Review: Breach (Breach, #1), by K. I. Lynn

Breach (Breach, #1)Breach by K.I. Lynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is definitely one of those times when I find myself in the minority. Most of my friends loved ‘Breach’ and I, sadly, did not. I was really looking forward to reading this book and I was sure that it would be right up my alley after hearing about all of the steamy sex scenes that filled the pages. I love some smutty goodness, after all!

Unfortunately, there was little else but sex to fill the pages. From start to finish, this book was filled with pretty much nothing but sex scenes. I’m no prude, but they needed to give it a rest.

I’m the type of reader that needs a connection between characters — preferably before they jump into bed, but I can even work with a relationship that develops afterward. However, at some point they need to actually develop a strong connection. I need to be drawn into the story and feel a bond with the characters and their plight. Otherwise, the reading experience is more like being a bystander while two random strangers have lots of meaningless sex. It’s just pointless.

While some of the sex scenes had potential to be very hot, the lack of a connection to the characters and the storyline left me with a lackluster feeling. I just didn’t care. There was no build-up or anticipation. I never felt a strong connection with the characters and didn’t get the feeling that they ever felt a strong connection with each other. As a result, I never felt any type of emotional connection to the story and the “steamy” sex scenes fell flat for me.

I kept thinking that if the author spent half as much time on fleshing out the characters and the storyline as she did on the sex scenes that this story could be really good. Instead, every time I turned a page Delilah and Nathan were having sex again. Sex was the outcome of every single interaction these two had. Jealous? Have sex. Threatened? Have sex. Nervous? You guessed it – sex! It got to the point where it was tedious for me.

In the end, this book ended up being just mediocre for me. Some of the sex scenes were pretty good, but they were so gratuitous that even the good scenes induced eye-rolling. I listened to the Audible edition and found myself fast-forwarding through many sex scenes toward the end because I just couldn’t take anymore. I get it – they have LOTS of sex. I just needed more of a story to go along with it. That never happened.

The first book in the series, ‘Breach’ ends with a cliffhanger. Usually, that would send me diving right into the second book to see what happened. Although I’m in the minority with this one, I feel absolutely no desire to do so. Even with the “shocking” ending, I just couldn’t bring myself to care. All I felt was relief that finally something had happened that might make these two stop having sex and come up for air. Since I never felt anything for the main characters, I couldn’t bring myself to care where the story will lead. I’m glad so many friends have loved this one. It just didn’t work for me.

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Review: Truth (Consequences, #2), by Aleatha Romig

Truth (Consequences, #2)Truth by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While the ‘Consequences’ series is one of my all-time favorite series, ‘Truth’ is my absolute favorite book in the series. That isn’t to say that all of the books in this series aren’t wonderful — they are. However, this book is so damn great that I can’t even begin to express how much I love it.

I frequently find myself returning to this book and rereading my favorite parts. I’m a glutton for punishment that way. Never has a story made me feel more conflicted…or more addicted, than the story of Tony and Claire. I just cannot get enough of this screwed up, controversial and suspenseful story.

After the huge upset at the end of ‘Consequences’, it is no surprise that ‘Truth’ takes Claire and Tony’s story in a new direction. So much has changed. Yet, so much remains the same.

While many of Claire’s actions continue to be irrational and perplexing, I am so glad that Aleatha Romig dreamed up her character. Otherwise, I would have never experienced this phenomenal story. While all rational thought should send Claire running as far away from Tony as she can get, I’m so glad that she continues to defy all reason and repeatedly engages in his games. I cannot get enough of it!

In comparison to her demeanor in ‘Consequences’, ‘Truth’ shows a more independent and strong-minded version of Claire. She is no longer trapped at Tony’s mansion, at the mercy of his violent whims. This book sees Claire pursue more of an “offensive” approach to her interactions with Tony, whereas Claire had previously been limited to a sort of passive resistance.

Nevertheless, Tony is not one to be out-maneuvered. Time and time again, he proves that he is still in control. The back and forth antics of Tony and Claire keeps me flipping the pages every time I read this book.

