Review: Darker (Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian #2) by E.L. James

Title: Darker
Author: EL James
Publisher/Year:  Knopf Doublbeday Publishing 11/28/17
Length:   560 Pages
Series:  Fifty Shades of Grey as told by Christian #2

Overview

Their scorching, sensual affair ended in heartbreak and recrimination, but Christian Grey cannot get Anastasia Steele out of his mind, or his blood. Determined to win her back, he tries to suppress his darkest desires and his need for complete control, and to love Ana on her own terms.

But the horrors of his childhood still haunt him, and Ana’s scheming boss, Jack Hyde, clearly wants her for himself. Can Christian’s confidant and therapist, Dr. Flynn, help him face down his demons? Or will the possessiveness of Elena, his seducer, and the deranged devotion of Leila, his former submissive, drag Christian down into the past?

And if Christian does win Ana back, can a man so dark and damaged ever hope to keep her?

My Thoughts

It’s been ages since i’ve read the series if i’m honest, but i actually recently came across Fifty Shades Darker on TV so it was nice to have this alternate POV come to life after i’ve seen it on the big screen.  All that being said, we fall right back into the story and world that Ms James crafted for us all those years ago, where we see how the roller coaster of life and romance for Christian and Ana unfolded.

There’s something to be said about getting into the head of Christian and having the story unfold from his POV since we’ve had the fortune to truly grasp it from Ana’s side before.  Where there was so much focus in the past on her innocence and how naive she was both in romance and in work, well we see the flip side of the confident and controlling Christian.  His life outside of her was so different and a mystery before, so we get to see some of what made him tick.

True to form we get a lot of the same romance, but instead of experiencing it like we have in the past we get to see it taken through control and dominance.  The scenes that we had before were from the girl who wanted hearts and flowers and this time we get to see them from the man who needs control and power in his life to thrive.  It gives the story a completely different feeling.

Personally i’m curious if we would ever get another story line from Ms James – something that didn’t revolve around the Fifty series, but i guess that’s likely something that we’ll have to wait on given that there’s still one more installment of the series that hasn’t been written from Christian’s side yet and i’d imagine that i’ts coming.  There’s so much heat and passion left to come out from this couple from Christian’s side of things for sure and i think that we would be lucky to get that culmination to the story since those of you that have read the original trilogy, i’m sure you recall all the craziness that goes on, and there’s bound to be a lot of angst and anxiety wrapped up in it.

On that note – have a happy thursday (a snowy one here at least) and enjoy!

Review: Ours to Love (Wicked Lovers #7) by Shayla Black

Title: Ours to Love
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 5/7/13
Length:   400 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #7

Overview

Between two brothers…

Xander Santiago spent years living it up as a billionaire playboy. Never given a chance to lead his family business in the boardroom, he became a master in the bedroom instead. His older brother, Javier, inherited the company and worked tirelessly to make it an empire. But while cutthroat corporate espionage took its toll on Javier, nothing was as devastating as the seemingly senseless murder of his wife. It propelled him into a year of punishing rage and guilt…until Xander came to his rescue.

Comes an irresistible woman…

Eager to rejuvenate Javier’s life, Xander shanghais him to Louisiana, where they meet beautiful London McLane. After a decade of tragedy and struggle, London is determined to make a fresh start—and these sexy billionaire brothers are more than willing to help. In every way. London is stunned to find herself open to every heated suggestion…and desperately hoping that her love will heal them.

And inescapable danger.

But a killer is watching, on a single-minded mission to destroy everything the Santiago brothers hold dear, especially London. As fear and desire collide, every passionate beat of her heart could be her last.

My Thoughts

Going into this 7th installment, i was wondering how we were going to get deep and meaningful stories for both Xander and Javier but of course our lovely author Ms Black was able to answer all those questions for me.  If you recall, we spend a lot of time with Xander back in the last book when Tyler and Del were getting their stuff sorted and we also got to see a bit of a tease into what’s going on with his brother Javier.  So we see how that all pays out.

