Touch of Trouble (Touch Series Book 4 by Cara Dee

Touch of Trouble (Touch Series Book 4 by Cara Dee

Touch of Trouble Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Touch of Trouble by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Kayla Brandon has finally found a place where she completely fits in, both in her kinky lifestyle and in love. Nicholas Ford is the perfect Daddy for this little girl, and she’s ready to spend forever with him. But first she’ll have to make peace with her demons from the past. And a little matchmaking along the way won’t hurt.

Touch of Trouble is the 4th book in the Touch series and is best read in order with the other books of the series. Nicholas and Kayla’s relationship began in book 1, and now Kayla has to face her family in order to move forward with Nicholas.

I enjoy Ms. Dee’s writing tremendously, and this book is no exception. Her characters are real people and her kink is realistic. She doesn’t skirt around the rules of the BDSM lifestyle and offers readers what feels like a true glimpse into various kinks. It’s always hot and entertaining.

I can appreciate that different kinks are for different people, and unfortunately this one just isn’t for me. I don’t mind reading about Daddies and littles, but I have a difficult time getting in the mind of a little. I enjoyed the first book of the story more because it was from Nicholas’ point of view. With this book being told from Kayla’s point of view, I couldn’t connect as well with her even though I like her character in all the other books.

Overall, it was an integral part of the series as a whole and well-written. I enjoyed the other characters at Switch, and look forward to the stories that follow.

All of my reviews of Ms. Dee’s works can be found by selecting her name from the Author Spotlight tab.

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Chef (My Master Series Book One) by D.S. Hart

Chef (My Master Series Book One) by D.S. Hart

Chef Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Chef by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Sous Chef Veronica Delaware has the hots for her boss, Head Chef Ethan Craymore. Too bad he’s a complete jerk. Veronica also has some hidden desires she’s not sure Ethan, or anyone else, can fulfill. Her ex-boyfriend certainly couldn’t. No matter where she goes, she can’t seem to escape reminders of her ex.

Ethan learned his lesson about mixing business with pleasure a long time ago, but his desire for Veronica is put to the test when the two are attacked outside the restaurant they work at. Veronica is forced to stay with Ethan, and their desires come to the surface. It appears they’re more compatible than either one thought.

The attack at work and a fire at Veronica’s condo lead them to believe the events are more than just coincidence. When Veronica’s safety is in jeopardy, Ethan will have to use all his resources to save her.

Chef is book one in the erotic romance My Master series, and it includes a nice mix of romance, BDSM, and suspense. The main characters are involved in BDSM, but the author did a good job of incorporating that as secondary to a full plot instead of making it the main focus. One thing I like to see with any type of BDSM in a story is that it’s done realistically, which certainly is the case here. The characters discuss things like limits and safe words before embarking on any type of relationship.

The romance and suspense were also well done. While Veronica and Ethan were getting to know each other sexually, they were also getting to know each other personally. There may have been insta-lust, but there was no insta-love. The love grew at a nice pace throughout the story. The suspense wasn’t apparent at first but developed as the story progressed, leading to a nice climax and tying into the romance at the end.

While I really liked the plot and the characters, the editing errors brought the book down for me. In addition to things like missing and extra words, wrong words, and incorrect dialogue punctuation, there were also several inconsistencies in the plot that made it less enjoyable. Both main characters had contrasting information given at times about their background. A few plot devices were a bit too cliché for my liking. This book could truly benefit from a strong editor to fix these issues.

Overall, I enjoyed the main theme of the book and the way the author used BDSM to draw the characters together. Three stars for this erotic romantic suspense.

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The Matriarch: An Erotic Superhero Romance (Book 1 of The Matriarch Trilogy) by Sloane Howell

The Matriarch: An Erotic Superhero Romance (Book 1 of The Matriarch Trilogy) by Sloane Howell

The Matriarch Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of The Matriarch by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Maggie Madison has vowed revenge on the man who killed her family and kidnapped her, turning her into something dark and dirty. Since her escape from his clutches, she’s learned combat skills and built a successful business, allowing her to fight crime while she tries to bring down her archenemy, Kiril. But when she meets Cody and sparks fly, her superhero status is called into question. For the first time in her life she wants to grow closer to someone, but she has to hide her true self in the process. When a new enemy arises, Maggie’s put to the test in more ways than one.

The Matriarch intrigued me from the start and drew me in with its original mix of superhero action, eroticism, and romance. The fact that it was a female superhero was an added bonus. Maggie was clearly a “take no prisoners” kind of girl and the story was action-packed, which was a nice variation on the typical romance.

Because of all the action, there was little character development. The story covers so much ground before even getting to the romance or fighting Maggie’s enemy that it never delved into any one area too deeply. While I could appreciate the idea of the various genres this book includes, it was too focused on the superhero aspect to be a successful romance, and the eroticism felt gratuitous. The story would have been better served by exploring Maggie’s life in more depth and how she came to be a superhero and then putting the rest of the story into another book since this is already part of a series.

