Alta Hensley-Caged

Alta wasn’t happy with just one surprise release in the past few days. She had to come out with two! Caged is a fun, filthy, dark, little Mafia tale, involving, guess what? That’s right, cages!

We start out at a funeral with Nayla. One of her co-workers has been killed in the line of duty of taking out one of the big Mafia families. And of course, one of those two families decides to interrupt the funeral with a little gunplay, because what funeral doesn’t need a whole lot of people getting shot. Nayla is lucky enough to survive it.

She’s a prosecutor who is after one of those two families. She has pix of the head of the family, Eddie, on her apartment’s wall because it is supposed to help her focus on her job. She stares at him a whooooole lot. I mean, like a lot a lot. Then, one day, she meets the real thing. In her apartment. Who has come to take her away. Yeah.

Meanwhile, Eddie has decided that he’s going to take Nayla. He has his reasons to do it, and he kinda doesn’t care what she has to say about it. He’s going to do what he wants.

There is a lot of fun and filthy filthy filth in this. And I love it, a lot. A lot a lot. There’s just something about the way that Eddie treats Nayla that is so twisted and kinky and hot like burning.

Overall, I really like Eddie. You wouldn’t know that he was the head of a Mafia family unless you knew that he was the head of a Mafia family. He seems like such a good man. OK, I’m not saying you can’t be a good man and a crime lord, but you get what I mean, right? Anyway, he is definitely honorable, and has very definite ideas.

I liked Nayla too. With that said, I thought that there were times that she was a little naive. I dunno, naive might not quite be the word, but I think that’s the closest that I can come to it. She’s willing to believe the good in people who might not have that good. I think that she might also have a little bit of a black and white view on life.

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I have to say, I love Eddie’s house. And his choice in dinner parties.

OK, that’s all I have to say about this one. You’re going to have to go check it out! Happy reading!

Anthology-Bite Me

So, several of the usual suspects, plus a couple new ones, have gotten together and given us 9 lovely vampire stories. Bite Me has stories from Addison Cain, Zoe Blake, Alta Hensley, Myra Danvers, Eris Adderly, Livia Bourne, Sara Fields, Anita Gray, and Cassandra Faye. Cassandra Faye may sound like a totally new person, but that is Jennifer Bene’s new pen name for her more paranormal stuff.

As with any anthology that includes these ladies, there is dark and then there is DARK. That’s one of the nice things about anthologies, if you ask me, you are going to get a wide variety of darkness plus different takes on the subject. All the stories are about vampires, but there are 9 different ideas. The stories also vary in length. Some of them are prologues to new series, which I am dying for. So, with all that being said, let’s dive in, shall we?

Addison Cain-Cathedral

If you remember When the Darkness Wins, you might remember Pearl and Catacombs. Addison also released it as a standalone. Well, Cathedral is about Jade, Darius and Pearl’s daughter.¬†I feel sorry for Jade. Having Darius as a father can’t have been easy at all. She’s nothing but a pawn in the hands of her father.

I was really excited to see this one come out, because I’ve been dying for more of that story and that world since I read Catacombs a million years ago. Or at least a few months back, whatever. Of course, Addison being the tease she is, there’s more to the story that we don’t know yet. But I’m sure we will, sooooooon.¬†

Zoe Blake-Till the End of Time

Zoe went back to the 1400s, and the most well-known vampire, Vlad Tepes, Voivode of Wallachia, Son of Dracul, aka Dracula. Only this origin story doesn’t start with the Impaler. It starts with his wife, Mirella. It also spans a lot of years.

I love how much research that Zoe had to have put into this one to get the true flavor of 1400s Romania. You get a real feel for Mirella and the whole geopolitical situation of the day. A whole lot of historical fact was wound into this story as well as the fiction, and it makes for a really rich story.

Alta Hensley-Master of Ceremonies

You know, I’ve often thought that a traveling carnival is a good place for supernaturals to hide, and apparently Alta did too. Cirque Romani’s MC, Valian, is more than meets the eye, and the Cirque’s audience is perfect to feed all his various hungers. Ada is his mortal assistant who madly loves him.

