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**

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contemporary · mob/mafia

Sparrow by L.J. Shen

♥♥ 5 sizzling stars! ♥♥

I couldn’t put this book down once I started it. It’s been on my to-be-read list for a while, and I finally had a chance to read it via Kindle Unlimited. I absolutely loved this book; the writing pulled me in from the prologue, the sexual tension was through the roof, and I couldn’t help but cheer them on.

“I was a monster, out for blood. I was vengeance and hate, fury and wrath.”

Troy Brennan is the son of an Irish mobster, and he’s on a mission to avenge his father’s death. One thing he has to take care of first, however, is to take Sparrow Raynes as his wife. She doesn’t know why someone who’s more likely to be seen alongside models than someone from his Southie Boston neighborhood like her, and she’s not particularly flattered. She just wants to live her own life and stay out of his way.

“No was simply not in his vocabulary. What he wanted, he took. And right now, he wanted little old me.”

Sparrow and Troy’s relationship is in no way sweet and easy, and there’s no love lost between them at the beginning. Troy is powerful, intense, and possessive. He’s “The Fixer”, taking care of politicians’ dirty secrets and has the police in hs pocket. Nothing and no one stands in his way. He’s expecting a submissive, scared new wife, and he’s not ready for what he gets; ten years younger than him, Sparrow fights back at him every step of the way, and Troy can’t help but be intrigued. Sparrow is independent, confident, and driven. She’s not afraid to tell Troy what she thinks of him. She doesn’t take his money and she works hard for her goals. She won’t let the fact that she’s Troy Brennan’s wife make life easier for her, and she’s willing to fight to prove herself.

“He was a monster, but he was my monster.”

Their relationship is rough. The sex is rough. But despite how much both Troy and Sparrow try to stay emotionally detached, they begin to care for each other. I love the whole mafia-romance thing going on here; Troy is really freaking scary and yet, he protects and cares for Sparrow. She understands that he’s never going to be a flowery romantic guy, and she’s okay with that. Together, they balance each other out and just work.

This was an awesome read (definitely one of my favorites this year!). It’s a quick read, but filled with action, a hot alpha male, and a heroine who fights for herself. 100% recommended!