Review + excerpt : The Deep End (#1, Honey) by Kristen Ashley

  • Summary: A different side of Kristen Ashley—big-time kink and intensity, but with all the love, tenderness and addictiveness we’ve come to love too.
  • Type: Adult erotic romance
  • Order now: Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble

Review

Avid KA readers get ready—this is a new side to queen-of-alphas Kristen Ashley. She’s stoked the flame, making this erotic romance burn hot, bright and extra kinky. I knew this would be different, but I felt—hoped—I’d find familiar KA ground to give me the love story I craved. And that she did, with a whole lot more.

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one’s darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

If you’ve read the blurb, you can feel the tone, sense the difference, anticipate what’s to come. Ashley opens the doors to BDSM club ‘The Bee’s Honey’, where dark desires are confidently explored, every fantasy whipped, cropped and spanked into reality.

From the beginning, I read with rapt fascination, tantalized by the world, by the fact that this story featured a woman Dominatrix and an alpha submissive. My mind was blown and I couldn’t put it down. My fascination was anchored by a very real love story—the one I expected and hoped would weave through every scene.

It was a beautiful, intense mix of eroticism, kink and romance.

We meet Amèlie, a woman well known within the dark lit club, a Dominatrix famous for her skills but also one who longed to find a future with a man who was class. Who would get her. Who could love her.

Enter Olivier, a beast of a man whose confidence owned a room. He was new to Honey, trepidatious to what would come, but knowing the dark desires that burned within sought release.

So when Amèlie leads Olivier into a room, neither knew it could be as good as it got. A challenge for them both, a collision of wills, an overabundance of want and need and pleasure.

But as one night turns into another, and yet another, they begin to fall for each other in a world defined by rules of play. And when the scene is over, they each wonder if what they’re feeling could survive the light of day.

I urge you to relinquish control and submit to the story openly. It’s quite the ride, serious kink, hot as hell but with so much tenderness and emotion too. On top of all that goodness that Ashley gives us, she reminds us to embrace life and love—to seek your happiness, fight for it, not let it go. Not let misunderstandings and preconceptions get in the way of it. To be fully you, especially when you find a person, or place, that allows you to do so free of judgement.

Kristen Ashley will push your limits with this first sizzling installment in the Honey series, but if you keep an open mind, I promise, you’ll love every minute of it.

Excerpt

At that moment, for the first time in years, she was paying no attention to Stellan.

This was because Talia’s tall frame shifting out of the way offered an unhindered view of something else that had slipped in without her notice.

And gazing at him, Amélie went still.

As did her breath.

And her heartbeat.

Leaning a shoulder against the wall beyond the edge of the bar, six or seven feet from the door to the playrooms, he was surveying the scene as if he wasn’t part of it.

Or as if it was he who was on the prowl.

But although a Dominant could mingle freely in the open space, this would be done with some intent.

If they were on the hunt, they’d be at a booth.

Subs were not allowed to sit in a booth unless the invitation was extended. They populated the floor, on display, it was requisite.

In the mesh of bodies, a sub could be identified in a variety of ways. The cast of their gaze. Their bearing. Jewelry that declared their status.

And their position in the hunting ground.

No Dominant would linger there like he was, partially for that reason. Clear communication and transparent messages were key in their world. No Dom would give the impression of being a sub.

This was explained at length during membership orientation.

That magnificent beast was a sub.

An alpha-sub, assuredly.

It came from his sheer size, like a cloak stitched to his skin he had no hope of shrugging off (not that he’d wish to).

He had to be six five, perhaps taller. His dark suit and mono-chromatic shirt necessarily tailored for his physique for there were very few men on this earth that had it. His shoulders as wide as a log. His chest a veritable wall. The muscles Amélie had no doubt were hidden under his clothing apparent in the exposed line of his throat. It wasn’t that he had no neck. But that lethal shank of corded, sinewy muscle could not be established and maintained if the rest of him didn’t match precisely.

She knew he was alpha beyond that. His stance at the wall, casual and self-assured, it was openly cocky. He knew his allure. He knew his beauty. He knew even if he wasn’t exactly your type, every being would understand with base instinct his attraction.

He also knew how to use this. All of it. It was his art as sure as reading it on him was Amélie’s.

From what she could tell, his hair was dark blond, the thickness of it, how it was longer at the top, clipped short at neck and ears was so appealing, she was willing to make that single allowance for she preferred her toys to have dark hair.