I really, really, really want more of this story. I mean, like sell my son’s soul for more of this story. I’d offer to sell mine, but that’s assuming that I still have one. There’s so much that happens here, and I want to see how all the events play out.

Myra Danvers-Enthralled

Myra, who is now one of my favorite authors, has given us a prequel to this. I can’t tell you exactly when it’s set, but I’m guessing mid-1800s. Axton is a new vampire, who follows his Dark Queen, his Night Princess, his Dam, Selma.

One of the things that I like about this is Myra’s language. She uses all kinds of euphemisms for various genitalia and sexual acts. It could sound silly in other places, but it really works well in this story. On top of that, I think that Myra also did a really good job of drawing us in and getting us involved in Axton’s feelings.

Eris Adderly-V Is For Vampire

Eris’s story is a prequel too. And being Eris, she gives us a totally different take on vampires. Her vampires in a couple of hundred years in the future. It’s also a genetic thing with them. You either carry the gene or you don’t. If you have the gene, you live in the underground as a vampire. If you don’t, you’re a normal and you live on the surface. November is 22V positive and a gate guard, keeping her people underground and normals aboveground.

I really like the whole futuristic dystopic world that Eris has created. I’m not quite sure that I could call it post-apocalyptic, but maybe post-apocalyptic adjacent? I’m really looking forward to what is going to happen with this, because it looks like there are some major, major changes coming.

Livia Bourne-Blinding Salvation

This is another prequel, and I may have to start counting down the days to this one. Hopefully, Livia hasn’t been taking too many lessons from Addison and won’t be a sadist. Lily was abducted to become food to Armand, a trapped vampire. But, you know, it’s never quite that interesting.

I really like Lily and Armand. Lily is very smart and very canny. I think that she is going to be really good for Armand. I like him too. I want to see more of how his mind works, because I think that he’s good and sneaky, and really creative when it comes to revenge.

Sara Fields-The Devil’s Game

Sara likes to play with us, I think. She gives us the story of Cain and Ruby. They are both strong, in their own ways, doing their own things, but then, they meet up, and sparks fly. They are fantastic together.

I wonder if there is going to be more of this. I hope so, I would really like there to be more. I think that Ruby and Cain play off each other really well. I like the whole premise of the story, and it plays back to some of the old vampire origin myths, which was always fun.

Anita Gray-To My End

Oh, this is definitely an Anita story. There’s probably a mindfuck in there somewhere. We have a Hunter named Sonny who is chasing down the Potentials and has to kill them. Then we have Vi, who doesn’t know exactly how special she is. But she sure knows how sexy new guy in town Sonny is.

You know, when I first read this one, I wanted so much for there to be more. I mean, I still do, don’t get me wrong, but I also think that the way that it ended is actually pretty much perfect. I think more story might ruin that perfectness. Does that mean I won’t read more if Anita gives it to us? Hell no. I will definitely read it. I’m sure that Anita can fix it.

Cassandra Faye-Sweet Ruin

Grace had a sexy, sexy dream. Probably a dream. Maybe a dream. Then she has a hallucination. A sexy, sexy hallucination named Nic who keeps showing up wherever she is. Sometimes he’s even dressed.

Sweet Ruin is probably the lightest story in the book. When you realize it’s a Jennifer Bene story, you might be surprised by that fact, but only if you haven’t read some of her PNR. It fits in pretty well with her books in that genre. It’s a totally different flavor to some of her other books. I loved Grace and Nic, and I think that they are really cute together.

OK, that’s all the stories and how I felt about them all. I’ve always loved a good vampire story and 9 of them is even better. Go check out the book and tell me what you think! Happy reading!

