REVIEW //\\ Bind and Keep Me



Bind and Keep Me
(Pierced Hearts #2)
by Cari Silverwood




I read this without reading the blurb, so colour me surprised by where the story went. So, 4.5 Stars for this great, twisty, boundary pushing, somehow dark but not dark, dubious, yet non-consensual yet utterly consensual, rollercoaster of a read.


…shunting up and down, dipping a half-inch into me, while he kept talking in that deep and deliberate way that was as nasty as swallowing pure scotch. So good. So bad.


I was reading reviews for a book that popped up on my bookbub feed. It’s an older story so there were lots of comparisons to 50 shades. What has that got to do with this book, you ask yourself. It’s that Klaus and Jodie are every day people. Not only do they have normal jobs, heck Klaus is an accountant for Pete’s sake – no billionaires here -, they are down to earth, honest to god believable. And that includes the very drastic and unusual steps they take to solve a problem not entirely of their making.


I’ve read darker, more nasty, more horrific stories, but those books feel like stories, whereas Bind and Keep Me, well it held undertones of truth. Enough honesty that I’m wondering what might be found in Ms Silverwood’s basement. It didn’t take wild flights of fancy to picture yourself in a similar situation. Just where would you draw (or not draw) the line to protect your future with those you love?


You can’t read this book without questioning morals, whether that be of the characters, the author or yourself. I do love a book that makes you think and question, whilst simultaneously providing great entertainment. Oh and indulging in lots of dirty, kinky smut.


Klaus is a bad good man, sometimes more one than the other.



He waited. Patient as a fucking demon with a soul to harvest.


He was by parts scary, concerned, sadistic, gentle, demanding and loving. I’ve heard lots of fellow fans pick Klaus as their favourite Cari Silverwood hero and I can see why. The inner workings of his mind are fascinating, and deep down everything he does is edged with care and concern. It might also be nasty and pushing the dub-con boundaries, but it’s also understandable why others fall for his very particular brand of charm.


I’d thought I was a pillar of society. But now, I knew I was a thousand miles from that. And I wasn’t sure I cared anymore. My empathy waxed and waned with the tides of my sadistic desires.


I’d turned to the dark side. Apparently, they didn’t have cookies like someone had once told me, but they did have hot women.


There are incredible contrasts of hard and soft, dark and light, severe and gentle in the relationship. There may even be mentions of the ‘L’ word. Despite the questionable ethics and morality of it’s inception, the relationship that emerges in this book is both heartwarming and genuine. It’s also probably not totally healthy, but it’s ultimately one of choice, maybe not free choice, but choice nevertheless.


The sex scenes are mind blowingly hot. It is a kink that balances between pleasure and pain, a confusion of being unwillingly willing, all trussed up in the most carefully constructed bondage and satiated with soul crushing orgasms. And doesn’t she enjoy it all so very much.


The tiny drops welled up like water from a slow spring. Fresh and red on her paleness. Truthfully I’d exaggerated. This was a bit of a mindfuck. I’d scratched her repeatedly rather than truly cut her.

(Yeah and didn’t the author mindfuck me with that little scenario too!)



I’m going to finish with a quote that delighted the Biologist in me. If you know, you know.


Negative reinforcement. Positive reinforcement. I was a self-aware Pavlov’s dog.





This book is part of a dark kinky fiction series and may disturb some readers.

How far would you go to protect your love and your life?

When two deaths turn his world upside down, Klaus must wrestle with a problem that goes soul deep. With Jodie it was capture fantasy but now he’s made the fantasy real, dragging her along as his accomplice. No one should feel so good about something so wrong.

Maybe his soul is darker than he feared. Maybe the rules shouldn’t apply to him.





AMAZON US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EUFPNIA

AMAZON UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EUFPNIA

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18298854-bind-and-keep-me

REVIEW //\\ The Experiment (X-Clan #2)




The Experiment (X-Clan #2)
by Lexi C. Foss



I’m not usually the biggest fan of novellas. but this is an amazing story and I only wish it was longer!


We saw glimpses of Daciana and Elias in the first X-Clan book, here we get to see how they came to be a couple. Whilst you can read this as a stand alone, with it being a novella, I would recommend reading Andorra Sector first so that you fully understand the world and it’s inhabitants. It’s also a really fantastic omegaverse/shifter tale, just like this one.


Somebody really needed their behind kicking for not having explained to Daciana just how valued she was by both the Ash Wolves as well as those of the X-Clan. An omega deeply traumatised by the situation she had been ‘rescued’ from, it was no wonder her expectations were so low and she was prepared for the worst. Thankfully she got the best, in the alpha that is Elias. He is just so protective, so caring, so totally and utterly swoon-worthy that you can’t help but fall in love with him.


The Experiment totally drew me in and I couldn’t turn the pages quickly enough. It’s hot, sexy, full of feels and a sheer joy to read. I guarantee that once you pick it up you won’t want to put it down until you have finished the book. You will be captivated by Elias and his ability to heal the mental and emotional scars that Daciana carries. I’m also certain you will be cheering this pair on from the sidelines, desperate for them to get their HEA.










