The Marriage Pact by Michelle Richmond

Book Description:

Published:July 25, 2017

Format: Audio/Audible

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact, and most of its rules make sense: Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples–and then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life, and The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Review –

Alice and Jake are on top of the world on their wedding day and then receive a strange gift and an invitation to join The Pact, a very private and exclusive organization which supposedly will help them maintain a healthy marriage.

They accept, and realize very shortly The Pact is an abusive,dangerous and maybe murderous cult-like club with no way out. Alice is accused of infractions and taken to a Pact prison facility and sentenced by a Pact judge to wear a neck brace-like contraption for the purpose of focusing more on her marriage and less on her job. Jake tries to seek answers from a woman he knew while in college but she seems afraid to talk to him. Later he is taken to the prison facility, has his head shaved, suffered electric shocks for hours and stripped naked and anchored between two large piece of plexiglass and rolled into the prison cafeteria for all to see. After several days he is allowed to go home.

Alice and Jake discuss how they can get out of the group and things come to a head when Alice is kidnapped and Jake has to travel to Ireland to find and talk to the founder of The Pact. This is does and without giving anything away, he find Alice is okay and then there is the ending.

There was two ways the book could have ended and I would have been alright with either one but I must admit the decision made by the couple surprised me.

Below is a list of a few of the rules provided in the Manual (required reading, in fact members were told to memorize it)

“The Manual,” a huge tome in tiny print containing regulations like those of Unit 3.12, Health and Fitness, which specifies that neither partner may gain more than 10 percent of what they weigh on their wedding day. Other rules require that couples exchange thoughtful gifts monthly, take a trip together once a quarter, always answer a spouse’s telephone call, and never, ever mention The Pact to anyone. Also mandatory is timely attendance at the group’s parties, meetings, and one-on-one sessions. “

Five stars!

The cover does bother me-not sure about the significance of the red tentacle looking thing.

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Wicked All the Way (Wicked Lovers #6.5) by Shayla Black

Book Description:

Published: December 17, 2012

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Retired military Colonel Caleb Edgington has spent two long years trying to achieve the most important mission objective of his life—but not behind enemy lines. He’s trying to capture a woman with a broken heart. Having lost at love once, he understands being gun shy. The residual fears from Carlotta Buckley’s nasty divorce have stood between them, but he’s done with that. And he’s got the perfect strategy to lure her in…

Carlotta never thought she’d fall in love again. Once bitten, she’s now more than twice shy. And Caleb is everything she can’t handle—fierce, relentless, uncompromising…sexual. She’s managed to mostly avoid him, but now his son and her daughter need their help. Can Caleb and the spirit of the season convince her that she’s ready to take a chance on love again?

Review –

I came across this book while browsing OverDrive and choose it because of the short synopsis even though it was #6.5 in the series.

This is the first contemporary romance I have read or listened to that involved an older man and woman (in their early 50’s) and I found it totally refreshing and hot and steamy at the same time. Why more books aren’t written about this age group, or even older, I don’t know, but I would assume that the demographic  for contemporary/erotic romances are much younger. Maybe I’m in a minority, but  I don’t think so. Adult women of ANY age enjoy this type of book.

Anyway-back to the book.  Caleb is a retired military man and a dominant, who hasn’t had a submission woman for many many years. He has had an interest in Carlotta, the mother-in-law of one of his sons for a couple of years. Carlotta is divorced  and her ex-husband was a complete a**hole and treated her like dirt and made her feel worthless. She doesn’t want another relationship with a controlling man.

A situation comes up where Caleb needs the help of Carlotta so he makes his move and the description of the scene was spot on erotic.  They are interrupted before the sex act itself is done but they do eventually  manage to  come together, so to speak, and again the author does a fantastic job with the dialogue and description. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Caleb is a dominant at heart and talks “dirty” like nobody’s business.

The book also brings together characters from former books and made me want to read or listen to as many as I can find. 