Even though I should hate Tony, I just can’t. That is the beauty of this series. In fact, as “truths” are revealed and more of his horrendous actions come to light, I find myself trying to fight a stronger pull to him. He is the epitome of an anti-hero. I love him more, despite all reason, with each new detail shared. I can relate to Claire in that regard.

This second book in the series begins a slow unveiling of Tony’s motivations. Little by little, Claire begins to unearth details of a their families’ shared past. The depth of Tony’s hunger for revenge is astounding. Claire tries to gather clues to figure out exactly where she fits into the picture.

This book was jam-packed with information. Blink and you’ll miss something. Each time I read it, I pick up on something else that I overlooked before.

Not only are “truths” revealed in this book, but new mysteries surface. For every question answered, more questions arise. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Once again, Claire finds herself in danger. Only this time, the person trying to harm her is unknown. Is Tony really trying to turn over a new leaf or is he up to his old tricks? Can Claire ever trust him after everything that he’s done? Is there somebody else that wants to do her harm?

In addition to all of the facts that are unveiled in this book, the introduction of several new characters makes for a multi-dimensional story. Claire finds an unlikely friend in Amber, the fiancée of her recently deceased ex-boyfriend. Amber’s brother, Harry, also plays a pivotal role in this book, helping Claire adjust to her new life. Phil, a private investigator hired by Tony, also ends up being a key player this time around. The introduction of Derek and Sophia Burke adds yet another layer to this story, while familiar characters like Courtney and Brent evolve further.

I don’t want to give too much away, as I believe that this series should be experienced. I cannot begin to coherently state how much I love this series, or why. It is simply spectacular!

If you like darker reads, full of suspense, romance and mystery, then this is one is a must-read. You have to go into it with an open mind though. This story is not for those with “triggers” related to abuse, etc. It is full of controversial, offensive subject matter. However, if you love stories that mess with your head and make you step outside of your comfort zone, then you don’t want to miss it.

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Review: Heart Recaptured (Hades Hangmen, #2), by Tillie Cole

Heart Recaptured (Hades Hangmen, #2)Heart Recaptured by Tillie Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Fantastic Book In The Hades Hangmen Series!

Picking up where “It Ain’t Me, Babe” left off, “Heart Recaptured” focuses on the story of Lilah and Ky. Unlike Mae, Lilah had no desire to flee the religious cult that she had been raised within. She still holds strongly to her beliefs and teachings of the cult leaders.

Ky is immediately attracted to Lilah’s beauty, but isn’t prepared to deal with her extreme religious beliefs. He’s a man unaccustomed to having his advances turned down or having to work to gain the affections of a woman. Ky can’t begin to comprehend the depth of her beliefs, anymore than she can comprehend the strange and frightening ways of life outside of the cult compound.

When Ky is assigned to teach Lilah about the world outside of the compound in order to help her make the transition into her new reality, both of them are pushed out of their comfort zones. The more time the two spend together, the stronger their attraction grows. Ky quickly becomes Lilah’s protector and gains her trust. Little by little, she begins to come out of her shell.

Despite it all, Lilah still hangs on to the belief that her beauty is a curse and that she is evil. The long-standing impact of the cult’s teachings and her subsequent self-loathing was incredibly sad. She is deeply scarred and, at times, seems entirely incapable of moving on with her life.

Eventually, the cult, now led by Prophet Cain (Rider), makes a reappearance. She is thrust back into a world that she thought she had wanted, only to then recognize how much she’d grown to love her new life and to question the validity of the cult’s teachings. Submitted to unspeakable horrors, she eventually finds her personal salvation.

It becomes apparent that Prophet Cain is no longer the kind-hearted Rider that we loved in the first book. He has forsaken his morality in exchange for power. He has become a passive bystander to the cruelties and perversions of the cult. While he may be conflicted, he lacks the strength to stand up for what he knows to be right, looking the other way as atrocities are committed in the name of God. In his role as their leader, he has become a follower, nothing more than a puppet for the cult elders. With his obsession for Mae still burning strong, there is no doubt that we’ll be seeing more of Prophet Cain in the future.

Ms. Cole’s storytelling continues to amaze me. This story is captivating and deeply disturbing. I am completely enthralled with these characters and the strength of these women. I cannot wait for the next book in this series to see what lies in store for Flame, Maddie and the rest of the characters we’ve been introduced to along the way.

