#BookReview In Her Court by Tamsen Parker

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In Her Court by Tamsen Parker is a goofy, geeky read filled with

Tamsen Parker is not one to stick to the same plot over and over in every read, and that’s what makes this book so unique compared to the others. This time around, Tamsen has explored an F/F relation (or two females if you didn’t understand the acronym). Two girls at a camp fulfill a beautiful romance, in short.

These girls (Van and Willa) have character – one of them is getting a PhD, they are working at a tennis camp, and they aren’t your typical character without flaws and full of perfection. They seem realistic in the setting of this story! That’s a nice change from some of the F/F books I have read in the past – I like seeing characters who slowly build and get better throughout the story.

There is some R-rated language (a few F bombs) so if you don’t like any swears, beware! They aren’t dropped for no reason, they fit within the story, but know this book isn’t G rated. If you thought it was, you don’t know Tamsen’s writing very well…

Personal opinion: I felt like Nate and his character could have not been in the story and it would have moved just as well. Yes, he’s an introduction for both characters, but he didn’t seem wildly important – at least not to me. I would have liked to see a more interesting story line with him (a non romantic subplot, or something). I felt like there was more potential hiding in there. That being said, it wasn’t like he was supposed to be the main character of the story.

This wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (and by that I mean her super steamy romances), but it definitely ranks up in my favourite romances. I felt the introduction to the characters wasn’t the best (we found out a bit to much to fast, in my opinion) but it was still fitting and made the story work. That’s me being a picky Tamsen Parker/romance fan and nothing more. It doesn’t hurt the story, I just feel like it wasn’t Tamsen’s best out of all of her books (I remember a time when she only had three books out…just saying..now she’s all busy writing and forming a career ;D).

I found this was definitely a step out of Tamsen’s wild BDSM/crazy sexual books and more of a contemporary romance (as it says on Goodreads, which I noticed AFTER I read it – do your research first guys! Then you’ll know what you’re getting!). As a contemporary romance, it’s fantastic! It’s not the best romance in all of the world that I’ve ever read, but it’s a worthy read. A very worthy read indeed! There is still some steamy sexy scenes, just not as crazy wild as her other novels. But it’s still uber sexy and well written! And there is LOTS of it…Almost to much. At one point, there seems to be sex scenes in every single chapter!

Side Notes: I love geeky references and Star Wars, Wonder Woman, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off was present in this novel. Bonus points for Tamsen!

Overall, this book was great – it just wasn’t my favourite Tamsen Parker book (but can they all really be my favourite? Let’s be honest). This book is still a worthy read and I would suggest it to those looking for some steamy romances, but definitely pick up Tamsen’s other books while you’re at it. These books show how she can not only write crazy steamy BDSM, but lovely contemporary romances and some not so safe for work styled novels.

Four out of five stars.

Thank you Tamsen Parker for being amazing (as always!) and sending me a copy of this book!!

 

Visit Tamsen parker at www.tamsenparker.com !!
Follow her on Twitter: @TamsenParker or Facebook! www.facebook.com/tamsenparker

 

This book was also part of Camp Firefly Falls! I haven’t read it yet, but if you’re interested in more check out http//campfireflyfalls.com for more info!

 

Check me out on Goodreads where I post up to date reviews as soon as they happen! Be the first in the know!! Briar’s Reviews on Goodreads

 

 

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#BookReview Rogue Desires by Tamsen Parker, Adriana Anders, Amy Jo Cousins and more!

Rogue Desire, an anthology of incredibly sexy stories, will play with your temptations.

This anthology holds stories from Adriana Anders, Tamsen Parker, Dakota Gray, Emma Barry, Jane Lee Blair, Ainsley Booth, Amy Jo Cousins and Stacy Agder.

If you’re looking for some sensual stories to fulfill your fantasies, this is the book for you. Especially if you want some quick, easy reads instead of a super long romance novel to fill up your time – you’ve found what you’re looking for!

I wouldn’t necessarily call it just contemporary romance – some of these stories are a bit more sexy than that name hints – but this still hits all the notes of a sexy, steamy romance.

