A MONSTER LIKE ME by Pamela Sparkman

Heart of Darkness series #2

BEARD IN MIND by Penny Reid

Winston Brothers series #4

THE BUTTERFLY PROJECT by Emma Scott

Companion to the Full Tilt series

THE HUNTING GROUNDS by Katee Robert

Hidden Sins series #2

UNWRITTEN by Jen Frederick

Woodlands series #5

Cross My Heart by L.H. Cosway

Hearts series #5.75

MOONSHADOW by Thea Harrison

Moonshadow series #1

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Christie's Review: One Good Reason by Julie Johnson



Title: One Good Reason
Series: Boston Love #3
Author: Julie Johnson
Release date: May 30, 2016
Cliffhanger: No

Synopsis:

Zoe Bloom has her life figured out. 
After a childhood spent begging for scraps on Boston street corners, she’s clawed her way to a successful career and a safe place to call home. She knows exactly what she needs to survive — a bit of money in the bank, a roof over her head, food on the table. Friends and family are a luxury she can’t afford. And forget about frivolous romantic entanglements. She can barely juggle her own problems; she certainly doesn’t have time to handle anyone else’s crap… 

Parker West has spent his life running.
From responsibility. From obligation. From the corporate CEO position he’s always been expected to take over. He’d rather climb Kilimanjaro than sit in a board meeting with stiffs in suits. When a crisis at the family company forces him to return to Boston, he has no choice but to stop chasing adventures — temporarily. As soon as things are back in order, he fully intends to sail off into the sunset…
Until he locks eyes with a mysterious blonde who screams trouble and sets his senses on fire. For the first time in his life, Parker doesn’t want to run. In fact, when it comes to Zoe… he may want to do something he’s never done before.
Stay. 

ONE GOOD REASON is a full-length contemporary romance about a girl who’s spent her life just trying to survive… and the man who finally teaches her how to live. Due to some sexy scenes, suspenseful moments, and a foul-mouthed heroine, it is recommended for readers ages 17 and up.




A lot of people think that the hero is the most important character in a romance book. I would have to disagree with that. For me, the heroine is equally as important in making or breaking a story and in this case, she absolutely sold this one right from the start. Zoe was a heroine who endeared herself to me with her tough as steel attitude and unique computer hacking skills. She was this vigilante chick that was impossibly brave that deep down was soft at heart. I was all over this girl, swooning with a major heroine crush.

Zoe and Parker meet at a business party where she's in disguise as one of the wait staff. Her plans to slip away and obtain vital information from the company computer system do not go as planned. She's one breath away from being taken away by security when playboy and new CEO Parker steps in to save the woman whom he couldn't take his eyes off of all evening. This tiny little blonde firecracker accepts his help, but after a short steamy encounter she storms away hoping to never see him again. He isn't about to let her slip through his fingers though and makes sure that she'll be forced to seek him out very soon.


Parker was the sweetest and very dedicated to softening up Zoe's tough outer shell and making her see the pleasures and joys in life that she deprived herself of. She's been on her own for a long time and only allows her fighter friend Killian in her inner circle. All of her gruff resistance is no match for his determination and teasing maneuvers. He is bound and determined to win over his little "Tinkerbell". He's known by this group of friends as the playboy who likes to go off on adventures and refuses to avoid adult responsibility. Which makes him the equivalent of her Peter Pan to his Tink. What could be more fated, right?

I'm totally safe with him. I'm home. And for me, a girl who never had a home...that means everything.

Probably my favorite side character was her MMA friend Luca (hot, protective, and totally alpha) and I'm pretty sold on checking out what his book has to offer. There was some foreshadowing who he was going to be paired with in the group of characters and I think it's going to be fun to read about. My least favorite was most definitely Parker's sister Phoebe. I'm not gonna lie, I'm feeling relieved that her book flew past my radar. I think I would have wanted to claw my own eyes out after two pages. Her bubbly and airhead like personality grates on my nerves in no time. She's just the opposite kind of female character I like to read.