Daciana
I’m an offering. A test. A pawn in an agreement I know little about.

Fly to Andorra Sector.
Allow them to experiment.
Mate an X-Clan Wolf Alpha.
Hope for the best.

Those are my orders. My fate. My current existence. There’s nowhere to run, and the moon is a clock I can’t ignore. One of these Alphas will claim me, assuming our genetics are a match. And if not, well, that’s a fate worse than death.

Tick tock.
Make a choice.
Your future depends on it.



Elias
The pretty little blonde wolf has seen too much pain for her young years.

It makes me want to fix her.
To adore her.
To show her there can be good in this world.
But our future is wrapped up in an experiment.

Either she’s compatible or she’s not. The moon will determine our fate, or perhaps my inner wolf will decide it for us. Because with each passing moment, it becomes harder not to claim the female who I know in my heart is very much mine.

Run, run, little one.
And don’t look back.
For if I catch you,
I just may bite.



Note: This is a standalone novella featuring characters from Andorra Sector, Book One of the X-Clan Series. It has Omegaverse elements and features a happily-ever-after ending.








AMAZON US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B083M7BKK3/

AMAZON UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B083M7BKK3/

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50548073-the-experiment







REVIEW //\\ Missing In Action


MISSING IN ACTION by Kate Canterbary





MISSING IN ACTION, by Kate Canterbary, is a full-length steamy contemporary romance standalone with strong ties to the Walsh Series.



💣 Amazon: https://geni.us/miaam

Available in Kindle Unlimited





It was like he expected me to sit here and be a good boy while he showed off his slim, sculpted torso. Like he didn’t expect me to reach out, curl my hand around his belt, and drag him over here so I could like that belly.








The perfect recipe for the ultimate MM romance.


Take one bruised, battered but not totally broken spy,
Add in one sassy, snarky, organised to the nth degree man called Tom,
Blend together with enough chemistry and heat to power a volcano,
Throw in great writing, a sprinkle of Walsh goodness, some sunburn and a wedding.
Shake, stir, shake some more and then sit back and enjoy this masterpiece of romance.




Both characters who have appeared at one time or another in previous Walsh books, Wes is the brother to Lauren and Will whilst Tom is the guy who keeps the Walsh architecture firm running. However you can 100% read this as a stand alone story, though you’d be barking mad to miss out on the rest of the Walsh and Halstead families finding their HEA’s.


His words were easy, almost matter of fact, but there was nothing easy about the hard glint in his eyes. And those eyes, they shone like an endless night. Deep enough that I almost fell in and drowned…


I can promise this book will grab ahold of your emotions, pummel them into submission, make you laugh, swoon and cry before leaving you with all the feels and a hugely satisfied smile on your face. If this book isn’t better than sex it’s as close as anything is going to get to it.



A smile warned his face and it took all my strength to keep from dragging him into my arms because anyone with that much sweet and boyish needed to be held close, held tight. And degraded a bit too.



Don’t like MM? This is the book that will make you change your mind. Love MM? This is the book that will set the bar so high you’ll struggle to find anything else as good. Which ever camp you are currently in, Tom, Wes, their inner struggles, physical and emotional baggage and tender hearts will totally enthrall you. I wanted to snatch this pair up and wrap them up in cotton wool, clutch them to my breast, lavish them with love and hug them until all their hurts went away.



He squeezed my hand again, hard enough to snap my attention away from everything else. “I’ve got you.”



There are moments of humour, from little Abby and her feisty attitude, to Shannon’s salty and full of snark texts, moments that will make you swoon and melt, and others that will cut deep into your heart. These are all tied together into an incredible story, one where you won’t want to put the book down, one where you won’t be able to turn the pages quickly enough, one where you want to get to the end whilst simultaneously never wanting the end of the book to be reached.


My words can’t do adequate justice to this story. I loved it. I highly recommend it. It’s amazing, fantastic, astounding.



and then he kissed me, hard and fast at first but then deep and deliberate, like sucking caramel off a spoon.


..and it was everything. Absolutely everything.








Former Navy SEAL turned covert agent Wes Halsted spent his days—and weeks and months—being someone else. But with his cover blown and his injuries requiring months of recuperation, he must learn how to be himself again.

Only…he’d rather save his issues for another day and get to know a stressed-out, suited-up businessman instead.

Tom Esbeck has everything under control. Meal plans, workout plans, project plans, five-year plans. A plan for everything and everything according to plan.

Except there’s no plan for a surprise—and shirtless—encounter with the built-for-sin spy he’d crushed on years ago.


But crushes—and spies—burn out fast.





but I hadn’t sorted out what I wanted to say to Tom. All I knew was my nose was going to peel like a motherfucker and I was a week overdue for a haircut, and he’d notice both.






REVIEW //\\ Take Me, Break Me

Take Me Break Me
(Pierced Hearts #1)
by Cari Silverwood



Is it really strange that my favourite line of this book is probably the following?


Semen reminded me of bad oysters.


