Beautiful Bastard, by Christina Lauren

beautiful bastard

Grade: A

Doing it at: 5%

Catnip: Hate to Love You, Secret Lovers, Boardroom Sex; Elevator Sex, Dual Narrative, Ass Biting, Hate Fucking, Panty Ripping

Shame Scale: The steam factor in this one is high, low shame for how much you wouldn’t want someone reading this over your shoulder on the bus.

Fantasy Cast: Daniel Gillies; Emmy Rossum

Book Description:

An ambitious intern. A perfectionist executive. And a whole lot of name calling. 
Whip-smart, hardworking, and on her way to an MBA, Chloe Mills has only one problem: her boss, Bennett Ryan. He’s exacting, blunt, inconsiderate–and completely irresistible. A Beautiful Bastard.

Bennett has returned to Chicago from France to take a vital role in his family’s massive media business. He never expected that the assistant who’d been helping him from abroad was the gorgeous, innocently provocative–completely infuriating–creature he now has to see every day. Despite the rumors, he’s never been one for a workplace hookup. But Chloe’s so tempting he’s willing to bend the rules–or outright smash them–if it means he can have her. All over the office. 
As their appetites for one another increase to a breaking point, Bennett and Chloe must decide exactly what they’re willing to lose in order to win each other.

 Beautiful Bastard is book one in the Beautiful Series. As usual I have gone into this series backwards and read book four in the series first, AND all of the inter-connected Wild Seasons books. Essentially Mary and I will read anything that the writing duo of Christina Lauren churns out, their heroines are smart, strong ladies, their heroes are of the highest order of hot, and there’s enough sass and sex to please any romance fan.

Chloe Mills has worked at the Ryan family’s marketing empire for years, she’s a rising star and tight with the family, when the prodigal son returns from years spent in France and ends up as Chloe’s new boss. Bennett is hot, like tall, built, and broody hot; but unfortunately he seems to hate Chloe. He’s extremely critical, works her to the bone, and it isn’t long till she hates him too. They can barely manage to be polite and when they look at each other it’s all:


I was really expecting this to be a slow burn, a gradual thawing where the protagonists eventually learn that they have a lot in common and fall in love. Delightfully that is not what happens in Beautiful Bastard. Instead we get Bennett unable to keep his hands off of Chloe in the boardroom late one night, 5% into the book and he’s angrily taking her up against a window. And It. Is. Hot. Bennett literally rips Chloe’s panties off and they’re still sparring even as he’s inside her.

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The Offer, by Karina Halle

the offer

Grade: A

Doing it at: 58%

Catnip: Single Moms; Hot Scot; Ass Biting; Car Sex; Hate to Love You; Exhibitionism; Dual Narrative;  #fingersniffing

Shame Scale: The cover (almost) looks like it could belong to a Real Book, and the characters are written for more than just screwing, shame free

Fantasy Cast: James McAvoy + CLEONE (What? It’s FANTASY casting, ok)

What do we taste like: Like rich tobacco and mint

Book Description:

She thinks he’s an arrogant playboy.
He thinks she’s an uptight prude.
But he’s about to make her an offer she can’t refuse.

Nicola Price used to have it all – a great career, the perfect boyfriend, an excessive shoe collection and an apartment in one of San Francisco’s best neighborhoods. But when she gets knocked up and her a**hat boyfriend leaves her high and dry, Nicola’s perfectly crafted world comes tumbling down. And stays that way.

Now, Nicola is the proud single mom to a five-year old daughter and living a giant lie. She can barely afford their ghetto apartment and all the men she dates run when they hear she comes with a child. She’s struggling and scared – and nowhere near where she thought she’d be at age thirty-one.

Her saving grace comes in the form of a tall, handsome and wealthy Scotsman Bram McGregor, the older brother of her friend Linden. Bram understands a thing or two about pride, so when tragic circumstances place Nicola at rock bottom, he offers them a place to live in the apartment complex he owns. It’s pretty much the perfect deal, so as long as she doesn’t mind living beside Bram, a man that, despite his generosity, seems to antagonize her at every turn.

But nothing in life is free and as Nicola gets her feet back on the ground, she discovers that the enigmatic playboy may end up costing her more than she thought.

She might just lose her heart.

Those McGregor brothers are nothing but trouble…

MaryI’ve been begging Cleone to read a Karina Halle book for months. The Artist Trilogy, Love in English, Where Sea Meets Sky, The Pact… Everything I’ve read by Karina Halle has been fantastic – truly relatable characters, writing you can lose yourself in, and steamy. And I still haven’t had the chance to make it all the way through her books – our girl is prolific. When we saw there was a sequel to The Pact on its way, Cleone finally found time to pick up The Pact, and she loved it, as I knew she would. (I know what you like, C.) We dove into The Offer together, our new favorite way to read books – and it was pretty clear that this one was written for her.

