Welcome to The Perdition Club, where the wine is sweet but the revenge is sweeter.
Danny has traveled from the distant windswept shores of the Orkney Islands to seek revenge on the man who ruined his sister a decade ago. Posing as a dissolute rake, but as he’s nearing his quarry, a pair of blue eyes and a head of blonde curls atop a mountain of a man distracts him.
Cecil spends his nights pouring drunk nobs into their carriages, breaking up fights, and removing cheats from the premises at the Perdition Club. He hardly spares a thought for the young rakes who spend their time drinking until one catches his eye.
When Danny discovers Cecil holds a grudge against Meadshead even larger than his own, the two men join forces to keep the Earl from ruining any more lives.
Ava apparently doesn't know just what she is, but she does know it's not human--even though that's what she looks like. She has snark and sass to spare, along with abilities that sometimes manifest that let her know that there's a lot her grandmother never told her about her background. Both of her parents are long-dead, and her grandmother is MIA, so there's no one left to ask. When this book opens, she's in Hell. Seems that Lucifer put some kind of mark on her in the first book, and it means she's been summoned to meet him in his palace. In Hell. But he didn't provide her with an easy route, since she appeared on the outskirts and has to undertake a long and perilous journey to get to him.
Ava has four big, strong men to accompany her--each with their own special abilities. Hunter is a hell-hound whose real shape resembles a dragon made of fire and smoke. He's from Hell and likes it there, so he's a great guide for them. Kase is a very old vampire who has been to Hell many times. Grant is a mage who can work enchantments to protect Ava, or to repel some of the demons they meet. He's been to Hell often to get supplies for his spells. Troy is a werewolf who hates what he is, and is the closest thing to a mortal of the bunch of them--besides Ava.
I don't usually like to read a series book without having read the previous book(s), because you often have trouble with what you missed. This one was fairly easy to follow, once I wrote down the men's names and what they were. The author does a fabulous job of creating the reality that is Hell. Her world-building involves imagining creatures that live there, and places for them to live in. I was interested in her view of Hell that didn't involve myths or religion in any way--it's just a horrible place to live in, and not so great to visit--unless you were born (?) there, like Hunter.
Each of the men is very attracted to Ava, and she likes sex, so whichever one is interested is okay with her. There are reasons for her having to have sex with various combinations of the men together, or singly, and I was on board with that. The descriptions were steamy and satisfying--except for one thing. I detest the "c" word in romance. I employ that word as my ultimate swear, using it sparingly, only when extreme situations call for it. I'm always pulled out of a sex scene when it's used as a common word, as if it has no special meaning--just a description of a body part. So despite the steamy scenes, I can't give this a higher rating on the steam factor, because of my personal "ick" factor. If it doesn't bother you, then you'll really enjoy the steamy scenes--especially as a counter-point to all of the ugly grossness of the inhabitants of Hell.
Maggie was only 18 years old when the world changed. Overnight, large swaths of the world's population died--presumably from some kind of virus. She lost both of her parents to it. She's spent the past 3 years staying out of everyone's sight. She's traveled alone, keeping herself alive by sheer strength of will, and her wits. But her luck runs out when she encounters the first man she's seen. He's a lower-level lackey for someone, so when he overpowers her, he tells her he's going to "gift" her to the guy in charge, so he'll be forgiven for his mistakes. But when she sees him, she's shocked.
Clay Knight was a high school History teacher in his previous life. Now he's the leader of a rag-tag group of folks who depend on him to keep them safe. But years ago he was tempted for the only time in his life, to date a student. Maggie's curves imprinted themselves on his mind, and she's all he's thought about for the past 3 years, while he turned down any other females who offered themselves to him. When she's thrown at his feet as an offering, he's not interested in her mind. He just wants what he's desired for years.
