Ruin (Slay Quartet #2) by Laurelin Paige

Book Description:

Published: October 29, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 5

With her heart literally in his hands, Celia will have to try and bargain with a devil.

Edward Fasbender is my captor.

Trapped on this island he owns everything on–including, it seems, me.

He told me he would break me, but I thought he meant in the bedroom. It turns out Edward is playing a completely different game.

And he won’t stop until he’s ruined me.

Slay Two: Ruin is the second book in the Slay Quartet. Slay One: Rivalry should be read first.

Review –

I absolutely loved the first book, and I almost died when it ended with such a massive cliffhanger! So, as soon as I saw the second book on my was available on Audible Escape I dropped everything and dove right in!

Ruin starts where we were left off in the first book. And let me tell you, I couldn’t listen fast enough. I just soaked in every word! 

Told from dual first person perspectives (Celia and Edward) Ruin follows the building, but acrimonious relationship between businessman/billionaire media mogul Edward Fasbender, and Celia Warner. Several weeks earlier Edward Fasbender propositioned Celia Warner in an effort to regain control of his life, and that of the woman with whom he would fall in love but Celia is a game player, and she is about to enter into a game of which she has no control. Left alone for weeks to months at a time, on a Caribbean island with only Edward’s staff for companionship, Celia will discover that Edward’s power and control is beyond anything she could have imagined. Edward’s primary directive is to break the woman he married, and by breaking Celia, Edward will gain domination and command of her body and soul. What ensues is the tempestuous relationship, and sexually charged romance between Edward and Celia, and the potential fall-out as Celia reveals her past, a past that will affect Edward’s direction and intent, going forward. Edward is one arrogant SOB and is always one step ahead of Celia, but in his own sick and twisted way, he has come to care for/love her.

Celia Warner plays with people’s lives ultimately destroying those in an attempt to regain control of her life but the past cannot be fixed, and in this Celia’s desperate need to win at all costs, will cost her her own freedom when Edward Fasbender takes control of her heart and her life.

Ruin  is a story of betrayal and revenge; power and control. Edward Fasbender realizes that Celia Warner is broken beyond repair, just as he wanted her to be, but it’s not as satisfying as he had thought it would be. Never expecting to fall in love, Edward and Celia will come to terms, relationship wise, in an effort to destroy someone else. The premise is intriguing and captivating; the characters are strong, resilient, broken and flawed; the romance struggles in the face of vengeance and determination.

NOTE: Due to the nature of the story line premise, there may be some triggers for more sensitive readers.

If you decide to start this series, be prepared to see it to the end!

Rivalry (Slay Quartet #1) by Laurelin Paige

Book Description:

Published: June 4, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Edward Fasbender is a devil.

He’s my father’s business rival, a powerful, vicious man who takes what he wants and bows to no one. I only took the meeting because I was curious. I thought he was going to offer me a job.

But that’s not what he’s after at all. His proposal is much more intriguing, and I see an opportunity. An opportunity to turn the tables and bring down the devil.

I’ve gotten in trouble playing these games before. I know when the risk is too great, when the stakes are too high. I know how to be cold and strong-willed and destructive. I know how to withstand dominant men with arrogant charm and rugged features.

Yet I can’t resist taking on Edward.

And I can’t resist the pull he has on me.

Soon I’m not so sure which side of the battle I’m standing on–if I’m the warrior meant to slay,

Or the one who will be slain.

Slay is Book One in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, Laurelin Paige, next dark and edgy series.

Review –

“SLAY: Rivalry is the first instalment in Laurelin Paige’s contemporary, adult dark, romance quartet focusing on billionaire media mogul Edward Fasbender, and Celia Werner. The SLAY Quartet is a spin-off from the author’s FIXED series, and falls in the timeline before Fixed Forever and a few years after Forever with You. SLAY: Rivalry can be read as a stand aloe without any difficulty. Any important information erom the previous installments is revealed where necessary

Told from first person point of view (Celia) SLAY: Rivalry follows Celia Werner as she is propositioned by her father’s enemy Edward Fasbender. As the heir to the Werner Media Company, Celia finds herself targeted by a man whose predilection towards domination and control may be beyond anything she could have imagined. As one who knows how to play the ‘game’ Celia accepts Edward’s offer of marriage, a marriage in name only that leaves our heroine struggling with a direction in life, but a life that is no longer under her control. Celia entered into the ‘marriage’ wholly aware that her life was about to change but wasn’t prepared for the dark and dangerous consequences of her actions.
Celia Werner is a manipulator who plays ‘games’ with people’s lives. Having previous met Celia in the author’s Fixed Series, we will learn to understand the mind of a woman who battles her own personal demons, demons that lead to her need for control.