I loved the flirtatious teasing between the two of them, and the fast paced storyline made this book a really enjoyable read. The dialogue could straddle the line between cheesy and fun here and there, but overall I can't complain too much. If you're looking for something light with a strong kickass heroine, look no further. And you don't have to read the previous books first to know what's going on, so no worries in that area. Now excuse me while I go look for Luca's book to add to my eternally growing TBR.



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Release Day Blitz: Gambled Away by Molly O'Keefe


Genre: Historical Romance Anthology


Get revenge. Pay a debt. Save a soul. Lose your heart.

Spanning centuries and continents, five brand-new novellas from beloved historical romance authors tell the stories of men and women who find themselves wagered in a game of chance and are forced to play for the highest stakes of all: love.

Gideon and the Den of Thieves by Joanna Bourne

London, 1793 - Soldier of fortune Gideon Gage has come home from halfway around the world, fully prepared to face down a ruthless gang to save his sister. But there's one member of the gang he could never have been prepared for: fascinating Aimée, driven from her own home by the French Revolution and desperately in need of his help.

Raising The Stakes by Isabel Cooper

California, 1938 - When the flute she won in last night's poker game unexpectedly summons an elven warrior bound to her service, two-bit con artist Sam takes quick advantage. With Talathan's fairy powers at her command, her shakedown of a crooked preacher is a sure thing...but would she rather take a gamble on love?

All or Nothing by Rose Lerner

England, 1819 - Architect Simon Radcliffe-Gould needs someone to pose as his mistress so he can actually get some work done at a scandalous house party. Irrepressible gambling den hostess Maggie da Silva would rather be his mistress, but she'll take what she can get…

The Liar's Dice by Jeannie Lin

Tang Dynasty China, 849 A.D. - Lady Bai's first taste of freedom brings her face to face with murder. A dangerous and enigmatic stranger becomes her closest ally as she investigates the crime, but can she trust her heart or her instincts when everyone is playing a game of liar's dice?

Redeemed by Molly O’Keefe

Denver, 1868 - After agonizing years in the Civil War’s surgical tents, Union doctor James Madison has nothing left to lose. But when beautiful, tortured Helen Winters is the prize in a high-stakes game of poker, he goes all in to save her—and maybe his own soul.


Excerpt:

She’d brought two enormous trunks of clothes with her, insisting they were necessary both for the charade and to prevent them from being stolen in her absence. “I’m sorry, I know I’m disgustingly particular,” she told the maid who’d come up with the trunks. “But all these petticoats have got to be hung up, and not pressed all together either.” Maggie darted a ruthless smile at Simon. “If you’ve got to squash something, squash HIS things.”

The maid smiled hesitantly, unwilling to risk annoying Simon.

The threat to his clothes did not annoy him. Nor did it annoy him that it looked as if a muslin factory had exploded over half the bed. Spangles, embroidery, stripes...all of which Maggie ignored to set out her hairpins on the dressing table, and her hairbrush and jewelry. Unwinding a shawl from around a little painted cut-glass perfume bottle, she set the bottle by the mirror as carefully as if it were a Crown Jewel. Simon felt dizzy, remembering the scent of tuberoses.

Men were SUPPOSED to be annoyed at being surrounded by a froth of femininity, weren’t they? But he wasn’t sure why. In this case 'froth' was not a strong enough word—the room was rapidly becoming a whipped custard, a meringue, or perhaps a many-layered trifle of femininity—and Simon just wanted to roll her into that cloud of muslin and kiss her.

But he had resolved with himself not to. THAT was what annoyed him. 



Playlist Story:


This is such a fun playlist because there are so many factors at work. First we had five different authors writing in five different worlds – from ancient China to the Wild West. Second, in each of the books one of the characters is gambled away (my very favorite historical romance trope). And finally like any good play list – there’s a fabulous mix of songs and genres! Including – of course – some Kenny Rogers.

Enjoy!

Joanna Bourne

Bill Leslie – “Pungo Gumbo”
Three Days Grace – “Get Out Alive”
The Highwaymen – “Highwaymen”

Isabel Cooper

Al Bowlly – “Midnight, The Stars and You”
Duke Ellington “Stardust”
Alison Krauss – “Down To The River To Pray”
Rose Lerner

Click Five - "The Flipside". Waiting for the day when I'm complete/without you, doing what I can to let you be. A rather passive-aggressive but genuinely sad song about a breakup is for my hero Simon and his ex-boyfriend Clement.