She made that allowance, but if she had her way, and she often did, he’d grow it longer so there’d be more of it to fist her fingers into as a means to use to make him serve her will.

His facial features only heightened his appeal that already, with the rest of him, defied belief.

A strong brow over eyes she couldn’t see the color of from her distance. Hollowed cheeks under high cheekbones and over a firm, cut, clean-shaven jaw. And a large nose that was openly pugilistic, the dent at the top of the bridge not created by God but by a break that he didn’t deem important enough to have set properly.

Staring at him, utterly incapable of not doing it openly, she felt the insides of her thighs tingle. And her nipples were hard buds, the restriction of the lace of her bra suddenly excruciating.

That…

Now that was whisky.

“Oh my, Leigh, are you seeing what I’m seeing?” Mirabelle asked. And before she could answer, her friend went on, “It’s like he was made for you.”

It was, indeed.

About The Deep End

Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire…

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him hungers for the lifestyle offered by this exclusive club. Here, no boundary will be left untested…and one’s deepest fantasies will become an exquisite reality.

When Amélie invites Olivier to surrender, she gives the alpha submissive what he craves. Soon they both find themselves falling harder than they ever anticipated—but as their connection deepens, the truth about Olivier’s past could destroy everything…

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Review: Rock Chick Reawakening (1001 Dark Nights) by Kristen Ashley

Review

Rock Chick Awakening is like coming home to something wonderful and familiar, to people who you know and love.

Kristen Ashley’s ability to lure me in instantaneously never ceases to amaze me. I loved everything about Marcus and Daisy’s story. There’s so much beauty in it, so much goodness and rightness. It was everything I wanted this novella to be and more.

We learn about Daisy’s past and how it shaped who she was, what she wanted out of life. How the lives of Marcus and Daisy collided, how their love flourished despite difficult, deeply felt circumstances.

“You. You’re the dream a girl like me never thought she could dream.”

Avid readers of the series (like me) will love every page, gush at every scene and relish the times we see those we’ve loved appear on the page.

The novella packs some very poignant moments, blended brilliantly with KA’s signature humor, sexiness and style.

I don’t want to spoil a single thing, I’ll just say read this book the second it’s out! It’s my first favorite read of 2017!

“I’ve been waiting thirty-five years for you to come into my life, Daisy.”

About Rock Chick Reawakening

From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening.

A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloan—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

 

 

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Exclusive Video Interview: Cocktails with Kristen Ashley – Talking Midnight Soul

Today, Midnight Soul is released into the world, the final book in the amazing Fantasyland series by one of my favorite people, Kristen Ashley. I’m a HUGE fan of all her books (check out the list here) and this series is particularly near and dear to my heart.

To celebrate its release, yesterday afternoon, Kristen and I planned to record a fun Q&A using Google Hangout. I wanted it to be informal and the result is well…. errrr…. INFORMAL. We had massive technical issues, huge fits of laughter, moments where I fell away and Kristen actually considered doing a jig for entertainment.

OH MY WORD.

So here it is… raw and funny, a little wonky, super informative, and yes, hella informal!

Happy release day Franka and Noc, and hope you enjoy my first (and maybe last) virtual cocktail hour with the Rock Chick Queen herself!

Synopsis

Noc & FrankaAgainst his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.

And things aren’t going real great there.

Noc is recruited to help save that world.

What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.

Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.

When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.

When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.

And then make her want to stay.

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Read my review + an excerpt ✦

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Review + Excerpt: Midnight Soul (Fantasyland) by Kristen Ashley

My Thoughts

The perfect curtain call for an unforgettable series.

4halfstars

Synopsis

Noc & FrankaAgainst his will, Noctorno Hawthorne, an undercover vice cop, finds himself embroiled in magic, mayhem and parallel universes. Too late, he meets an amazing woman only to find she’s destined for his identical twin in another world.

And things aren’t going real great there.

Noc is recruited to help save that world.

What he doesn’t know is his destined love resides there.

Franka Drakkar wears a mask. A mask she never takes off to protect herself in a world of malice, intrigue and danger.

When Franka meets Noc and he discovers her secrets, convinced she carries a midnight soul, having shielded herself from forming bonds with anyone, she struggles with accepting his tenderness and care.

When Noc meets Franka, over wine and whiskey, her mask slips and Noc knows it’s her—only her—and he has to find a way to get her to come home with him.

And then make her want to stay.