This book's first sex scene is a virgin-being-deflowered one--which I don't care for. The females who've presumably never even touched themselves before, suffer only a minimum of pain, before they're screaming out their ecstasy as they experience multiple orgasms. I guess this is a fictional story, after all. But this was an interesting look at a possible dystopic future society. The journey that the small band of survivors take is similar to the journey of emotional rescue that Maggie and Clay experience. They both come to realize that despite their age difference, they are perfectly suited to each other. They've found a home in each other's hearts just like they find a place to call home for their people.
Princess Ellegra is chafing at all of the rules she must follow as a princess. Most of all, she's tired of being watched all of the time--she wants to experience a little spontaneous fun. So she disguises herself while she and her entourage are visiting another planet, and goes for a stroll along the beach. When a sexy man assumes she's been sent to pleasure him, she's smitten with his smoldering looks, so she plays along with him. But the deed once done, cannot be undone.
Xandore is the Prince of Planet Artemis. He knows what he must do, and a politically-advantageous marriage has been arranged for him. It will benefit his planet as well as that of the Hesperians. He's willing to marry the princess, but has no plans at all to be monogamous. He's thoroughly enjoying being single, and sees no reason to stop taking mistresses, just because he has to marry and produce offspring with a chosen wife. He just hopes she won't be too hideous, and won't ask too many questions when he's off pursuing his pleasure elsewhere.
When Ellegra and Xandore meet each other, they realize that their dalliance set them up for more steamy encounters. The courts of both planets are pleased that these two seem to be so hot for each other. But Ellegra has heard all about Xandore's wanton ways, and refuses to look the other way, or to forgive him any straying. So there's a huge fly in the ointment of their pleasure together. Through a series of events, Xandore comes to realize he doesn't need other women, since his wife is more than enough woman for him from now on.
I really dislike virgins-being-deflowered scenes. There is always just a quick pain that disappears instantly, allowing for the formerly-virtuous woman to start enjoying sex like she's been doing it for years. How a female who hasn't ever even pleasured herself, can suddenly become like a cat-in-heat is beyond me. So for me, the initial sex scene wasn't believable. That being said, this is a cute short romance that involves a female forcing her man to accept that now that she's his wife, he has to accept that his days of fooling around are over. And she gets the benefit of his years of experience in pleasuring females. Win-win for both of them.
Mallory Kane feels her life's calling is to insert herself into very dangerous hot-spots around the world, then write about them. She wants to expose all of the evils being done, and has made a name for herself with best-selling books doing just that. Five years ago she was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and figured her time had run out. But a team of Navy Seals took on the very dangerous assignment to rescue her. And while she was waiting for the helicopter, in a cave with one of the Seals, she obeyed her instincts and had a hot, steamy interlude with that man. Then she never saw him again.
John "Rocket" Hardin is the Navy Seal who was in the cave with Mallory--a fact that his dreams have never let him forget. Five years later, he's now an ex-Seal, but he and his buddies formed a top secret organization that's the last resort when impossible things need to be done. When a US Senator calls him seeking his services, he's initially going to refuse. He and his buds haven't even had a chance to shower from their last assignment. But Senator Alicia Kane she tells him that her sister, Mallory Kane is in huge trouble and she's moved heaven and earth to get his contact information to engage his services. Rocket tries to ignore his hard cock, but the little brain in it is a large part of why he agrees to take on this near-impossible mission.
I would have liked to learn more about each of these characters. Sure, Mallory likes danger--so much so that it turned her on to be rescued, and led to mind-blowing sex with one of the Seals who saved her butt. But why? Is she an adrenaline junkie? If so, I'm not sure that settling down with any man, staying in any one place, is going to make her happy. She hints that she's proving herself, but she never gets around to revealing to whom, or why. Rocket has major hots for Mallory, but knows almost nothing about her--and she knows as little about him. He doesn't even tell her how he got his nickname. Good sex is an important part of a good relationship--but it can't be the only thing.