The story is told in first person point of view mostly by Maggie. Several other points of view were occasionally included, but many of them felt unnecessary. The information provided in those scenes was often repeated in the form of a news article. It would have been enough to only provide the news article, or the entire story could have been told in third person point of view to make it more seamless.

I did enjoy the plot and thought the combined genres was an interesting twist. Three stars for this superhero erotic romance.

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Step Beast by Selena Kitt

Step Beast by Selena Kitt

Step Beast Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

Mathilda “Tilly” Beeston’s privileged life has been lacking one thing: her mother’s love. She can do no right in her mother’s eyes, yet her stepbrother, nicknamed Beast, can do no wrong. But Beast has been gone for years, only returning now that Tilly’s mother is on her deathbed. And Tilly’s been harboring a secret, one that might tear what little relationship she has left with Beast to shreds.

Conrad “Beast” Beeston III wants to step out of his father’s shadow, but spending eight years in the military only hardens him further. He fights his love for Tilly with everything he has, and he does it for her own good. Beast is keeping secrets of his own from her. Now that he’s come home, Tilly won’t give up. She pushes with everything she has to gain Beast’s love, but she doesn’t realize she’s throwing herself in the middle of a dangerous situation.

Step Beast is a contemporary erotic romance with a military bad boy, a billionaire, a stepsibling relationship, and BDSM. It has a good mix of erotica and action, and the plot is intriguing. Beast is hiding his real job from everyone, and Tilly, wanting Beast’s attention, unknowingly puts herself and her best friend in harm’s way. Beast has to save them without compromising what he’s worked so hard to accomplish.

Beast was a fantastic character. He was full of secrets and his personality didn’t give much away. He was the strong, silent, sexy type, which made me as interested in him as Tilly was. I enjoyed the way we learned about what he was up to little by little.

Tilly, unfortunately, came off as a spoiled brat and a petulant child. I had trouble liking her and couldn’t see what Beast found in her. The story being told from her point of view made it tedious at times. Her characterization was consistent and her background made it easy to understand why she acted the way she did, but I still had trouble relating to her and rooting for her.

The way the erotica was mixed with action was masterful and kept me reading, but quite a few things drew me out of the story. The author’s writing style was not for me. There were too many thought verbs and too much “telling” instead of “showing.” Also, em dashes—interruptions in the sentence like this—were used way too often. At times I had to go back and reread the sentence without the interruption to make sense of it.

There were quite a few grammatical and editing errors. Sometimes the wrong word was used, like unconscious instead of subconscious. In some places there were too many commas, and in others commas were missing. Some information was rehashed multiple times, and the story would have been more concise without it. There was also contradictory information. When Tilly was captured, her phone was shattered and lost, but after she was rescued she pulled it out of her pants pocket and answered it. At one point, we were told Tilly and Frankie had a discussion while in captivity, but that would have been impossible because they’d been gagged during that time and were only able to get their gags off for a short time when they were plotting their escape.

I had trouble rating this book because I really did like the plot but had to weigh it against all the other issues. In the end, I went with three stars, as this was an okay read but not great. With proper editing help, it could have been much better.

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Even Better (Stripped Book 2.5) by Skye Warren

Even Better (Stripped Book 2.5) by Skye Warren

Even Better Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Even Better by the author through the author’s newsletter. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Hannah isn’t sure what to do with her life now that she’s no longer stripping. Living with Blue feels right, but she’s afraid he’ll tire of her and throw her out like everyone else. She needs to find her place in the world, to find what she excels at.

When Blue’s friend West comes to stay for a little while as he adjusts to civilian life, things take an interesting turn. Hannah wants to be useful, and it seems that using her body in the same way she used to use it to survive just might fit the bill. West needs some reassurance and compassion, and that’s something Hannah can finally offer.

Even Better is an erotic novella that is part of the Stripped series. I received a free copy from the author’s newsletter, and it was said to be a standalone novella. Although I essentially understood the plot and the characters, I would have enjoyed this more had I read the previous book to know a little more about Hannah and Blue and the history of their relationship.

Hannah was the main character, and the novella was about her finding her way in life without depending on her boyfriend. That goal was not exactly accomplished by the end of the story. For the majority of the story she was very down on herself, wondering what she had to offer and being generally insecure. If the story weren’t so short, I might not have finished it because of her characterization, but as it was I stuck with it and did enjoy it for what it was, which was more of an erotic romance than anything else.

The sex scenes were definitely hot, so if that’s what you’re looking for you’ll likely enjoy this book. There was some exhibitionism and some male/female/male action. It was all well written and the characters were relatable. The few minor editing errors did not affect my enjoyment of the book.

