Review: Only Pleasure: Part Two

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Only Pleasure: Part TwoOnly Pleasure: Part 2 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 8th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  After the developments of the first part of this novel where the sexual relationship between Kia and Chase began, this book is about the emotional connection developing between them.  I feel that this book is the guts of Chase’s emotional journey but you have to read the last part to know what happens.

THE STORY:  Kia and Chase have entered into a sexual relationship that involves a third person.  Kia has decided that merely being involved with Chase sexually is not enough for her and demands that if he wants to see her, they must have something more than sex.  Chase who has spent years distancing himself from intimacy doesn’t know how to respond when he thinks he should stay away from Kia but can’t resist her.

OPINION:  I liked this portion of the book because Chase is really beginning to be challenged here.  He thinks that he has everything figured out but he can’t seem to get Kia out of his mind.  Kia also begins to change here.  She is done being a doormat and instead demands what she wants.  This portion is Kia’s empowerment and Chase’s downfall.  Just as he begins to want her more than he expected, he is now afraid that he needs her more than she needs him.

I like these characters as they are developing their relationship both in the bedroom and out.  This portion of the book also pushes forward the suspense story as Kia is in danger.  The question is who is trying to hurt her and why.

By the time this part finished, I was certainly read to read part three to find out what happens.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Please read my review of part one before reading this review.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is the second part of the full novel which has been divided into three parts and thus must be read together.  The book ONLY PLEASURE is book 10 in the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Only Pleasure: Part One

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Only Pleasure: Part OneOnly Pleasure: Part 1 by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #10
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on November 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a good start to the book.  I know that this book was not originally intended to be broken up into three parts so the story is incomplete here, but I enjoyed the relationship developing between Chase and Kia.

THE STORY:  Two years ago, Kia Rutherford’s life was shattered when her husband tried to force her into a threesome.  Now things have changed as Kia meets up with Chase Falladay, the man she has thought about for years.  When Chase and his friend Khalid take her on a car ride, she finds herself in the middle of a threesome that she had rejected with her ex-husband.  But the truth is that Kia has always had feelings for Chase but she fears that he only wants the sexual relationship from her while she wants something more.

OPINION:  This portion of the book focuses on the beginning of the relationship between Chase and Kia.  While Khalid is part of the menage, the emotional relationship is clearly between Kia and Chase.  The two begin their sexual relationship in this portion of the book.  As this portion reaches its conclusion, the question is whether or not their relationship will be something other than sexual pleasure.

As the book begins, Chase is a man who doesn’t want attachments after he was betrayed by a woman.  While he cannot stay away from Kia, he tries to convince himself that he is only interested in the sexual relationship.  Yet Chase cannot help but be possessive of Kia.

Kia is a woman who was shattered and has kept herself away from others for two years.  Her intense relationship with Chase begins to thaw her emotions.  She begins to try and take back her life after the destruction her ex-husband wrought.

There are two dramatic plot stories also involved in this book.  There is the continued stalking done by Kia’s ex-husband.  There is also the revenge related to the death of the woman that betrayed Chase.

This short portion gives readers a good taste of the Bound Hearts series, but it needs to be read as part of the whole book.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book, like the Bound Hearts series, contains a MMF menage.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This is part one of a three part division of the original novel. The novel is book 10 in the Bound Hearts series.  This book can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Dirty Little Lies

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Dirty Little LiesDirty Little Lies by Lora Leigh
Series: Men of Summer #3
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on August 30, 2016
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Goodreads

“Once she put two and two together, the realizations of the scope of the betrayals from those she loved would destroy her.  And it would destroy any bonds she had with those who’d lied to her.  Zach included.”

FINAL DECISION:  Lacking emotional intensity between the characters, this book is more about secrets and deceptions. There are many twists and turns but I didn’t like the romance as much as the prior book in the series.

THE STORY: Zach Richards has been avoiding getting involved with Grace Maddox because he knows that the sweet innocent Grace would not be able to deal with his secret life.  When Grace is hurt because people believe she has information from her traitor mom, Zach has to come and protect her.  Thus, Grace and Zach learn that neither is the innocent that they thought the other was.  In order to protect Grace, Zach insists that the two act as lovers. Then the long simmering fire burst into a hot conflagration.

