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.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

Touch to Surrender (Touch Series Book 3) by Cara Dee

Touch to Surrender (Touch Series Book 3) by Cara Dee

Touch to Surrender Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Touch to Surrender by the author. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Brayden and his girlfriend Evangeline have embarked on a Master/sub/sub relationship with Master Cooper, which works out well for everyone. Mark, their Master, enjoys having two subs, even if he’d like to take his non-sexual relationship with Brayden further. Brayden can’t bring himself to admit out loud that he’s bisexual, and he certainly isn’t able to act on it after his father drilled into his head how wrong it is.

But Master’s job is to push limits, including Brayden’s. After watching a homosexual scene between another Master and his sub, Brayden gives a little. When he winds up alone in bed with Mark, Brayden’s barriers break down, and he’s finally able to give in to what he really wants.

Touch to Surrender is book three in the Touch Series by Cara Dee. Each book is a short BDSM story, and they should be read in order. Touch to Surrender picks up right where book two, Twice the Touch, left off. You will still understand the dynamics of the relationship between the characters if you haven’t read the other books, but trust me that they are all worth reading and are best when read in order.

In this book, we get inside the head of a male sub who is having difficulty acknowledging his bisexuality. He wants Mark’s touch, and even wants to touch Mark in return, but feels like it’s wrong to give in to that because of his father’s beliefs. I loved how Mark showed Brayden—and Evangeline—that it was okay for two men to be together. In the context of a BDSM scene, Mark brought in another Master and sub, both men, who also happened to be married. Brayden had no choice but to watch because his Master ordered him to, and then he also had no choice but to admit there was nothing wrong with what the two men in front of him were doing.

Cara Dee has a way of always keeping things realistic. Brayden didn’t just forget what he’d been taught because of the scene he watched. We got to see his true struggle the following morning when he was alone in bed with Mark. He continued to fight his natural urges until he couldn’t take it any longer. Mark’s openness about what he wanted from Brayden pushed him gently, as only a Master could do, resulting in a happy Master and sub, as well as quite a hot read for the reader.

I have yet to find a work by Cara Dee I didn’t love, regardless of the genre, even if it wasn’t something I’d typically read. Touch to Surrender was no different. I look forward to reading the rest of the Touch Series. All of my reviews of Ms. Dee’s books can be found under the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

Random Acts of Crazy by Julia Kent

Random Acts of Crazy by Julia Kent

Random Acts of Crazy Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

Twenty-two-year-old Darla is going nowhere in life, living in a small town where everyone knows your business and there are limited ways out. She’s stuck having to take care of her disabled mother and working at a gas station. Picking up a naked hitchhiker probably isn’t her best decision, but she’s never been known for making good choices.

Trevor and Joe are part of a band called Random Acts of Crazy. The band is just something they do for fun while they prepare to live their lives as their parents see fit. Getting high as a kite and ending up naked on the side of the road eleven hours away from home just might be the best thing Trevor’s ever done. He and Darla form a bond that shows Trevor there’s more to life than what his parents want for him. When his best friend Joe comes to rescue him, the dynamic between the three of them shifts, and they all might learn a few lessons about life.

I enjoyed the first half of Random Acts of Crazy more than the second half, but overall it was a decent story. All three main characters showed growth and progression; I just didn’t love how they each got there. In the beginning, I loved the way Darla and Trevor’s relationship progressed. They each learned something from the other, and it was nice to see the contrasts between their lives. The situation may have been a bit unrealistic and extreme, but it’s fiction and it was believable enough.

What I didn’t love was how Joe came into the picture and things shifted to another level. It felt like we were starting over with a brand new character needing to learn the same lessons the other male character had already learned. And then there was sexual attraction between Darla and Joe. I’m sure many people enjoy the idea of a threesome. I’m not opposed to it, but it just didn’t feel right to me in this story. It was more like Darla was attracted to Joe just because he was hot and he was there, but she tried to talk herself into feeling more.

Then there was the insecurity on all three main characters’ part. It was a constant back and forth over their feelings, and hearing it from three different people made it rather tedious. In fact, one of my biggest problems with this story was that it was told in first person point of view, but from all three points of view. The constant switching made it difficult to remember who was speaking at any given time. Each chapter held more than one point of view, and sometimes there were all three points of view multiple times within a chapter. It was too much, especially when Joe and Trevor were basically thinking the same thing but we had to hear it from each of them. This book would have been much better had it been written in third person point of view.

There were also numerous tense issues and direct reader addresses, as well as some formatting problems. Every now and then, there would be a minor inconsistency, like in one scene where Darla started the car twice. A little better editing would have gone a long way.

Happy reading!

Rach

Twice the Touch (Touch Series Book 2) by Cara Dee

Here is part two of the Cara Dee double feature.