I think it has a lot to do with realism and not sugar coating (every pun intended there) the truth of our sex lives.



I have had this unread on my kindle for far too long. Embarrassingly long when you consider that Cari Silverwood is one of my go-to authors. So amid the strangeness of trying to work-from-home I decided to use some of that extra time to plough through my TBR list.


I don’t think I’ve ever read a story quite like Take Me, Break Me. Consensual non-consent is a kink that does have it’s appeal, though only if it’s within a framework of agreed limits and with a safeword. Hyped up on reading capture fantasy but with no real idea of Sane, Safe & Consensual or even Risk Aware Consensual Kink, Jodie and Klaus set out on a very dangerous adventure indeed. I think what struck me most, other than just how debauched, degrading and dangerously filthy the play in the book is, was how honest and real the story felt. Even when they wandered into uncharted waters and risked either running aground on a hidden reef or being smashed against rocks along the coastline. This was an adventure, an exploration, a conquering of new lands that I simply had to be part of.

He hadn’t budged. While I’d run through the encyclopedia of my worries, filed them alphabetically, and then set them alight, he’d barely shifted an inch.

I’m going to be brutally honest and say that this book didn’t hook me from the start. It took a few chapters for me to get into the flow of the story, but once I did then that proverbial hook very definitely sank itself under my skin. And no Ms Silverwood, despite your apparent obsession with needles and all things sharp and pointy, that most definitely fits in the category of ‘your kink is not my kink, but that’s ok.’ Eek.


I haven’t read any other reviews yet, I like my mind to be fresh, my opinion to be untainted, so I’ve not idea what others may or may not have said regarding the following point. At first I doubted that Klaus had never had any kinky/dominant leanings prior to his role-play with Jodie. But then I realised that I actually CAN relate to that 100%, we aren’t all born knowing we desire certain kinks, many of us never saw, recognised or even suspected those desires resided within us. Not until we were well into adult hood, and possible hitting middle age! And no, before you ask, it wasn’t a 50 Shades of Gray inspired revelation. I’ve never even read the book, though Cherise Sinclair might have started the ball rolling – or should that be flogger swinging?


I digress, so back to THIS book, which is a veritable delight of kinky-fuckery, delving into some very sadistic acts, though thankfully Jodie is a huge masochist so is totally down for all Klaus can deliver. Watching the pair of them grow into their fetishes, uncover their darkest, most hidden desires and discover a whole new world of pleasurable torment, pain and power exchange was fascinating. The pleasurable pain was pretty darn good all on it’s own. And I giggled at the irony of this line “this scenario would have had me flipping the ebook pages one-handed.”. Touche, Ms Silverwood, you certainly know your readers well 😉😂.


This isn’t a “how to” guide, in fact it’s probably more of a “how not to” tale, though common sense prevails in the end, and whilst Ms Silverwood leaves it on more of a HFN note than a HEA, neither Klaus nor Jodie are soppy romantics, so anything else would have felt false at this point. As they embark on their adventure, this pair have no idea of the rabbit hole they willingly throw themselves down. Nor how much they will not only enjoy the fall but come to crave it in a “can’t-live-without-it” way.

Maybe if I was another man, I’d have been thinking about how to talk her into a relationship after the documentary ended. I would have been talking with her, full stop. But the opposite course of action drew me like gravity on a man falling from the sky. I was going down, down, down.

I’m supposed to be finishing one arc and reading another over the next 2 days, but am hugely tempted to indulge in reading Bind and Keep Me, the next steps in Klaus and Jodie’s adventure. It’s unusual but this does NOT end on a cliff-hanger and you COULD read it as a stand alone, though Klaus is just too delightfully dark and deviant to ever want to leave him behind – unless it’s for a little ass play of course!





HER:

Re-enacting an abduction in a documentary would surely rake in the money? I need that money. I’m knee-deep in debt.
My well-used eBook is packed with capture fantasies – of being made to kneel and obey a man because … because of a million reasons. Reading them makes me squirm and want to break out the vibe.
I’m terrified, fascinated, and tempted as hell.This will put me in the hands, and basement, of a man I never gave up on.



HIM:
This idea could get her killed if I let another man help her. 
The problem is, the deeper we get into this role-play of hers, the more I see it as a sham.
We need to throw away the rules of the contract.Make that *I* need to throw away the rules.
Seeing her gagged, bound, and at my mercy stirs things in me I never thought I would feel.I like this too much.


Beneath the surface of an ordinary man dark, sadistic desires may lurk.


When he turns on the cameras it’s too late to go back. Will man and lover, or monster, win in the end?


Take Me, Break Me, Book One of the Pierced Hearts series, begins the descent into dark romance. The following books in the series are far darker and more twisted.

All five books and novella in the Pierced Hearts series are available in a boxset: “The Complete Pierced Hearts Series”.


“…a brutally realistic portrayal of two people playing around with things they didn’t understand and getting in absolutely and completely over their heads.”