OPINION:  There are a lot of lies in DIRTY LITTLE LIES.  For me, the book was slow going for the first third and then got much better.  The first third had way too much exposition and explanation. The pace picked up when the serious action started.

This book had a lot of twists and turns, I only wish that I cared more about the characters here.  There was so much action, intrigue and drama that I often lost track of what should have been the emotional center of the book.

I liked the story, but I missed the drama and emotional of the second book of the series which I liked much better.

On thing I really enjoyed about this book is that Grace is a strong willed woman of her own.  While she pretends to be innocent, she is perfectly able to take care of herself.  After all the lies and deception she has been forced to endure, I am surprised that Grace is able to trust anyone again.  I liked how she gives Zach grief and doesn’t allow him to run over her with his alpha ways.

WORTH MENTIONING:  For readers of the series much of the continuing story is revealed and resolved here.

CONNECTED BOOKS: DIRTY LITTLE LIES is the third book in the Men of Summer series.  I think without reading the other books in the series, a reader might be lost in places because there are a lot of characters and situations continuing from the prior books.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

Review: Guilty Pleasure

Review: Guilty PleasureGuilty Pleasure (Bound Hearts #11) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #11
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 5th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-stars

Sexy Menage Story Mixed with Suspense

“She had four weeks to steal his heart. If he had one to steal.”

FINAL DECISION: An enjoyable romance where the menage story is a significant part of the story. There is little personal angst in the story. The drama comes primarily from the external suspense story.

THE STORY: Marty Matthews is an FBI agent who has spent two years following Khalid el Hamid-Mustafa for her boss. Marty knows that Khalid isn’t guilty of anything but the two years have driven her desire for Khalid to a fever pitch and she has decided to finally go after the man she has wanted for over a decade. Marty is the daughter of a threesome relationship and she knows that Khalid is engaged in the menage lifestyle. Khalid has been keeping his distance from Marty because the life of anyone important to him is in danger but he is finding it hard to resist her.

OPINION: As is true with many of the books in this series, the menage is more physical than emotional. The men in these stories all engage in the menage lifestyle (they even are part of a club that caters to their preferences). Here there is no emotional connection except between Khalid and Marty. The third of their menage is not emotionally connected to the relationship. I think the menage stories where there is an emotional connection between all the participants is more intriguing.

One of the best parts of this story is that Marty is pretty badass herself. She refuses to allow the men to make her accept limitations or weakness. She is strong and a match for Khalid. I also like that he defends her independence and while he desires to protect her, he accepts that she is a warrior who cannot be fully protected.

The story is very spicy as one might expect from the description and very explicit. Khalid’s backstory is very appealing (in the dark tortured hero sense) and by the time it was done, I also wanted to read the story of Khalid’s brother whose story is even more tortured.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book has extensive menage scenes.

CONNECTED BOOKS: GUILTY PLEASURE is the eleventh book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars

Review: Wicked Lies

Review: Wicked LiesWicked Lies (Men of Summer, #2) by Lora Leigh
Series: Men of Summer #2
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 1st 2015
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-stars

“They knew she was here now. They knew, and they wouldn’t stop until they killed her, just as they had killed her mother and her uncle. And she still hadn’t figured out who it was or why they wanted her dead.”

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this book and it is good for readers who want a very hot read. I especially liked the relationship between Jazz and Kenni. Kenni is strong and able to take care of herself. Despite her troubles, she is a survivor and no shrinking violet. The book was emotional because Jazz had loved Kenni for so long and had been grieving for her.

THE STORY: Jazz Lacing had loved Kenni Maddox even when she was too young for him. Then she was gone, killed in a fire with her mother. In the decade since, Jazz has grieved the spunky, determined young woman. He had begun to think about the new Kindergarten teacher, Annie Mayes, however. Jazz knows that something is off about Annie and he is determined to uncover her secrets. What he finds out, however, is that Annie is really Kenni in disguise. She has been on the run for ten years trying to hide from those who are determined to kill her. Jazz knows that he won’t let Kenni go again and he will make her stop running and start trusting.