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Alta Hensley-Fallen Daughters

 

Alta Hensley has an interesting writing technique. She writes short stories that show up in various box sets, and then she either expands them or puts them in other books, using the box set as a kind of testing laboratory. There are others that she has written that have just sat on her desk. If you are like me and have read most of what Alta has written, then you will recognize most of her Fallen Daughters, either in their original form or in the form they showed up in other books. I recognized all of them, except for Fallen Daughter 3. Did that stop me from rereading all the stories? No way. I love to reread, so this was awesome for me.

Fallen Daughter #1

This one got tested out in Daddy’s Demands, and then found its way into one of the Top Shelf books, the one with Roman and Cheri, to be precise. I loved it in both its forms, and it’s still as fucking hot the second time around. Or third time. However many, it’s still ridiculously hot.

Fallen Daughter #2

This one first showed up in an anthology called The Dark Forest, which is a collection of adult fairy tales. Alta’s was a take on Sleeping Beauty. A very, very dirty version of Sleeping Beauty. I know that it showed up in another book, in parts at least, but my brain fails me right now, so I don’t remember which one it was. I loved the way that our heroine was given her gifts, and how they really did help her in her captivity.

Fallen Daughter #3

This was the only one of the stories that I haven’t read before. I will say that I haven’t read every single thing that Alta has written, so it may be in one of the books that I haven’t read yet. I really liked it though. It was a pretty sweet little story, which kind of makes it not Alta’s usual fare, but it is just a lovely little story, and left me very happy.

Fallen Daughters #4 & #5

There is a reason that I am combining these two. It’s because they were together in a book called No White Knight, and it was one of the first things that I read by Alta. #4 was known as Pallid Slave, and it disturbed me on a couple of levels. Disturbing good, though. OK, I have to get a smidge personal here. I have lost 2 brothers, one 31 years ago, one 16 years ago. There really isn’t a mark of that loss that shows everyone that you have lost someone you loved so much. That can be both a blessing and a curse. You don’t have to worry about anyone giving you sympathy when it’s overwhelming. Then again, you have to tell them that you are grieving when it gets too much, and that can be really hard to do. In Pallid Slave, there really is a very visible outward sign of mourning, which I think is more of a curse than a blessing in this case, but I found it to be a really interesting way to handle it. #5 was called a Hero in Disguise, and frankly, it could be ripped right out of today’s headlines, and that’s what makes it so fucking disturbing to me.

Fallen Daughter #6

This one first showed up in Twisted Sacraments. If you read those stories, you know that there is no happy in any of them, and it’s no different with Alta’s story. Frankly, I’m pretty sure that the world is going to end in a plague, and so any stories that have some kind of plague in them play right into that fear. And then you put the coocoo for cocoa puffs bits in there, and yup. I’m properly worried.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve read these stories in any form before, they are definitely worth a reread.

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Alta Hensley-Bared

Alta dropped a surprise release on us this week. It’s called Bared, and I think it’s old school Alta Hensley. Stories like this are why I first fell in love with Alta’s work. Bit of trivia for you, Alta was the first author I ARCed for, and it was on her book Captive Vow, so y’all can thank Alta for this blog.

So, Tessa is a young woman who needs a job. She’s just about to get evicted, has been working at shitty jobs, but she saw this ad for a personal assistant for an author that involved going and spending 6 months in a cabin in the mountains while he writes his book. Tessa figures why not try for it. The worst he can do is say no, right?

Price is a best-selling author and he’s just about to write a new book. He needs to have a writer’s cave to write, and for him, it’s a cabin in the Sierra Nevadas. He also needs an assistant to cook, clean, and beta read for him. He’s been doing all kinds of interviews, but he finally meets Tessa and decides that there is just something about her and so he hires her. And off they go to the mountains, for 6 long months.

I kind of felt sorry for Tessa at the beginning of the book, mostly because I’ve been Tessa, or close enough to. I know how hard it is to be that poor and to be that desperate to find a job and to have a new life. But I also admire her a lot. She wasn’t sure that she would be hired, she knew that she didn’t have the experience for the job, but she went for it anyway. She wanted something new, and she just went for it. That takes a lot of courage and gumption, and I have to give her major props on that.

