Category Archives: hot hero

The End of the Innocence (Innocence #3)

end of the innocenceThe End of the Innocence
by Alessandra Torre
Published by the author
Genre: erotica, romance 
Thanks to NetGalley for the copy
4 / 5

 

All good things must come to an end, and so it is time to bid a fond arrivederci to Brad De Luca.

Pardon me while I doff my nonexistent wig and observe a moment of silence.

Surely by this time – SURELY, faithful readers – you have read Blindfolded Innocence and Masked Innocence, the first two of the trilogy. (Yep. Another trilogy. I’m about to give up that fight, kids.) And sure – SURELY – you are acquainted with Brad De Luca.

If you aren’t, shame on you. Don’t you dare call yourself an erotica fan.

When last we left Brad (le sigh) and Julia, they were newly engaged and celebrated as only Brad knows how to celebrate: by rockin’ that headboard right into the stratosphere.

The engagement was precipitated by Brad’s mafioso family’s death warrant for Julia, but it isn’t as if Brad doesn’t want to marry her. He does. He loves her. They connect on a level he hasn’t enjoyed with his previous liaisons (including an ex-wife), and Julia challenges him, adores him, and loves him. Sure, there is the tried and true erotica age differential, but I can forgive it this time because it’s BRAD DE LUCA.

Anyway.

Brad and Julia find themselves navigating more domestic terrain in Book 3. They have to tell her family about their engagement, and then there is the niggling little detail about Brad’s. Does Daddy De Luca still want to off Julia?

Fortunately, the headboard rockin’ remains scorching hot. Brad and Julia’s forays into threesomes continues, and their couple sexy times are fabulous as well. The plot … well, it’s flimsy, as has been the case throughout the series. But who cares? It’s BRAD DE LUCA! Plot? Take me straight to the bedroom. Or the massage table. Or the back room at the bar.

Take me anywhere Brad is getting naked.

Torre includes a note at the end regarding Brad and Julia’s “happily ever after.” I thought the ending as-is works well and fits the story, but Torre realizes that some readers will want more closure. She includes a link to an additional scene that you can read online.

As much as I will miss Brad, it’s time to send him off. Torre is smart. She knows that it’s better to leave us wistfully sighing over her hero rather than wear out his welcome.

I enjoyed this series. It’s been a pleasure to read about two people who embrace their idea of – and need for – pleasure, especially such a delightfully deviant sort of pleasure.

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Wanted: A Most Wanted Novel

wantedWanted (A Most Wanted Novel)
by J. Kenner
Published by Bantam
352 pages
Genre: erotica 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 / 5

 

Having enjoyed J. Kenner’s Stark Trilogy, I was excited to read this if for no other reason than J. Kenner knows how to write some hot headboard rockin’. Plots? Well, I did not always love her leading lady in the Stark books, but I did enjoy Damien Stark and that hot headboard rockin’. 

Like, a lot.

Strap on your vibrators, girls, because this one is not a let down in the bedroom. Or any place sex occurs.

Okay, the plot. Angelina, also known as Angie, also known as Lina, is mourning the death of her beloved Uncle Jahn, but perhaps even more than that, she’s looking forward to seeing Evan Black at Jahn’s memorial. From the moment Angie set eyes on him when she was 16 and he four years older, she has wanted him. WANTED.

The thing is, though, Evan tended to act like she was an annoying kid sister and not someone he wanted back. Angie’s got herself a boyfriend now – if you call someone you’ve had sex with three times a boyfriend – and then there is the whole “Uncle Jahn told me not to date you” thing that apparently applies to both Angie and Evan. But at the memorial, Evan gives her a Look.

And that Look says, “I want you naked and bent over the couch.”

At least Angie thinks so. Hopes so. Wants it to be so.

Much like Kenner’s Stark protagonist, Nikki Fairchild, Angie is struggling to get over a sad past. And like Nikki, she needs to have a painful outlet. Nikki was a cutter, Angie is a thief. Again, this is not pursued vigorously enough to make us care, although Kenner does use it as a means by which Angie and Evan sort of come together.

