Review: Buttons & Lace (Buttons #1) by Penelope Sky

Title: Buttons & Lace
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createspace Publishing 11/11/16
Length:  368 pages
Series:  Buttons #1

Overview

I owe him a debt.

A big one.

The payment can’t be settled with money or favors.

He only wants one thing.

Me.

Every action gets a reward. A button. Once I fill his jar with three hundred and sixty-five buttons, he’ll let me go. 

He’ll let me walk away.

But I have to earn every single one.

By submitting to the darkest, cruelest, and most beautiful man I’ve ever known.

My Thoughts

I love this world that Penelope Sky has created for us in all the series. They are intertwined in the sense that we are constantly learning about the same characters and how they live in the same world, but the stories are so unique that you wonder how they can be this dynamic.

This story brings some of our darkest fears to life as we learn about how horrible things can be when you’re taken against your will. Pearl’s life changed in the blink of an eye and she’ll never be able to go back to what she once knew.

Our leading lady Pearl is a woman who was forced to fight for herself from day one – because she was a foster child and once adopted even, was sent back because the family couldn’t afford to keep her alive. All of this made Pearl the type of woman who would fight her way to the top because she truly believed she could get there, and made her realize that she deserved to be loved and cared for, perhaps more than she was currently. Her boyfriend Jacob was getting moodier by the day, clearly living a life that she wasn’t aware of, and when a dark and mysterious and scary man comes knocking on their door one day looking for Jacob and the money that was owed, we knew that the storm was brewing and was coming fast.

One day life seemed to take a turn for the better, Jacob comes home, telling Pearl that he got a new job, and that life was good and that they should celebrate with a trip to the Bahamas. Pearl was all in until Jacob’s behavior started getting weird again, and then when it couldn’t get odder, a bag is thrown over her head and she’s kidnapped. Life. Was. Over

Fast forward to the life of trafficking and slavery that Pearl has now been initiated into. She knows that she’s going to be terrorized and needs to find a plan. She’s put up for auction and bought for 3x the rate of anyone else because she’s got a lot of fight in her still. The problem though is that she’s been bought by Bones. A man that we’ve heard about many many times before in Penelope’s world, and a man who is disgusting, dangerous and has no morals. He’s the man who ruthlessly kidnapped the sister of the Barsetti brothers and tortured her to the brink of death, just to return her to them so damaged that when she’s freed, he kills her anyway. In front of their eyes.

Now a revenge plan is hatched, the Barsetti brothers want to take away something so important to Bones that he can’t live, torture and kill that person, and sadly, that person is Pearl.

One evil for another. one monster for another. That’s what Pearl has to suffer through in her new life. Being raped, abused, tortured, ordered around. With no hope of freedom or escape. It’s not until she becomes the slave to Crow (a man that i’ve met in another series) that we see that there may be hope on the horizon.

Pearl’s fight that she honed and focused from an early age is the only reason that she’s able to survive, and her ability to fight for compromise is what makes Crow respect and care for her. Want to protect her at all lengths. We see the dynamic between them change into something that’s still vague and a bit fluid, but something that’s not built off a foundation of fear anymore. Crow wants something from Pearl in exchange for her freedom, but the question becomes will she ever be free since the game was always to take her and kill her.

Throughout all this though, we have the trademarks of Penelope Sky. Intense dominating chemistry that’s based on raw emotion and passion sure, but also based on a power struggle since neither realizes who truly holds the power. The scenes that we experience are hot, fast and hard, and they keep the reader so engaged that you find yourself turning pages faster and faster. This adds to the complexity of the story and the depth of the character dynamic as well.

where we find ourselves at the end is a point of question, distrust and loss of faith. Pearl’s world is flipped once again and she finds herself on her own once more – not trusting her judgement at all anymore. We’re left wondering what lies ahead for her future, and does she even have one. Will Bones come looking for her as we know he’s already offered ridiculous amounts of money to get her back. Will Crow be able to protect her from Cane (his brother) and the rest of the world and what will he have to give up to do that. I can’t wait to jump right into Buttons & Hate. Enjoy!