AMAZON US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BOVL2CE/

AMAZON UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BOVL2CE/

GOODREADS – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17264796-take-me-break-me



REVIEW //\\ The Compound



I’ve been both beta and arc reading, but none of those are quite ready to be reviewed as yet, so I’ve looked back to find a book to feature today. It didn’t take long to discover this little gem and am surprised I haven’t shared it before now!

The Compound
(Compound #1)
by Claire Thompson











Whilst this was missing somewhat in the romance department, it is still a great read and one I would recommend to those who enjoy a good BDSM story. I loved following Alexis’ journey into true submission where the emotions, the desires, the need to submit were all wonderfully portrayed. This book is worth reading just for experiencing Alexis’ experience!


Alexis has so much more grit and determination than me, 😜😊😊! I would have said “blow it” on so many occasions where she found an inner strength and determination to endure. I found Master John to be more of a sadist then I was comfortable with, but then Alexis was more of a masochist too! So despite my initial reservations they seemed to be ideally suited in a ‘training’ aspect. Whilst there are plenty of BDSM ‘scenes’, Alexis is at The Compound for just that, training, and unlike a lot of kink books this didn’t automatically mean the trainer had sex with the trainee. So there were some scorching hot scenes, but without penetration. In fact there is very little actual sex in the whole book.


I occasionally got a ‘one true way’ vibe, mainly in what makes someone a ‘proper’ submissive. I really don’t believe it was the author’s intent to do that, nor did I feel she was sending a message or expressing fixed opinions. I think it was just a consequence of the restrictions involved in writing a story, it’s a piece of entertainment and the beginning needs to connect to the middle with needs to flow through to the end. There isn’t always the possibility of including ‘everything’ to make it totally realistic – plus that would make it boring!


There were two things I needed, in order for the book to have gained that extra star. The first was more conversations between Alexis and either the other submissives or Master John on the more mental aspects of submission. Several times Alexis was expected to be able to do or achieve something with no explanation or support from Master John. If she could do it on her own she wouldn’t have been at The Compound in the first place! The other was that whilst there is a love interest in this book, there was a lack of significant relationship building. It was all far to insta-love for me. Throw me a bone in the form of a few ‘real’ conversations, a genuine way to form a connection because all I saw was lust and one scene. It wasn’t enough.


We did get enough from the Hero’s viewpoint for me to believe in his attraction to Alexis AND for me to get a feel for him as a person. The author did a great job of allowing us to know and understand him in a fairly limited number of viewings. Great writing in that aspect alone.


Now before you forget I DO recommend reading this and I will definitely be continuing the series!









Prepare to submit, body and soul, to the total immersion BDSM training experience that is The Compound.


Craving the truly definitive submissive experience she has yearned for all her adult life, Alexis Stewart marshals her courage to commit to a month of training at The Compound. There she is placed in the hands of Master John, a stern Dominant with the reputation as an uncompromising taskmaster. Despite rigorous 24/7 sexual submission, erotic torture, endurance training and punishment, Alexis smashes again and again against self-imposed walls of resistance that keep her from attaining her goal.


Master Paul Evans is well aware of The Compound rule never to get involved with the trainees, and that’s never been a problem—until now. From the moment he sees the lovely Alexis, he feels the powerful allure of her sensual beauty and submissive spirit. Will he risk everything to steal her heart? This smoldering mix of dark, edgy BDSM and hidden desires threatens to combust into a firestorm of forbidden passion, lust, and ultimately, love.









Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1482302497/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1482302497


Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17354797-the-compound

Review //\\ Breaking the Chains

Breaking the Chain
(Stronghold Doms, #4)
by Golden Angel












The Stronghold Doms is a wonderful series about a group of friends who all attend (or end up attending) a BDSM club. In Breaking the Chain we get to know the story of Leigh, best friend to the heroine of Book 1, and Jared, an original member of the group. This pair connect through their mutual unhappy love lives. Jared having been in a fairly toxic relationship whilst Leigh’s ex had an early mid-life crisis. Having invested years of their lives in relationships that have recently failed, both are understandably cautious about jumping into a new one with both feet.


I found both main characters to be very believable, their reactions, their fears, their responses and decisions all felt very natural and realistic. It was very easy to buy into their growing connection and scorching hot chemistry. There is no unnecessary angst or drama in the story in terms of the main characters and their relationship. There’s plenty of upset caused by Marissa, a total drama queen who only wants what she can no longer have. However Jared and Leigh don’t let this impact on their relationship and I liked that the author demonstrated how a mature couple navigate the turbulence that life often throws into our pathways.


I maybe felt the pace was a little slow at times, though none of the story felt like idle filler used to add pages rather than content. Overall the writing is very strong, Golden Angel portrays very realistic kink relationships, even if the fact that they are all great friends, all into BDSM and have a club on their doorstep is a little stretch on reality. Leigh and Jarad’s was almost more of a DD relationship than a truly kinky one, the play never extending much past spankings and making it ideal if you are new or less enthused by the genre but want to sample this author’s work.


One of the real great strengths of the Stronghold Doms series is just how stand alone each story is. Sometimes there is a slight overlap in the timeline of books, and if you start with the latest there will definitely be a few minor spoilers for earlier books. This is a great series of reads that I am more than happy to recommend.











