A MelanieM Review: On Hands and Knees (The Valentino Family) by Sai Fox

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Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5

Nicolai Valentino is the almost perfect heir to the Valentino Family—impeccably dressed, devilishly handsome, impossibly cold, and absolutely dedicated to a family that scorns his very existence. Born to the infamous Boss and a Japanese woman of no consequence, Nico must fight for respect in a blood-thirsty world that would be much happier to see him with a hole in his head.

Blood runs thick in the Valentino Family. To them, Nico’s little better than water.

Gabriel Delatto is Nico’s right-hand man, his childhood friend, and under the darkness of their ruby red sheets, his lover. But more than that, Gabriel holds the secret to unlocking who Nico really is—the true Nico, not the mask beginning to crack around the edges.

But there is a pleasure in that pain, he knows. There is only ever pleasure when it comes to Nico, even if it comes from the crack of a whip or on the edge of a blade.

But there’s someone lurking in the darkness, something that neither Nico nor Gabriel truly understand, But there is one thing they do know—

It isn’t afraid to bite.

I had a tough time with the rating on this story for several reasons. On Hands and Knees (The Valentino Family) by Sai Fox was a new title and author for me so you all know I immediately read the author bio and information.  She’s been writing for years. She’s currently living in Japan. Pluses. That leads me to more pluses and minuses of this story.

I’m drawn to stories with complex, dark characters and this promised two.  As I got into the novel, there are multiple mysteries surrounding both main characters of Nico and Gabriel, their traumatic childhoods, and yes, even a present timeline going back 6 months.  The author presents clues but nothing more.  There is really only the barest of world building here and little character framework other than their twined childhoods after a certain age, an implied horrific “Training” they endured by The Family as kids, and the present romantic/physical relationship which is barely tolerated,  and that might end at any moment, It also includes a D/s element (spanking, whipping) .

The story is heavy on sex, light on  layered character development.  We are more told how crazy Nico is than shown except for one rather mild example.

What the story relies on is promise.  The narrative offer is held out for more.  More revelations, more character growth and depth.  Of the two men, Gabriel is easier to relate to but you should be able to relate to both and that really doesn’t happen here imo.  Nico just isn’t given the dimension he needs outside of the sex scenes.

Then there is the issue with the editing.

Here is an example:

“There were scars crisscrossing his skin, leaving perfectly puckered and raised lines for Gabriel to stare down at in complete and utter awe. They were mostly pale brown, not deep enough to leave lasting damage or scar but enough for Nico to feel.

Uh, wut?

Well, the author meant bruises or welts from the whipping from a belt earlier that morning but used the word “scars” instead.  That’s only the first of many such errors.  Plus these two men are supposed to be keeping their relationship on the down-low yet plenty of people within the organization have heard the “screaming” going on from their sessions.

Sigh.

Yes, an editor, a really good editor is clearly needed here.

The story ends on a cliffhanger with a new element introduced that’s interesting but makes little sense with what the author has already told us.

I have no idea if I’m going further with this series or not.  Probably with one more story just to see how the cliffhanger is resolved.

I will leave someone else to comment about the timing of the sessions (in an office right before an important meeting of the Mafia), the lack of safe words etc., and other aspects of the D/s relationship.  I think I’ve covered plenty here.   If this sounds like this is the story for you, the buy links are listed below.

 

Cover Artist: Samantha Garrett, the cover art is ok.  The font is easy to read but the graphics are dark and murky which may be what the artist was going for but it loses something in the composition.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 232 pages
Published June 1st 2018
ASINB07D92HV75
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Valentino Family

Author Note: Please be advised that there are sexual scenes of explicit graphic nature, including spanking, within the following story. These are done in a fully consensual manner between two parties over the age of 18

BLOG TOUR for Red Zone by TS McKinney & Shannon West (excerpt and giveaway)

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RED ZONE

T.S. McKinney & Shannon West

Gay Romance, Contemporary New Adult, Sports Romance, & BDSM

Release Date: 03/15/19

Red Zone 1

BLURB

From the outside, it looks as if college football quarterback Kingston Bentley has it all—good looks, outstanding athletic ability and a 4.0 average in his classes. But looks can be deceiving. Kingston is battling inner demons that are jeopardizing his safety and slowly driving him to more and more acts of desperation. Everywhere he looks, he’s got nothing but trouble, and when he loses his coveted first-string position on the football team, he goes back to the one thing he can count on—cutting to relieve the pressure and the emotional pain.