Review: The Scotch Royals (Scotch #3) by Penelope Sky

Title: The Scotch Royals
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createsapce Publishing 8/21/17
Length:  432 pages
Series:  Scotch #3

Overview

London is a lot more useful than I anticipated. She gets me what I need like a pro. 

With her by my side, I feel like I can do anything.

My need for revenge is dimmed. My anger is contained. 

But her brother is still a problem. She wants me to let him go.

I’m not sure if I can.

My Thoughts

There are so many directions that this finale of the series could go, and i think that we are really just holding our breath to figure out where everyone will end up. We know from the last installment that London and Crewe were falling in love. They had something that really seemed real, until Joseph came in and messed everything up. Storming the house and shooting Crewe. trying to take Ariel captive, and London losing everything that she held dear. The idea of happiness was impossible from here on out. or was it?

This installment makes everyone a bit more human, and when i say everyone, i mean everyone. Crewe shows that the heartbreak and embarrassment that he felt when Josephine left him was nothing compared to the pain and inability to live life now that London is gone. All the women in the world, including his regulars like Sasha aren’t enough to make him whole again. London gets back to her life in New York, be it a bit behind since she can’t enroll back into medical school for a year.. but she tries to make things work, with an apartment, a job, and trying to find a man who will take her mind off of Crewe.

The mantra out of sight out of mind isn’t possible and the effort that they each put forth at various times in the story to get the other back is something to be commended. London goes to Scotland to try to win him back. When that doesn’t work, He goes to New York to try to win her back. The problem that we learn though is that love isn’t enough and that there are unbreakable things that they are not willing to compromise on that make things all that much more difficult. When they think they’ve made progress, they find that they are still no better off. Someone will be miserable and it’s just a matter of who that will be each chapter.

Ariel takes center stage at different points in this book and to be honest, i’ve begun to question her motives and wonder if she’s working for/with Crewe or against him. Throughout this series she’s gong out of her way to make sure that London isn’t seen as a long term option and she’s gotten into both Crewe and London’s head about what can be their reality. She goes so far as to issue Crewe an ultimatum which results in her leaving the company, and when London sees that Crewe can’t function without Ariel, she ultimately has to make a deal with the devil to get Ariel back.

This of course results in even more heartbreak, another attempt at death, and well, no one is happy. Joseph tries to be the good big brother to help London survive, he tried to ‘not hate’ Crewe and in turn, they found common ground and things were looking up. Until Ariel stepped in. And that’s when Joseph had to step back in to help things along.

There were always these underlying bits of the story that Crewe needed to marry someone royal. That Ariel had this need to force him to build his business in excess. That Crewe needed revenge against the man who killed his family. That London lost her freedom and her life as a professional. There are so many things that it’s impossible to imagine how they will resolve, but some how our author does it. seamlessly.

And…with amazing chemistry and passion between our leads. Their dynamic is different from that of the leads on the other adjacent stories that she’s written and I don’t understand how that’s possible. All these men are so similar in their underworld dealings, but they are so different in compassion, demeanor and ability to change. It’s hot, romantic and steamy all at the same time. Now i have to find a new series to jump into since i need another fix – so enjoy!

Review: The Scotch Queen (Scotch #2) by Penelope Sky

Title: The Scotch Queen
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createsapce Publishing 8/15/17
Length:  382 pages
Series:  Scotch #2

Overview

I wasn’t sure what changed my mind about giving London to Bones, but something did.

Now London is officially mine. She’s sassy, feisty, and she still tells me off when I have her under my thumb.

I love it.

Now I have a deal with the Barsetti brothers, Josephine is still pining for me, and revenge is heavy on my mind. I’m not sure what to do with London now that I’ve decided not to kill her.

But I’m certainly not going to fall in love with her.

