NEW RELEASES & SALES!!!

NEW RELEASES & SALES!!!

The last 2 weeks have had such fantastic new releases that I didn’t want to separate them into two posts so this list is a round up from last week and this week. Note that if you’ve previously checked this list, several new books have been added, so be sure to scroll down again!! There’s everything from swoony romance to erotic BDSM to thrillers, bad boy love, military romance, second chance romance and SO much more!!

**UPDATE: I just posted my Top 10 Books That Have Stayed With Me so be sure to check them out!

Happy reading!!! :D

 

Don’t Let Go by Sharla Lovelace – $0.99 Top recommendation!! 5 STARS!!

YOU GUYS HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK!!! It’s on sale for $0.99 and it’s literally one of the BEST books I’ve read!! It’s a gorgeous love story with intensely strong emotions. It made me laugh. It made me cry. And it has one of the most wonderful endings EVER!!!!!! Also, if you’re a fan of The Sweet Gum Tree, you will LOVE this. The hero + heroine were childhood friends and later young lovers torn apart by a tragedy. Then, he suddenly comes home 26 years (!!!) later and the secrets behind why they were torn apart come out… Read my review

 

Stay With Me by Sharla Lovelace – Just went live!!

*squee* I just one-clicked this book!!!! It’s a new standalone romance by author of Don’t Let Go (see above) and I can’t WAIT to read it!! It’s described as a heartwarming love story. — A bad boy who broke her heart then disappeared. A 10 year gap. A daughter. A swoony new love with a sexy veterinarian that all gets complicated when the bad boy rolls back into town…

 
 

Losing Me, Finding You by Natalie Ward – New top recommendation!!

WOW!! I read this book in one sitting and absolutely LOVED it!! Holy hell!!! The intensity of this love story was off the charts!!!! My heart was pounding from start to finish and this book was totally unique. Unlike anything else I’ve ever read. — The heroine wakes up every four years in a different city, with a different life, and no memory of her previous lives. Each time she has to figure out where she is, who she is, and has to find her way back to HIM. The man she loves and the man who loves her unconditionally. This is their story. Read my review.

 

Within These Walls by J.L. Berg – New release & new review!!

I just posted my new review for this book! It was a really sweet love story ➜ The heroine is a survivor. She was born with a damaged heart and has spent most of her life in the hospital. The (tattooed) hero is broken inside, grieving the death of a woman he’d loved. But when he sees her, something changes and he makes it his mission to try and bring happiness into her life… *** NOTE: Sales from this week only will be donated to a children’s heart charity so if you’re planning to read it at all, grab your copy now!!

 

Calmly, Carefully, Completely by Tammy Falkner – New review!!

SQUEEE!!! I just finished this and LOVED it!!! So many feels, so much swoon!! You can read it as a standalone (I did) even though it’s part of the Reed Brothers series. This story is about Pete Reed. He’s covered in tattoos and fresh out of jail but he’s a good man with a good heart, one of the Reed Brothers… And that’s when he meets HER. Again. Two and a half years ago he saved her and she’s been wanting to thank him ever since… Read my review.

 

Changing Course by Aly Martinez – $0.99 Sale & Top recommendation!!

I’m so excited that this is ON SALE now!!! From the moment I started this book, I just couldn’t put it down. It had the perfect balance of heart wrenching angst, smoking hot romance, and humor. It was emotional, swoony and had a to-die-for Alpha hero who I fell completely in love with. I’ve always fallen especially hard for the protective, tortured types of guys and Brett was no exception!! It’s a second chance romance with a big, totally unique twist (read more about the story set-up in my review) but basically, I highly recommend it!! Read my review.

 

Among The Echoes by Aly Martinez – Recent release & recommendation!!

Ok, I’m sneaking this one in too because it was just released and I really loved it too! The story is a complete standalone but there’s a little twist that connects it with the two books posted above (if you’ve already read those books, you’ll totally *squee* when you read the twist ;) ) This book was a sexy, suspenseful romance about a woman in witness protection who catches the eye of a celebrity boxer!! If you like strong, ALPHA, protective heroes, you’re going to LOVE Slate Andrews!! That man made me SWOOOOON!!!  Read my review.

 

The Viper by Kele Moon – New release!!

Bad boy alert!!! Oh, this guy is a VERY bad boy… He’s a fighter, a gang member. He commits crimes and he breaks the rules. Until her. She’s a high school teacher. Smart, strong, and sexy. She is a woman he shouldn’t want. Shouldn’t touch. Shouldn’t love. But he finds himself going back for a taste of the forbidden… — I’m intrigued!!

 
 

Thin Love by Eden Butler – New release!!

Oooh!! I just saw this new book recommended by one of my favorite authors, Penelope Douglas (she said 5 stars!! “Read this in one sitting! Without a doubt, my favorite dynamic of bad boy meets feisty good girl. Superb writing!”) and it sounds really good!! It’s a second chance romance. The hero is an NFL player… and he’s reconnecting with the girl he lost sixteen years ago… ➜ “Love isn’t supposed to be an addiction. It isn’t supposed to leave you bleeding.”

 

Worth Forgiving by Vi Keeland – New release!!

New MMA fighter book!!! This is a standalone romance and the sexy, Alpha hero is described as a “gentleman in public, a commanding, dirty talking rogue in the bedroom.” — Sounds HOT!!!

All the books in this series are standalones about different couples, but if you want to read them in order, here are the links: #1 Worth the Fight, #2 Worth the Chance, #3 Worth Forgiving

 

Forever Kinda Love by Clara Stone – Recent release!!

Ooooh!!! This is recommended by one of my fav authors, Nina Lane, and I love the sound of it ➜ The hero and heroine met when they were little kids on the day her mother died. From then on, he sticks by her side, slowly becoming her strength and her entire world. Ten years later, a crippling event threatens to change her life. She tries to hide the truth but he knows her too well and is ready to do whatever it takes. He will stay by her side until she accepts that their love is worth fighting for.

 

Wild Temptation by Emma Hart – New release!!

This is the first book in the Wild series by Emma Hart (a Call series spin-off). The hero is sexy, dirty-talking, & British!! ➜ He’s a sex addict. I’m a love addict. This is temptation.

There is a free prequel, this main novel, and a sequel in the series.

 
 

Beast: Part 1 by Ella James – New release!!

Ok, I’m super intrigued by this new serial (novellas)!! It’s an erotic, modern-day twist on the Beauty & The Beast fairy tale!! — HE once a famous movie star but a 10-year prison sentence turned him into a Beast. Ruthless, and cunning, he now runs the prison from the inside and his word is law…. and only SHE can save him. Annabelle, the warden’s stepdaughter.

 

Unlit Star by Lindy Zart – $0.99 New release!!

This book’s blurb really grabbed me. It sounds really good! The hero is the untouchable popular guy, a star. But all stars eventually fall. The heroine is the outcast, alone in the dark. And when he falls, she catches him…

PS – this is a standalone, but I’ve been warned that its a heart-breaker, so definitely bring lots of tissues when you read it.

 

Hard To Hold On To by Laura Kaye – New release!!

This is a Hard Ink novella, part of a popular romance series about four ex-soldiers who run an operation against an organized crime ring out of the back of a tattoo shop. This is Easy’s story. He knows the pain of not being able to save those he loves, which is why he is not going to let her out of his sight….

Reading order: Hard As You Can, Hard As It Gets, Hard To Hold On To

 

Seducing Lauren by Kristen Proby – New release!!

