Hate Crush

Hate Crush by A. Zavarelli

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Someone call the fire department- there’s a five-alarm rager over here! 🔥

“Say yes, sir.”
“Yes, sir,” she breathes.
“Say I’ll do anything you want, Mr. Carter. Anything you tell me.”
She swallows, still trying to resist me, but ultimately caves in just as I knew she would. “I’ll do anything you want, Mr. Carter. Anything you tell me.”

Sweet baby Jesus. My breathe actually caught in my throat. The chemistry between Sebastien and Stella was off the charts.

The push and pull Sebastien dealt out frustrated the hell out of me. That said, I get it. His self-loathing was nearly as strong as his contempt for the entitled kids that made up the majority of the student body. If he felt a twinge of emotion toward Stella he wanted to shut it down. Save her from being tainted by him before it was too late.

Stella exhibited considerable strength for someone who is 18 years old. I doubt I could handle those mind games now in my 30’s, and I KNOW I wouldn’t have been able to handle it in high school. That, coupled with the shenanigans with her parents, had me heartbroken for Stella. Add the resident mean girl into that mix, and I’d have been outta there (#bye). But, Stella? Nope. She rises. To every challenge.

I love this author’s books, and this was no exception. It hasn’t dethroned Crow as my favorite of hers, but I still loved it!

Definitely recommended!

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They call him the devil.

When I crash-landed into him on my first day at Loyola Academy, I was sure that couldn’t be true.

He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen in real life.

Little did I know he was also the cruelest.

I went from starstruck to stunned the moment his cynical eyes cut through me.

I can’t tell you what it was that made him want to punish me. But from that day forward the brooding recluse of a man made it his goal to torment me.

I want to loathe him, and some days, I do.

But good or bad, nobody’s attention has ever tasted so sweet.

What do you do when you have a hate crush on your bully?

Worse yet, what do you do when he’s also your teacher?

Hate Crush is a full length standalone age gap bully romance with a complete ending.

Don’t Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

Don't Let Go (Dark Nights, #2)

Don’t Let Go by Skye Warren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it, and I am thoroughly confused as to how that happened.

This is Carlos’ book. The same Carlos to whom, at the end of the previous book, I wanted terrible things to happen. And I stand by that regarding the Carlos from the previous book- I still don’t like him.
That said, the Carlos from this book is… humanized, somehow. He still won’t be a book boyfriend of mine. I’d call the cops on him in a MINUTE if I were any of the females he’d come across in these books, but that’s just me. If a man were to do to me what he has done to these poor women, Jesus… I’d devote my life to putting him in prison. Or killing him. One of the two, depending on how much of a mental breakdown his treatment had caused.
This dynamic of a sadist in a relationship is something I truly can’t wrap my head around. I just don’t get it. That said, as brutal as the interaction is when Samantha is kidnapped, there are other parts of the book that are hot.
I was so confused by this book. Flustered. And I couldn’t put it down. Despite how much of a bastard Carlos is, (and he really is), the author gives a one-two punch of taming his monster a bit in this book, and also explaining his damage/hang ups. Still, the things he did to Mia in the previous book are inexcusable- truly horrific. That Carlos should burn in Hell. The Carlos from this book, while way past the point of simply cruel, is nowhere near as evil to Samantha as he was to Mia. And thank goodness, because a man doing those things to a woman couldn’t possibly have an HEA with her. Also, I wouldn’t WANT such a man to have an HEA.
Okay, let’s be frank- I still hate Carlos. What he did to Mia in the previous book when she didn’t swallow that first time? NO FORGIVENESS. EVER. And when he “treated her like a puppy” and let other men hurt her? When he brutally whipped her, splitting her skin open? Hurt her to the point she was bleeding out onto the ground? Carved his initial into her stomach? SCREW CARLOS.
Okay, I am calming myself. This was still a good read. He is far less brutal to Samantha, and equally important is the fact that Samantha likes how he treats her. She likes the pain (I would argue that is due to significant emotional and mental damage, but whatever). In contrast Mia tried to escape Carlos and his torture, but he had her dragged back and nearly killed her in retribution.
I am on the fence about whether I would re-read. And I wish there were an epilogue where Samantha would come to her senses, leave Carlos to pursue aggressive counseling, and Carlos, distraught, would either take his own life, or make a mistake and go to prison. Forever. Now there’s an HEA.