Spectacular book!

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Review: Rebel (Dead Man’s Ink, #1), by Callie Hart

Rebel (Dead Man's Ink, #1)Rebel by Callie Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ever since reading the ‘Blood & Roses’ series, I’ve wanted to get the full story of Alexis, Sloane’s kidnapped sister. Finally, I got around to reading ‘Rebel’ after having it sit on my shelf for a while. Although it wasn’t exactly what I expected, it was a fantastic story.

Despite my initial impression from the ‘Blood & Roses’ series, Alexis wasn’t in the possession of the human traffickers for long. Kidnapped after witnessing a murder, she is auctioned off quickly. Luckily, she is purchased by the nephew of the man that she saw murdered. Her decision to try and help a stranger may have placed her in danger, but ultimately, it saved her also.

For most of this book, Alexis (aka Sophia) is trying to stay alive. She doesn’t fully understand what it is that her latest captor wants from her. She just knows that she needs to keep her family safe, which means keeping her real identity a secret.

Once she figures out that her new “owner”, Rebel, isn’t going to rape her or pimp her out, she begins to get to know him. Despite her best efforts, she cannot deny that she has a strong attraction to the outlaw biker. Eventually, they act on their attraction.

Although I already knew many of the facts surrounding Alexis and Rebel’s story from the ‘Blood & Roses’ series, this book began to fill in the details. My perception of Alexis changed drastically after reading this book. No longer, do I view her as a selfish, spoiled and uncaring person, as I did before. This book made me look at her actions from a different vantage point.

Overall, this was a great story! It did end with a big cliffhanger, so brace yourself. I listened to the audible version and the next book has not been released in that format yet. As soon as it is out, I’ll be continuing this series.

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Review: The Knight (Endgame, #2), by Skye Warren

The KnightThe Knight by Skye Warren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

***I was provided an ARC of this book in exchange for honest feedback.***

I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see an ARC land on my shelf! When ‘The Knight’ showed up, I did a happy dance and squealed like a preteen girl! I just had to know where things would go between Avery and Gabriel. I dropped everything and dived right in to this book.

Picking up where ‘The Pawn’ left off, Avery is heartbroken and destitute. She is living in a rundown motel on the bad side of town, where her sleepless nights are spent listening to the prostitute next door service her many Johns. She is definitely at a low point in her life.

The only thing that seems to be spurring her on is her fury. Avery is determined to get her mother’s house back, even if that means going up against Gabriel. She refuses to let him get the best of her again.

Luckily for me, Avery is not quite as resolute in her decision to ward off Gabriel. The two cannot seem to resist one another, regardless of the pain and heartache that is bound to follow. Although they have fewer interactions in this book than they did in ‘The Pawn’, their electric connection is still there and every bit as strong.

If I thought that Gabriel’s motivations were unclear in the first book, they prove to be even more elusive in ‘The Knight’. For most of this book, he was outright cruel and callous in his treatment of Avery. I spent a fair amount of time questioning whether he every really cared about Avery, or if he really did only see her as a tool for his revenge. Not knowing kept me on the edge of my seat throughout this book.

Supporting characters, such as Avery’s best friend and her ex-fiancé, return in ‘The Knight’ and play a more pivotal role in the story. Likewise, a couple of new characters are introduced that have me intrigued. I’m very curious to see if they will get their own books later on, down the road. I’d love to hear more of their stories.

Avery’s mother also plays a more central role in this book. It becomes clear that there is far more of her story to be unveiled. The circumstances of her life and death are very mysterious. I am sure that this enchanting woman’s story will be utterly captivating. I am hopeful that her story will be told in the next book of this series.

Like ‘The Pawn’, this book does end with a bit of an upset. ‘The Knight’ answers all of my questions about Gabriel and Avery, only to plant new seeds of doubt about her mother and the source of the danger that follows Avery. I don’t want to give too much away, but you will want the next book immediately.

I can not get enough of this series! I am 100%, completely addicted. If you like suspenseful, angsty and emotionally-charged romances with a bit of darkness, I highly recommend this series.