This is the second standalone in the Love Under the Big Sky series. — When the Lauren’s no-good ex-husband comes after her, Ty steps in to protect her. She’s not ready for another relationship, so he has to convince her that her mistake wasn’t getting married, but marrying the wrong guy…

Reading order: Loving Cara, Seducing Lauren

 

Debt Inheritance by Pepper Winters – New release!!

This story brings a new dark hero and roller-coaster romance… Her life is his until she’s paid off the debt that’s centuries old. He can do what he likes with her — nothing is out of bounds — she has to obey. There are no rules. Only payments…

It’s only $0.99 (full length novel) but it has a cliffhanger. The sequel will be out before the end of the year though.

 

Dear John (Choisie #3) by Lori L Otto – New release!!

This is the third book in a YA series “Choisie” that is a spin-off of the amazing and emotional Emi Lost & Found series. It is NOT a standalone and should be read in the order listed below. If you are new to these, I highly recommend starting with the Emi Lost & Found series. It was a 5 STAR read for me!!

Reading order: Emi Lost & Found series | Contessa, Olivia, Dear Jon.

 

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins – New release!!

This is the final standalone book in the “Anna and the French Kiss” series – highly rated YA romance! It’s a sweet, sexy, and swoonworthy story of true love set against the stunning backdrops of New York City, Paris, and Barcelona… and I’ve heard amazing things about it!!!

Reading order: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Isla and the Happily Ever After

 

No Inbetween (Inside Out #4) by Lisa Renee Jones – New release!!

This is the fourth full-length novel in the INSIDE OUT series, an erotic BDSM romance/ thrilling mystery series that also has a TV Show deal too!! I’ve listed the reading order below as these books must be read in order. Note that the first 3 are on sale now.

If I Were You, Being Me, Revealing Us, No Inbetween

 

A Whole New Crowd by Tijan – New release!!

This new standalone is about a girl who grew up with a criminal boyfriend and a brother who was in a gang. She’s thrilled to be adopted by a family in a nearby town. New family. New friends. A new world. But secrets start being revealed that tie her new life back to her old one and now she’s fighting for survival…

 
 
 

Room For YouRoom For More  by Beth Ehemann
  Room For Just A Little Bit More — Recent release!!!! 

OMG!! This is one of my FAVORITE series!!! It’s an amazing heart-warming, SWOOOOOONY romance about a famous pro hockey player who falls in love with a single mom and her two little twin girls (or, his Twinkies ). 5 STARS!!!

This is a complete series (2 books + 1 novella) all about the same couple:
#1 Room For You, #2 Room For More, #2.5 Room For Just A Little Bit More.

 

Twice In A Lifetime by Ruthie Henrick – Random Find

Wow! This $0.99 standalone looks so good and really different!! It’s a second chance romance with a twist… the heroine marries a guy she meets on a blind date and is ready to live out their happily ever after together. But his sudden death also uncovers a huge betrayal. The hero however, has been on the sidelines the whole time. For 15 years, he’s been in love with his best friend’s wife. He’s waited half a lifetime for a chance to love her, and now it’s time to make his move….

 

Beyond Addiction by Kit Rocha – Recent release!!

This is the latest book (#5) in the Beyond series. I haven’t read these but they’re set in a dark, gritty, futuristic world and I hear that they are H.O.T.!!!

Here’s the full series reading order. Each book is about a different couple but they’re all interconnected… Bundle of Books #1-3, #3.5 Beyond Temptation, #4 Beyond Jealousy, #4.5 Beyond Solitude, #5 Beyond Addiction.

 

Elicit by Rachel Van Dyken – Recent release!!

This is a standalone Mafia-themed romance in the popular Eagle Elect series. I LOVE the blurb… ➜ “I killed my father in cold blood and lost my soul… And [my best friend's sister] just ripped my heart out and asked me to hold it in my hands while she put bullets through it. I’m cursed so I did it. I’m numb so I held it. I’m wicked so I liked it… Welcome to the Dark Side of the Family.”

Full order: #1 Elite, #2 Elect, #3 Entice, #4 Elicit.

 

Incandescent by River Savage – Reader rec!!

This BIKER book has been recommended to me several readers recently so I thought I’d share it again. It has really HIGH ratings and the Alpha hero is the Club president of the Knights Rebels MC. He’s described as “crass, obnoxious and dangerously sexy”… and he’s also single dad to his son. Awwww!! I want to meet him!

 
 

Drowning Instinct by Ilsa J. Bick – Random find!!

I came across a book randomly and the blurb really grabbed me. So I wanted to share in case you want to check it out too… ➜➜ “There are stories where the girl gets her prince, and they live happily ever after. (This is not one of those stories.) There are stories where the monster gets the girl. (This is not one of those stories either.) And there are stories where it’s hard to be sure who’s a prince and who’s a monster, who is a victim and who should live happily ever after. (These are the most interesting stories of all.)”

 

Unmasked: Volume #3 by Cassia Leo – Recent release!!

This is the final volume in the highly-rated UNMASKED serial. The story is about a woman who witnesses a murder which brings a mysterious man into her life who says he wants to protect her. These 3 volumes must be read in order.

Reading order: Volume #1, Volume #2, Volume #3.

 
 

Hard Knox by Nicole Williams – Recent release!!

BAD BOY alert!! This new book sounds good!! The heroine is a writer for the college newspaper trying to figure out who has been drugging girls’ drinks at parties, and Knox is the college bad boy and the biggest suspect. But when she’s drugged at a party and wakes up on his couch, she’s left with more questions than answers and even more secrets to uncover…

PS – this is a standalone and the first book in a new series (different couples).

 

Tempting Her Best Friend by Gina Maxwell – $0.99 Recent release!!

Alyssa is tired of waiting for her next-door neighbor to see her as more than just his best friend and heads to Vegas where she’s hoping to get lucky…. Dillon Alexander thinks his best friend deserves a man who can give her the world, not damaged goods. But when he realizes she intends to have a one-night stand on her vacation, he hauls ass after her to make sure he’s the one to scratch her itch…

 

Dust To Dust (E.I.T. #9 by Karina Halle) – Recent Release!!

This is the final book & series conclusion of the Experiment In Terror series by Karina Hale!! This is a VERY popular paranormal series and the books must be read in order: #1 Darkhouse, #2 Red Fox, #2.5 The Benson, #3 Dead Sky Morning, #4 Lying Season, #5 On Demon Wings, #5.5 Old Blood, #5.7 The Dex Files, #6 Into The Hollow, #6.5 And With The Madness Comes The Light, #7 Come Alive, #8 Ashes to Ashes, #9 Dust To Dust.

 

Captured by Jasinda Wilder – Recent Release

This is a full-length standalone military romance and it sounds heart-wrenching! ➜ “I married a Marine. I knew the risks. Every time my husband shipped out, I knew there was a chance he wouldn’t come back. But Thomas always did. Always. Then one day two officers in full dress uniform knocked on my door and shattered my world…”

 

Sleeping With The Boss by Marissa Clarke – $0.99 Recent Release

This new book sounds fun! The heroine accepts a job where she meets the hottest man she’s ever seen, Former Marine William Anderson. He’s there working undercover and she’s his latest suspect!! Desire lands them in bed…but duty may cost him his heart.

This is the first book in a new series of standalone romances. Each book will be about a different brother.

 

Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins – $0.99 sale!!

This is the first book of the popular paranormal romance series “The Fae Chronicles” and it’s on sale for $0.99 right now!! The hero is the Prince of the Dark Fae and is determined to have the heroine work for him. “He’s a rude, overbearing egotistical ass with a compulsive need to possess, dominate and control.” — Teehee!!

More books in the series are currently available.