The gorgeous new quarterback on the team, Memphis Sabine, is the Coach’s son, and under enormous pressure of his own to lead his new team to the national championship. For that, he needs Kingston’s help, and they soon become an unbeatable force both on the field. But when Memphis discovers Kingston in the act of cutting, he uses his forceful nature and all he knows about being a Dom to take Kingston in hand and ensure his welfare. Kingston loves the pain, but he rebels against the idea of being Memphis’s sub. As Kingston begins his training, however, Memphis discovers just how fragile their relationship really is, and how desperately he needs to help Kingston deal with the secrets from his past.

AMAZON US: https://goo.gl/9uvUkd

AMAZON UK: https://goo.gl/bn4gtN

RED ZONE BANNER

EXCERPT

I took hold of his wrist and held on, squeezing a little. “Who’s in charge here, fireball?”

I could see it trembling on the tip of his tongue to cuss me out and tell me to go to hell. His eyes got stormy and his face sullen, but I waited him out, pressing his wrist harder. “I’m waiting for an answer. I thought we’d already decided this last night. Now who’s in charge here?”

Finally, after what seemed like hours, but was really only a few, long seconds, he dropped his gaze. “You are,”he said, grudgingly. I loved his little hesitations. They told me this was hard for him, but he was doing it anyway, because I’d told him to.

“That’s right,”I said, my voice soft and coaxing. Sometimes it felt like I was encouraging some wild animal to come out of its hiding place in the shadows. “And what is it you have to worry about today?”

He looked up at me, a little blank at first, and then he got a nervous look in his eyes, like he’d forgotten something. I sighed and said, “The answer is nothing. You don’t have to worry about a damn thing because I got this for both of us. I’m making the decisions now and all you have to do is go along for the ride.”

ABOUT T.S. MCKINNEY

I have spent my entire life reading, reading, and reading some more! I love to get lost in the land of fantasy where I can be as naughty as I like without facing too many penalties! Earlier this year, I decided that maybe I should try writing my own naughty stories. That way I can do wickedly delightful things to my imaginary boyfriends without serving any serious jail time! My publishing company, Dark Hollows Press, has been awesome and most patient when dealing with their newbie.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2T8BkEV

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006245056875

ABOUT SHANNON WEST

Shannon makes her home in Georgia and North Carolina with her husband and family. She believes that love is love, no matter the gender. Shannon mostly spends her days at the keyboard trying to elude housework, which stalks her relentlessly.

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2TOsKzN

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shannon.west.399

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Retro Review Tour and Giveaway for On Hands and Knees (The Valentino Family) by Sai Fox

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RETRO REVIEW TOUR

Book Title: On Hands and Knees

Author: Sai Fox

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Samantha Garrett

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Genre/s: Mystery, Thriller, BDSM

Heat Rating: 5 flames

Length: 40 000 words/ 226 pages

It is the first book of a series, with additional books due to be released in the summer.

Add on Goodreads

Tagline

Valentino blood runs black.

Blurb

Nicolai Valentino is the almost perfect heir to the Valentino Family—impeccably dressed, devilishly handsome, impossibly cold, and absolutely dedicated to a family that scorns his very existence. Born to the infamous Boss and a Japanese woman of no consequence, Nico must fight for respect in a blood-thirsty world that would be much happier to see him with a hole in his head.

Blood runs thick in the Valentino Family. To them, Nico’s little better than water.

