Summer Graystone-Holding Skye

Today we have another new author on the blog. Summer Graystone is bringing us her book, Holding Skye. This is the first book of her’s that I’ve read, but won’t be the last. I have another of her books sitting in my TBR collection right now. Heh, maybe I’ll take some screencaps of it this weekend and show you. No sooner do I get one book read than two more pop up. It’s like the hydra. Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.

So, Holding Skye. Skye has been keeping a secret most of her life. She wants a man to tie her up, spank her, flog her, and make her come, screaming his name. (Sounds like fun, right?) She’s been holding onto that secret very, very tightly for a long time. She worries about her secret. However, one day she manages to screw her courage up to the sticking point and decides to do something about it. She walks into a BDSM club and meets Master Steve. Steve talks to her and then gives her a note with an address and a time on it.

Elijah is waiting on the other side of the door when Skye knocks on the door at the appointed time. He opens the door, not just to his home, but also to her fantasies. He tells her everything that he wants to do, gets her all hot and bothered, and tells her to come back the next day, but wait, she can’t come.

Pretty picture time. Overall, I enjoyed the story. There were a couple of small issues that I had. One is that I thought there was a secondary story line that detracted from the story. I just thought it took away from where Skye and Elijah were going. Another is that I thought that the story moved a little fast from meeting to HEA. Those are my own particular issues, and your opinion will probably differ. Other than those things, I enjoyed the story.

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When you read the book, you’ll get the chocolate reference. I read that section to my husband and told him that I love him dearly, but there’s no way I’m wasting perfectly good chocolate by rubbing it on his junk. I prefer my chocolate covered nuts to be almonds. I like reading sex scenes with food, they can be really hot, but my practical side says that chocolate and primary sex organs don’t mix. Of course, that’s just me. Go forth with choccies if that works for you.

I do have to admit, the chapter with the dream in it did confuse me. I wasn’t sure what was going on, if it was a flashback or what, until at the end when we found out it was a dream. Then it made sense, but it took me a minute.

Overall, not bad. Fairly well written, interesting premise. Nice HEA.

Tomorrow, we have Grace Goodwin’s newest book. Meanwhile, happy reading!

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LK Shaw-Secrets of Betrayal

LK Shaw is a new author to me, so this is her first appearance on the blog. I’m a member of the Purple Prose Society on FB, where authors and ARC readers can hook up so that everyone is happy. That’s where I hooked up with LK and this book.

Secrets of Betrayal is a new book in LK Shaw’s  Secrets series. Full disclosure, I have not read the rest of the series, but they are currently in my Kindle’s TBR collection so I will be reading them soon. Keep an eye on my GR feed for when I review them.

Anyway, Secrets is the story of Phebe and Donovan.

We open to Phebe trapped in a dark, windowless cell. She keeps imagining sunshine to help get herself survive in that room. She’s huddling in a corner and when the door opens, she’s convinced that she’s about to die, and she’s kinda perfectly OK with that. Death would be freedom, at least. It turns out that she’s being rescued.

Phebe has had a hard life. She’s spent all her adult life in a relationship with Kieran Underwood. He started out as a DJ, but soon became a little drug dealer and then worked himself up to a higher-level drug dealer. It turns out that he was working for Phebe’s dad, not that she ever knew her dad.

When she is rescued, she is asked whether or not she will provide evidence and testify against Kieran, she says that she will, especially since one of the things that they want to prosecute him on is working with Russian sex traffickers. She knows all too well that Underwood was working with the Russians since he sold her to them. She agrees to do so and she wants to see his ass locked up for pretty much always. So, she’s put into a heavily guarded safe house.

Donovan is a complicated man. On one hand, he’s a successful prosecutor, who also does pro bono work to help out various women’s shelters. He’s also a Dom and part owner of a club called Eden. However, he has been trying to keep his Dom side a little more under wraps since his sub betrayed him and left him. He’s been appointed to be the lawyer on the Underwood case, which means that he will be spending a lot of time with Phebe, deposing her and getting her information. When he first sees Phebe, he gets some Dom-ly urges to take care of her and protect her, but he has to keep reminding himself that she’s not his sub.