Come and meet the Stronghold Doms…

Jared and Leigh both know what it’s like to be trapped in a seven year relationship where they give more than they get, the question is whether or not they can move on from them.

Two steps forward, one step back. That’s how Jared’s life feels when it comes to his ex Marissa. Every time he thinks he’s escaped the vortex of her emotional demands, she ends up sucking him right back in; but for the first time, he thinks he might have the strength to pull free entirely. At least he hopes so. Right now it just seems like he’s hurting everyone around him and he doesn’t know how to make it right.

Leigh Douglas spent seven years with the man she thought she would one day marry, but she’s now realized that she needs him to fight just as hard for her as she always fought for him. Since he won’t, she’s working on getting over him and finding someone who won’t take her for granted. On the other side of the equation, she’s definitely falling for Jared, but he’s still entangled with his ex. No one can understand the hooks that Marissa has in him like Leigh can, but that doesn’t mean that she’s willing to take the back-seat again in another relationship.

As Jared tries to side-step his ex and Leigh takes her first steps into the domination and submission-filled world of the Stronghold club, their friends hold a collective breath as everyone wonders whose heart will be broken in the end.

This is a full-length character driven BDSM romance with hot scenes and a HEA. It can be read on its own, although is more fulfilling when read as part of the Stronghold series. Breaking the Chain is approximately 93k words long.









Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B019DFLZ6A/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B019DFLZ6A/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28206945-breaking-the-chain








REVIEW //\\ Primal Sin



They kissed in the rain on a London rooftop, and Severn knew this memory was one he’d never surrender.

Primal Sin







I’m not sure if I love Ariana Nash or hate her, not after what she did to me, Severn and Mikhail.


We start with lies and betrayal, manipulation and machinations before sliding into the most wondrous, astounding and breathtaking love story until we reach a finale that brings it crashing down around us in the most heartbreaking of ways.




The full force of Mikhail’s shove drove him back. He hit the wall, his breath puffed out of him, and Mihail caught his face, his mouth, his body beneath his. Just tasting the angel had all the frayed parts of Mikhail’s mind coming together again, proving more than ever that Severn was his.




Severn is a man of many secrets, damaged both by the loss of his wings and the hand life has dealt him. A dark soul, conflicted and full of hurt. I very quickly found myself falling for this dangerous saviour. At first it was harder to know and even like Mikhail, this angel had such rigid thinking, blinkered and unfeeling. However seeing the change Severn wrought in him soon had me as captivated by Mikhail as much as his lover was.




He was caught, inexplicably owned, and Mikhail struggled to level his breath and control his heart. Part of him fought to break free and push Severn back, but another part liked the sensation of being held down, being controlled. There was a freedom in it, a relief almost. He didn’t have to be strong now, he could let this happen.




Oh but there was never a truer saying than that of “the course of true love never did run smooth”. That was just so very true for Mikhail and Severn, two polar opposite and yet incredibly similar souls bound by a love to span the eons. Ariana Nash certainly likes to give to her readers with one hand, whilst quickly snatching all the joy back with the other. This book has left me reeling, my emotions torn asunder and my heart pummelled. I desperately need the next book, Eternal Sin , in order to soothe my tattered spirit.




He was lost, fallen for Mikhail in all ways, and he never wanted to be found.


















Fallen for love. Risen for revenge.

Severn knows love. He knows how it feels to fight for love, and have it torn from his reach. He knows that when the killing fields are strewn with the dead, and love is all gone, only one thing keeps his demon heart beating:

Vengeance.

His life is now a web of lies. His act, a perfect one. His enemy, the guardian angel Mikhail, sits beside him, turns to him for guidance, and even loves him.

The time has come to make all the angels fall, beginning with the most powerful of them all.

Severn thought he knew love. But he’s about to discover that love takes no prisoners, and as demons and angels clash over London’s battle-weary streets, love will claim the souls of two destined enemies.

Primal Sin is a dark gay fantasy with a strong love-story. The series is brimming with savage desires, relentless lies and the bite of vengeance and is not for anyone easily disturbed by graphic scenes. 










Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0857GYC5X

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0857GYC5X


Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50926046-primal-sin




REVIEW //\\ Mafia Captive










I’m really disappointed with how low the average rating is for this book, because to my mind it takes the “captive romance” genre and twists it into something uniquely and refreshingly different.



Kitty Thomas writes complex characters in difficult situations and refuses to follow the expected conventions and ‘rules’. Perhaps that is why so many give the books low ratings, their enjoyment comes from a certain set of expectations being fulfilled, plot rules and routines being stuck to, no criticism if that is your preference. However I loved this book because it really DIDN’T stick to those preconceived notions of what happens in a captive romance book.



They do say to be careful what you ask for because you just might get it, and that’s what happened for me with this story. So often when I’m reading a dark romance I want the heroine NOT to be dripping like a leaky tap (faucet to you USA folks) in the hero’s presence. Faith was attracted to Leo, but the situation she was in, and his sadistic desires left her cold. I feel it only fair to warn you now that this does contain a lot of dubious-consent and one scene that is non-consent. It wasn’t the darkest non-con scene but it is pivotal to the story.