If this one is any indication as to the “sexiness” of the others, I can’t wait. (pant pant)

 

Wicked Favor (The Wicked Horse Vegas #1) by Sawyer Bennett

Book Description:

Published: June 5, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

New York Times bestselling author, Sawyer Bennett, is happy to introduce a new Wicked Horse club in Las Vegas and you’re cordially invited to attend the grand opening…

As the owner of The Wicked Horse, an elite sex club located along the Vegas Strip, Jerico Jameson never spends the night alone. Gorgeous, ripped, and totally alpha, Jerico doesn’t grant favors and will rarely give you the time of day—unless he wants you in his bed. So when the sister of his sworn enemy shows up asking for help, saying no should be easy. But when Jerico takes one look at her and sees an opportunity to help this beautiful woman while exacting revenge on her brother, he’s not about to pass that up.

Beaten and bruised, Trista Barnes is running out of options, and Jerico is her last chance to get out of the mess she’s in. She doesn’t know why Jerico despises her brother so much, but as long as he can help her, she doesn’t care. Jerico offers her safety while opening her up to a sinful world she never knew existed.

As she succumbs to Jerico’s erotic charm, Trista lets herself fall into the wicked world of guilt free pleasure with no regrets. Under his strong alpha hand, she blooms, and so does Jerico’s possessiveness. But what happens when Trista finds out she was a pawn in Jerico’s game all along, and that the price for his favor was steeper than she ever imagined – her heart.

Review –

I have read the original Wild Horse series so when I saw this book I thought I’d give it a try.

I didn’t like Jerico throughout this entire book, even when he wasn’t acting like he was God’s gift to women. To me he was an asshole, but I’m sure I’m in the minority.

He hated Jayce Barnes for good reasons and plotted to send him sex tapes and pictures of his sister, Trista, for a bit of revenge. Even when his best friend told him it was the wrong thing to do he still went ahead with his plan. He DID change his mind but (now get this) only after Trista baked him is favorite cake, Red Velvet. Sounds like a valid reason, right?

In the end he did do the right thing and got rid of the video and pictures (only where Trista could find them), paid off the real loan shark, bought Trista’s old house and had it fixed up for her Mother and bought a house where he and Trista and Corrine would live. 

The Sex scenes were VERY good, but I thought if Jerico cared for and even loved Trista – he shouldn’t want to SHARE her even if it was one of her fantasies.

All in all, I enjoyed the book, just not Jerico’s character. Will I read the other books in the series. Most likely!

The Prisoner(Criminal & Captives #1)by Annika Martin and Skye Warren

Book Description:

Published: October 22, 2014

Format: E-Book

He seethes with raw power the first time I see him—pure menace and rippling muscles in shackles. He’s dangerous. He’s wild. He’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

So I hide behind my prim glasses and my book like I always do, because I have secrets too. Then he shows up in the prison writing class I have to teach, and he blows me away with his honesty. He tells me secrets in his stories, and it’s getting harder to hide mine. I shiver when he gets too close, with only the cuffs and the bars and the guards holding him back. At night I can’t stop thinking about him in his cell.

But that’s the thing about an animal in a cage—you never know when he’ll bite. He might use you to escape. He might even pull you into a forest and hold a hand over your mouth so you can’t call for the cops. He might make you come so hard, you can’t think.

And you might crave him more than your next breath.

Review –

This is definitely a dark, gritty romance. Grayson is in prison for killing a cop (he was framed) and Abigail is there working on a writing assignment for a college class. When Grayson figures out that she is intent on eventually publishing some of the inmates stories as part of an online journal it doesn’t take him long to bribe his way into her class. He needs to get word out to his crew in order to facilitate a break out. Abby is buttoned-up, all prim and proper, and also completely fascinated by the big, hardened prisoner. Grayson is dangerous and her attraction to him leaves her jumpy and confused. But she is determined to finish the assignment.