OPINION: I liked this book much better than the first in the series. The relationship between Jazz and Kenni is very sexy and very emotional. Jazz is an extremely strong and confident man but it is clear from the beginning that he is completely committed to Kenni. Their story when she was sixteen is incredibly sweet, but that sweetness becomes hot and sexy and adult very quickly when the secret of Kenni’s identity comes out.

Kenni’s character is especially strong. She is frightened and uncertain, but she is not helpless. She knows how to take care of herself and she is a perfect match for Jazz. She refuses to succumb to his demands. She insists that she deserves the right to make her own decisions and not to wait to be saved. I liked her spunky personality as it came out as she reclaims her own identity.

There is an interesting plot regarding who is out to kill Kenni. I figured out the culprit early on but that was okay. What I didn’t like was that the resolution was really rushed. I never got an identity from the villain and that made it hard to be satisfied in the ending. I also kept wondering in the beginning what is the Kin? It doesn’t get defined until well in the story and it kept interrupting the flow of the story when the reference appeared.

WORTH MENTIONING: I can guess who the next couple is and I can’t wait.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED LIES is the second book in The Men of Summer series. It has overlapping characters but this book can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

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four-stars

Review: Loving Lies

Review: Loving LiesLoving Lies (Men of Summer, #1) by Lora Leigh
Series: Men of Summer #1
on February 14th 2006
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 259
Goodreads
two-half-stars

Just Felt Disjointed to Me

FINAL DECISION: This book was a disappointment because of the unrealistic reason for the hero deserting the heroine and then his continuing to keep secrets after his return. On the plus side, the story is hot, the characters are well drawn and at times there is deep compelling emotion.

THE STORY: Jessie Benton has loved Slade Colter forever. He had been putting her off until she grows up. Finally, when Jessie is twenty-one, they have a weekend exploring and satisfying their sexual fantasies. At the end of the weekend, however, Slade walks away and marries another woman. Five years later, Slate returns intending to reclaim Jessie.

OPINION: I was disappointed in this book. I really liked the characters and the story was at times very sad and painful in its powerful emotions. The best part of the book was the heartbreaking scenes when Slade and Jessie had to be parted. If the entire book had been that powerful, this would have been a great book.

Unfortunately, the story turns on a stupid plot device. The reason that Slade left Jessie is never strong enough to justify the pain he put her through. Then he returns and instead of groveling and explaining himself, he is arrogant and continues to keep secrets. Jessie should have slapped the guy and found someone else. Most of the time I can suspend disbelief even with outrageous storylines, but this one just didn’t feel well done to me.

The story is also really hot and the focus is definitely on the sexual relationship with the exception of the parting and the end of the book where I really felt that these characters loved one another.

WORTH MENTIONING: The ending of the book hints at the romance in the second book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LOVING LIES is the first book in The Men of Summer series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.

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two-half-stars

Review: Secret Pleasure

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Secret PleasureSecret Pleasure by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #13
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on August 18th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 368
Goodreads
three-half-stars

“They were bound. She couldn’t break that bond, couldn’t escape it, now matter how she tried when her conscious mind ruled her.”

THE STORY: At age 18, Alyssa Hampstead is trying to get away from her overbearing mother and her political aspirations of her father. One night she meets Sebastian De Loren and his cousin Shane Conner. There is an instant connection between the three although Alyssa has no intention of getting involved with these two heartthrobs. The cousins want the beautiful young woman but know that they cannot hope to begin a relationship with her under the eyes of her parents. Instead, they plan on meeting up with her in Spain without her knowledge. The three begin an intense relationship that seems to be satisfying for all three of them, but one day they are torn apart by blackmail and threats. It is not until eight years later that the three come together again. The danger still remains, however, and this time someone may not survive.

OPINION: I liked the mystery in this story more than the romance. I was intrigued by the dangers that continued to threaten this trio. I also really liked the connection between the characters. It is not always easy to write a three sided relationship but Leigh has done this several times already. I didn’t feel that Alyssa’s connection with Shane was as well developed as her relationship with Sebastian. That diminished my enjoyment of this story because part of the trio didn’t seem as understandable. I did really enjoy the protectiveness that the cousins show Alyssa. The pain that all three of these characters endure because of their separation was well described and simply heartbreaking. This story is also pretty hot although I have read better ones by Leigh. Overall a good read but not the best of the series.