SLAY: Rivalry is a story of power and control; of domination and submission; of hatred, anger, vengeance and betrayal; an intense and emotional tale. Celia believes she is in control but she lost that control the moment she agreed to become Edward’s wife. The premise is dark and raw; Edward is a dangerous, angry and frightening b*astard; Celia has come up against someone much stronger at playing the ‘game’. SLAY: Rivalry ends on a cliff hanger-you have been warned.

NOTE: Due to the nature of the story line content, there may be some triggers for more sensitive readers.” The Reading Cafe

Where the Blame Lies by Mia Sheridan

Book Description:

Published: September 13, 2019

Format: Audio/Audible

Stars: 4

Abducted.
Terrorized.
Imprisoned.

At nineteen-years-old, college student Josie Stratton was kidnapped by a madman and held shackled for ten months in an abandoned warehouse before she finally escaped her hellish prison.

Eight years later, when the body of a young woman is found chained in the basement of a vacant house, Cincinnati Police Detective Zach Copeland is instantly reminded of the crime committed against Josie Stratton. Zach was just a rookie on the perimeter of that case, but he’s never forgotten the traumatized woman with the haunted eyes.

As more information emerges, the crimes take on an even more sinister similarity. But Josie’s attacker died by suicide. Does the city have a copycat on its hands? A killer who picked up where the original perpetrator left off? Or are they facing something far more insidious?

Josie has spent the last eight years attempting to get her life back on track, but now there’s a very real chance she could be the unknown suspect’s next target. As Zach vows to keep her safe, and Josie finds herself responding to him in a way she hasn’t responded to any man in almost a decade, the investigation takes on an even more complex edge of danger.

As past and present collide, Josie and Zach are thrust toward a shocking and chilling truth. A revelation that threatens not only Josie’s life, but everything she’s been fighting so desperately to reclaim.

Review –

This story is told in the past and present, from the third person (I know some people have trouble connecting to this POV, but I felt the author did a great job in building an emotional connection with the heroine).
In the past . . .
We learn of the horrific abduction and torture of a young college student, Josie Stratton.  This part of the book is haunting in its simplicity.  The author doesn’t delve into the specifics of Josie’s torture, but we know that she is chained to the wall, raped, and nearly starved to within an inch of her life (the assailant drew this part out, making it that much more disturbing).
Given that there is a present that features Josie, alternating with chapters from the past, we can assume that there is at least somewhat of a happy ending for her (she doesn’t die).  But her journey and what she loses along the way, cannot be forgotten.
In the present . . .
About that happy ending I just mentioned . . . forget it.  After another woman is found, this one dead, and the particular details are revealed about her condition, the police are concerned they have a copycat on their hands.  Even though the original kidnapper is dead, they understand that Josie may be at risk once again. And that’s what brings Detective Zach Copeland to Josie’s doorstep.
There is an immediate connection between Josie and Zach that runs deeper than a physical connection.  On Josie’s part, it is the first time she’s found comfort with a man since her abduction.  On Zach’s part, he sees a woman that has survived the worst circumstances and rather than fold under the weight of it all, is fighting to regain her life.  There is admiration for her strength.  Although he doesn’t regard her as weak, he knows he can’t take any risks as more bodies are discovered.
At some point, like the characters in this story, I began to question on whether the right person was identified as the kidnapper in the past.  I think I sorted that out before any big revelation was made, but I had no clue who the serial killer was in the present.  The author does a great job on slowly revealing connections between the victims and ultimately the killer.  I loved the big twist with the killer’s identification, and how the author wraps up the  story.  Very unexpected!
The author did a phenomenal job of building this thriller, with a heroine that you want to cheer for every step of the way.  Whether you are a fan of this author, or this genre, this one is worth checking out!

 

 

Pitch Dark by A.M. Wilson and Alex Grayson

Book Description:

Published: September 15, 2017

Format: E-Book

One girl disappeared. After fifteen years, her cold lifeless body was found on the damp forest floor. Not an inch of her was unmarked by the horrors she endured. Alone, malnourished, abused in horrific ways; this was how she died.

One girl was found walking the streets, covered in dirt and scars. She had no memory of who she was, where she came from, or what happened to her. Even though the marks on her body attested to years of heinous abuse, her strength shone through at every turn.

Revenge and justice were sworn.