Speaking of sex, there are a few very hot scenes, despite--or maybe because of--all of the dangerous situations they get into. Their scorching hot desire for each other is steamy to read! My only complaint is that during their first encounter, she's been held captive for who knows how long, by the Taliban. No doubt she's not been allowed to brush her teeth or shower. In fact, she's probably been forced to use whatever primitive bathroom facilities are available--if there even are any. Yet Rocket is so turned on by her that he's gung-ho to perform oral sex on her, and raves about how delicious she smells and tastes. Um--yeah. At least when he rescues her the second time, she's been showering occasionally.
And the drug-lord bad guys on Santa Marita, the island she's been scoping out for her next book, talk a good game about how truly evil they are--but end up being paper tigers. The ending is a bit too convenient, as if now that the besotted couple is reunited, there's no need for any more trouble on the island. Everything is settled in the happy ending. But I can't help wondering how long it will take before Mallory sneaks away to another hot spot for her next book. Good thing her man is in the rescue business.
Jolene Gray works as a nurse during the day, but we never find out anything else about that part of her life. Since she was eleven, she saw a ghost named Iris, allowing her to communicate with the dead. She can only see the ghosts of children, but she can hear all of them. She's been doing weekly night meetings at a local church--they're usually crowded with believers who want any messages from their dead relatives. Iris makes them all speak one at a time, so Jolene can pass along their words.
Red MacFarlene is a director of reality TV shows, but what he really wants to do is direct movies. Unfortunately his younger brother, whose name we don't learn until the end since Red calls him Golden Balls, has made a name for himself as a highly successful and sought-after movie director. So they haven't spoken much for years. When Red's boss offers him a chance to direct the season finale episode of the popular show Canada's Most Haunted, he jumps at the chance to gain more visibility. They've hired Jolene to be the psychic responsible for ensuring that any spirits actually in the place leave the living folks alone.
I wasn't very convinced by the ghost story. The big bad ghost turned out to just be misunderstood, and the conflict seemed to be resolved too easily for me. What I really enjoyed was the steamy romance between Jolene and Red. I mean, when you're so hot for each other that your first time is in a maintenance shed of a cemetery, you know you've both got it bad! Complicating matters is that Red doesn't believe in ghosts, so at first he's afraid that he's having hot sex with a crazy woman. It doesn't stop him but he figures he'll need to get her some help, before they can have anything more. When he discovers, to his dismay, that the warning she gave them all about telling the spirits to not follow them home was really necessary, he's forced to admit that she's not crazy. She's got an ability he never believed in, and he's going to need her help to get himself free of a malevolent ghost.
Enjoy the ghost story, but read this book for the steamy romance!
Calla has such a hard life her name might as well be Cinderella. Her mother died when she was young, her father loved her greatly, teaching her everything he knew about fixing cars so she could join him in working in his garage. Then he married a woman who already had twin daughters close to her age. It was clear from the start that none of them liked Calla. When her father died, the worst blow came when she's told that she and her step-sisters have been "given" to the GBP--Galactic Breeding Program. Prince Lincoln, AKA Linc, is half human. Many years ago, his mother was kidnapped by aliens, and brought to his planet to marry his father, the king. After bearing him two sons, they separated, but she stayed to teach her sons about their human halves. Females on his planet are not able to bear children, but he doesn't want an unwilling bride. Once he sets eyes on Calla, however, there's no other woman for him, despite the fact that she and her evil step-sisters are joined by two other females.
Of course there are snags and problems for them to deal with, one of which is Calla's lack of self-confidence. Her father was the only one who loved her, and his death left her feeling bereft. Linc's parents want a say in which female he chooses. The other four kingdoms on his planet send their kings and eligible sons to his castle also, in a bid to try to steal one of the available, presumably fertile females. Plus Calla hadn't counted on the lengths to which her step-sisters will go to get her, the Prince's obvious favorite, out of the way. Although an interesting Cinderella story, the heroine was so mousy that I couldn't enjoy her at all. Why on earth she would feel kindly toward step-sisters who have always been abusive to her is beyond me. I keep wondering what the females of their species think about the whole idea. Do they ever get laid? I gave it three stars because I'm aware that for some women, the idea of a big, strong, alien male who only has eyes for them, is catnip. If that is the type of story you enjoy, then you should give this book a look!