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Review: Marriage Games (Games, #1), by C. D. Reiss

Marriage Games (Games, #1)Marriage Games by C.D. Reiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I first starting seeing all of the glowing reviews for this book, I was curious. Since reading many mediocre BDSM books in the wake of the success of ‘Fifty Shades of Gray’, I have kind of steered clear of that particular trope. With the exception of a few, really dark stories, the BDSM novelty has pretty much worn off for me.

So, when I saw that this book focused largely on that particular topic, I put it on the back burner again. As the stellar reviews from friends kept rolling in, I eventually succumbed to my curiosity and decided to give it a shot. I’m glad that I did. ‘Marriage Games’ ended up being a great story.

Diane has left her husband, Adam. She literally dumped her husband with a “Dear John” letter, left in their loft for him to find. Poor Adam thought that everything was fine in their marriage. She never mentioned any problems or told him that she was unhappy. Man, was he ever wrong.

As the two grapple with the details of their impending divorce, Adam gets back in touch with a side of himself that he had suppressed while he was with Diane…his Dominant side. Adam had lived his life as a Dom before meeting Diane. When he met her, he wanted her so badly that he lived a vanilla existence to keep her, believing that she would be put off by his dominant inclinations.

Fast-forward a few years and Diane is bored to death with her marriage. The loss of a pregnancy and the grief that followed have changed the dynamics of their relationship and made Diane question what she really wants. Adam and Diane are more like roommates than lovers and Diane feels like she is dying a slow death, suffocating in the rote routine of their daily lives together. When she comes to the realization that she isn’t in love with her husband any longer, she decides that it is time for a divorce.

Adam is completely blindsided by Diane’s letter. He adores his wife and is deeply in love with her. He is devastated by her abrupt decision to leave him. When he seeks out the guidance of his good friend and mentor, Charlie, another Dom, he devises a plan to help him get over Diane.

Adam has never believed himself capable of loving a submissive. What drew him to Diane was her strength and resilience. She challenged him and didn’t back down. While he loves the sexual games he plays with his subs, he’s never been able to develop feelings for them, beyond the concern you would have for a friend.

In order to get Diane out of his system, he proposes that she give him 30 days at his private BDSM getaway. If she serves him as his submissive for those 30 days, he will sign over full ownership of their business. Then, Diane will get what she wants and so will Adam.

Diane agrees and so the story begins.

I have to say that I enjoyed this story much more than I had anticipated. Even though I read some fantastic reviews, I was really expecting another over-hyped BDSM story that fit the mold of so many books before it. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book stirred genuine emotions and held my interest from start to finish.

As Adam and Diane explored their sexual tastes and boundaries, the growing intimacy was unmistakable. However, the betrayal and hurt that Diane had inflicted with her rash decision was also unavoidable. It seemed like they took one step forward and two back. As Diane grew closer, Adam grew more distant. They couldn’t ever seem to get on the same page where their marriage was concerned.

On top of everything else, Adam’s ex-sub is also on the property. Now subbing for one of the “friends” that co-owns the property with him, she clearly wants Adam back. At every turn, she manipulates the situation to commandeer Adam’s attention away from Diane.

This leads to some very tense and emotionally charged situations. My heart broke for Diane, even as I knew that she was only reaping what she had sowed. Often times, I felt that Adam was intentionally callous in his handling of the situation. It was like he wanted to hurt Diane, which I suppose he did.

All things considered, I thought it was a great story. There are still some things related to the BDSM genre that make me cringe, particularly the degradation and humiliation aspects. However, I did enjoy this story quite a bit.

It ends with a cliffhanger and I wanted to jump right in to the second book. Having listened to the Audible edition of ‘Marriage Games’, I was disappointed to find that the second book, ‘Separation Games’ was not out in Audible format yet. That is something that you may want to keep in mind if you’re considering listening to this series. The narration was great, but I had to switch to the Kindle edition for the second book, which peeved me.

I like to start and finish a series in the same format. That being said, I’m sure if I’d been willing to wait a short while, it would have been released in the audiobook format. I guess it says something about how good this book was that I wasn’t willing to wait to finish the series.