WORTH MENTIONING: Readers should be aware that this book features a MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: This was one of the Bound Heart series where the story was definitely more interesting than I expected. The mystery of who was threatening Alyssa kept the story moving. I didn’t find the relationships in this book as well developed.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BOUND HEARTS is the thirteenth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone. Although I have read the first couple books in the series, I have not yet completed the rest and did not feel that I missed anything.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE: I recieved an ARC of this book from Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to provide a positive review and all opinions contained herein are my own.

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three-half-stars

Review: Sacrifice

Sacrifice (Bound Hearts, #5) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #5
Published by Ellora's Cave on July 1st 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 133
Goodreads
four-stars

THE STORY: Kimberly Madison has been hiding from her feelings for Jared Raddington for a year. The two are techically step-siblings, but since their parents married when they were adults, they did not grow up together. Kimberly’s father, however, seriously disapproves of Jared and the sexual lifestyle he leads which includes menages and other extreme sexual activities. Kimberly’s inheritance requires her to be a virgin and she is subjected to regular exams to confirm her virginity. Kimberly has no intention of getting involved with Jared when she knows that they have no future. Jared has wanted Kimberly for a long time and is done with waiting.

OPINION: This book is one of the most sexually adventurous of the series and includes Kimberly having sex with another man opening the book and includes the almost required menage. The story is frank and explicit and focuses on the sexual relationship. Because “typical” sex is off limits, this leads to more creative sexual experiences. It also leads the characters to talk more and develop their relationship in different ways. My complaint is that the situation itself felt somewhat contrived with too many obstacles in the couple’s path. I did like the resolution to the problem and felt that it really showed more character development than I had expected.

WORTH MENTIONING: The book opens with the heroine having sex with a man NOT the hero and also contains a MMF menage.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SACRIFICE is the fifth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars

Review: Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4)

Wicked Intent (Bound Hearts, #4) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #4
Published by Ellora's Cave on April 1st 2004
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 140
Goodreads
four-half-stars

THE STORY: Tally Raines is a smart mouthed secretary with an adventurous sexual side. One person she doesn’t like, however, is her new boss Lucian Conover. The two strike sparks off of one another immediately. Lucian, however, has had his eye on the sexy Tally for a year and has been maneuvering his way into her life. Lucian and his fraternal twin Devril have plans for Tally. Truthfully, Tally cannot resist the two brothers so different in looks but bound together by complicated sexual needs.

OPINION: This is my favorite of the series so far. Menage relationships are difficult because often there is a stronger connection between one pair. Here, Lucian and Devril are two sides of the same coin and yet have distinct personalities that make them compelling and makes the relationship work between these three. Both Lucian and Devril have different relationships with Tally and that helps with balancing the complicated relationship. This book is erotica and it is hot, but the relationships and characters always have priority here.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a true MMF menage relationship.

FINAL DECISION: The complex and well balanced relationship between the characters makes this my favorite of the series so far.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WICKED INTENT is the fourth book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

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four-half-stars

Review: Seduction

Seduction (Bound Hearts, #3) by Lora Leigh
Series: Bound Hearts #3
Published by Ellora's Cave on September 1st 2003
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica
Pages: 99
Goodreads
four-stars

THE STORY: Jesse Wyman has wanted Terrie for a long time. The widow of his younger brother, Terrie was almost destroyed by her miserable marriage. Her husband, knowing that she had feelings for Jesse, tormented her with the idea that she was not woman enough for any man especially alpha male Jesse. Since his death, Jesse has tried to be a friend to Terrie, but he has finally reached the end of his patience. Jesse challenges Terrie to seduce him hoping that it will break her out of her cycle of fear.

OPINION: The relationship between Jesse and Terrie is the focus here. Although Jesse has a dominating sexual side, he is also kind and sweet to Terrie. That mixture is especially appealing here. Although the focus of the relationship between Jesse and Terrie is their sexual relationship, it is through this relationship that Terrie is healed of her self-doubt and the fears her husband imposed upon her.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book contains not one but two menage scenes — one FFM and one MMF.

FINAL DECISION: This book’s focus on the tenderness in the relationship between Jesse and Terrie makes it more than a hot sex book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SEDUCTION is the third book in the Bound Hearts series. It can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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four-stars