My Thoughts

The path that this second book takes us on is one that’s not unexpected, but one that makes you question how things can possibly turn out. We spent most of book 1 watching London fight Crewe to get her freedom, and at the same time realizing that there’s more to him than meets the eye and softening towards him just a bit. On the flip side, Crewe also started to realize that he had growing feelings towards London, but that there were so many circumstances from his past and future that wouldn’t allow something to really happen.

So the bulk of Book 2, is enjoying the journey that this duo go through now that their life is made of the new normal of being together from odd causes. Crewe opens up to London throughout this installment and we get to learn more about what made him into the man that he is. He’s been hurt from his family – the death of his parents is what motivates his revenge. He’s been hurt by a woman, and every time Josephine comes into the picture, he has a whole renewed sense of fury.

London on the other hand warms up to him, rather their encounters are beyond HOT. When she’s afraid, like when they fly to Italy, he calms her. When she needs to have more freedom, he tries to give it to her. When she needs protecting, especially from his men, Crewe makes sure London feels more comfortable.

All this leads in a bad direction because we know that London’s end game is to get free. For her brother Joseph to come up with a way to get her away from Crewe and his men. Ariel and Dunbar, two of Crewe’s most trusted people see right through all that London’s doing, but what we end up seeing is that London’s able to make Crewe fall in love with her, and she proclaims the same, and well, that will cause a catostrophic rift in this story.

Pacts are broken, someone’s shot in the chest and is on the edge of life. Trust is broken, across so many levels, but what we know is that whatever occurs doesn’t make anyone happy, but will absolutely make everyone harder. So, it’s on that note that we finish this second book and i can’t wait to see how things resolve….and see who’s still alive since there’s NO chance that they will all be. Enjoy!

Review: The Scotch King (Scotch #1) by Penelope Sky

Title: The Scotch King
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Createsapce Publishing 8/15/17
Length:  167 ages
Series:  Scotch #1

Overview

Joseph Ingram made the mistake of stealing from me-four million dollars. He took my intelligence without paying for it. And thought he could get away with it.

Think again.

Now I’ll take something from him-something irreplaceable.

His sister.

Collateral.

But even when Joseph doubles the amount of money he owes me, I don’t give her up.

Nope. I have an image to maintain.

So I keep her.

And I’m not giving her up.

My Thoughts

I really do enjoy the worlds that our author Penelope Sky creates for us. They’re intertwined at times, but still quite unique and really dark, seedy and hot. What a great combination right?

In this story we have Crewe, our leading man, a powerful man – who runs a scotch empire sure, but who trades intelligence for a price. As all powerful semi illegal men are in these stories, if you cross him, then you pay with your life or that of someone close to you. Joseph should have known that trying to pay with counterfeit money wouldn’t go over well, and now London, his sister pays the price for it.

Crewe we learn throughout this story is a man with a dark dark past – it takes most of the story to get to the crux of it, but essentially, he feels that his revenge is worth being so hard. He’s got an army of men who protect him, and woman who is his partner, and that term is strictly business. Ariel. She’s tough on the outside and clearly harbors no love lost or even emotion towards Crewe for reasons that we don’t yet know. But we come to really dislike her because she hates London on site. (mind you, she really hates that London is american but there has to be more to it than that)

London is the slave here – the one taken captive and she’s got her whole life ahead of her. She’s studying at NYU to become a doctor and loves her work. She’s kidnapped from all that she knows, knowing that she’ll never get to go back. Never get to see her friends again, and hopefully though figure out how to escape to get to her brother.

We go on a roller coaster with these two throughout this first installment. We spend much of our time hoping that London’s strong will and personality will help her figure out how to get free from Crewe. We also spend much of the book hoping that Crewe has a bit of humanity left in him to make London as comfortable as possible.

There are moments when they admit attraction to one another, and moments when crewe does horrible things like try to sell her off to the most disgusting horrible man in the world. It’s a story full of whiplash and fear, but also one of attraction and chemistry.