They end up spending a lot of time together, working on the case, and things progress as they normally do.

OK, final thoughts before we move to the spoiler section. I did not connect deeply with these characters. I thought the book was very well-written and it’s a good premise. It did do some things that I really liked. For example, it shows Phebe going to a mental health professional to help in her recovery. Nothing happens overnight, and there is a lot of patience on everyone’s part. It also shows how a healthy D/s relationship can help women who have been in a very bad situation get back to trusting people and help them gain their power back. Will that work for everyone? No, of course not, not everyone has submissive tendencies, and you kinda gotta have those to be in a D/s relationship.

There are some things that may be triggery to people who have been in a relationship with violence in it, so be aware of that if you read this book. There aren’t a lot of them, but it’s better to know that they are there than to be blindsided.

 

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Ok, I think that one of the reasons I didn’t really connect well with the characters is that sometimes I felt like Donovan’s betrayal and Phebe’s betrayal were being placed at the same level, or even that his was a little higher than hers. Yes, he had a sub, they were in a committed D/s relationship until she went off and cheated on him. That’s pretty bad and would be hurtful, but it doesn’t compare to being in a relationship with a drug dealer who hits you or being sold to a sex trafficker. That is my personal perception of it, colored through my viewpoints and experiences. Your perception will vary, so please don’t let me turn you off the book, OK?

I like that Phebe does research into the whole kink world on her own, by talking to her therapist and Bridget, before she talks to Donovan about it. That lets her figure out what she wants before she talks to Donovan. She needed that time to get things straight in her own head, which was important.

Donovan did do everything he could to make sure she was safe, and when something did happen that could hurt her, he made sure to rescue her and take care of her.

It was a well-written book, I could tell that LK Shaw put a lot of thought into it, and I enjoyed the premise behind it.

We have more goodies coming up this week, meanwhile, happy reading.

Sparrow Beckett-Dominant Bastard Duology

Sparrow Beckett is made up of the writing team of Sorcha Black and Leia Shaw. They both write under their own names as well as under Sparrow Beckett. The duology, and isn’t that just the coolest word?, contains the books Feral King and Tragic King, which just came out, and I pre-ordered it as soon as it was possible. I loved Feral King and had to read the rest of the story.

There is an extremely limited cast of characters in both books. The 3 characters you see the most of in both books are Severin, Minnow, yes that’s her real name, and Rodrigo. Sutton is in the first book, Churchill, Ilse, and their two girls Sage and Scarlett. Sage is so awesome, I want to be her when I grow up. Loic shows up at the end of the FK and is sporadically in TK. So, let’s get to the books.

In FK, we meet Minnow when she is at an interview with Sutton. Sutton is hiring her to be a caregiver for Severin. What Sutton doesn’t tell Minnow is that he is 30, so she thinks that she’ll be caring for an older man. Sutton does tell her that he is extremely isolated, stubborn, anti-social, and a huge misanthrope. Severin is an equal opportunity hater, if you aren’t part of his family, which at this point is Sutton and Church and his family, or his best friend, Rodrigo, he pretty much hates you and wants you to not even breathe the same air he does.

When Minnow gets to the house, she gets to meet Severin, who is at work at his forge. He does metal work and makes Frankenbikes. He lives up, or maybe down, to his reputation. But that doesn’t stop Minnow, she keeps showing up, quietly, at the edges of his world. He has to keep fucking around with her, by doing things like knocking a fork off the table on purpose, just to see if she will pick it up, which she does, always calling him Mr. Leduc.

So, guess who the dominant bastard is in this? Yeah. And Minnow is an experienced sub who has lived in other D/s relationships. When Minnow starts to figure out what Severin wants, she lets him know that what he wants is normal, for a subset of normal, and that she’s perfectly willing to let him do what he wants. She leads him, somewhat, but Rodrigo helps him a lot more.