For me, as a Tamsen Parker fangirl extraordinaire (can I get a button or something pronouncing my love for Tamsen’s writing? I feel like I’m apart of the fan club by now) I really love that her writing is growing yet again. I grew to love and feel for the characters in such a small set of chapters, and melt into a puddle reading the sexiness in that story. And I probably blushed a lot – that story was really steamy…

I will applaud this anthology as a whole though. Normally anthologies all have very similar stories or similar styles of writing – this one does not. Yes they are “similar” – you know, romance and sexiness all over – but they all have different themes and plot lines. Not just ‘hey you’re sexy, let’s get together” plot lines. Also, each writer is unique and completely different than the others. It’s not just carbon copies of the same type of author over and over writing a slightly different story. So, you will most likely find at least one story in this if you like romance – or hopefully more than one!

I kind of wish I could give each individual story star ratings, but they all rate between 4 and 5. Some of the stories weren’t necessarily my cup of tea, but they were all great reads – they kept me hooked and interested, I felt invested in the characters, and I enjoyed reading the stories. It didn’t feel like work or like I was forcing myself through the stories.

Reading some other reviews, I have seen that some people think these stories are “rushed” and yes, I might agree – but you need to remember these are short stories with little wiggle room for giant character development. Many of my favourite short stories seem “rushed” to me – The Veldt – but they still worked. If given the opportunity, I would love to see all authors expand on these stories, but to me they felt like they were just “rushed” enough – not so crazy fast it’s unbelievable, but not to slow to make it an entire novel.

Another great point about this book is the new authors you will be introduced to. While I’ve seen the names of some of these authors floating around Goodreads and Twitter, I never really looked into them – and now I know I should! Being able to see some of these authors write a full length novel instead of a tiny, itty, bitty story will be delightful!! So you may find your new must-read in this series!!!

My other thought from other reviews I peeked at after reading – “political” is a word used a lot, and it does seem fitting but I, for whatever reason, don’t like that word necessarily being put with this. Sexy politics seem so off…yet the politics behind each story made each a little bit better. It’s not like your following a sexy election from beginning to end, which is what that word leads me to believe when I see it pop up. So readers beware!

Overall, five out of five stars. It was sexy and a great read!

I received an uncorrected proof from Tamsen Parker for an honest review.35654211

Book Review: The Cartographer by Tamsen Parker

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If you’re looking for heat this summer don’t bother going outside, Tamsen Parker’s The Cartographer brings all the heat and so much more!

This book infuriates me. Why, you might ask? Because it’s the last (Yes! The last!!) book in the compass series. It’s such a wonderful arching storyline over these six books and it’s all done! The fantastic part that doesn’t infuriate me, is how beautiful this story was tied together.

I really appreciated this book being in Reyes’s point of view. Watching our other characters grow with Reyes in the background was wonderful, but having him tie this story together and finished it made it so much better. I wouldn’t have wanted any different!!

This book is a sexy ride – M/M, hard R if you catch my drift – with Allie being our protagonists love interest. He is an interesting character – definitely not Cris or India. I really enjoyed his character, but I would have seen him being more stubborn than he actually was. It was a nice change not having him stubborn, but if there’s anything “wrong” with this story, that would be my only negative point.

In this book you will find lots of kink and sexy times, but you will also finds lots of heart wrenching back story. What’s nice about these novels is it’s not just an erotic read without any thought behind it. Tamsen has been getting better and better with her writing abilities with each book she writes. Not only has she increased the sexiness of these books, the characters, back stories and plots have grown with her. It’s so wonderful watching her grow with each book and seeing the characters grow along with her.

You could definitely read this book as a standalone, but I would definitely suggest reading the rest of the books. This book won’t cause any confusion to those who don’t know India/Cris – you might not understand a few references here and there. But, it doesn’t take away from the story in any way. Also, readers who haven’t gone through the first five books might find they don’t connect to Reyes as much as they should. He’s a very lovable character, so reading the other books will make you appreciate him so much more than what’s just introduced in this story.

Tamsen’s writing style is very easy to read – she doesn’t use difficult language, but doesn’t make it so simple either. Her sentences and words flow smoothly and don’t seem choppy like some BDSM novels I have read in the past.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I think this is a great addition to any kinky readers library and is a must read!! If you want some sexiness in your life, pick up some Tamsen Parker books. She’s becoming such a fantastic author and is growing so much, it’s almost foolish to not pick up her books if you want some super sexy romance in your life!!

Five out of five stars.

MORE THAN A FEELING by Erika Kelly – Excerpt!!

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From the award-winning author of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes the final full-length standalone contemporary romance in Erika Kelly’s red-hot Rock Star Romance series, MORE THAN A FEELING. A steamy and emotional story about a loner rocker finding his perfect duet, MORE THAN A FEELING finds the perfect pitch and will leave you with more than a song in your heart! Grab your copy of MORE THAN A FEELING today!