Price is, overall, a likable guy, but he is kind of a jerk a few times, but since he warned Tessa that he could be an asshole, I’m not sure if I could really consider him a jerk, especially since I’ve been in a hyperfocused place too, not necessarily writing a novel, but still in that place that everything is pinpointed to that narrow focus, and it’s really easy to just not realize that other people exist when you are in that place. So, does that make Price an asshole because he’s an asshole or does it make him an asshole because of circumstances and he’s just doing assholish things but it isn’t part of his core personality?

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Having just gone through some lovely snow, or you know, like 2 feet of snow in the past week, and some fucking cold temperatures, I gasped when Tessa ran out of the cabin, because I know what can happen to you in that kind of weather.

OK, that’s all I have to say today. Go check out this one! Happy reading!

Alta Hensley-Beasts & Bourbon

It’s been a while since we saw one of Alta’s Top Shelf books, and I’ve got to tell you, I’ve been thirsty for one. And this is the one I’ve really been wanting since all the way back to the beginning of the series. That’s because Beasts & Bourbon is basically the start of the series. Well, sort of, at least.

Way back when, like 2017, I think, there was an anthology called Royally Mine. (Sorry, it’s not available anymore.) In that series, Alta wrote the original story of Cheri and Roman, and thus introduced us to the world of Spiked Roses and Top Shelf. We’ve had 4 other books between now and then, and now we’re getting back to Cheri and Roman’s story, with it fleshed out and expanded. And yummm. It was worth the wait.

So, Roman is a bona fide prince. He has 2 older brothers, so there is very little risk of him actually taking the throne, but still. Prince. He’s done a lot of things, but he’s currently one of the 7 owners of the premier and exclusive gentlemen’s club, Spiked Roses, in NOLA. He gets to do all kinds of dark, dirty, depraved, and wonderful things there. But now, it’s time for him to marry. That means it’s time to fetch his wayward bride.

Cheri, pronounced sherry not cherry, has been betrothed to Roman since they were children. She may not be a princess, yet, but she is part of the nobility. Her mother is a countess, which means her father was probably a count, but could’ve been an earl, but definitely means that she’s a Lady, at the very least. Not that we ever find out, and I’m only guessing, so take it as you want. Anyway, she felt stifled in the whole royal lifestyle, so she ran away as fast as she could. She’s been living in Costa Rica writing poetry and winning prizes. Right up until Silas Roope, His Highness’ attorney comes to drag her home so that she and Roman can get married, blackmailing her with her mother’s welfare to make sure she actually goes to NOLA.

Roman starts out as kind of a dick in the beginning of the story. To his benefit, at least he realizes it and can fix it, and doesn’t have to have his head smacked for him to see what he did. After being a dick, he gets sort of sweet until he has to be not sweet. So, for like 5 whole minutes or so. LOL. I like Cheri, but I think that a lot of her strength is bravado, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can mean that when things shift, it can take her a hot minute to figure things out and to get her footing again. OTOH, for all that I think that, I also think that she bends fairly well, more like a willow than an oak, if you know what I mean.

I understand why Roman does certain things the way that he does and that they have to be done that way. Doesn’t mean that I like them or anything, but I understand why he does them. He doesn’t necessarily like them either, but needs must when the Devil drives.

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After our last run-in with the ICB, I was hoping that we were completely done with them, but I guess we aren’t. I’m kind of mad at Roman for taking Cheri there. Like I said, I understand why he did it, but I sure as hell didn’t like it.

OK, that’s all for today. Go check out this one! Happy reading!

Anthology-Twisted Sacrament

These stories are dark, dark, dark, dark, and even darker than that. There are no happy anythings here, there’s no light. There’s nothing that will bring you any kind of hope. I’d say abandon all hope, but even just abandoning it isn’t enough. You have to completely scour any kind of hope from your soul. You have to erase the word hope from your memory. Then you might, just possibly might, be ready to read Twisted Sacrament. Consider yourself warned.