Side note, I thought we might get some information about Trunk in this final book. After what he did to Mia in the previous book, and who he turned out to be… I thought we’d hear more about what happened after the fact. But we got nada. I would totally read Trunk’s story!

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Junior FBI Agent Samantha Holmes is assigned the case of a lifetime–and an enigmatic new partner, Ian Hennessy.

She’s determined to prove herself to the bureau legend, but late nights and stolen moments lead to more than respect. They lead to desire, and soon she’s fallen for the one man forbidden.

Together they hunt for the FBI’s most wanted man. A criminal.

A psychopath.

But when they get close, Samantha may end up prey instead. She must face her dark past to stay alive–and to protect the man she loves.

Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)

Trust in Me (Dark Nights, #1)

Trust in Me by Skye Warren

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Coming on the heels of Keep Me Safe I was so happy to read Trust In Me. And by “happy” I mean still horrified by the subject matter, but finding the book to be more fleshed out.
As the author’s forward warns, along with many of the reviews, this is a DARK book. I read a comparable series by another author who described her work as an “erotic thriller” (and in fact she is adamantly opposed to anyone calling her work “dark romance”), and I have to say that seems to apply here as well. I don’t view the bulk of this book as romance. It is more like a thriller with an HEA. Like a horror movie where the victim falls in love with her savior.
From a heat standpoint this wasn’t my jam. BUT, I knew what this was going in. I came for the story, not the heat. Because there was no heat for me in any of what happened to poor Mia. Sadism is so profoundly unappealing to me. And Carlos? He is definitely a sadist. He is the devil. He hurt her, and very badly, for fun. He didn’t care for her or about her as a person. He kept her alive, but treated her worse than a possession. I hope a terrible fate befalls Carlos. Truly.

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“Dark, disturbing, haunting, and beautiful, Skye Warren will take you into the depths of depravity but bring you home, safe in the end.” – Kitty Thomas, author of Comfort Food

Mia longs for the daily torture to end, but one last task keeps her holding on. In a betrayal of the crime lord who pulled her from the gutter, she’ll free the shipment of human cargo, and if she’s lucky, die in the process. The alternative is unfathomable, even to a woman well-versed in danger.

Then she meets the security expert in charge of the shipment–and finds herself face to face with her childhood crush.

The man she once begged for help. The man who failed her.

Tyler Martinez is an undercover FBI agent with one chance to right the wrongs of his past. Thrust deep into the seedy world of human trafficking, he must put aside his guilt over abandoning Mia all those years ago in order to save her now.

Someone’s pulling the strings in this sadistic play on trust, but Tyler and Mia may not live long enough to see the curtain fall. Trust in Me is a story of suspense and irrepressible romance, spiraling ever faster toward betrayal or redemption.


“I devoured Trust in Me because it was good from the first word right until the last one. Skye Warren knows how to deliver a powerfully poignant story that will keep her readers engrossed.” – Sizzling Hot Book Reviews

“Good gracious! Skye Warren is a true mistress of dark and twisted love stories. TRUST IN ME affirms Ms. Warren’s talent for creating broken characters in dire situations, but leaving readers with hope at the end.” – The Forbidden Bookshelf

“I was captured from the very first sentence, drawn into the story as if watching it play out in my own mind. The story pacing and flow of information were flawless. The characters were obviously flawed, yet undeniably realistic. No matter how brutal the story it ended with a HEA and a feeling of hope.” – Wicked Reads

JUST RELEASED TODAY! Wall Street Titan (Alpha Zone #1)

Wall Street Titan (Alpha Zone, #1)

Wall Street Titan by Anna Zaires

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I am enamored with this author. I loved the bejesus out of her previous series, and this book was no different. While this one was contemporary compared to her usual lean toward a darker story, I still loved it. As a primarily dark romance reader I am fussy about contemporary romance, but Wall Street Titan held its own!

The chemistry between Marcus and Emma was off the charts. Their physical reactions to one another exploded off the page. It’s as if their bodies recognized a counterpart in the other before their hearts and minds caught up. And I loved every word of it.