Leo is a good man prepared to do bad things for, at least to his mind, good reasons. So despite now owning Faith, when she reacts with the inevitable (and oh so realistic but usually missing from these books) fear and terror he, as the blurb says, keeps her almost as one would keep a pet or a piece of art. Leo is a complex man, born and raised in a mafia family but with too many morals and too good a heart to live that life. However it has left him with a darkness in his soul and a liking for the more sadistic aspects of BDSM.



I did think the abuse Faith had suffered as a child, her utter fear of ‘the belt’, would feature as an aspect later in the book. It almost felt like a loose end but, at the end of the day/book, this was a M/s relationship and really it was never going to make a difference. The ending, for some, may feel abrupt. Kitty Thomas doesn’t really go for the nice, sweet, tied-up-in-a-bow ending. She leaves us with a raw, realistic ending, one where I would argue quite ferociously that both characters are happy.



Neither has exactly what they want from a relationship, Leo felt like he compromised a lot less than Faith did, but isn’t that what life is like? And that ultimately is what I most enjoy about Kitty’s work. Whilst the original plot basis might be a slight stretch, how the characters feel and react does feel very genuine and real. I adore dark romances but so very often I can predict how the story will proceed almost blow-by-blow, or beat for beat I believe the literary version is. How much I enjoy the book is then entirely down to the quality of writing. Mafia Captive is just a breath of fresh air and the type of read that I just didn’t want to put down. I highly recommend it. 




























Without any family, Faith Jacobson faces the grim reality of Christmas alone. Walking home one night after drinks with friends, she stumbles upon a mob hit. Faith expects to be killed for what she’s seen; instead she is given to a wealthy and dangerous man tied to the Raspallo crime family. As a gift.

Leo Raspallo is beautiful, yet terrifying. But inside his home Faith is no longer alone, especially when his family arrives for the holidays, forcing her into the ruse of a fake wedding engagement. But she isn’t his beloved fiancé; she’s his captive. And he can’t be her savior while harboring dark desires of his own.









Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00CF4U874/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CF4U874/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17737134-mafia-captive





Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.





Review //\\ True Control 4.1 & 4.2








The True series, by Willow Madison, is one that very much polarises readers. I’m obviously in the ‘loved them’ camp since I don’t usually post reviews on here of books I didn’t like or books I DNF’d.


The series has been out quite a while now, I know the author and reviews mention editing issues but I can’t say this was a problem for me, which means I was either so caught up in the story I missed them, there weren’t actually that many for it to cause an issue or the books have been polished up at some point. I have no idea which of the three it is, and quite frankly it doesn’t matter. I just wanted to to let people know that the editing wasn’t atrocious.


Following reader reaction as she released the first three books, Willow decided to write two alternate endings to Max and Lucy’s story, thus allowing readers to choose their own conclusion to it. Personally I’m glad I chose True Control 4.1, Willow’s original ending, to read first. It’s a very dark story that finally opened my eyes to the true consensuality of the relationship that Max and Lucy are in. It is full of triggers, so I strongly advise readers to proceed with caution. However it is also the most perfectly imperfect ending and fits so well with what BOTH Max and Lucy want and need.


I read True Control 4.2 a couple of weeks after reading 4.1 and whilst the writing was top notch, with a story so full of incredible feels it left my emotions reeling, I was still left with a slight feeling of unease. It felt like the ending was a bit of a cop out, as though somehow Max and Lucy’s relationship was wrong, was unacceptable, that Max needed to change. It’s definitely the “morally easier” story to read, and if Willow Madison ever decides to write an angsty contemporary romance I’ll be buying shares in Kleenex tissues because boy did it pack an emotional punch to the feels. But without having read 4.1, which will forever by MY ending to the story, I think I would have felt robbed. The whole point of the True series was to push buttons and boundaries, have you questioning your beliefs and judgement and 4.2, whilst a brilliant book, felt like a sop to the unease of readers. It felt like an easy out, a get-out-of-jail-free card, it felt like a travesty of the truth.









TRUE CONTROL 4.1 by Willow Madison





So addictive I read all 4 books over 2 days – and nights *ahem*. Good job it was the weekend!



The beating I gave her once would be nothing in comparison to this amount of rage. It wouldn’t just be once. I’d have her black and blue for weeks for what she’s done.
I stop pacing though.


It’s no use to imagine. She’s not here. God help me, she may never be here again.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Having taken the chance on the original, darker ending to Max and Lucy’s story, I’m not sure if I want to read the alternative. Though I am super curious as to what happens in that book, having bought 4 books one after the other I’m not sure my pocket can take the financial hit. If I had any sense I would have saved myself a few quid and signed up to KU for the month – ain’t hindsight a bitch?


Anyway, back to the important thing – my review of this dark beauty. So it’s difficult to truly do this book justice in a review without scattering it with too many spoilers. And you need to go into this book as blind as I did, because that allows you to truly understand the TPE dynamic that Lucy and Max share.




