Sansa Rayne-Exalted

Sansa Rayne has written some dark and gritty stories, and Exalted fits right into this category. It’s set in the same world as Erased, but can be read as a standalone. Marla and Gabriel make an appearance in the book, but it isn’t necessary to have read Erased to enjoy the book. I definitely suggest reading Erased though. You can earn a new respect for straight jackets. I don’t know that I would so much call it a direct sequel as much as I would call it a connected story.

Carson is a PI. She doesn’t do a whole lot of work outside of cheating spouses, but she hasn’t been a PI for very long, so she’s still trying to get her business up off the ground, but she’s pretty confident in herself and her skills. One night, her phone goes off in the middle of the night. While her ad did say call anytime, Carson really wished that people would have a little more decency than to call in the middle of the night. It turns out that the call was from her old friend Summer.

When Carson talks to Summer, Summer tells her that she’s afraid of “them” coming to get her and begs for help. Carson tells her that she’ll help and gets to Summer’s house just in time to see Summer get abducted by men in robes who drag her into a van. Being aware of Summer’s fear of “them”, Carson decides to not go to the police. She doesn’t know who they are, and she doesn’t want to do anything that could put Summer into even more danger. She’s a PI, so she’ll go and find out what happened to Summer and save her. So, Carson sets out to find out about her friend. She talks to people and discovers that Summer was seen coming from The Pit.

The Pit is owned by Aldous Occestem. It’s a Satanic-themed sex club, featuring Aldous as the Lord of the Pit. All the fun stuff happens at The Pit, you know, spankings, bondage, whippings. Carson gets some fetish wear and goes there undercover. While she’s there, Aldous sees her. Carson runs into Marla and Gabriel, who are PIs who specialize in human trafficking, and they tell her that all the missing women in this town, of which Summer is only the latest, are tied to The Pit.

Meanwhile, down the road, we have the holier side of Coventry, the Purity Home Church. The PHC has been around for years, and most of Coventry’s citizens are members or have been members. The church is now run by Marshall and Anita Jones. They have taken a small church and turned it into Coventry’s very own megachurch. They are trying to do everything they can to get rid of Aldous and The Pit. Outside of that, Marshall, Anita, and Aldous all have history. They all went to school together. Anita was with Aldous at one point, but she chose Marshall.

OK, you know what time it is. If you like dark, you’ll like this. If you like a healthy dose of BDSM, you’ll like this one too. Don’t show this one to your maiden auntie, it would probably shock her out of her shoes. I really enjoyed this story. It switches POVs frequently, and it’s more than just Aldous and Carson. We get glimpses into Summer and Anita as well. I found that it gave the story more depth that way, and I really enjoyed it. I don’t have to have it in all the stories I read, but there are books where it really works, and Exalted was one of them. I think that the story would be a little confusing otherwise. I think that the connection between Aldous and Carson is a good one. I also think that I would be like Carson and have doubts sometimes. It would be really hard not to.

 

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Alrighty, now that it’s just us chickens, I thought that this story was wow. I mean, we know the bad guys from the very beginning, but even so, I could almost believe that it was Aldous, like we were supposed to.

I have to admit, I probably at some point knew that this was a followup to Erased but hadn’t remembered it when I first started reading, so running into Marla and Gabriel was a surprise. I read Erased a few months back, so I knew who they were. Erased, in my opinion, is darker than Exalted is, but the premise is different, although they both deal with human trafficking in some shape.

I get why Aldous started with the Satanic theme when he started The Pit, but I think that those into kink get enough shit with being into kink without the stigma of Satanism in there as well. But, if you are going to thumb your nose at a bunch of holier-than-thou prudes, a Satanic BDSM club would be the best way to do it.

Another thing I liked about this book is that Carson already knew that she liked submission and pain, so this wasn’t a case of a kink virgin all of a sudden discovering that she is into it. Not that there is anything wrong with those stories, I like them too, I just don’t think that it would’ve worked well in this particular case.

Anyhow, I think that’s all I have to say about this. I loved the book, it’s worth a read and even a reread. There are all kinds of good books coming up this week. Meanwhile, happy reading!

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Jaye Peaches-To Know You

So sorry for the delay in play for the past couple of days! Your reward for being patient is getting an amazing 3, yes 3, review blog posts today! First up, is this lovely Jaye Peaches book, which you are getting now. Later this afternoon, you’re getting Isabella Starling’s newest book, and finally this evening, you’re getting a new one from Summer Graystone! So, stay tuned for all that, and we’ll dive right into Jaye Peaches and To Know You.

