How can a book as dark, twisted and tormented as this is leave me on an incredible high with a sappy smile on my face a glistening tear in my eye?
Mara’s story is not an easy one to read, but her resilience, her strength and emotional fortitude left me with a feeling of empowerment, despite the dark themes that run through the book. I really liked her character and was so happy with how the book ended when she got the future she so very much wanted and deserved. There is a romance in here of sorts, though it isn’t a conventional one and we don’t really get to see much of it. The main focus is on Mara’s suffering and the cruel, erotic treatment she is subjected to.
This is a gird your loins, buckle in and pull up your big girl pants read that is not suitable for those with triggers around non-con situations, including sadism. It’s a somewhat uncomfortable ride at times, pushing boundaries and definitely not relaxing. The situations it describes leaves me on edge, uncomfortable, emotions taut and heart pounding. I love that feeling! Whilst this won’t be for everyone it is Claire Thompson at her darkly erotic best and I do recommend it to all dark erotica fans.
Whilst I couldn’t quite give this the full 5 stars it was still a really good read and a great second instalment to the trilogy. I wasn’t quite sure where the plot would take us and I have to say that the author managed to surprise me more than once with her twists and turns.
Back in New York, back to her job, but things are most certainly NOT back to normal for Kate. She and Ingram have to tread a very rocky path as it is, and at least one of the Masters seems determined to throw obstacles in their way. Kate starts to question where her loyalties should lie and whether she is trusting foolishly. For me this gave more credibility to the story and was something I very much appreciated.
Ingram’s method of encouraging Kate to submit to the Masters’ instructions were a nice touch, but the execution of that was a little less convincing. It felt more like him indulging his kinks and fetishes rather than strengthening her resolve and ability to “play along”.
Personally it felt as though the first half lacked pace, with too much kink/sex and too little suspense for my tastes. I just needed the a little more forward movement on the plot, though I’m sure plenty of others loved all the steamy sex scenes. During their scene at the club Kate wasn’t given a safeword / gesture, given that she was firmly gagged and with no idea of what would transpire during the scene, I was left feeling a little uncomfortable.
Once that pace picked up I was hooked and really didn’t want to put the book down. In fact I didn’t until I’d completed the book, and I loved every frustrating setback, every shocking twist and even that nasty cliff-hanger ending. Book #3 can’t drop on my kindle soon enough!
Synopsis They let me live… but I’ll never be free. I bought my way out of hell. I paid with my soul. From now on, they control me. Wherever I go, whatever I do, they’ll know. One wrong move and they’ll kill me… or worse. Ingram swears he’ll free me from the Masters, but he needs time. Until then, I must obey without question. Instinct tells me to resist. I can’t ignore it forever. Ingram’s love sustains me. His discipline gives me strength. But he needs my help as much as I need his. A specter from his past seeks revenge. Cunning and merciless, Ingram’s enemy has started a war. And I’m the one caught in the middle.
If you’re a dark romance fan, Disciplined will grip you from start to finish. Grab a copy now and take a ride that will leave you breathless and begging for more!
Acknowledgements Photos #1 – by Marta Wave on Pexels.com
The full five stars for this gripping read. Whilst At His Bidding isn’t a dark read (not in the way that Tamara, Taken was), it did still have that air of tension and conflict that I enjoy in dark romance. On the night when the clocks went forward an hour anyway, reading until 1 am perhaps wasn’t the best of ideas but I just couldn’t put this down.
An action-packed, intriguing, and hot enemies-to-lovers story, I can easily see how this book would inspire the currently popular bully trope. Ashton was one seriously angry young man, one whom the author cleverly gave just enough grievance too so that his actions were not totally irredeemable. That doesn’t excuse his awful behaviour, but it did feel as though he has a very small amount of justification for some of his actions and behaviours. The fact that he also showed good character growth, along with genuine remorse, allowed me to forgive him. And at the end of the day Riley had entered the bargain willingly.