We spend a lot of time wondering if London will ever be free, if her brother will manage to stay alive (because i forgot to mention that Crewe is really dispicable here with what he’s done), if Crewe is human and what the true back story is to get us to where we are. A point of hope and hopelessness. Attraction and hate. And where we are left off, we see that the future is as bleak as ever.

True to form in the other series that i’ve read by Ms Sky, the scenes when they happen are HOT. The chemistry is amazing, the way that everything’s told makes you feel like your’e right in the moment with themand you need the same release just as they do. I need more and i’m happy to say that i’m cruising right into book 2! enjoy!

Review: Entangled (The Accidental Billionaires #2) by J.S. Scott

Title: Entangled
Author:  JS Scott
Publisher/Year:  Amazon Publishing 4/30/19
Length:  231 Pages
Series:  The Accidental Billionaires #2

Overview

There’s nothing richer than a second chance in the steamy second book of New York Times bestselling author J.S. Scott’s Accidental Billionaires series.

Aiden Sinclair was a commercial fisherman before he suddenly came into his billionaire inheritance—not that he’s complaining. Being a Sinclair does have its perks. But things were simpler before the money. He may have been dirt poor, but he loved his job and fully intended to always come back from the sea to his girlfriend, Skye Weston, so they could move toward something more permanent. Or at least that had been the plan…until he returned from a two-month fishing trip to discover she had moved away and was marrying somebody else. It tore his world apart.

Now Skye’s back in town after nearly a decade. She’s a single mother and just as beautiful as ever. However, for some odd reason, she appears to hate him, when it should be Aiden who wants nothing to do with the woman who dumped him. Unfortunately, more than nine years of separation have done nothing to put a damper on their white-hot chemistry. But even if those feelings are real, Skye has been keeping secrets. The truth of the past is about to come to light, and there is so much more at stake than just Aiden’s heart.

My Thoughts

This second installment to the series is just as sweet as the first one. We’re back in the world of the Sinclairs, this time really enjoying the story of Aiden and Skye. If you remember, we had met Skye in the first book, as she was Jade’s best friend growing up, and the same girl who had a fling with Aiden that apparently didn’t end well, and it still a point of contention with the family.

We were given a tease at the end of the first book of a girl who matched DNA to the Sinclairs, but Jade wasn’t able to find out who that was. That’s where this story is rooted. That girl is Maya, Skye’s daughter – and well….Aidens too.

We now know why there was such heat and hatred coming out of their relationship back years ago. Miscommunication – BIG TIME. Aiden thought Skye left because she wanted a man with money and resources, and she married someone who had all that just weeks later. Skye thought that Aiden wanted nothing to do with her once she revealed that she was pregnant. And well, neither of that was true. So nine years later, when they are forced together during Jade’s wedding festivities, everything comes to a head.

Their love story is one that can withstand the true test of time, or at least it seems like that’s the case here. Nine years later, there’s the same attraction, but there’s also the fear that they don’t know anything about each other now, and they both have trust issues. It takes Aiden quite some time to wrap his head around what happened, really not buying into the idea that she tried to tell him she was pregnant because he never got a note that she said she left, but his brother Seth did….and well, enter a rift in the family now. The brothers work through it but there’s still a bit of a wrinkle in things now.

Aiden welcomes Maya into his life quickly and seamlessly. He forces Maya and Skye to move in with him so that they can be a family and basically forces the idea of marriage on Skye as well. She’s not having it because of the horror that was her previous marriage (one that we learn lots of juicy details about), but Aiden isn’t one to be swayed. That piece of the story line is sweet and entertaining as we get to see how persistent he can be.

Skye hasn’t experienced anything in life, she’s been struggling to be the best mom possible and it’s been tough for her. She’s suffering from PTSD from her marriage and that has effects throughout her new relationship with Aiden. It’s something that looms over them, and hinders the ability for them to get close, but it’s sweet to see how they try to work through it.