 

 

About MORE THAN A FEELING:

From the award-winning author of TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT comes the final story in her red-hot Rock Star Romance series, about a loner rocker finding his perfect duet.

When Cooper Hood left Snowberry, Montana ten years ago, he swore he’d never go back to the town that painted him with the same brush as his addict mother. But right in the middle of his band’s national tour he gets a call to come home: his mom’s got a whopper of a secret to reveal.

Daisy Charbonneau’s in trouble. The talent she hired for her resort’s annual Huckleberry Festival just bailed on her, and she’s desperate to find a replacement act. Luck turns her way when she discovers her high school crush is back in town—and he happens to be a rock star.

As they work together, a crush deepens into so much more, but who falls in love in two weeks?

Especially when Cooper’s never coming back to town, and Daisy’s never going to leave it.

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Order MORE THAN A FEELING Today!

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EXCERPT:

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Daisy’s fingers trailed across his shoulders as she breezed past him. Her warm vanilla and honey scent swirled in her wake, and he felt like that boy all over again who’d lived in a state of hyperawareness around her. The boy who’d noticed the way her dark hair pooled onto the desk as she’d hunch forward to write, her fingers curled around a pencil. The way the tendons in her neck strained when she’d hit and held a high note. Her burst of laughter in the music room had made him stop whatever he’d been doing just to witness her joy.

He’d hoarded all those images, those sacred moments, to pull out and comfort him as he lay alone in the dark woods, waiting for his home to be safe enough to go back inside.

She would never know it, but she’d been his saving grace.

Taking her seat across from him, she set two little pots on the table. Her vivid blue eyes sparkled in the candlelight.  “Try this.” She held a spoon out to him.

Letting her feed him was just too damn intimate, so he took it from her and fed himself. Creamy dark chocolate filled his senses. “Mousse?” Although it was denser, the chocolate more velvety. Richer. “It’s good.”

“It’s a Pot de Crème.” She scooped another mound for herself. Turning the spoon upside down, she brought it to her mouth, closing her eyes when her tongue touched the chocolate. She moaned, and her tongue swept across her bottom lip.

Desire surged through him, and he couldn’t help wondering if she’d look like that in bed. If she’d go all slack and dreamy-eyed when he sucked a nipple into his mouth.

His blood rose at the image of Daisy naked beneath him, back arching, her hands digging into his hair, holding him to her as if she never wanted him to go away.

She opened her eyes and licked the damn spoon. “I had my mom make it just for you.” The silky fabric of her shirt draped over her breasts, accentuating their round fullness. Desire pulsed through him.

Jesus, would you stop already?

“Let’s try this one.” She slid the edge of her fork into the cake, a cream-covered strawberry sliding out. “It’s my favorite.” The Montana sapphire studs glittered in her ears, and her lush mouth curved into a smile. His dick went hard.

He accepted the fork, but even when the cake and cream hit his tongue he couldn’t taste a thing. Because the only thing in his mind, heart, and body was the primal, urgent need to taste her.

All that teenage longing came roaring back. He wanted her more than ever. And not because she was beautiful and had a body his hands were dying to explore, but because every single cell in his body reacted to her. Wanted her. Yearned for her.

And this was why he’d never come back to Snowberry. He didn’t want to yearn for the things he couldn’t have. Didn’t want to wait for his mother to give him a crumb of her attention. Didn’t want to be around these people who’d only ever looked at him with disgust.

“What do you think? Delicious?” Daisy’s voice yanked him out of the negativity.

And he was damn glad. Because his past didn’t matter anymore. He was a man now. He’d made his way in the world. And he had a chance to be that man around Daisy. His gaze on her mouth, he said, “Hell, yes.”

more than a feeling series

And don’t miss the first three standalone titles in The Rock Star Romance Series!

YOU REALLY GOT ME

I WANT YOU TO WANT ME

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT

 

 

RAFFLECOPTER:

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTE3MmMxYTA5NWI0YjhkMjZkNWU0YzM1M2E1YzU2OjM2Ng==/?

 

 erika kelly author pic

About Erika Kelly:

Award-winning author Erika Kelly has been spinning romantic tales all her life–she just didn’t know it. Raised on the classics, she didn’t discover romantic fiction until later in life. From that moment on, she’s been devouring the genre and has found her true voice as an author. Over three decades she’s written poems, screenplays, plays, short stories, and all kinds of women’s fiction novels. Married to the love of her life and raising four children, she’s lived in two countries and seven states, but give her pen and paper, a stack of good books, and a steaming mug of vanilla chai latte and she can make her home anywhere.

