Mine to Hold [Wicked Lovers #6] by Shayla Black

Publication Date: June 5th, 2012
Berkley Heat
Format: Kindle Edition and paperback, 352 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
A friend’s duty.

Tyler Murphy was an LAPD detective, single and happy—until a near-fatal tragedy crippled his friend, fellow detective Eric Catalano. While Tyler supported Eric, he also became a shoulder for Eric’s wife, Delaney, to lean on. But with one naughty suggestion from Eric, a drunken night with Delaney spilled into erotic abandon. Before it was over, Tyler saw his best friend’s wife as a woman and yearned for more. When Eric struggled to deal with the aftermath, Delaney begged Tyler to leave. Crushed, he fled to Louisiana, hoping to escape his longing for the one woman he could never have again…and unaware of what he’d left behind.

A lover’s desire.

After two years of living with regret, Tyler finds Delaney on his doorstep, her husband having abandoned her long ago. She’s protecting a shocking secret and desperately needs refuge from a stalker determined to see her dead. As they fight to stay alive and catch the killer, they struggle to resolve the guilt of their past pleasures. But they can’t deny that what was once a spark is now a flame burning out of control. To possess Delaney—body and soul—Tyler must heal her pain and thwart the evil that’s a mere breath behind her…

Warning: Mature review for a mature book.
The Gist: Two years ago, a drunken night ended up with Tyler and Delaney having sex while her invalid husband looked on. The two was so desperate to please the man whom they thought deserved everything he wanted and needed just because he got dealt a bad card – including his ridiculous request to watch them have sex. Two years later, Del is now divorced and knocking on Tyler’s door with a toddler in tow looking mischievously like a diminutive version of his father.
Delaney is on the run; an expose involving a corrupt Assistant District Attorney has her dodging bullets, exploding car and running to the man whom she thought she would never see again. But desperate times call for desperate measures as her circumstances left her no choice but to finally end all threats even if it would cost her life.
The Review:  Finally. I reached the end of the line for this series and have to wait for the next book to come out. Judging by the up and down reactions with the books, you’d think I’m going to flounced on this series once and for all. But I digress. I can’t deny Ms. Black’s innate talent to write some incredibly steamy erotica, co-mingled with some crime stories that even I would be honest enough to admit to an addiction. I think this series is prime Erotica novels but only if you’re a fan and you’re used to all the rough sex. I, on the other hand have found the need to skip a lot of pages. I’m not ready to forgo missionary over whatever kink was described in this series.
The best thing I liked about this novel is the sex – that’s hardly a surprise, isn’t it? I just meant that it’s vanilla all around except for the beginning where it involved Tyler and her paralyzed ex. And oh dear. Tyler is like an Olympian in sex. He can do marathon sex without breaking a sweat. The man is like a gold medalist for Strong Man or for triathlon or something equally enduring. I swear, my lady parts were hurting for Del. *grimaces* Sorry for the nasty picture.
I enjoyed how they dodged the thugs who were after them. I also liked that while the bad guys are spelled out from the beginning, this story didn’t lack for suspense. Xander, the billionaire Bond guy was a cad of a character who added bits of comic relief from time to time. I can’t wait to read his and his brother, Javier’s story.
VERDICT: This is the best book among the series, as far as I’m concerned. The plot is well-developed and the characters were well fleshed-out. In short, Ms. Black had achieved a balance in this novel. I’m definitely looking forward to book #7 and would probably check out some of her series as well. But for now, because I’ve gorged myself with Erotica this month, I think I’m going to go back to the kiddie pool and stick to something that doesn’t involve high dives (whips, chains, canes, leathers).
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Belong To Me [Wicked Lovers #5] by Shayla Black

Publication Date: October 4th, 2011
Berkeley Trade
Format: Paperback, 385 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
She’s undercover and in over her head…
When FBI analyst Tara Jacob’s fellow agent and best friend goes missing while investigating a sex ring, Tara goes undercover as a submissive in a Dallas BDSM club called Dominion. But no man can top a woman with Tara’s moxie convincingly enough – until an edgy, dangerous Dom takes control of the scene and sets her heart racing with a single, commanding glance. Too bad he’s also the man who stole her innocence years ago – and one to whom she will never submit.
He’s got everything under control…until he falls for her again.
Navy SEAL Logan Edgington once left the woman he loved to save her life. He knows Tara will never forgive him, but he has no doubt that he possesses the knowledge to help her master her fears and the strength to guide her through an unfamiliar world of pleasure and pain. He alone can protect her on a dangerous mission that reveals both wicked depravities and terrible secrets. Logan relishes the exquisite torture of holding her again and feeling her uninhibited response. No matter how much Tara insists their fling will end after the mission, he’s determined that she will be his once more – this time, he’ll never let her go. 

