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Scandalous (Scandalous #1) by Ella Steele

"I see it, Jack. Your muse is back. The thing that gave you passion, tormented you, and haunted you is back. You're reeling in ecstasy and dread. It's something you want, but can't ever have. And the one that brings the pain is pure, white as snow... and standing in front of you."

One kiss could have changed Abby's life, but when it didn't happen, she ran. Jack was everything to her and when he didn't respond, Abby couldn't bear it. Everything about that night--leaning in close to his face, feeling the night breeze teasing her hair, the way his scent filled her head--was burned vividly into her mind, including the moment when Jack pulled away. There was no kiss. Abby was wrong. She was wrong about him, wrong about them. 

Maybe she didn't have to go to college two thousand miles away, but she did. She had to forget about him. Abby threw herself off the grid, disappearing completely from the life she knew. After completing her undergraduate degree, she enrolled in seminary. All contact with her old life was severed and she never looked back, until she was forced to.

When Abby puts idealism into practice, her congregation throws her out. If she can survive a year on her own, they'll take her back, and continue to pay off her student loans--but if she fails, Abby is on her own with enough debt to fund a small town. Seminary wasn't cheap. With no place left to go, Abby returns to New York and her best friend takes her in. 

Desperate to make it on her own and prove she was right, Abby follows a job lead to an art studio on Long Island. It isn't until she hears Jack's voice that she freezes. The hairs on the back of her neck prickle as she turns to see Jack, ten years later, looking even more tempting than before.

Fate is cruel. Abby left this life behind, but she's thrown back into it, head first. It's like someone hit rewind on her life and its ten years earlier. She's the cotton-mouthed girl that she always was around Jack, and now her future relies on the man who rejected her.

"I see it, Jack. Your muse is back. The thing that gave you passion, tormented you, and haunted you is back. You're reeling in ecstasy and dread. It's something you want, but can't ever have. And the one that brings the pain is pure, white as snow... and standing in front of you" 


This is one of the best books I’ve read all year. That’s a heck of a statement, but I mean it. I don’t know how I found this book, maybe it was divine providence, but it quenched everything I love about romance books. I was initially hesitant at first, considering the H/h were not at all typical, but the cover and hidden promise of what might transpire just drew me right in. By the way, how beautiful is that cover? I’ll tell you right now, the story is just as provocative. It tore me up, made my heart ache, made me cry and made me happy. 

As I said, Jack & Abby were not your typical H/h. Jack is a famous artist, whose work can be construed as either fine art or pornographic. He does not touch, nor date, nor sleep with his models. He also hires a female assistant to oversee his every move when he’s painting a model. With these simple rules, he maintains a pristine reputation that helps him sell his art. Abby is the dubbed as the one who got away. Jack and Abby were close high school friends until she disappears after their near kiss. A decade has passed and Abby returns, practically penniless & desperate looking for job. She has spent most of her time as a minister in a small church in Texas. However, her church forced her to take a mandatory sabbatical after she openly commits an offense. So she’s back and her desperation lands her at Jack’s studio. Yes, she is a minister, but she doesn’t find his work offensive or disgusting, but evocative and beautiful. He hires her as his new assistant. 

Working in such close proximity to Jack is having a profound effect on Abby. He’s stirring up feelings within her that she thought was long gone. Those repressed feelings that she has had for him all these years are returning with a force. As for Jack, he’s always seen Abby as his “unattainable goddess.” How long can these two keep up this charade?

He reached out for me, tugging me by the waist closer to him. Gazing down into my face, he whispered, “I’m sorry, but I can’t be the one to start this. I can’t be the one to pull you from your calling and break your vows.” 

Talk about forbidden love and lust…WOW!! Though this was told in Abby’s POV, I felt so much for both characters. The tension was palpable and so physically powerful; it literally reached out and tugged at all my emotions. When they finally couldn’t take it anymore, their coming together was explosive. My God, it was beautifully erotic. When a story elicits so much emotion from you, you know it’s good. I love, Love, LOVE this story. I cannot recommend it enough. 

Side note: H.M. Ward writes paranormal YA romance. Ella Steele is her pen name. I hope that Ms. Steele continues to write more these adult contemporary novels because this was utterly fantastic. 