It was impossible not to love Riley. She wasn’t too perfect, she made mistakes, took foolish or reckless decisions, but overall loved her siblings, genuinely cared for people and tried to be a good person. The little victories she had, the small triumphs, showed us a heroine with inner strength, and boy did she need it to navigate the threats and manipulations that awaited her.
My only criticism is that the blurb is, to my mind, a little misleading. It literally refers to the first two or three chapters at most. That is, the initial auction and the few scenes following that. The story is more about Riley re-encountering Ashton, the step-brother who hates her, and Gavin, the controlling ex who is obsessed by her. I’m not generally a fan of New Adult books, but I have to say that I found myself liking both characters in this. Rather than finding them irritating and juvenile, as is often the case with this genre, I could believe in why this pair felt more mature in their attitudes and behaviour.
Despite having a few noticeable editing errors, overall the writing was excellent, as was characterisation, plot and pace. I definitely recommend this one.
Synopsis Adie Two wealthy, ruthless men are in a bitter war. And Riley’s body is their battleground.
She thought they’d taken everything from her. She was wrong. She thought she’d left her tragic past behind. She was wrong. She knows that now. Because she’s standing up on a platform at the Betancourt auction, scorched by the cruel, hungry gaze of the world’s richest men, selling the only thing she has left: herself. Now two men are bidding for her. One has sworn to possess and enslave her. One has sworn to destroy her.
This was a deliciously dark read, one where I was very quickly hooked into the story. It isn’t a romance by any stretch of the imagination, though there are definitely emotions involved, strong and believable ones too. For Alana those feelings are the result of Stockholm syndrome and brainwashing – or whatever the kink equivalent is of making the body and soul crave domination. I’m not quite sure how Claire Thompson achieved it, but I went from wanting Mark to be impaled on a rusty pitchfork, to needing him to find his HEA.
There were hints of Comfort Food, by Kitty Thomas, about this, though I am in no way suggesting it is copied from that. Obsession: Girl Abducted is very definitely it’s own book and story, they just both deal with similar themes. Despite this not delving deeply into how Mark “broke” Alana down, at least not in “real time” scenes, there were subtle hints, nudges and clues that worked together to convince me of the outcomes.
Those final chapters were heart breaking at times, so full of emotion and so poignant and beautifully written. And I simply loved the possibilities of that ending!
Synopsis He’s her biggest fan. She doesn’t know he exists. That’s about to change…
Dark, passionate obsession drives Mark to abduct the woman of his dreams. Now that she belongs to him, he’ll teach her to submit, no matter how long it takes, no matter the cost to her sanity…
Alana resists her cruel captor at every turn, but she can’t escape the constant sexual torture and conditioning, nor the erotic pain and pleasure he forces on her… Drawn deeper into his web of total control, the outside world slowly falls away…
Then she’s faced with a choice…
Previously titled: Obsession
Erotic non-con that’s not for the faint of heart. Read only if you dare.
Natural Sorcery (Jordan Sanders #2) by Marina Ermakova
Having read the first book in the series, Terrestrial Magic, I decided to give the author another try when I saw this on NetGalley. Terrestrial Magic had left me a little on the fence but Natural Sorcery had me captivated from start to finish. Each book has it’s own complete story and whilst I suspect you could read this stand alone I do think reading the books in order would provide the best reading experience.
Jordan felt a more balanced character in this, still flawed, still disliking social situations, still awkward and uneasy with physical contact. However I just felt as though I got to know her in this book and I found myself warming to her in a way I hadn’t previously. There is a very vague and tiny hint of romance in this, it is a minor part of the plot but I did enjoy how the relationship between Luca and Jordan evolved. In fact we saw a lot more interaction between Jordan and supporting characters, both new and old, which added texture and colour to the story.
The mystery was well written, subtle clues were given along with red herrings and even though I’d guessed somewhat at the culprit I still very much enjoyed the journey we took to resolve the problems faced. There were also plenty of unexpected plot twists and turns, along with several crises for Jordan to combat. Personally I loved her little mental conversations where she imagined what various friends or relatives would advise her to do. Her inner monologues, choices and reactions showed good personal growth and an increased self awareness, all of which made her more believable and likeable.
