Dark Illusion (Dark #29)

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At any other time, Julija Brennan would find solace in the quiet of the Sierra Mountains, but now the mage is in the race of her life. Having broken free from her controlling family, Julija’s attempts to warn the Carpathians of the coming threat has failed and put a target on her back—and those who hunt her are close behind…

After centuries locked away in a monastery in the Carpathian Mountains, Isai Florea can’t believe he’s finally found his lifemate—the missing half of his soul. The second he sees Julija his world blazes with color. But despite their explosive connection Julija rebels against what she sees as Isai’s intent to control her and rejects the bond that would prevent him from becoming a monster.

As their unfulfilled bond continues to call to them both, Julija and Isai aim to complete the task that brought them together. They are used to facing danger alone, but now the mage and the ancient warrior must learn how to rely on each other in order to stop a plot that threatens all Carpathians…

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Dark Illusion is a traditional romance novel that has the slightest elements of BDSM in it. The book is very mainstream, but there are two short spanking scenes in the beginning of the book, while the ancient Carpathian hero and the modern mage heroine are feeling each other out.

One aspect of this romance that I loved is that even though the characters are in insta-lust with each other (destiny and all that), they don’t bond immediately, leading both to feel that the souls were mismatched or damaged. Their hesitancies drew me into the story, made the romance easier to relate to and definitely led to certain humourous moments.

There is quite a bit of conversation regarding lifemates, and whether or not it is fair to expect the women to give up her life when she is claimed, or fair to the Carpathian to allow him to turn vampire or suicide, so that the woman does not need to sacrifice herself. I think this conversation was long overdue and I am glad that Julija had it with several characters, working through her problems with Isai’s expectations. I enjoy a little supernatural romance but for me, it always needs to be grounded with some level of magical realism, and normal human emotions and behaviour.

The remaining sections of the book are devoted to the epic struggle between Carpathian and vampires and evil mages. Battles are fought, betrayals uncovered and through it all Isai and Julija enjoy some sheet-ripping good sex.

I enjoyed the book, although the Carpathian series is the one I like least from this author. Dark Illusion hinted at Elisabeta and Ferro’s upcoming story, and I am very excited to read that one.

Overall, fans of the Carpathian series should enjoy reading Dark Illusion. It should be read in order, as much of the plot will not make sense otherwise.

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Reclaiming Emma (Cloudcroft Ranch #5)

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With credit card debt piling up and her marriage seemingly in trouble, Emma Lanyon makes an impulsive decision and flies to Cloudcroft Ranch unannounced to visit her sister. Upon her arrival, however, she is scolded about running away from her problems, and once her husband joins her at the ranch he quickly leaves Emma in no doubt that things are going to change. From now on, when she needs to be taken in hand her bottom will be bared and very soundly spanked.

Over the coming days, Emma is taught to surrender her body to her husband’s demands. His stern dominance arouses her intensely, and when he decides to share her with another man she is brought to heights of pleasure she never imagined. But obedience is expected, and she soon learns the hard way that putting her safety at risk will earn her a truly shameful punishment.

Emma’s desire for both men grows stronger with every new experience and every blushing climax, but will their shared bond endure even when the time comes to leave Cloudcroft?

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Reclaiming Emma is the fifth book in the Cloudcroft Ranch series.

This book is unique from the previous works of Isabella Laase. We see a couple who is already married, and attempting to integrate BDSM into their relationship, rather than two individuals who first meet in the book. Additionally, Emma’s husband Javi is mostly new to this lifestyle. This is the first book I have read where the Dominant is a novice.

Together, Javi and Emma decide to add in new friend Dylan to their kinky relationship and eventually form a strong emotion bond as a poly-amorous relationship.

Ms. Laase is a wonderful writer, and that is no small feat. Lately, I have been trying many new authors in the erotica/romance genre and there is so much dribble out there. Ms. Laase is descriptive and actually devotes word count to story and not just kinky fuckery.

That being said, there was a lot in this book that didn’t work for me.