 

Shattered by Tracey Wolff – $0.99 sale!!

This sale book has a professional snowborder hero!! He’s at the “very top of the professional snowboarding world” when tragedy strikes. At his lowest point, he meets the heroine who is also fighting her own battles.

I haven’t read it but this can be a standalone even though it’s second in the series. The first book is called Shredded (different couple).

 

The Force of Gravity by Kelly Stevenson – Random Find

A reader just brought this student/teacher to my attention. It takes place in the last few months of high school when a new math teacher arrives who challenges the 18-year-old heroine’s perfect, predictable life and suddenly makes her want more.

I haven’t read it but it has really high ratings so I’m passing on the recommendation in case you want to check it out too!!

 

Into The Storm by Melanie Moreland – Random Find

I stumbled across this book randomly and read it the other day. It’s about a woman on the run who crashes her car in the woods outside the home of a reclusive writer with a painful past of his own. He takes her in but she wakes up with no memory of who she is and no ID. Trapped together in his cabin, isolated by a raging storm, they slowly open up to each other, learning to trust and love… until her past suddenly catches up with her…. — Read my review.

 

The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred - $0.99 sale & recommendation!

This is one of my all-time favorite second chance love stories. It’s one of those hidden gems with an unforgettable story!! It’s a beautifully written, intense, and highly emotional standalone that is both heart wrenching and heart warming. 5 STARS!!! And, it’s ONLY $0.99!!! Read my review.

“You’re the only one I’ve ever wanted, Alix, the only one I’ll ever want. That’s a promise.”

 

What Price Paradise by Katherine Allred - $0.99 sale & recommendation!!

Another of my favorite books is on sale!!! This is a standalone written by the author of The Sweet Gum Tree about a girl who finds herself pregnant after a one-night stand with a guy she’s secretly loved for a long time. And, from the moment he discovers she’s pregnant, he tries to do right by her… It’s a really beautiful, heart warming love story. Still a FAVORITE and only $0.99. Read my review.

 

 

Present Perfect by Alison G Bailey - Top recommendation!!

This just got a beautiful new cover and so I’m bring it back to the front page. I adored this story. It’s a standalone romance and it had SO much emotion and I truly FELT every word of the story!! It’s one of those books where you read the whole thing with your heart aching but I loved every word!! ➜ “I’ve been unsure about many things in my life except for one thing, that I have always loved him. Every single minute of every single day that I have been on this earth, my heart has belonged to him.” Read my review

 

Neighbor From Hell series by RL Mathewson - $0.99 series sale!

All 4 hilarious Neighbor from Hell series books are on sale!!! These are fun, sexy enemies-to-lovers standalones. I loved them and highly recommend them!!

The first 3 are contemporary, the 4th is historical romance.

#1 Playing For Keeps, #2 Perfection, #3 Checkmate, #4 Truce

 

 

Hope Over Fear by J.A. DeRouen – Recent Release

This is also a recently released standalone. I read the prologue and was hooked!! ➜ Today is the day that the man I love marries someone else. I don’t deserve pity or sympathy. I left Mason and ripped his heart to pieces as I ran away. The guilt and sorrow consume me everyday… But today is a new beginning. Today is the day I will wake up with a renewed determination to be better. My name is Sara Preston, and this is my story about what happens after.

 

 

Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon - Series sale!!

This is a epic romance historical fiction story set in 18th century Scotland (the hero, Jamie Fraser, is a Scots warrior) and the TV series starts this month!! All the books (except the newest) are on sale for $3.99-$4.99 each right now (reg. $7.99-$11.99).

#1 Outlander, #2 Dragonfly in Amber, #3 Voyager, #4 Drums of Autumn, #5 The Fiery Cross, #6 A Breath of Snow and Ashes, #7 An Echo in the Bone, #8 Written In My Own Heart’s Blood.

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*** RECENT RECOMMENDATIONS ***

 

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover (My review– Top recommendation!!!! 

It’s LIVE!!!!! It’s finally here!! I adored this book!!! Absolute, stunning perfection in every way. It’s an intensely emotional, beautiful, sexy, and heart-wrenching story of love and healing. I almost guarantee that you’ll cry (seriously, my heart broke for Miles!!!) but I promise you it’s worth every tear because the way that it all comes together is just gorgeous!!! Truly a must-read!! 6 STARS!!

 “If I were capable of loving someone… it would be you.”

 

Come Back To Me by Mila Gray (My Review) – Recent recommendation!!

I absolutely LOVED this book!!!  It was SO much more than I expected. Deeply emotional, sexy, funny, romantic…. and it had that special heart-pounding intensity to it. Definitely a new top fav!!! :) — It’s a forbidden romance about a Marine who’s home on leave and drawn to the one girl he can’t have… his best friend’s sister. But he’s only home for 4 weeks before he’s sent out again for another 9 months so every second they have together is stolen and precious…

 
 
 

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*** LISTS OF BOOKS ***

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Top 10 Books That Have Stayed With Me In Some Way

Top 10 Books That Have Stayed With Me In Some Way

I was on tagged Facebook to list my Top 10 Books That Have Stayed With Me In Some Way… and I wasn’t planning to do it at first because I didn’t think I could manage to only list 10. I guess I just felt like there are so many books I love that I’d feel weird, or even guilty, only naming a few of them because lets face it… I know that all of us have a ton of books we love and adore.

But this wasn’t just asking books I loved or even my “favorite books”, it was literally books that somehow just stuck with me over time so please remember, this is different than a normal favorites list. And, as such, there are 2 books/series listed on it that I’ve never even mentioned before on this blog!

(PS: Thanks Abby C. for the tag!)

Also, I’ve only listed books I’d read prior to 2013 or preferably even way before then. I took this quite literally to mean books that have had a chance to stay with me for a while so even though I have many newer books that have had a strong impact on me, I tried to focus on the ones I’ve loved for longer here…