The prose flowed really well, the author has produced an engaging and exciting story and I look forward to reading the next book when it is released.
Synopsis Rome was supposed to be safe–or at least safer than 90% of the planet. That was before the local legends started using their magic to destroy the food supply.
Considered one of Rome’s experts on legends, mostly because she keeps surviving their assassination attempts, Jordan finds herself racing to find the culprits before they strike again. But legends wield powers that aren’t documented, understood, or predictable. And Jordan isn’t even a soldier. She’s just some scientist unlucky enough to stumble over the local political mess.
The chances of getting murdered by magic beyond her comprehension is disconcertingly high. But if this unknown legend goes unchecked, Rome won’t survive the next few years…and Jordan doesn’t have it in her to walk away from that.
Acknowledgements – Photo #1 by Karol Wiu015bniewski on Pexels.com Photo #2 by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas on Pexels.com
Well, Kate was most definitely Reckless, putting herself in an incredibly dangerous situation with Ingram and the Masters. However Sansa Rayne cleverly crafted her character, as well as giving us the necessary insight, so as to make those choices believable. Sometimes I feel as though the kidnapped/captive trope is a little overdone but the author polished this tired idea up, spinning it in an intriguing and enjoyable new direction. Overall I didn’t feel that this was an incredibly dark read, since the sex was purely consensual. However the punishment scenes definitely ventured into dub-con/non-con territory.
I found myself very much liking Kate, despite the fact that she was quite a closed off person, so focused on her work that she had few friends and no time for a relationship. However her strength, determination and moral fortitude had me enamoured with her even quicker than Ingram was. Talking of Ingram, he was everything you would want in an anti-hero. He was as morally corrupt as Kate was honest, he was bad through to the bone and for purely selfish reasons. But he worshipped the ground she walked on and would raze the world to ashes to protect her.
The only negative, which was small, was this is a little bit too insta-love for me. I could have lived without the declaration of feelings in this book, given that it is part of a trilogy. It felt rushed and too soon. Without a shadow of a doubt I totally believed in their attraction for one another and in the emergence of some feelings, but love felt a little bit too much at this point. However the fast paced action, the intrigue, the third pov and the constant reminders (each time one got comfortable) that Kate is very much NOT safe had me not wanting to put this down until I had finished it.
Kudos to the author for having Kate doubt the veracity of her feelings for Ingram, to question the hows and whys of her emotions. I loved that even though she held a powerful attraction for (and to) him, Kate wasn’t prepared to compromise her beliefs and her “self”. I was also pleased that Ingram didn’t have a sudden change of personality either. He is an assassin, he isn’t a good man despite the fact that he is good to Kate. When the story ends he still retains his “bad man” mindset, he isn’t looking for ways for him to “go straight” and disappear with Kate. In fact he still seems to harbour some hopes that she will choose to work alongside him.
So the TL;DR version of this is that I very much enjoyed it, really liked both MC’s, have no idea what will happen next and can’t wait for book #2!
Synopsis They marked me for death, but he had other plans for me. I risked everything for the story of my career. I took down a powerful man. Now his connected friends want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Their assassin, Ingram, lured me into a trap. Flew me to their island. Threw me in a cell. Covered up my disappearance. I’ll never escape on my own. In constant danger, punished and degraded at every turn, I have one chance to survive. Someone’s trying to kill Ingram. He needs my help to figure out who. But this is more than a quid pro quo. Submitting to Ingram awakens my darkest desires. His dominance satisfies my unmet cravings. He swears he’ll protect me, but no one crosses the Masters without paying the price…
Violent Retaliation (Twisted, Dark and Deadly #3) by C.P. Mandara
That bastard is more cunning than a really cunning fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at the secret headquarters of ‘Ban Fox Hunting Forever’.
Just a bit of housekeeping first. This is the third book in an ongoing series which must be read in order. It also ends on a cliff-hanger. Whilst the series can be read separately, since the author has gradually filled in all the details about his background and his history with James and Lois, reading the Special Agent Novels first will provide a fuller picture of Adie, James and Lois’ life in the preceding few months.