Similar to the first book, we have some really amazing chemistry here, some really great romance and some hot passion. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other in the past and the same goes for the present. Things seem to be going in the right direction when test results come back from the paternity test that Aiden forced and he’s excluded from being the father.

Where we end is a big question of what’s going on – and what does this mean? Are they able to be a family even with this information or will the ending they had nine years ago be the same now? Is love enough? All great questions and all questions that you need to read the book to find out the answers.

Lastly, we get the final chapter here teasing the next story which will surround Seth. We knew from this 2nd book that he has been working to develop a piece of coastal land but that there’s a tree hugger as he puts it who’s trying to keep him from doing that since there’s an endangered bird nesting area there. In this final chapter, we see him thrown off his game when a woman approaches him to save him from other attention and it turns out that this woman who’s the thorn in his side is the same tree hugger. So…you can only imagine what this next story is going to bring us. I’m excited! Enjoy!

Review: Ensnared (The Accidental Billionaires #1) by J.S. Scott

Title: Ensnared
Author:  JS Scott
Publisher/Year:  Amazon Publishing 10/16/18
Length:  248 Pages
Series:  The Accidental Billionaires #1

Overview

Wildlife conservationist Jade Sinclair isn’t used to having money. But when she and her siblings learned they were part of the mega-rich Sinclair dynasty, they became billionaires overnight. Jade doesn’t even know how to act rich, especially when she’s dealing with an arrogant, privileged, unreasonably sexy snob like Eli Stone.

Unlike Jade, Eli grew up rich, and he just keeps getting richer. Eli is always looking for an adventure, and he’s found an inviting one in Jade—as resistant as she is irresistible. His less-than-honorable plan? Get her alone in the wilderness by buying out all the spots in her survival class.

Calling a truce, they strike a bargain: Jade will teach Eli basic survival skills, and he’ll teach her how to navigate the world of the wealthy elite. Jade has only one condition—she will not let herself be seduced by him. But some things are easier said than done…

My Thoughts

I was looking for a new series since i’m waiting for the next installments of a few and i happily stumbled across this one. Who doesn’t like a story that starts off with a family having family secrets resulting in the inheritance of billions?

In this first introduction to the series, we meet Jade, our leading lady, a girl who’s come into money and who only wants to do good in the world with conservation and genetics etc.. Jade has had her life led by her family, her three older brothers, her twin sister and her younger brother. All looking out for each other, all living in poverty until this money becomes theirs.

She’s devoted her life to studying and animals and wildlife, and now that she has money, she wants to buy a piece of land to protect it. To do so, she needs to convince Eli Stone, another billionaire, to sell it. This is where our story gets interesting.

It’s like a game of cat and mouse since we realize from the moment they meet, that Eli wants Jade for much much more than she’s willing to offer. She only wants the land. She’s naive, innocent and inexperienced, so while she’s attracted to him, she’s not willing to play his game. The great thing that our author does though is that we’re shown that they play the long game here – that it’s not instantaneous and that there’s value to this game of attraction.

As we get to know more about Eli, we realize that what he is on the surface to the public and the media isn’t who he truly is. He’s got a past filled with pain, and he values all that he has. He takes care of people and things in way that are unexpected and through this angle is how he’s able to break down Jade’s walls.

From there, we have this really sweet story of a budding friendship, stemming from Eli and Jade’s agreement to being friends. To Eli showing Jade how to cope with being a billionaire and how to live in this new world. At the same time though the continue to fight the chemistry that they have, and it’s thoroughly entertaining to see how this goes for them.

Jade agrees to 10 days with Eli and she’s shown the country in ways that she never was able to experience it before. She’s taught herself to loosen up and that’s a hard thing for her. Her brothers want her to be careful, her twin wants her to be reckless and Eli has a mix of both when it comes to how he feels about Jade. ESPECIALLY since he doesn’t do commitment but he can’t do without Jade.

What’s a nice twist here is that while the romance builds, a life changing accident happens which makes them pause and take stock of what is going on. Then another life threatening illness tears things apart and we’re left at a point where you have no hope for happiness and wealth for everyone.

