Phenomenal X (Hard Knocks #1) by Michelle A. Valentine

Phenomenal X (Hard Knocks #1)
by Michelle A. Valentine

Good Girl. Notorious Bad-Boy. One Phenomenal Love.

From the mean streets of Detroit rises the newest superstar of professional wrestling, Xavier Cold, better known as Phenomenal X. His muscular physique makes men cower before him and women lose their minds with desire.

Anna Cortez is fresh out of college and naive to the harsh realities of the real world. Tired of living under the thumb of her conservative family, she defies them when she accepts a job as the assistant to wrestling’s most notorious bad-boy. Phenomenal X has an animalistic nature that even good girl Anna finds hard to resist.

One night forced to share a bed in a sold-out hotel, lines blur between them and they quickly learn that one lustful night changes everything and neither one of them will ever be the same.


Heather’s Thoughts:

I am torn on how to review this book. There were times when I wanted to laugh at the loosely put together plot and the in-genuine responses. I had to wipe the drool off my chin during the alpha male dominance displays. I found myself genuinely liking this book despite all of its flaws. This is a definite good girl meets bad boy book. She is immediately drawn to him and he pushes her away because he will never be “good enough” for her.

She is running from a controlling father and lands in the lap of a controlling friend/boyfriend/cave-man.

Anna falls hard and fast and despite her sexual inexperience, they have frequent unprotected sex.

He is barbaric and feral.

He has a very bad temper…

And he is strangely aloof.

But when someone threatens what is his, he will destroy them.

Despite this cliché of a plot, I read this one cover to cover. I didn’t care much for Anna and I was a little annoyed with her at times. Xavier was a slightly more complex character…

Overall, I am giving this one three stars. This is a short review because there are a million other reviews out there and quite frankly, this one was just “ok” for me. The sex was hot, the build up was good. There is a big old Cliffhanger at the end so be prepared for that! I will definitely read the next book. Not because the writing was so good, not because I love the characters but because I want to know what the heck happens.

The average rating on this one is in the high three range, I would give it a low three myself. But to each his own. Xavier is pretty hot but with all the WTF moments, I couldn’t bring myself to go higher.

3 stars for me!


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The Professional, by Kresley Cole

The Professional (Game Maker, #1)

The highly anticipated complete novel of The Professional—the first installment in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole’s scorching Game Maker series, an erotica collection that has readers asking: How hot is too hot?

He makes the rules…

Mafiya enforcer Aleksei “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss knows no bounds, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, feisty redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Aleksei will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

Rules are made to be broken…

Grad student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the dark and breathtaking Sevastyan before the professional enforcer whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. Every day under his protection leads her deeper under his masterful spell.

Are you ready to play?

Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…


Sammy Loves Books’ review

Holy Fucking Hell. This Russian Enforcer is a
Panty Soaking Machine!!!


Alexandr Sevastyan (pronounced Sebastian with a v) is a Russian Mafia Enforcer.         He’s also a dirty talking Alpha. Sex on a stick!!


Alexander lives a life of extremes. Extreme violence, loyalty, and vigilance. Sevastyan is sent to Nebraska to locate and protect his boss’ daughter but he is not prepared for what he feels upon seeing her. He becomes obsessed with possessing her and making her his. But he knows such a move would be disloyal to his boss and adoptive father. 

“Was I just a job to you, Savastyan?”
He gazed to the right of me as he answered, “That’s all you can be.”
“Do you wish you’d never been sent to America for me?” He faced me fully.
“Every second of the day,”


The Russian mob has it’s own secret code. Where every tattoo has a meaning. Sevastyan is covered in ink. Eight sided stars on each knees symbolizing that he kneels to no one. Stars on his chest, and tattoos on his fingers. His body is a delicious road map of ink and muscle. This man does not apologize for who he is and what he does.


Natalie Porter is a hard working grad student in Nebraska. She has been trying to locate her biological parents for some time by working her ass off in order to pay for investigators. 