 

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter Signup ** Erika Kelly Goodreads

February Romance Book Review: Fearless (Pretty Smart Girls #2) by Shae Ross

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Photo via Goodreads.

Book Review
Book Title: Fearless (Pretty Smart Girls #2)
Book Author: Shae Ross

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Review:

Quick Summary: Devin Dalton (aka Devi) and Ben Winslow have crazy chemistry – but after a summer of “no’s” coming form Devi, Ben and Devi finally get together. But of course, this isn’t going to be a smooth ride, they are in for a fight with some drama in “dealing with their past” department.

Thoughts: This book is centered around post-college “new adults”. They are dealing with trying to finds jobs, figuring out what they are doing in life, and the obvious post-college hurdles that grads have to come by. There is lots of romance, and some sexy scenes, and lots of drama.

I wasn’t totally impressed with this book. It is definitely a great spin on a romance novel, but I saw all of the major plot points coming. All of the drama was very stereotypical of any soap opera / romance novel. But, that being said, this book was written with the college/post grad aged readers in mind. It was beautifully written and I did enjoy reading it – I just hoped that there would have been some spin that didn’t leave me feeling cheated when I guessed the ending.

The opening line of this novel definitely gets five stars – it got me hooked instantly, and I had to finish the book. I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting since I loved these characters. They were so well developed over time, with little bits of information slowly being revealed about them, and they were overall likable. I understood and felt for them when something bad happened. I embraced these characters and their story!

This book is in dual POV which helps give you insight into both Devi and Ben’s point of view. I really enjoyed that I could see through both of their eyes and read their thoughts. They had different reasons to their behaviours even though they were very similar characters. They are loud, outspoken and they both are determined to get what they want.

There is also a sub-plot in this book which (without spoiling) is very cute and heartwarming (with a pinch of heartbreaking at the same time. It works perfectly with this compelling story and gives the reader a break from the sexy romance and heated drama.

I did not read the first book (but I would like to!) and I understood it perfectly. So anyone who is worried, you’ll understand the story just fine!

I really enjoyed this book, but overall it just didn’t hit the bell. It’s definitely a four out of five story – juts not a five out of five.

I would definitely suggest this book to anyone who loves the YA romance scene and wants a little bit more romance/sex, fans of adult romance but want a little bit more plot, and essentially anyone who loves a good soap opera.

Four out of five stars.

Book Review: My Married Boyfriend by Cydney Rax

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Photo via Goodreads.

In honor of Cydney Rax’s third novel in The Love and Revenge series (Revenge of the Mistress), here’s my review for My Married Boyfriend (the second novel in the series).

Title: My Married Boyfriend
Author: Cydney Rax
Date Read: September 11th – September 28th, 2016
Date Reviewed: September 28th, 2016

Introduction: I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. I wanted to read a soap-opera style novel with lots of love, angst and drama, and I definitely found it! My Married Boyfriend is the second of  three novels by Cydney Rex in this series. The book was easy to pick up without reading the first novel, but there were some aspects of the novel that took me some time to connect (Rashad’s mistresses and their children). Reading the first novel would be easier for the reader, but you can easily pick this book up and figure it out as you go along.

Spoilers Ahead?: Yes.

Quick Summary: Rashad has many women in his life, and a lot of drama as well. His wife kicked him out, leaving him unable to see Myles or Kiara in all her pregnant glory. Alexis, and his daughter Hayley, are friends with Kiara. And of course, his other mistress Nicole wants to marry him and is pregnant with his child. This novel follows mainly Nicole, but Rashad, Kiara and Alexis as well.

Evaluations: I found this novel to have a fast moving pace, but it lacked in sophistication. I found this book almost to easy to read, and the twists and turns that happened were far to obvious. This book is definitely great if you want to turn your brain off and read a steamy yet dramatic romance, but it’s not for anyone who’s looking for a sophisticated or complicated read. I found myself loving some chapters and hating others, and it became a love-hate relationship with the novel. But, that’s of course, just my opinion. Looking at other reviews, readers who are into romance and soap operas LOVED this novel. I am not a major fan of romance/soap opera styled stories, I enjoy reading them in between my psychological thrillers, horror and young adult sprees.