Gabriel Delatto is Nico’s right-hand man, his childhood friend, and under the darkness of their ruby red sheets, his lover. But more than that, Gabriel holds the secret to unlocking who Nico really is—the true Nico, not the mask beginning to crack around the edges.

But there is a pleasure in that pain, he knows. There is only ever pleasure when it comes to Nico, even if it comes from the crack of a whip or on the edge of a blade.

But there’s someone lurking in the darkness, something that neither Nico nor Gabriel truly understand. But there is one thing they do know—

It isn’t afraid to bite.

 

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US 

Amazon UK 

 

About the Author

Sai Fox was born and raised in New York City, so it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that there’s an ever present coffee cup on her desk as she writes well into the night. A chronic insomniac, some of her best ideas come to her right before heading off to bed.

Currently residing in Tokyo, Sai finds most of her time spent writing, reading, and wandering the strange and intoxicating streets that tell thousands of stories… with a cup of coffee. There is always a cup of coffee.

Sai has been writing fiction for well over a decade, enjoying the ability to push boundaries of society and sexuality through her work.

 

Author Links

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Twitter

 

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A MelanieM Review: Ties of Destiny (Curse of the Crown #1) by Caitlin Taylor

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

When forces both inside and outside the palace walls threaten the life of Crown Prince Akoni, he finds himself in need of a guard. Someone who will protect not only him, but also his secrets – and he may have found the perfect man for the task.

Being a soldier is Jeffery’s life. He won’t be defined by his past, but fights for the present, not some future he will never see. Yet, his mandatory reassignment to the palace as Prince Akoni’s personal guard forces him to set aside his plans. His role places Jeffery in the presence of nobles whom he despises, and Prince Akoni is worse than most.

Can two men learn to trust each other, or will the secrets they carry bring about their own demise? Will having Jeffery close to him help Prince Akoni to become King – or cause more deaths? They need to depend on each other, for the sake of the future, because if they cannot, the past will only repeat itself and neither of them will survive.

Ties of Destiny is the first book in the Fantasy series Curse of the Crown.

Well, Ties of Destiny is certainly an unusual sort of fantasy novel.  I enjoyed it immensely even if or maybe because it reads more like a fantasy mystery novel than it does a straight out fantasy fiction.  With most fantasy series, the first story is full of world building, set the stage with our characters, their backgrounds, relationship dynamics, and any huge issues that we know will need to be resolved.

Caitlin Taylor gives us only some of that, along with some astonishing twists in the fantasy genre, like motor cars and trucks.  motorcycles and arms to go along with swords, knives,  and horses.  It’s an odd mishmash of past and present that, tbh, I’m not sure always works, and the explanation could be enlarged on other than history and the obtaining of a special mineral that allowed this society to make jumps in technology. But just like so much else here, perhaps the author is leaving that to future stories.

Yes, there are plenty of places here where Taylor purposely leaves out information.  Jeffery’s background  for instance.  We are given hints, and make certain conclusions, as do all the other main characters around him as to his backhistory (not that of his soldiering days, but the all important beyond).  That’s key, I’m sure to the next story.  Same goes for Prince Akoni where we are missing some rather key details about his father, their relationship, and dynamics.  And the curse of course.

All of these “holes” or mysteries are things you think might be part of the foundation story, but not here.  But Taylor uses these huge gaps to build suspense, anticipation, and yes, frustration with the progress and type of relationship building between Akoni and Jeffery.  Because everything is shrouded in mystery, there’s no communication and therefore, no trust.  A huge issue with these two.

Not that they don’t already have the weight of so much more on their shoulders.  There’s magic gone wonky, unexplained ties, a rebellion, and, yes, more mystery.

Plus we really need more world building as far as what constitutes this monarchy, its regions, religion, etc.  So far we have descriptions of battles, certain cultures likes the Clansmen, which I found fascinating, along with hints from a Southern region, but nothing substantial yet about anything.

Yet for all that, this story is rich in emotion, political deceit, an ominous magical curse, and a heavy threat that hangs over a nation.  Plus characters I’m now heavily invested in.