Natalie is also a sexy redhead with a body that turns heads. She’s feisty and forward thinking, so when she spots the “hot as sin” Russian in her locale bar, she makes a move. Dressed in expensive threads, with tattoos peeking out from under his crisp shirt, Alexandr is an puzzle that Natalie must solve. The immediate chemistry between these two is off the charts.


Sevastyan has sworn to protect Natalie with his life. But who will protect her from his dark desire to own, possess, and collar her.

“This need I have for you…it should unsettle you.”


“What do you want from me?”
I gasped when he fisted the collar of my dampened shirt. “I want what’s mine.” He tore the material from me with one rip, stripping me.

Sebastyan desires Natalie sexually. But can he give her more than just physical pleasure. I mean eventually, even multiple orgasms get old and women start looking for emotional security and late night pillow talks. Unfortunately, Sabastyan has lived a graphically violent life, devoid of love and affection. He has had to fight for everything he owns, and has never dated let alone been in a relationship. Oh the angst, as Natalie attempts to chip away at the rough exterior of a man who claims he can not live without her. She only wants him to open up to her.

“He curled his finger under my chin, all tenderness, even as he said, “How could I close you out when I never let you in?”

Oh.My.Gah!!! Who is he trying to fool? His heart belonged to her at first site. I loved experiencing these two falling in love. They were inevitable! Cosmic! Epic!

The Professional is a fast paced, erotic adventure that travels the globe from the corn fields of Nebraska to Russia. Introducing the reader to the violent underworld of the Russian Mafia. The cars, jets, palaces, and wealth are obscene. Manipulation and deceit run rampant and no one can be trusted as a turf war ensues. I loved the characters and the world building. As soon as I finished reading this book, I found myself back on page one doing an immediate re-read. Crazy right?!!! Crazy Good is what this book is.The Epilogue was a sweet tease.

Oh, and I am IN LOVE with Savastyan’s brother, Maksimilain, and I only met him once. I hope he is the star of book two, which I am already jonesing to read!!!


ARC received from Netgalley.

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Love, In English by Karina Halle

Love, In English
by Karina Halle

He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter. I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.

Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.

Heather’s Thoughts:


“He slowly turned around. “What is love? In English.”
I raised my brows. “Love, in English, is love?”
“What is it in Spanish?”
I was so enthralled by his hypnotic eyes, I could barely remember. “Amore?”
He shook his head ever so slightly. “No. Love in Spanish is you.”

This book. is. amazing. If you haven’t read it, you really must. I haven’t read one that made me feel so much in a really long time. This one is definitely one of my favorites of the year!

Vera is a young college student from Canada. She is an astronomy major and she is looking for an adventure. Vera is a free spirit and she has no hang ups with herself or with her sexuality. She is going to Spain to teach non-English speakers how to speak more fluent English and she does not speak any Spanish. When she arrives in Spain, her first advice from the agency, “Don’t fall in love.”

Mateo is a business man. He is married and has a daughter. He and his wife have been married for many years. He is no longer happy with his life but he has no idea just how unhappy he is until he going on a trip to improve his English. He will be immersed in the language and paired up with an English speaker for three weeks.

Vera knows that she should stay away from Mateo. He’s married after all. But he is just so charming and attractive.

Vera thinks that she is being good. She does not act on her growing feelings for Mateo. She tries her best to hide it. But everyone around them knows that they have feelings for each other.

“You’re like his favorite food in the whole world. He wants to have you, eat you, devour you. He thinks about you all the time, craves you. But, he cannot have you for one reason or another. Perhaps you upset his stomach. Maybe he is on a diet, yes? All he wants is a taste but he cannot even have that. That is how he looks at you.”

As their time together comes to a close, Vera knows that she can not act on her feelings. Mateo knows that he shouldn’t act on his feelings.

But neither of them are able to let it go.

They come to the conclusion that they will give in to their desires for as long as they can.

When Vera heads back to Canada, she is heartbroken. Mateo is still married and he has a child. Vera knows that what they did was wrong. She can’t be that woman, the one who breaks up the happy family. She knows all about “the other woman”. But love, it will not be denied.