Predictably, during his prison break, Grayson takes Abby hostage.  She is terrified of what he is going to do to her, but their fascination for each other continues to build. If there isn’t a content warning, there should be because  there are several instances where Grayson’s sexual advances aren’t welcome and even one scene  where Abby has been drugged by Grayson so she can sleep and isn’t completely in control of all of her faculties. Regardless, Abby does slowly come to trust him as she learns of this history and the horror he lived through as  a child. And it is horrific. Her back story is also pretty terrible and in a way made me believe that these two scarred people might be made for each other.

There is a violent bloody beating where Grayson also loses himself and there are twists and turns and a huge change of heart from one of the supporting characters, Stone. It was dark, edgy and a true page turner.

I loved it. If you like DARK AND EDGY, this one is for you.

The sequel, Hostage, has just been released. It is Stone’s story and I can’t wait.

 

Playing With Fire by Lucia Jordan

Book Description:

Published: December 19, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

This is the first book of the Playing With Fire Series a hot and fiery story with a delicious mix of romance, deep passion by Lucia Jordan!


Being a firefighter was the only thing Lucinda Gonzales ever wanted to be. While most girls were playing dolls or dress up, she was playing with her brothers in the back yard, pretending to save people from burning buildings. Firefighting is in her blood, passed down from generation to generation. So when she gets the chance to finally get into the academy to become a firefighter, she doesn’t hesitate. After her older brother is killed in a burning building, she becomes more determined than ever. She’ll be just as successful as her two brothers ahead of her, her father, and her grandfather. Just because she’s a girl doesn’t change a thing. However, there’s one person standing in her way of becoming the greatest. Chief Maddox Lancaster. The dangerously sexy, arrogant as hell fire chief seems to be throwing one obstacle after another at her, but she won’t let him stop her. It doesn’t matter if the smoldering looks he slides her way are hotter than a five alarm fire. Maddox Lancaster is more dangerous than any burning building—can Lucy take it?

Review –

This book was very very predictable but fun to read because the sexual tension between Maddox and Lucy was so HOT! That being said I didn’t become invested in the characters enough to buy the other books in the series. Am I glad I read it? Hell yes, I would have had to be dead not to.

Side note: I HATE the cover.

 

 

Between You and Me by Lisa Hall

Book Description:

Published: March 17, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

They say every marriage has its secrets.
But no one sees what happens behind closed doors.
And sometimes those doors should never be opened …

Sal and Charlie are married. They love each other. But they aren’t happy. Sal cannot leave, no matter what Charlie does – no matter how much it hurts.

Review –

Most of the reviews that I read prior to listening to this book said NOT to read the reviews because there is a GIANT surprise twist in the story so I’m telling you the same thing: DO NOT READ THE REVIEWS!

Sal and Charlie have known each other since college and married quickly after meeting without Sal really getting to know Charlie. Even before the marriage there were signs of a controlling, short-tempered personality, but Sal choose to dismiss it.

After the marriage, Sal was cut off from friends and family and the verbal abuse became physical. Suffice it to say that the longer they are together the worse it gets. Even after the birth of their daughter, Maggie, it continues to worsen.

Finally, Sal can’t take it any longer and decides to leave, confiding in the neighbor, but Charlie finds out and there is a knife involved and this is when I will stop because the TWIST happens.

I must confess, I DID NOT see this particular twist coming and I’m glad because it made the SURPRISE even bigger.

I loved this book and applaud the author, Lisa Hall, on tackling the subject of domestic violence so well.

I highly recommend it!!!!!!  4.5 stars

 

Little Black Dress by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

Book Description:

Published: July 28, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Can a little black dress change everything in her life?

Magazine editor Jane Avery spends her nights alone with Netflix and Oreos – until the Dress turns her loose. Suddenly she’s surrendering to dark desires, and New York City has become her erotic playground. But what began as a fantasy will go too far… and her next conquest could be her last.

Review –

In this BookShot, James Patterson ventures outside the genres for which he is known, waltzing onto a more romance/erotica pathway.