I haven’t even mentioned the penchant for dominance and bdsm sex have I?  Among multiple partners…  Yes, not your typical fantasy novel.

So what you have here is a wild fantasy story with castles, swords, magic, cars, motorcycles, horses, a variety of  mysteries and missing back histories (on purpose), bdsm sex, D/s light,  along with a bit of a cliffhanger.  Some would call that a hot mess, but really I think Caitlyn Taylor has something here.  The author somehow pulls all those elements together into a whole and makes ou care about the characters, and the plot and where they are all going.  That’s sort of magical right there.

And I can’t wait for the next book to arrive.  If you love fantasy with a quirk, check this out.  I definitely recommend it.

Cover art: Dee Aditya at Decorous Studios.  I really like this cover.  It has an important element from the storyline as well as the crossed swords.  Also important.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 333 pages
Published October 28th 2018 (first published October 26th 2018)
Edition Language English
Series Curse of the Crown #1

A Jeri Review: Damaged by Tricia Owens

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I have mixed feelings about this book. It could have been so much better if it had gone in a different direction.
After a bust gone wrong that kills his partner, Jack heads off to an Indian Casino to wait out his suspension while they investigate. He is drawn to the manager of the casino, Taylor (who is constantly referred to by his last name Brandt) even though he only plans to gamble, sleep, and drink.
I couldn’t quite figure out if Jack was gay and suppressed it or was just in the closet or is bi or ?? But this is his first experience with a man.  And, it is definitely an experience.
Taylor, or Brandt, is gay and has had some bad relationships. Of course both of those were with cops so he is wary.  Both of them took BDSM way too far to the point that he almost died. You’d think after the first he would have learned his lesson. He also mentions that he was mostly trying BDSM out. Uh, that is kind of extreme. And if the first time left you almost dead, why try again?
So Damaged these guys definitely are. But they way they come together is not healthy at all. Jack uses Brandt to punish himself. Brandt uses Jack to punish his former Doms. Honestly, it is books like this that give BDSM a bad name. I love broken characters and watching them find love and redemption. But this was not the way to do it.
 I didn’t feel a connection between them at all. More like they were each objects to each other. A ways to a means.
There was a bit of a subplot about Native American lore and the forest surrounding the casino and the inordinate amount of people who seem to commit suicide there. It was mentioned here and there and, again, it could have made a really strong impact at one point but it was kind of just tossed off.
And the pretty rainbow bow at the end was a bit too much after the darkness of the book. I would give this a pass.
Cover art:  Tricia Owens.  The cover aptly indicates parts of the story and gives the reader a major element at a glance.  Great job .

Buy Links – Available on KindleUnlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 133 pages
Published February 12th 2018 by Tricia Owens
ASINB07N7F5M4H
Edition Language English

Release Blitz for Damaged by Tricia Owens (excerpt)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title:  Damaged

Author: Tricia Owens

Publisher:  Self-Published

Cover Artist: Tricia Owens

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M romance, BDSM

Heat Rating: 5 flames (Graphic scenes of rough sex, BDSM)

Length: 44 000 words

This is a standalone story

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links – Available on KindleUnlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

 

Blurb

After Detective Jack Beckam’s partner is killed during the line of duty, Jack retreats to a small Indian casino in the Colorado mountains to deal with his guilt. There, he encounters the mysteriously hostile casino manager, Taylor Brant.

Jack is on a downward spiral. Unfortunately for him, the strange forest surrounding the casino only increases his desire to do something reckless. Something desperate. Taylor Brant is not only dangerous, he’s damaged. He’s someone Jack should steer clear of. Yet Jack, hurting and needing to pay penance, tumbles into a series of dark, highly charged encounters with Brant which threaten to shatter them both.

 

Excerpt

Amusement briefly lit Brant’s gray gaze. “You’re an interesting man, Jack. Under other circumstances I’d enjoy feeling you out.”