Reclaiming Emma posits that adopting some form of D/s relationship will just fix the very serious relationship problems that exist between Javi and Emma from the start of the novel, and magically cure her depression. Which is ludicrous. Additionally, therapy for her, and for them as a couple is only briefly mentioned in one of the opening chapters and never pursued. I was also highly skeptical that adding in other partners for D/s play and Dylan as a serious third in the relationship was appropriate when Emma and Javi were throwing around the “D-word”.

There seemed to be the expectation among all the Doms in this book that spanking can cure Emma. It can’t. She is depressed and based off her decision to throw away her home and marriage by leaving, she is standing on the edge of an emotional cliff. Spanking may change some of her actions but it is in no way addressing any of the deeper reasons for those actions and is likely to lead to very serious emotional trauma.

The cover blurb suggest that Emma and Javi develop a D/s style relationship, but it almost immediately develops into a Daddy/babygirl style instead. That kink is not identified anywhere on the cover or blurb, and I think it should have been. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it felt like the author tried to hide that aspect.

There is also a serious lack of conversation between Emma and Javi and Dylan in regards to the problems that developed in the first place in their marriage and how a consensual BDSM relationship would proceed. The consent on Emma’s part is assumed or implied beyond the first couple of scenes, with little discussion.

Finally … if anyone is still reading at this point …

Dylan is the brother of Olivia, the lead character in book four of this series. Olivia shows up repeatedly in Reclaiming Emma and although she and Dylan never interact sexually, they both publicly have naked, kinky sex with their respective partners while in the same room as each other, and discuss Olivia’s babygirl relationship with her two Daddy doms and the physical discipline aspect of that relationship … and that completely squirks me out!

Overall, this is a fun read but nothing that will ever top my list. I feel like the author is wasting her talent because she is quite a good writer, but doesn’t take the time – or possibly have the knowledge – to write a healthy D/s relationship. Maybe this is off base, but IMHO, she seems to be writing about the scene from an outsider’s perspective.

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A Little Submission (Collection)

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Together in one complete set, six historical Victorian romances from USA Today Bestselling author Zoe Blake.

Pleasure and pain are one in the era of Victorian romances. An essential collection from the author who has mastered the genre. USA Today Bestseller Zoe Blake is known for her explicit descriptions, creative chastisement and wickedly wanton love scenes.

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Zoe Blake is an author that I have mentioned on this blog before. She writes historical and contemporary erotica, largely focused on DD/lg or BDSM.

The titles in this collection are:

The Submission of Little Emmie

Disciplining the Maid

Penelope’s Punishment

Chosen to be His Little Angeline

The Duke’s Possession

Papa’s Little Pain Princess <this book contains aspects of sadism/masochism>

In the last couple of months I have been going through a really big kick of historical romance which is super unusual for me. I’m usually about about LEO and mafia romances. But sometimes we need to roll with the punches and broaden our horizons a little, amiright?!

This collection contains 6 historical novellas set in the 1800s of Britain. Each features a masterful male member of the aristocracy and the woman he “insta-love” falls for. They are definitely short enough to read one each evening before bed, and it is much cheaper to buy the collection on Amazon than purchase each book individually. Wish I had realized that a little sooner :/

Every story contains spanking scenes, and infantilism of a grown woman. Most of these brides have a nanny who disciplines them as well, but there is no sexual relations between the women. Check out the tag section of this post to find out more of the kink, and if this collection is right for you. I would have rated the books higher if they had been longer and a little more balanced between story and sexy times.

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The Rebel’s Secret (Ride Hard #3)

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She was determined to claim her revenge. He was determined to claim her.
 Michaela Armistead had only revenge in mind when she stepped into that frontier saloon. Disguised as a boy, she had been on her father’s murderer’s trail since the end of the War Between The States. What she hadn’t counted on was Major John Thomas Brice, commanding officer of the nearby fort, taking her prisoner!

One look at those flashing violet eyes and Major Brice knew this was one little rebel who needed to be taken in hand. He would be damned if he allowed her to continue on her dangerous quest for revenge. She needed to learn, in this part of Texas, his word was law. If that lesson came at the end of a leather strap, then so be it.