Before we get to Ro, let me give you some of Severin’s backstory, which explains the feral part of the story. He lived in France with his family of origin until he was 5. When he was 5, he was sent away. Not only sent away, but his mother bought a huge house in a whole new country for him to live in. He was sent there to live, without any of his family. Church’s mother was hired to take care of him, and by the time she and Church got there, Severin was feral and crazed. He has some extreme boundaries, including not liking to be touched, having an insanely overdeveloped need for control, which actually works here, and the fear that everyone in his family is going to leave him.

So, back to Rodrigo. He’s another Dom, and Severin’s best friend. He also does all Severin’s tats and piercings and is his business manager. When Ro meets Minnow, he gets happy pantsfeelings, and Severin uses Ro to help dom Minnow.

OK, so wow, this is long. I’m going to jump to TK now. There are some minor spoilers in here, but I’ll try to keep them minor and keep the big ones behind the pic. Is that like Behind the Green Door? Hmmm, good question. I’ll have to think about that one. Too much caffeine and not enough sleep means you get weird digressions like this in the middle of your reading.

Back to TK. Loic, who is Severin’s little brother, showed up at the very end of the last book. He says that their mother, Martine, is dead. A house fell on her. And then the house burned down. Ding dong, the bitch is dead.

Severin, Minnow, and Ro, who are all living in Sev’s house, are shocked that Loic showed up, but they let him stay.

Severin and Minnow are engaged and Ro is still helping Sev dom Minnow and acting as stunt cock. Loic tries to get all up in between everyone’s’ relationship which pisses off super-control freak Severin and causes him to make some real realizations about himself and his life.

So, now we come to the point where you have to make a decision. Do you want to keep reading and find out more fun spoilers and all my exciting thoughts or do you just want to get over to ‘zon and read these books? FK is currently $0.99 and TK is $2.99. They are both on KU, but trust me, you are going to want to own them.

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Severin is a breathtakingly broken man and all the layers that Sorcha and Leia put into him are amazing. I mean, he’s a really real character, if you know what I mean. You just feel for him and want him to have the best. Even when he’s being an asshole, I don’t really get mad at him like I do some other characters because he really just doesn’t understand. He’s been isolated in that house his entire life, so he never learned to people. Some of his isolation is self-imposed, but some of it is from the trauma that his mother imposed on him. Fuck, but do I want to resurrect her so that I can kill her in a more painful manner.

Minnow. I pretty much loved Minnow from the very beginning. What wasn’t there to love? She doesn’t shove herself on Severin in any way, she just lets him get used to her. There is a magnificent lightness which springs from her and practically shines off the pages.

Rodrigo is perfect for the both of them. I was so happy when they were able to get together as a triad. They are all happy. They are like cogs that mesh together and make everyone filled and happy. Especially Minnow.

I knew Loic was going to be trouble from the very start. He’s so slimy and charming, but then again, that’s what he was groomed to be from his birth, pretty, and charming, and submissive, and a people pleaser. He does it well, as well as being manipulative. He tries to break up all the relationships, but I don’t know that he’s doing it to be malicious, as much as he needs to belong to someone. As broken as Severin is, Loic is even worse.

Anyway, I love these books. They are going to be definite rereads, not just for the steaming, smoking, inferno-ish sex, which is good enough on its own, trust and believe, but for the story and the characters. I’ve said before that I don’t mind a book with a lot of fucking and that’s its only purpose, but that won’t necessarily keep me coming back again and again. I need something that’s got a story I can get my teeth into and a lot of fucking. These books deliver that.

You know where I am and how to get ahold of me, if you want to. I’m always up for suggestions, criticisms, comments, kudos, etc. Meanwhile, happy reading!

Sara Fields-Taming Their Pet

This past Saturday, Sara Fields’ newest book in her Captive Brides series dropped. Taming Their Pet quickly became my newest favorite of her books. It’s intense, it’s wonderful, it’s hot, it’s sexy, and has just enough darkness in it to give it some interesting shading. This is the first one of Sara’s books that I’m reviewing here, but I guarantee that it won’t be the last.

