Up To Me

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Up To Me

Available: June 23, 2014

Up To Me – Christi Barth

This was another new read for me. Have I mentioned that I love discovering new authors? Well, I do. 

Up To Me was a very cute read. It had all the things I look for in the romances that I read. I think part of the reason why I liked it so much is because I can connect to it on a personal level. 

Ella Mayhew is the owner of a hotel in upstate New York called Mayhew Manor. Well. She’s the secret owner. The people in her town know that the Manor belongs to her, but none of the guests do. As far as they’re concerned, she’s just the masseuse. The Manor originally belonged to her parents, but when they died tragically a few years before Ella inherited it. Mr. and Mrs. Mayhew had always dreamed and hoped that Ella would take over running the Manor, and even sent her to college to major in hotel management. Ella had other plans, and became a masseuse instead much to her parents disapproval. After her parents death, she moves into the tower room at the Manor (like… a tower. An actual tower. Like on a castle…. complete with a hidden doorway to her tower room) and helps in the day to day running of the hotel… but from behind the scenes. 

Ella has a manager that “runs” the place, but she’s always in the know of what is happening at the Manor. I work front desk at a little hotel here in Iowa… and have been in hospitality for almost four years. I can’t imagine ever owning a hotel… but I know how hard it is to work in one.

Enter Graydon Locke. He’s… as he likes to say… a “Corporate Realignment Specialist” for a huge company in New York. Basically if you get rid of the fancy title, he’s the guy that researches businesses and let’s his company know whether or not they should buy the company, break it up into pieces and sell off those pieces for a profit. Graydon (or Gray) is staying at the Manor to learn all about it so that he can tell his bosses if it would be a good idea to purchase it or not. This is something Gray’s done a million times, and he thinks this assignment will be just like the rest… until he meets Ella. 

Ella sees Gray first and instantly falls a little bit into lust with him, and when Gray meets her, he gets the same reaction. Gray’s definitely attracted, but he’s also conflicted. He’s here to potentially destroy the Manor, not find himself in a romance. Things get worse for Gray later on after he finds out that the Manor belongs to Ella. She still has no idea who he is. For all she knows, he’s here on a two week vacation.

So what is he to do? They want each other badly, but how can Gray keep something like that from her and still be with her? He has a job to do, but he can’t deny himself the opportunity to get to know her better. 

The town that the Manor resides in is a quirky little town. Everyone is in everyone’s business (like most small towns, I’d assume). The mayor runs a little coffee/sandwich shop/general store in town, so she hears and knows everything. 

And then there’s the mailbox. 

I know, it sounds weird, but bear with me. It gets a little weirder. Out on the edge of town there’s a lone mailbox next to a bench. It’s close enough to the nearby lake that if you wished, you could sit on the bench and watch the sunset (or sunrise, whatever) over the water. This particular mailbox doesn’t receive mail like the one at the end of your driveway. Here’s where it gets weird. The mailbox holds a journal that the whole town uses and writes in. Some people write asking for advice, some write just to vent. If you write something in the journal, you’ll most likely get feedback from other residents of the town in the journal. Think of it like a Dear Abby newspaper column but in journal form that an entire town has access to. 

Ella takes Gray to the mailbox to explain it to him, and to explain that it’s important to her. He thinks the whole idea of it is beyond crazy, but humors her. When she writes in the journal asking the town if she should go out with Gray and let him take her to dinner, he’s a little annoyed when she discloses that they should have an answer to their question in a “day or two”… and that they can spend time together as long as it isn’t anything officially “date like”. Poor Gray. 

Their romance is so sweet. It took some time for them to actually become a couple (with most of the towns approval). Ella spends a lot of the book unsure if she should take over running the Manor. For most of her life, if you asked her, she’d give you a big fat NO, because she had no desire for it. When she finally does decide that she wants to keep it and make it more profitable than it currently is, Gray is behind her every step of the way, giving her ideas on how to pull it off… which is the OPPOSITE of what he should be doing. I loved that he wanted what was best for her, and would fight for what she wanted. 

When the truth of why Gray was in town finally comes to light, he owns it. He doesn’t try to make up excuses for himself, he tells the truth. Even though that truth gets him kicked out of Ella’s bed and as far as he can tell, her life. I loved that he battled with himself over is dilemma through the book, and that once he was caught he didn’t try to turn tail and run for the hills. He explained himself, told Ella he loved her, and left when she asked. 

Even thought he was sure that she hated him, he stuck around in town long enough to call in a favor to make sure the Manor would have an opportunity to bring in more money… which was very sweet. He knew he’d messed up, and didn’t think he had a shot in hell with her anymore, but he knew how much she loved the Manor, and did what he could to help it. 

One of Ella’s best friends convinces him to stay in town and fight for her, which I also thought was awesome. Ward (Ella’s bff) knew exactly what happened between Ella and Gray, but had been able to learn what a good guy beneath all of the sneaking around Gray really was… and believed that both of them (Ella and Gray) should be together. 

Their reunion was so very sweet and I loved that she let him (sorta kinda) explain everything again… but at the same time didn’t instantly melt into a puddle of goo. She was a tough cookie who could stand up for herself, but once she realized that he’d done so much for her and for the Manor because she loved it, she couldn’t stay too mad. 

I seriously enjoyed Ella and Gray’s story. Christi Barth delivers very strong, well developed characters that you can’t help but fall for. Up To Me is the first book in a new series and I can’t wait to see who’s story is next. 

10/10 I’d recommend this. 

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My view on the topic…

I’m sure you’ve seen it around, probably espeically on twitter. The #YesAllWomen hashtag that’s been both loved and hated.

 

Here’s my take on it. As a twenty something year old woman.

 

I work front desk at a tiny hotel. Our room rates vary between $40 +tax and $50 + tax a night. So, you can imagine the wide range of guests we can get. When I’m at work, I’m the only employee here. There’s no security guard, no housekeeper, no maintenance worker, no manager here in case something happens. The only thing that separates me form whomever I’m checking in is the desk.

If something goes terribly wrong in the office, I do have a panic button that will summon the local SWAT team to my rescue, but that’s it. We also have security cameras that are in all the hallways and are watching the outside of the building, but they only record if there is movement.