  1. The Bronze Horseman series by Paullina Simons (My Review) — This is (and I think always will be) the story that has had the strongest and deepest impact on me. It’s the most powerful and epic love story I’ve ever read. And, even though there are many favorite books I love with all my heart and soul, I honestly can’t imagine any other story ever having this strong an impact on me which it’s why I’ve put it on a pedestal as my one and only 10-stars series. It’s absolutely incomparable in my eyes.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James – I owe this book for getting me seriously into contemporary romance. I read it back when it first came out as an indie and even though I’d read a few before this and loved them, this was the series that made me go ‘OMG. I want more!’ … For me, and I think for many other readers of romance, this book was a reading life changer. It’s one of those series I could re-read endlessly and it would still make my heart race each time. *sigh* I love you, CG.
  3. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – The vampire who fell in love with the innocent human… This was the first 100% romance series I ever read and I fell in complete and total love with Edward. I think the entire romance world owes this book so much. Not only did I adore this book on it’s own merit but I also love it for the incredible creativity it inspired. So many of my top favorite books today originated as fanfiction of this book and I’m so grateful that this story inspired so many authors to write.
  4. Slammed series by Colleen Hoover (My Review) — Oh gosh, I can still so vividly remember the heart-racing intensity I felt the first time I read this book. That twist!!!! This was still one of the first contemporary romances I’d ever read so I have no idea what to expect and it totally caught me off guard and took over my life!! This was the first book I officially pimped out to anyone who I could get to read it. I even made my parents read it (PS – they loved it!). It was the first book I reviewed — my review was very short but it was something and it inspired me to keep reviewing. But this was the first time I just had to get my feelings about a book out because I loved it that much. And I still do.
  5. Bared To You (Crossfire #1) by Sylvia Day (My Review) — This was the first (and only book) that I’ve ever read straight through and then immediately flipped it right over and started it over again. The kind of relationship that Gideon and Eva have is the kind I most love reading about — characters with a lot of pain in their pasts, who love each other with every fiber of their beings and are doing everything in their power to work together to build a functional relationship. The writing, the characters, the story, everything about this book is just perfection to me.
  6. Thoughtless series by SC Stephens (My Review) — My first rockstar book and still my favorite one!! Kellan Kyle. Holy hell. The things this book did to my heart. The angst was like nothing I’d ever read before. My stomach was in knots. My heart was pounding. I literally stayed up til the wee hours of the morning glued to the pages of this book. Safe to say, it was another life changer for me as a reader.
  7. The Sweet Gum Tree by Katherine Allred (My Review) — This was the book that made me fall in love second chance romances. I remember inhaling this book in one sitting. Such strong emotions — such intense emotions —  and gorgeous writing. Even looking back now, I can still feel for this story even though it’s been quite a while since I read it so yeah… this one has stayed with me.
  8. Captive In The Dark by CJ Roberts (My Review) — This was the first ‘dark romance’ book I read and it is absolutely still my #1. This book pushed the boundaries of my comfort zones to the very very very limits and me questioning my feelings (and my sanity because of those feelings) over and over again. There was nothing black and white about this story. It was all about the grey zone. Such a twisted and yet beautiful love story. Incredible writing, complex and multi-layered characters, and just this emotionally draining, utterly mindfucking, meticulously crafted story. Gah. I loved this series!
  9. Love Me With Lies series by Tarryn Fisher (My Review) — It’s kind of a big deal for me that I’m listing these books here because on the surface they seem like the polar opposite of the kind of story I love. Interestingly, this series ended up as one of my 5-star top favs. It’s easily the most heart-breakingly dysfunctional love story I’ve read but also one of the most beautiful. People aren’t perfect and this story had a raw honesty to it that just reached right into my heart. And the writing is outstanding. Truly brilliant story telling.
  10. Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3) — Ok, so I’ve never mentioned this series on my blog before because a) I don’t have reviews for them because I read them before I started blogging, and b) the series is kind of a romance and yet, it’s also not. I’d probably classify them as sexy, dark urban fantasy. There are strong relationships and very dark, sexual themes but the whole story is just in it’s own category all together. The world that this author created is entirely, 100% unique and very complex. Gosh, I’ve probably read this trilogy at least 10 times over minimum and it was one of those where the more I read it, the more I loved it. It has Alpha men, strong women, completely original world building but it’s completely unlike anything else I usually blog about. I’ve also never mentioned them because I guess in a weird way, I feel like I need to explain them a little or something (they’re really different)… One day, I’ll re-read and review them but for now, I’ll just add them to this list. (PS: please don’t judge them on their covers. Seriously.)
  11. Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind – This is a fantasy series (like actual fantasy, not fantasy romance) that is another that I’ve read so many times but never before mentioned on my blog since it’s not specifically a romance. There is however a single, strong, unwavering love story throughout all 11 (looooong) books. This series as a whole has a set of very powerful messages which really resonate strongly with me personally and even though this is really not the kind of series that fits in with this blog per se, it’s one of those ones that has always stayed with me.

k, so 11 is close to 10 right?? haha I cheated a little. Sorry! ;) There are so many other honourable mentions … so many more unforgettable stories. But I’m trying to stick to the rules here. So instead, I’ll just refer you to my favorites list for each of the years I’ve been blogging…

 

What about you? What are the Top 10 Books That Have Stayed With You?

I’d love to see your choices so feel free to comment below with them!! :D

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Book Review — Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

Book Review — Within These Walls by J.L. Berg

“We all have scars… Some are just more visible than others.”

What a sweet romance!

I loved the sound of this when I first heard about it and just had to give it a try. I thought it might be a bit of an emotional roller coaster to be honest, but it was more of a low-angst, “make-you-smile” kind of love story about a girl with a damaged heart and a guy who’d lost it all finding love and healing with each other.

Lailah was born with a heart defect and had spent most of her life in the hospital dreaming about a life outside it’s walls. She was a survivor though and lucky to be alive given her condition.

Jude was emotionally broken on the inside. After losing the woman he loved in a tragic accident, he began to work in the hospital she’d died in, the memories and guilt of his loss so strong that he couldn’t let go. He covered himself with tattoos and kept to himself, keeping his true identity a secret from the whole world.

But when he saw Lailah, something inside his heart came back to life. For the first time in three years, he felt something more than just emptiness and he decided to make it his mission to try and bring happiness into her life. And, that is how their story began…

“He was like a Greek god covered in tattoos — and scrubs. Or at least that’s what the nurses were describing him as.

Having spent the majority of my life in a hospital bed, I knew I was a little innocent when it came to the male species, but I understood “hot” when it smacked me in the face – or walked by my door and the little I’d seen was definitely droolworthy.”

I don’t want to tell you guys any more of the story, but I’ll just say that the way they actually meet is just SO incredibly cute!! There is a lot of swoon and sweetness in this story as they become friends first and then more. They were two broken hearts slowly mending each other but the scary thing was that she was living on borrowed time. She needed a transplant to live so throughout it all, their future was ever uncertain.

“Asking someone to step into my world would be like asking him to sign away his own life to take care of mine. I could never do that. Love wasn’t an option for me.”

I want to reassure you that this story won’t devastate you. No ugly tears! There are definitely some more emotional parts but they’re not going to rip your heart out. Oh, and it’s also a standalone so you get the whole story in one sitting! If you’re looking for a sweet love story to get lost in, try this one!

*** NOTE: A portion of sales during the first week of release (this week) will be donated to a children’s heart charity. So if you’re planning to read this at all, be sure to grab your copy now! 

Rating: 4 stars. Standalone New Adult romance.

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Book Review — Calmly, Carefully, Completely (Reed Brothers) by Tammy Falkner

Book Review — Calmly, Carefully, Completely (Reed Brothers) by Tammy Falkner

I absolutely LOVED this book!! It was pure romantic escapism! Sexy, swoony, and so well-written, with a gorgeous tattooed hero who is guaranteed to melt your heart!

Pete Reed is big, covered in tattoos and fresh out of jail. You’d think he was a bad boy but he’s really a good man with a good heart who made a bad decision and then paid his dues. Now, he’s been signed up to work at a camp for kids with special needs (his ability to sign because of his deaf brother being a plus), and that’s where he meets her. Again. Raegan is the daughter of the couple running the camp. Two and a half years ago, Pete saved her from her worst nightmare and she’s been wanting to thank him ever since…

“You do remember me,” she whispers.

“I think about you all the time, wondering what happened that night after you left.”

You can totally read this book as a standalone. Technically, it’s #3 in the Reed Brothers series (see bottom of post for all the books) but you can either read it on it’s own or even start the series with this book then go back and read the first 2 books after. Totally up to you! You don’t even need to know anything going into this book but just to make things even more clear, just know that basically, Pete’s brother Matt had cancer and as a way to try and get the money for his treatment, Pete got involved with a dealer but was caught and paid the price behind bars. So, this book starts with him getting out of jail.

I seriously LOVE these brothers. Their unquestionable loyalty, camaraderie, and deep-rooted bonds give so much heart to the story. What I love about this series is that it’s not just the main couple that is the highlight… all the other relationships (between the friends, brothers, girlfriends, kids etc) are just pure gold in their own right. All the side characters matter and everyone has a story that you’re made to care about. And while they’re often very deep and heart felt, they can also just be totally hilarious. Like this…

“You need a lesson on the birds and the bees?” Paul asks. “You put tab A into slot B.” He makes a crude gesture with his fingers. “Ot tab A into slot C.” He grins. “Ot tab A into slot D. But some girls don’t like that, so don’t start there. You might even save that for a birthday or special occasion. Yours. Not hers.”