The Pretenders - "Don't Get Me Wrong." I'm thinking about the fireworks that go off when you smile. This feels really right for the crush Maggie has on Simon at the beginning of the story: uncomplicated, sexy, eager and exhilarating.

Selena Gomez - "Good for You." Gonna wear that dress you like, skin-tight/Do my hair up real, real nice/And syncopate my skin to how you're breathing. This song is so hot, and the combination of confidence, longing, and dressing to impress feels really right for Maggie.

Molly O’Keefe

Johnny Cash – “Hurt” Oh, this is just one of the most painfully stark and beautiful covers ever. It’s a visceral description of addiction and loathing. It fits both James and Helen.

Kenny Rogers – “The Gambler” Too easy? Too much? Too totally on the nose? Yes. Probably. But I guarantee you will be singing this for the rest of the day.

Lesley Gore – “You Don’t Own Me.” I feel like this is Helen’s mantra as she’s forced to sing suspended in that birdcage.

Release Blitz: Ultimate Vengeance by Nancy Haviland

Ultimate Vengeance Blitz Banner

Ultimate Vengeance by Nancy Haviland Wanted Men, #4 Publication Date: May 31, 2016 Genre: Adult, Contemporary Mafia Romance, Organized Crime

Ultimate Vengeance Cover

Purchase: Kindle | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | B&N | Kobo | iTunes



Synopsis: To a young Russian girl raised to respect and fear the Bratva, gaining the attention of the impressive Sovietnik from a ruling organization was a terrifying thing. Alekzander was a dangerous temptation Sacha Urusski had no hope of resisting. Predictably, her heart was decimated and she was left bleeding…with a precious reason to go on. But when Alekzander bullies his way back into her quiet life and offers a confession that absolves him of his sins, rather than celebrate, Sacha is forced to acknowledge an alarming truth; she has now become the villain in their story. Or so she thinks. When the most damaging secret of all is revealed, her final hope dies and she’s left with no other recourse. She must run.

Sixteen months ago, Alekzander Tarasov made the mistake of his life when he annihilated his relationship with his soulmate. At the time, protecting her was his only thought. Now, after attempting to live without her, his focus has changed. He wants her back where she belongs. And he’ll stop at nothing to drag his curvy angel away from her new life and so deep into his world of violence and uncertainty she’ll never find her way out again. Through a deluge of secrets and lies, disillusionment and broken faith enters a world where loyalty and trust reign. Will Alek and Sacha’s battered love be strong enough to survive? Or will it be a sense of duty that inexorably binds them together in the end?

Ultimate Vengeance Full Jacket Cover

EXCERPT - No Place to Hide (Ultimate Vengeance)



No. She couldn’t get Alekzander into trouble with the law simply because he’d stopped loving her and had chosen to move on without telling her first. She should. She should spill every little secret she had, not that there were many. But she never would. Despite everything, he was her daughter’s father.

Then again, she thought, feeling ill, if it came down to it and she had to choose between keeping Lekzi in her life and Alekzander’s freedom, well, there was no choice. But until then…

“That would not work because I was never personally aware of anything he or his family did that might have been illegal. For all I know, their intimidating reputation could have been created simply to make themselves feel special.”

She saw Justin’s head turn her way but didn’t meet the look because then he’d see she was lying through her teeth. He tapped his thumbs on the steering wheel.

“This may sound insensitive, but why didn’t you go back home to your family when things fell apart here?”

Wishing he could drive faster, she answered honestly. “I am an only child, and, as you know, my parents are gone. But even if I had someone there, at that time, I could not afford to go home.” He frowned in confusion, so she went on, her cheeks heating. “While I was with Alekzander, I did not work, or go back to school as I had planned. When I left Russia, I dropped out of my fourth year of university,” she explained. “But I had every intention of applying to colleges here so I could finish my liberal arts degree. I had planned to go into the field of Human Resources, but, as I said, I did not.” She moved on because she could hear how defensive she was beginning to sound. “Alekzander enjoyed having me at home, and I enjoyed being there for him.”