We have certain rules in place to try to maintain the front desk clerk’s safety, but nothing is guaranteed.

For example: If I have to go to a guests room to fix a TV or replace a burned out light bulb, the room door has to remain open while I’m in the room. That way, if I’m attacked or if something goes wrong I can either escape, or I’ll have a greater probability of being heard if I’m yelling. Four years on in the hospitality industry and I haven’t had anything happen (excuse me while I go knock on some wood), but it’s comforting to know that I have that safeguard in place.

When I enter a room and I inform the guest that the door has to stay open, I get a range of responses. Most of them (men and women) shrug it off and are fine with it. I’ve had others (mostly men) that get downright offended that I said the door has to stay open. They act as if I’ve said they’re going to abuse me, which of course I haven’t. I just tell them that it has to stay open because it’s hotel policy.

I know that not all men are violent. I know that not every man I come across will be thinking I’m an easy target. But there are men that are and I have no way of being able to tell who isn’t someone that would hurt me and who is someone that would.

I’ve had men yell at me when I ask them to leave the door open. Most of the time, I’m able to explain that it’s a policy of the hotel for safety reasons and they calm down. There are other times that it doesn’t work and I’m able to leave the room and inform the guest that I’ll be more than happy to come back later when he’s calm or he can just deal with a fuzzy TV.

The fact that I’m the bad guy because I asked them to leave the door open infuriates me. Do I feel uncomfortable entering men’s rooms that I don’t know by myself? The majority of the time I do. If it’s someone that has stayed at the hotel for a long time and I feel like I know them, it’s not as bad. I’m more comfortable if there is another woman in the room, and I’m even more on my guard if it’s two single men in the room. It makes me crazy that I have to guard myself, that I have to distrust people because bad things could happen.

I hate it that when I’m behind the desk at work some men think it’s okay to hit on me. To ask me to come to their room later or ask for my phone number. When I say no, most of them brush it off and keep going on about their day like it was nothing. But, just like with the room door having to be open thing, I have some men that will get offended. Offended that I dared to say no to their advances. Offended that I turned them down. They always ask why. “Well why not?” Maybe because I’m not interested? Maybe because I’m at work? Maybe because saying no is my right?

It’s not cute when men that I don’t know call me “babe” or “baby”. I barely like men that I do know to call me those.

Don’t even get me STARTED on the struggle of trying to go on dates or try online dating. I had an Ok Cupid profile for a while. I don’t have it anymore because I was sick of getting messages from strangers, men that I’ve never met before in my life, asking me to meet them to “hook up” or to send them nudes. Or to give out my phone number. If I told them no to any of those, I was instantly labeled a “bitch” or a “prude”. Why am I a bitch for not wanting to have sex with you, Mr. Unknown Man? Why am I a prude for not wanting to send naked pictures of myself to some dude that I don’t know? I don’t give out my phone number to men that I don’t know because even if they say they’re not going to “blow up my phone” and ask for things like I’ve mentioned above, it will most likely eventually happen.

I’ll also get unsolicited dick pictures sent to my phone. I’m sorry. That’s offensive to me. If I don’t know you, if I’m not in a relationship with you, I do not want to see your junk. Random pictures of your junk will not make me lust after you. It will make me block your number and never speak to you again.

The last time I went on an actual date (movies, and milkshakes afterward) it went horribly. I offered, and tried, to pay for my share of everything. I tried to buy my own ticket to the movie, he wouldn’t hear of it and paid for it without letting me explain that I’d rather pay my own way. After the movie, he wanted to be able to talk, so we went to Steak ‘N Shake. The entire time we were there, he was pressuring me to come back to his apartment. I was firm, but nice the first time I said no. Notice I said first. I had to repeat myself about four times. It’s like I wasn’t saying anything. I was able to pay for my own shake… but that was only because I got to the counter before he did. When we walked out to our cars, he started back up with the “you should come back to my place” barrage. I told him no again and bid him a goodnight and left. He was pissed that I turned him down, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to try to wear me down. I finally blocked him from every thing I could (social media, phone…etc) after he sent an unsolicited dick picture. I was in the middle of eating dinner at a restaurant and my phone went off with a message alert. I opened his message and there he was in all his naked glory. Needless to say, I wasn’t hungry anymore.

Buying a woman dinner, or tickets to a movie does not mean that you get a green light to sexy times. Being a nice guy to a woman doesn’t mean that she owes you anything.

That mentality that some men have makes me want to pull my hair out.

If I go out to the bars with my friends, I can’t leave my drink unattended. If I do, it’s been ingrained into me that I’ll have to buy a new one. Why? Because someone could have put something in my drink that could hurt me. Do you KNOW how expensive drinks are? Having to constantly watch my beverages, and having to buy a new one if I go to the bathroom because someone might have slipped me a roofie is insane. I hate that this is the world we live in.

My dad is in law enforcement. He has been since before I was born, and he’s always telling me that I “shouldn’t wear too revealing of clothes” or that if I go out “I need to be with other people”. I have to monitor the way that I dress because some guy might take it as a green light that I’m easy. I don’t dress for anyone but myself, and it makes me mad that I’m constantly told, that other women are constantly told that they’re slutty if they’re exposing too much cleavage or showing too much leg.

Fuck That.

I’m not going to wear a turtle neck because it will make other people more comfortable. I’m also not about to go prancing down main street in my birthday suit, but that’s because I’m not comfortable with that.

The point of this very long rant is that nobody deserves to have to be afraid of being attacked. Nobody deserves to be belittled because of their gender. If someone says no, it means no. It doesn’t mean maybe. It doesn’t mean “maybe I should ask again”. It mean no.

Nobody, regardless of gender and what they are or aren’t wearing deserves to be raped or assaulted. The term “boys will be boys” needs to be stricken from the vocabulary of the world. Saying that “I couldn’t help myself, she was showing everything, she must of wanted it” makes you seem like you’re nothing more than an animal that can’t control it’s baser urges. Do you know what can’t help itself when attacking? Crocodiles. Alligators. Tigers. Lions. They see something weak and they attack it.

Okay, now that I’ve ranted and gave my opinion on things. I need to go relax my brain and read a book.

