Okay, I admit it, I SHOULD NOT HAVE LIKED THIS BOOK. My reasoning is simple: I hate–as in loathe with every fiber of my being–the new trend of ‘dark romance’. You know, the kidnapped, forced into a sex slave who falls in love with her abuser/kidnapper trend.
So why I downloaded this book, let alone read it, I can’t really tell you. But I. Am. So. Glad. I. Did.
It’s not perfect. Far from it. But here’s the thing. Jasper UNDERSTOOD Noelle. He didn’t take advantage of her. He found ways to give her what she didn’t even know she wanted, and he refused to push her into anything she wasn’t ready for. He MADE HER LEARN TO SAY NO. And yes. He refused to give her pleasure that she would feel ashamed for after the fact. If she wanted it–whatever it was–she had to accept it was because *she* wanted it and not because he took away her choice and forced her to accept the pleasure. Because forcing her to accept it would let her be ashamed and through the story, he did not want her ashamed of anything she wanted/enjoyed. Though she was on the submissive side, the control was always firmly in Noelle’s hand. And I loved that.
As a writer, I am beyond jealous of Kit Rocha’s ability to write males so effortlessly. They jumped off the page, even with little to no description of any of them. Especially Dallas.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and can’t wait to read more of this series. Because unlike ‘dark erotica/romance’ it was made clear from the beginning that Noelle didn’t have to do anything she didn’t want to do. There were plenty of ways to earn her keep (the authors did a great job of making sure the reader knew they ALL had jobs, even the males) that didn’t involve sex.
So yeah. I’m hooked as hell on this series.
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Congratulations to fellow Lyrical and Sizzle and Sass sister Gemma Brocato on her newest release!
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: Kensington Books/Lyrical Press, Inc
Date of Publication: October 20, 2014
Number of pages: 329
Word Count: approx. 85,000
Cover Artist: Renee Rocco
Available in Digital and Print Formats
They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?
Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.
When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.
“Holy cow! Consider me seduced.” She didn’t recognize her own voice. Desire rasped through it, whispery and thick at the same time. Allowing her finger to slip from the steamy confines of his mouth, he pressed a kiss to her palm, then released his hold. She curled her hand into a fist around the kiss he’d left, hoping to hold onto the heat and lingering sensation.
“Oh, Jesus. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have kissed you like that. It was too fast, wasn’t it? I mean, we only just met…but I thought, I mean, you seemed to want…and you didn’t say no. Christ, I’m so sorry.” Sam’s tone rattled with a misplaced apology. “I have no excuse. I’m a horndog.”
He eased her away from his chest and helped her to sit up, then pushed himself upright and scooted a respectful distance from her.
The apology in his tone and the loss of his body heat hit her like a cold slap. His words stung. He regretted kissing her. The tingly pulses zipping from her fingertip to her heart did nothing to tamp down the hurt. She hadn’t wanted him to stop. Normally the queen of snarky retorts, words failed her now.
Hi Eden, Thanks so much for inviting me over today. Today is special because it is release day for Exposed To Passion. I’ve invited a couple of my characters to join me today. I hope that’s okay.
Thank you for visiting The Dragon Lair! So tell me a little bit about Exposed To Passion and its characters.
Exposed To Passion is a story about love, lies and redemption, with some teenage hijinks thrown in for kicks and giggles. Sam’s a teacher who coaches track and sponsors the photo club at Granite Pointe High School. One day, as a storm is rolls in, he takes his students to Sims Spit. It’s a world-renowned area for photographers. In fact, it’s named for the man who took a world famous photo, Silas Sims. That’s where he meets Rikki Salerno. She’s traveling with a photography exhibit for the famous photographer. In the story, you get to meet several of Sam’s students, Rikki’s co-workers and of course, Silas Sims himself
Where did the story come from?
I dreamed this family into existence when I first wrote Cooking Up Love. Sam leaped off the page at me, frantically waving his hand in the air like Arnold Horshak, begging me to tell his story. I made him wait for a chance to tell his story, letting his siblings, Jack and Pippa go first. But he shouldn’t have worried too much, because I’m making Noah wait even longer. I skipped over his story for the fourth book and gave that one to Rikki’s brother, Gunnar. The entire series is based in Granite Pointe and each book revolves around one of the five senses. Exposed To Passion is based on sight.
Can you tell me a little about the characters?