Jane Avery is living the typical a thirty-five  year old divorcée life, at least in her eyes; a slave to her work whose social time is filled with cookies and binge watching television. When she purchases a dress, black and slinky in nature, she finds herself filled with new confidence. While the dress does not possess any magical power, per se, Avery is pulled into a level of confidence she lacked up to that point. This confidence is primarily that of no strings attached sexual encounters with men, most of whom she has never met and all of whom will not get a second chance to unzip her.  Avery’s confidence reaches a climactic point when she visits a sex club and finds herself drawn to a man whose intrigue matches his prowess. However, after taking him back to her apartment, which she has vowed to never do, she finds that she may have bitten off more than she can chew.

When she doesn’t show up for work the next day, her sister goes to her apartment and with the help of the landlord, gains entry and finds Jane, naked and handcuffed to a radiator.

Jane rethinks the her behavior and decides that from now on she will be more careful.   END.

It was a pleasant read but I thought the ending could have been better.

 

All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker

Book Description:

Published: July 12, 2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

In the small, affluent town of Fairview, Connecticut everything seems picture perfect.

Until one night when young Jenny Kramer is attacked at a local party. In the hours immediately after, she is given a controversial drug to medically erase her memory of the violent assault. But, in the weeks and months that follow, as she heals from her physical wounds, and with no factual recall of the attack, Jenny struggles with her raging emotional memory. Her father, Tom, becomes obsessed with his inability to find her attacker and seek justice while her mother, Charlotte, prefers to pretend this horrific event did not touch her perfect country club world.

As they seek help for their daughter, the fault lines within their marriage and their close-knit community emerge from the shadows where they have been hidden for years, and the relentless quest to find the monster who invaded their town – or perhaps lives among them – drive this psychological thriller to a shocking and unexpected conclusion.

Review-

“The traumatic memories of a teenager’s rape are medically erased, but lingering thoughts of the attack remain, infecting everyone in her close-knit community.

15-year-old Jenny Kramer thought the party she’d been invited to would be the moment when she’d finally blossom, maybe even get a moment alone with the dashing Doug Hastings. Instead she found herself drunk, in the woods, the victim of a vicious hourlong rape, of which Walker spares the reader no detail in this unnecessarily explicit debut. After she’s rushed to the hospital, Jenny’s parents—blubbering car salesman Tom and tightly put together homemaker Charlotte —decide to give her an experimental drug cocktail to erase her memories of the attack. If the process were successful, there’d be no book, so enter the skin-crawlingly smug narrator, soon introduced as psychiatrist Dr. Alan Forrester, who begins treating Jenny, along with her whole family, after her nearly successful suicide attempt. It’s difficult to empathize with a character—our narrator no less—who looks at a 15-year-old assault victim and wonders to himself “why [he] could not see the rape in her eyes.” As the well-to-do enclave of Fairview, Connecticut, tries to regroup in the wake of zero viable suspects, Tom Kramer makes it his mission to find Jenny’s rapist, jumping on every slim lead, like the sighting of a blue Honda Civic near the party and  a boy in a blue sweatshirt.  The introduction of one of Alan’s other patients, a soldier who endured the same treatment as Jenny, merely clutters an already busy story whose resolution is anything but satisfying.

A repugnant narrator, even an unreliable one, makes it difficult to focus on the true victim, one who is crushed under the weight of this ridiculous plot.” from Kirkus Reviews

I couldn’t have said it better. As the book went on I began to wonder if indeed the rape of Jenny and her well-being was the focus of the story or if it was the Doctor Forrester and his well-being. To tell you the truth, I still don’t know.

Don’t waste your time.

 

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Book Description:

Published: July 11, 2017

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct…

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

Review –

“A search for a missing girl resurrects traumatic memories for a woman already struggling with life.