Avenge Me

Avenge Me

Published: May 27, 2014

Avenge Me (Fifth Avenue Series) – Maisey Yates

Maisey isn’t a new author to me. I’ve read LOTS of her books in the past. I’ve read at least fifteen of her books. She’s put out at least twice that, so I’ve still got some catching up to do. My point is, I love her writing and I love her books. 

I have to say though, I think Avenge Me is her best work. I bought it yesterday afternoon, and started reading it earlier this evening. I could not put it down. COULD NOT. I finished the entire book in about four hours. It’s not a huge book ( 264 pages roughly) but that’s still a little faster than I normally read. 

I was so entranced by the characters, sucked into their world that I could do nothing else. I got grumpy towards the end of the book. I was almost to the epilogue and one of my friends insisted on texting me and starting a conversation. I’d have to put the book down to see what she said… and as soon as I picked it back up to get lost back in the world of the book, my phone would go off again. 

CAN’T YOU SEE I’M TRYING TO READ?!

Anyway. I should probably talk a little about the book, eh? 

Avenge Me is the first book in a new series by Maisey Yates, Caitlin Crews, and Kate Hewitt. Each of author has their own book, and each is it’s own complete story… but all three books are connected. I’m going to have to wait until the end of June to get the next one in the series Scandalize Me by Caitlin Crews and then until the end of August for the third book Expose Me by Kate Hewitt. Unless I can get my freckled little paws on some ARC copies. With my luck, I’ll be waiting impatiently. 

In Avenge Me we meet Austin Treffen, successful lawyer and business man. He comes from a very wealthy family, but is also very, very wealthy in his own right. On the surface he seems like a man in his prime, with nothing standing in his way of success. Except, he’s haunted. Haunted by the knowledge that one of his close friends committed suicide ten years ago and he couldn’t find a way to stop it. Haunted by the knowledge that it’s his father’s fault that his friend is gone… that his father isn’t the hero he idolized as a boy. Haunted by his desires. 

Ten years ago, Austin was your typical rich kid playboy. He was young and didn’t worry much about anything but himself. His friend Sarah came to him, and said she needed his help, that she was going through somethings, and he couldn’t seem to bother himself with reaching out to help her. She later commits suicide at a party for his father’s law firm that Austin is in attendance at. It kills him. Kills him that she’s gone and he did nothing. 

Fast forward ten years and Austin learns that his father — who is also a lawyer and an advocate for abused women — had a hand in Sarah’s ultimate death. Austin’s father is seen by the community as a savior. A good guy that can do no wrong. But that’s a lie. He’s an evil man that does horrible things to women. He finds women that are in a weak spot, either emotionally or financially, and provides them a job or pays off bills for them. After doing that, he makes it clear that it’s expected of them to make themselves available to him… and to his horrible friends. The women can say no, but all of the “help” they’ve been receiving disappears. He makes these women so dependent on him and his evil brand of help that they can’t say no. Basically, this supposed advocate for women who are being abused is himself an abuser. His law firm is a cover for what he does. His “friends” pay for dates by these women, and then they’re abused. Both by those so called friends (who are also high standing members of society) and Austin’s father. 

Sarah was one of those women. She got sucked into that horrible place and it broke her. It killed her spirit and her soul… so she took things into her own hands and prevented it from happening ever again. 

Austin is horrified when he learns the truth. Horrified and disgusted by what his father has been doing. He, along with his friends (who are in this book, but get their own stories in the sequels) vow to do whatever they have to to bring Austin’s father down and end it. 

Austin is also struggling with himself. He’s always had desires that he’s kept hidden from those around him. He’s got a bit of a kink, and it scares him. He wants to have control in the bedroom, to have control over a woman and her body and that terrifies him. He only gives into those thoughts and desires when he’s by himself… never when he’s with a partner. Especially now after finding out about his father’s dastardly deeds. He sees himself as following in the same violent footsteps. 

He keeps this all to himself… until he meets Katy Michaels. They meet at a party for Austin’s father’s law firm and are instantly attracted. Katy is Sarah’s younger sister. She’s come to discover exactly what happened to her sister to drive her to suicide, and to bring down the older Treffen. Austin and Katy meet and give in to the attraction. No names are shared, so neither of them has any idea who the other is. Because they keep it anonymous, he’s able to unleash a bit of what he’s been desiring for so long, and she’s able to freely ask for it. It’s carnal and dark but not violent. 

He freaks out just a bit after everything and then freaks out more when she tells him her name. He just slept with Sarah’s little sister. Poor guy. He know’s who she is now, but she has no clue who he is. Until several days later, anyway. Austin stops by his father’s office and overhears Katy in his fathers office in the middle of a discussion with his father, who is trying to discretely make Katy have to depend on him… so that she’ll end up like the others. She’s smarter than that and is able to decline, but ends up running into Austin in the hall. She’s shocked to see him and is even more shocked to learn who he is. 

Austin has strong protective urges when it comes to Katy and wants to keep her safe. Though, so accomplish that, he turns into a bit of an ass. He talks her into getting a ride from him so that they can talk privately… and then he calls and has her fired from her job. And then he asks her to move in with him… for “safety”. She’s pissed and turns him down. Thanks to being fired, she’s kicked out of her apartment by her roommate (Katy is two months behind on the rent and now she’s unemployed). Left with no other option, she calls Austin and tells him to get his ass back to her apartment to collect her things. 

Things are tense between the two after they first move in together, but once they start to have a semblance of a relationship, things start to even out. Austin is still freaked out by his need to have control, but isn’t doing much to keep it from Katy… because she likes it. They both are working hard to find all the evidence they need to bring down Mr. Treffen. 

It isn’t until Austin goes to reveal his father’s evil doings to his mother and sister (with Katy tagging along) that things start to go to shit. He’s planning a public take down of this father, and he needs to warn both his sister and his mother before that happens. Austin is hopeful that he can persuade his mother to divorce his father after he tells her the news. Mrs. Treffen admits that she’s always had her suspicions that her husband had been unfaithful, and confronted with the news that it’s an actual reality and that he’s been involved in illegal activities, she claims feeling ill and leaves the discussion. 