Shame coated that last bit, revealing how little she thought of the decision she’d made back then. She should never have given up her independence. She suspected that had much to do with what had happened.

“So he kept you broke and dependent on him?” Justin questioned as they came out of the tunnel and traveled the relatively empty streets of Queens heading for Sunnyside.

“No, of course not. He was very generous. I had credit cards and a bank account that I could use freely.”

Feeling small, she wanted to add that she wasn’t a parasite, but hearing herself, she found she couldn’t. Her and Alekzander’s first real fight had been about her working to save the money she would need to return to school. He’d convinced her it wasn’t something that had to be decided right then and had quieted her protests by saying they’d discuss her education later. It had always been later. And she’d let him get away with discounting her future. Had she not been such a pushover, so eager to please him, would things have been different?

“I did not use his money after things ended,” she murmured.

“Why? Any other woman, especially a pregnant one, would have withdrawn a large chunk of cash—especially because as a Tarasov he could certainly afford it—and lived off it until she was back on her feet. Why didn’t you?”

“Because I did not want his money. I did not want anything from him.” She shifted, grinding her teeth at the warble in her voice. It signified weakness, and that embarrassed her. “Anyway,” she said, sneaking in another common word Americans used regularly. “How could I go home when I did not have enough money to buy an airline ticket, to rent an apartment once I got there, and to live until I found a job? I could not. So I stayed here where it had already become familiar. And Lekzi and I have done fine without him. Our life is simple, but that is all we need.” She might not have two homes and a private jet, but despite having to save most of her earnings, she was providing for her daughter, and she was proud of that.
When they eventually turned onto her street, she tried not to think about what it would cost her, financially and emotionally, to start over again. Another new city, no friends, no job, no place to live. And it would be so much worse this time because she was dragging her innocent daughter along, making her baby suffer for the sins of her parents…

The world stilled for a split second before Sacha felt the impact of her reality hit with the force of a punch.

A group of well-dressed men milled about in front of her apartment building. Two were on the sidewalk speaking with a uniformed NYPD officer while another two stood in front of the main entrance of the three-story walk-up.

Oh, God. “I told you.” Her whisper was eerily accepting. “He has come for me.”

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ABOUT NANCY HAVILAND


Nancy Haviland

Nancy Haviland, author of the bestselling organized crime series, WANTED MEN, writes about her alpha mobsters and their ladies from her home near Toronto, Ontario. She fights for space on her keyboard with her arrogant kitty named Talbot, and adores her Tim Horton’s coffee; as any self-respecting Canadian would. She writes contemporary romantic suspense but will happily read anything that involves two people smooching. A member of Romance Writers of America, Nancy is represented by Nalini Akolekar of Spencerhill Associates, and is published by Montlake Romance/Amazon Publishing.


GIVEAWAY

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Cover Reveal: Underwater by Maayan Nahmani


Title: Underwater
Author: Maayan Nahmani
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 26, 2016
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In an instant, my world turned upside down
Because of one incident, my life will never be the same
Every day I struggled to breathe
Every day I went through the motions
I felt too much
I was numb
I was drowning
I was lost inside the black
So they made me go there
I was already there, watching from the dark
And then I met him
And then I saw her
He scared me to death
She took my breath away
He was darkness
She was my light
They whispered he can't be touched
She was the only one I could touch
I couldn't be with him, they needed me
I fucking needed her
So I told him I would be his friend
I told her I would be her friend. For now.
But I couldn't resist him for long
She finally realized that she'll always be mine
We were a hot mess
We were the perfect kind of mess
Then reality dawned on me
Then my demons broke loose
I was underwater, trying to break through to the surface
I reached out my hand, trying to pull her to shore
Could he really help me?
Would she accept me, scars and all?
This was us
This was our story

Author's Note:
"This book is based on true events and contains sensitive subjects that may be a trigger to some readers, such as violence, abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also contains a parent with cancer. It is recommended for ages 18 and up."
Safe. No cheating/OW.






She stood under the night sky, her head tilted up, clutching her jacket close to her body, protecting herself from the cold.

I couldn’t help noticing how beautiful she was. Before I knew it, I found myself standing inches from her face – not touching – just standing close enough to feel the warmth of her body. I hadn’t consciously walked towards her. She was like a magnet, pulling me in.