Years of searching brought up nothing but dead ends. Detective Niko James was too late to save his childhood friend, but he vows not to let down another.

The clock is ticking and the trail is pitch dark.

Review –
PitchDark is a very dark and gritty thriller, one that was difficult to read at times.  It’s intense, heartbreaking, edgy, and raw.  So be aware, it’s very explicit with the details of  child abuse.
It’s been fifteen years since Niko’s childhood friend, Aislin, has disappeared and in his heart he knew she was abducted while his parents and the police just thought she ran off.
A body is found in the woods covered with scars, old and new, and open sores, cuts, scrapes, and old and new bruises. She is identified as Aislin. Niko is heart-broken and angry because he hadn’t rescued her from such torture.
Later a girl is found walking the streets, barefoot and with similar markings on her body as the dead girl and she has no memory of who she is or her previous life.
While Niko helps to find out who this girl is and who did this to her (because he’s positive the same individual killed Aislin)he begins to get close to her and develops feelings he knows he shouldn’t.
I’m not going much further with the story because it would be too easy to include spoilers. Just surface it to say that it’s well written with engaging characters. Sometimes it seems draw out and repetitive but even that didn’t take away from the storyline although because of that I only gave it four and a half stars.
Excellent who-dun-it but there are many triggers and it’s not a romance so if you are easily disgusted and traumatized; stay away from this book!

Bait by Jade West

Book Description:

Published: August 14, 2017

Format: Free Digital Book

A stranger online. Dark hair and even darker eyes that knew my dirty desires before I did.
A fantasy that should never be spoken. But he pulled the confession from me.
And now he’s coming for me.
Rough. Dirty. Dangerous.
It’s supposed to be one night to get me off and make me forget.
He’ll make me his and I’ll pretend I don’t want him to.
I’ll run and he’ll chase.
Because I asked him for this.
I begged him for this.

Tonight, in the darkness, he’s the hunter.
And I’m the bait.

Review –

Abigail Summers moved to a new city to leave behind her old life. But no matter where she went, demons from her past caught up to her, making her crave a dangerous game.Abigail was one gutsy woman. She perfectly aware what she jumped into and took matter into her own hand to regain her spirit. I like how she could let herself loose while not losing control.

Phoenix may be a stranger, but he was no stranger to the dark needs. He let the monster lay dormant inside him until she breathed it back to life. On the surface, Phoenix had that wild and dangerous appeal. And I like how beyond that he was perfectly normal. He may be ruthless, but he also had heart.

What I like the most about these characters is that they’re unapologetic for what they need and they clicked together like a jigsaw puzzle. The sex scenes were dirty and the situation added to the hotness.

The book started dark and mysterious with a tinge of ominous tone. I enjoyed the overall storyline even though I wasn’t surprised by outcome.

Bait is a story of two broken souls finding comfort with each other. It would appeal to readers looking for dark, erotic read with element of suspense.

Fractured (Fractured #1) by Elle Charles

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2014

Format: Free Digital Book

Kara Petersen’s life is virtually non-existent. Haunted by memories of the past, and events she cannot accurately remember, she is living half a life inside a world she has purposely created to shield herself from pain.

She is invisible, until one fateful night changes everything – she meets the handsome, enigmatic and very mysterious, Sloan Foster.

Successful, powerful and knowing exactly what he wants, she is inexplicably drawn to him.

Tired of fighting against the foreign emotions he has invoked inside her, she takes a fortuitous leap of faith. Conceding his temptation is too strong to resist, she falls deeper into his world of seduction, wealth and power.

Against her own better judgement, and recognising something isn’t quite right in this rich playboy’s domain, Kara is learning more about herself than she ever thought possible, from a man who seemingly knows more than he should.

A dark, engaging and provocative read that will stay with you long after you put it down.

WARNING: This novel contains serious adult content and descriptive sexual scenes. Intended for readers aged 18+

Review –

I just finished this book and all I can say is “Good God!”

The story line is not new – Young girl, sexually abused for many years to pay off the drug debts of her father is rescued by a stranger and lives to become a strong woman after being taken in by a kind woman. When the young woman is twenty-three a billionaire takes an interest in her and tries to control her every move. He is damaged too, but we don’t know why, and together they TRY to have a relationship but things get in the way and finally someone tells him lies about Kara that he believes and he throws her out of his home.  She moves in with the kind woman, now her boss, and her old girl friend, who is a prostitute, along with an evil  man named Deacon meet her at the door and he beats her horribly and abducts her. END

I knew that Kara and Sloan were destined to fail because this is Book One in a series and writers gonna write. The author has to give you a reason to go one to the second, third and final books.