Marcus thought he knew it all, and was about to have it all with the addition of a perfectly perfect trophy wife. He just needed someone to find her for him. Because he was too busy for such nonsense. That’s what he has people for, right? To find things for him. Including a wife. When life serves him up a different dish than he ordered, he slowly (and I mean slowly) realizes that maybe she could be more than a quick one-nighter. Or two-nighter. Maybe even a fling? Or more? Well, let’s not get too crazy… he’d need his analysts to check out the risks on something like that.

Emma is happily (well, satisfactorily… somewhat) buzzing along in the rut where she’s allowed herself to settle. Same job she had in college. Same three cats. Same apartment. Same relationship status she’s had for years (which is to say, no activity). When her friend pushes her to a come-to-Jesus moment she decides to pursue meeting someone. Too bad that someone accidentally turns out to be a man she never would have approached, or met, under any other circumstances aside from the serendipity that occurred that particular night. Or, IS it too bad? Maybe the man she never would have given a second glance is just what she needs. It is starting to look that way. Which, of course, terrifies our young Emma.

Marcus is not exactly his normal, suave self around Emma, which unsettles him to no end. Rather than his usual wine-and-dine he sort of trips and falls face first into his attempts with her.

Despite his inability to bring his A-game, he ends up charming her. Better than he would have with his A-game, actually, because she likely would have been skeptical as all hell, and rightfully so.

I saw so much of myself in Emma- in her personality, her thoughts, her fears. I loved her. She came across so real. So genuine. She wasn’t perfect, neither in personality nor in body. She wasn’t a stick-thin blonde bombshell with pillowy lips and huge blue eyes. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman in the room everywhere she went. She was everywoman, and I loved that about her.

Overall I loved this somewhat Cinderella story of the downtrodden, realistic woman who meets the arrogant, prince-like man. Neither is looking for the other, but they are exactly what each other needs. She needs some spark of motivation to shake herself out of her comfort zone. He is very likely the most motivated person she has ever met. He needs to let go of this notion he has of what he needs to be, what he should have (i.e. a trophy wife), and learn to embrace the freedom of pursuing what you actually want. In that capacity they will free each other. If they can get over their own fears, that is.

I loved that, even though Marcus and Emma’s story is not complete, it isn’t really a cliffhanger at the end of this book. Thank goodness- I don’t fare well with cliffhangers.

So, fellow bingers: I generally wouldn’t recommend starting a duet or series before all of the books are out (see inability to handle cliffhangers above), but you’ll be okay with this one! It is more of a natural break. The start of a new life chapter, if you will. It doesn’t leave you hanging off the side of a cliff by three fingernails. It is more like sitting in a waiting room because you arrived hella early for an appointment. In other words, feel free to dive in!

I can’t wait for the next book to see how far Marcus will go to show Emma that he is worth the risk!

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A billionaire who wants a perfect wife…

At thirty-five, Marcus Carelli has it all: wealth, power, and the kind of looks that leave women breathless. A self-made billionaire, he heads one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street and can take down major corporations with a single word. The only thing he’s missing? A wife who’d be as big of an achievement as the billions in his bank account.

A cat lady who needs a date…

Twenty-six-year-old bookstore clerk Emma Walsh has it on good authority that she’s a cat lady. She doesn’t necessarily agree with that assessment, but it’s hard to argue with the facts. Raggedy clothes covered with cat hair? Check. Last professional haircut? Over a year ago. Oh, and three cats in a tiny Brooklyn studio? Yep, she’s got those.

And yes, fine, she hasn’t had a date since… well, she can’t recall. But that part is fixable. Isn’t that what the dating sites are for?

A case of mistaken identity…

One high-end matchmaker, one dating app, one mix-up that changes everything… Opposites may attract, but can this last?

Free Books on Amazon (11/17/19)

A lovely list of free books put together by blogger Books with Kathy!

Books with Kathy

Happy Sunday!!!
It’s a day of cleaning and reading in my house today.
Let’s see what books are free right now.
Buy links embedded in photos.