But can they be together? Really? Because Uncle Jahn appeared to not want them to, and there is the eensy matter of Angie’s “boyfriend,” who happens to be an FBI agent bent on bringing down Evan.

So there’s your plot. Now let’s talk about what we’re all here for: the sex.

It is amazingly hot. Evan enjoys dominating his lady friends, and Angie is up for indulging him. She even finds that she enjoys it. One point of contention: for a man who claims he enjoys it rough and hard, Evan seems perfectly content engaging in more traditional headboard rockin’. This same issue held forth with Damien Stark. I’m not saying that these Dominants need to tie up their bed partners every time, but that ought to out number the vanilla, non?

Suffice it to say that Evan knows how to please a woman, and bless J. Kenner for filling us in on just how well he does it.

This is the first of YET ANOTHER trilogy. Again, please. Let’s just write them without having them come in trifectas, okay? Evan has two chums, and it appears that the next two will focus on his. In that case, I find this trilogy idea less offensive than others.

And if Evan’s pals are as … um … capable as he is, I’m all in.

 

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All He Needs (review and Book Blitz)

All He NeedsAll He Needs (All or Nothing, Part 2)
by C. C. Gibbs
Published by Forever
432 pages
Genre: erotica, women’s literature
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
5 / 5

 

First, an apology. I wrote this review and scheduled it to be published on the wrong day. I missed the cut-off for the Book Blitz raffle, and for that I apologize.

But my neglect is in no way a reflection of my feelings about this book, because I LOVED IT.

This is the follow-up to All He Wants, and apparently the second of a trilogy. As with its predecessor, one of the things I love about how C.C. Gibbs writes is her dialogue. When Dominic and Kate talk to each other, their conversations are real. They crack with lust, arousal, intrigue, wit, and, occasionally, anger and frustration. And I love reading them.

Having said that, there are a few in this one that were a little difficult to follow. Sometimes I wasn’t always sure what Kate or Dominic was so angry about.

But I digress. Let’s discuss what this book is about.

When we left our happy couple, they had split up. Dominic left Kate (in Hong Kong? I can’t remember), and then she left as well. Who left whom? Well, apparently it matters to the two of them, because they bicker over it.

Kate is back in Boston, working on cyber espionage, and Dominic is mastering the universe, and each of them is trying to forget the other. But that doesn’t happen. It can’t happen. Dominic’s micro-managing knows no bounds, and he is always aware of what Kate is doing and where. When the threat of a Ukranian mafia holds a potential threat, Dominic assigns protection to her. And then he flies to her in Singapore, determined to reconnect.

And by “reconnect,” I mean rock that headboard into next month.

It doesn’t take long for them to be back together, battling verbally and occasionally physically. They challenge each other constantly, with the biggest obstacle their mutual leeriness of a real relationship. Naturally, as soon as they get close, something comes up and attempts to wreck everything.

Yes, I adore Dominic. And I adore Kate. And I want the third book, like, NOW. Although, to be honest, the way this one ends, part of me doesn’t want it to go on. I don’t want more trouble for the two of them.

Still, though, those sexy times. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because you will need a release after reading the sexy times.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All He Needs by C.C. Gibbs (Forever Trade Paperback; 9781455528332; $12.00)

Neither Kate nor Dominic intended for their affair to be more than casual.  The pleasure they found together was supposed to be fleeting, but while neither is willing to admit it-the passion between them is something they both desperately need.  Caught in a tumultuous battle with his emotions, Dominic can’t fight he desires… or stay away from Kate.  And while Kate knows that being with Dominic means giving up some of her long held control, letting go never felt so right.

 

About the Author

C.C. Gibbs is the pen name of a New York Times bestselling author. She lives in the Midwest, at times in Northern California, is married with three children and considers the life of a writer the best of all possible worlds. Bringing characters to life allows her imagination full rein, while the creative process offers fascinating glimpses into the machinery of the mind. And last but not least, researching anything, but particularly a book like ALL HE DESIRES–thank you Google–is great fun!