Plot: The plot is fairly simple – Rashad has children with three women, and he has to juggle them. Kiara is his wife that he is divorcing, and she is pregnant (possibly with his child). Alexis is his baby mama and she has Hayley who is about two years old. Nicole, who is a little crazy, is currently pregnant with his child. Oh, and all three work together in Kiara’s office. The plot follows your typical soap opera plot line – Rashad potentially cheating, Kiara keeping his kid away from him and keeping the father of the child a secret, Nicole cheating on Rashad, Rashad finding out, and so on. It’s incredibly easy to follow, and it’s slightly predictable. That being said, it was never dull. The plot kept me interested and I didn’t want to put the book down. Often with romances I want to put the book down and take a break. Yet, I was able to truck along through this novel.

Characters: Rashad was not my favourite lead male. He has three women he is trying to keep relationships with and sometimes he treats them horribly. I felt like he was the weakest point, when he could have been the strongest.

Nicole being crazy seemed like the obvious trophe that could have happened. Rashad breaks up with his wife and his baby mama for a crazy woman who is having his baby. I have seen this on television a lot, but not in print. It was an interesting take, but I didn’t enjoy seeing Nicole as constantly crazy. I would have liked her to been crazy for a reason, and to have moments where I felt bad for her, yet I didn’t. When bad things happened to Nicole I felt like she had it coming, because it was set up that way.

Kiara & Alexis – These women were the strongest points of this novel, and they weren’t in it all that much. Kiara was a very strong lead woman for being in a supporting role. I enjoyed her aspect of the story, since she seemed human. Unlike Nicole, I felt for Kiara when negative turns approached her. I had strong emotions for her. I would have liked Nicole to be written in a similar fashion to her. Alexis was also a strong character, but she was clearly a secondary character and was only used for plot movement. She could have been used more in this novel, and I hope she’d more involved in the third (and first novel, which I haven’t picked up yet).

Themes/Creativity: Creativity wise this novel is great. I have rarely seen the soap opera norm of man having a child with a crazy woman in print. I enjoyed reading it, but I felt like Nicole was positioned to be the bad guy. Overall, it was creative and kept my hooked.

For themes, soap opera type novels rarely seem to have them. If you picked apart this novel you might be able to try to piece some together, but I don’t think Cydney Rax intended for there to be any strict themes.

Uniqueness: In the category of unique, having a diverse cast was nice. I felt like the book was a little to stereotypical and could have been written better in that sense since the novel had a diverse cast of characters. It’s pretty typical for a soap opera type novel, but as I’ve said, in print it’s done a great job of translating it over. I could see this novel becoming a television series such as Desperate Housewives or the many reality television shows that are currently on air.

Strengths: Kiara and Alexis – strong female leads are always great!

Weaknesses: Rashad and Nicole – these two characters were stereotypical and did not make me feel for them, which they should have. They were our main characters!

Score: 2 out of 5. I expected so much more out of this novel, and I felt that it lacked in many areas. Our leads left me without emotions for them, our diverse cast was written to be stereotypical of their ethnicity, and the writing style felt like it was meant to be a very easy read. I did love Kiara and Alexis, and I also loved how quick this novel moved, but the negatives out weighed the positives for me in this novel. That being said, I’d like to read more by Cydney Rax. She seems to know how to write drama, and I’d like to see her grow as she writes more.

Excerpt Reveal: SIN WITH ME by J.T. GEISSINGER

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About SIN WITH ME

The past she can’t remember. The secret he hides. And a love that’s worth risking it all.

After a devastating car crash stole both her family and her memory, Grace Stanton was left with no past and an uncertain future. Now Grace likes to keep things simple. No sleepovers, never date a guy more than a month, and never, ever fall in love. Which is exactly why Grace avoids Bad Habit’s lead guitarist, Brody Scott, at all costs. The green-eyed, sexy-as-hell musician has “trouble” tattooed all over him, and Grace isn’t taking any chances with her heart.

Brody knows he doesn’t deserve an amazing woman like Grace—her creamy skin, red hair, or that smart mouth that fuels his every fantasy—but there’s something between them that’s more than chemistry. Something real. He’ll just have to convince Grace that he’s worth the risk—and hide the secret that haunts his worst dreams. But when fate plays a cruel hand, Brody’s darkest sin suddenly threatens his last chance at redemption…and the life of the woman he loves.