Problem was, his feisty Rebel was not going to give in without a fight!

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The Rebel’s Secret is the third and final book in the Ride Hard series. Like the others, it could be read as a standalone. They are each set on the western frontier, shortly after the end of the American Civil War.

Michaela is tracking down her mother and stepfather, both cruel people who murdered her father and conspired to murder Michaela. She is intent on avenging her family when she runs into Major Brice.

This is definitely a case of instant love, especially from the hero’s perspective. He is intent on wedding and bedding his fierce and fiesty little lady, but it takes more than a couple of spankings to tame her!

This was my least favourite book in the series. For some reason, I just didn’t click with the characters and the lack of plot development in the book itself, and the series as a whole, was irritating.

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The Gunfighter’s Pursuit (Ride Hard #2)

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Emma Fairfax has a secret. She is not the prim and proper new schoolteacher this small Arizona town had been expecting from the East. Emma chased that poor woman away when she robbed her stagecoach and shot a man in cold blood. It wasn’t Emma’s fault. He would have shot her first. Now she was in a bind. No money. No place to go. A wanted criminal. Murderess! Her only way out was to pretend to be Miss Glendolene Rimmel, respectable schoolteacher.

And it was going remarkably well… until he rode into town.

Jackson Horn noticed two things straight away about the town’s pretty little schoolmarm. The sweet sashay of her hips when she walked… and that she was hiding something. As a Confederate soldier turned gunfighter after the war, he earned his money tracking down men for their bounties and hiring out his gun to the highest bidder. So he was good at spotting liars and thieves. He didn’t give a damn about the coin, what he really wanted was information on the man who framed him for murder. Each bounty, each kill brought him closer to his revenge.

The schoolteacher’s secret started out as a mild curiosity. A way to get closer to the straight-laced beauty’s charms.

Then she tried to kill him… twice.
Now Horn is determined to learn her secret. Determined to rein in her stubborn spirit and get her to accept his discipline and protection. He might even be falling in love with the feisty beauty… if he can get her to stop trying to kill him long enough!

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This is the second book in the Ride Hard series. It is set in the west, shortly after the American Civil War ended. This book could easily be read as a standalone.

Emma is terrified when she first meets Horn, convinced that he is a lawman tracking her down, ready to hang her as a murderess. Luckily for her, he is more of a bounty hunter – a hired gun – who has no intention of prohibiting a future with the lady he has fallen for.

The Gunfighter’s Pursuit is a short novel that I read in one sitting. It contains a couple of scenes of dubious consent, but I would not consider the novel to be “dark”.

If you are looking for a quick and easy read with dirty scenes and insta-love, this is one book I would recommend for a cozy evening in bed.

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The Cowboy’s Revenge (Ride Hard #1)

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When Mason caught sight of the beautiful woman with honey-brown hair and violet eyes, he could think of only one thing…revenge.

For three longs years during the War Between the States, he was forced to wait to learn who had murdered his brother. The wait was over. He would take everything from the man; his wealth, his power…his daughter.

Annabelle was getting as far away from Vulture City, Arizona and her step-father as she could, even if she had to marry the boring banker’s son to do it. On the morning she planned to elope, a handsome stranger shows up claiming her step-father lost her in a poker game and she was now his.
 She will fight him tooth and nail every step of the trail even as his punishments get harsher and more creative.

Contains anal play, domestic discipline, and creative cowboy-style punishments.

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I am definitely on a kinky cowboy kick right now.

The Cowboy’s Revenge is a historical erotica set in the frontier, shortly after the American Civil War. This series consists of three short stories, each about 120 or so pages in length.

Zoe Blake is the queen of short, sexy stories that will leave your ladies bits tingling. There isn’t too much I can comment on the plot, without giving everything away. The perils of a short novel, I suppose. Mason is definitely an alpha male, intent on taking his revenge out on the stepdaughter of his enemy. Little did he know that she would be a beautiful young woman, full of spirit and receptive to his particular brand of kink.