Add in one last twist of a DNA test ping coming along, just when a happy ending seems like maybe it’s possible, and the story is flipped upside down again.

So what we have is a sweet romance, one that shows that you can’t judge someone without getting to know them. With that, we get intense romance, chemistry, magnetism. heat, passion – all the good stuff that makes you not want to put the book down and makes you upset when you’re done. So….i’m off to find book 2 which i think is out ….so enjoy!

Review: The Reaction (The Program #5.5) by Suzanne Young

Title: the Reaction
Author:  Suzanne Young
Publisher/Year:  Suzanne Young 4/9/18
Length:  20 Pages
Series:  The Program #5.5

Overview

Shortly after going on a recovery road trip with Michael Realm, James Murphy returns home to bring his girlfriend Sloane a file. Her entire life–the memories that had been erased by The Program–are contained in a manila folder. James wishes he could save Sloane from her pain, but he can’t save her from the past.

My Thoughts

The way that this summary is written, you get the sense that it’ll be far more dramatic and deep than what it actually is. There seems to be a lot of build up to considering what Sloane could handle and what she deserved to know now that her world has been completely turned around. The build up throughout the series has always paid off, and sadly in this really really short chapter like object, there’s an anticlimatic ending.

I think that it’s safe to say that we all knew how Sloane would react and what it would mean….but i guess it’s nice to finally have it down on paper. Enjoy

Review: What the Boss Wants by Ava Sterling

Title: What the Boss Wants
Author:  Ava Sterling
Publisher/Year:  Red Lace Publishing 4/10/18
Length:   12 Pages

Overview

Would you share your husband with your boss?

Anna has never heard of a swingers club before. That is, until her friend at work shares a pamphlet with her. The club promises an experience she will never forget, and Anna has no doubt about that.

When Anna returns to the pamphlet, it’s nowhere to be found. Her boss, Emily, found it, but instead of being upset, she’s curious about it. Somehow in the process of explaining, Anna accidentally invites Emily and her husband over to her house.

But it’s clear from the start that this isn’t an innocent visit. Emily is intensely curious about swinging, and she sees this as an opportunity to satisfy her cravings.

Would you share your husband with your boss?

Anna has never heard of a swingers club before. That is, until her friend at work shares a pamphlet with her. The club promises an experience she will never forget, and Anna has no doubt about that.

When Anna returns to the pamphlet, it’s nowhere to be found. Her boss, Emily, found it, but instead of being upset, she’s curious about it. Somehow in the process of explaining, Anna accidentally invites Emily and her husband over to her house.

But it’s clear from the start that this isn’t an innocent visit. Emily is intensely curious about swinging, and she sees this as an opportunity to satisfy her cravings.

My Thoughts

Apparently the 5 year lull is a thing in a marriage, and that’s what we find in this novella from our amazing Ava Sterling. In this story, we have Anna who seems to think that she’s about to be romanced by her husband in prep for Valentine’s day, only to get the mundane and usual. She’s a bit let down and wonders where the spark went. When her friend at work brings up that they went through the same, and found a way to spice things up, well things take an exciting turn in her mind.

The fun doesn’t stop there though! Enter the boss – Dragon Lady Emily, who finds about the spicy plans, and well, work just got a whole lot more interesting. Anna isn’t the only one with the blah marriage, nor is her friend. Emily has the same issue, and well, now we’re in business.

Things move fairly quickly from there, Emily invites her husband and herself to Anna’s house and they surprise Anna’s husband Joe. Given that both couples are completely new to the sharing lifestyle, even though Emily seems to think that Anna knows all about it, we can only imagine how clumsy this can be. The boss that Anna’s spent time with thus far professionally takes a completely different persona now that they are out of work

WE get a hot steamy scene from here on out, seeing how the couples take charge with their new partner, and how that change the dynamic in the room. Ms Sterling gives us an exciting, intense scene where it’s not just a swap of husbands and wives, but that there’s a new shift in things which was unexpected…and hot.