I know my girl. Lucy didn’t know her submissive side when I met her. I saw it in her. I recognized the signs, saw what she could be for me.
I broke her and made her mine quickly. I forced her to submit to me completely. I gave her only one choice, one chance to back away from her destiny with me. I smile thinking about that night.
She was so scared. And so yielding.


Max, True Control 4.1, True Series




So all those debates we’ve had over whether this pairs relationship was healthy, was consensual, was a TPE or abuse, were blown wide apart in this book. Because the author took us down a pitch black path of genuine abuse. There are some very traumatic and possibly triggering events in this book and it really is a proceed with caution read. However if you appreciated the first three books (I’m not sure enjoyed properly describes the experience 😉) then hopefully you are someone who is used to the difficult and troubling journey a truly dark read can take us on.


Lucy suffers in new ways, ways that make clear her true feelings, needs and desires. Suddenly we see that she isn’t the weak, doormat we all assumed her to be. We discover that her quietness is just her truth, her willingness to bend in order to please Max was her choice and her subservience was her pleasure. I owe the girl a massive apology, she is the strong one of the pair, the cement that secures their foundations.


I haven’t mentioned it before, which is very remiss of me “Sorry, Sir.” but Max had a very traumatic and difficult start to life. He suffered physical, emotional and mental abuse. It powers his need for control, and may well be the source of his anger. And I think it’s the author’s portrayal of that anger, constantly bubbling below the surface, that has concerned me most throughout this series. It wasn’t until this book that I truly believed in Max. Truly understood the depth of his feelings for Lucy and accepted his ability to control his anger.




I’ve never felt helpless before, powerless. I always had choices. And I know that it’s choices that give a person control.
That’s why I don’t give Lucy any. I am in control. Of her. Of me.
But … not now.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Within the first few chapters it became glaringly obvious that, however much Max’s behaviour pushed our buttons, however much it made us uncomfortable, made us frown and judge (and oh boy does this book make that judgement so very apparent) Lucy fully agreed, participated and welcomed it. And yes, he does love her. Not in a way many of us could understand, not in a way many of us would probably want, but he loved her with every fibre of his being. It’s a crazy way of caring, but it’s what they both want and need.




She tries to stall, talk back. Bad move, little girl. I slap her. Not her left side, this is still too hurt.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



Whilst this isn’t a conventional love story, whilst it isn’t a typical romance, IMO it does deserve both labels. Each couple are entitled to live and love in the way that best suits them, and that’s what Max and Lucy do.


Even that final chapter, where it could be assumed that Max took away every last scrap of Lucy’s ability to choose and decide. I was just getting angry at Max for not respecting Lucy’s wishes when I realised that he was doing exactly what Lucy wanted. If she truly hadn’t wanted that reaction from him she could have made some very different decisions earlier in the day.




I am a monster. And she just loves me. Always.

Max, True Control 4.1, True Series



















WAIT! YOU HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE BEFORE BUYING THIS BOOK!


Note from the author:

I’ve written two completely different, alternative endings to this series. See for yourself why fans are saying this makes all the other dark romances look like greyed out shades of fairytales.


This is the end one way or another.
~Willow


ONE OR TWO
There was only ever one ending for Max and Lucy, but I aim to please—or torture—however you wish to look at it. I believe in true choices, so I give you control of their fate to pick which ending you prefer.


LOST OR FOUND
This is the darker ending for Max and Lucy. The monster gets the girl. When love is lost, it may be impossible to find a way back to True Control.



NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!


Excerpts:
I know my girl. She didn’t know her submissive side when I met her. I saw it in her. I recognized the signs, saw what she could be for me. I didn’t go slow. I didn’t have patience. I didn’t ease her into anything.

I broke her and made her mine quickly. I forced her to submit to me completely. I gave her only one choice. One chance to back away from her destiny with me.

She can’t be lost. I need her. Here with me. I’m lost without her.

…..


He’ll kill me eventually. In a rage, he’ll do it without thinking. I start to cry again, but shout at myself to stop.

I look in the mirror again…I’m only getting more broken by the day…mentally and physically. I try to stand up, to take a deep breath. But I wince at my reflection.

I hear him shouting at me and I turn away from the girl in the mirror…I can’t be her today. I can’t be strong when I’m this weak.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~







True Control 4.2 by Willow Madison




I really enjoyed this, with all it’s emotional intensity, but I would still recommend 4.1 for the true dark romance lover.


I wasn’t sure if I would read this alternative ending because for me True Control 4.1 was the perfect ending to Lucy and Max’s story. This one I both loved and hated. I definitely loved the amazing story telling of the author, my word did she make me feel . So many emotions, so much pain, such sweet love. These more subtle emotions had been masked by the anger, fear and total domination in previous books. This book is worth reading just to recognise how incredibly skilled this author is at crafting complex characters and situations. Because I wasn’t distracted by my Lucy’s struggles with submitting to Max, my focus was less on being shocked, irritated, angry, surprised, horrified, awed and bemused and more on the beautiful nuances of the story.