There is an element of capture fantasy to this story that may turn off some readers. For me, it is more the lack of internal struggle in the heroine that dropped my review down from 5 stars to 4. I wanted to see her struggle with the idea of blending pain and pleasure, of essentially being kidnapped by the hero in the beginning … and this just didn’t happen.

If you are looking for some historical erotica that can you read in an evening, this could me the story for you.

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Taken by the Warriors by Marlee Wray

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First she was taken. Now she will be shared.

After the princess she serves is given as a mate to a powerful Ketturan warrior, Falise soon ends up as an unwilling passenger on a spacecraft headed for a far-off world. More disturbing still, she quickly discovers that as far as her captors are concerned, her body no longer belongs to her.

As the princess is stripped bare and claimed roughly by the ship’s captain, four of his companions set their eyes on Falise. The brutishly handsome barbarians plan to share her and use her in every manner possible, but first they must train her. She will learn to obey without question and take everything they give her or she will be punished in ways more shameful than she could have ever imagined. But when the journey is over, will she still want to return home?

Publisher’s Note: Taken by the Warriors is a stand-alone book which is the second entry in the Owned and Shared series. It includes spankings and sexual scenes.

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This book is much kinkier and more hardcore than the previous book in this “series”, Owning Their Pet. I was surprised by the very different vibe. The author introduces a second alien race, different from the one introduced in Owning. A Princess is forced to marry their leader as part of a trade agreement, and she is abducted by them before the marriage takes place.

The book follows the trials of the Princess and her handmaid, Falise, and is told from both their points of view, as well as two male points of view. There are scenes of dubious consent and vaginal and anal “trains”.

I hate to refer to erotica as “book porn”. I hate that term but it fits this story, IMHO. Taken by the Warriors didn’t have a love story – at least for me – and was such raunchy scene after raunchy scene. The plot barely served to explain the move from one sexcapade to another.

I found it difficult to keep track of the varying characters and the constant changes in the POV character. Overall, it almost felt like a completely different author than the one I had just read.

I will read the third announced book, but I am hoping that it is much more similar to Owning Their Pet, or I doubt I will continue with this author. This book was not for me.

*Please note that while I am referring to these two books as being part of a series, they are only loosely connected.

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Owning Their Pet by Marlee Wray

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In this world, there are owners and there are pets.

When twenty-year-old village girl Melsint is purchased for use as a pet by Lord Evston Calex, she soon discovers that she will be shared with his brother, Commander Rocurt Calex. Her strict new owners quickly make clear that they plan to take their beautiful, virgin pet hard and often and they will not hesitate to punish her harshly for even the slightest hint of defiance.

Despite her shame at being treated as mere property, Melsint cannot hide her response to their painful, humiliating chastisements and rough, demanding use of her body. But as her training grows more intense by the day, she is left to wonder if she will ever be more than just a pet.

Publisher’s Note: Owning Their Pet is a stand-alone book which is the first entry in the Owned and Shared series. It includes spankings and sexual scenes.

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I discovered this book while searching for something new on Kindle Unlimited the other day and decided to check it out.

Owning Their Pet is a super kinky book! There is plot, but the book is certainly more heavily focused on physical intimacy than story development.

I thought that this book would be a MfM romance, with equal time given to each of the brothers, but there was one who definitely had more page time. No further details in case of a spoiled ending 😉

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and the ending was not what I initially expected from reading the synopsis online. I plan to read the “companion book” (technically, they are considered standalones but take place in the same world), as well. However, I do wish that the author had taken extra time to further the plot and character development as well. For me, it is so important to be able to envision a fully functioning society, especially for stories that take place in alternate universes.

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The Krinar Informant by Charmaine Pauls

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Zavir is a guardian. He’s the best the Krinar has. His assigned vocation is to uncover the Resistance movements popping up around the earth, and eliminate them. New information about a fast-growing Resistance camp sends him to Costa Rica, home of the largest Krinar Centre. His informant is a human girl. She wants to make a deal–her traitorous family’s lives in exchange for information–but Zavir doesn’t make deals, and he takes no prisoners. When the time comes to wipe out the secret organization, his pretty, innocent little mole will learn the truth. She made a deal with the devil, and the price is something far more tantalizing than information.