I spent the first chunk of this book wanting to smack Adie over the head with a heavy object and to have carnal knowledge of him, in equal measure. He’s an arrogant, selfish, SOB but he’s also a little boy looking for someone to love him. And silly Adie has decided that he is in love with Lois, his former-best-friend’s wife.
My father is legendary. So am I, and she’d know if she’d just let me in her pants.
What Adie is actually suffering from is a kind of reverse Stockholm syndrome. Lois is the first non-related woman who has shown him even a little bit of genuine affection. One who has met his kinks head on and has held her own against him. So of course, with no good examples in his life as guidance, he is convinced she is his one and only soul mate. Silly boy.
That’s the trouble with life, though. It is cruel. It’s mean and heartless, and just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, it rears up to stab you in the back.
Mel (Ione) is one tough cookie, though by the time Adie’s finished with her she has singed edges and some interesting new body art. And should she get the chance to enact some revenge, that girl is going to seize it with both hands and take her sweet time extracting her pound of flesh. Oh I am looking forward to that possible eventuality.
Whilst Adie and Mel/Ione were playing and having fun, James was having a much worse day, and things weren’t great for Lois either. There is a lot of crazy in the book. It’s like a cross between James Bond and Fifty Shades, with a great dollop of Austin Powers “yeah baby” madness thrown in for the hell of it. At one point I thought the whole book was going to be one scorching hot, erotically charged torture scene, however I was proved wrong when the plot took an abrupt turn, closely followed by lots of fast paced adventure, daredevil motorbike riding, knife throwing and a horny boss. The only downside of reading it was that now I’ve got to wait until the next one releases for another fix of Mel and Adie. Get writing Ms Mandara!
“You’re a f***ing joke, Dumortier. How is it that you’ve stayed alive this long?” That is actually a very good question. “I’ve mostly hidden away in dark, underground caves with really good security. You should try it sometime.”
Synopsis Adie I have James’ sister right where I want her – screaming my name out and begging for mercy. James is going to piss his pants when he sees the video I’m about to send him. He’ll come running so fast his feet won’t touch the ground. That’s when I’ll get my hands on his wife. She should rightfully be mine and I always take care of what’s mine. There’s just one problem – she’s fucking pregnant. — James I’ve got less than two days to live. My wife has been kidnapped by a crazy-ass bitch of an arms dealer who plans to put a bullet in her head, and I need to speak to my ex best-friend in order to rescue her. It’s a fantastic plan. He’s in love with her and intends to make her his. I am going to kill him – if someone doesn’t kill me first.
I’ll start my review by repeating the warning on the blurb – this is NOT a romance, it is a dark, erotic suspense. A story that totally captivated me and that I read in one sitting!
Callie was more than a little naive, but I won’t judge her initial choices and actions because one needs to remember that she was the victim here. She didn’t go out looking to be abducted, raped and kept as a sex slave. The fault totally lies with her captor, Damon, who lied and manipulated an innocent young woman for his own nefarious desires. How dark you find this will depend on how affected you are by non-consensual acts, it’s also a very subjective description. The hope and determination Callie fostered within herself kept this from feeling overly hopeless or black.
I loved the honesty of Callie’s responses, her silent, and very barbed, responses to Damon proved what a brave and resilient young woman she was. She chose her battles and actions wisely, she used her common sense to keep herself as safe and sane as was possible in such harrowing circumstances. I want to say Damon was pure evil, but that would be untrue. He was unbalanced, he was bad, but he did have some moments of decency. His childhood recollections/flashbacks and the way his father treated him did offer some insight into how his psyche had become so twisted and corrupt but ultimately his selfish nature had him making the wrong choices.
As this is most definitely not a romance of any shape, size or description, I would class the ending as HEA. However it is a very positive ending, one filled with hope and possibility. Go on, be brave and give this a try.