“Love is like a thief, it robs you of all thought and logic, and all you have left is a heart that you can only pray is strong enough to survive the rest”

Without him, she is a shell of her former self. She feels completely lost.

When their secret romance comes out, not everyone is happy.

Mateo must decide what to do. It is not just his marriage on the line. He has a daughter that he would do anything for.

“And what if I was only supposed to burn for a certain amount of time?” I whispered. “What if I was only meant to shine for a while?”

“Then you truly don’t know what stars are meant to do.”

I looked at him in wonder.

“They are meant to give us hope in the face of infinity”.”

Vera is young. She has no idea what this is doing to Mateo. He wants to be with her, but she can’t understand why things have to be the way they are.

Mateo is steadfast in his feelings for her. He knows what he wants and he is willing to be patient.

The ending….

Absolute best book ending EVER!!!!

This book was sheer romantic genius. The author did an amazing job of creating characters that are real and beautifully flawed. Mateo is struggling to come to grips with a life that is very different from the one he had envisioned. He was a world-class soccer player. He had a bright career ahead of him. When he ends up running restaurants for a living instead of living his dream, he becomes very frustrated. Mateo finds happiness in the most unlikely of places.

**This book involves cheating. If you are averse to cheating in any way, this book may not be for you.**

I would not classify this book as erotica but there is definitely some amazing and scorching hot action. The thing that stands out the most in my mind is the tender and intimate relationship that develops between Mateo and Vera. Mateo is more patient and he is willing to do whatever he has to do in order to have Vera in his life.

Vera is a bit of a wild card. She struggles with her feelings. She can’t deny the love in her heart, but she struggles with the morality of the situation. When Vera went back to Canada and they were forced to talk through e-mail and text. It was beautiful agony. The author put me in Vera’s shoes and she made my heart ache.

I absolutely ADORED this book. I was laughing, crying and swooning all over the place. The end of this book absolutely wrecked me. It was the best.

So go forth my friends, and read this heart-breakingly beautiful love story that will have you crying happy tears!

5 HUGE stars!!!


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Out of Reach by Missy Johnson

Out of Reach
by Missy Johnson

My best friend was dying and I was in love with his girl.

Andy and I had been best friends since we were eight-years old.
Watching him slowly fade away, ever closer to his final breath, made
me so incredibly angry. I knew there was nothing I could do to change it–I had given in to despair, but Andy had not. He had one last hand to play.

He wasn’t going to simply sit back and wait for Death to claim him–not Andy. He was going to live life until he couldn’t hold his eyes open any longer.

Andy didn’t want to die in some sterile hospital and asked me to take him and Emily to the beach. It would be our last road trip together.

Emily. Emily was a problem for me.

I harbored a secret that would have torn our friendship apart. I was in love with Andy’s girl, and had been since she’d walked into our sixth grade class, so many years ago.

So what kind of person am I? My best friend is dying, and it’s
awful–but my heart still aches for his girl. I hate myself for
thinking beyond Andy’s death and whether there could ever be a future for Emily and I, but I can’t help it.

I’m in love with her.


Heather’s Thoughts:

This was one of those books that was beautifully painful. I hated every minute of the pain and loss. But when I come out on the other side, I was so grateful that I read this little gem. Please don’t let the heavy subject matter scare you away. It was totally worth it.

Andy and Seth have been friends for as long as they can remember. They grew up with each other and are as close as brothers. Emily moved to their neighborhood and they took her into their duo and they became a trio. When Emily and Andy started dating, Seth took a backseat. His feelings for Emily were put on hold. He could never express them for fear of loosing his two best friends.

When Andy was in college, he was diagnosed with cancer. He got treatment and he got better. He and Emily became closer. As he went through college and law school, he continued with his remission. Until one day the cancer came back. The doctors gave him a few months at best. Andy makes it his mission to do everything in his power to make sure that Emily is cared for when he is gone.

As the end draws near, Andy, Emily and Seth take off to a beach house to spend their remaining time living life to the fullest.

Andy has made peace with his fate. He wants to spend his remaining days with those he is closest to.