The anthology consists of 7 authors who write dark anyway, but then they got let off the leash. Not only that, they were given the brief of writing the most sacrilegious and blasphemous story possible. And let me tell you, SJ Cole, Zoe Blake, Addison Cain, Jennifer Bene, Celia Aaron,¬†Ashleigh Giannoccaro, and Alta Hensley fucking delivered. These 7 stories are depraved, twisted, desolate, full of mindfucks, horrifying, and darker than fuck. They are disturbing. And yet. And yet, I couldn’t stop reading them. I couldn’t get enough of them. I loved everyone one of them, even the ones that left me shaking at the end. (I’m looking right at you, Jennifer.)

They are all short stories, none of them much longer than 30 minutes to read. I wouldn’t recommend reading them at night before bed though. You might not sleep well. But because they are short, you’re only going to get my reactions, as is my usual practice in this situation. I got ARCs for 4 of them, but like I said, they are short, so I had no problems reading the rest of them.

Addison Cain-She Came Before God

There is a period of Catholic and Italian history where the high ranking clergy weren’t as… celibate as they should’ve been. During that time, Rodrigo Borgia became Pope. There are all kinds of rumors about orgies in the Papal palace while he was there, and it is historical fact that he had children, born when he was a cardinal. You know, when he wasn’t supposed to be dicking around. Lucrezia Borgia, who you may have heard about as a poisoner, was one of his children. So, what does this have to do with Addison’s story? Well, her story involves a pope and some fucking.

Addison’s story really just was straight up horrifying. Our poor little heroine learns that she’s part of a horrible family tradition, and everything that she thought was true isn’t. This story stuck with me. I mean, I dreamt about it. Even days later, I’m still trying to get a total handle on certain things. I really wanted to scream at the end of it, and maybe sit and cry in despair.

Zoe Blake-Lilith’s Revenge

Lilith comes out of Jewish mythology. She’s generally considered to be Adam’s first wife, but when she wouldn’t behave the way that they wanted, she was kicked out of Eden and Eve came in in her place. Lilith then went on to become the mother of demons. In her demon partying and fucking days, she fucked everyone she wanted to, including some angels.

In Zoe’s story, she is back in her demon party girl aspect, tempting a priest. Now, here’s the thing. She and her priest get it on in all kinds of ways and do all kinds of depraved things, but… The question is, is what they are doing real, or is the priestly part real, or is anything real? Zoe has written an incredibly mindfuck and my mind is still fucked from it. I don’t know what’s real and what isn’t and what was going on in the story. I have theories as to what’s going on, but they vary from minute to minute.

I recommend following Zoe’s instructions when it comes to her story.

Alta Hensley-Last Rites

I personally think that the end of the world is going to be some kind of plague. In this jet-setting world, it’s going to be too easy for something to be across the world before anyone gets diagnosed with it in the first place. Why do I mention this? Because Alta destroys the world with The Itch, an illness that makes people want to scratch their skin off, makes their blood foam, and makes them pretty fucking crazy. There are rumors of a safe place for women to go (and only women), where they won’t be exposed to The Itch.

This is so disturbing. It’s short, it’s brutal, and it’s dark as fuck. I kind of wanted to take a very, very hot shower after reading this one. And maybe scrub for about 30 hours.

Jennifer Bene-Baptism in Eden

If you look at my GR/Zon review, it says “Oh my fucking god. That is all.” Yeah, that’s about all I could say about this one on there. Jennifer writes dark at the best of times, but let her off the leash, she’s simply dazzling. And dazzle she does.

You may think of Eden as paradise, but Jennifer’s Eden is as far away from paradise as you can possibly get. It’s so dark and so twisted. I know I’m saying that a lot, but there aren’t words in the English language to describe it. But the fact remains that this story is Stygian. It’s also a very Jennifer Bene story. If I were given all the stories in this book and asked to pick out which one Jennifer had written, this would be the one that I choose. When I was done reading it, I was literally sitting on the couch and shaking. I had to go read something else to calm down. I may be traumatized.

