Thursday, July 2, 2015

review || SWEET THE SIN { blog tour }

Sweet the Sin by Claire Kent

Publisher: Loveswept (7/7/2015)
Series: Revenge Saga, book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Tasty Book Tours/NetGalley
Purchase links || amazon | bn | itunes | kobo  || add to goodreads


In the first novel in USA Today bestselling author Claire Kent’s deeply sensual story of love, lust, and deception, a woman searching for the truth discovers that she’s sleeping with the enemy.

Portrait artist Kelly Watson keeps her relationships simple and steamy, with no strings attached. She’s had a hard time trusting other people since she was a child, when her father was murdered for trying to blow the whistle on corporate corruption. Nearly twenty years later, Kelly finds herself in the arms of a seductive stranger—the very same man who may have ordered her father’s death. And even as she plays him, using hot sex as a means to revenge, Kelly is tormented by one question: Is she committing the ultimate betrayal?

Caleb Marshall has spent decades forging a high-powered career, rejecting intimacy for the convenience of fast women and cheap thrills. But Kelly intrigues him, pushing commitment buttons he didn’t know he had. Still, something is wrong. Despite their physical and emotional chemistry, Caleb feels the fear inside of her. Now the only way to keep her safe is coming clean, before secrets and lies destroy their connection—no matter how deep, intense, and addictive it may be.

about Claire || Claire Kent has been writing romance novels since she was twelve years old. She has a PhD in British literature and, when she’s not writing, teaches English at the university level. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Noelle Adams.

{ excerpt } .
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been so deeply attracted to a man. He wasn’t even her type. He was too old for her—with a dusting of silver in his hair—and she normally preferred blue-collar types. Military men. Cops. Firefighters. Construction workers. Men with calloused hands.

Not like this guy at all.

“I know who you really are,” he said, easing even closer to her so that her breasts brushed lightly against his chest for a moment. “You believe in love, don’t you?”

It was so far from the truth, Kelly almost laughed. She hadn’t believed in love since her father was murdered. “You are so wrong about me, it’s not even funny. I bet I believe in love even less than you do.”

“What do you believe in, then?” He was touching her hair again, skimming the tips of his fingers down the length of one loose strand.

She could hardly believe he was a stranger. It felt like she knew him—all the way down to the core. “I believe in being self-sufficient, just like you do.” She leaned toward him just enough to graze her nipples against his shirt before she pulled back.

“Do you?” There was a slight flush to his cheeks now, and it looked like he was breathing more quickly. He was definitely turned on. Just as turned on as she was. “What else do you believe in?”

“I believe in seeing the world as it really is and not dreaming of romantic fairy tales, just like you do.” She knew this about him, as well as she knew it about herself.

She saw the affirmation in his eyes, mingling with the blaze of desire. “And what else?”

“And I believe in sex.” They were in a public park, but she didn’t care. Responding to the challenge he posed, she slid one hand down his chest, then his belly, until she reached his groin, which she gave a brief caress.

She hadn’t been wrong. He was aroused. Hard in his jeans.

His breath hitched at her touch, and she could see he was holding himself back. “What do you believe about sex?”

“I believe people can come together for mutual gratification without all the baggage the world has built up around it.”

“Ah,” he murmured thickly, settling one hand on the small of her back. “Free love, then? To go with the puppies and flowers?”

“Not love. Sex. There’s no overlap unless you make it so.”

“I don’t make it so.” He pushed her hips toward his body until she could feel his arousal against her middle.

She was fighting to catch her breath, her pussy pulsing with desire, and her mind struggling to keep up with his quick wit. “Somehow, I knew that about you.”

“I’ve met a lot of women who make such claims, but then they’re crying when I don’t call them the next morning.”

“I’ve met a lot of men who do the same thing.”

He shook his head, pushing his erection against her very slightly. To the people in the park, they must look like they were just hugging, but a hug was very far from what was going on between them.

To Kelly, it felt more like battle. And she liked it. A lot. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d been this turned on, this invested in a conversation.

“So, you don’t cry?” he asked, his brown eyes smoldering with lust, excitement, and intelligence.

“I haven’t cried since I was ten years old.”

That was true too. She hadn’t cried since the months after her father died. Her whole world had changed that year.