Teehee!! — But back to Raegan and Pete… they were absolutely adorable. Ever since that night in college where Pete saved her, she’d kept her distance from men, but even though they hadn’t seen each other since that night, they’d never forgotten each other. He was the only guy she felt safe around and even though he knew he had to be careful around her, he felt things for her that he’d never felt before and he wanted her to know how much she meant to him. He’d tease and flirt but never push too far. I loved their dynamic!!!

There’s just something about a guy with so much respect not only for women, but for everyone around him, and who can still manage to be a badass that is utterly heart melting. I loved the way Pete was with her. He’d been there at her worst moment and knew the nightmares she was facing. But at the same time, he wanted to bring back the real her that she’d hidden away.

“I want you, Raegan. I want every piece of you.”
“Even the shattered pieces?” she asks.
I… pull her face up to mine. “I’ll be the glue that puts you back together.”

Raegan was pretty awesome too. I loved that even though she’d been though such a horrible experience, she was still strong and learned to defend herself. Haha she even clocked Pete at one point (kind of an accident, don’t worry, he wasn’t a jerk or anything) but it was pretty funny!

“What happened to your eye?” Paul asks. My eye is still a little blue from when she hit me.
“Raegan hit me,” I admit. Logan grins.
“Marry her,” Logan says. “Marry her right away.”

I also have to give a shout-out to Raegan’s parents. They both knew what had happened to their daughter and wanted to keep her safe but were happy to see her find someone she could trust and love. Her mother’s understanding and her father’s hatchet-wielding protectiveness were totally awesome!

“Have fun?” my mom asks.
I nod in answer to her question. “We were roasting marshmallows.”
She quirks an eyebrow at me. “That’s what they’re calling that now?”

“He seems nice… Even though Dad threatened to chop his nuts off.”
“Hey, it works,” he says. But he’s grinning.
“He was very nice. And I promise not to get pregnant…. Good night!”
“It’d be hard for him to get you pregnant if I chop his nuts off!” Dad yells after me.”

I’m positive that at least half my book is highlighted. Quotes on every page had me laughing, swooning, and even tearing up a little. I genuinely loved it all from start-to-finish! If you’re looking for a series that is fun and sexy with a whole lot of heart and a group of heroes who will have you swooning, you have to try this!

Rating: 4.5 stars!!

 

** REED BROTHERS SERIES **

Book #1 — TALL, TATTED, AND TEMPTING
Buy for Kindle | Buy in Paperback

Book #2 — SMART, SEXY, AND SECRETIVE
Buy for Kindle | Buy in Paperback

Book #3 — CALMLY, CAREFULLY, COMPLETELY
Buy for Kindle | Buy in Paperback

Novella #3.5 — FINALLY FINDING FAITH
Buy for Kindle

Novella #3.6 — RAEGAN’S REVENGE & ENDING EMILY’S ENGAGEMENT
Buy for Kindle

Book #4 — MAYBE MATT’S MIRACLE
Buy for Kindle | Buy in Paperback

Book #5 — PROVING PAUL’S PROMISE
Buy for Kindle | Buy in Paperback

Novella #5.5 — ONLY ONE
Buy for Kindle

** NOTE: Both Books #1 + 2 focus on the same couple. In the blurbs, the heroine’s name is different but they are the same girl. I just don’t want you to worry that the hero is with two different girl. Same girl!

** NOTE 2: Books #3, 4, and 5 can be read as standalones.

  

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Book Review — Losing Me Finding You by Natalie Ward

Book Review — Losing Me Finding You by Natalie Ward

I love him. He loves me. But every four years, I lose myself. And every four years, I have to find him. This is our story.

I LOVED this book!! An intense, heart-pounding love story unlike any other I’ve ever read!

I stayed up til 4AM to finish this story. I read it in one sitting and could not put it down even for a minute. The idea of the story was just so unique and it grabbed me from the start so I just had to read it!

The 29th of February, the day I was born. 

When I wake up on this day, I’m in a different city, with a different life and no memory of the lives I had before this one. Today is the tenth time this has happened to me. The tenth time I’ve had to figure out where the hell I am. The tenth time I’ve had to try and work out who the hell I am. This is the tenth alteration of the person I am. Each of us has had different lives, different backgrounds and different families. But there’s always been one constant. 

Him. 

He’s the reason I keep doing this. He’s the reason I spend four years searching. If I’m lucky, I’ll get the trigger and find him quickly and we can spend those four years together before I disappear again. If I’m not, we might get a year, a month or even just a day. Once we got nothing, but that was a choice. 

And every time it happens, he patiently waits for me. He says that every time I come back to him, it’s like falling in love with me all over again. I say that every time I come back, I fall even more in love with him than before. 

It scares me that one day I won’t be able to find him at all, because when that day comes, I’m not sure I’ll want to keep going. He is my strength, my protector, my one and only constant. 

I love him. 
He loves me. 
But every four years, I lose myself. 
And every four years, I have to find him. 
This is our story.

My heart was racing from start to finish!! It was pounding. My spine tingled. I had shivers running through me the whole time with the anticipation of finding out what would happen next. Every little hint, every new twist, every emotionally charged moment between them just added to my connection to the story.

I swear, I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough!

The story starts out when Evie and Ben are young children. Even back then, I loved how fiercely protective he was of her. They were just kids but you you could already feel his love for her and as the years went on, his love only got stronger. I just knew in my heart that they were meant to be together. For always.

“I promise I will always look after her.”
And somehow, I know he always will.

This is not what I would consider a paranormal story. I want to be very clear on that. There is no mystical or supernatural element ever mentioned. What happens to her simply happens. There is no explanation ever given and it’s never labelled, but more importantly, there is no reason for an explanation. I’ve thought about this a lot honestly and here’s the thing: If there was an explanation, it would make the story seem unbelievable because it would either be implausible in our real world (and therefore turn it into a paranormal story) or it would seem far fetched… and the thing is that this is a character-driven story. The point of the story is these characters’ lives and their intense, all-consuming love for each other. This is a story about how two people who are forever bound by love make things work in a seemingly impossible situation. The point is their love for each other, not discovering why this is happening to her. And personally, I think that’s a very important thing to remember. This is a love story.

“I love this man and every single thing he does for me, has ever done for me, ever since I was four years old.”

Every word of this story just flows. The writing is fluid and the plot is meticulously crafted so that the story is constantly moving forward with no slow spots at all. The intensity of the emotions just rolls off the page. I felt every word in my heart. The way this author wrote Evie and Ben’s connection and chemistry, the strength of their love, the struggle to regain memories, the impact when they all came slamming back, the missed encounters, the epic reunions, everything was so powerful. There were times when I was reading with tears in my eyes even though nothing sad was happening just because I cared so much and so desperately wanted them to be able to find a way to be together despite their impossible situation.

Minutes, seconds, days, years, this is a story of a never-ending love fighting against time. It’s honestly one of the best books I’ve ever read. It consumed me and took over my life. I loved every word. With most books, if even one scene makes me feel as much as this book made me feel in every scene, I’d consider it a winner. But this book was just a non-stop, heart-racing ride the whole way through.

“Hey, baby,” he says, his voice a whisper. “Miss me?”