We also got the teaser of London, Alyssa’s cousin when the ladies were looking for someone for Tyler to settle down with.  So it’s nice to see how her story unfolds as well.  She’s had a rough life, almost dying in a car accident years ago and living with the scars and trauma of it since then.  she’s trying to get her life back together and finding stability in Lafayette with her cousin and their network of friends who are also family.  She gets independence from her family, and she gets a job and some of her confidence back, and that’s all where the Santiago brothers come into play.

A chance meeting with Xander at Alyssa’s club shows London all that she’s been craving yet she has insecurities about herself and Xander that she’s not able to really make things happen as she wants.  She walks away, and is some how put into Javier’s path, for a job and to watch more sparks fly.

Javier’s trying to cope with the murder of his wife and all that’s going on in his life as well and he’s crashing and burning better than you could imagine.  he’s been taken to Lafayette in the hopes of a detox and restart of his life so that he can get his mind and company back on track.  Someone’s trying to get a hold of information from their secure database and that’s not a good thing at all in their line of business.

So the journey that we are taken on in this book is complicated.  Playboy Xander wants to be tamed, Javier needs to be saved from himself and London learns to stand on her own two feet.  What’s even better is that to go back to my original question – how do we get both stories for the brothers out, well it’s because we find ourselves in another little menage situation.  So, all the kinky and hot passion that you’ve been missing from the past few installments comes back to us fast and hard in this one.

The other bit that keeps things exciting is that we’re trying to sort out the connection to Javier’s wife’s killer and it’s going to much deeper and darker than we ever expected.  There’s so much tied to it that really starts to blow your mind that if you wanted substance outside of heat and passion, well you’ve got that in this book too.  So on that note, i can’t wait to see who’s next – i’m sure Thorpe is due to have his own story since he’s the DOM of the club that these guys seem to all like – so we can see how that plays out.  Enjoy!

Review: Belong to Me (Wicked Lovers #5) by Shayla Black

Title: Belong To Me
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 8/6/13
Length:   368 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #5

Overview

An FBI analyst goes undercover and gets in over her head in this Wicked Lovers novel from New York Timesbestselling author Shayla Black.

When Tara Jacobs’s fellow agent and best friend goes missing while investigating a sex ring, the FBI analyst goes undercover as a submissive in a Dallas BDSM club called Dominion. But no man can top a woman with Tara’s moxie convincingly enough—until an edgy, dangerous Dom takes control of the scene and sets her heart racing with a single, commanding glance. Too bad he’s also the man to whom she will never submit…

Navy SEAL Logan Edgington knows Tara will never forgive him for what he did in the past, but he has no doubt that he possesses the knowledge to guide her through an unfamiliar world of pleasure and pain. He alone can protect her on a dangerous mission that reveals both wicked depravities and terrible secrets. And no matter how much Tara insists their fling will end after this mission, he’s determined that she will be his once more—and this time, he’ll never let her go.

My Thoughts

In book 4 we heard a lot from Hunter about his concerns for his brother Logan, and how Logan was in such a dark place because of a broken heart all those years ago.  Add to that, he was the one to find his mother’s murdered body and well you know that he’s damaged goods.  So it’s about time that we got to see what was going on in his head.

In this 5th installment of the series – we see what Logan’s life has become – he’s on leave from his work with the SEALs and he’s getting out his energy at Dominion, a local BDSM club.  What’s interesting about him is that he will only control a scene and never finish it – and that’s where his buddy (sort of) Xander comes into play – he’s the one that will make sure the subs are fully taken care of.

It’s one day when in walks a duo of FBI agents who need training to go undercover that things get interesting.  From behind, the female who is training to be a sub reminds him of Cherry – the girl who he is broken from, and when he walks around and sees that it is her, his world comes crashing down again.  not just because of all the feelings that he has for her and has always had (i mean look at all his tattoos about her) but because she still has intense hatred towards him.