The basis of the Captive Bride series is that young women who have broken certain laws get sent to a special space station where they are trained as brides and then sold to aliens who are searching for brides. Primarily, the women who are sent to this training center are illegal third children. Earth, at this point, has strict population rules, two children per family. Third children have to be hidden, and if someone finds them, they can be arrested and sent away. That’s what happens to Isabella.

Isabella’s father is a politician, and she has been trained her entire life to smile and be pretty. However, trouble pops up when it turns out that Isabella is a third child. She gets sent off into space so that she can be trained to be a bride. She’s generally a good girl while she’s there, but she gets caught up in a rebellion led by another of the young women. The Warden has two choices, punish Isabella or find someone who can buy her immediately. The choice is made to immediately place Isabella.

Enter Zack and Noah. They are brothers from the planet Dayhari. On their planet, all women are pets of some sort, shape, or flavor. There are ponies, kittens, and service or house pets. Service pets are the ones who live in the house and take care of their masters. They may also do things like cigar service, which Isabella does for Zack and Noah. I had no clue what a cigar service was until I read it on Jennifer Bene’s blog a few weeks back. (What? I said I stalk authors.) Anyway, back to Sara and Isabella. Generally, pets break down into one of the three categories. However, there are exceptions. They are pets who are gifted. They excel in each of the categories.

The brothers’ plan is to find out which category Isabella fits into, train her, and then sell her at auction. They are considered to be the best trainers on Dayhari, and pets trained by them go quite well at auction. To find out which kind of pet Isabella is, they give her a day as a pony, a service pet, and a kitten.

To find out more, you either have to go read the story or keep reading down to the spoilers. Personally, I prefer that you go read the story, and I know that Sara does too. I really loved this book. I honestly couldn’t put it down once I started reading it. Pet play isn’t for everyone, but Sara wrote it very well. I really recommend that anyone who loves kink check this out. You’ll definitely get quite the helping of kink. And of course, there is an awesome happily ever after for all involved, except maybe not for Becky.

While it’s part of a larger series, TTP can be read perfectly fine as a stand-alone.

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OK, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, it’s time for the spoilers, opinions, and thoughts.

First, I’m not kidding when I say that this is my new favorite of her books. I’ve enjoyed everything that I’ve read of hers, but one is the best, hands down. There’s just something about it that is so awesome. It is more intense than some of her other books. Each of her Captive Brides books has so far looked at different kinds of kink, so they are a good place to read about things that interest you.

There were a lot of things I really liked about this book, but the cigar service was, I think, my favorite scene in the whole book. It just seemed so loving and peaceful. It’s the perfect way for a sub to show their Dom their total submission. Isabella just falls into this peaceful place while she is doing it. She’s perfectly happy to kneel near her masters and wait for them to need something from her. Totally awesome scene.

I love that Zack and Noah take care of her, even when they have to punish her harshly because of another pet’s actions. The connection they have with Isabella is just fantastic. They never leave her wondering how they feel about her, even before they realize that she’s a gifted pet and can be happy no matter what. They aren’t even really influenced by how much money they could get from her if they were to auction her because she would be so valuable.

Anyway, TTP is an excellent story with great sex scenes. Seriously good sex scenes. Make sure you have batteries for BOB kind of sex scenes. I’ve never really been interested in trying pet play, but reading it, when it’s done well, is a totally different thing, and Sara did it really well. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. Rest assured, I will be right there waiting to read it and share it with you. Until then, happy reading!

Here’s my standard ARC disclosure. I got one, I wrote an entirely honest and voluntary review.

Sophie Kisker and the World of Midros

If you look at most of the authors I’ve written about, you will see that I stalk follow them on FB, Twitter, Amazon, Bookbub, their blogs, and just about everywhere else I can. Sophie Kisker is no different. She is a dark romance writer, whose books generally have BDSM and at least some power exchange. I’ve currently read everything that she’s written, and am eagerly waiting for her newest book, which comes out very soon.  Since the new book is part of the Midrosian Chronicles, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the series, which currently consists of Memories of Surrender and Longings of SurrenderBook three, Tears of Surrender, comes out the 12th of this month.