The question that we have to ask though in our minds is how will this encounter change how the ladies are at work and will that have an impact on more than just the two of them? Do they think that this is something that’s real – the lifestyle or do they need to branch out to the club that sparked their interest to begin with? Will this new fun change the doldrums of their marriages and keep them happy? All great questions and ones that we will have to keep in our minds since we’re left at the jump – and this novella teases all the possibilities. Enjoy!

Review: The Skull Crusher (Skull #2) by Penelope Sky

Title: The Skull Crusher
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Penelope Sky 5/7/19
Length:  187 Pages
Series:  Skull #2

Overview

Balto stole me from Lucian without raising a finger.

I thought I would finally be free, finally get my life back.

But Balto has other plans for me. Now I’m his prisoner. He’ll keep me and enjoy me as long as he wants.

Until Lucian gives him back the Skull Diamond.

I never want to return to Lucian again, not after being with a man like Balto. The only chance I have is to become more valuable than that diamond, to have Balto want me enough not to trade me back to Lucian.

But can I ever compete with a diamond worth billions?

My Thoughts

Oh how this story gets more and more complicated as we go. We were lulled into a false sense of security here thinking that Balto cared about Cassini, yet that wasn’t the case. She’s just a pawn in this game now that he knows who she’s married to, and as such, she’s a slave, a prisoner in an entirely different cage. One that seems like it could be better, if and only if Cassini is able to make herself the most valuable thing in the world.

The bulk of our story lies around this idea that Cassini is now in another hell, and she doesn’t know what to believe, she doesn’t know how safe she is and for how long, and she doesn’t know what to do with the fact that she trusted a man who seemed to care for her, seemed to want to protect her but really just wanted to use her.

The power and arrogance that Balto has is something that comes out on every page in this second installment. He’s confident that he can keep himself protected and safe, confident that he can remain the leader of the Skull Kings, confident that he can make Cassini do whatever he wants, because he’s so confident that she wants it. What he underestimates though is that Cassini is one of the strongest women out there and what he wants isn’t going to matter for long. He quickly finds that she has the control because she has what he wants. The sexuality and allure that no other woman has.

We spend much of this story wondering how Cassini will get her freedom back and remain happy. She needs to feel safe and wanted, and loved (liked even) and when she thought that she was getting that with Balto, she learned that she was wrong. What our author does here in the way that the story is written is that she keeps us on our toes. Whatever preconceived notions that we had of Balto and his organization, they are often flipped and changed around.

As is usually the case in this genre, in addition to a story that gives us so much torment, war, fighting and concern over trust, we also continue to get some of the deepest romance and engagement. We see that there’s so much more connection and desire between our mains and that’s partially because of raw animal connection but also partly due to the insanity that they live in.

When about 2/3 of the way through, Lucian reappears, learning that Balto and Cassini were having an affair before everything went down, war is declared. He’s on the hunt and he won’t compromise at all until he gets his wife back. Balto’s not about to let that happen, and we see the sheer terror that Cassini has at the prospect, but we know that there’s an inevitability here to see that a trade will happen soon. Because Cassini is a prisoner, once Balto gets what he’s after, she’s worth nothing to him. And that’s where we end this second book.

Balto agrees to a trade, and we know that Lucian is out for the maximum pain and punishment since he feels that not only was he betrayed by his wife, he’s been humiliated beyond recognition. Cassini overhears the planned trade, knows that there’s nothing left for her to do but resign herself to a painful death and then….end book.

Case and Dirk as quickly becoming favorites of mine in the story, as is Heath. What’s nice is that the brothers, the family in this series are not only supporting characters but characters that keep us grounded and emotionally bound. There’s a different bit at stake for them as they look at what Balto and Cassini are playing at, and to see how that dynamic is written into the story takes us to another level.