Several days later, Austin receives word through an angry phone call from his father, that his mother went along with them and asked her husband for a divorce in public. LOUDLY. Mr. Treffen is blindsided and wants Austin to help him. Austin agrees to meet his father at his office, but calls his mother on the way to talk to her about it. She admits to Austin that his father also abused her. That he made her afraid. Now fueled with the anger that this new knowledge has lent him, he meets his father and very clearly lets him know that Austin will be helping his mother with the divorce, and that he hates his father. At one point he’s tempted to kill the man, and almost does but holds onto his control. His need to see his father’s downfall overrides his desire to kill him. 

Still riding high from that meeting, he goes to his apartment to see Katy. Things… happen. He’s not violent, and not abusive. He’s not controlling at all. He’s as vanilla as you can be. When she tells him that she loves him, he panics. Calls her stupid and throws her love back in her face. Katy isn’t a weak woman. She gives as good as she gets. She stands up for herself and leaves, rather than stick around with an infuriating man that broke her heart. 

He’s wrecked without her. She’s a mess without him, but stronger because she knows she’s worth more than what he was giving her. They both are so good for each other. They compliment each other and heal each other. Austin’s finally able to get his head out of his ass and goes to find her to make amends. They are both better together now than they were before, and they can move forward, both with bringing down Mr. Treffen and with getting past their demons, together. 

I can’t wait to see what happens with Scandalize Me. I think each book will be able to be read as a stand alone… but they should probably be read together and in order to fully grasp the story. 

Maisey has some other books coming out soon that are parts of a series of her’s I’ve been reading. I’m way excited for those. I also learned while poking around on her website that there is a prequel to this series! It’s not out yet, but it will be out next Monday. I think it’s only available in eBook format, but I could be wrong. I can’t wait to read that either. 

Like I said in the beginning, I think this book was some of Maisey’s best work. I’d give this one a 10/10 and I have to find book shelf space for my copy. I’ll definitely be re-reading this one. 

Daddy Morebucks

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Daddy Morebucks

Published: September 5, 2013

Daddy Morebucks — Normandie Alleman

BY THE WAY. This book is for mature audiences aged 18 and older. If you’re younger than that, keep on keepin’ on.

This isn’t the type of erotica I normally read. I’m all for the Dom/sub books… but I’ve never really been able to get into the whole Daddy/little girl thing. 

But I decided to give it a try anyway. 

This was my first read by Normandie Alleman (love the name). I really liked her writing style. It was very smooth and she was very good at being able to describe what was happening so that you could “see” what was going on. 

The story itself wasn’t bad. I’ve seen the plot before. Poor girl that’s down on her luck meets rich guy who swoops in to save the day. There’s instant sexual attraction and they end up eventually falling in love. This was slightly different because of the Daddy/little girl aspect. It was kind of like Annie but with no actual children, but lots of kinky sex. Hence the title Daddy Morebucks

Marley is a down on her luck prostitute. She hates it, but can’t find a better way to make money. She’s approached by a man in a bar who says that he’s looking for someone for his boss. She’s tempted with the idea of a five thousand dollar cash payout at the end of the night (which is more money than she’s ever seen… she can use it to get herself OUT of the hooker business) and agrees. The man makes her sign some nondisclosure agreements, apparently his boss is a very important guy, and whisks her away to go meet his boss. 

She’s told from the start by Milton (the hooker finding assistant), that his boss prefers to be called “Daddy” and that there are other things that will be explained to her when they arrive at the hotel. At first she balks when she learns of the “Daddy” thing — not wanting to have sex with a pedophile, but she’s quickly assured that it’s just a fantasy and the bossman doesn’t actually like little girls, just grown women who wear pigtails and address him as Daddy. 

After being reassured she sticks with her original agreement and goes to meet the man. 

“Daddy” turns out to be a businessman named James. He’s a millionaire (of course he is) and he’s used to finding pro’s to work out his particular kink. Surprisingly, he doesn’t normally sleep with the girls he gets… he just does everything else. Of course, Marley is different and he starts to think of her differently than the women in the past. Those other women also left after the scene was over, but Marley is asked to stay the night. 

The next morning, she’s taken “home” (aka back to being homeless) by Milton and is paid for the previous night. She wastes no time in using that money to find the cheapest apartment she can get her hands onto and finding a waitressing job. 

James can’t get Marley out of his head, but didn’t get her last name or phone number (not that she has a phone to begin with) so finding her is harder than he expected. Though, thanks to the help of a PI, he’s able to track her down. She’s understandably taken aback when he shows up at her new tiny apartment. I would have been too if I had been in her shoes and some guy that I’d hooked up with, but didn’t really know showed up where I lived out of the blue. After some discussion, he’s able to talk her into letting him help her paint her apartment, and then letting him take her to lunch. 

James is then able to explain to her that he’d like to see her again, be with her again like they were night at the hotel. He needs for her to be submissive — use the “yes sir” “no sir” and “yes Daddy” terms — and she agrees. 

A few days later, he come back to her apartment to talk to her (and scares the bejeezus out of her because he was hiding in the shadows like a creep) and asks her if she would consider moving into his apartment with him. I liked that she didn’t instantly agree and told him that she’d have to think about it. Smart girl. Well. I mean. It’s not like she really took that long to think about it, but she did make it clear that she needed some time alone to think about the proposition. He respects her wishes, gives her a cell phone so he can stop hanging in the shadows like a creep when he wants to talk to her and leaves her to think. 

Of course she agrees and next thing we know, she’s at his penthouse apartment (I did mention he’s rich — right? ) and is being shown around by a delighted James. He explains his rules to her and some of them she’s not too keen on. She has to check in with him wherever she goes, has to call him either “Daddy” or “Sir”, isn’t allowed to use any drugs, and can only have two alcoholic drinks a day. That last one kind of bugged me. Two drinks only? That’s barely enough to get a buzz (for me anyway). I don’t think having alcohol as long as it’s in moderation and not abused is fine. Marley agrees with me and pushes back against that particular rule. James warns her that she’s pushing her luck, but she sticks with her argument. One spanking later, and she’s a little more agreeable. 