So this story that we have is a journey of how they find a way to work with each other, to be around each other when there’s clearly so much more between them, all while Cherry (or Tara) works to help solve the case that has gotten her best friend and fell agent kidnapped and sold into sex slavery.

Where they go as a couple is a tough game of cat and mouse.  There’s an attraction there that they can’t fight and it’s hot to see – knowing that Tara is walking away from her fiance because Logan is able to bring feelings to her heart that Brad never could.  There’s also the trust issue – that she has zero trust in him because of what he put her through in high school.  So it’s a hard story to read.

Add on top of that the quest to find out who’s behind the sex slave trade ring and when you learn who it is, you will both be surprised and completely expecting the outcome.  Personally i had part of the answer earlier on about unresolved cold cases and the fact that it all ties together, well it’s a nice bow put on it all.  I will say that there’s a character that i’m still on the fence about – really not sure what his motivation is and all, but i’m sure that we’ll get to see that in another story.

Anyhow, you get all the expected bits that Ms Black, our great author is known for.  Some of the hottest BDSM scenes ever, amazing connection between our characters and a story that is both loving and angst ridden.  So hopefully it’s something that will get you through this freezing cold weather since it’ll surely make you hot.  Enjoy!

Review: Surrender to Me (Wicked Lovers #4) by Shayla Black

Title: Surrender To Me
Author: Shayla Black
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Publishing 7/2/13
Length:   297 Pages
Series:  Wicked Lovers #4

Overview

A secret fantasy turns into an uncontrollable obsession in this Wicked Lovers novel from New York Timesbestselling author Shayla Black.

Hunter had everything until a bullet put his career as a Navy SEAL on hold. Restless and in need of distraction, he accepts an intriguing proposition: share an acquaintance’s girlfriend and fulfill her fantasy of a ménage. It should have been just one night of sexual adventure among three consenting adults. But Kata is like no other girl Hunter has ever met. By turns audacious and sexy, then vulnerable and aloof, she’s a heartbreaker he is determined to master. But he needs more than one night. And he wants to do it alone.

Kata never expected to leave her comfortable relationship and explore something so dangerously forbidden with a stranger. Though she tries to resist, the guilty pleasure overwhelms her and she surrenders herself, inch by inch, to the hard-core warrior who wants her for himself. Consumed by blazing desire, they’re soon threatened by the shadows of the past. To keep Kata safe, Hunter makes her a bold proposition of his own. Saying yes will destroy her heart, but saying no could cost Kata her life.

My Thoughts

I don’t know why i assumed we would get Tyler’s story next but nope – it’s Hunter.  And in this 4th installment to the series, we get to see the serious brother come to life.  This is a story of a girl who’s too independent for her own good but has a birthday fantasy handed to her, courtesy of a casual bedmate and his buddy Hunter.  What happens in vegas usually stays in vegas except when it doesn’t – and that’s what happens here.

Kata and Hunter find themselves married after an interesting of drinking (kata), pursuing (hunter) and play (both).  What happens from there, they end up  married, she runs home and he runs to follow her.  Hunter is the kind of guy that we all want in life i think.  someone who’s able to dominate and control, but someone who also has the warmest heart.  it’s unexpected in a sense because we have seen how he was with Kimber in the other books, but i think that it’s expected in the sense that there’s no way that he can be sooo hard.

Kata has a tough situation now that the story is built around.  as a probation officer, she’s got her fair share of tough stuff going on, always on edge because of what she’s had to do to thugs and the like.  well, on her first day home, she finds herself at the wrong end of an assassin, and no one knows who’s behind it.  that’s where our story really starts to take shape.