I could tell my nearness alarmed her. Her body froze. She lowered her head and pulled her lower lip roughly between her teeth, worrying it. All I could think about as I watched her with hungry eyes was how I wanted to pull her abused lip into my mouth. Fuck. I was losing my mind. She made me feel too much, too soon, and I had no fucking clue how to deal with all these new emotions.

Was she tense because I flustered her or because I scared her?

I fucking hoped it was the former.

She cleared her throat a few times before she spoke. “I saw the owner looking at us as we came outside. I really hope that protecting me doesn’t get you thrown out.”

Blinking, I asked, “How do you know Toby?”

She shrugged her shoulders. “I needed a guitar for my song. The guy who signed me up sent us to ask him.”

Oh, of course, the guitar. I should have realized. She was the only person I had ever seen take the stage with an instrument, besides a local band. The problem was focusing on anything else when she was this close. The smell of vanilla took control of my senses and all I wanted to do was bury my head in the crook of her neck and breathe her in.

“How do you know him?” she asked.

“I work here.”

“You work here?”

“Yep. I’m a bouncer.”

“Oh. What about the support group? Aren't you working there too?”

“Nah, I’m only a helper there a few times a week. It's not exactly a full time job.”

She nodded as if she was trying to read me. I moved closer. She worried her lip some more and stepped back. For every backward step she took, I stepped forward, until she was caged between the brick wall and my body. I placed my hands on the wall on either side of her head. She sucked in a breath, her body tensing against me. I didn't mean to invade her personal space, but I needed to be near her, to breathe her air.

Was it so wrong to want to hold on to the first good thing coming my way, after more than four excruciating years?

Call me a greedy bastard, but I couldn’t let this woman go.

“I'm sorry I didn't have a chance to say this sooner,” I said. “But your song…watching you up on stage... it was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. You…” I drew closer, until our noses touched. “You took my breath away.”

“Thank you,” she said so quietly I almost didn’t hear her.

Brushing my lips across her ear, I whispered, “You’re welcome.”

She settled a shaky hand on my chest and gave me a small shove, trying to push me away.

I didn’t budge.

“You're too close,” she breathed out, her voice quivering.

“Does my nearness bother you?”

Her throat bobbed nervously. “Yes,” she whispered.

I took a step back, giving her room to breathe. I didn't mean to get out of control. I didn't want to intimidate her. I wanted her on board with me, and I would do whatever I could to make that happen.






I am twenty-six years old and I live in a small town in Israel.
My family and I were going through some difficult times not too long ago and one day I was confiding in my best-friend about everything. I didn't know how to deal with it all. Then she suggested I should write a book about it. I looked at her as if she had grown another head and dismissed the idea on the spot. But the seed had been planted, and day after day, little by little, without realizing it - I started writing.

That’s how Underwater was born.
I found writing to be cathartic, healing. Something that helped my mind unwind and put things in perspective. I discovered a magical world where I traveled between imagination and reality. Writing became my home and I never wanted to leave.

I love to read, write, listen to music, edit videos, and play the guitar. I am always looking for the next creative thing. I also like a good movie and a glass of wine.

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Blog Tour with Giveaway and Christie's Review: For 100 Days by Lara Adrian




Title: For 100 Days

SeriesFor 100 Days #1

AuthorLara Adrian

Release dateMay 24, 2016

Cliffhanger: No


Synopsis:

Pleasure has a price . . .

Just when everything in my life is falling apart, I find a chance to turn it around--to step into someone else's glittering world, if only for a little while. I become someone new, no longer the woman defined by an ugly past, but a woman freer and bolder than myself. A woman who isn't afraid to explore every passion, even at its darkest, with a mysterious and seductive man who believes my mask is real.
Handsome and commanding, enigmatic and irresistible, billionaire Dominic Baine is an obsession I cannot afford and should not risk. He ushers me into consuming new pleasures and addicting new desires, until the line between my real life and the fantasy one I've stolen with him begins to blur.

I know I cannot keep my truth from him. I know my past will not stay buried forever. But before I can make it right, everything comes crashing down. I have deceived this powerful, dangerous man... and now there is a price to be paid.