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I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second Krinar novel I have read by Charmaine Pauls. I am so grateful to have received an ARC because I loved this book just as much as I did the first one.

Zivar feels a little darker and more removed from humankind than his alien kin we have met in earlier novels. He and Liv don’t exactly engage in purposeful BDSM play, but he is definitely dominant and expects Liv to be submissive to him. He also firmly believes in punishments when she breaks his rules.

Liv is a fierce heroine who I enjoyed getting to know and would love to read more about in the future. She is kind, brave, loving and protective of her loved ones. This is one couple I would love to read more about one day.

This book definitely belongs in the romance section, but there is also enough science fiction and intrigue to draw in readers from other genres. I would definitely recommend this book to others who don’t mind a little kink with their love story!

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Two Daddies for Olivia (Cloudcroft Ranch #4)

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The moment he sets eyes on Olivia Baldwin, small-town doctor Dan Garcia knows what she needs. Though the desperate, hungry girl was just caught in the act of stealing Lincoln Sullivan’s car, Dan convinces his friend not to get the law involved. Instead, he brings Olivia home with him, promising to help her get back on her feet but also warning the beautiful young woman that any further delinquent behaviour will earn her a thorough spanking on her bare bottom.

Over the coming weeks, Dan is joined in his efforts to guide and correct Olivia by the town sheriff, ex-Marine Gage Collier. While it makes her blush to be bathed and cared for like a little girl and scolded and spanked when she has been naughty, Olivia delights in their intimate attention, and before long Dan and Gage have taken on the role of her firm but loving daddies.

After a job is found for her at Cloudcroft, a nearby ranch which doubles as a kink-themed resort, Olivia’s eyes are opened to the world of dominance and submission, and she soon discovers just how pleasurable it can be to surrender her body completely to her daddies. But when Dan and Gage learn the truth about Olivia’s past, will it change how they feel about their little girl?

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This is the fourth book in the Cloudcroft Ranch series.

Many of the characters we have met so far make appearances in this book, including all the lead couples at some point. I like when the hero and heroine interact with other characters. It creates more of a community feel, where you can step into the universe these characters inhabit. In particular, there is a lot of Linc scenes, which made this lady happy considering he was my favourite Dom.

We first meet Dr. Dan Garcia in Cloudcroft Ranch Book 1 and he makes quite the first impression as a super kinky guy. Take this quote from Breaking Bella, for example.

Neither man smiled as they discussed bowel prep formulas, enema bags, and anal lubricants as though she wasn’t in the room. Her brain grasped for a legal out that would protect the future of her trust and the sanctity of her bottom. Loc 713.

I began reading Two Daddies for Olivia with the expectation that there were be medical play, possibly enema or other anal play, and lots of general kinkiness. The story was surprisingly tame though. There is dominance and dd/lg play between Dan and Olivia, and between Gage and Olivia. There are spanking scenes as well, but nothing outrageous or unexpected.

I enjoyed the premise behind this story more than the actual book itself.

Gage and Dan do not receive equal attention from the author, so I ended up feeling like Gage was a loose string to be tied up, or a third wheel on a date. With the way it played out, I wish his character had been saved for a future book he could star in as he is very interesting and a Dom sheriff is just HOT!

Dan seems decidedly disinterested in ADBL interactions during the first part of the book. He is a dom and is taking care of Olivia both as a service to society, and because he likes to help others. That is why he became a small town doctor after all! If the author had showed his evolution more clearly, or had the Dan admit to himself that his needs and wants were changing in response to Olivia’s presence in his home, I would have been accepting of this apparently sudden change.

Overall, the book was a little boring to me. As I mentioned, the heat level is much lower than I anticipated so that could have been part of the reason. If I had approached the story differently, or if this had been the first Cloudcroft book I read, my reaction to it could have been more positive.

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