Celia Aaron-Communion

I know that I’ve raved about Celia on here before. She totally deserves every good thing I have ever said about her.

I loved this story. It wasn’t quite as dark as some of the others, but it’s by no means light. I love the byplay between Cate and Ted. It is very interesting to see how Ted talks to her and what goes on. I feel like this is very topical too. I have to wonder how much Celia was influenced by what’s going on in the world right now, because it really feels like there was some serious influencing going on. Frankly, I think it makes it better.

Ashleigh Giannoccaro-Say Yes

I’ve only read one other Ashleigh Giannoccaro book, but I own a couple of more. My TBR is totes ridic and one day I’ll get to them.

Ashleigh takes us for a tour through a cult. A very, very creepy cult. A very creepy cult that says men have to have 2 wives or they can’t get into Heaven. OK, I grew up Mormon, and there has always been the whole polygamy thing surrounding the church, and then the FLDS church around, which are a polygamous cult, so this one felt really close to home, if you know what I mean. I don’t know how much Ashleigh took from there, how much came from other cults, and how much came straight out of her head, but it was a fascinating read. It also looks like it’s setting up for a new series, so I’ll be all over that one.

SJ Cole-I’m Better Than You

SJ Cole is Stevie J. Cole writing under a new name. And OMG, her heroine is totally cuckoo for coco puffs. I mean, the cheese not only done slipped her cracker, it left the room, the house, the zip code, the state, and the country. Then it changed its name, cut its hair, and got plastic surgery. The cheese wants to have absolutely nothing to do with Violet anymore, and I don’t blame it. I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with her either. I can totally get why she’s upset, but damn, girl takes it to another level. She’s creepy as fuck. She’s crazy as fuck. SJ says there’s more to the story, and I’m going to have to read it. Can’t fucking wait. I like creepy and crazy.

OK, there are my reactions to each of these 7 stories. I loved this book. But, trust me, don’t look for light. Don’t look for happy. Don’t look for hope. Don’t look for this book to last long. I recommend you go buy it soon if anything I talked about sounded good, because anthologies don’t tend to last very long and then the rights revert back to the authors.

No spoilers, but a picture I thought was great for this.

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Alta Hensley & Maggie Ryan-Kings and Sinners

Oh, Alta and Maggie, how I love thee. Kings and Sinners is a box set of 3 of their books, Maddox, Stryder, and Anson. I think that Maddox might’ve been the first Maggie Ryan book that I read, and it was close to the first book of Alta’s I read. I got it through a freebie, a newsletter or Instafreebie back in the day, but it’s been a while, so don’t quote me on that.

The books can all be read as standalones, but they are all related. Maddox, Stryder, and Anson are brothers, who work with their father Drake Steele. They help out people in the underground and help protect innocents. Their ranch is a working ranch, but it’s also a safe house of sorts. The house is built with the back right up to a mountain, which allows them to have control rooms and a *ahem* playroom down in safe areas. They all live together in the house with their housekeeper Jennie, who is basically their surrogate mother, as well as a hippie vegetarian who keeps her boys healthy and happy, and keeps them away from meat.

Jennie is a pretty awesome character. She dances with bees and the bees seem to like it. She has this kind of all-mother vibe around her. She just makes everyone happy and if they are scared, she helps them feel better. I really like her.

Now, remember how I said that Maddox, Anson, and Stryder are all brothers? Well, they aren’t brothers by blood. Drake is Maddox’s father, but there was an incident in which the rest of their family was murdered. Anson and Stryder both came to be parts of the family in different ways, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t any less Drake’s child than Maddox is. They are definitely family and they all love each other fiercely.

Maddox.