There is a lot of BDSM and D/s in this, which could move the story into the dark romance category, but, for me at least, I’m not sure that’s where it belongs, so I’m keeping it strictly in romance. That’s because, to me, BDSM and D/s aren’t automatically dark romance, there has to be something else that moves it to that, and while there is a plot point that could move it to dark, that’s not really the main part of the plot. The story focuses more on Gemma and Jason, and their budding relationship and romance. With all that said, let’s dig in.

Gemma is a young submissive woman. She spent several years playing in the world of kink, sometimes with long-term Doms/masters, and other times, she’s done one-off scenes with Doms at clubs or through other arrangements. The last dominant man she was with wasn’t really a Dom, and he traumatized her, badly. It was bad enough that she has completely walked away from the kink world, doesn’t go to clubs, parties, munches, or any other get together. She doesn’t even really contact her kinky friends. In order to avoid that man from finding her, she’s even quit her very good job and taken an internship at Jason Lucas’ company. It’s a good job, but a somewhat backwards step for her. One day, she helps a man who is standing by the copy machine, flummoxed by the error codes. That turns out to be Jason.

Jason Lucas is a very driven Type A kind of guy. In fact, he’s a Type A’s Type A. He’s also a Dom. He’s currently without a sub. He’s generally a one-off kind of guy, hit it and quit it, and do it hard is his motto. He doesn’t want a relationship, he doesn’t want the complication, but then he meets Gemma.

He gives her a ticket to a big choral charity concert, but doesn’t tell her that he’s going to be there too. After they hear part of it, they go out for drinks, and then there is some really hot sex. There are lots of weekends of really hot sex, vanilla-style, mostly. She doesn’t really hear from Jason during the week, which somewhat disturbs Gemma, and makes her question what’s going on.

Eventually, they both figure out that they are kinky and that their kinks mesh. Talking about limits brings up the trauma that Gemma went through.

So, here we go. I’m going to continue to spoilers, you get to decide whether or not you want to read them. Overall, I enjoyed the story. I liked Gemma most of the time, sometimes she got on my nerves, which happens. However, I didn’t like Jason most of the time. I thought that he was cold, dismissive, and ignored Gemma way too much. Gem had to try to figure out his rules and motives, and within the D/s relationship they set up, she had some issues with that. Sometimes that made her doubt, and she chose to hide those doubts in her submission. The book is exclusively from Gemma’s POV, so we never know what’s going on in Jason’s head, which may be part of why I didn’t care for him. This is just my personal opinion on this, and like I said, I overall enjoyed the book, and quite enjoyed the work that they did on their relationship to make things work, so go and take a chance on it. Just remember, that there is a lot of sex as well as a lot of BDSM scenes. Gemma does have some flashbacks which could trigger some people.

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So, the plot point I mentioned is that Gemma’s former-whatever-he-was turns out to be stalking her. Apparently, what he did to her leaked out and it turned out that he did similar things to other people, so the kink community decided to police their own. He blames Gemma for what happened. He was also a possessive dickhole, which made him want to get Gemma and do not nice things. That really is just a side plot though. I think that parts of it could have been left out and the story could’ve been nearly the same, but again, personal opinion.

I kept waiting for the other shoe to ddrop with Jason. I thought that he was going to end up doing something terribly terrible to Gemma, so that pulled me out of the story a bit, trying to figure out what he was going to do.

There are a lot of things that I did like, just in case you thought that I only found problems with the book. I do like the fact that the relationship is a work in progress. We get to see her doubts, but we also see the negotiations that go into any relationship, let alone a D/s relationship. I thought that was really well done, and I like seeing that in any book.

OK, that’s all I have to say on this one. Check back in a few hours for Isabella Darling, and then a few hours after that for Summer Graystone.

Cari Silverwood-Claimed Possession

Cari Silverwood is becoming a frequent flyer here on In Between the Pages. I spend a lot of time in her books and her worlds. There are a lot of reasons for that. One is that I think Cari is an excellent worldbuilder. It’s easy to get involved in her worlds and characters. And the Machinery of Desire series is no different. I got dragged into the world and it wouldn’t let me go.

Claimed Possession is the second book in this series, and wow. It packs a punch. There are so many things to unpack in this book. I mean, you get the whole human slave in a slave world series, then you get the dark alpha hero/anti-hero and his journey, and then you get the heroine’s journey. I see layers, and I love layers.