“I thought you hate cops. Sounds to me like you’re flirting with one.”

He was immediately embarrassed for having said it. Taylor Brant was one of the most attractive men he’d ever seen, much less had dinner with—but Jack recognized the nugget of fear rolling around in his own gut. He was in foreign territory, literally and figuratively. All his experience as a detective, all his street smarts, meant next to nothing when it came to his occasional and unwanted attraction to specific men. It was like a flare-up of a rash—unpredictable, unwelcome, and woefully incurable.

“I’d be reckless, wouldn’t I,” Brant said, “to flirt with a detective?” Brant’s gaze grew intent. “I’m not reckless.”

“Sounds to me like you’re a masochist.”

“Would it take one to know one?”

The restaurant was emptying out. Jack wished it were busier. Louder. He wished that the waiter was intrusive. He could feel himself sweating and felt ridiculous; he was only sitting there eating dinner.

Brant didn’t appear to be all that relaxed, either. The casino manager was tense. Nervous. Jack was too experienced in studying people to miss the signs. Was Brant regretting his boldness? Maybe they were both stumbling around in the dark in their own ways. It was strange to look at Taylor Brant and consider him anything other than one hundred percent sure of himself.

Or was it? He was well groomed and sophisticated, yet the broken nose hinted at his past experience with abuse. The book, too, suggested deep waters and a hint of vulnerability.

But Jack wasn’t completely sold on Brant being a man you could easily take advantage of. Maybe back then, back when Brant had dated those cops, he had been a man like that. But not any longer. The man sitting across from Jack had been honed by pain, anger, and disappointment. Brant had gone through hell and come out the other side as a more powerful man. It was there in those steely eyes, a hint of the danger he presented: he needed to control every situation he entered because he would never allow himself to be at anyone’s mercy again. He was using his fear to become something—someone—unbreakable.

Jack’s cock pulsed at the prospect of being under Brant’s control, even for an hour. It wasn’t something he’d ever experienced, and the fantasy of it was probably better than the reality. Hell, he didn’t know how he’d react to someone attempting to take the upper hand with him. There was a good chance he’d throw a punch.

 

About the Author

Tricia Owens has been writing m/m fiction since 2000, after stumbling onto the term ‘slash’ and thinking it referred to horror stories. She is the author of the Sin City, A Pirate’s Life for Me, and Juxtapose City series, among several others. She lives in Las Vegas.

 

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A MelanieM Review: Gage (Trenton Security #3) by J.M. Dabney

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

The forbidden is the sweetest lure.

Trenton Security’s Public Relations go-to was Hayden Gage. He loved his job, and it kept him distracted from the demons haunting his nightmares. His past wasn’t up for discussion, and Hayden wouldn’t allow it to intrude on his future. Yet, that was easier said than done when his best friend came to him desperate for help, and it put him right on the path to his one weakness.

Young didn’t equal lost.

Derrick Thorpe lived in the shadow of his father’s mistakes. Although he was adopted by Linus Trenton, he wanted to prove that he wasn’t like his biological father. When he was asked to go undercover to help at Trenton Security, it put him in close quarters with Gage. Being Gage’s was only an act, but when lines blur, what happens when the operation ends?

I know going in what to expect from one of these interconnected stories.  Damaged men who don’t think they deserve love, perhaps someone who already loves them, a case that needs to be investigated and many of our couples from the series and stories that orbit each other, serving as friends and extended families. Yet within this framework, J.M. Dabney brings new characters or rather familiar characters to the front for a closer examination and revelations.  We get to see where their damage came from, their past histories revealed, and who, most often, has drawn their attention and maybe even love.

The author also folds into their stories important current international elements such as child trafficking and slavery that makes our headlines daily and puts a face to the horror in Cameron in the daughter that is missing,   Through Alex we feel his pain, panic , and outright despair at ever finding her, if not alive, then whole.