I’m left wondering what’s going to happen. Who’s going to die first and who will be responsible. What will have to be lost for anyone to find happiness and will a diamond, a skull diamond be at the center of it all forever. So, now i actually have to wait a bit since book 3 isn’t out until June, so i’ve got a lot of time to ponder. Enjoy!

Review: The Skull King (Skull #1) by Penelope Sky

Title: The Skull King
Author:  Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year:  Penelope Sky 4/2/19
Length:   182 Pages
Series:  Skull #1

Overview

My husband is cruel, ruthless, and despicable.

I hate him with every fiber of my being.

The only reason I haven’t killed him or tried to run away is because of the promise I made. I sold myself to save someone I loved…and this is the price I have to pay.

I was sitting alone in a bar when the most handsome man walked inside. Striking blue eyes, cheekbones as sharp as glass, and a muscular body fit for a war. He was gorgeous. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. When he bought me a drink, I didn’t say no. I’d been unfulfilled for so long, and I wanted a real man for the night. My husband had his affairs so why couldn’t I?

I noticed the peculiar ring on his right hand, a diamond carved into a skull. If only I’d known what that meant, I would have known who this man was.

The Skull King.

A man more cruel and ruthless than my own husband.

My Thoughts

I love the world that our author Penelope Sky has introduced us to in all of the series that i’ve read so far. It’s a dark world of illegal ‘stuff’ in the heart of Italy, but those that we should fear the most are the ones that we truly want to love the most as well.

In this story – we get to learn more about a group that we heard a bit about in the Banker series. The Skull Kings have their leader, and that is Balto – our leading man. A guy who’s forced his way to the top of the food chain, has control of the entire country and all illegal activity that goes on, and what he wants he gets. He’s a man of his word, and when someone crosses that, he’s out for blood.

That’s where Cassini comes into play – because she gave up her freedom to save someone that she thought was worth saving and in return, he betrayed her, and she was stuck in a marriage to a man who was so intolerable, that her day to day life was too much for her to survive.

Similar to the chemistry that we saw in the Banker, the heat between Balto and Cassini when their paths cross for the first time, it’s explosive and it’s just a matter of time before we see how it plays out for them.

There’s so much tension throughout this story – we see how badly Cassini wants to find happiness in her life but that comes at a price, and without having to risk everything and everyone one, she knows that the future is bleak. Balto on the other hand is beyond confident, feeling that he’s untouchable that he’s willing to risk quiet a bit to get what he wants. Lucien, Cassini’s husband and the man that crossed Balto in the worst way is at the core to everyone’s unhappiness and has the ability to make things better. yet he’s selfish and won’t consider anything.

The way that this story plays out is that we see the push and pull of doing what’s right by reputation v. living the life that everyone wants. The theme of being true to your word is really the bottom line factor – and we see what happens to those who keep their word and those who don’t.

I feel like there’s a lot that we don’t get into in this story, and that makes me wonder if we’ll get more in the following installments or if there will be spin off series. Case and Dirk, Cassini’s brothers have their family business but they also have an underground business as well. I’m curious about their stories and what that means to Cassini’s future. We get teased but ntohing concrete.

We also meet Heath, Balto’s identical twin, and he starts to play a bigger role in this book but we don’t really scratch the surface much more on this one.

Where we are left off is at a point where we were just about to sigh and relax, but that’s not possible and freedom is impossible. One man takes what belongs to another when resolutions aren’t made and that means that we see hearts broken, relationships broken, and there’s a whole new smell of fear in the air.

Also, in true Penelope Sky form, it’s not just fear in the air but the smell of lust and sex. There’s a chemistry between our main characters that’s hot and they don’t even try to contain it. Cassini knows what she wants, and owns it with her strength. Balto is a man that doesn’t apologize ever, and when he sees that there’s an obstacle to get what he wants, he plows through.

I’m curious to see how this plays out because i really want to see how hard and mean Balto is but i want something better for Cassini. Lucien I can do without honestly, so i’m excited to read on to see how this plays out. Enjoy!