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BLOG TOUR: Serpent’s Kiss by Sherri Hayes

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3 Chicks After Dark is happy to participate in the blog tour kicking off a brand new erotic romance BDSM series from Sherri Hayes called Serpent’s Kiss.  Today we feature the first installment in that series, Welcome to Serpent’s Kiss.  Thanks for stopping by!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Welcome to Serpent's Kiss CoverAfter losing her husband unexpectedly, Katrina Mayer decided to open Serpent’s Kiss. She wanted it to be a place where she and her fellow kinksters could play and socialize.

Five years after the doors opened, the club is everything she’d hoped it would be. On Friday and Saturday nights, Serpent’s Kiss is filled with men and women who share a similar desire to explore the pleasures BDSM has to offer. The club has continued to grow, and over the years, many of its members have become friends.

The one thing Katrina didn’t expect when she’d decided to open a club was the human drama that came with it. Learning to balance her life as the club mistress has taken some getting used to, but she wouldn’t change a thing.

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OUR THOUGHTS:
This novella is a really great introduction to the world of Serpent’s Kiss. This first foray lays it all out and efficiently introduces the cast of characters. It’s a quick and dirty – very dirty – short that conveys the potential for just how naughty this series could be. I really enjoy Sherri Hayes’ contemporary romances, so I’m anxious to see what she will accomplish in the realm of erotic romance BDSM.

We get well acquainted with the owner of Serpent’s Kiss, Katrina. She’s had some ups and downs, and I like her commitment to live life to the fullest. It shows that she’s learned from her experiences, and I think most readers will relate to her desire for something more. She lives in the moment, and those moments are filled with experiencing those things she truly desires.

If this story’s any indication, no connection will be off limits for Hayes. We already have some potential May-December pairings as well as employer-employee arrangements in the works. I’m curious to see how these play out and whether or not Hayes will continue to explore atypical, less common relationships. I really like the idea that this isn’t your run of the mill fetish club, and it’d certainly be interesting to see how many different combinations and configurations she can come up with.

If I had any complaint about this novella, it’s that it changes direction frequently with all the potential plot set ups. This disrupts the flow a little, but never makes it feel completely disjointed. I could tell how the various scenes interrelated, so there’s method to the madness. It’s like planting a million little seeds so they can grow into full fledged stories over the course of this series.

Overall I feel like we get a good feel for Katrina, her staff, the members and the mission behind Serpent’s Kiss. This story spends a fair amount of time setting things up for book one, Burning For Her Kiss, Drew and Beth’s story releasing in February 2015. I definitely think the world will be more than ready for more Serpent’s Kiss by then.

RATING: ONE SNEAKER, ONE BAD ASS BOOT

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sherri Hayes author photoSherri spent most of her childhood detesting English class. It was one of her least favorite subjects because she never seemed to fit into the standard mold. She wasn’t good at spelling, or following grammar rules, and outlines made her head spin. For that reason, Sherri never imagined becoming an author.

At the age of thirty, all of that changed. After getting frustrated with the direction a television show was taking two of its characters, Sherri decided to try her hand at writing an alternate ending, and give the characters their happily ever after. By the time the story finished, it was one of the top ten read stories on the site, and her readers were encouraging her to write more.

Six years later, Sherri is the author of six full-length novels, and one short story. Writing has become a creative outlet for Sherri that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. She is most well known for her Finding Anna series about a young woman rescued from being a sex slave by a wealthy Dominant. The third book in that series, Truth, released July 25, 2013.

CONNECT WITH SHERRI:

WEBSITE / FACEBOOK / TWITTER / GOODREADS / BOOK CLUB

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A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews

 A Forbidden Rumspringa CoverRelease Date: September 3, 2014
Published by KA Books
Review Copy from Author

About the Book:
When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?

In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name.

Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community.

Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?

Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance.

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Our Thoughts:
Wow. If you had told me at the beginning that an Amish romance would rock my world, I probably would’ve laughed in your face. I’m no stranger to Christian romance, I’ve read a few, but it’s not a genre I flock to frequently.  Nevermind that A Forbidden Rumspringa doesn’t even really fit into the category of Christian romance. The author’s note in the synopsis explicitly states this, and while it’s not inspirational in the traditional, uplifting sense, I do think it will inspire many who read it.

I’m in awe of  the level of detail and intricacy with which Keira Andrews creates the fictional Amish settlement which is the backdrop for the story. She gives readers plenty of background if you’re unfamiliar with Amish beliefs, but numerous times the characters within reiterate how each settlement is unique. This is a brilliant move on her part to provide a fictional setting based on a real faith and its basic beliefs,  giving her a bit of latitude in developing the story.

In many ways Isaac and David’s story is the ultimate in forbidden romances. Here are two guys who live a life of faith and simplicity, yet they long for something they believe is a sin. They struggle to deny what they want knowing it should feel wrong, but they’re conflicted because it feels so right. The love they feel is real, and the possibility of discovery is nothing less than terrifying. Isaac and David spend countless hours questioning, wondering and trying to understand how they can find happiness together without disappointing everyone they love. I spent the better part of this book either elated or afraid. Andrews does a phenomenal job of building the relationship between Isaac and David, and once that sweet, caring bond was established I was on edge waiting for someone to destroy their fragile unity.