Sunday Night—not her real name—lives in seclusion on an island off the South Carolina coast while contemplating the ruins of her life. Her early childhood was a nightmare. Taken in by policeman Perry “Beau” Beaumonde, rebellious Sunday earned a choice of jail or the armed forces. Her stint in the Marines led to a job with the Charleston PD, where the accidental shooting of an unarmed man has left her wounded and pensioned off. That’s when Beau suggests she take an investigative job for wealthy, well-connected Opaline Drucker, whose 15-year-old granddaughter, Stella, may have been kidnapped by a cult after she missed being killed in a Hebrew school bombing that claimed the lives of her mother and brother (though the family isn’t Jewish). Accepting the job, Sunday heads to Chicago, where Drucker’s connections get her first-class treatment and information from the cops handling the case. Paranoid Sunday sets up motion detectors in her room at the Ritz and moves from hotel to hotel while awaiting the results of her internet trolling. She hears from the bombers and manages to avoid one trap but gets ambushed at the Ritz, where she kills an attacker identified as one of the bombing suspects from an old security tape. Seeking help in staking out a female member of the gang, Sunday calls on her twin brother, Gus, and they chase the suspects from Chicago to California and back East. Reichs periodically interrupts this tale with the first-person narrative of a girl desperately trying to escape a cult. Is it Stella or Sunday? Are the bombers really trying to kill Jewish schoolchildren, or is their motive still deeper?

The authors’ newest heroine, the polar opposite of cerebral Temperance Brennan (Speaking in Bones, 2015, etc.), is fueled by a well-nigh uncontrollable rage in her thrilling, violent search for a missing girl so much like herself.”

The above was taken from Kirkus Review.

Although I enjoyed the book, I’m not sure if the character of Sunday Night will grow on me; but I really liked her twin brother Gus (August Night) and he, I could become invested in. I guess I’ll just wait and see what the author decides to do.

 

The Dark Light of Day (The Dark Light of Day #1) by T.M. Frazier

Book Description:

Published: January 2, 2016

Format: Audio/Audible

Homeless, sleeping in a junkyard, and on the run from a system that has failed her over and over again, Abby meets Jake, a tattooed blue-eyed biker with secrets that rival her own. Two broken souls that can’t be healed, they can’t be saved. Abby and Jake have to decide if they can accept the darkness not only within one another, but within themselves.

If they can accept each other for who they really are they might learn that love isn’t always found in the light…

WARNING: This is NOT your typical romance.
The story of Jake & Abby contains disturbing situations, graphic violence, sex, strong language, drug use, and all types of abuse.

Review –

I have read books with damaged, broken souls but they DO NOT compare to the utter desolation and suffering in the lives of Jake and Abby.

Abby’s parents were drug addicts and worse. When Abby was nine years old her mother didn’t have any money to pay for her drugs so she gave the man Abby in payment. When he tried to rape her she stabbed him in the eye with a piece of mirror that her mother used to snort cocaine. For punishment Abby’s mother tied her to a hot radiator and burned her with cigarettes and cut her all over her body with a knife. Abby did escape and run naked and bleeding to a fire station where she found help. Her mother was tried and sentenced to life in prison.

At seventeen Abby’s loses her grandmother and is homeless and hiding in a junkyard from Child Protective Services.

The last time twenty-two year old Jake Dunn saw his father he tried to kill him. He has always blamed Jake for the death of his wife and “good ” son. Now he’s a drunk and Jake has come back to look after the family business. He finds Abby in an old truck and almost shoots her, but falls in love with her at first sight instead. Jake know’s he’s no good for her and is too old for her and that he  kills people for a living, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is Abby.

Abby and Jake find each other and are able to open up for the first time in their young lives.

Just as they are getting somewhere in their relationship, Jake has to leave town for a while for a job. If poor Abby hasn’t been through enough already, she goes through something even more traumatic while Jake is gone. It’s devastating. It’s disturbing. It will break your heart.

I won’t tell you what happens just know that it’s a dark storyline, with  broken characters, a damaged man, tough not annoying heroine, heartbreaking and sad, but heart warming at times… and most importantly, gave me a case of the feels.

This one will bring out some strong emotions in you. The Dark Light of Day is about so much more than finding love and healing. It’s about a girl, a girl who endured more than suffering and trauma than any person should ever go through, finding the strength to move on. That it’s okay to be touched, to fall in love, to find happiness and let people in. Jake and Abby were able to find beauty in all the ugly. 

A fantastic read and the cover, for the most part, matches the story.

Five stars.