His heart breaks for the future that will never be. He knows that Seth can care for Emily now that he can not.

Emily can’t cope with Andy’s rapid decline. She does everything she can to remember the good times. Andy tries to get her to focus on the positives.

There are no words for the pain that Emily must cope with.

As time moves on, Emily finds herself pulling away from everyone.

Emily is strong, but with Seth she is stronger.

Months later, they are still grieving and learning lessons

Emily must decide if she is willing to take a risk with Seth.

This book wrecked me! There were numerous times where I had to stop and grab the tissues. The author did an amazing job of bringing these wonderful characters to life. The narrative was told through all three main characters points of view. It was absolutely gut wrenching. I don’t want to give away the ending but It was a satisfying ending for me.

I usually read books with less sad and more sex. This one was definitely on the mild end sexually but I didn’t even notice. The rest of the story was so well done that I really didn’t miss it. When we finally do get some steam, it is glossed over. I will say, normally I would deduct for that, but this time, I just didn’t care. I loved this book so much.  There is something about knowing you are going to die and dealing with it at such a young age that just rips your heart out. Life can be so cruel.

I would gladly advise you to grab your tissues and read this one. I had to remind myself that this was a fictional book and no-one actually died. I was that sucked in. Well done!


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Crossing the Line by Karla Doyle

Crossing the Line
by Karla Doyle

Lifelong best friends Derrick and Jeremy met Hanna at a bar ten years ago. Both wanted her-one married her. Now the other man has been invited to join in for one hot weekend.

Everything would’ve been fine if they’d had their fun that weekend, then gone back to normal. But they didn’t. And when past demons resurface, things will never be the same-for any of them.

Crossing the Line is a dark contemporary romance that contains explicit sex and mature situations.

Heather’s Thoughts:

Crossing the Line is a story of undying lone and passion that is so hot, someone is bound to get burned.

This book is a cautionary tale of what can go terribly wrong when an innocent night of fun turns out horribly wrong. This my friends is why a menage can be so dangerous. When its hot, it is SO HOT, but when it goes wrong, it can be disastrous.

Hanna and Derrick are married and madly in love. Derrick is a bad boy mechanic and Hanna is a teacher.

They met one night a long time ago and they have off the charts chemistry.

Hanna has fantasies. She dreams of a menage. So Derrick agrees to give her the birthday she will never forget.

They go off to a resort and invite Derrick’s best friend Jeremy. He is allowed to participate and pleasure Hanna.

They have a night of passion that Hanna will never forget.

Derrick begins to feel insecurities. He has said from day one that he does not want to have children. He comes from a messed up family. Hanna wants children, but she is willing to give up that dream to have the man she loves. Derrick’s father was an alcoholic who was abusive. He knows that he is damaged.

Derrick sees Hanna and he knows that he’s not good enough for her. He sees his friend Jeremy, an accomplished man with a perfect past, and he sees someone who could make Hanna happy. So he does what he thinks is best for her.

While Jeremy could give Hanna children, she doesn’t love him. Derrick is the man of her dreams in all ways except one. He refuses to have children because of his fear of being like his father. Hanna is left reeling by Derrick and his choices to push her away.

This book quickly devolves into a hot mess. Derrick is not a great communicator to begin with, and then he just goes plain crazy. He starts taking his anger out on Hanna. Jeremy is there for Hanna and quickly swoops in to pick up the pieces. This only further infuriates Derrick proving in his mind that Hanna doesn’t belong with him.

This one was quite messy and quite emotional. I had no idea how it was going to turn out and quite frankly wasn’t sure I could forgive Derrick. He was a total jerk. I wont tell you what happens and give it away, but in the end, you get a satisfying result. It is not my version of how I wanted things to go, but it wrapped up nicely.

This book has a steamy hot start,  an emotional wreck in the middle with a tidy ending. If you like the steam and the angst, than you will probably enjoy this one. I give it four stars instead of five, mainly because of Derrick. I didn’t get some of what he did. Hanna also kind of got on my nerves.  She was a bit of a doormat. This one is told from multiple points of view. Four stars for me.


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