They settle into their new routine and things seem to be going great for them both. Marley starts to feel like she isn’t able to contribute anything to the relationship besides sex, because what can you get for the man who has more money than he knows what to do with besides that? He’s paying for all of her expenses and she’s starting to feel like a kept woman. She gets introduced to some of his friends girlfriends (friends who also share the Daddy kink) which allows her to make friends with women who are in similar relationships. 

Christmas is coming up and she doesn’t know what to get him, so she approaches one of the women she’s befriended that isn’t in a relationship, and asks if she’d consider joining Marley and James in a threesome as a present to James (who has no idea this is being planned). Charmaine — the other workman — agrees and they make plans. 

On the day of the planned threesome, things seem to be going exactly how Marley planned for them to go… until she starts getting jealous. She didn’t expect for that to be an issue, but seeing James with Charmaine makes her sick, and she ends up making an excuse that she has to go to the bathroom, but actually sneaks out of the apartment and leaves. 

James is shocked when he realizes she’s gone and is frantic to find her. She seeks refuge at one of the other girl’s houses while she gets her thoughts in order. He goes by himself to Christmas dinner at his parents house (he’d been planning to take Marley as his girlfriend) and while he’s gone, she goes back to his apartment to spend Christmas night alone because it’s the only home she knows. He arrives home early and finds here there. They’re able to finally discuss what happened the night of the botched threesome and agree that they won’t be doing that again. They both profess their love for each other and then live happily ever after. 

The book wasn’t bad. It wasn’t as great as other erotica Dom/sub books I’ve read, but it wasn’t a horrible read. I was more turned off by the Daddy aspect, but I knew going in that this was a part of the book. I don’t know if I would read this particular book again, but I would be open to reading more of the authors work… granted it’s not the Daddy kink. 

I think I’d give this one an 8/10. 

ps. Yes I know I said my next review was going to be for Avenge Me but this was next in my queue so… whoops. I AM reading Avenge me though.

pps. I think I need to find a way to label some of these as being for mature audiences. Like… over the age of 18. Yes? No? Or should I just let people read it that stumble across it?

Patience is a virtue…

Well. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. I know (and those that know me also know) that I’m not exactly the most patient person in the world.

I’m the girl that when I’m making brownies, I burn my mouth and fingers because I can’t wait for them to cool after baking. I’ve just been forced to wait half an hour (or more) for these brownies to do their thing in the oven, and now I’m going to have to wait for them to get to a reasonable temperature before I can eat them? BUT THEY SMELL SO GOOD. Yeah, no. I’m not waiting. I’ll let them cool down from being the temperature of molten lava, but as soon as they’re past that? Just try to hold me back.

Also — Cookie dough? I don’t like having to wait for them to be baked into actual cookies. I’m pretty sure the whole “you’re going to get saminalia and be sick” thing is just to scare people away from eating cookie dough raw. I’m in college to become a Pharmacy Technician, and I’ve taken a lot of anatomy classes. I’ve also eaten a lot of raw cookie dough and I’ve been fiiiine. So it could either be a scare tactic… or I could just have an iron stomach. Have you ever had chocolate chip cookie dough? It’s better than the actual chocolate chip cookies.

Another thing that just makes me crazy is having to wait for new books to be published. I have a few authors that I’ve been reading for a long time that have new books coming out that are either the next installment in an ongoing series, or it’s the start of a new series. And of course… those books aren’t due to be out for months.

MONTHS.

The curse of being a fast reader, is that I’ll finish a book really fast, and the next one in the series won’t be out yet. Sometimes (when my luck is really crappy) there isn’t even a solid release date for the book. It seriously makes me want to cry.

Current example: I just finished a few weeks ago (before I started this blog and being an active reviewer) Lori Foster’s Love Undercover series. it’s a set of four books that were published starting at the end of 2012. There were six to seven months between each book being released.

It. Was. Torture.

Her next series (Ultimate Knocks) has TWO books that will be coming out in August of this year and then the third book doesn’t come out until APRIL OF 2015. I’m pretty stoked for the first two books to come out in the same month, but I’m so not looking forward to waiting until next April for the last one. I love Lori’s work, so I’ll wait… but I’m going to pout about it.

Because I know this happens, and I know that books take time to be written, then edited and then finally published, I try to read a bunch of different series at the same time, that way, I’ll always have something coming out. Actually, I just try to read a bunch of books all the time because nothing is better to me than reading. Except maybe that chocolate chip cookie dough I mentioned earlier.

I’m sorry. I’ve got cookie dough on the brain. I don’t have any in my house, and one of my friends earlier mentioned that she was eating some… so now of course I want it. I’m not changing out of my comfy clothes to go brave Wal-Mart for it though.

I took myself to go see a movie today — the new X-Men one that just came out. I’m a huuuge fan of Marvel. I’ve watched all of the previous X-Men movies except for the second Wolverine one. Oops. I really liked the movie, the concept of being sent back in time was intriguing, and I thought they really pulled it off. Most of my favorite characters from the previous movies were back, which made me happy. Some of them were just cameos — no lines — but whatever. I got to see their faces. Because it’s a Marvel movie, I stayed after all the credits were over to see the post credits clip. If you DON’T do this after a Marvel movie… you’re missing out. There is ALWAYS SOMETHING AFTER THE CREDITS. Usually it has to do with the movie you just saw, or an upcoming one. This clip left me confused. I have no idea what it was for. Though, that might be because I haven’t read any of the comic books. Whoops.

After the movie, I skipped across town to my most favorite place. THE BOOKSTORE. I told Maisey Yates on twitter yesterday that I’d tweet her a picture of her new book if I could find it in stores. It took some searching (the booksellers were hiding it in the back -___- ) but I found it and accomplished my mission. I decided to buy it because hey… it was already in my hands… plus I haven’t read a physical book in a while. I tried to find Susan Mallery’s new Fool’s Gold book… but it was also nowhere to be seen. It was release day for BOTH books. There were some suspicious empty spots over by where Susan’s books are kept, so I’m thinking it got picked over before I made my way over there. I’ll be getting the eBook of that one, I guess.

My next review will probably be of Maisey’s new one I picked up today. It’s called Avenge me and it looks good. I actually tried to get an ARC copy of the book, but I never heard anything about it. I planned on reviewing it either way, so I’m still a happy camper.