She dreams of a dark Master who claims her as his captive. Until the fantasy becomes all too real…
Callie is an innocent, her head filled with submissive ideas of a strong, sexy guy taking full control. When she connects online with a kindred spirit on an adults-only chat site, she shares all her secret abduction fantasies. They agree to meet for dinner, but when Callie arrives, it’s not her new friend Diana who is waiting for her, but the dark, sexy Master of her dreams… or is he her worst nightmare?
Warning: This Dark Obsessions novel is an edgy captive tale. Read only if you dare…
Forbidden Fantasies (TEMP/sub #1) by Lauren E. Rico
I thought I had grown bored with captive romances, Forbidden Fantasies proved me wrong.
TL:DR – I loved this book, highly recommend it and am already reading book 2!
Every now and then I can’t resist the offer of an arc book from a totally new-to-me author. Forbidden Fantasies was one such book, in fact the author kindly sent me the first two books. Which only ratched my stress levels up because ‘What if I didn’t like the first book? Would I have to force myself to read both? How would I kindly let the author know I didn’t enjoy her work? Well I need not have pondered on any of those questions because once I got into the book, I got really into it and read it virtually in one sitting.
At times it was almost easy to forget that this was a dark read, because in many ways Alison is treated quite well, and kept in the lap of luxury. However just as I would feel comfortable with the situation, the author would throw in a little twist, or a little reminder that all of this was taking place without Alison’s consent. Well, her being on the island and “owned” by her Master is without her consent, other aspects she does seem to agree to, though given the circumstances you are constantly aware of it being dub-con rather than full consent. You also get a feel of Stockholm Syndrome at times.
I did feel as though Alison would, should?, have been more worried about her company (I did!), since she was so very hands on in the running of it. However given how much she IS having to deal with, it’s not totally unbelievable that she just didn’t have the mental strength to add that to her list of woes and worries. I did also question why such a high profile, rich and powerful woman would be targeted, though her lack of close friends and family could mean that no-one would really cause a ruckus for her to be found. Yes, the author didn’t overtly explain away my questions but the world she created did allow me to find my own reasons.
For such an erotic read, there were surprisingly few sex scenes. Part of what made this such a compelling, and unusual, read was that they mainly focused on Alison’s pleasure and sexual fulfillment, which certainly led to a very hot story.
Alison Armitage has more responsibility than God. At least, that’s what it feels like some days as she manages her multi-billion-dollar business. She’d give just about anything to NOT be in charge. Just for a little while. Just behind the closed doors of her incredibly expensive and incredibly lonely apartment. One night after one too many cocktails, she stumbles upon a chat room for people like her—dominant in their everyday lives, looking to be dominated. Just a little bit. Titillated, she explores further and soon finds herself with a very exclusive invitation to participate in a very unique ‘experiential’ resort. A place where people can come to live out their fantasies in an immersive environment, for a short term period. Where all guests have been carefully vetted and all “play” is consensual—and closely monitored for safety. Too late, Alison discovers that the sexy world of her fantasies is a long way from the reality she now faces. And the only thing keeping her on the right side of safety and sanity is the dark and brooding man she’s been made to call “Master.” The problem is, she’s not so sure which side is the “right” side anymore.
Darkest Desires (TEMP/sub #2) by Lauren E. Rico
Book #2 had me just as captivated, if not more so, than Book #1 did!
Darkest Desires picks up straight from where book #1 left us and I was immediately caught up in the intensity and tension of the story. I found myself so confused with how to feel because Alison was clearly suffering from a massive dose of Stockholm Syndrome but was also the most content and happiest she had been in her entire life. Kudos to the author for her excellent mind-fritzing, because part of me wanted to be angry at what was being done to Alison, part of me was enjoying the delicious eroticism of it all and part of my wanted her to find her HEA with her mysterious “Master”.
There was some great foreshadowing, along with a good deal of misdirection and throwing in of red herrings! I constantly found myself not being sure who to trust, and totally didn’t expect some of those retrospective reveals. I “knew” what was going to happen with Marty, then I didn’t, then I did, then I gave up trying to guess because ALL my guesses were so very wrong!