 

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads 

Buy Links for ALL HE NEEDS (Book #2 in the All or Nothing Trilogy):
Amazon
B&N
Bookish
IndieBound

Buy Links for ALL HE WANTS (Book #1 in the All or Nothing Trilogy):
Amazon
B&N
Bookish
IndieBound

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A Q&A unpublished teaser with Dominic Knight

Max Roche, Dominic’s ADC and right hand man, shut the door behind him as he entered Dominic’s Paris office. “The Rolling Stone reporter’s here and she looks as though she’s interested in more than an interview. Short skirt, thigh high boots, make up for a photo shoot and unless I miss my guess, a Brazilian wax job just in case she gets lucky.”

“Great,” Dominic grumbled. “And I have to be polite.”

“If you want that nice puff piece on your new record label acquisition, you do.”  Max smiled faintly. “It’s not as though you haven’t been turning down women since you left Hong Kong. One more–what the hell. You’ve had plenty of practice.”

Dominic lifted one brow. “Keeping track?”

Max shrugged. “How could I not?  You’ve been a fucking monk.”

No way he was going to discuss his personal feelings. Dominic nodded. “Okay, show her—what’s her name?”

“Miss Lacey Milano.”

Dominic’s eyes widened briefly. “Tell me she’s not a stripper.”

“Christ no. Ivy league, wasp family, trust fund.”

“Shit, maybe that’s worse.” Dominic sighed. “But all for a good cause, right?”

“If you want those fine old sound tracks to get out in the world, who better than Rolling Stone for promo.”

“Gotcha. But interrupt me in fifteen minutes with a phone call I have to take. In the meantime I’ll try to keep her on topic.”

“That shouldn’t be too hard. This music is a passion of yours.”

“Damn right.” Dominic nodded. “Okay, I’m ready.”

Max escorted the reporter into Dominic’s office, made introductions, then left, closing the door softly behind him.

It wasn’t as though Dominic hadn’t seen hundreds of women approach him much like Miss Milano. Long-legged stride to show off her legs, small hip swing in invitation, a smile that was offering more than a greeting—and that little flick of her hand to brush her long blonde hair over her shoulder. Seriously. Familiar as hell.

But his voice was bland and his smile polite as he said, “How nice to meet you, Miss Milano. Max tells me you’re one of Rolling Stone’s prominent contributing editors.  I’m honored.” He indicated a black leather chair across the desk from him. “Please make yourself comfortable.”

“The honor’s all mine, Mr. Knight.”

Jesus, was that a wink?  “Dominic, please,” he said, his face expressionless.

“In that case, Dominic, call me Lacey.”  She pronounced his name very, very softly.

Fuck. She didn’t waste any time. “I’m excited about the amazing array of artists we’ll be re-introducing to the world,” Dominic said, staying on topic. “I hope you had a chance to listen to at least some of the tracks.” Dominic’s company had remastered and restored 800 tracks of the pre-1930 defining generation of blues and jazz artists. It was an act of love on Dominic’s part.

“Of course. You needn’t worry, I’ll write an elaborate tribute to both you and the artists you’ve preserved. But I’d rather talk about you and your many, global businesses.” She smiled sweetly. “I’ve done my research.”

“I understand. Ask away.” He never said no, nor did he ever answer definitely. His life wasn’t for public consumption.

“When did you make your first million?”

If he had a dime for every time he’d been asked that question, he could retire. But his voice was mild when he replied. “If you did your research you know I inherited my uncle’s fortune when I was sixteen. But I made my own first million day trading while I was still in high school.”

“Then you bought a small software start up.”

He smiled. “Start ups are practically a way of life in the Bay Area.”

“But everyone doesn’t pick the right ones.”

“I was lucky.”

“So modest.”

He shrugged. “A certain amount of luck is involved in building a large enterprise.  I’ve had my share.”

“I was wondering if your wife was involved in your businesses? From my research, it’s clear that she was a formidable fund raiser for any number of charities. You met on Everest, didn’t you?”

He frowned slightly. “I don’t talk about my private life.”

“Forgive me, but the world at large certainly talks about it.”  She slowly crossed her legs. “You have a reputation that isn’t exclusively about business.”