There is no stupid drama. It might sound silly to say it but it’s a very important thing to me. The characters are human and do make mistakes (no cheating and no triangles, don’t worry) but their unwavering love for each other is what gets them through.

I loved how real this story felt. With the way that it was written, I honestly just accepted every situation as it was and was genuinely made to believe that these events really happened to this woman.

Some readers have asked me if the story is at all repetitive and the answer is NO. Not at all!! This is not a Groundhog Day scenario at all. I don’t want to give anything away but it’s always moving forward and changing. The author really did a fantastic job with the story development.

Ben Foster is guaranteed to melt your heart. The depth of his love for Evie was so powerful. He loved her unconditionally. His complete devotion to her and acceptance that no matter what, she was the love of his life was just gorgeous. Pure swoon. He protected her, fought for her, stood by her through everything. You knew he’d give anything for her and that there’d be no obstacle he wouldn’t face to be with her.

“I haven’t stopped loving you, Evie,” he whispers. “And no matter what happens or where you go, I won’t ever stop.”

I love the concept of a love so strong that no matter what, they keep finding each other over and over again. The idea that love is powerful enough to prevail over anything is the reason I love to read romance. I am so grateful to the author for stepping outside the box to give us this unconventional and incredibly beautiful book. It was unique, refreshing, thrilling, and this love story will stay in my heart forever.

“I’ll be here waiting for you,” he says, his eyes never leaving mine. “You just have to come find me, Evie.”

Rating: 4.5 — 5 stars. Standalone romance (HEA).

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ARC Giveaway & First Chapter Reveal — UNCIVILIZED by Sawyer Bennett

ARC Giveaway & First Chapter Reveal — UNCIVILIZED by Sawyer Bennett

I have a special “Advance Reading Copy” Giveaway for you today of Sawyer Bennett’s upcoming standalone romance, Uncivilized. This book comes with a ‘warning’ that it is “a wild, sexy beast of a read” ;) You can add it to Goodreads (full blurb there) and also read the whole first chapter below as well!!

Then, be sure to scroll down to enter to win 1 of 5 ARC copies of the book!!

Good luck! :-)

Moira

Present Day

I’m dizzy with lust.

Head spinning, heart racing, muscles clenching in all the right places.

I’m so far out of control, and all of my instincts yell at me to give in… to submit.

Surrender.

“Get on your knees,” Zach commands me in a low voice, which rumbles along my skin and causes blood to rage through my veins.

“No,” I whisper, even though I want to scream, “Yes.”

I know it’s coming.

In fact, I think my crazy denial of his order was done only to provoke him to force my submission. Because that’s more exciting to my senses than just surrendering to his words alone.

Zach grips the back of my neck firmly and squeezes… just hard enough to really get my attention. He had told me once that this is what the male jaguar does to his mate to earn her respect just before he impales her, and I believe it. I fully subscribe to his cultural upbringing in the Amazon wild and actually cherish the way that Zach’s character was formed by the many years he spent away from the modern world.

His breath is hot on my neck as he leans in toward me. “Don’t ever say ‘no’ to me again.”

That’s all he says before he pushes downward, and my knees bend without any hesitation. No sooner do they hit the carpet then he’s bending me forward… down, down, down… until my cheek touches the cream, wool shag, and my ass is tipped in the air to him. I give a small, yielding sigh of contentment and briefly close my eyes as I remember the first time I saw Zach do this to another woman, and how much I yearned for him to do it to me.

It was a distinct moment in my life where all my notions of cultured civility seemed to fade away, only to be replaced by an intense hunger to learn something new from this man.

Odd… because I was his teacher, and yet here he is… teaching me.

Zacharias Easton is teaching me about a craving I couldn’t have ever imagined before I met him.

Sad, little boy.

Savage man from the jungle.

Loner, warrior… dangerous at his core.

Curious man who doesn’t belong here or there.

“You remember the first time you saw me?” Zach asks as he squeezes my neck again.

“Yes.”

“It turned you on, didn’t it?”

“Yes.”

“You wanted me to fuck you that way, didn’t you?”

“Yes.”

“You want it now?”

“God yes,” I moan.

“Tell me then,” he urges, and I can hear amusement in his voice.

“Tell you what?” I ask with confusion.

“Tell me all about the first time you saw me. Tell me a story, sweet Moira, and then I’ll decide whether to give you what you want.”

My breath comes out in a whispering gust across my lips, and I close my eyes again. I think back to my expedition to the Amazon just a month ago to collect Zach… the poor, little lost boy who had lived the last eighteen years with the primitive Caraican Indian tribe.

Yes, it was the day my life irrevocably changed forever.

We pushed our way through the jungle, our guide, Ramon, first, then me, and then Father Gaul. After landing at a small airstrip that bordered the southern side of the Amazon River just west of the Columbia-Brazil border, we made our way to the Jutai River where Father Gaul purchased an old dugout canoe from a river merchant. We took it south, having to port several times to walk it around impassable rapids, traveling another two days until Ramon proclaimed it was time to go ashore.

My backpack was filled with all the necessities I would need until we made it to the Caraican village. Since this was my third trip into the Amazon, I packed light with just the most important things I’d need… chlorine tablets for my water canteen, a knife, a lightweight, portable hammock, one change of clothes for me, a set of clothes that I purchased for Zach using Father Gaul’s help in estimating his size, and some military-styled dehydrated rations I picked up in Brasilia before we caught our Cessna flight north. 

Ramon, a native missionary that was traveling with Father Gaul, led our tiny expedition, hacking away at the vegetation that seemed to grow right back in place. The jungle was filled with dark shadows, so dense was the tree cover above. 

Pointing ahead, Ramon spoke in Portuguese, and Father Gaul translated for me. “See the light ahead… that’s the Caraican village.”

Peering around Ramon, it did seem that the jungle was lighter ahead. As we pressed forward, I saw that we were emerging out of the forest into a large dirt clearing about three acres in size. Several longhouses were built out of slender pillars of bamboo to act as the main supports, with crossbeams above to hold the slanted, palm-frond roofs. As typical of most tribal dwellings, there were no walls, and the floors were nothing more than the dirt ground that we walked upon.

On the western side of the clearing, I saw about an acre of crops planted. I had studied the Caraica tribe via a colleague who had a friend, who had a friend, who spent some time with them a few years ago. I learned that they grew a variety of staples to compliment the meat gathered by the men when they hunted that included bananas, manioc, mangos, sugar cane, corn, and sweet potatoes. I noticed one woman walking from the fields toward the housing with a large basket filled with corn on her back, supported by a palm-frond strap that went around her forehead.

Father Gaul took the lead as we walked into the village. I saw several women throughout the various longhouses, cooking manioc bread on hot clay plates over fires, some nursing babies, and others lounging in hammocks. They watched us with curiosity, but they made no move to greet our group. All the women were naked, but I expected that. While this tribe had some minor trade relations with missionaries and other tribes, they had yet to progress to clothing, and they even shunned things as basic as loincloths over the men.

I followed Father Gaul to a longhouse, which oddly had a smaller hut about a quarter of the size next to it. He stepped inside, calling out a greeting to an old Caraican man that was lying in his hammock. An old woman, presumably his wife, tended a fire, where she was spreading the manioc flour over a large clay plate.

Father Gaul spoke in quiet Portuguese to the man, while patting him on his shoulder. The man gave a semi-toothless smile amidst a heavily wrinkled face, and it was clear that they were exchanging greetings. Father Gaul then pointed at me and fired off a flurry of words I didn’t understand, but clearly, I was being introduced. 

The old man beckoned me forward with his hand, and I stepped nearer to him.

