Book two of the Kings of Hell MC hits all the right creepy and sensual notes

My Dark Knight (Kings of Hell MC, #2)My Dark Knight by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I honestly don’t know where to start with this one there are so many parts where I was left with my jaw dropping or thinking ‘did I really just read that?!’ and picking just one out seems like a disservice to the rest.

So, I will begin with the ending, which was all ends up awesome, full of humour, emotions, scorching hot, commitment and creepy edges.

This book is a masterpiece walk along the line between a contemporary motorcycle club romance and a paranormal packed with villainous deeds and the Merikan writing duo come out on top as always.

From the off this story screams quietly to itself, things are not normal in the Kings of Hell clubhouse and now it’s VP Knight’s turn to fall down the rabbit hole as he encounters his online nemesis The Count, a lover of the madman and serial killer William Fane who inhabited the house some two centuries earlier.

Things get off to a bad start as Elliot, the man behind the facepaint, keeps pushing all of Knight’s protective instincts while simultaneously rousing all his desires. And OMG when they finally let loose on those desires things explode.

The level of “WTF did I just read” switches between seriously creepy and disturbingly arousing at the same time and there are some scenes which I know I’ll be thinking about for quite some time.

Sex is, as ever with these two writers, beyond hot and approaching the stratosphere but it also carries a hint of protection and a needy desire to belong which is unique to Knight and Elliot.

The way Elliot lives to feel wanted is delivered with delicious surrender and Knight’s commanding presence overwhelms the senses. Together their dynamic leaps off the page and there are times when a cold shower becomes a real need, especially once the ghostly malevolence takes hold.

I am loving this series so much and book three shows no sign of letting up on the incredible ride. Oh and that cover from Natasha Snow = swoon!

#ARC provided by the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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This is my favourite one so far

The Omega's Alpha (Mercy Hills Pack, #4)The Omega’s Alpha by Ann-Katrin Byrde

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s some absolutely wonderful world building in this book as the Mercy Hills Pack’s alpha is claimed by a totally unsuitable omega.

I loved Holland, the things he’d been through and the pressure he put in himself were immense but Quin saw through it all to the beautiful and brilliant shifter underneath.

There’s lots of background happenings in this book as the shifters start to question why they have to live behind walls, why they’re shunned and feared and a dawning hope that things can be changed.

There’s been an awful lot of work gone into creating the cultures and customs of the shifters and they remind me very much of the Native American tribes.

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Beautifully written but emphasis on Japanese culture isn’t my thing

AntisocialAntisocial by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

I want to say at the start that this book is beautiful. Impeccably researched, detailed in Japanese culture, anime and manga and featuring a love story which goes beyond the normal physical expressions into something soul deep.

However, as beautifully written as this book is, it’s not a five star read for me only for the simple reason that the whole Japanese culture element of it isn’t something I’m personally interested in and, as it anchored the whole narrative, I wasn’t as engaged in it as someone who does have a fascination with it probably would be.

However, it is so rare to get a love story which, even within the LGBTQ+ world, that isn’t a conventional one that it was a delight to read. Here Heidi Cullinan does it with some style as she depicts how someone identifying on the ace/gray spectrum finds the perfect person to become his.

The Greek myth of Galatea and Pygmalion – so famously turned into a play by Sir George Bernard Shaw and then into My Fair Lady, starring Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn – forms the basis of this romance as business student and future lawyer Skylar Stone takes on the project of putting reluctant Xander Fairchild’s art out into the world as part of his senior project.

Xander is anti-social, the artist responsible for the manga comic produced at the college they both attend, and a bit of an enigma. He’s also perfect for Skylar as he sees beneath the frat boy to the scared and confused young man beneath.

This story is so well written, the sensuality and eroticism of watching the two fall in love is superbly done, there is no “sex” in this book but there absolutely is a whole host of making love as Xander discovers just how much he can be turned on by watching Skylar find himself aroused by a simple touch.

The painting scene alone is an exercise on how to make something incredibly sexy and stimulating without the trappings of penetration in any form and their romance oozes intimate connections and passionate loving which fits perfectly within the sexuality of the protagonists.

#ARC received from the publishers via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review

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My favourite – Hassell knocks it out the park again

First and First (Five Boroughs #3)First and First by Santino Hassell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My favourite so far. I don’t know how Santino did it but he managed to take two of the characters who’d been loitering around the first two books basically being arses and causing problems and create an epically brilliant journey to romance.

I loved, loved, loved Caleb and Oliver in First and First, having been a bit put out by each of them in Sutphin Boulevard and Sunset Park but here, here they were redeemed a thousand times over.

The opening scene is genius, how we’re given a glimpse into the New Year’s Eve sexual escapades which blew Caleb’s mind and firmly threw away his feelings of repression and fear, this drip feed of sexuality was highly erotic and only added to the delicious climax when the pair came together again.

“You’re so sexy,” Oli panted. “And you don’t even know it, and that just makes me want to destroy you.

Caleb and Oli go on such a journey together. This is the beauty of Santino’s novels. His characters have depth and realness, they make mistakes, they’re idiots at times, they hurt each other both deliberately and without meaning to.

Ultimately though, they find happiness in their imperfect pairings and it’s joyous to read. As Aiden says:

“…There’s not one way to to live or to love, and whoever tries to tell you any different will probably be dead in a decade or two anyway, so screw them!”

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