It’s obviously Maddox’s story, but it’s also the story of Adira. The book starts out with a horse auction in Dubai that Adira’s father is putting on. Maddox and Drake are there to bid on horses, but that’s not the only reason that they are there. They owe Hadi, Adira’s grandfather, a life debt and he has asked them to come and save his family because they are threatened. Sadly, the only member of his family they are able to save is Adira, and only because they manage to pull her out of the Persian Gulf after a yacht with her entire family on it blows up. They manage to smuggle her out of Dubai and into Texas, where she and Maddox start to come together while they are figuring out who wanted all of her family dead.

Adira is strong, feisty, and really smart. Her family was celebrating her graduation with her doctorate. However, she’s also been fairly sheltered because she hasn’t been able to go anywhere without security. She knew that her father and grandfather were into the darker side of the law, but she didn’t know exactly what, and she really didn’t want to know. Maddox is definitely protective and kind of Domly. He’s really good for Adira, I think, because she needed someone steady and protective as she was trying to deal with what happened to her family. And if he paddled her ass, tied her down, and made her come, she wasn’t going to argue with that.

Stryder

This one starts out in very cold Moscow. Using information that they got while looking for the culprits behind what happened to Adira’s family, Stryder and Anson are there to track down a Russian who is involved in human trafficking. They get two tickets to an auction where the evil man is selling off women. When Stryder sees Zoya on the dais about to be sold, he knows that he has to be the one to have her. He needs to save this poor young Russian woman who had spent her whole life on the farm before she came to Moscow and ended up abducted so that she could be sold. After Stryder buys her, and before they can leave, he has to whip her. Luckily, he’s a genius with a whip and he and Anson whisper to her to scream and make it look like it hurts while Stryder whips her gently, but makes it look like he’s doing it hard. The Steele boys smuggle her out of Russia and into Texas, where she settles into life in the Steele household.

I thought that Zoya was pretty awesome. I mean, she’s able to use her art skills in order to help out all the other women who Poplov had kidnapped and sold off. It couldn’t have been easy for her to remember everything that she had been through, but she was bound and determined to do it. Zoya sees things that happened to her and the people who were involved in what happened in one particular way, which is only normal, I would too. But Stryder has a different perspective, and it makes it hard for Zoya sometimes. But, the Steele family are all there and all willing to help the two of them out.

Anson

Anson, working from Zoya’s art and his computer research is in Argentina, searching out Natalia, who was Zoya’s friend, and who has been sold to Juan Montez at the same auction where Zoya was sold. He’s pretty much nose-to-nose with a fer de lance snake when the book opens, so there’s that. But he’s there to get Natalia, and he’s not going to let that snake stop him. Meanwhile, Natalia is dealing with her own snake, only it’s not nearly as lively as the one Anson sees. Montez may have bought her for a sex slave, but he can’t get it up. That doesn’t stop him from doing other things to her. But, she has a plan. Montez destroyed her entire family, and she’s going to take him down. She spent a lot of years training in nasty ways so that she could kill him and at the auction, she did what she could to get his attention to get him to buy her. Eventually, Anson and Natalia manage to help each other and they escape out into the jungles of Argentina. Of course, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Natalia doesn’t want to be rescued because she wants to kill Montez and Anson doesn’t want to not rescue her.

All three of the women in these books are strong, but I kind of think that Natalia is the strongest. Yes, Adira lost all her family too, and Zoya was also sold off as a sex slave, but Natalia had a plan. She had revenge on her mind and everything she did for years was for her revenge. Plus, she had to actually go through months and months of brutalization that Zoya was saved and Maddox was right there for Adira. Natalia went through all that without the hope of someone being there to help her out and get her safe, anyone other than herself, and that, to me, makes her really strong. I felt sorriest for Anson for having to deal with her stubborness, but that same stubborn comes in handy, later in the book.

I really enjoyed reading this series and each of the books. I think that Anson is my favorite of the brothers. I can’t tell you why that’s true, but it is. It’s nice to have the whole series in one handy place, making it easy for me to read. Go check them out! Happy reading! No spoilers today, but have a pretty picture of a horse.

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