I adored seeing Alison and Master’s relationship grow and develop, it was clearly not something either of them expected to happen. Their connection, their love was so incredibly easy to believe in and I totally bought into their relationship. In book 1 we saw Alison discover (rediscover?) her submissive side, in this I felt that we actually got to know the real person and that felt totally down to the confidence she gained from her Master’s loving approval. Though we also saw the strong and determined woman that runs a massive corporation and she was pretty kick-ass. Normally I prefer dual POV in a romance but the author managed to convince me of HIS feelings just as easily as she did with Alison’s.
Alison Armitage is a powerful woman at the top of her field. But just once, she’d like to give up control to someone else…control of her decisions, her body, her life. It was only a fantasy…until it wasn’t. Until the day she was abducted and brought to a remote island where she was trained to serve a man known to her only as Master. A man who promised to cherish her and keep her safe. A man who considered her to be his personal property. What she never anticipated was developing feelings for the stranger with the dark, stormy eyes and commanding tone. Nor did she expect that his touch would ignite her body with a passion she thought only existed in movies and romance novels. Now, with each passing day, she falls harder and deeper for him and for this lifestyle as she finds a freedom and contentment she never imagined possible. But no sooner has she come to terms with her new role and her new life than her world is up-ended once more, leaving her bereft, heartbroken and furious. This time, it’s Alison who has the upper hand and she’ll stop at nothing to get what she wants…as soon as she figures out what exactly that is. And until she can untangle fantasy from reality, she is destined to be a slave to both.
Oh my lord I believe I may have fallen down a dark, dark rabbit hole straight into a very depraved Wonderland.
I enjoyed Take Me Break Me and Bind and Keep Me, in which both Kat and Chris have fairly minor roles. Book 2 in particular had some darker aspects, though the situation in that book happened more by accident than design. However Make Me Yours Evermore totally bypasses ANY sense of morality and dives straight in at the dark end. On a side note this book can be read stand alone.
I’m pleased I took a break between reading books 2 and 3, because my love for Klaus and Jodie might have altered my perception of this one. I might not have disapproved of Chris quite so much and found as much empathy for Kat. Chris uses the flimsiest of excuses, or at least fairly convenient circumstances, to take do something very, very bad. Only you know what they say about the best laid plans…
There might be those who find Kat too much, maybe too bitchy and belligerent (I’m always surprised by that – as though an alpha male is so wonderful a woman should be perfect at all times around him). I really, really liked her. To me her actions were those of a strong woman, determined to not be broken by the situation she finds herself in. I loved how she, along with Andreas, had more effect on Chris than he did on her.
I’ve felt recently like I’m suffering from dark-lag, no longer seeing the depravity and horror that others did. Well hot diggity dang, in this one I felt every single moment of the corrupt degeneracy of morals and the total lack of compassion or humanity demonstrated by Chris. I was shocked by the immoral and debauched desires that he not only gave free rein to, but considered his by right. I cheered every single time Kat fought back, supported every rebellion, commiserated when her libido ruled her mind. Especially since her feisty attitude led to ever more inventive punishments and humiliations. Never was a book more NSFW than this one!
Added in to all the hot kink and general steamy smexiness was an intriguing plot and some very unexpected twists. I loved every word, page and paragraph of the book, it dragged me out of a reading slump, fizzing my brain and enervating my reading mojo. I can’t wait to read the next one in the series.
This book is part of a dark kinky fiction series and may disturb some readers. Taking what you want may come at a terrifying price. Chris calls his darkest, nastiest fantasy into the light of day when he has to kidnap Kat to save a friend. For years, he’s wanted to bring her to her knees. But claiming her draws attention. Andreas wants to save Kat, until he sees her response to raw male dominance. More dangerous are the human traffickers, who regard the acquisition and selling of women as a very high stakes business. And they’re watching. Everything. Death. The perversion of love. The loss of freedom. Sometimes there is no choice. Also contains one Dom gone bad who believes obsession means never having to say you’re sorry.