While the investigation is frantically intensifying for Cameron (and the author horrifIcally details why the searchers have such a short frame of time to accomplish their goals), Gage and Derrick are working through a minefield of emotions themselves about each other.

There is enough material here for Gage to be twice as long.  I wanted more to be frank.  More of the high wire act that was the investigation and suspenseful search for Cameron.  That has me in knots every step of the way.  And then, almost as a second story, the romance and dynamics that was playing out between Gage and Derrick.  That involves all the voilence and extreme angst of Gage’s background which he hadn’t quite worked through and still required, as he acknowledged, the needs of a therapist, to help him.

In that respect this is very much a HFN, which realistically all you could expect.

There is Daddy kink, bdsm, D/s.  and for people with  triggers… beating, domestic violence, self harm such as cutting, and mention of suicide.

J.M. Dabney’s books, especially in these series are dark, gritty, and  not for the faint hearted.  I prefer them that way.  They are true to these wounded men and the situations around them.

I have listed all the connected series below.  It helps to obtain a sense of community and who all the people and couples are that are mentioned here or appear in the scenes.

I recommend them all.

Cover art by Reese Dante.  I love that cover by Reese Dante, That is my idea of Gage.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

184 pages
Published January 29th 2019 by Hostile Whispers Press, LLC
Edition Language English
Series Trenton Security #3

Cover Reveal for Inked Music by Sean Michael

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Title: Inked Music

Author: Sean Michael

Release Date: April 9, 2019

Category: BDSM, Erotic Romance

Pages: 193

Cover Artist: L.C. Chase    http://www.lcchase.com

Buy Links:  Dreamspinner Press eBook and  Paperback:
Blurb:
Can a wealthy but bored businessman rescue a tortured musician from his self-imposed purgatory with a scorching kinky romance?
When Rene Conette attends an intimate performance at a local bar, the guitarist moves him enough that he attempts to go backstage but is stymied by the man’s bodyguard. Putting it down as not meant to be, he goes on with his life only to run into the man again, late at night at a bookstore.
Gavin Turner used to be a famous musician until an obsessed fan kidnapped and tortured him. Then it came out that he was into the BDSM lifestyle, and the court of public opinion ravaged him. He lost his Master and his self-confidence. Now he hides behind his ink and his bodyguards, who make sure he doesn’t come into contact with anyone or anything he doesn’t want to. Though it’s been years since he satisfied his needs, he doesn’t think he can trust again.
If Rene can work his way past Gavin’s defenses, they might find they complement each other perfectly.
About the Author:
Best-selling author Sean Michael is a maple leaf–loving Canadian who spends hours hiding out in used-book stores. With far more ideas than time, Sean keeps several documents open at all times. From romance to fantasy, paranormal and sci-fi, Sean is limited only by the need for sleep—and the periodic Beaver Tail.
Sean fantasizes about one day retiring on a secluded island populated entirely by horseshoe crabs after inventing a brain-to-computer dictation system. Until then, Sean will continue to write the old-fashioned way.
Twitter: @seanmichael09

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

KJ Charles is an incredibly talented author and when dealing with a UK historical, her work is top of the line.

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar. He, his older brother who is set to inherit the title, and his sister have been estranged from the duke for ten years. Their other sister, who has since passed away, witnessed the duke murdering their mother so he could marry the caretaker’s widow—a miserable, miserly, poor excuse for a stepmother if ever there was one. Alec, his sister, and his brother’s family live in poverty while the duke and duchess flaunt their wealth. As the 20th anniversary of their marriage approaches, Alec determines he’s going to do something to bring the two down.

So he begins the first steps to his long game and hires the Lilywhite Boys, a notorious pair of jewel thieves. Jerry Crozier is suave, debonair, charming, a total rogue, and before Alec knows it, Jerry discovers his secret and dominates him into a series of submissions to Jerry’s desires. Alec’s plan is to get Jerry, and his partner who will be disguised as Jerry’s valet, into the house party the duke is planning as their anniversary celebration. There, Jerry will break into the duchess’s safe and steal away with her set of diamonds commissioned for the anniversary event. But along the way, Alec has to ingratiate himself to his father with a public apology and distance himself from his siblings who want nothing to do with the duke and to whom he can’t reveal his plan.