Contemporary Romance

Historical Romance

Holiday Romance

Mystery & Suspense Romance

New Adult & College Romance

Paranormal Romance

Science Fiction Romance

Western Romance

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Keep Me Safe (Dark Nights, #0.5)

Keep Me Safe (Dark Nights, #0.5)

Keep Me Safe by Skye Warren

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

First, let me start by saying I love this author. I love her books. I was recently beside myself with love for a duet of hers. But this one? Sadly, this one didn’t do it for me.
I saw the trigger warning. This isn’t about it having triggers. Which it DOES- if non-consent is a trigger you best run far, far away from this book.
That said, I didn’t feel the development in this book- not of the story, and not of the characters. I feel like this short novel could have been it’s own duet, and it would have been much better. It is too much meat, not enough potatoes. There just wasn’t enough real estate between the covers for this story to spread out. The “relationship” the heroine refers to (she questioningly refers to it as a relationship) with the hero was actually just one morning. And yet they were in love at the end. It was too insta-love for me. I felt like maybe a chunk of the book had gone missing from the middle. When had they fallen in love?
Additionally, the action was too compressed for me. The book is 129 pages, and the heroine got kidnapped three times in succession. It felt rushed. I can suspend belief and be on board with someone being kidnapped three times. But three times in the space of a day or two timeline is a bit much for me.
I didn’t feel connected to the characters, nor to their relationship. Which bummed me out because I know this author can slay in that department. Her writing is solid. But this particular book was just too short to do this story justice, at least for me.
I am still going to read the other two books in this series, and since this is the initial book of said series I can’t very well say I don’t recommend it because I am not a fan of reading parts of a series. But I’ll say this- if considered as a standalone I wouldn’t recommend this particular book, nor plan a re-read. BUT, I since it is part of a series I have to say that if you plan to read the series I imagine you’d want to start with this one.
Also, final disclaimer: I really do very much enjoy this author’s work. I just don’t think this particular book, on it’s own, is a great representation of what she can do. If this is going to be your first book of hers I implore you to go back and read the Masterpiece Duet instead.

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“KEEP ME SAFE is a very intense, well-written story. Ms. Warren does not play it safe in her writing and has no remorse about it!” – The Forbidden Bookshelf

When Rachel is abducted by a group of thugs, one man steps in.

Zachary wants her for himself, and she has no choice but to trust this stranger to keep her safe. When danger strikes again, Rachel’s body may endure the pain, but will their tenuous bond survive the abuse?

KEEP ME SAFE is a dark romance novella that explores captivity and power. Not intended for those uncomfortable with the subject matter or under 18 years of age.


The books in the Dark Nights series: ½. Keep Me Safe (prequel novella)
1. Trust in Me
2. Don’t Let Go

Praise for Keep Me Safe:

“I couldn’t help but put everything I was working on aside and read all 125 amazing pages of it. It’s dark, gritty, disturbing, and amazingly fantastic!” – Day Dreaming

“It’s well written, and I was riveted from the very first line until the very end and read it in one sitting. There is plenty of heat along with mystery and suspense.” – Romance in Review

“Very hot. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out, the story takes an even darker and twisted path.” – The Forbidden Bookshelf

The Imperfections by Sam Mariano is coming November 22nd!

From the author’s page:

#TeaserTuesday #ComingSoon #Standalone

🖤 Forbidden romance
🖤 Age gap (hero is older than heroine)
🖤 Gruff, loner hero with a dark side

We have just over a week until THE IMPERFECTIONS releases!! 😁
I’m so ready to share this story with all of you. I can’t wait for you guys to meet Brant! I grew sooo attached to him while writing this book, and it’s almost your turn! ☺️

Releasing November 22nd!

ADD IT TO GOODREADS ➙ https://www.goodreads.com/

Endless Obsession

Endless Obsession

Endless Obsession by Alex Grayson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solid read

I enjoyed this book. Unfortunately I did figure out the identity of the villain (which was the big twist), so that took the wind out of my sails a bit. But still, I enjoyed it.
This was a long book, but it had to be long to get everything in. It wasn’t needlessly so.
I enjoyed the dynamics between the characters- the friends, the romantic relationships, the coworkers… all of them. I thought they were well done. The story kept moving without lulls. I couldn’t put it down for very long. I couldn’t wait for Poppy to discover the secret. When would she find out? How would she react? I NEEDED ANSWERS.
I recommend this book for a fun and different read!

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I’ve silently watched her for a year, staying hidden in the shadows, biding my time.

She may know me as two different men, but she doesn’t have a clue what I’ve done.

She unknowingly became mine the moment my eyes touched her beauty.