Speaking of… it’s getting pretty late here. I think it’s time for me to go upstairs to bed and curl up with Mr. Austin Treffen from Avenge me. wpid-20140528_010720.jpg

 

I’m a sucker for covers and men in nice suits. Isn’t he cute? I think Austin and I are going to be great friends. I’ll let you know how he behaves. Talk to you later, loves.

– Cal

The Virginity Mission

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review.*

Actually, I wasn’t given this book to review. It was given as a gift by the author, who said I didn’t have to review it, but I loved it so much that I couldn’t resist. 

The Virginity Mission

Published: June 1st, 2013

The Virginity Mission – Cate Ellink

This is my second read by Cate Ellink. The first was A Real Online Fantasy in the Hot Down Under Bundle #3. Just like that one, this one is also in first person. 

I’ve said it before, that I don’t normally read stories in first person, but I find that I don’t much mind it at all with Cate’s work. I get sucked into the story, fall in love with the characters and I forget about it being in first person. 

The Virginity Mission is just what it sounds like. A mission to lose one’s virginity. Willow MacIntosh (Mac) is a twenty one year old research scientist fresh out of the university. She’s, you guessed it, a virgin… and she’s very unhappy with that fact. I can commiserate. Most girls I’m friends with lost theirs in high school. I didn’t lose mine until after I started college. I was a little older than Mac, but I totally can understand where she’s coming from. (Too personal? Sorry, not sorry) 

Mac sets out to join a scientific expedition into the rain forests in Northern Queensland — in Australia. To be completely honest, I had to google maps Australia to see where everything was. I’ve never been there, so I know nothing. lol Anyway, back to the review. Mac applies and gets accepted to join this expedition to study plant life in the Aussie rain forests. 

This is her first big expedition, six weeks out in the wild, and she’s instantly drawn to, and captivated by one of the army personnel that is tasked with loading all the gear for all the scientists into a truck. Her internal battle she has while she’s waiting in line to have her pack stowed is comical. She’s definitely attracted to this unknown man, and her brain wastes no time in telling her that her lusty thoughts are a waste of time. 

Dear God, I’ve lost my mind.

I laughed out loud. I’ve said that same exact thing to myself in almost the exact same type of situation many, many times. Even though she’s convinced herself that she stands no chance with this guy, she still flips her backpack around so that the straps are facing towards the military men in hopes it’ll make his job easier. Not that it looks like he’s having that hard of a time. He thanks her, and her mind goes into hyperdrive. Does this mean that he maybe likes her back? He didn’t thank anyone else. What does it mean?!? Because she can’t help herself, Mac goes out of her way to secure two bottles of water and makes sure to leave one on the bumper of the truck he’d been loading. After this, she learns that there’s a strict no fraternization policy between the scientists and the army men. Scientists can hook up with fellow scientists (I think) but the army guys are off limits. Which sucks, because how is she supposed to ah… get rid of her pesky problem… now? 

Later on in the day, after meeting the group she’ll be paired with for the next six weeks, she breaks away to hang out by the nearby creek (that I’m assuming is crocodile free). That’s when the man from earlier makes his appearance. He settles in on the creek bed with her and starts up a conversation. Mac’s been feeling a little self conscious since meeting the rest of her group — they’re all much more athletic than she is — and blurts this all out to this guy. He doesn’t make fun of her, but he does challenge her. Makes her rethink some of what she’s been thinking. She thanks him for the advice he shared and they finally share names. He’s finally not that army guy. He’s Jason. He makes his move, kissing her senseless but then pulling away… after making a remark about forgetting about the “no fraternization policy”. 

Understandably, she’s confused. Why kiss her if he knows he shouldn’t? Because he couldn’t resist. Good answer, Jason. He’s a cheeky guy and I instantly liked him once more of his personality was shown. 

Before too long, it’s time for Mac and her group to set out on their first leg of their trip. A three day hike out to a site to test out their camping and packing abilities before their really long hike. There’s a last minute tag along to their group, one of the men from the army wants to come along as they make their way to their camping area after their hike. No, it’s not Jason. I was sad too. It’s one of his guys though, Tim, who has noticed that something is going on between Mac and Jason, but isn’t sure WHAT exactly. All he knows is that Jason is acting different and Mac is the cause. So he tags along on their three day hike to try to figure it out. 

Mac keeps mum about her attraction to Jason, and is fascinated that Tim is so curious. He leaves once they reach their waterfall camp ground, but before he goes, he makes a comment that he’ll report back that “they’re safe” and winks at Mac, clearly giving her a message that he’ll also be letting Jason know she’s okay. Poor Mac is still flabbergasted. Will Jason care? WHY would he care? 

After they finish their little hiking trip and have arrived back at base camp, Mac goes to try to seek out Jason, but he’s always busy. She doesn’t want to get either of them in any kind of trouble, but she can’t help but try to see him. Their low-key flirting was amusing. He’ll catch her eye and send a wink, or a sexy grin. Other times he’ll walk past her and make sure to be close enough to brush her hand with his. Poor girl turns bright red whenever he does any of this. 

The night before Mac and her group are set to go on their next trip — this one is for three weeks instead of three days — she gives herself one more try to find Jason. It’s here where we discover why he holds himself back from really flirting with her. It’s more than just the no fraternization rule. A “while back” he tells her that on one of these trips the scientists take that the army helps with, some of the lady scientists and army guys hooked up. Everything seemed like it was okay until after the scientists left and the women who’d been hooking up reported the men and complained about their behavior. Jason was also in charge during that trip, and because it happened on his watch, he was demoted in rank. He’s afraid that will happen again, and that’s why he hold himself back. Which is completely understandable. Shoot. Who wants to be demoted twice? Poor guy. 

Even though it’s a risk, they share a few kisses in the dark as they talk and start to really get to know each other. They make plans for him to meet her (and her group) at the end of their seventeen day hike to where the mangrove tree’s they’ll be studying are located. 

Can I just say, that I can’t even imagine hiking for ONE day let alone seventeen? There’s a reason why I sit at home and read books. I’m so not a girl that hikes. Or camps. Mac is WAY braver than I am. 