Overall I enjoyed this, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if I’d read the previous book. This book does not end on a cliffhanger with the main characters, but it clearly sets up the next book in the series.

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Trust in Me (Dark Nights Book 1) by Skye Warren

Trust in Me (Dark Nights Book 1) by Skye Warren

Trust in Me Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Trust in Me by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

A difficult life has left Mia feeling like she has no options. As a slave to a crime lord, she has one last goal in life—to free a shipment of human cargo—and then she hopes her own existence will end in the crossfire. But the reappearance of her childhood crush, a man she begged for help who left her to suffer, puts a kink in all her plans. Tyler is in charge of security for the shipment, and Mia doesn’t want to put him in danger. She’s also not exactly sure who she can trust.

If you enjoy dark erotic romance, Trust in Me is a wonderful choice. It deals with some very disturbing themes including human trafficking, sex slaves, rape, and torture, but the story is extremely well written and will keep you turning page after page. Although I tend to find this type of book rather unrealistic, once I set realism aside this was an enjoyable read.

Mia was an extremely strong character who had been dealt a horrible hand in life, so it was easy to understand why she made the choices she did. Completely down on her luck and not knowing where her next meal was going to come from, choosing to get into Carlos’ car, and ultimately staying with him despite torture and becoming his sex slave, was the lesser of evils for Mia. And if she was able to do some good for others in a similar position while she was there, all the better.

When Tyler showed up, we were treated to more information about Mia’s past, unraveling her history piece by piece. Mia’s need to keep him safe while still accomplishing her goal and putting her own life in danger was an understandable sacrifice. But her confusion over who she could trust and who she couldn’t made the story even more interesting. I was left guessing right along with Mia.

Although there were a few things I would have liked a little more information on and some repetition in the story, it was interesting and kept me engaged. I would definitely read more by this author and more of this series. Trust in Me is a standalone novel.

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Little Doll (Bittersweet Duet Book 1) by Melissa Jane

Little Doll (Bittersweet Duet Book 1) by Melissa Jane

Little Doll Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was gifted a copy of Little Doll by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Twenty-five-year-old Laila has no family left except her brother, so when he goes missing, she’ll stop at nothing to find him and bring him home. Unfortunately, Laila’s not the only person looking for Ethan. On the first day of her search, Laila is kidnapped and taken to Mexico by the same people Ethan betrayed—a drug and human trafficking cartel.

Aiden grew up with every luxury imaginable but surrounded by people with no morals. When Laila becomes the next girl in line to be sold to the highest bidder, something inside of Aiden wants to protect her. He’ll have to go against his adoptive family if he wants to keep Laila safe, but with Laila not knowing who she can trust, she doesn’t make things easy for him.

Little Doll is a thrilling tale that deals with a lot of dark subjects including kidnapping, rape, human trafficking, and abuse. It is part one of a series, and although there are plenty of open issues left at the end of Little Doll, it does leave the reader at a satisfying place even if it’s not exactly a happily ever after. It is intriguing right from the start with Laila’s missing brother and her kidnapping, and it is well written, keeping the reader wondering what is going to happen to her next.

Laila was a strong character, and I liked that she never gave up. Although the situation she found herself in wasn’t very realistic, most people would have given in instead of continuing to defy her captors. Unfortunately, her stubbornness became a wedge she drove between herself and Aiden because she didn’t trust him. All of the signs were there for her to understand what he was doing, but she refused to see them.

I loved Aiden’s character. He was the strong, silent type, always taking everything in and able to hide his emotions from those around him. He did drop his guard with Laila, resulting in a hot and heavy scene between the two, but his refusal to tell her what he was up to played a part in her inability to trust him. This will clearly be an issue to overcome in book two. We didn’t hear very much from Aiden, so at times the reader had to guess what he was up to right along with Laila. There is still quite a bit of information about Aiden’s plan to be discovered in the next book.

The book had lots of small editing mistakes like the occasional missing word, incorrect punctuation, and tense changes. A few times an incorrect homonym was used, and there were some small inconsistencies, like saying Laila was pulled to her feet when she had already been standing. There was also some inconsistent formatting within the book, and I noticed an overabundance of exclamation points.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and its dark themes, and although it could use a little better editing, I’d be interested in reading the next book in the series.

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Dishabille (Apprivoisé Book 1) by Arden Aoide

Dishabille (Apprivoisé Book 1) by Arden Aoide

Dishabille Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

Divorced and mother to a fifteen-year-old daughter, Dahlia is ready to move on with her life and find something for herself. She wants to be a sub, but she also wants a relationship with the man who is going to dominate her. Alex has pretty much given up on being a Dom, until his sister, the owner of a BDSM club, gives him Dahlia’s phone number and urges him to call or text.

A few shared text messages have Dahlia and Alex ready to give their relationship a try. And when they click on a personal level in addition to playing together, they both realize they have found their match.