But I’ve done things… things she may not be able to forgive.

I know all her secrets, her habits, her preferred coffee, what she does in her spare time, her favorite lingerie brand, and that she sleeps naked.

At night, I watch her from her window. During the day, I watch her from my computer. She innocently bares her heart and body to me, and I soak up every fucking second of it.

I’ve stayed away, but I’m tired of watching her from afar. It’s time Poppy finds out just who I am and what I’m willing to do to take what’s mine. She may hate me when she finds out the lengths I’ve gone to with the things I’ve done, but she has no choice but to accept it. She will be my wife. She will mother my children. I will claim every part of her heart, body, and soul. Anything else is unacceptable.

Poppy Lexington has become my endless obsession. I will become her uncontrollable addiction.

Asher Black (The Five Syndicates #1)

Asher Black

Asher Black by Parker S. Huntington

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good read, but it didn’t knock my socks off

I liked this book. I’m not shouting from the rooftops in joy, ready to chomp at the bit for any new release, but I enjoyed it. And considering that this was the author’s first book? That’s huge. I’m looking forward to reading a few more to see what happens with these characters.
I liked that the main female and her friend are smart (and I mean smart) and strong. I wished that Asher was at least a few years older because I think it would’ve lent more credibility to his maturity level and accomplishments, but here we are.
The banter between Asher and Lucy was fun, but I didn’t feel quite as much heat between them as I would’ve hoped. There was suspense woven in not just from the romantic developments (or lack thereof), but also from the unexplained assassination attempts, the threat to Asher’s place on the board of his own company, Lucy’s dorm nemesis, and even Lucy’s past. It kept the story moving for me.
All in all an enjoyable read, and a really impressive first release. I plan to read the next one.

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From USA Today bestselling author Parker S. Huntington comes a steamy, slow-burn love story full of unexpected love and banter.

It started with my bladder.

I didn’t mean to witness a shady deal in the restroom hallway.
I didn’t think twice when I called the cops.
And I certainly didn’t know who the club belonged to.

Asher Black.
Former mafia hitman.
Billionaire CEO.
New York’s most eligible bachelor.

When he shows up at my college, looking for the girl who called the cops on his business, I know I’m as good as dead.
What I don’t expect is his offer–he’ll pay my tuition and set me up with a cushy job after I graduate.
All I have to do is… be his fake fiancée.

Asher Black is a 90,000-word standalone novel in The Five Syndicates mafia romance series.

Stutter: A Dark Billionaire Romance (Bleeding Hearts Book 2)

Stutter (Bleeding Hearts #2)

Stutter by A. Zavarelli

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solid wrap up, but less suspenseful than the first book

First off, I really enjoyed this duet. Let’s get that out of the way. The suspense was great (particularly in the first book), and I loved Ryland and Brighton. I think the author did an amazing job with the supporting characters, the back stories, and incorporating multiple mysteries to keep me intrigued. For each answer that was revealed, several others remained.
That said, the second book (again, still great) didn’t sing quite as loud for me. The suspense I felt in the first one- the anticipation of one of my most favorite tropes (secret baby- oh, baby!), and the joy of having been gifted one of my other favorite tropes (forced/coerced relationship), would have been hard to top. I acknowledge that. Echo is a hard act to follow. I tore through it like a hurricane, damn near shaking with anticipation for Stutter as I wrote my review.
Overall, still a five-star duet. Although, that is due to my overwhelming love for Echo since Stutter wasn’t quite as great as Echo for me. The suspense was still there, but just not quite as high.
I definitely recommend this duet if you are a fan of forced relationships, secret babies, dark alpha heroes, and solid writing.

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*Book Two in the Bleeding Hearts Series*

Someone once told me that happiness is fleeting.

I can see now that he was right. I’m trapped in a black hole of darkness I can’t seem to crawl out of. My twin and my lover want each other dead and I’m pregnant with a baby I don’t know how to protect.

Ryland says he will do anything to get me back, but how do you trust the man who almost killed you? When every option before you comes at a cost, how do you choose the right path?

People say that history has a way of repeating itself. Six years after the fact, my father’s actions are still haunting me. When I learn about an old debt yet to be settled, everything changes. It might not matter who I trust anymore when my every breath brings me one step closer to the end of this twisted game.