Some background on the series. Midros is a planet that is rolling in the dough. Before a special mineral was found on their planet, interstellar shipping and travel was incredibly expensive. In order to make it through the atmosphere on re-entry, the outer hulls of the ships had to be very strong. Strong generally means heavy. A heavy hull makes it hard to take off and leave the atmosphere. Anything that lightens up that weight becomes immediately precious and in high demand. If it is only on one planet, well, that planet can pretty much do anything it wants to do. That’s the case when it comes to Midros and paeolate.

In the case of Midros, that means keeping half of its population as slaves. Women were literally nothing but property. Girls are ripped away from their mothers’ arms when they turn 5 and are educated at a special “girls’ school” until they turn 18. Their education is severely limited. Females aren’t allowed to learn how to read the language that is currently used by men, Br’ini.

When the girl turns 18, she is sold to her new master. She could end up working as some kind of service person, like an assistant at a store. Or, more likely, she’ll end up in someone’s household as their sex slave. Many men have a first slave, who might otherwise be called a wife, she’s the mother of their child/ren. As part of each slave’s duties, she will have to spend one week per year (roughly) as a service companion slave, available to rent. Most women don’t look forward to these weeks, because generally, bad things happen to them during this week.

So, with some basic background, I know, you’re thinking this was basic?, it’s on to the books.

Note, while you could read these books as a stand-alone book, if you really wanted to, they do build on each other, and you will bet a much better experience if you read them in order. I’m going to give a brief overview of each book up here, and then after the break, I’m going to go more in depth. There will, inevitably, be spoilers, but I’ll make sure that no one goes past where they are willing to go.

Memories of Surrender

So, in Memories, we meet James, Lydia, and Raym. Raym is Midrosian, the head of a pharma company, and a friend to James. James is a scientist, on Midros to help figure out why Oblivita, a medicine that is used to obliterate bad memories, doesn’t work on people unless they are on Midros. Lydia, is a slave. She has taught herself to read the illegal language. I mean, it’s so illegal for her to even know how to read this language, she can be (and is) punished for simply holding a book written in it. In fact, that’s where we open up.

Lydia is just going about her house, doing her duties, which includes cleaning where there are books. She grabs one about ocean creatures, and gets caught by her master looking at it. He told her that he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she was still going to have to submit her name to Punishment Day, where she is whipped with a whip that leaves marks that look like burn marks.

James and Raym are talking about their research while Punishment Day is going on. James is a Dom, and is turned on by the idea of having a woman collared and punished, but the whole non-consent part bothers him.

A matter of days after her punishment, it’s time of Lydia’s service companion week. She’s dreading it, because with the marks of her severe punishment, there are going to people who want to rent her because of the marks. And in fact, when James come in, under Raym’s urging, there is a man who is bound and determined to really hurt her. Then James decides to rent her.

So, here he is with his lovely rental slave, and he doesn’t know what to with her. Well, I mean he knows what to do, I mean, he’s a boy, she’s a girl, he’s a Dom, she’s a sub, but this isn’t a situation that he ever would have thought to have found himself in. So, he takes her to the Archives and works on his research. Along the way, James, with Lydia’s help, finds out a huge secret which could blow Midros apart.

Longings of a Slave

This story is about Enna, a run away slave, and her search for her daughter, Miria, and the man who helps her, Matias Acoff. (Who happens to be Lydia’s brother, see why I strongly recommend you read them in order?)

Enna’s master, who never really liked her all that much, and only won her in a card game, has had Miria taken away from her mother before she even turned 5. He knew it would be hard when she turned five, so thus, the sneak attack. Enna did everything she could to fight, and eventually tricks the other slave, and she runs.

After some time, Matias is out with his group, doing what they came to Midros to do. Enna is the only slave he hasn’t been able to find as of yet. But, it’s time for him to take a week’s break.