Hunter gets to do what he does best – protect, and hopefully in the same breath he’s able to show Kata that they are meant to be together and that it’s not just a whim.  the roller coaster from there of course is a rocky one since Kata has a family background of a mother who’s been controlled and dominated all her adult life and that’s not something that she wants for herself.  Too bad Hunter isn’t her step father, and Kata is of the mindset not to be open to the fact that the men are different.  It takes her mother being put in the hospital, endless attempts at her life and the fact that they still don’t know who is behind trying to kill her, and these 2 find themselves pushed together even though she fights it.

There always comes a point where great chemistry isn’t enough, and although they have amazing passion and heat, Kata is so stubborn that she’s willing to walk away.  Ms Black our amazing author has a knack for pulling us back in through the way that she writes some of these scenes – makes them so steamy that you can’t help but to read faster, but to me, it tends to also lack a bit of something that makes it deeper than just the physical.  We have Hunter trying to push Kata to admitting something more psychological but it’s not an easy fight.

We end up seeing everyone set up, a huge gunfight that a few don’t make it out of – some characters that we have known of for the better part of the story don’t survive and it’s a heartbreaking end to the installment.  I think that we all hope for a happy ending and then a lead in to the next book, so angst is always welcome.

So, my guess is that it’s Logan’s turn next since Hunter’s brother came up quite a bit here – we even got teasers of what has made him so closed off these past 5 years, so i can’t wait to see what’s up next.  Happy Friday everyone!

Review: City Afairs: My Quest for Love by Seb King

Title: City Affairs
Author: Seb King
Publisher/Year:  Revival Media 5/17/17
Length:   201 Pages

Overview

An epic tale of heartbreak, despair, hope and second chances, inspired by a real life story. Felicité has a reasonably successful career, working in London’s Canary Wharf financial district; and is a faithful, doting wife. Her husband is an author and serial cheater. After catching him cheating for the umpteenth time, she sets him an ultimatum. Meanwhile, a dreamy mega-rich hedge fund manager has been showering her with attention. A chance encounter one lunchtime will have profound ramifications beyond her wildest imagination, catapulting her into a voyage of self-discovery.

As she struggles to make sense of everything, she is forced to confront her inner demons and grapple with the difference between fate and destiny. A strange confluence of circumstances conspires to present her with her greatest dilemma yet

My Thoughts

first off – thank you to the folks @Netgalley for getting me a copy of this book – definitely one that’s a bit different than what i’ve been reading lately even in the genre.   I’ll start off by saying that i’m a bit mixed about this one.  The story itself is a good one, but i feel like it’s a bit over written in places – where the vocabulary and the banter is more high brown than it needs to be, even when it’s used to make a point.

That being said – we have at the core a sweet story about our female lead Lissie who has found herself in yet another bad situation with her husband – someone that she’s been married to for 3 years, but has caught cheating 4 times already.  When she crosses paths with Pierre – the fiance of a friend, well sparks are flying and that in itself leads to so much confusion.

When they go off on a joint holiday, we see that things are getting even more interesting.  Lissie wants to call her husband out on his indiscretions and Pierre wants to find a way to spend more time with Lissie.  So we can all imagine what that means right?

Throughout the rest of this story – we see Lissie grow a pair – she gives her husband an ultimatum, and then try to sort out how she can be her own woman while being ‘alone’ doesn’t really suit her.  Her mind is taken up 24/7 by Pierre yet she won’t allow that to be something that comes into reality….until she does.

He’s persistent, and his Dom side really takes us to the next level on that.  That’s actually kind of where this story goes a bit awry to me too.  I feel like he’s definitely the alpha dom, but he doesn’t seem to have the compassion and the emotion that we typically see from Doms.  There’s usually more of a reciprocated connected, and he still seems like a playboy who wants to have his slave and the women fawning over him.

So from there we see Lissie’s friends question his motives, we see some powerful people voice their concerns and then we see the proverbial shit hit the fan when people dig too deep in places they should stay out of.  What that means for everyone involves, Lissie, Pierre, Anne (the fiance), Laura (the PA) and well just about everyone else, well – you’ll have to read to find out.  It’s not where you expect the story to go – that’s for sure.  Happy Sunday all!