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Review: Razing Grace: Razing Grace Part 1 (The Devil’s Own, #3), by Amo Jones

Razing Grace: Razing Grace Part 1Razing Grace: Razing Grace Part 1 by Amo Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wow! Where do I even start with this one? As my friend Alicia said, this book was a hot mess.

I told myself I would read this one last book in ‘The Devil’s Own’ series, since I was so curious about how things worked out for Millie at the end of book two. This author has a way of hooking me with an ending that leaves me wanting more…even after reading a book that is mediocre, at best. It is quite incredible really.

Not this time though. Despite the huge cliffhanger at the end of this book that left me with unanswered questions and a mild curiosity, I refused to get sucked back in again. I’m hanging it up!

If you’ve read ‘Hellraiser’, then you know that Melissa’s sister, Millie, has been kidnapped by The Army. That is where this book picks up. Sweet Millie, the nun, is being held captive. She doesn’t know why they want her, or to what end, but she adjusts to her captivity pretty quickly.

Tripp, aka Raze, aka Executioner, aka 000, is in charge of “breaking’ her, along with five or six of his Army friends. Every day they show up wearing their assigned Halloween mask and torment Millie…with pleasure, of course! Yes, Millie has been abducted by assassin/gigilos who aim to please!

Tripp allows his friends, at multiple points in the story, to use and molest Millie. Yet, despite that, we’re supposed to believe that he has some sort of protective, possessive claim on her. Say what? It just didn’t ring true to me.

Top that off with the fact that he takes Millie to his house, only to have her cohabitate with his “two” girlfriends. Wow! That’s romantic. What a stand-up guy! He actually flaunts his sex with his play thing in front of Millie’s face at every opportunity. Can you say, true love?

Believe it or not, I could actually overlook some of that. I’m that disturbed individual that loves an asshole in my stories. As long as he grovels, I can forgive just about anything. In fact, the more horrible he is, the better! I love a hero that can rip my heart out and then has to spend some time atoning for his sins.

What I couldn’t overlook were the plot holes the size of the Grand Canyon…or the obvious lack of basic research…or the ridiculous, over-the-top scenarios. For example, the setting is in the Las Vegas area. At one point, Millie is looking out the window at Tripp’s yard. She describes the green grass and trees that don’t require landscaping. It’s been a few years since I went to Vegas, but grass and deciduous trees are not part of the natural topography. Just sayin’. Sandbox is more like it, dotted with mesquite bushes and cacti.

The lack of attention to detail was apparent throughout the book. Tripp and Millie’s first sex scene was one of the worst. Her hands were handcuffed behind her back…you know, above her ass. Then, while cuffed, he stands her up, bends her over and tells her to grab her ankles. Even worse, the author acknowledges that her hands are cuffed and tries to somehow explain that “I didn’t realize just how flexible I am until my fingers are wrapping around my ankles with ease”. That I’d love to see! Did she dislocate both shoulders and swing them around over her head?

Perhaps the biggest plot hole is the fact that all of the events in the preceding book were completely ignored. It was as if Tripp and his buddies didn’t beat Millie’s sister nearly to death when they kidnapped Millie. Nope. It is like it never even happened.

In fact, when Tripp requests a meeting with The Devil’s Own members, they are happy to oblige. No hard feelings. Not even a mention of the fact that he had put Hella’s old lady into a coma. It was like they were all one big, happy, criminal family. I couldn’t believe how absurd it was!

Like the earlier books in the series, this one ends in a manner that has made me wonder what is going to happen next. However, I refused to get sucked in again. I’m not spending any more money or time on this series.

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Review: Caged, by D. H. Sidebottom

Caged (Caged, #1)Caged by D.H. Sidebottom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Whew! It’s been a few days since I finished this book and I still cannot get it out of my mind. This book was hands-down one of the best books I’ve read this year! I read it to pass some time between the new releases I was waiting for. Honestly, I didn’t expect much. Man, was I ever wrong! This book blew me away!

I’m not going to provide a summary this time around, because I don’t want to give anything away. The blurb provides a quick glimpse of the very basic components of the story. However, don’t let the blurb fool you, this book is about so much more than a brutal MMA fighting ring. In fact, the MMA aspects of the story are not a major component at all.

This book is dark, twisted, and everything that I love in a story. Nothing is what it seems. I thought I had everything figured out, but I didn’t know anything.

If you like a story that will take you on a suspenseful, disturbing journey, this one is a fantastic choice. This book elicited such raw emotion that my head was spinning. I cringed. I cried. I fell in love with the characters and I hated them.

This is one of those books that will hang with you. It does end with a huge twist, but the next book is due out in July, so the wait isn’t supposed to be too long. Without a doubt, I will one-click that baby the minute it’s available!

I don’t want to give anything away. Just read this book!

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Review: Into the Light, by Aleatha Romig

Into the Light (The Light, #1)Into the Light by Aleatha Romig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As always, Ms. Romig has weaved an intricate web of deception that has completely captivated me. Nobody writes an antihero better than she does. Each of her books leaves me a twisted up, confounded and conflicted mess…and I love it!

This book tells the story of Stella and Sara, two seemingly different women with vastly different lives. One woman is fiercely independent and focused on her career. The other lives a life of submission, with virtually no control over her own life.

Stella is an investigative reporter looking for clues to her best friend’s disappearance. When she begins to dig deeper, she begins to unearth some disturbing facts about the number of females that have disappeared, or been murdered, in the area. She places herself in dangerous situations, causing her detective boyfriend to grow increasingly concerned.

Sara wakes up in a hospital following a bad car accident. She has no recollection of her life or any of the events preceding the accident. By her side from the time she awakens is a man she doesn’t remember, but who claims to be her husband, Jacob. She struggles to re-learn the ways of her life and the religious teachings of their community leader, Father Gabriel.

From beginning to end, I was completely absorbed in this story. I couldn’t read it fast enough, only to curse myself once it was over. This book blew my mind!

I thought I knew exactly what was going on pretty early on, but I was wrong. By about halfway I had figured part of the plot twist out, but had to await confirmation. However, I never figured it all out. This book surprised me around every corner.

I won’t say much more because I don’t want to give anything away. This is a book that needs to be experienced firsthand. It is hands-down, one of my favorite books of the year! I highly recommend this book. It is phenomenal!

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Review: Sugar Daddy (Sugar Bowl,#1), by Sawyer Bennett

Sugar Daddy (Sugar Bowl, #1)Sugar Daddy by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! I loved this one! This book had my full attention from start to finish, so much so that I found myself sneaking in a few pages every chance I could get while vacationing with my family. I couldn’t help myself, it was that good!

As you can gather from the blurb, this book centers on a woman’s quest for revenge. Sela Halstead was only sixteen years of age when she was drugged and brutally raped by a group of men at a party. This event left her broken and sent her life into a downward spiral, resulting in a suicide attempt, psychiatric hospitalizations and years of counseling.

When Sela sees one of her rapists, Jonathon Townsend, on TV ten years later, she sets out to kill him. In order to get to him, she decides to infiltrate his life through his company, a dating service that connects rich, older guys with younger, beautiful women. If becoming a “sugar baby” is what she has to do to get close enough to kill him, she’s more than willing to do it.

Although she fails to hold JT’s interest when she first sees him again, she draws the attentions of his business partner, Beckett North. Willing to use him to get closer to JT, Sela does not anticipate that she will fall in love with Beck. Eventually, she must choose whether her need for revenge or her love for Beck is stronger.

I absolutely loved this story! Sela and Beck were perfect together. As their relationship grew increasingly intimate, there was a sense of impending doom in the background. I knew that the truth would come out and that there would be hell to pay when it did. I just wanted to live with Sela and Beck in the perfect little bubble that had been created. I was terrified, waiting for that bubble to pop.

When things finally hit the fan, it got ugly quick. I am still reeling from the ending of this book. I feel devastated and heartbroken. I am so damn angry, even though I knew it would happen.

Now, I’m anxiously awaiting the release of the second book as I enviously read the reviews of friends that were lucky enough to get an ARC. I am dying to continue this story and find out what happens. Please, let there be some serious groveling in Beck’s future. I hate it when the hero gets off easy after behaving terribly.

The minute the next book is released I’m dropping everything. I love it! I love it! I love it!

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