OK, so let’s just jump right in here. Here we are, back on Aerthe. Aerthe is an Earth-like planet. There are three groups of people who live on Aerthe, the Mekkers, the Grounders, and the Scavs.

The Mekkers live in huge landships called the Swathe. There are a few swathes, each made up of more than one ship. They never stop moving, harvesting and mining as they move. The Mekkers are not native to Aerthe, and she hates them. Aerthe generates magic, and when the Mekkers stay in one place for too long, Aerthe gets after them. The Mekkers arranged the portal for the humans to be brought through. The portal shines the humans up real pretty when they come through. Their hair and nails are kinda glowy, so it’s quite obvious that they are humans. In the first book, the Mekkers ruled that humans are property.

Grounders and Scavs are both native to Aerthe. Grounders are settled into villages and other communities. Scavs are nomads, formed into groups led by the strongest leader, and they can and will challenge the leader for leadership. The Scavs tend to be pretty wild and will raid Grounder settlements and take/sell slaves. They also go scavenge through old cities that were destroyed in the war between the Mekkers and the people of Aerthe, back in the day.

When Emery, Fern, Sawyer and the other humans were brought through the portal, they were sent to different places. Emery was given to a master in Acquired Possession. (Right now only 99 cents on ‘zon, go grab it) Sawyer was given as a slave to the Grounders. So, let’s catch up with Sawyer.

When the book opens, Sawyer is in a caravan with a bunch of other slaves. He wants to escape, because of course he does. The caravan stops so that everyone can take a rest break. When the slaves are let out, Aribelle, the caravan owner’s niece happens to walk by. Sawyer, being a big of a dicklord, takes a piss at her feet and hits her shoes. He manages to get a key away from a guard so that he can escape, but Ari sees it and tells the guard. Then she orders Sawyer to be castrated. Right after she says that all hell breaks loose. Scavs are attacking. Sawyer drags Ari down and under a wagon and saves her. When the raid is over, Sawyer comes out and tries to get in good with the Scavs and tells them that Ari is his. The Scavs tell him that he will have to wait to talk to their leader.

You all know the routine now. I’m about to put a pretty picture up, and after that you get all the spoilery goodness. Sawyer is a very imperfect hero. He’s got some serious anger problems with more than a little desire for vengeance. That gets taken out on Ari, who both does and doesn’t like it. I think he may have gone a little far sometimes, but I totally get his point of view on it. He does question himself at times, and tries to figure out where morality on Earth and morality on Aerthe should lie and how he can live with both of them. There is some spectacular sex. There are spankings and more. There is a bloody cock. There is also a hard won HEA. This story is a great journey, not just for Sawyer and Ari, but also for JI, a recurring character. Like I said, layers on layers, so awesome. Cari is devious that way.

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If you came down here, then you must not be too worried about any spoilers I may drop from my fingertips.

OMG, the bloody cock scene. I got to read it in Cari’s group before I read the ARC and oh my fucking shit, it was hot. I mean, Ari didn’t like blood, Sawyer rubbed blood on his cock and made her suck it. It’s so wrong, and yet so completely right, and very much hot.

I like that Sawyer starts to realize that he cares for Ari, and that what he wants to do to her has gone past revenge, like it started out, and into he wanted her to be his forever. The fact that he freed Ari and then wooed her was really impressive to me. It let Ari have her own journey from an angry forced slave to a willing and eager submissive who wanted to belong to Sawyer.

And JI? I cannot wait to see what Cari is going to do with him. I liked him when we met him in AP, but he was basically a child, really. In CP, he’s a teenager and then adult. Now he’s a very, very devious, sneaky, and tricksy adult. With a cock.

I wonder, with Gio’s new portal skill, if more humans will be going back through the portal. I kind of hope not because I like Aerthe. I wonder what’s happened to Fern, Sawyer’s sister. Last we knew, in AP, she was stabbed and then thrown off the ship to die. But JI was able to give some of the mechlings medical training, so maybe she lived? I want to know. I need to know. I need to know more about Gio too. Obviously, she was there before Emery, Sawyer, Fern et al, so how did she get there? So many questions, so few answers.

Alrighty, I could go on and on, but then you wouldn’t need to go to Amazon and read this book, and you really need to do that. And grab AP while you’re at it since it’s on special for the next 4 days. Trust me, if you like dark, gritty, and spanky, this will do it for you.

Tomorrow we have a book from Summer Greystone, so keep an eye out for that. Meanwhile, happy reading.