Review: The Flirtation (The Submissive #10) by Tara Sue Me

Title: The Flirtation
Author: Tara Sue Me
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group Publishing 8/8/17
Length:   196 Pages
Series:  The Submissive #10

Overview

Lynne has not wanted for anything since she began working as Nathaniel and Abby’s nanny—until the night they invite her to a group BDSM meeting. The abrupt breakup she had with her last Dom made her turn her back on the lifestyle, but now she’s ready to dive back in. When she starts chatting on online BDSM message boards, she’s shocked to discover Simon, her former Dom, is a frequent poster—and even more shocked at herself when she creates a secret identity and strikes up a conversation.

After messaging with a mysterious submissive online, Simon forms an immediate connection.  Lynne and Simon’s D/s relationship grows in intensity, but can their relationship survive after the truth is exposed, and Lynne’s identity is laid bare?

My Thoughts

I do love this series – and i really have to say that i’m impressed how our author Tara Sue Me is able to continue to come up with such dynamic stories with all of the characters – giving us things to think about that we never really put in the series before.  We knew of these characters before, and i think that it’s great to see them have their own story now.

So we have Lynne-  the girl who has become part of the West’s family – she’s their nanny – and this job found her at the perfect time since she was trying to figure herself out after a break up and between thoughts of the future.  It’s now when she’s got the chance to take summer classes to become a teacher that her past life and present blend together.

Enter Simon – another of the Dom’s in their circle – and the guy who broke Lynne’s heart.  He’s a sadist – and that’s not for everyone , and because of that, he’s often found himself wanting so much more and never getting it.  When he learns that Lynne is back in town, he starts to feel what he hasn’t in a while.

That’s when things get dicey.  Nathaniel has warned Simon to stay away from Lynne, and Lynne has this sense that she needs to prove to simon that she is a sub and can be what he wants.  When they both venture back to the same online chat group that brought them together in the past – the same chemistry is there – even if Simon doesn’t know that it’s Lynne he’s talking to.

I think that this is an interesting take on the story that we usually get from Tara Sue Me.  I feel like there’s always the underlying sense of trust that keeps the stories complex and exciting, but it’s always trust that was broken for other reasons.  not of their own doing.  In this case – Simon lied to Lynne about why he needed to break up with her, and she’s deceiving him into thinking that she’s someone else, so we all know that it’s going to implode and it’s just a matter of when.

Add to that a sub that now has it out for Simon since he’s not into her like she hopes-  and this same crazy girl is friends with Lynne – well we see that trust is certainly not the only thing keeping them apart.

Aside from that – we get everything that we hope for in this series.  Some incredible scenes between these two when they have a chance to get together.  We get to see the control that Simon has and the way that Lynne’s about to find herself and truly let go.  All that also leads to some incredibly steamy scenes- and the need for a cold shower.

So all in all, a great addition to this series and i can’t wait to see what’s next since we know the female lead and have seen how her story has been woven into the mix over the years.  Enjoy!

Review: All I Am (This Man #3.5) by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Title: All i Am
Author: Jodi Ellen Malpas
Publisher/Year: Grand Central Publishing 6/18/17
Length:   155 Pages
Series:  This Man #3.5

Overview

I thought I had control. I was so, so wrong…

I don’t need a relationship. I have Hux, a decadent club where I quench whatever raw desire I choose. I take pleasure and I give it – no strings attached. So when Raya Rivers comes in asking for someone cold, emotionless, and filthy… well, no man ever takes his wicked pleasure quite the way I do.
Only Raya is different. Vulnerable. And carrying some deep sorrow that gets past all my carefully constructed walls and inexplicably makes me care. Now craving controls me. Ice has given way to red-hot need.
But Raya has no idea about my other life – my real life. That I’m daddy to an adorable little girl. My two worlds are about to collide with the force of a supernova. Once Raya knows the truth, will she be able to accept all I am?