* * * * * * * *

FOR 100 DAYS is the first novel in a passionate new contemporary romance trilogy from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Lara Adrian. Coming soon: FOR 100 NIGHTS and FOR 100 REASONS.

Buy Links:





About the Author:



LARA ADRIAN is a New York Times and #1 internationally best-selling author, with nearly 4 million books in print worldwide and translations licensed to more than 20 countries. Her books regularly appear in the top spots of all the major bestseller lists including the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Indiebound, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc. Reviewers have called Lara’s books “addictively readable” (Chicago Tribune), “extraordinary” (Fresh Fiction), and “one of the best on the market” (Romantic Times).

Writing as TINA ST. JOHN, her historical romances have won numerous awards including the National Readers Choice; Romantic Times Magazine Reviewer’s Choice; Booksellers Best; and many others. She was twice named a Finalist in Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards, for Best Historical Romance (White Lion’s Lady) and Best Paranormal Romance (Heart of the Hunter). More recently, the German translation of Heart of the Hunter debuted on Der Spiegel bestseller list.

With an ancestry stretching back to the Mayflower and the court of King Henry VIII, the author lives with her husband in New England.

Visit the author’s website and sign up for new release announcements at http://bit.ly/LaraAdrianNews


Follow Author:
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Website: www.LaraAdrian.com
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Giveaway:





Back when I was in my vampire obsessed stage, Lara Adrian was one of my go-to authors. I'm a huge fan of her Midnight Breed series and followed her religiously. After I moved on to sample other genres, I lost track of her books-until I saw this new offering pop up. The fact that it wasn't in the paranormal genre was an immediate draw.

My first mistake was not realizing this wasn't a standalone. That's completely my own fault for being so unobservant when I signed up, it was right there clear as day. My personal preference is that I prefer to avoid trilogies with one couple. Many times the story tends to get too stretched thin in my opinion which causes my interest to wane after book two. My second surprise about this book was that it has a light BDSM feel to it, which was not explained in the synopsis. This I tend to avoid as well. This wasn't technically BDSM, but this book was more of an introduction to this into their relationship, very gradually. The following books will have heavier notes of it.

Besides being a past fan of this author the synopsis pulled me in. Deceptions, mysterious pasts, and a woman's erotic exploration with a powerful and forbidding man...it sounded intriguing. Avery is your average, struggling girl trying to make ends meet. She's about to get evicted from her run-down apartment when she gets the offer of a lifetime, to housesit a model's million dollar apartment. She grasps on to the opportunity with both hands. She gets to live in the lap of luxury and she gets paid thousands for it. What sane person would refuse that? When she meets aloof and charismatic billionaire, Dominic Baine who lives in the same building, she begins a treacherous game of seductive pleasure. What was once meant to be one night, turns into much more.

I let the ecstasy sweep me away trusting I can because Nick's hold on me is firm and steady. My safe mooring, no matter where he takes me.

Avery is an artist, but so far her inability to open up and show real raw emotion is holding her back. She's hiding a world of hurt and secret shame from her past and she won't allow anyone to see inside the pain that she carries. To me, she seemed repressed, not very assertive, and too mild mannered. I was never able to really connect to the heroine or her personality, she was quite the push-over with the hero from the very beginning. I would have liked to have seen her stand firm and speak her mind more rather than give a weak defiance followed by an immediate surrender to his wants.

Her secret past was very fascinating to me, there are only hints throughout the book regarding what she survived, but it's not fully revealed until the tail end of the book.

I know where the bodies of my secrets are buried, but no matter how far I've fun from them, they still hold me in their icy grasp.

I had some clue, but I never guessed the full extent of what she had survived. Dominic's past is a mystery that has yet to fully unravel and I'd be interested to see what he's hiding under that tough exterior. The next book promises to have more revelations, and a deeper exploration of Nick's dominating side. If you like dominating billionaire erotica with hints of mystery this could be the perfect fit for you. I think the writing was intelligent and well thought out, my main issues were personal preferences and won't be a problem for many other readers. Though this is a trilogy, there is not a cliffhanger at the end of this first installment, so if you're thinking of reading this, there's no need to wait for the full series to be released.


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