“I still have no proof this is nothing but pretense on your side.”

“Because I’m a woman? Because I have a sweet face? You’re old enough to know that appearances deceive. You can fuck me now, and I’d never give you a second thought. You’d never hear from me again.”

“If I fuck you,” he murmured, “I promise you’ll think of me again.”

“There’s no way you’re that good.”

“You shouldn’t say such things. You’ll only be proven wrong.”

“Your arrogance is astounding, but I still haven’t seen you follow through.”

“You want me to follow through?” It was a genuine question. She could see that he was waiting for an answer as he watched her, even through the growing desire.

“Oh, yeah.”

She’d had sex with strangers before. All she’d ever had was sex with strangers. She didn’t normally have sex on a Saturday morning in the park, but there was no good reason not to.

She wanted this man—like he was a challenge that must be met, a battle that must be won.

“We’ll see,” the man said, sounding faintly skeptical, as if he still didn’t believe she took sex as casually as he did.

“See how, exactly?” She raised her eyebrows in a question, a call to action.

The man met the call, grabbing her hand and pulling her toward the wooded area nearby. He snapped his fingers, and the dog stopped chewing his Frisbee and jumped to his feet to follow.

Kelly’s breath caught in her throat as they neared the trees. “The car might be more comfortable.”

“I’m not going for comfort here.” His grip was firm and strong and authoritative as he pulled her after him.

She felt a wave of panic as they entered the trees, not at one of the trails, but in the thickly grown area closest to where they’d been standing.

The woods were dark, unknown, everything hidden—masking horrors she just couldn’t face.

When they’d gone a few feet in, she couldn’t make herself go any farther. She physically couldn’t do it, yanking her hand out of the man’s.

He turned around with a resigned expression. “That’s what I thought.”

He thought she’d given up. He thought he’d won.

But he wasn’t going to win this, her phobia about the woods be damned. She grabbed his shoulders and pushed him against a large tree. “What did you think? That we would go deep in the woods where you could safely hide, where no one could ever see what we were doing? This is far enough.”

There was more risk of being discovered, this close to the edge of the woods. They would be out of sight, but not very far.

Kelly didn’t care. The fear of being caught was far milder than her fear of going deeper into the woods. Even now, a chill had broken out on her skin, almost distracting her from her arousal.


{ review } .
I'd like to start by saying that the 4★ is a generous one -- but I couldn't fathom putting a 3.5 there, because the book was better than those I've given such a rating to.

First off -- the writing was excellent. Claire does a great job of characterization, as well as dialogue -- internal and external. These are big things in my book. I like a well-rounded character, and I like appropriate thought patterns and adult conversation. 

So what didn't go right?

On one hand, I want to say the length. And then on the other, I want to say the deception (not a huge fan of drawn out deception stories)... but then I want to put them together and say I didn't care for the length BECAUSE of the deception.

And then I'm reminded of the SIN TRILOGY, and how A NECESSARY SIN was all deception and lies, and it was long --- and so I'm left with much hope that the next book makes me a great deal happier.

Kelly is a pet portrait artist who heads to a local park to meet his man and his dog. Rather than finding them, she meets Caleb (nameless at this point) and HIS dog. After talking, they decide to go for a romp in the woods, and Caleb being arrogant, thinks that when Kelly says she doesn't do seconds is just saying it to save face, asks her to dinner. Between the romp and dinner, though, Kelly learns about her not so entirely random meeting with Caleb, and what part he's played in her past.

Caleb is cocky and then some -- doesn't help that nearly any woman he'd so much as passed wants to have sex with him, and for the most part, he does; the receptionist, the barista... Granted, there are a few women he wouldn't sleep with but... He was almost (OK, he was) pig-ish in his ways, so his desire to WANT Kelly to want to see him again kind of sets the tone for the impending relationship.

{ potential spoiler alert }

Kelly, who honestly is a once and done kind of gal, ends up keeping Caleb around for her own benefit. While I was not a fan of her little white lies, I did appreciate that it was a difficult thing for her to do. Caleb did not know who Kelly was initially and ends up falling for the girl a decade or so his junior; he knows that if the past comes out, he'll lose her. So while this book dealt with the ground work and the unwanted emotions coming to play, I'm curious as to how it will all play out next.

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