Jason joins the camp at the mangroves the day after Mac and her group arrive (they actually hiked for eighteen days. *shudder* ) and Mac is STOKED. Unfortunately, there’s a problem. One of the ladies from base camp (the assistant quartermaster) came along on the trip with Jason…and it seems like Fiona has a sixth sense. She sticks close to Jason and will just appear out of nowhere. She’s like a ninja. A cock-blocking, kiss preventing ninja. Oh, don’t get me wrong, she was a nice lady, but both Mac and I were both happy to see her go. 

Once Fiona is gone, Mac and Jason have more opportunities to sneak away from the rest of the group and fool around. Once they finally start to really fool around, things get heated pretty quickly (literally and figuratively — they’re in a hot tub), much to Mac’s delight. Well. They were getting heated until Jason pulls back before things can go too far. They all but stop once he finds out for sure that she isn’t experienced. Why do men do that? Once they find out you’re not experienced with the whole sex thing, it’s like you’ve thrown cold water on them. To be fair, some guys don’t mind… but the majority of them do. I just don’t get it. 

Luckily for Mac, he’s willing to talk about it. Kind of. He wants to know why now and why him. After some discussion, and some light teasing from Jason…they seem to pick back off where they had stopped before, but Jason again pulls away before it can happen. By this point, Mac’s convinced herself that he’s just coming up with excuses and leaves him in the hot tub to go shower before retreating to her tent. Because Jason isn’t playing with her and is a good guy, he goes after her to apologize and explain his reasonings better than he was doing while they were in the hot tub. She still doesn’t like his answers, but also doesn’t want to get him in trouble. Damn the no fraternization policy. 

Several days into their research trip, she finds out that the scientists that work on the mangroves full time are hiring. She makes a promise to herself to keep an eye out for the openings because she’s been loving researching and studying the mangroves so far, and can picture her doing this as a career. Jason and Mac manage to have a short moment alone before dinner, and he asks her to visit him after dinner if she can get away from her group without being seen. Of course she says yes

FINALLY, poor Mac is getting what she’s been after. Jason goes out of his way to make it as special and nice as he can for her… even though they’re in the middle of nowhere. At the same time it’s everything she expected and not at all what she expected, but Mac couldn’t be happier. 

Morning comes way too soon, and Mac has to sneak back to the tents before the rest of the group wakes up so that they don’t get caught. Getting Jason in trouble is NOT on her to-do list. Sadly, she’s not that lucky and runs into one of her group mates — a guy named Sam — on her way “back” from the showers. He’s curious and slightly suspicious about her being up and about so early, but she brushes it off. Or so she thinks. Sam appoints himself as her big brother and sticks as close to her on the trek back as he can. He’s guessed that something happened, but isn’t sure what. When he makes a comment to her in private about him being worried that Jason had been bothering her, Mac is quick to set him straight. She doesn’t tell him that they slept together, but she makes it clear that Jason was no bother. 

Tim meets the group to take them back to base camp after they hike out of the rain forest, and makes discrete comments to Mac that Jason has been in a “mood” since coming back from the Mangroves. What happened?! She’s a smart cookie though, and keeps her mouth shut… but she’s suspicious that he’s guessed anyway. Tim invites her to come over to the army’s campfire after dinner, where she runs into Jason. Or — where he sees her and beckons her over. He tucks a newspaper under an arm and draws her away from the people around them, into the dark woods so that they can talk in privacy, but those plans get shot to hell when the expedition leader arrives and finds some of the army guys with women… and then finds Jason with Mac. 

Jason passes her the newspaper and stands ready in font of the expedition leader, who’s not a happy person after seeing some “evidence” of fraternization happening. The women that are there with the men aren’t part of the scientist group (from what I gathered) so the policy doesn’t work on them. However finding Jason and Mac together raises his suspicions and he begins questioning them about what’s going on and why she’s there. 

Mac’s a quick thinker and makes up a story that she’s just arrived before he did, and that she was trying to find out why Jason had given her the newspaper, but before they could discuss it, they were interrupted by the expedition leader. Jason has a good poker face, and the other man lets them have a few minutes to finish their discussion. She finds out that it’s from the mangrove scientists and has an ad for a job opening in it. She’s happier than I am when I get cookie dough, and tells the expedition leader what Jason told her. 

He herds her away from the army men and interrogates her further on the matter, sure that she’s lying. She repeats herself again, explaining in further detail about how she’d talked to the mangrove scientists about wanting to work with them, and that the Sergeant was just being kind by passing along the newspaper so she wouldn’t miss the opportunity to apply for the job. He finally believes her, and she goes on to further clarify that she didn’t want to get anyone in trouble… that nothing had been happening besides her going to get the newspaper from Jason. Again, she’s believed and learns that he’ll just get a warning. His job is safe. 

She gets busy with getting ready to make the journey back home, and isn’t able to see Jason again before departing the site. Once she gets home, she jumps onto the job application, not wanting to waste any time in applying. Both her mother and supposed best friend are not very supportive about her desire to get a job at the other end of the country (She’s from Melbourne, and she’s applying to work in Townsville. Don’t worry — I had to google maps where all this was). She’s different than she was before she left on this adventure, and she doesn’t let their negativity bring her down. She needs to do this. She needs to get this job and be able to stand on her own two feet. 

Poor girl has to wait over a week before hearing if she got the job, but as soon as she learns that the spot is hers, her car is packed and she’s off like a rocket. Her mother cries, and her dad makes a speech along the lines of the baby bird leaving the nest. 

Mac makes it to Townsville and finds her new apartment. She’s been given a couple of days to settle in before she has to report for her job, and she’s eager to look for Jason. The only problem is… she doesn’t know his last name or his phone number. That makes things a little complicated. The gatekeeper at the army barracks can’t help her without knowing the last name of who she’s looking for, so she’s turned away. A little disheartened, she starts her job without finding Jason first. 

But, you know, this is a HEA so don’t freak out. 