From Rags by Suzanne Wright

There has only been three people in Jaxxon Carter's life who truly mattered to her. Her mum, who committed suicide. Her sister, who she hasn’t seen since her teens. And Connor McKenzie, who disappeared from her life the same day he left their foster home. The hardest part of that was that he never completely left her life because she was forever seeing him on T.V. or in magazines as a Formula One Driver. But Jaxxon refuses to live a ‘woe is me’ life, even in spite of living alone in her one-roomed flat and being expected to survive on a ridiculously low income. Then one night she is offered a modelling job and before she knows it she has been catapulted to the peak of success, gaining fame, fortune and security. Oh and a stalker. 

Connor McKenzie is busy trying to shake off his crazy ex-girlfriend – another woman who thought she could get around his no marriage rule – when he sees Jaxxon on the cover of a magazine. Remembering how close they had once been, he’s shocked when she doesn’t respond to his attempts to contact her and then acts indifferently to him when they meet. But Connor can’t let it go. The only reason he had kept his hands off her ten years ago was that she had been younger than him. Now that they’re adults, he isn’t prepared to allow anything – not even Jaxxon – to stop him from having her. 

Warning: This novel contains a bitchy female who curses like a sailor, a persistent alpha male who doesn’t understand the word ‘no’, and explicit hot sex in some very public places.
Five++ Bloody Brilliant Stars :)
Okay. I need to calm my arse down a little here. Normally I would swoon over the Hero, but I must say, I loved the heroine more. Yes, I would go bi for this cheeky Brit. Mother Lord Jaxxon was a fantastic female lead. She was not your typical heroine. She’s beautiful, but she’s no where near conceited. She’s ballsy, curses like a sailor, and not at all intimidated by anyone. She tells it how it is and there is no censor on that mouth of hers. She’s mental and I effin love her. God knows I read a ton of books, but Jaxxon is my first ever female crush. 

Alright, with that said, I must also give our hero, Connor, his due. It takes a mans-man to tame Jaxxon. Connor is all Alpha. He’s sexy, extremely possessive, and can easily kick anyone’s arse. He doesn’t do relationships. Because of his star status, he could have his pick of any woman, so why settle? Of course there are other reasons why he will never commit, but that’s for you to read and find out. However, Jaxxon is his Achilles heel. He just won’t admit it yet. 

Jaxxon and Connor are former foster kids. They grew up together with Connor always looking out for Jaxxon. She’s always had this sort of magnetism that attracts the opposite sex, even the creepers. Connor was always there to fight off any bloke who even looked at her funny. However, when it was time for Connor to leave the system, he left Jaxxon promising her that he would back. Jaxxon has always loved Connor and it devastated her when everyone she loved, especially Connor, left her. 

Fast forward eight years. Jaxxon is working as a barmaid working at a shite-hole pub fending off creepers. She always held her own and no one ever intimidated her. Believe it or not, it was at this pub that she was discovered. A model scout, looking for the right face for a new line of cosmetics, found her I-don’t-give-a-shite-I-can-wipe-your-arse-on-the-floor attitude alluring and automatically knew she was the right girl for the job. The more pissed off she was, the better she came off on camera. Jaxxon couldn’t believe she was model. She never thought of herself that way. She was reluctant, but knowing that it would give her financial security she wants to live on her own terms, she took it.

Connor was now a famous Formula One driver. He’s got a shag em’ and leave em’ reputation when it comes to women. It was during another break-up that he happened to notice Jaxxon on a cover of a magazine. He decides to phone her thinking that they could just “catch up”. Jaxxon doesn’t even return his call. He is frustrated and curious to know why. When they unintentionally see each other at a charity event, all hell broke loose. Jaxxon wants nothing to do him and Connor will not take “no” for an answer. What do you pair up an Alpha male and an Alpha female? A f**king great story. 

The chemistry between the two was beyond intense. Good God these two were off the bloody charts. I bloody loved everything about their story and add the fact that they were both Brits (and if you know me, I love everything British) and that the story took place in London, how could I not love this story!? It was fantastic and I'm so happy I found this gem. HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!!