On the other hand I hated it too. I won’t say what caused that feeling, because that would be a spoiler, though if you read the other reviews many of them allude to just why this made me feel both hurt and let down. I didn’t like the suggestion, or impression, that Max was somehow wrong. Max was never wrong, he quite happily told us that on many an occasion. Whilst his brand of domination wouldn’t be for many, he wasn’t wrong or bad, he was just a different sort of hero.


On the surface we see a much stronger Lucy in this story, however I still firmly believe that her true strength lay in her decision, her choice, to submit to everything Max demanded of her. Her ability to let go and acquiesce with every fibre of her being. There is a very judgemental part of me that believes if you needed this book as the ending of the story you should hand your “dark romance reader” card in right now. For chunks of this I felt as though I was reading an angsty contemporary romance. An amazing and well written one but one that wasn’t true to the rest of the series. A bit like putting a sticking plaster on deep gash, this was fantastic but not suited to the job of being the conclusion of a dark romance.


Thank you to the author for kindly gifting me a copy of this book, because my curiosity had me desperate to know what the alternative ending was. I don’t regret reading it but I’m really, really glad I read the other one first. If this is the ending you prefer that’s fine because we all enjoy and need different things from our reads.
















ONE OR TWO
There was only ever one ending for Max and Lucy, but I aim to please—or torture—however you wish to look at it. I believe in true choices, so I give you control of their fate to pick which ending you prefer.


LOST OR FOUND
This is the lighter ending for Max and Lucy. When destiny gets in the way, love may have trouble finding a way back to True Control.



NOTE: All the books in this series are available for purchase/download now, so you won’t be left wanting or waiting. This series involves a combination of Domestic Discipline, D/s, and Sm
Now available in paperback too!



Excerpts:
I try to be still in Max’s arms. I’m too chilled by his words. So calm. So clear. “What if…what if that’s not what I want…what I need…?” I say this as almost a whisper, too afraid to say it…to afraid to keep it in.

He doesn’t say anything for a long time. I almost think he didn’t hear me until his voice answers in a whisper too, “You gave up having a choice when you became my wife, Lucy. What you want…what you need…I decide. You’ll take whatever I do to you.”

Even in a whisper, I know his final tone when I hear it. There’s no point in talking more. I swallow and still only speak in a cracked whisper, “What…what are you going to do to me, Max?”

And he waits to answer me again. His voice slides across the words, like he’s enjoying hearing the fear in my voice, feeling the shiver in my body. “Do you really want to know, little girl?”


…..


I don’t really want to be cruel to her. I like hurting her, sometimes just for my pleasure…but I want to be loving and kind to her too. And most of the time, I am.

I give her all of my love. I deny her nothing. Within reason anyway. I’m not a fool though. I know what I demand isn’t for everyone. I’ve had enough girlfriends throw modern feminism and equal rights crap in my face to know that Lucy isn’t like any other girl.

She understands that she needs my guidance. She gets that all of my rules, demands, punishments are meant to help her, to help us. To be happy.

I know I’m a monster. I’ve come to terms with this. I don’t care what anyone thinks of me. I only care about Lucy. About her obeying and submitting to me.











True Control 4.1
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9YNP7O/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00S9YNP7O/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24517063-true-control



True Control 4.2
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00S9YNMBS/
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00S9YNMBS/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24516154-true-control




Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.

Review//\\ Dolly by Measha Stone





Dolly by Measha Stone






Oh my word, Measha Stone does Dark incredibly well.


Dolly throws you into the dark end deep end right from the start. It’s fairly harrowing at times, particularly because we experience the suffering, rather than just impassively observing. What I really enjoyed was how the story moved forward and how we got to really know Dolly and Ken.


It’s really difficult to discuss the book without revealing spoilers, so I’m just going to say that the plot totally and utterly held my attention throughout. I’ve read vaguely similar plotlines previously, but this was not a weak or carbon copy of them. Instead it far surpassed those previous reads, due in no small part to the quality of writing and the amazing characterisation of its protagonists.


The symbiotic relationship between Dolly and Ken, the self-reflection, self-understanding demonstrated by the both of them, the incredibly believable love and connection they shared just took this book to another level. With all the difficulties and stress of the current world situation, a dark book felt like the last thing I wanted to read. However the darkness here was filled with such strength, it transformed to such power that, instead of dragging me down, instead it lifted me up in a way I hadn’t expected.


I massively recommend Dolly and am hoping Ms Stone dips her toes into dark waters again.





















He’s promised me sunlight.
Hope for a better future.
Freedom from this horror.
A life that doesn’t end in a dark cellar.


But, we’re trapped together.
Forced to live for the worst kind of people.
Desperate to survive for each other.


I crave his touch with every breath I take.
My heart aches for him.
He’s my hope for survival.
The man I want a future with.
I can have it all again, if only I trust him.
Even if that’s the only thing I can’t do.













Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0854GM87D/

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0854GM87D/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51076103-dolly



Ratings
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.