My Thoughts

I love the bigger series so it’s nice to have a novella that gives us a bit more about Drew since he was only teased in the other stories.  So here we get to know a bit more about his life with his daughter, the one that came around because of a woman who was out to lock another man into being with her.

His life has time for her only, and work, and perhaps a few of his best friends, so it’s not until he’s been requested at his BDSM club to help out a new sub in a cold, no intimacy relationship.  It’s what we’ve come to expect from him actually.

That woman, the one that’s requested him, Raya – has an interesting story to tell, and one that we don’t really get to learn about until half way through.  Their one night is exactly what they both need, but they both soon realize that maybe there’s more of a connection than either wanted or hoped for and that complicates things.

The journey here is really about seeing Drew open up his world while trying to be the best father that he can, and Raya being incredibly private about what she does, wants and where she’s going in life.  When paths cross again, seeing Drew as the man to sell Raya’s house and watching her walk out of his life forever,well we quickly learn what’s really important.

So as expected in a novella, it’s a quick read and not a story that gets too deep but it gives us something to enjoy.  We also get the tell tale signs of Ms Malpas, our great author who is able to weave a nice story while also making sure to keep it just the right about of hot and steamy.  I can’t wait to see what’s next.  Enjoy!

Review: You are Mine (Nine Circles #3) by Jackie Ashenden

Title: You Are Mine
Author: Jackie Ashenden
Publisher/Year: St Martin’s Press 10/6/15
Length:   304 Pages
Series:  Nine Circles #3

Overview

He’s master of the game.
Zac Rutherford is one of the most powerful and sought-after men in New York’s private club scene. Masterful and demanding, he attracts beautiful women willing to surrender to his every whim, every desire, and every command. But Zac is in love with one woman, and one woman only. She is his true passion-and sole obsession. A glorious angel in the flesh…who refuses to be touched by any man.

She doesn’t play by the rules.
Eva King owes her life to Zac. Seven years ago, he rescued her from darkness. Still, in spite of her attraction to Zac, she refuses to allow any man to touch her body, let alone her heart. But when a dangerous enemy from Eva’s past reappears, Zac is the only one who can save her-if she’s willing to bare her soul, shed her inhibitions, and surrender control…to him.

My Thoughts

This is yet another great continuation of the story that i’ve become quite engrossed with.  where we had Gabriel/Honor’s story and Alex/Katya, we know that things have to get messy with Zac and Eva.  the duo of the group that has a very interesting relationship and one that we know has so much more potential than what’s been revealed so far.

So where we left off in the series is with Katya/Alex coming back from Monte Carlo with information leading us to believe that it’s not Conrad who was in charge of all that’s bad and evil in the mission, but someone else – yet we don’t know who it is.  We do know that there’s a mercenary named Elijah who’s close to whoever is the ring leader who’s warning them all off from their investigation, but we also know that all these alpha males aren’t scared so easily.

Meaning that it falls into the lap of Eva who’s one of the best hackers out there and Zac who’s got more connections than we can imagine because of his security company and some of the mercenary work that he’d done in a past life.

The journey here is one where we see Zac come to terms with what he’s been doing for the past 7 years – protecting Eva because of what she went through, even though he doesn’t know the full extent.  They met through the fact that she was trying to hack into his computer system and needed to be saved so he did that and they’ve been close ever since.  Because their club doesn’t probe into what makes each person into who they are, no one has a clear sense of what it was, but with the nature of some of the stuff that we’ve uncovered, sex trafficking and the like, we start to put the pieces together to know that perhaps that’s what Eva was going through before she was saved.  The other bit too is that Zac isn’t just alpha, he’s a dom, and while that’s typical with this type of character, we know that he’s in love with Eva and wants to push her to open up even though he knows she’s terrified of all that.