My Review

“I’d been born with the black soul of a Drakkar and no matter how hard Antoine had worked to cleanse it, it would forever remain midnight.”

Redemption, second chances, forgiveness and fate—Kristen Ashley explores these themes with Franka and Noc’s story. Rife with both beauty and pain, I relished every moment of their tangled, tumultuous journey.

We’d met Franka Drakkar before and it was clear she was not liked at all, not by anyone. She’d put people in danger, and as a result had become even more detested by those around her. She’d lost a lover too, and even though in the end she’d saved them all, Franka was not a woman anyone wanted around.

Then the darkness she’d been enduring, the truth she’d been hiding, it all came to light, revealing someone that no one knew existed. Noc Hawthorne had seen something more in her, but even he didn’t realize the depths, scars and pain with which she’d lived.

Franka’s world seemed to change in a moment. She’d been freed from her past, unmasked by circumstance, left to live a life where others who’d shunned her now wanted to know her, help her, love her. But throwing out the mask she’d always worn was not an easy thing.

“I might be a new Franka Drakkar, and she was a woman I didn’t yet understand.”

Franka had grieved for her former lover, but as time passed, Noc had seen her—truly seen her—in a way no other had. His words, his insistence, had cut through to the heart and soul of her. Together they embarked on an adventure that would unleash her magic, her true self, and open them both up to experience the kind of love fated between worlds.

“I was no one but his, he was no one but mine, destined to be together, connected, balancing… bloody… worlds.”

But just as we had learned with Franka, perception does not always equal truth, and Franka had much to learn about Noc.

In addition, we also see Circe (of the fantastical world) reach for her own happiness, unshackling herself from her own dark past.

I loved the message woven through Franka, Noc and Circe’s stories, that what we’ve endured, the mistakes we’ve made, the circumstances that surround us—don’t define us. There are second chances and people who are there to help us, guide us, love us. It’s a powerful message to feel and these pages radiated with the beauty of it.

“I have a golden soul… I know this because the gods in my world and the God in yours would never tether a soul that was anything less than golden to the perfection that is yours.”

The Fantasyland series has been one of my top favorites in Kristen Ashley’s repertoire. Every story touts an amazing mix of romance, fantasy and adventure with of course, themes of family and friendship that make it KA through and through. Midnight Soul was a deeply heartfelt finale, a perfect curtain call for an unforgettable series.

“Love is everything… Every way love can be.”

Excerpt

~Franka~

                  That day had been one I wished to quickly forget.

Indeed, the months since those witches took my Antoine had been time I wished I had the power to erase from my memory.

I had power.

I did not have that kind of power.

These thoughts on my mind, I moved down the hallway of the Winter Palace, seeking my room where I planned to pull the cord, ring a servant and request several bottles of Fleuridian wine.

Wine might not make me forget, but I’d found of late that it served well to dull the pain.

I turned the corner, my eyes to my slippers, but my senses made me lift my gaze to the passageway.

At what I saw, I halted and grew still, then slowly and quietly retraced my steps and ducked behind the corner, peering back around.

Oh my.

The Prince Noctorno of the other world was in the doorway to a bedchamber.

Although, he was not actually a prince. Not in this universe. Apparently they had very few princes in that other world. A world that existed on a parallel plane where all beings had twins to my own world.

This I thought was rather mad (everything about it, obviously), but with few princes, that meant there were few kings, so who ruled?

He reported that he was instead a member of the city guard, an occupation he referred to as being “a cop.” A rather surprising statement considering all that was him.

He was no member of a guard.

He was a prince.

And he called himself Noc, for some unknown reason, as Noctorno was a fine name, a strong name, a regal name (this last was true as his counterpart in this world was a prince).

And right now he had has back to me.

He was wearing a pair of trousers the like that couldn’t be found in my world. They were made of a rough, sturdy, faded-blue material. He also had a shirt that was not the fashion in this world. It was attractive and made of an equally attractive plaid. And it was a shirt that fit his broad shoulders magnificently.

His thick, black hair was untidy (this also attractive).

And I could see his light-blue eyes but only in my imagination as he had his back to me.

They were not eyes you were likely to forget. With his dark hair and skin browned in the sun, those eyes were deliciously striking.

There was a day, though now that day seemed lifetimes ago, when a sight such as Noctorno Hawthorne of another world (or indeed this one) would have caused me to have a much different reaction, not only to him, but to my plans for the imminent future.

That was before Antoine.

That was before I met the man who introduced me to, well…me.

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