“Much exaggerated,” Dominic smoothly replied, giving Max points for his Brazilian comment. Miss Milano wasn’t wearing panties. “Rumor and gossip sell magazines and tabloids. I ignore them.”

“Including the two women who filed paternity suits against you? Or was it three?”

Bitch. But his smile couldn’t have been improved on by angels on high. “They all lost in court as you know. My fortune attracts frivolous law suits. There’ll be more.”

“I do apologize.” She dipped her head in deference. “I hope I haven’t angered you. Some men take offense at assertive women.”  She looked at him with wide-eyed innocence. “I’m going to blame my editor for that last question.”

“Don’t worry. I’m hard to offend.” He tapped the back of the hand resting on his desk with his index finger. “Thick skin.”

Oh God, such large lovely hands and long, slender fingers. She took a deep breath.

He could see it coming.

“Would you have time for a drink with me?”

Her words came out in a wild rush.

His smile was instant. “Certainly.”  Dominic rose from his chair. “What would you like?”

“Vodka. Two ice cubes. Your distillery if you don’t mind.”

“Not at all,” he said, moving toward the drinks table across the room. “You certainly have done your research. That’s a very new acquisition.”

“I’ve read just ‘everything’ about you. You’re a fascinating man.”

“Not really. I just work, sleep, then work some more.”  He knew he’d made a mistake using the word, sleep, because he immediately heard her soft foot fall on the carpet and when next she spoke, she was right behind him.

“Might I request a small portion of your sleep time,” she said, breathy and low, running her hand up his back. “I promise to leave whenever you wish.”

He dropped two ice cubes into her glass, slowly turned, held the glass out to her and smiled, “Why don’t we talk about it over drinks.”

Then Max walked in precisely on time, Dominic relaxed and knew he’d made one less enemy.

“Sorry, Dominic,” Max said. “But Yu Chung is insisting on talking with you. I told him you were busy and he told me to go to hell.”  Max managed to look frazzled, his brow knotted, his mouth twitching. “He’s bitching about some wording on the contract. And apparently only you can change it for him.”

“I’m so sorry, Lacey.” Dominic deliberately used her first name, as though they were friends. “But we’re working on a copper mine venture with the Chinese in Afghanistan and nothing’s going right.” He glanced at Max. “Is it Max? We’ve been fucked from the beginning.”

“You got that right.” Max turned to Lacey, his mouth set in a grim line. “I told Dominic to pull out of the deal, but he won’t.”

Dominic gave her a rueful look. “I do apologize, but I have a few billion at stake here. It’s been a pleasure,” he said, pleasantly, then swung his gaze to Max. “Which conference room?”

“The big screen. You get to see a giant-size Yu Chung turn red.”

Dominic nodded and without another word left his office.

He softly swore as he strode down the hall, swore some more as he took refuge in the conference room and dropped into a chair. What the fuck? Since when did he turn down a piece of ass? One that even might have been a good business decision?

Sliding lower in his chair, he scowled because he knew damned well why he’d turned it down, why he wasn’t sleeping, why he was pissed all the time.

Miss Katherine Hart had totally fucked up his life.

 

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Along Came Trouble

Along Came Trouble
by Ruthie Knox
Published by Loveswept
Genre: romance
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3.5 / 5

It’s one thing to have a famous brother, one known as much for his good looks and womanizing than any discernible talent. It’s something else entirely when your famous brother falls in love with your pregnant neighbor, dumps her, and then leaves you and the ex-girlfriend to manage the horde of paparazzi that descends on your otherwise quaint little burb.

Such is the situation for single mother Ellen Callahan, whose quiet Ohio life gets knocked off kilter by her pop star brother’s fame, so much so that her brother hires a security guard.

Girls. We should all be so lucky as to need a security guard if they come looking (and acting and thinking and kissing and … uh … yeah) like Caleb Clark, an Iraqi war vet. The two aren’t exactly smitten at first sight, largely because Ellen is irate that her brother hired a security firm without consulting her first. Worse, Caleb appears inclined toward digging up a beloved tree that Ellen planted.