Needless to say, Alec falls in love with Jerry and Jerry, surprisingly (to himself) falls in love with Alec. The dynamic between the two is outstanding. I really wanted to hate Jerry for manipulating Alec and for holding himself aloof. As it turns out, his own heart was engaged and directed many of his actions.

I also love the author’s sense of humor, which is woven throughout the story in both subtle and not-so-subtle ways. For example, Jerry is teaching Alec how to play billiards in a semi-public location when he tells Alec to put his “nose to the ball,” and the pair totally lose their composure, laughing hysterically—along with this reader.

Tender moments are equally as well done. “The question was never whether I loved you,” Alec whispered. “It was, How brave am I or maybe, How afraid am I? And it turns out I’m slightly braver than I am afraid when it comes to you…” Gah! I loved this romance.

There were also brief visits from, and mentions of, characters we met in the past, including those in the Sins of the Cities series, though this story takes place about twenty years after An Unsuitable Heir.

And the ending wasn’t at all what I was expecting. KJ Charles is a pro at plot twists and yet always manages to find a way for her gentlemen (and rogues) to find their way to their HEA. I very highly recommend this one as a fine example of her work.

The drawn caricature cover by Vic Grey features two gentlemen of the late 19th century at an opera house—one seated and one standing, both in formalwear. Not only is it symbolic of their first adventure together, the fact that it’s not a photo cover may be a play on Lord Alexander’s talent as an artist.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 320 pages
Expected publication: January 30th 2019 by KJC Books
ISBN 139781912688074
Edition LanguagebEnglish
Series Lilywhite Boys #1

An Alisa Review : Kink Aware (Kiss of Leather #9) by Morticia Knight

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Rating:  3 stars out of 5

Cruella can’t wait to show Ray the ropes…

Working at Rogue Ink is a dream job for Cruella, especially being around the hunky co-owner, Ray. Even though the money isn’t great, the eye candy and Ray’s caring heart make it all worthwhile. When Cruella risks rejection by inviting Ray to be their partner for a shibari class at Kiss of Leather, they’re thrilled when Ray accepts.

Cruella’s invitation both excites and terrifies Ray. He wants Cruella, but does he also want to become more kink aware? Still, he could kick himself for not already making a move on the sweet and beautiful Cruella, so maybe this is his chance. His protective instincts have gotten him into serious trouble before, so he’ll be sure not to make the same mistake with Cruella. They’ve made it clear they can take care of themself.

Cruella fears that Ray won’t accept their genderqueer identity and Ray aches to be the strong man Cruella needs. However, when Cruella’s dark past intrudes on their blissful present, Ray’s definition of strength might turn out to be harsher than Cruella is willing to accept.

 

Ugh, I feel frustrated because I am not sure what to say.  I have loved the series so far but this one fell pretty flat for me.  Cruella would act shy and maybe a little unsure but it seemed like more of an act to me than their true feelings.  Ray seems pretty genuine but I feel he gets in trouble for Cruella’s inexperience as a dominant.

 

The story was as well written as all the others but I just didn’t feel like this couple was actually ready for a D/s relationship and didn’t feel much connection to the characters.  I love how Ray was trying to take care of Cruella in regards eating but that seemed to just disappear part of the way through the book and the suddenly Cruella was in charge all the time but never actually placed any rules or restrictions with it.  I don’t want to feel like all I am doing is dissing the book but my frustration with their relationship overrode much of my enjoyment. I am hoping future stories in the series work better for me.

The like cover art by Erin Dameron-Hill and the visuals of the characters and that it follows the pattern for the series.

Sales Links: Pride Publishing | Amazon | B&N

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages

Published: December 18, 2018 by Pride Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-78651-710-4

Edition Language: English

Series: Kiss of Leather #9