Warning: Mature review for a mature book.

Yeah. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment because here I am, reading yet another BDSM. But hey, this I actually liked…mildly.  Logan wasn’t as pushy as his brother Hunter. If anything, I thought he was the sweetest Dom I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. 
The Gist: Old high-school flames who burned bright and fast, Logan and Tara didn’t expect their reunion would be in a D/s dungeon. Logan had to make a choice back then to let her go; twelve years later, he’s still reeling from having lost the only woman he’s ever loved. Logan has been celibate for the last five years – either to punish himself, or he just couldn’t stomach having sex with another woman other than Tara. 

Tara would like to admit that she’s moved on, but her one true love was hard to forget. Her first assignment with the FBI was to rescue another agent who disappeared while infiltrating a slave for sale sex ring. She didn’t expect to be training in the hands of Logan, the man who broke her heart after he’d taken her virginity. 

Brought together by perilous mission, connected together by a tumultuous past, would an old wound and old threats keep them apart again?
The Review: Like I said, I liked this one better. I think I may have my fill of alpha-males for a while. These books did a number on me, for sure but I’m one away from completing this series so I’m not going to give up. Besides, the next one seemed to have a “normal” relationship and one that I’m interested in. It’ll be a nice break from all the monkey sex, I tell ya. Anyway, this book was a standard Shayla Black: sex with multiple partners, crime solving suspense and characters in need of a life-long stay at a therapist’s couch.
It seems impossible for a Dom to remain ‘celibate’ for the last five years but Logan will beg to differ. At first, I chuckled at the thought but seeing him go through a play with another sub and watching him agonized about his inability to uhm… (I can’t believe I’m about to say this) penetrate, I sort of got him. What I wasn’t convinced of was how all-encompassing their love was for each other even after all these years. I don’t know, it seems too far-fetched and over dramatic.
Logan as a Dom is different from Logan outside of his dungeon. He leaves his dominance in the bedroom, which is why I liked him. Majority of the books in this sub-genre tend to have Doms dominating in and outside of the bedroom. They ultimately drove me nuts with all their orders and commands. Let’s leave the kinky fuckery in the bedroom and don’t tell me how I should dress, mkay? I’ve always seen BDSM as a sexual preference and not a lifestyle so I don’t get why these Doms get to dictate how their subs dress, eat, and speak outside of the bedroom. Perhaps I don’t know any better. But if I were to indulge, Logan would be my number one candidate. 
The training session took most of the entire book. And while I can only hazard a guess as to how long it would take for an inexperienced sub to get to where her mind is supposed to be, I was driven to skip the pages until I got to the actual case (busting a sex ring to rescue another agent).

The suspense was not suspenseful. Saw it from a mile away. 
The Verdict: Admittedly, this book had much more substance than the rest in this series. Be warned: disturbing scenes which alludes to gang-rape and asphyxiation. Who am I kidding? If you’re not into BDSM, the entire book would be disturbing! 

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Surrender To Me [Wicked Lovers #4] by Shayla Black

Publication Date: March 1st, 2011
Berkeley Trade
Format: Paperback, 353 pages
RATING: 2 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
A secret fantasy
Hunter had everything until a bullet put his career as a Navy SEAL on hold. Restless and in need of distraction, he accepts an intriguing proposition: share an acquaintance’s girlfriend and fulfill her fantasy of a ménage. It should have been just one night of sexual adventure among three consenting adults. But Kata is like no other girl Hunter has ever met. By turns audacious and sexy, then vulnerable and aloof, she’s a heartbreaker he is determined to master. But he needs more than one night. And he wants to do it alone.
An uncontrollable obsession
Kata never expected to leave her comfortable relationship and explore something so dangerously forbidden with a stranger. Though she tries to resist, the guilty pleasure overwhelms her and she surrenders herself, inch by inch, to the hard-core man who wants her for himself. Consumed by blazing desire, they’re soon threatened by the shadows of the past. To keep Kata safe, Hunter makes her a bold proposition of his own. Saying yes will destroy her heart but saying no could cost Kata her life. 