Ellen happens to like her life with her preschooler son, having made peace with her painful divorce. It isn’t that Caleb is wrong for her, either. He’s actually exactly what she needs. Only in true romance novel fashion, it takes Ellen a while to figure that out for herself. Meanwhile, her brother and neighbor have to work things out, and then there is the matter of that pesky ex-husband.

Sure, it’s predictable. But it’s fun, and I’ll take fun predictability over dull anything else any day. The love scenes are good – not the hottest I’ve read, but nonetheless steamy and with just the right amount of detail. After reading them, you will want to clobber Ellen upside the head.

As we enter beach reading season, consider this one a good option. Fun, romantic, and escapist.

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All In: The Blackstone Affair, II


All In: The Blackstone Affair, II
by Raine Miller
Published by Atria
256 pages
Thanks to NetGalley and edelweiss for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

When we left off with Brynne and Ethan, our happy couple was left torn asunder, Brynne having run off due to Ethan’s “lies.” But were they lies? Really? Or just certain omissions? See, Ethan was hired by Brynne’s father, an American politician,  to protect her, only Ethan wound up “protecting her” with his penis.

If you know what I mean.

So, anyway. Ethan, Brynne, broken up. But do we think that will last? Seriously? How can you have a series if they stay broken up?

The lovebirds reunite, as we could predict, only love does not present an easy path. Naturally, there are complications a plenty. And, naturally, Ethan screws up as much as he possibly can.

The first book in the series, Naked, was told from Brynne’s point of view, which perhaps is what made it feel so hackneyed. This one is told from Ethan’s, and Ethan – well, in addition to being seriously smokin’ hot – brings an element of freshness to could be a trite, predictable plot.

Brynne is at risk, or continues to be at risk, because I’m not sure that situation has changed much from the first book. Having a politician for a father undoubtedly makes her safety unstable, at best, and Ethan is determined to protect her.

There is some plot advancement in this one, but in terms of action, you’ll find that most of that occurs between the sheets. Or up against walls. Or in other locations.

The one place where Brynne and Ethan connect, free from any outside stress or worries, is in the metaphorical bedroom. When they have sex, they open themselves to each other, and their mutual trust is clarified. Ethan is a Dominant, and he enjoys having Brynne as his submissive. Brynne happily acquiesces, which is a smart move on her part, because Ethan is HOT. He’s intelligent, successful, protective, loving, and he knows how to please a woman. You will find yourself searching for real-life Ethans. (If you find one, please let me know. I’m convinced that none exist.)

As with its predecessor, this one ends with a cliffhanger. We now know more about Brynne’s Issues, and a little more about Ethan’s. Even though the story is told through Ethan’s eyes, however, the focus here is squarely on Brynne: what has happened to get her in these precarious straits and what has happened that makes her trust waver as far as Ethan is concerned.

This is a better, stronger book than Naked. Like I said, perhaps that is due to it being told through Ethan’s eyes. Or perhaps it’s due to Raine Miller settling in with her characters. Either way, I look forward to the third book. I want Ethan to be happy, and if happiness is with Brynne, then so be it.

And I’d also, uh, like more of that headboard rockin’.

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Shadow Valley

Shadow Valley
by Kate Sherwood
Published by Carina Press
122 pages
Genre: mystery, romance
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 / 5 cupcakes

Poor Megan Archer. She succumbed to weakness and had an affair with the governor of Montana, but the word got out. So now she’s been exiled to Shadow Valley, under the auspices of investigating why the town seems to turn a blind eye to its growing marijuana problem.

Lucky Megan Archer. When her car slips on ice and caroms down an embankment, she is submerged in the water, headed for certain death. Thanks to the incredibly hot and luscious Joe Cody, however, she is rescued.

Sort of.

Megan quickly realizes that her new job is nothing but a dead end. The locals may deal in the old Mary Jane, but surely there are bigger fish to fry. Like, say, meth dealers or something. But when it appears that the drug dealers are in collusion with members of the police department, Megan’s job takes on a whole different sheen.

Meanwhile, there is Joe Cody. As in “member of the biggest pot dealing family in town” Joe Cody.