Axel is tired of living in his werewolf pack. Since he's an Omega male, he gets bullied constantly, and he never gets noticed by any females, who are too busy drooling over the alphas. He's afraid to live on his own, and well-aware that he's not supposed to mate with a human. But since he's never had any luck with females, he figures that won't be a problem he'll have to contend with. So he runs away from home and gets himself a job and a small efficiency apartment.
Cassie isn't very experienced with men, and Benjamin, the one male she had the most experience with, didn't want the son he got her pregnant with. In fact after she moved in with him at her request, Ben became mentally, and eventually physically abusive--to her and to their son. So she ran away from him and his money, to raise her baby in safety. But she fears that his money will find her, and he may try to take baby Ben away from her. So she doesn't trust anyone.
This was a very quick read. The bad guy was truly evil, and the werewolf turned out to have more humanity in him than the real human. There is only one sex scene, but it's descriptive. But the insta-love between Cassie and Axel didn't convince me that it was enough for her to not be afraid of the shifting that Axel is capable of doing. I guess with a short novella like this, things have to happen quickly. If you want a quick read, with a satisfying conclusion and a steamy sex scene with a virgin male, this is for you.
Ex-police officer Keeley Stewart is working for a security agency, providing quiet protection to celebrities who want to be seen as accessible, not protected. She's still hurting from the betrayal that forced her to leave her police job, and not at all happy about being assigned as a last-minute replacement for another agent. Her assignment is to protect a famous telenovella actor from Brazil. She's never heard of him and never seen his show, but here she is, trying to be allowed to get into a trendy London club hosting a "super-fans" event for those who adore him.
Rafael de Almeida is very well aware that it's not his acting talents that have gotten him so far in life. He knows that it's his Latin good-looks, but he's not conceited about it. He's got his sights set on changing the direction of his career. He's still doing the fan-events for the two shows that made him famous all over the world, but they're not in production anymore. He wants to break into action movies on the big screen, and hopes to meet with a famous director while he's in London.
While taking a break from smiling at besotted fans, he sneaks out into the alley behind the venue to take a breather. Since Keeley finally got in and has been unable to locate the man whose startling good looks smiled at her from a cardboard image of him, she contacts her tech-support guy. He tells her the actor used to be a smoker and suggests she look outside. When she finds him, he immediately starts to flirt with her, which offends her, since she hates being underestimated as an agent due to being female. While they're bickering, someone takes a pot-shot at the actor. She takes charge, and the plot takes off from there. They're followed everywhere they go by someone determined that this will be Rafael's last Valentine's Day.
I liked both of these characters, but felt that there was too much stressing how little Rafael has allowed his international fame to corrupt him. He's gorgeous and has fans throwing themselves at him at all time. Since he was brought up poor, and now his fame supports many of his oldest friends along with his family, and he's a man from a very machismo-oriented part of the world, I would expect him to be just a tiny bit conceited. Instead he's always described as being down-to-earth. So there really is no conflict to his romancing of Keeley, other than that she doesn't believe him, since she's been hurt before, and he appears to be too good to be true. She suspects that he's just a natural flirt, which he is. But even after they have mind-blowing sex, she still tries to keep him at a distance. Despite her reservations, they manage to fall in love while keeping just ahead of the killer who is trying to end his life, for reasons not clear until the end of the book. At the end of the story, her gestures to impress him with her love seem a bit odd, considering how much she tried to resist his control over her. But their HEA is assured, now that she's stopped resisting his charm.
Dr, Emma McKenna is an archeologist who specializes in Ancient Egyptian artifacts. She's fascinated by the sarcophagus of a female who must have been noble, because of her intricate sarcophagus and where she was found in the tomb--but she's unknown. What has caught the eye of the public is that her heart, X-rayed through the canopic jar, holds her heart, but split into two pieces, yet perfectly-preserved--so she's the "heartbroken princess." Emma is doing her best to figure things out--even delaying the return of the mummy to Egypt--because she feels a personal connection, and a driving desire to understand more about the princess mummy.