Warning: Mature review for a mature book. 

I was not disappointed with this book.

Nope.

What I am…is PISSED.

For the love of all that’s latex and shiny! The two main characters tested my limits. I’ve never exclaimed, “you’re an idiot!” as much as I have while in the throes of reading this book.

I’m not going to bother with a brief summary.

The Review: Hunter is an alpha-male and a half. He went past Fifty Shades of Neanderthal. Listen, man. If the woman says NO to BDSM, I really think you should back off. But nooooooo you insisted, you refused to listen, and plowed on like her wants didn’t matter. As if you really know that she’s meant for that type of relationship. Regardless of how this book ended, or how Kata felt afterwards, I am not convinced that Hunter read her right.

Oh and Kata? Your wishy-washy attitude overshadowed how “independent and strong” you claimed to be throughout the book. It’s just a dick, for heaven’s sake. Listen, girl. If having sex with that man makes you cry afterwards, I think you should run for the hills…or go back to your fuck friend, Ben. Even if the sex is mild, at least you don’t have to lose your self-respect and your right to orgasm when you want.

The Verdict: This book was exhausting, not at all “hot”, and extremely maddening. Honestly? I had sympathetic groin pains for Kata because Hunter refused to let her orgasm. I will never get the appeal of BDSM. It’s probably because I have very little tolerance for pain. And it’s why I had a hard time seeing this book through the end. This book was painful to read.

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Delicious [Wicked Lovers #3] by Shayla Black

Publication Date: March 2nd, 2010
Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback, 353 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
SUMMARY
Savor this: the new contemporary erotica in the Wicked Lovers series, from the author of Decadent
Luc’s entire future is planned out-but there is one very sexy obstacle in his path: Alyssa, a strip club owner with whom Luc recently shared one night of wild abandon. It left Luc terrified by his loss of self­control-and Alyssa desperate for more. But Luc is not the only man desperate to have Alyssa…and that’s just one of her secrets-secrets as dark and mysterious and delicious as her fantasies.

Warning: Mature review for a mature book.

It didn’t take me long to finish this book; and this time, it wasn’t because I skipped the sex scenes. Heh. This book was hot! As in, Ghost chilli hot in the Scoble scale. Even so, I was still not as enamoured as I expected to be with this series but I’m going to plow through; because no matter how many times I quibble and complain about these books, I can’t deny that I’m addicted. I’ve said this before; Ms. Black can burn off the pages with her steamy erotica and wouldn’t you know it? I can’t look away.

The Gist: After a steamy night spent with Alyssa, Luc worked very hard at avoiding her. As far as Luc was concerned, there’s no room in his life for the sex goddess. It doesn’t matter if he can’t be around the woman without getting all hot under the collar, or that he couldn’t even feign interest in the women whom he thinks are the right ‘marriage material’; he just refused to acknowledge the fact that Alyssa got under his skin and in the bad way. A week working with Alyssa is a not a good idea but he can’t turn back on his promise and crush the woman’s dream to get out of the stripping business. Especially when he learned that her life is constantly threatened by men who lust after her.

Alyssa has it all planned out: seduce Luc to her bed and make him want her enough so he’d never leave. But she didn’t anticipate Luc’s steadfast determination for a future married to the ‘right’ woman, have 2.5 kids with her and white picket fences. She also didn’t realize just how discriminatory the man was to a woman like her whose part time profession was disrobing in front of men. He simply didn’t trust her as far as he can zip up his pants when she was around. They can burn up the sheets but she doesn’t see a future with a man whose idea of the right woman doesn’t involve money earned in the flesh industry. Even more so to a woman whose past keeps knocking on her door and intent on ending her life.

The Review: Don’t get me wrong, this book was light years better than its predecessor. But Luc didn’t really give me the warm fuzzy feeling, ya know? Actually, he was one discriminatory Alyssa is such a slut-whore opinion away from being neutered. I’m not kidding. I wanted to rip his balls off and feed it to him. She was good enough to warm his bed but because she’s a former stripper-turned-club owner, he thinks that he’s too good for her. Excuse me while I hunt down a pair of dull, rusted pair of scissors.