He and Megan instantly are drawn to each other, and this being a small town, their paths cross several times. After a particularly erotic interlude in the forest, Megan has some decisions to make. Does she believe in Joe, or does she believe the rumors? And if there is a leak in the police department, who is it?

This is a mystery and a romance, with a few bursts of hot headboard rocking. Joe is a walking fantasy, and when he shows an interest in Megan, you want to smack her in the back of the head and propel her into his arms. Fortunately in Joe’s case, he’s every bit as talented in the bedroom as he is in saving Megan’s life.

Not that we get a whole lot of lovin’, touchin’ and squeezin’, but what we do see leaves no doubt in our mind.

And, yes, it would have been nice to have a little more sexy times.

The story will keep you turning the pages. Is Joe innocent, or is he manipulating Megan? And who is causing trouble in the police department? What will happen to Joe and Megan?

This isn’t a book that will set the world on fire, and you might find it a little forgettable after you finish it. But while you read it, you will enjoy every page. It’s a good story with a hot hero.

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Summer Nights

Summer Nights (Fool’s Gold, Book 8)
Susan Mallery
Published by Harlequin HQN
383 pages
Available on Amazon.com
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview.
4 / 5 cupcakes

First, a word about the cover. Absolutely no scenes in this book take place on a beach, certainly not any love scenes. I’m all astonishment that this photo was chosen as the cover, because it reflects nothing about the book other than a couple who falls in love.

Which is a shame, because Summer Nights is a fun, sexy read and perfect for reading at, say, the beach.

The eighth in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series (I read none of the previous books, and had no trouble understanding this one), Summer Nights focuses on petite redheaded librarian Annabelle Weiss, who does not let her divorce sully her wishes for True Love Always. In fact, Annabelle craves the mess and passion and lack of control that come with love. She’s ready for it.

Shane Stryker, on the other hand, has made no peace with his divorce from his cheating ex-wife, who remains a specter in his life. Unlike Annabelle, Shane has no interest in anything uncontrollable; he wants order and neatness, love that can be predictable and reliable.

So of course they fall for each other.

Annabelle goes to Shane, who earlier spotted her dancing on a bar (there is a good reason for it, and no, she was not drunk) and decided that, hot as she is, he needs to avoid the certain drama that comes with her, to learn how to ride a horse. She wants to raise money for a book mobile and has an idea of riding a dancing horse as a fundraiser. Shane reluctantly agrees, just as he reluctantly agrees to a lot of things in this book, mostly because, as Annabelle tells us many times, he is a good guy. And he is. Too bad about the nasty divorce and all, because he really is a good guy. And he can wear his jeans with style.

[As an aside: girls. I know you know. Not all men can wear their jeans well. Sometimes the jeans sag, sometimes they are tight in the WRONG places, sometimes they ride too high on the hips. But a man who can wear his jeans Just So, who can fill them out in all the RIGHT places? That, my friends, is nectar of the gods.]

Shane and Annabelle are immediately attracted to each other, and the first time they kiss, it’s HOT. Every time they kiss, it’s HOT. So imagine how hot it is when they rock the headboard! It’s HOT! But in spite of their clear desire for each other, there remains the little issue of feelings. Annabelle worries that she feels more for Shane than he for her, and he worries that he will feel anything other than lust for her at all.

He wasn’t indecisive. He knew exactly what he wanted. What kept him from acting was the consequences. Because sex complicated everything. The better the sex, the bigger the complications. Because wanting Annabelle was driving him crazy but having her might be another level of hell.

Susan Mallery can write some sexy times, folks. Annabelle is very comfortable with her body and with knowing what to do to drive Shane nuts, and he knows his way around a woman. Does he EVER. He knows exactly what to kiss, lick, suck and bite. He is a true fantasy.

The only problem with reading this book at the beach is that you might get the pages wet or short circuit your eReader from all the sweating you do, or from the dripping water when you go dunk yourself to cool off.

This is a fun book with some rockin’ sex scenes. My only quibble is a subplot involving a friend of Annabelle’s who decides she wants to become a mother. I realize Susan Mallery is setting up the next book, but it was distracting and those scenes dragged. I’d rather read more about Shane’s kissing. Or how he wears his jeans.

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