Dishabille is the first book in the contemporary erotic romance BDSM series Apprivoisé. While the erotic scenes of this story were exciting and well done, the romance was a bit too instantaneous to be realistic. Dahlia and Alex became engaged within a week of their first text message, even before Dahlia could introduce Alex to her daughter. I didn’t connect with the characters’ relationship in any way before they were declaring their love. There wasn’t anything in their first few days of text messaging that really connected them on a romantic level.

The only real conflict in the book was when Dahlia walked into Alex’s room and found his ex-girlfriend in a compromising position, and it was completely cliché. Dahlia got the wrong idea, ran away, and Alex had to chase after her and explain the real situation. On the plus side, the resolution wasn’t dragged out. Dahlia accepted his explanation immediately.

The BDSM aspect was missing something. Not once did the characters discuss their limits, and it seemed odd that Alex gave Miranda the scarf and she could wear it to signal when she wanted to play. As the sub in the relationship, that didn’t seem appropriate. Their sexual exploits felt more like a little kink than an actual Dom/sub relationship—but I’m not a BDSM expert.

The secondary characters weren’t worked into the story very well. It was clear from the first chapter that the author was setting Alex’s sister Miranda and Dahlia’s ex-husband Nick up to be the subject of the next book. Every interaction with either of those characters felt like it was only there to hook you in for the next installment. Sadly, it didn’t grip me nearly enough to read on. The entire epilogue focused on Miranda and Nick, setting the plot for book two.

There were also some minor grammatical errors, and the formatting made it difficult for me to read the sections with text messages.

If you enjoy instant romance with some hot kink, you may enjoy this story. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it for me.

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Midnight (McKenna Chronicles Book 1) by Elizabeth Miller

Midnight by Elizabeth Miller

Midnight Cover

2 out of 5 Stars

*Warning: This review contains spoilers*

Charlise “Charlie” Carter is a freelance journalist looking for a new job when one seemingly falls in her lap. She is asked to chronicle the journey of Republican presidential hopeful Colin McKenna in his quest for the White House. However her instant attraction to the man—and his to her—could be a problem for his candidacy.

Colin tries to stay away from Charlie, but when he finally succumbs, he tells her he has no heart to give. He can only give her the physical aspects of a relationship. Charlie, even with her damaged past, decides to accept his offer and live day by day, knowing she wants more than he’s able to give.

The pair grow closer to each other over the course of the campaign, and Charlie reveals her past—that she was raped repeatedly at age fourteen and had an abortion. Colin, with his staunch pro-life candidacy, is surprisingly accepting of her revelation, moving the relationship forward and asking Charlie not to leave him.

Throughout their journey, the reader is given glimpses of Colin’s past. He had a wife and baby who died several years prior, and he also had a brief relationship with his wife’s sister after his wife’s death. The sister, Ella, makes life difficult for Charlie at every turn. There are also hints at a stalker following the campaign, but are they after Colin or Charlie?

I took notice of several issues with the plot of this story. First of all, Charlie is a twenty-nine-year-old woman who has not had any type of relationship, nor has she had any sexual experience since being raped fifteen years prior. Yet she has no problem falling into bed with a man who promises her nothing and tells her he doesn’t have a heart to give. I was not convinced that any amount of feelings on her part would overcome the way he treated her early on and allow her to set herself up for failure that way.

The relationship was also very cliché with her immediate attraction, electricity when they touched, and Charlie getting all hot and bothered at watching Colin eat. Charlie was also the damsel in distress a few times, with Colin coming to her rescue when he had no business being there. And the looks they supposedly gave each other in public should have been noticed by more than just Colin’s best friend.

The eroticism of the story was … too much. I’m all for a heated relationship, but I honestly skimmed through some of the steamy scenes because I was bored with them. I’m a firm believer that if the scene isn’t advancing the relationship, it shouldn’t be included. Once things got going between Charlie and Colin, it was like they never stopped.

The way the book ended was not my cup of tea. Certainly the author left the door open for the next book, but there were too many loose ends within this story. Not every story will be a happily ever after, or even a happily for now, but I expect the author to resolve the plot of the book. I wouldn’t even call this ending a cliffhanger because Charlie just leaves. Period. She walks out with a dead cell phone and no idea where she’s going. She acts like a bratty teenager rather than the mature woman she claims to be by not allowing Colin to say a word in his defense. The issues with the stalker and Ella Montgomery are not even addressed. It’s like the writer forgot about them.

Editing of this book was also an issue. There were quite a few grammatical mistakes and formatting issues. It wasn’t enough to make me put the book down, but enough to annoy me at every turn.

I wish I had better things to say about the sexy politician and his journalist, but at the end of the book I was left shaking my head and wondering what the point of it all was.

Happy reading!