Dr. Tarek Ibrahim appears in the museum display while Emma is answering school children's questions about the mummy. Emma feels immediately drawn to him, which makes her clumsy and tongue-tied. We learn in other chapters that he feels the instant same connection with her. But her boss stops by to remind her he isn't paying her to chat with anyone, so Tarek leaves. Emma decides that since she has no other plans for Valentine's Day, she's going to stay late and continue her research. But when the power goes out, she heads upstairs to investigate, and that's when the mummy decides to get up and stroll around. Tarek reappears, and the chase is on.
I liked Emma, because she's smart and devoted to her life's work, so that means she's not used to talking to drop-dead gorgeous men. And when she does, she expects them to be bored with her scientific jargon. Tarek isn't, which confuses her. They finally escape from the museum that has the mummy walking around sucking the life force out of the few people who are still there. They realize they are falling in love, but much harder than they should be--could they be possessed? By whom, and why? The story unfolds gradually, as we learn the answers to those questions, and Emma and Tarek share a few steamy moments in-between being menaced by mummies. This is a cute Valentine's Day romance for people who have always loved Ancient Egypt and the odd burial customs. Plus there's nothing like a mutual menace to bring a couple closer.
I'm a huge fan of all of the old Black and White mummy movies with Boris Karloff! I didn't think that Tarek's character was given much weight--we never learned much about him, except for he's a dentist and he was "taken over" by the male mummy while on a tour of the pyramids. And the relationship between Emma and Tarek seemed really forced. I realize they're both acting out the desires of the two mummies, but what happens after that? Do they still have a connection? Or was it all the "others?" This is hinted at in the middle of the book, when they kiss, then both pull apart, embarrassed by the intimacy they've just shared. Doesn't seem to point to a HEA to me. But like I said, others might enjoy this for the mummies and the "insta-love."
Vivian Hayes is one very lucky woman. She has two men who adore her--twins, though not identical. Since the genres listed older woman, the twins must be younger than her. They're all committed to their relationship, which involves love as much as great sex. Ever since her mother remarried years ago, Viv's been lusting after her step-brother Noah. They had a kiss once, and she's tried to avoid him ever since. She's already got two men so why complicate things? So she told Noah they needed to do alternate Christmases with her mom and step-father. This is her year to show up with her twins in tow. Much to her chagrin, Noah is there this year also. Now what? Can he convince her that it's fine to have a harem of three? And what will her guys think?
This was an easy read. The writing was smooth, and characters were clearly described. I found it odd that Vivian's mom and step-father are not only fine with her bringing her two men into their house for the holidays but they're both aware of how Noah feels about her. Indeed, her mom encourages her to give him a chance to be a part of her life. How...enlightened. Vivian's job is at Cowan Enterprises, run by Sabine, who values Vivian highly. They sell sex toys, but also run parties where employees, called Kitty Cats, dress seductively and weasel important secrets out of rich and powerful men. Her escort business is actually an information collection agency, and "her database could ruin the lives of many very powerful men." What does she use this information for? We don't really find out. But the whole idea struck me as rather sexist--kind of a Playboy club run by women who delight in using men--only occasionally having sex with them.
There's a sub-plot about Vivian's mom who has a soft spot for some cats who've been living in a barn that the town owns by default, after the owner died. There's a group of rich powerful men who want to knock the barn down to build something else, and Vivian is enlisted to help her mom help the cats. How? With a Kitty Cat party, of course.
I wanted more focus on the sexual relationship enjoyed by the soon-to-be harem of men that all want Vivian, with no jealousy, no possessiveness, and no touching of each other. Although considering that two of them are brothers, that would be weird and gross. There are frequent and inventive sex scenes. The one I was waiting for, the three-way penetration scene, was described from Noah's point of view, not Vivian's. What? A woman gets to have three hot men at once, and I only read about how much the new man in the group enjoyed himself? I felt cheated.
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