Add SIN WITH ME to Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32804009-sin-with-me

Preorder SIN WITH ME: http://amzn.to/2k5G8dU

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About J.T. Gessinger

J.T. Geissinger is an award winning and best-selling author of dark, sexy romance.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and was a finalist for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America. Her work has also finaled in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

She lives in California with her husband, on whom all her heroes are based.

Connect with J.T. Geissinger

Website: http://www.jtgeissinger.com/

Newsletter: https://www.facebook.com/JTGeissinger/app_100265896690345

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Now time for an incredible sneak peak at SIN WITH ME by JT GEISSINGER!!

Like fingers interlacing, several things slowly come together and fit into place.

“You could fall in love with me and not remember it?” I whisper.

She swallows and nods.

Dumbfounded, I stare at her. “Holy fuck.”

Looking miserable, she nods again. She tries to pull away but I don’t let her. I put my arms around her and squeeze.

She resists for what feels like forever, stiff and uncomfortable in my arms, but then slowly she gives in. She melts against me with a sigh, tucks her face into the space between my neck and shoulder, and winds her arms around my waist.

We stand like that for a while, not talking, feeling the chaotic beating of each other’s hearts. Her hair smells like sunshine. She’s soft and warm against me, lush and feminine. My dick is still wrestling for control with my brain, which is in a state of shock and is just sitting there lifelessly inside my skull like a big lump of cheese.

And suddenly I realize what a gift I’m being offered.

I can never right the wrongs of the past, no matter how desperately I might want to. But maybe those wrongs aren’t the end of the story. Maybe they’re only a new beginning.

If I’m going to do good by her, this is a fucking fantastic place to start.

My voice gruff, I say, “I’m in.”

She pulls away and looks at me, a little furrow between her brows. “What?”

“I said I’m in. Fuck it. If I can make you fall in love with me once, I can make you fall in love with me again and again. Every day if I have to.”

Grace blanches. “The Egosaurus rides again. I’m not in love with you!”

“But you will be,” I vow, looking at her dead-on. “Because I’m not gonna leave you any other choice.”

I plunge my hands into her hair, grip her head, pull her toward me, and fit my mouth against hers.

It’s like the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve and Christmas morning, all rolled into one.

Heat. Color. Noise. Fireworks behind my eyes. She moans into my mouth, digs her nails into my back, arches against me. I moan, too, fucking her luscious mouth with my tongue, one hand behind her neck and the other roaming all over her body, learning her shape, the dip of her waist, the full, tight curve of her ass.

It’s greedy.

It’s scorching.

It’s everything.

If there were a Guinness World Record for the most amazing, mind-blowing, cock-stiffening, heart-pounding, panty-melting, burn-down-the-house kiss, we’d win that motherfucker hands down.

We’re both breathing hard, desperate, mindless, lost. The kiss goes on and on, until I’m drunk on her. I’m flying. I’m melting. I’m—

Someone loudly clears his throat.

Stunned and reeling, Grace and I break apart.

Nico stands in the kitchen doorway with his hands on his hips, grinning like an idiot. “Hiya, kids,” he drawls. “What’re you two squirrels up to?”

Flushed and trembling, Grace lifts a hand to her lips. She lets out a short, astonished laugh and cuts her gaze to me.

I can’t talk either. My mouth can’t form any coherent words. I just stand there, dumb as a rock, my mind blank, my shorts tented, staring at Grace like I’ve spent my entire life up to this point living in a dark cave, surviving on worms and insects, and she just walked in with candles and flowers and a big fucking steak on a hot plate.

“Uhh . . .”

Nico bursts out laughing.

“I’ll just go see what Kat’s up to.” Grace’s voice is high and shaky. She bolts from the room.

“Just wanted to let you know a few people are starting to show up.” Nico glances at the front of my shorts and chuckles. “So, uh, you might want to pull yourself together, brother.”

Shaken to my core, I sag against the counter, gripping it hard for support, and let out a ragged breath. “Jesus. Is that what it’s like for you with Kat? That feeling like you’re . . .”

“Free-falling?” Nico supplies when I can’t find the right word. “High flying? Completely out of control?”

When I look up at him, he nods. “Yeah, brother. It is. At the beginning. And then it gets so much deeper and so much better, there aren’t any words for it at all.” His eyes—bright, cobalt-blue eyes that made him famous—pierce me. “But be careful. Because once you get on that speeding train, you can’t get off. Even if it jumps the tracks, crashes into a nuclear power plant, and burns the whole world to the ground.”

He gives me one long, last look and then turns around and leaves.

From somewhere very far off, I hear the sound of my demon laughing.