I wanted Alyssa to run as far away from this guy and actually run to Tyler’s, her bodyguard, arms. She definitely deserved someone as good and most definitely not Luc. He did have an about-face eventually but by then, it was hard to like him.

Alyssa was a dichotomy, in my opinion. She’s strong, independent, beautiful but man, was she weak when it comes to Luc! Okay, so maybe I can’t really blame her, love tends to weaken the strong it seems like.

As far as story-telling goes, I’m sensing a pattern here; Ms. Black likes you to believe that when the initial perp is caught (in this case, Alyssa’s creepy stalker), the story ends there. But she’s actually not satisfied until at least two more suspects play with her like a cat plays with a mouse before it eats it. So yeah, for the next three remaining books to this series, I guess I’m not going to rest easy until I flipped to the end of the book.

The Verdict: Shayla Black’s scorching tales have just enough enjoyable qualities that will distract you – even for a tiny second – from their flaws. Regardless of how many times I wanted to make a Eunuch out of Luc, I still enjoyed this book.

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Decadent [Wicked Lovers #2] by Shayla Black

Publication Date: October 2nd, 2007
Berkley Trade
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
RATING: 1 Out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY

Kimber Edgington is a virgin with a crush-on a pop star with a penchant for threesomes. Determined to prove that she’s woman enough for singer Jesse McCall, Kimber turns to bodyguard Deke Trenton for sexual education…lessons that include his super-sexy friend Luc. Though she’s saved herself for Jesse, Kimber soon learns that he’s not the man adept at stoking her aching, endless need. That’s Deke, and he can’t resist when Kimber begs for more-and more.

WARNING: Mature review for a mature book.

Oh my. What have I gotten myself into?

I polished off this book in no time; not because it’s darn right addictive, or I couldn’t put it down. It’s because I skipped a whole slew of pages. Which parts did I skip, you ask? The sex scenes. Say, what?! For real, yo.  

The gist: Kimber wanted to learn about the three-way play that Jesse McCall is into. Jesse McCall is a childhood friend turned pop star sensation that Kimber has been in love with since forever. She’s 23, a virgin – because all this time, she saved herself for Jesse (gag). But first, she needed some education; that’s where Deke and his cousin, Luc comes in.

Deke has been lusting after Kimber since she was seventeen. So when Kimber walked in to Luc’s house asking for a jaw-dropping favor, it’d only make sense that he’d say, “f*ck, yeah!” But Deke saw all the wrongs that could happen if he did and gave Kimber an impromptu lesson right then and there along with some harsh words to remember the moment by. Long story short, Kimber ran off in search of another willing pair to give her the education she needed. Well, Deke would not stand for it. So he took her back and signed on as one of her teachers. These types of things are never easy and no one walks away scot-free. This has disaster written all over it.

The rant: Good golly, Miss Molly. Who saves their virginity for a guy whom you know is a skeeze and is into three-ways? Seriously, who does that? And in any case, how the hell do you expect to keep your virginity if you wanted a lesson in ménage? This book went past ridiculous. About 70% of this novel is sex – which, I didn’t mind but OMG, the sex was torture. Deke was always encumbered with self flagellation and overwhelming guilt afterwards. He was so intense before, during and after the act that I don’t know how he could’ve possibly enjoyed it! 

Reading this book is like watching porn: all sex, no plot (not that I’m an expert on porn, per se). The story line is weak at best, and the conflict is manufactured in a way that it felt more like a filler than anything else. There was a little made-up added suspense, which was in no way suspenseful but predictable to say the least.

VERDICT: I don’t get the appeal of ménages and I don’t think I ever will. I’m terminally selfish and am not very welcoming to the idea of sharing – especially in that sense (smirks). And this is why this book didn’t work for me. I skipped the sex scenes because honestly, I couldn’t stand it. Most of the time, I was grossed-out. But that’s just me and my personal preference. I’m hoping the rest of the books in this series wouldn’t have such an adverse affect. Otherwise, the remaining four books that I have will remain unread in my shelves. 
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Wicked Ties [Wicked Lovers #1] by Shayla Black

Publication Date: January 2nd, 2007
Berkley Heat
Format: Paperback, 341 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars

SUMMARY


When a stalker ratchets up his attempts to get to her, cable sex talk show host Morgan O’Malley turns to Jack Cole-a self-proclaimed dominant- for help. Though Jack is a bodyguard, Morgan feels anything but safe in his presence. Because slowly and seductively, Jack is bringing her deepest fantasies to the surface. And when he bends her to his will, what’s more shocking than her surrender is how much she enjoys it and how she starts to crave his masterful touch. A willing player in Jack’s games, Morgan knows that his motives aren’t pure. But she has no idea how personal they are.
WARNING: Mature review for a mature book.
Based on the cover, I don’t need to tell you how steamy this was. The intense slow-build was enough to make me spontaneously combust…or grab the husband and have my wicked ways with him – TMI, I know but that’s the nature of these types of books isn’t it? Otherwise, the author didn’t do her or his job well. This is my very first Shayla Black and heck, it’s no wonder she’s got her fans by their collars. The woman writes good smut and oh, it’s got a plot. Trust. It does.
Wicked Ties is the first of her Wicked Lovers series – the story of Jack and Morgan. On a research for her cable sex relationship self-help show, Master J brought out some fantasies that Morgan wouldn’t dare voice out. The man knew the ins and outs of the D/s lifestyle that in the deep recesses of her mind was something she wouldn’t mind exploring (but terrified to). When they met for ‘research’ for the first time, a man from Morgan’s past open fire at a café where they were meeting, prompting Master J’s real identity to come out and protect Morgan.
Jack’s first instinct when he first laid eyes on Morgan was to rid her of her awful disguise and make her submit to his orders. But when a trigger-happy stalker threatened the life of his chance for revenge, another instinct took over. Too much complications wasn’t enough to prevent Jack to deviate from his best laid plans. To seduce Morgan meant a direct hit to her ‘fiance’ Brandon Ross – all he had to do was open Morgan’s eyes to his lifestyle and he was sure she’ll leave Brandon for good. Hiding in a cottage in the swamp of Louisiana, he’d set out to make her submit, as a stalker, determined to kill Morgan, was on the loose. In the end, would he get his revenge? Or would he get more than what he bargained for?
Okay so here’s the thing that I don’t get. Jack needed to prove a point that Morgan wasn’t cut out for vanilla so he indulged her. And thennnnnn got Morgan to play right into his hands. If the guy can literally undress you with his eyes and can heat you up till you’re all mush inside, does it really matter what kind of uhm…stuff you guys do? Her reaction seemed like Jack was a placid partner in bed when they did the normal thing – even to the point that she compared her experience to those of what she had with her exes. Child, please. Sell me another one.

BDSM books tend to drag the feminist movement issue in bed with the characters and seriously, I couldn’t tell which way Morgan was going nor could I understand Jack’s logic. Annnnd, if I were to start a discussion about that in this review, then, honey, I think I’ve completely missed the point of why we read EROTICA in the first place – for enjoyment and to satisfy a curiosity (I read them for umm…research purposes). I’m just sayin’.  I’m not going to delve deep into the author’s psyche and figure out the subliminal messages she’s trying to convey. She writes good smut and for that, I thank you, Ms. Black. Though I’m not a fan of menage. Sooo…
Anyway, the majority of the book dealt with Jack trying to coax out the inner submissive in Morgan. The stalker issue was like an annoying fly buzzing around while they’re trying to uhm…do things. If you can imagine that, then you’ve pretty much got my point.
VERDICT: Holy hotness and gratuitous filthy words. Ladies and gents, I hit the jackpot. Yep.
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August Addiction: Shayla Black

Last month, I took a tumble on my choice of addictive reads which featured Lauren Dane. I think I just picked the wrong series out of the number of works she’d done. I still have a couple of her books that I need to read, which are books 3 and 4 of her Chase Brothers series. I may pick them back up for future reads. But for now, I think I’m moving on to another author.

For August, I thought I’d check out Shayla Black’s Wicked Lovers series. These books are, yes, Erotica. There are six books to the series so far and I’m very excited to get started on them. These type of books tend to be fast reads so I’m hoping to devour all six in two days weeks. Wish me luck! Anyway, here they are:

I hope you’ll check back and see how I do with this series! 🙂 Until then, I’ve got fictional lives to live vicariously through and my own life to ignore. 

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