A GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE FILLED WITH DARK DESIRES AND DANGEROUS SECRETS…
Emily Wayborn has made a decision.
She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets and as she continues her quest for answers someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.
Time is running out and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart…or at all.
Worldbuilding: The main setting of Last Kiss was the Wyoming ranch, with some trips here and there and back again. But it seemed pretty much irrelevant to me while major things went down, lol!
Characters: This way lies madness, in short. Emily’s character and her dynamics with Amber was a total mindfuck. I mean, I love minfucks, don’t get me wrong. So it’s a plus. A complex, layered, deliciously twisted plus. Just… so much twisted goodness! Emily’s motivations were very clear, though irritating at times. But the character’s job is not for the reader to like them, I think; it’s to make the reader feel things, good or bad. And feel things I did, aplenty!
I also loved how Reeve’s protective nature shined. I mean, we know he’s possessive and alpha and seemingly badass, yet strangely decent, lol. He’s the affectionate Dom-like lover. I’m just saying Dom-like since they don’t go too heavily in the D/s stuff, imo.
Amber was also interesting. And we got to know her a lot more. The image I had of her from First Touch changed quite a lot. Not saying how, I don’t wanna ruin it for you xD
Plot: The romantic evolution was interesting, particularly due to Amber’s meddling. I loved all the tension. The mystery regarding who was harassing Amber was pretty fun, though I thought somewhat transparent. I loved that in the end, there were no actual, clear answers, only strong suspicions. Very real-life. Rapid pace of events and lots of excitement.
Writing: First person, past tense narrative. Emily’s voice was all the more powerful here, I think, and I loved it.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my contemporary power-play reads.
All in all, I loved Last Kiss and loved the duology as a whole. I really recommend it if you’re into slightly twisted stories that don’t involve abuse in the main couple but mutually consented power-play, suspenseful reads full of tension and hot stuff 😀
“Sorry to have surprised you.” The man’s head tipped toward me. “Emily, right?” he asked, as he exhaled a puff of smoke.
I squinted at him, trying to place him, but I couldn’t. In fact, I was certain I hadn’t seen him before. He had to be one of the ranch guests, which didn’t explain how he knew me. “Th at’s right,” I said tentatively.
“I don’t think we’ve met.”
He tilted his head as he took another slow draw from his cigarette.
“Nope. We haven’t.” Even in the dark, I didn’t miss the hungry way his eyes groped my frame.
He took a step toward me, and I readied myself to run. Just then, the front door slammed open. I looked up to the porch to see a couple of Reeve’s men leaving the house. When I turned back, the man wasn’t there anymore. I glanced around and caught sight of him circling around behind the building.
A man didn’t run off that easily if he hadn’t had ill intent.
I shivered. I wondered if all of the guests were that creepy. No wonder Reeve was wary of them. Suddenly, I wanted to run and tell him about the encounter.
Then, at the top of the stairs, I noticed his door was shut, which meant he was in there. But what if he wasn’t alone? What if the conversation with Amber at dinner had led them to his bedroom? Before I let myself get worked up, I looked to Amber’s door. It was shut too. It was the fi rst time I’d seen it closed since her arrival,and my mind jumped to a hundred different possible conclusions.
Maybe she was exercising her new babysitter- free status. Maybe she was puking again in the bathroom and wanted privacy. Or she was making out with one of the ranchers. Or crying over what ever Reeve had said to her aft er I’d left them.
Or she wasn’t in there at all.
I could easily knock on her door to fi nd out, but I wasn’t sure I could face her if she answered, and I was absolutely sure I couldn’t take it if she didn’t.
Hoping I would be better equipped to handle the situation after a good night’s sleep, I retreated to my own room with a sigh of resignation. Though it was late enough to go to bed, my emotions were too frazzled for sleep. And I was cold. My evening walk had set a chill in my bones that lingered even in the warm house. While I wished it was Reeve warming me up, a hot shower would be just as effective at raising my body temperature and would also calm my nerves.
I stripped, tossing my clothes onto the chair in the corner of my room, then went to start the shower. I turned the water on without gettingin, sticking my hand under the stream until it was hot enough. Then I crossed to the linen closet at the other end of the bathroom and picked out a couple of towels. When I shut the door, I turned back toward the shower and nearly jumped out of my skin.
“Reeve!” I patted my breastbone, trying to calm the thudding in my chest. “Goddammit, you scared the hell out of me.” Between his sneaky arrival and the lurking cowboy outside, I wouldn’t have
been surprised if I was on my way to a heart attack.
His lip curled up with amusement.
I scowled. “I’m glad you think sending me to an early grave is funny.” But I wasn’t really irritated by his arrival in the least. I was glad, and I was certain the accelerated tempo of my heart rate had as much to do with his appearance at all as it did with the element of surprise.
He leaned his hip against the vanity and folded his arms across his chest, a position that highlighted both his broad shoulders and toned biceps. “You like it when I keep you guessing,” he said dismissively, not an entirely inaccurate statement, though it was a bit discomforting that he knew it so well.
“And I like you on your toes,” he added, his eyes dark as they slid the length of my body. I felt them like silk as they caressed over the slopes of my breasts, down the plane of my stomach, zeroing in on the landing strip above my pussy. Suddenly I’d warmed up quite sufficiently, the pool of moisture between my thighs as hot as the steam gathering in the room.
I met his scrutiny with ogling of my own, biting my lip as my eyes landed on the large bulge at the front of his pants. He was barefoot, and I tried not to wonder if that meant he’d been undressed once already in the evening. Tried not to wonder if it was his first or second erection of the night.
Bringing the towels in front of me as a much-needed barrier, I mirrored his crossed arms. “What are you doing here, anyway?”
He shrugged. “You wouldn’t come to my bed so I had to come to yours.”
It was surprising how easily happiness bubbled in my chest.
Teasingly, I threw his words from the night before back at him.
“This isn’t my bed.”
He was already walking toward me. “It’s close enough.”
The towels fell to the floor as he seized my hips and turned my back to the counter. His mouth captured mine, greedily stealing my breath and sense of reason with his lips and tongue. God, I was hungry for him. I roved my hands over his chest, wanting to touch all of his body at once, delighting at the hard muscles that met the underside of my palms. He was solid everywhere.
A wall of strength and potency that could so easily overpower me. I was weak in his presence, incapable of anything except to yield.
A warning bell sounded in the back of my head, though, urging me to get my wits together and address . . . something. It was difficult to remember what exactly when his hands were on my breasts, squeezing and pinching. Th e bite of pain sent jolts of electricity through my nervous system, signals that my brain read as plea sure.
Pleasure I couldn’t resist.
About the author:
Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters.