contemporary · dark · erotic · haters to lovers · mob/mafia · romance · suspense

Consent by Charmaine Pauls

♥♥ 5 Nail-Biting Stars ♥♥

Different reactions while reading…

I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve fangirled over a series like this. This dark romance is amazing and brings so many different factors to the table. For one, it’s hella sexy and has a lot of kinky sex, and who doesn’t like that? It deals with forced seduction and how two people can build a real relationship after having such a rocky start, and how far they’ll go to protect each other.

The last book left us hanging with Valentina running from Gabriel. She takes her brother with her and tries to start over, but she’s dealing with conflicting emotions. She thought she’d be happy to have escaped his manipulations, but finds that she still misses him and cares for him even as she’s accepting her new future without him. Of course, Gabriel won’t let her leave him and does everything in his power to find her. I won’t spoil anything, but Gabriel’s plan for saving Val in the last book backfires, leaving a mess of miscommunication and angst on both sides.

When Gabriel finds Val, they try to start their life over, moving out of his mother’s house. Val’s past is intricately tied with Gabriel’s family, and we get a lot of answers as to why Gabriel’s mom hates her so much. As they fall in love, they both struggle with accepting that they can have something real, and it leads them to both make some stupid decisions. Gabriel killed me and I couldn’t decide if I wanted to smack him for being so dumb or if I wanted to wrap him in a bear hug for being so selfless. Either way, Val’s response to Gabriel’s actions had me tearing up for basically half the book and let’s just say that their connection is the only thing that keeps her going for a while.

I was so pleased with this series for so many reasons. I’ve found it so hard to find dark romances that have solid character development and plot arcs, and this had it all. Great plot, packed with action and sexual tension, and a sizzling connection between the hero/heroine that went beyond the physical. A must read!

 

**ARC provided via NetGalley in exchange for honest review**

contemporary · erotic · romance · suspense

Alone Before You by Claire Scott

♥♥ 4 Tense Stars ♥♥

This is the first installment of a series, so be ready to invest yourself when you pick this up! I haven’t dived into a series in a while, and I’m definitely glad I read this one. Gwen is twenty-five years old and on the run from her past. Her home life was a little less than stellar, to put it mildly, and she’s constantly afraid that it’ll catch up to her. Needless to say, she has trust issues and has never stayed in one location long enough to make connections with people until now.

I thought the first part of the book moved a little slowly, with it consisting mostly of Gwen’s inner dialogue and commentary. However, once she meets Colt, things start picking up in pace and the writing flows much better. Colt is really fucking hot if you’re into a subtle dominant male. Contradictory, I know, but Colt doesn’t have to make big power plays for Gwen to see he means business. He’s ready to claim Gwen as his, but given her past, she’s skittish and scared. She doesn’t want to put any trust in anyone besides herself and this is something she has to work through in this book.

The sex scenes are smoking hot, and almost make the read worth it for that alone. I loved the tension between these two, and the secondary characters actually had some depth that you don’t always see. And Colt is basically my wet dream, so there’s that.

I’m excited to see where the plot goes with Gwen’s relationship with Colt, as well as with everything going on from her past. I kind of felt like the ending was a little abrupt, and I thought that there could’ve been a little more suspense than what was there, but overall I really enjoyed this book and will definitely continue reading the rest of the series.

**ARC generously provided by author in exchange for honest review**