So complicated isn’t even going to cover it.  He gives her tough love throughout the story in the hopes of breaking her open so she can overcome her fears – not just for herself but to help everyone figure out who’s behind the casinos and the murders etc.  She’s the one that can link it all since we learn that it’s likely the same man who held her captive.  When we learn what that link is, and a few twists along the way, we know that there’s potential for their world to be blown up even more.

Where we get the great abilities of our author is not just in the complexity of the story and how well it’s been interwoven between each installment in the series, but the different nature of this romantic/sexual relationship that we see bloom between Zac and Eva.  Each one of our couples has had their own niche – their unique bit to make it special, and this is no exception.  The way that Zac controls and over powers Eva is intense, taking away her ability to do anything aside from just experience and it’s hot.  I know that if it were me, i’d absolutely be into letting someone like Zac do all that stuff.  You even have to feel a bit bad for Eva because regardless of her tough exterior, she really has no chance.

The twist that we have through everything though is Elijah – he’s a wild card since he is employed by the man that they want to take down, yet he seems to be on the side of the Nine Circles.  I really haven’t figured that one out yet and i feel like there’s so much more to that story that we don’t even know.  I have to get into the 4th book since i feel like it’s going to get even dicier knowing that it’s not a nine circles member being drawn in, but the best friend of Honor – who’s got ties to the whole story as well.  So on that note – enjoy and have a great weekend!

ARC Review: At His Mercy (Forbidden Lovers #1) by Shelly Bell

Title: At His Mercy
Author: Shelly Bell
Publisher/Year: Grand Central Publishing 6/20/17
Length:   245 Pages
Series:  Forbidden Lovers #1

Overview

Angel in his arms . . . Devil at her heels

One last, no-strings night of indulgence. That’s all Tristan wants before he begins a much-needed new chapter in his life. Instead he finds an innocent angel in pink who brings him to his knees.

Isabella is done hiding from the world . . . and her haunting memories. Discovering courage in the arms of a perfect stranger, she finally lets go and sheds her inhibitions.

To Isabella’s shock, she soon learns that Tristan is more than her mystery man-he’s her professor. But Tristan isn’t the only person who’s found Isabella on campus. A dark figure from her past has come back for her. Now Tristan will risk anything to protect Isabella . . . even if it costs him his life.

My Thoughts

First off i should thank the folks at Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for giving me this ARC to read.  I”m a huge fan of discovering new authors and series and this one is definitely one that i’m intrigued to learn more about.

What we have here is an introduction to the world of Tristan and Isabella – 2 people who’ve had a really tough life so far because of people who they mistakenly trusted and well, now they are both guarded and jaded and really just looking to the end game professionally.  NOT romantically.

The story starts with a view about a year and a half in the past to ground us on what’s driving Isabella’s life.  She was almost killed by her jealous and mentally ill boyfriend and now as she’s trying to put her life back together, we see that it’s taking a few interesting turns.  The first being that she’s finally getting herself to college and the 2nd is her interest in exploring the BDSM lifestyle.

Thankfully for her, she’s got her cousin Dreama there to guide her into the lifestyle and when she’s brought to her first ever play party  – just days before she’s heading to college, she gets a surprise that she wasn’t expecting.  It was supposed to be an opportunity to enjoy a night with no strings and when a connection is made that shocks her to her core, well i think that we know things will get good from there.

Then there’s Tristan, a Dom who’s had a lot of turmoil from women in his life and is absolutely not looking for something more than just a night, and in the group of subs available at the party – not even that is interesting to him.  Until Isabella walks in.

What starts as a night turns into something more when Tristan shows up at Isabella’s college not just as a professor, but as the one that she’s due to be an assistant to.  So – you know sparks will fly.

If that weren’t enough in this story – knowing that you’re going to get some of the most intense scenes because first, she’s being introduced into the lifestyle and those scenes are often amazing but second because there’s so much chemistry between them that regardless of the fact that their situation is ‘forbidden’ – they still try to figure it out.