In all honesty, I expected a lot of furtive glances and awkward sexual situations due to the nature of the story.  You can imagine my surprise when some of the scenes are hot enough to make me blush. Seriously, at times I almost felt like I should go to confession. :) While stolen moments and forbidden couplings have their draw, what truly strikes me about the relationshiptt between Isaac and David  is their emotional connection. Once they realize what’s between them, they’re so open and honest, and I think it’s refreshing  afer a lifetime of living plain and repressing urges.

The darkest moments of this book absolutely ripped my heart out. For Andrews to build emotion like that is incredible – the love and despair are equally as intense. (I don’t think that’s spoiling anything, this is a forbidden romance after all. Surely a reader expects some despair.) I believe it’s mostly due to expert storytelling and beautiful imagery that readers can connect so closely with the characters and their story. I’m not Amish and have some but limited exposure to their ways, however I could completely relate to everything these guys were dealing with: worry, fear, love, heartbreak and much more. It’s in those moments that I realize we’re all the same regardless the path we choose or the clothes we wear. At the most basic, we all share the same need and desire to love and be loved.

The ending of this book is probably my favorite due to the emotional complexity. It’s painful yet joyous, and I was pretty conflicted while reading it. I wanted it to end so I would know what happened, but at the same time I didn’t want it to ever end. Andrews doesn’t take it easy on us either, literally waiting until the last minute to bring some closure to the issues and questions at hand. I’m warning you now – there will be tears. Tears of sorrow, tears of joy…so many tears. Each and every one of them worth it to take this journey with Isaac and David.

RATING: STILETTOS!

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Taking Control (Kerr Chronicles #2) by Jen Frederick

Taking Control CoverRelease Date: September 8, 2014
Published by Pear Tree, LLC
Review Copy from Author

About the Book:
I thought I needed only one thing in my life–the money and power to crush one man. But the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Corielli, my thirst for revenge was replaced by my craving for her.

No rule would keep me away; no obstacle too large to overcome. Not her will, not our differing social positions, not my infamous past. When she lost everything, I helped her pick up the pieces. When she trusted me with everything, she sealed her fate.

I’ve convinced Victoria she can put her heart in my hands. Now I have to protect it–from her shady stepfather and my business rivals, from enemies known and hidden. I’ll do anything to keep her. And I might have to prove it, because now Victoria’s risking more than her heart to be with me; she’s risking her life.

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Our Thoughts:
I get it. I completely get it. I know how Victoria feels because I am totally addicted to Ian Kerr. He’s smart, sexy and devoted – that’s the trifecta of awesome for fictional boyfriends. Sure he’s a little domineering and a wee bit possessive, but overall he’s just fantastic.

Taking Control picks up pretty much where Losing Control left off – Tiny’s still grieving the loss of her mother, and she and Ian are trying to navigate their new life together.  I like watching them work together to really solidify their relationship. By doing so Jen Frederick creates some relationship tension without causing the reader to feel like it’ll all unravel at any second. They disagree, make up and move on just like any couple would. It’s so much more gratifying than the fear of heartache and despair in more traditional romance novel tropes.

This storyline centered around Ian’s dispute with Richard Howe seriously heats up in this book. Losing Control merely set the stage for the showdown to come, and let me tell you it’s epicIan’s battle style seems to be subtle and understated with maximum impact, but the conflict with the Howes escalates to a point well beyond what his style will handle. Frederick concludes their quarrel in a fashion I can only describe as “go big or go home.” I enjoyed that climactic scene so much I read it three times. (I guess I am an evil sadistic reader after all.)  One word of caution: just when you think it’s over, it’s not. The twist Frederick adds is unexpected and exciting, and keeps you on edge. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Saying Ian and Tiny have great chemistry is the understatement of the year. It’s practically off the charts, and it seems like there’s nothing in the world that doesn’t turn them on.  Their intimate scenes are erotic and sensual, but they’re also numerous. On occasion I wished they had a little more self-control, but overall their physical relationship is hot.  Jen Frederick has a gift for conveying the intimacy and emotion of each encounter, drawing the reader in to the experience along with them. I swear there were times when I felt borderline voyeuristic, the writing makes it that tangible. If dirty talk typically makes you blush, well, be prepared to blush. A LOT. ;)

From everything I’ve seen the Kerr Chronicles is a duology, and their story is definitely wrapped up after this book. I’m completely satisfied with their ending, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t curious about some of the other characters Frederick has created. What’s next for Kaga? Jake? Steve? Seriously, Steve is really intriguing, and I’ve already created five different scenarios in my head for what happens next for him. I’d selfishly like to see Jen Frederick tell some of these stories, so I’ll just keep my fingers crossed for now.

RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!

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