“Moira… this is Paraila… Zach’s adoptive father.”

Father Gaul then turned to Paraila and spoke more Portuguese. It was the language many tribes adopted in the last century, born of a necessity to communicate with the world creeping in on the Amazon wild. Paraila looked at me and gave me a tender, welcoming smile as his hand reached out. I took it, and he spoke to me. When he was finished, he squeezed my hand and Father Gaul said, “He bids you welcome and is happy to have you in his village. He hopes you will rest for a while. When the hunting party comes back, there will be a big feast to welcome us. He also says that he hopes you will take good care of his adopted son, but by looking at you, he can sense you are a good and strong woman, and will have no problem handling Zach.”

I smiled wide at Paraila and said, “Father Gaul… tell him thank you, I’m honored to be here, and that I will take very good care of Zach when we leave.”

Paraila smiled at me one more time, and then he and Father Gaul talked again while I turned to check out the village some more. There were a few skinny dogs running around and oddly, in the next longhouse over, I saw a tiny, black monkey with a leash around its neck made of palm rope, which was tied to a log on the ground. One of the children was feeding it plantains and apparently, it was some type of pet, which was very interesting, because I knew one of their meat staples was, in fact, monkey.

Resting a hand on my shoulder, Father Gaul said, “Come. Let’s set up your hammock, and I’ll show you where the water is so you can freshen up. Then you can get a nap. The feast won’t be for a few hours, and it will go late into the night.”

I nodded and followed Father Gaul out of Paraila’s home, eager to get my first glance at Zach when he came back to the village.

***

The feast was underway, and Zach had not returned. Father Gaul had told me when I woke from my nap that Paraila was concerned about him. He was not taking the news of our arrival well and had been adamantly opposed to leaving with us. Apparently, he and Paraila fought for days over the issue, and it still wasn’t clear whether Zach had agreed to return to the States with me.

A large fire had been started in an open area just a few yards from the huts, and varieties of meats were roasted. The hunting party had come back about an hour ago—by my count twenty-two men strong. But Zach was not among them. When I asked Paraila, through Father Gaul translating, he said, “Zacharias is tracking a tapir and stayed behind. He’ll be back soon with more meat.”

I picked at the food I’d been handed, which was cradled in an oversized banana leaf. The hunting party was successful in killing a caiman and several spider monkeys, and they were greeted with cheers from the women as they came back into the village with their spoils.

The men were just as naked as the women were, except the adults, who all wore a protective sheath over their penises made of woven palm. It nestled their uncircumcised penises in a thick nest of black hair, with their testicles hanging heavy beneath. Again, I had expected this, and it wasn’t shocking at all. As an anthropologist, I found those societal differences between our culture and theirs to be beyond fascinating.

The men made short work of cleaning their kills at the edge of the jungle, and then the meat was roasted over the open coals of the fire. When it was done, the food was pulled off by the women, who served the men first. Only after every man had started eating did the women take for themselves, which included me. There was also boiled sweet potatoes, cassava bread, and sliced papaya.

Father Gaul regaled me with stories of his time among the Caraicans, comparing them to some of the other tribes he ministered to. He’d been coming to this particular village for eleven years now, forsaking the modern world to live in the jungle with the Indians and teach them the word of Christ. It was a fortuitous turn of events when, five months ago, Father Gaul broke his leg and landed in a hospital in Sao Paolo. While there, another missionary priest came to visit him, who brought word of a wealthy businessman in the United States looking for his missionary friends, Jacob and Kristen Easton. They had mysteriously disappeared in the Amazon eighteen years ago, along with their son, Zacharias.

By the time the missionary had described these people, including a little boy of seven years old, Father Gaul knew without a doubt that the wealthy American was indeed looking for Zacharias of the Caraican Tribe. He immediately made contact with Randall Cannon, Zach’s godfather, and the wheels were set in motion to bring him home. As an anthropologist who studied native Amazonian Indians who chose to move into the modern world, Mr. Cannon had hired me to bring Zach—which was the nickname he went by as a child—home and also to help him to acclimate to a new life there.

I sat at the edge of the fire, listening to the priest and watching as some of the women sang and danced. I was told it was a song of thanks for the bounty provided, but I was betting the men wouldn’t sing and dance in tribute to the women who did their cooking for them. Women were still treated very much as second class in these tribal societies.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw movement as someone walked into the glow of the light cast by the roaring fire. I immediately noticed his form was much taller than the Caraicans, who looked to average out at a height of five-eight or so. But this man was tall and, as his shadowy form got clearer the closer he came to the fire, I realized I was getting my first look at Zacharias Easton.

I didn’t know what I expected, but I wasn’t prepared for my first look at him. He easily topped out at maybe six-foot-three or so, completely dwarfing the small Caraicans. He was lean but well muscled in his chest, shoulders, arms, and legs. Numerous scars crossed over his body. His brown hair was long, down to his shoulders, and yet he was clean shaven. While the native Caraica did not grow body hair other than the tiny bit between their legs, Zach was a white man living in a brown man’s world and would definitely have had to shave to give him that smooth face. I wondered how he accomplished that. Maybe a sharp knife? Or perhaps a razor blade given by a missionary?

And what a face… it was almost so perfect that I wanted to weep. I should have figured he’d be a beautiful man, because I’d seen pictures of his parents, who were very attractive people. His pale blue eyes shimmered in the light of the fire, throwing shadows over the high cheekbones, straight nose, and rock-hard jaw that seemed to be clenched in anger at that very moment.

My eyes involuntarily strayed to his pelvis, because he was as naked as the other people of the tribe were. And oh my… there was another difference as well. The tiny men of the Caraica couldn’t hold a candle to the magnificence that was hanging between Zach’s legs. He didn’t wear the tulip-petal sheath that the other men did on their penises, and even though he was completely flaccid, his circumcised shaft hung down thickly, a good three inches in soft length. He had to be massive when he was fully erect and, for the first time since laying eyes on the man I traveled to the jungle to collect for his godfather, I was mortified to feel a throb between my own legs in response to his male form. I quickly averted my eyes upward, since I was sitting next to a Catholic priest, and focused back on Zach’s face.

I couldn’t have imagined the animal magnetism he projected. He walked with confidence and swagger, and it probably had something to do with the huge haunch of tapir meat that was resting over his shoulder. He strode up to the fire and threw the entire leg onto the coals, the other men in the tribe calling out cheers of victory for the addition he just made. 

Zach immediately went to Paraila and squeezed his shoulder affectionately. Paraila said something to Zach as he pointed to Father Gaul and me, sitting on the other side of the fire. The priest stood and stepped over to Zach, where he clapped him on the back and he made the same motion in return, giving him a warm smile of welcome. He didn’t even spare me a glance, just said a few more quiet words to Father Gaul and then knelt on the ground next to Paraila to talk some more.

When Father Gaul sat back down next to me, he leaned over and whispered, “I’ll talk to him later. He’s not taking this well.”

“I gathered,” I said, understanding. I know it had to be hard for Zach to leave the only home he probably remembered.

I took another bite of alligator and chewed it thoughtfully while I watched Zach and Paraila talk. Whatever the old man was saying to his adopted son was being met with resistant ears because I watched Zach shake his head back and forth with dismay on his face, which then took on a hardened look. He said something more to Paraila, and then turned to point at me with a scathing look, clearly not happy with my presence. Finally, he surged to his feet as he said something more to Paraila, who just shook his head sadly at Zach.