Rikki is traveling with a Sims exhibit and meets Sam at the Spit while she’s trying to capture a picture to compete with the one Silas took decades ago. She falls into the water and Sam rescues her (he’s such a gentleman). She’s a good woman who was exposed to bullying when she was a young girl, so she bonds with one of Sam’s students, who has been victimized by her classmates. Rikki is a woman who will always champion the underdog and fight for the people she cares about. Sam is that guy you’d wish was your 11th grade teacher. Handsome, kind, funny. I’d go back to high school for him!
What about these characters fascinated you, and made you want to tell their story?
Sam intrigued me from his first appearance in Cooking Up Love. He’s the brother every girl wants to have. I really enjoyed telling his story in this book. Rikki was more complex, because she’s hiding something from Sam. She didn’t start out to deliberately deceive him, but he had strong opinions and didn’t hold back from speaking his mind. He never made it easy for Rikki to confess. But, it’s possible my favorite character ended up being Silas Sims. He’s an irascible old cuss, who very unexpectedly reveals a softer, kinder side.
Can I meet them?
If I can get them to stop canoodling in the hallway. Sam told me once he wanted to get Rikki alone in a darkroom (like in photography) I understand the sensory experience can be pretty intense.
Q6: So…Sam. While remembering to keep this PG-13 in case my mother reads this, what’s your favorite thing about Rikki? *holds Rikki’s hand against his chest, near his heart* She has a heart as big as Texas. She stood up for people being bullied, including myself, with no consideration of the personal cost. She’s easy to love.
Rikki, same question. What was it about Sam that drew you in, and made you decide HIM. I want HIM? Other than his manly bits, of course.
What I love about Sam is how great he is with his students. Teachers are a special breed and Sam could be their king. He’s dedicated and loyal to his students, and definitely invested in their success and willing to help. He’s patient and kind, but firm and fair when he needs to be. *winking at Sam* Don’t get me wrong, he has his boneheaded moments and we almost didn’t make it because of them. But I’m glad we did.
What do you think is the best part of the story?
Sam: I’ll answer that. It’s Rikki’s grace under pressure. She had to deal with several life altering mishaps during the course of the story, and made it look easy. The spots Gemma put her in will make you cringe, but Rikki bravely faced them all.
So, now that the book is over, how are you all behaving for Gemma?
*Rikki laughs* She likes us enough to invite us back for the next book. But she kind of had to. The next book is about my brother, Gunnar. I do like the way she keeps the stories among our siblings.
How do you feel about your love story being out in the world, for everyone to read?
*Sam and Rikki gaze into each other’s eyes and share a small kiss* Sam: There was so much more about us “out” in the world recent. But you’ll just have to read the story to find out what that’s all about. We’re both just so relieved it worked out for us. It really was touch and go for a while. And we love being able to share our story.
Q9: You have been awesome. Thank you so much for visiting me. Is there anything else you’d like to add about Exposed To Passion before I let you get back to your lives? *Sam waves his hand in front of his face* There’s a scene at a nature preserve where I take my students on a field trip. Rikki goes along as a chaperone. Part of that scene comes from a real life experience Gemma had a couple of years ago. It was pretty intense. We were all challenged in that scene and I think she did it justice.
Gemma, they are so much fun. Thank you so much for visiting me, and allowing me to drag these characters out to play! Is there anything else you want to add before I let you get back to your life?
This is the third book in the series based on the Five Senses. You absolutely could begin with this story first, if you wanted. But I hope you’ll read Cooking Up Love and Hearts In Harmony as well.
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/exposed-to-passion-gemma-brocato/1120138660?ean=9781616506162
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Runs 10/20/2014 – 11/20/2104
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Most people believe Eden no longer exists. Lexi Merrill’s about to learn they’re wrong. A hard-working bartender with a self-sufficient backbone and a wary nature, she knows pickup lines like a second language. So, when Eryx Shantos barges into her world with too-smooth words and a body to back it up, she locks up her libido and vows to keep her distance.
Eryx has other ideas. As king of the Myren race, Eryx is duty-bound to enforce the laws preventing exposure of their existence to humans. Yet The Fates have led him through his dreams to Lexi, a temptation he doesn’t want to resist. The question is, is she Myren, or human – which makes her forbidden fruit?
When Eryx’s nemesis tags Lexi as his next target, Eryx insists on taking her home where he can keep her safe. Lexi had no idea “home” would mean the one-and-only land of creation…or that she’d trigger a prophecy that could doom her newfound race.
Rhenna Morgan writes for the same reason she reads—to escape reality.