It wasn’t said in this book but I have a feeling that Sloan is the man who rescued Kara when she was fifteen and might have even known her before that. We don’t know what exactly he does but some call him “dangerous” so I can hardly wait to start the second book as soon as I post this.

There are several triggers in this book and the top two are ABDUCTION and PHYSICAL ABUSE, so if you have trouble in those areas, stay away from this series.

 

 

 

One Dom to Love (The Doms Of Her Life #1) by Shayla Black,Jenna Jacob & Isabella LaPearl

Book Description:

Published: December 4, 2012

Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she’s a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him—only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O’Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend’s possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he’ll end up falling for her himself.

Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance.Liam’s crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn’t ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself—heart, body, and soul—to Liam?

Review –

Loved this book, the first in The Doms of Her Life series, because it has it all!

  • A love triangle that wasn’t meant to be.
  • The roughness in manner and love-making of Macen Hammer.
  • The smoothness and softness in manner in love-making of Liam O’Neill.
  • The innocence of Raine.
  • The hottest sex scenes I’ve read in a long time and all the DIRTY TALK.

If these things appeal to you, don’t delay in reading this book. 

I am in the midst of many other books right now, but as soon as possible I will definitely read the next book in this hot series.

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The First Rule (Elvis Cole #13, Joe Pike #2) by Robert Crais

Book Description:

Published: January 12, 2010

The organized criminal gangs of the former Soviet Union are bound by what they call the thieves’ code. The first rule is this: A thief must forsake his mother, father, brothers, and sisters. He must have no family-no wife, no children. We are his family. If any of the rules are broken, it is punishable by death.

Frank Meyer had the American dream-until the day a professional crew invaded his home and murdered everyone inside. The only thing out of the ordinary about Meyer was that- before the family and the business and the normal life-a younger Frank Meyer had worked as a professional mercenary, with a man named Joe Pike.

The police think Meyer was hiding something very bad, but Pike does not. With the help of Cole, he sets out on a hunt of his own-an investigation that quickly entangles them both in a web of ancient grudges, blood ties, blackmail, vengeance, double crosses, and cutthroat criminal­ity, and at the heart of it, an act so terrible even Pike and Cole have no way to measure it. Sometimes, the past is never dead. It’s not even past.

Review –

Since Robert Crais first introduced Elvis Cole and Joe Pike in 1987’s “The Monkey’s Raincoat,” readers have been treated to one of the best, albeit unlikely, partnerships in crime fiction. Yet it’s inherent in such pairings — whether it’s Holmes and Watson or Spenser and Hawk — that one character ends up in the shadow of the other. For Crais, that shadow role falls to Pike (few dare call him Joe), an enigmatic, Zen-like warrior who has been the sidekick to the wise cracking Cole for most of the series with the notable exception of 2007’s “The Watchman,” in which Pike had the lead. There, as he began in 1999’s “L.A. Requiem,” Crais revealed tantalizing bits of Pike’s back story and psychological underpinnings, enriching his writing and the series in the process.

Pike has the lead again in “The First Rule,” which takes readers on a multicultural guided tour of Los Angeles crime, from Westwood to Willowbrook, Marina del Rey to Lake View Terrace. 

When Joe Pike’s good friend Frank Meyer is gunned down in cold blood, even the L. A. cops are worried about who’s gonna tell Joe Pike. Pike has a reputation that’s been well earned over the years. He wears red arrows tattooed on his biceps that point forward because Joe Pike doesn’t back up or back down. Ever.
I know a lot of people who haven’t read Crais’s books might read that last bit and go, yeah, right. But we fans know. Joe Pike,one of my favorite characters, might be cut from the same cloth as Batman and truly near superhero standards, but we just don’t care. We can’t get enough of this guy. If the world was truly the way it was supposed to be, guys like Joe Pike and Elvis Cole, World’s Greatest Detective, would exist.
I believe in them. It’s a choice I’m comfortable with.

The prose is stripped down, lean and hard and merciless — and different from an Elvis Cole novel. We view Pike more from the outside even when we’re in his point of view. Pike is a very private person, and I like the mystique he manages to keep even while on center stage.
This book might not be for everyone regarding the brutal nature of the crimes and the extremes Pike goes to, but the action is dead on and very representative of what these Eastern European crime syndicates do.

A great read that will keep you turning the page and wanting more when you come to the end.

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