Twice the Touch (Touch Series Book 2) by Cara Dee

Twice the Touch Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

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

After a failed marriage, Mark Cooper is happy to live with no attachments. He scenes with subs on occasion, but doesn’t get involved beyond that. Although he owns a chain of gyms, he gladly bartends at a BDSM club called Switch because it keeps him close to the lifestyle, and of course he gets free membership.

One night at the club, Mark is asked to help out a couple who are new to the lifestyle. Their scene has gone from bad to worse when it becomes apparent that Brayden, acting as a Dom, doesn’t have a clue what he’s doing. When Mark takes over with Brayden and Evangeline, he finds more than he ever even though to look for.

Twice the Touch is a sexy novella you’ll want to read in one sitting, mostly because you won’t be able to put it down. It is book two in the Touch series. Although each novella in the series is a standalone, it makes most sense to read them in order as the stories continue from one book to the next. The main characters from book one have a small part in Twice the Touch, but I don’t think you need to have read Look but Don’t Touch to understand the story.

Brayden and Evangeline have been trying out some BDSM for a little while, switching roles when they play. But they don’t really know what they’re doing, and when Mark enters their scene, he’s quick to realize that both of them are more comfortable in the role of submissive. One of the things I love about this book is the amount of detail it gives on safe play. Even as Mark takes over the role of Dom from Brayden, he asks permission to touch Evangeline. He clarifies the rules, and the narrative of the story provides details on the rules of the club. I haven’t found many authors who write BDSM correctly, but Cara Dee definitely does.

While Mark really wasn’t looking for any sort of attachment, he couldn’t help wanting to take Brayden and Evangeline under his wing and explore the lifestyle with them. I enjoyed reading about exploring their limits and how Mark quickly became attached to them.

Mark, Evangeline, and Brayden’s story doesn’t end with the completion of this novella, but it did come to a satisfying conclusion that didn’t leave me feeling like anything was missing. Of course, I’m excited to read the next installment, Touch to Surrender, to find out more about Brayden and continue on this journey with these characters.

Another five-star read from Cara Dee. All of my reviews of Cara’s work can be found under the Author Spotlight menu at the top of the page.

Happy reading!

Rach

All Fired Up (DreamMakers #1) by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

All Fired Up (DreamMakers #1) by Vivian Arend and Elle Kennedy

All Fired Up Cover

3 out of 5 Stars

Parker Wilson and his buddies, all three former Rangers, own a dating service, helping men plan the perfect date. Against their better judgment, they take a client named Phil who wants them to plan an evening for Phil to propose to his girlfriend Lynn. But Phil doesn’t know the first thing about Lynn that would help the guys out, so they need to do a little recon. When Parker follows Lynn into a yoga class, the attraction is instantaneous. Too bad Parker can’t make a move on her since he’s working for her boyfriend.

Lynn Davidson is bored with her boyfriend Phil after five months of lackluster dates. She’s all ready to throw in the towel anyway, so when she finds out Phil’s been cheating on her she doesn’t care much. She breaks up with Phil, and when Parker and his partner, Dean, hear that while following her to a bar, they realize they are now free to make a move on her—both of them.

But Parker wants more from Lynn than just one night that includes his best friend. Parker and Lynn begin a serious relationship, even though Phil hasn’t given up on winning Lynn back. When Phil gets desperate, Lynn has to go along with his plan in order to save the guys’ business. Parker, Dean, and their other partner Jack need to get to Lynn when they realize she’s been taken against her will.

All Fired Up includes a hot, sexy hero and a strong heroine, and the book is well written. That’s about all I enjoyed from it. Up until the end, Lynn made decisions that put herself first. I liked that she didn’t waver under pressure from Phil to take him back.

Other than that, there was a lot of cliché. Parker lies by omission to Lynn. Then he takes his best friend’s bad advice and doesn’t tell her the truth. Lynn finds out the truth from her ex, causing a rift between her and Parker, which of course is when Phil swoops in.

The threesome near the beginning of the story, in my opinion, was just gratuitous sex. There was no reason for it. Parker had already made it clear he was interested in Lynn, but he had no problem sharing her with Dean for a night. I didn’t see how that advanced the plot in any way.

And one of my biggest pet peeves … All Fired Up was told in first person point of view, switching between Parker and Lynn, with random points of view thrown in just to get the reader interested in the other books in the series. We heard from Dean about his one night stand, Pepper (Parker’s sister) about her trip home, and Jack about another job he was working on since he had no part in the job for Phil. None of these had anything to do with the plot of the story. The authors should have stuck with Parker and Lynn’s points of view and let them observe what was happening with the other characters.

Since the writing was good and I enjoyed most of the main plot, I gave this book three stars.

Happy reading!

Rach