While he is out morning, he sees a woman come to the back of a medical clinic to speak to another slave. When the woman leaves, and the slave’s master comes, she gets dragged away by the authorities. Matias comes back when the slave told the woman to come back, and saves Enna from being taken by those same authorities.

She eventually gets away from him, but that’s OK, he put a tracker in her shoe, and he follows her to where a bunch of escaped slaves were hiding, which works out just about as well as you might think it would.

Matias is attracted to Enna, and wants to help her, and her fellow run away slaves. He figures out a way to get Miria back. However, nothing ever goes smoothly, and so of course, things happen. Some very not good things.

The Midrosian Chronicles is a good series to read. Sophie writes some really strong female characters, which I really like. A lot of people think that submissive=weak, but it doesn’t, and it shows. Her women go on a journey to figure out who they are in regards to themselves and to what they want. Yes, I recommend them.

Spoilers go on from here, so you have been warned.

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So, back to Memories.

James finds out that Lydia can read, which is good, because he needs the help translating, and Raym isn’t always available to help. While they are in the archives, Lydia goes exploring and finds a women’s libary. It’s full of books that are written by women and have been hidden. One book she finds is a diary that talks about the eroding rights that women on Midros are dealing with. Another entry talks about where are all the women are coming from. Which is a darn good question. A lot of masters and slaves decide to not have girls because, well, you can guess why. But, there are always more than enough girls to go around, so they have to come from somewhere.

Meanwhile, Lydia and James are falling in love.  Except, Lydia’s master comes to take her back early. She’s due to be punished. He has her re-imprinted. It’s supposed to turn her mind to him so that she can again be happy in his service and can think of no one else. It didn’t work as well as it could’ve, and she ends up imprinted on James.

Through more research, they find out where all the extra girls are coming from. Midrosian squads go to war-torn planets and still little girls, use the medicine on them, and then trains them to be slaves. Turns out that Lydia was one of those girls.

That leads into Longings. That’s why Matias was on Midros. He and his military are testing all the women on Midros. If they aren’t from Midros originally, then they can go back to their planet of origin. If they are Midrosian, they have to stay where they are, and still be slaves. Although, Matias does manage to bend that law every now and again.

When he is at the slave camp with Enna, he talks to her about letting the women know about this, because none of them know. She points out a very valid arguement, IMO. Even if a woman is from another planet, if her daughter was born on Midros, then she’s Midrosian and has to stay there, same with sons, of course, but what woman is going to want to leave her young daughter to a fate she knows only too well? So Enna smashes the scanner.

Matias, wanting to make sure that the enclave is as safe as possible, talks to James and Lydia, and their friend Raym, and gets all kinds of help for the escaped slaves so that they can hide safely. What he doesn’t know, is that there is someone working against him, one of his own men. Enna’s sadistic and evil master has a big bounty out on her, and the guy decides to cash in on it and hand over Enna.

There is a truly horrifying scene of punishment for Enna and some of the other women. Castration with a rusty spoon is too good for her master, as well as some of the others. I’m pretty sure that I could come up with something very, very evil for them, but Sophie beat me to it.

Anyway, do read these books. Make sure to check out the new one, Tears of Surrender, on the 12th. Trust me, you’ll be glad. Also, check out other books by Sophie Kisker. There aren’t a whole lot, yet, but they are all worth reading. So far, she hasn’t written a book I don’t like. One of Sophie’s other books, Fear and Desire, is on my Top 10 darkest most fucked up book list. I came up with a new term when talking to Sophie about that, informed non-consent, which fits that really well. Her heroines do tend to go through a whole lot of terrible stuff, but they come out the other side and are able to find themselves and find love.

Off Duty

Off Duty is a book written by Lucas Black and Ellie Masters. It’s about a doctor and a paramedic who end up getting together in a D/s relationship. Today is its Release Day. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I will be buying it and reading it in the next week. The reason I’m sharing it today is that Black and Masters are donating proceeds of this book to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The book is only $4.99, so check it out.