By chance, she sees a couple of army trucks pulled off the road and recognizes one of the men. It’s Tim! She quickly pulls her car over and flies over to where he is, happy to see a familiar face. Jason appears and all is right in Mac’s world. Their reunion is sweet and fun. They agree to take things slow, and learn more about each other, but they’re together and as Mac said…Mission Accomplished

I think I’ve said this already, but I really enjoyed this one. I know I said I don’t like reading first person books, but I think maybe I’ve just ben reading the wrong ones? I don’t know. I’ve really liked the last two that I read (both by this same author). Cate Ellink has some other books coming out later this year and I’m awaiting their arrival impatiently.

10/10 would recommend this book. 

The Navy SEALs E-mail Order Bride

*I was given a free copy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts are my own. I was not paid by the publisher or the author for my review*

The Navy SEALs email order bride

Published: May 17, 2014

The Navy SEAL’s E-Mail Order Bride – Cora Seton

I needed a change up from the erotica that I’ve been reading, so I picked up The Navy SEAL’s E-mail Order Bride. Honestly, the cover is what drew me to this one at first. I can’t even lie. Hunky shirtless dude? I like those. The title was what made me curious about the story. SEALs? I like reading about those. But wait… an email order bride? Color me curious. Plus, it’s Memorial Day, so it seemed kinda fitting that I’d read a book about a Navy SEAL today. 

I know that back in the day, arranged marriages and mail order brides were a thing that happened. Aaaand I know that arranged marriages sometimes happen still today. I hadn’t even considered that mail ordered brides were still a thing. But the concept of it, and it being updated to being and email ordered bride was too intriguing to pass up. Plus, did I mention the hunky dude on the cover? 

Right, so let me get to the book. 

Mason Hall and his four brothers, Zane, Austin and Colt are all military men. Mason is the SEAL, Zane is a Marine, Austin (Zane’s twin) is Army Special Forces, and Colt (the youngest) is a pilot in the Air Force. All four brothers learn that they are given the rights to the ranch that was in the family for decades, but it comes with conditions. Their aunt Heloise sends a letter to Mason telling him that the ranch is theirs now because their uncle Zeke (who had been the current owner and had been running the ranch) died without designating an heir. 

The conditions for the men getting the ranch are simple: get married, have a baby on the way, and have a hundred head of cattle on the ranch within a year. 

That sounds simple… right? 

Yeah, not so much. 

Mason takes the initiative, and creates an online profile for himself and his brothers that clearly states that they’re looking for wives. The brother’s responses to Mason’s announcement, first the conditions to getting the ranch and then to the website, are hilarious. Grudgingly, they agree to look through the emails they’ve been unknowingly receiving from the website to see about getting a wife. Well. Colt kind of agrees… but he’s very clear that he is so not excited about any of this. 

Then we meet Regan Anderson. She’s a New Yorker and a former Loan Officer at a bank… and she’s desperate to be a mom. All her former relationships ended up falling apart, but that wasn’t going to stop Regan from fulfilling her dream of mommyhood. She’s settling into a night at home in her new smaller apartment watching movies and drinking wine when she stumbles across Mason’s ad online. At first, she think’s it’s a joke. I would have too. Or a scam. After switching to some tequila (note: wine + tequila isn’t a good mix… just sayin’) and arguing with herself wether she should do it or not, she decides to send Mason an email. She’s got Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice playing on the tv in the background, and the movie adds some hilariousness to her email. I can’t quote the whole thing, but here’s a snippet: 

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good ranch, must in want of a wife…

I was so amused by her email. it was sassy and hilarious. She kept up the same tone throughout the email which I loved. Mason thought she was hilarious too. He almost skimmed over her email and sent it to the trash bin, but something about it (probably the humor… or maybe it was the reminder of being tormented in English class in High School by Jane Austen’s works) made him hold onto it and write her back. He keeps his email short and sweet, but doesn’t make fun of her for the silliness of the first email. 

Regan wakes up the next morning with a headache and a faint inkling that maybe she did something last night she shouldn’t have. That inkling is turned into reality when she checks her email and sees the reply from Mason. At first, she tries to make it clear to him that it was meant as a joke, and that she wasn’t serious about marrying him — a man she’d never met before. 

Over the course of several more emails, and eventually Skype conversations, Mason is able to talk her into being his friend. From there, he makes it clear that he is interested in her, and would like to see where this thing between them goes. Regan is hesitant, but agrees. Sort of. 

After getting discharged from the Navy — he was at the end of his career — Mason decides to make the trip to New York to surprise Regan, instead of heading to Montana to the ranch to see how it’s been fairing under his uncle’s ownership. Regan is understandably surprised when Mason shows up, but she’s happy to see him. 

They spend a little bit of time getting to know each other in NY before Mason asks Regan to come to Montana with him to see the ranch…and to see if the thing between them could develop into a marriage. She thinks about it for a little, and decides to give this thing a chance and goes along with him. 

Unfortunately, the ranch is worse for the wear when they arrive. Mason’s uncle Zeke didn’t keep up with all the upkeep that is required for a ranch, and sold off most of the appliances and furniture that was in the house and barn. Not only do they have to repair the main house, barn and all the fencing at the ranch, they both come to find out that dear ol’ Zeke had been borrowing money from people in town… large sums of money… and didn’t repay any of his debts before his death. So this means that all of his debt falls on Mason and his brothers (who are still serving, but in the gradual process of being discharged) to repay. Like they need any more things to deal with. 

Things seem like they’re spiraling out of control to Mason, and he almost calls everything off. The pursuit of Regan, trying to fix the ranch, all of it doesn’t seem like it would work to him. He doesn’t want to trap Regan into a marriage if he can’t provide for her, and he doesn’t think the ranch could do that. Lucky for him, Regan is smart and able to make some friends in town, who come by and help Mason with the rebuilding. She knows all about the conditions Mason’s aunt set for them so they could have the ranch (he fessed up when he thought everything was falling apart) so she enlists the help of his brothers and is able to help Mason (along with their friends she’s helped make in town) bring back the ranch. 

This was a cute quick read, and I really liked it. It’s the first in a series… the other brothers from what I saw all get their own story. The Navy SEALs E-mail Order Bride was a much lighter read compared to the last two I read. There was definitely still lots of sexy stuff happening, but it wasn’t as near as erotic as they were. I’ll probably read the brother’s stories, just so I can see what happens. 

If you like quick, light romantic reads with hunky SEALs, I recommend this one.