfect opportunity to embrace a new kink and a new life, if she can just leave the past behind.

We already saw in WICKED WEEKEND just how well known Sawyer is in the Vegas kink community, and how dismissive he is of any emotional commitments. When Kyla arrives alone for his Rope Bondage for Couples class, it seems obvious that she should be his subject for instruction purposes. The immediate attraction between them makes it only natural that Sawyer would want to spend a bit more time getting to enjoy her, if only for the night. When their first D/s scene results in an emotional reaction from Kyla, Sawyer decides that he’s the best one to help her back into the lifestyle, and then find someone good for her to be with once she’s healed. But as time passes and they grow closer, he refuses to admit that the person who is best for her is him, even if it ends up breaking both their hearts.

Ninety-nine percent of UP IN KNOTS was an intensely exquisite read for me, as Sawyer pushed Kyla’s kink limits, while Kyla pushed right back on Sawyer’s commitment limits. She had lost her first great love, to be sure, but what Sawyer gave her was exactly what she needed to heal from her loss and become open to love again. Yet even as Kyla continued to hold nothing back in her pursuit of new happiness, Sawyer continued to pull away even as he knew that Kyla was someone he didn’t really want to ever let go. There was a pivotal scene in UP IN KNOTS where Sawyer had planned to hand Kyla over to Grayden, his good friend and fellow Dom. As the intimate scene between the three of them played out, Sawyer’s possessiveness over Kyla overtook his original intent, resulting in anger and confusion for all. But it was only when Sawyer’s carelessness with his own safety landed him in the hospital that Kyla finally found her own moment of clarity. It was then that she not only came to terms with Adam’s death but also her feelings for Sawyer and knew what she had to do for her own self-preservation. Her next action set up what I anticipated would be the perfect romantic ending for Sawyer and Kyla, one where they would openly admit that they loved each other and have their HEA/HFN at last.

The ending is where I felt let down by UP IN KNOTS. If you don’t want to know how it ends, don’t click the spoiler button.

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I don’t expect every romance to end with a marriage proposal (or god forbid, a baby epilogue) but after 200+ wonderful pages of two broken souls working their way to each other through kink, I guess I expected more of an ending than what I got. I’m still glad I read UP IN KNOTS, though, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a hefty dose of kink with their erotic romance. I also hope there will be another Pleasure Code book and that we’ll get to see more of Sawyer and Kyla then. 4 stars