Add to that the fact that Isabella’s crazy ex may be getting out of his rehab program, and Tristan’s ex is trying to blackmail him again, and you know that there’s a lot of anxiety.  All wrapped up in this story is murder, suicide, multiple attempts on killing folks and well a twist that i sorts of figured out early on but had confirmed towards the end.  It was really nicely written and i can’t wait to see what’s next since i know that we’ll get a story on Ryder (Tristan’s best friend and business partner) or perhaps Dreama – Isabella’s cousin.  On that note – enjoy! and Happy Friday!

Review: Master Professor (Lessons from the Rack Series #1) by Tara Sue Me

Title: Master Professor
Author: Tara Sue Me
Publisher/Year: Penguin Publishing 4/4/17
Length:   304 Pages
Series:  Lessons from the Rack #1

Overview

Students are begging to be held after class…

Andie Lincoln is madly in love with Terrence Knight—her childhood friend-turned-Hollywood’s newest golden boy. But he’s a Dominant and wants her trained as a submissive before he’ll consider a relationship with her. He enrolls her at the RACK Academy with strict instructions for her teachers: Do whatever you need to, but don’t take her virginity.

Fulton Matthews, the director of incoming students, is enthralled by Andie. Though he questioned her enrollment at first, watching her discover her submissive nature is hotter than his most intense fantasy. Under his control, her sexual awakening brings him to his knees.

Yet they can go only so far. Andie belongs to another, and Fulton is bound by a contract that strictly forbids relationships between teachers and students. But when Terrence comes to collect his prize, Fulton discovers it’s not easy to let Andie go. . .

My Thoughts

I’m a huge fan of the other series that introduced me to our author and of course that means when a new one rolls around, i have to pick it up.  Like the intro to this story says, sometimes it’s both a blessing and a curse to start something new because you have all new characters to write about and intertwine yet you don’t have any of that continuity that sometimes helps a story along.

So in this first installment on a completely new journey, we meet Andie who is in a relationship with a guy who has been her best friend for years and is now something more.  As part of that more, she learns that he’s got a Dom side to him and that’s part of his life that she’s interested in learning about and exploring to see how she fits.  As part of that, she’s been granted entry into the best BDSM academy for the summer to learn about being a sub and if it’s who she is at the core.

It’s always interesting to me to see the dynamics of relationships with D/s characters.  we know for the most part that Doms Do Not share yet in this case, Terrance, Andie’s boyfriend is an actor and is on set filming so he’s ok sending her to the academy.  For me, i knew that it would scream Danger and of course that’s what we get from the moment go.

Enter Fulton – the professor that has been designated the instructor for the summer, and who has to write up the plan for Andie upon her arrival.  There’s animosity there of course and that means that there’s going to be some under lying chemistry to deal with.  So from the minute they meet, you can see that there’s something there – and it’s just a matter of time until we see how that something manifests.

Throughout this first book, we get to see Andie learn about the basics of being a sub and what the lifestyle includes.  There are some rather steamy scenes where she gets pushed beyond her limits but all in all rather PG 13 since she’s a virgin and has told the school that it will stay that way upon graduation.

What throws me of course is that we often see a lot more playing and kink when we have series that have ‘lessons’ in them – sub training schools and the like.  But in this case, in the style of our author, we get more of the character story and the emotions behind their actions.  It’s a nice change, since it makes this book less about the BDSM life persay and more about the relationships that these characters are building.

The twist of course comes when there’s a proposal, a stolen boat ending up with a hospital visit and a suspension.  All that need to happen in order to get us to a point of closure and discussion towards the end.

The nice thing that Tara Sue Me does for us, is that she sets up the whole sense of the next story in the book.  We know that there’s a dark and painful past for Lennox (the headmaster) and Mariela (another instructor) and we see that there’s something keeping them together while pushing them apart too.  (or vice versa).  personally i’m really desperate to find out what that means for them since it’s so complicated and complicated often means hot and steamy!!! Enjoy!