Yes, her life rocks—two beautiful little girls, a great husband, a steady job, and the kind of friends that would take you out back if you hurt her. But, like most women, she’s got obligations stacked tight from dusk to dawn. So, when the world gets her down, she slips into something…less realistic.
Romance is a must. So is a steamy romp (or four). Nothing thrills her more than the fantasy of new, exciting worlds, strong, intuitive men, and the sigh of, “Oh if only that could happen to me.”
So, if you’re picking up one of her books, expect portals into alternate realms and men who’ll fight to keep the women they want. Romantic escape for the women who need it.
Jami Denise (The Jayne Series), Book Three
RELEASE DATE: November 24, 2014
Vince Donovan has lost a lot in his life. He has lived life under a code of greed, lies and crime – never allowing anyone to get too close. After losing the empire he fought to build at the hands of a psychotic man in pursuit of revenge, Vince vows to rebuild what he once had. Along with his once protege and now partner, Jayne King, he sets out to create an empire that is based on beautiful women, sex and sin.
Kelsey Franklin is young, beautiful, sexy and should be forbidden. Kelsey is also the one woman that Vince has vowed never to have and yet is the one woman he wants and needs.
When love happens in the unlikeliest of circumstances Vince must ask himself – Is love fit for the damned and the sinner?
The Jayne Series Reading Order
Damned Sinner (The Jayne Series, Book Three)
Releasing November 24, 2014
About the Author:
Jami Denise is a romance writer from Southern California. While she waits for the next felon to come along and sweep her off her feet, she writes about swoony bad boys and sassy gals that make them squirm. She also loves cats, cars, cupcake flavored lip balm, and cherry limeade.
Just Gotta Say is a super sexy friends-to-lovers story and a contemporary ménage a quatres. Here’s the blurb:
Callie Davis stumbles upon two of her three male roommates in a surprising, molten-hot midnight tryst and discovers a side of herself she never knew existed. Desire to play with them grips her, and she can’t stop fantasizing about having multiple men, particularly her three long-time best friends.
Callie is thrilled when a guys’ night out gives her the perfect opportunity to recreate her fantasy, with the help of a threesome porn video and a bag of sex toys. That is, until Lucas, Jack and Noah return early and catch her in the act. More than anything, the guys want to make her fantasy come true. But Callie has a secret, and she can’t help wondering if being with all three men will risk the future she’s always wanted with one of them.
As three strong sets of hands caress and undress her, Callie surrenders to desire, because sometimes you just gotta say…yes.
Just Gotta Say Excerpt:
The set-up: Callie’s most secret fantasy was just unexpectedly revealed to her three male roommates…
The invitation he laid out for her—the invitation to be with them, to act out this fantasy for real with them—was completely outside anything she imagined possible.
She sat for a long moment, still mostly curled into herself. Her gaze lit on the rough bobbing of Jack’s Adams apple as he swallowed. His apparent case of nerves eased hers. A little. Soft, sandy-colored strands brushed against her forehead. Her nose filled with the scent of him, all night air and masculinity.
Callie took a deep breath, her body remembering her unfulfilled arousal even as her brain struggled to keep up. “What are you saying, Jack?” she whispered, buying herself time to think and needing him to spell it out.
One hand stroked her back while the other combed her hair off the side of her face. “I’m saying”—he nibbled at her ear, but this time his lips lingered, his warm exhalation caressing her skin—“that the three of us want to bring that fantasy to life for you. If you want.”
Every nerve ending tingled with the promise of what he offered. Her heart rose from where it had plummeted into her gut and now hammered against her chest. Images of the three of them kissing her, fucking her, swamped her brain. Blood roared through her ears. “Are you teasing me?”
“Look at me,” he said, sliding his large hand under her cheek.
The commanding press of his skin on hers skittered electrical charges down her neck to her breasts. Her nipples hardened. She acquiesced and sat up just enough to face one of her three dearest friends.
“We want to do this for you.” He quirked the sexiest of crooked smiles and shrugged with one shoulder. “You know we’d be good together.”
She didn’t know whether his “we” meant her and him or the four of them. An encouraging voice in her mind said both interpretations were true.
He cupped her neck, his grasp comforting and reassuring, and brushed his lips against her right cheekbone. Her right eye. Her forehead. Tilting his head to the other side, he repeated the action against her left eye, the apple of her left cheek. She gasped when his last kiss fell on that tender, hollow spot just below her ear.
“What do you want, Callie? Whatever you want, we want. Always.”
About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of nearly twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.