It was with great interest that I observed Zach forsake the food laid out on clay platters, as he walked around the fire to one of the singing women. She was young… I guessed eighteen or nineteen by the looks of her, and very pretty. She was wearing a headband of black vulture feathers, which Father Gaul told me represented that she had reached puberty, had her first menses, but was not yet married. This was a rarity in the tribe because most women had a husband, and he wasn’t sure what this woman’s story was. If a woman took a husband, she no longer wore a headband of feathers. If she was innocent and hadn’t reached her first menstruation, she wore a headband of white, downy feathers. As far as I could see, this woman was the only one that wore a black headband.

Zach walked up to her as she sat on a petrified log, and she looked up at him with an open smile. He held his hand out to her and, with no hesitation, she placed hers in his outstretched palm. Zach helped her to stand, her breasts swaying gently with the motion. I wondered if they were off to have a secret moment together, and I remembered thinking that maybe she was Zach’s Caraican lover.

My hand was raised to my mouth to take another bite of food, but it froze when Zach turned his head over his shoulder to look at me. His eyes pinned me hard with a menacing look, and I saw something else in there as well.

Maybe challenge?

Then, to my utter astonishment, he pushed the woman down by her shoulder to the ground, where she knelt before him. I was completely stunned when I watched his cock start to swell, while the woman stared with adoring eyes up at the large man standing over her. Zach raised his arm and, with his finger pointed, made a circular motion in the air. The woman immediately turned around on her knees and lowered her cheek to the ground, both of her palms pressed into the dirt by her breasts.

Zach dropped to his knees behind her, his erection now at full mast and tilted proudly upward. He took a hand, stroked himself once, twice, and then released his hold. I was mesmerized as he reached out with one hand and laid it gently on the woman’s lower spine. He leaned forward as his other hand reached out and circled it around the back of her neck, pinning her to the ground. Pushing his hips inward, he brought the tip of his shaft to her backside, and started to push into her. 

I was utterly captivated that he was doing this in full view of the entire tribe, and I was powerless to turn away, be damned that I was sitting next to a priest. I told myself it would be an interesting study for a paper I would publish one day, and that gave me the permission I needed to continue to watch.

“Zach… não aqui. Não na frente dos nossos hóspedes,” I heard Paraila bellow, and I saw Zach’s entire body stiffen at what I thought must be a rebuke. My gaze slid to Paraila, who was looking at Zach with fond exasperation. A sly smile overtook Zach’s face, and he nodded at the old man in deference.

“I apologize,” Father Gaul said beside me, and I turned to look at him. “You’re getting a look at one of their social norms that’s completely antithetical to the modern world’s. Here… in this culture, the man is the dominant and has a right to take one of the available women whenever and wherever he wants. The Caraica view sex as a reward for the way that the man provides for the village. They are completely open in their sexuality, and privacy isn’t required. In fact, it’s a source of a man’s pride to make a woman submit for all to see.”

“I understand,” I told him, but I didn’t understand at all. It was fascinating to consider the differences in our cultures. My mind spun with how I was going to eventually teach Zach the difference between the world as he knew it, and the world he was getting ready to enter in to. I turned my attention back to my food, while Father Gaul turned to talk to Ramon on his other side.

But the woman in me—no, the scientist I mean—was completely helpless in my curiosity. My eyes peeped back up to watch what Zach did. He merely lifted himself up from the ground and reached his hand back down to the woman. She took it and he helped her to stand, then he led her toward the nearest longhouse, for what I assumed must be some measure of privacy. But when he was no more than twenty yards from the fire, he pushed her back down again to her knees. She didn’t even wait for him to tell her what to do because she immediately pushed her chest to the ground, tipping her butt toward him. The woman rested her cheek in the dirt, as Zach knelt behind her, pinning her down by the back of her neck once more. The look on her face as she faced the fire was pleasant… almost serene, which I couldn’t imagine, because if I were getting ready to be impaled by the huge length sticking out from Zach’s pelvis, I’d be a hot, squirming mess.

With the one hand remaining on her neck, Zach took his other hand and wrapped it around himself. He leaned his hips forward and fed his length slowly into her. The woman gave a tiny sigh of pleasure, and I watched as Zach’s eyes closed briefly until he was fully seated.

The low throb started between my legs again and beat harder as he began to move within the woman. Long strokes… no hurried measure, but deep, tunneling thrusts.

I watched… captivated, almost feeling his cock between my own legs, and it was at that point I realized that my job to help Zach acclimate to the modern world was going to be a problem for me. I realized with utter clarity that I was completely affected by his raw sensuality… the domineering way in which he took what he wanted. It was a sinful turn on to me—the utter control and harsh dominance he asserted—which was strange because I’d always been an independent and confident lover.

My eyes were so focused on the animal coupling before me that I failed to care what else was going on. I watched as his one hand held the woman down by the neck and the other had his fingers dug into the flesh at her hip. The woman was softly moaning and, in the firelight, I could even see Zach’s shaft glisten with moisture every time he pulled back from her body. When my eyes finally rose to Zach’s face, I was almost knocked over backward when I saw that he was staring straight at me across the low, burning fire.

His pale eyes glittered in the ambient light; his jaw set in a hard line as he fucked the woman in the dirt. He held my gaze, and I was powerless to look away. He seemed to be challenging me to watch what he was doing… almost forbidding me to look away. I think he was telling me… at that very moment… that he was a savage and would not make things easy when we left this place.

Father Gaul and Ramon talked softly beside me, the women sang, and the other tribesmen laughed amongst themselves. 

Why was no one interested in this but me?

But then it all faded away, and it was just Zach and me staring at each other.

Even the woman he was coupling with seemed to blend into the night, and my heart raced as I watched him… watching me… as his hips thrust back and forth with a languid pace. It went on and on and on. I just stared at the spectacle before me, my own body hot and frustrated as I became overwhelmed at the voyeur in me who was stretching her wings. I never thought I would be so turned on by watching another couple have sex, but I was sure it had everything to do with the way Zach refused to let me look away and my imagination going into overdrive of what he could do to my body.

Finally, after what seemed like hours, Zach orgasmed with an intensity so quiet that I almost didn’t recognize what I was seeing. There was no hoarse shout of pleasure, no crying out his release. Instead, his eyes held mine while the muscles in his neck contracted into hard ropes. He gave one last push into the woman, and I saw a slight shudder run through his body as he came silently, eyes open wide and staring me down with such ferocity, I swear I could feel his own pleasure deep in my bones.

Zach watched me a moment more, his gaze savage and confident. Then he pulled out of the woman, stood from the ground, and walked away into the darkness.

As my story ends, I open my eyes and involuntarily push against the hold Zach still has on my neck. He pushes back and because his strength is infinitely stronger than mine is, I lay still.

“That’s a good story, Moira,” Zach says with quiet praise, and I know he’s pleased to hear how turned on I was as I watched him.

“It’s how I remember it,” I say simply.

“You wanted me then, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” I breathe out.

“Just as you want me now?”

“Yes.”

“Exactly the same way,” he states.

“Exactly the same,” I agree.

Zach’s free hand comes up, resting against my lower spine, and he pushes the hem of my dress upward.

“Before I give it to you,” Zach says, his voice low and commanding, “tell me one more thing.”

“What do you want me to tell you?” I ask him, my voice needy with frustration.

“I want you to tell me what the greatest thing is you’ve learned about me so far since you took me from my home.”

Taking a deep breath, I push it out with quiet force. I hate the pain and anger that is still laced in his voice over what I’ve done to him. I then admit what I know he wants to hear.

“I learned that you… Zacharias Easton… are an uncivilized man.”

“Yes,” he whispers as he releases his hold on my dress and flirts with the lace of my underwear. “You learned well.”

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