Cleone: The Offer is pure catnip for me, single mom fallen on hard times? Fired a week before her probationary period was up and she’d get health insurance and a raise? (that happened to me, only it was also two weeks before Christmas) And now there’s this super hot Scottish guy who wants to take care of her and fuck her into next year? Tell me Karina Halle didn’t write this just for me, I won’t believe you.

M: And don’t forget that  she says she’s basic! You are Nicola. You should start looking online for local Scottish playboys, because it’s obviously going to happen for you.

C: I read The Pact directly before The Offer, after much urging from Mary, who knew what I would like before I did. That book was hot and sweet and raunchy and I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed in Bram’s raunch level either. There’s a reason Halle is using the hashtag #teamperv on Instagram, we love her.

M: The story is of the woman who has been burned before meets playboy type. Nicola is a single mom who’s having a rough go of things lately – money troubles, loss of job, sketchy apartment, and her daughter is having medical problems. Bram (Linden from The Pact’s brother) offers to let her move into the apartment building he owns, rent free, until she gets back on her feet. Nicola has a hard time accepting charity from others, but especially from Bram.

Nicola and Bram made out at Linden and Steph’s wedding, but when she told him that she has to get home to her daughter, he shuts it down fast, and manages to find another woman to take off into the bushes before Nicola’s cab even shows up. Her ego is bruised, and she’s definitely not a fan of Bram – hot as he may be.

C: Nicola is known as the ice princess in her friend circle, she’s dedicated to that mom life and hasn’t had sex for so long. She’s on #teamcobwebs. Bram isn’t shy about telling her he thinks she’s an undersexed prude. They’re not off to the best start.

M: Regardless, she’s in such a bad spot, she has really no choice but to accept his generous offer, and she and her daughter move in next door to him. Bram has a constant parade of women in and out of his apartment, but he starts to fixate on Nicola.

C: It bothers Mary more than it bothers me when our girl can hear the manwhore next door banging a steady stream of throwaway skanks (this trope happens more than you might think). I figure as long as our pair aren’t together quite yet he can screw whomever he wants.

M: It just means he has to work a *tiny* bit harder for redemption in my mind. Bram was really charming in that bold, kind of slutty way you secretly want to be treated like in real life though, so he won me over pretty quickly – even with all the strange he rubbed our noses in. Plus he says arse all the time, which was really doing it for me for some reason. His general attitude was obscenely sexy – like this casual conversation about finding a job for example:

What’s wrong with bartending? You’re fucking hot too, so you’ll make a lot of tips. If you show off your nice tits a bit, you could make even more.

C: Nicola is having a hard time not thinking about him as well, she even tries to go out with her lady friends to screw Bram out of her system with anyone BUT Bram. Of course, this doesn’t work. Only schtupping the hot scot next door will do her.

M: And this book was fucking hottt, and not in the funny way – in the smoldering put it in the spank bank way. Halle knows how to write about the sex we wish we were having.

He shoots me a wicked smile and then runs his fingers – the same fingers that were inside me just moments ago – underneath his nose and breathes in. “I’ll be back for more of this,” he say thickly.

C: #fingersniffing Forever hot, we were reading in tandem and texting over how hot this all was. Bram is just controlling enough, talks very very dirty, and knows how to use his fingers for things other than sniffing. There is car sex that is ranking up pretty high in the spank-bank-o-meter:

He slowly begins to slide out and then pushes back in, holding me in place until I start to slip. Then my hands are up against the door of the car, my face pressed against the fogged-up window as he slams into me again and again.

the offer text

He is also extremely sweet with Nicola’s five-year old daughter – who is really well-behaved, where does a real life single mom get herself one of these book kids?

M: Right? I don’t know a man alive who doesn’t act annoyed when a kid repeatedly cockblocks like Nicola’s daughter. My husband included.

When the relationship drama inevitably appeared, Cleone and I were both wishing that Nicola could be a little more understanding and just get past it already.

let it go

C: Bram had a secret he was hiding,  it was alluded to but not revealed until the last quarter of the book, and by then Mary and I had correctly guessed what he had neglected to tell Nicola. Yes, it was kind of shitty, but Bram is a super hot guy who makes you weak kneed, saved you from being homeless, and took your kid to Disneyland — maybe think before you freak out.

M: He had me at the car sex. He could literally do almost anything after that point and I would have been like, “Dat accent tho.”

C: The Offer was such a fun, hot, little read. If you have a single mom in your life you’re looking to ruin, this is the PERFECT Gateway Book. It will also change what you think about when you think about IKEA.

M: It’s also great for anyone with a vagina, and moms who might occasionally fantasize about being a single mom who meets a gorgeous Scot who just wants her to ride his giant bagpipe all day. You don’t do that? Me either…

And it’s on sale for only 99 cents for a limited time. That’s a fantastic deal. We pay way more than that for total trash on the reg, and this one’s like an actual Book. (For fucksake we preordered Grey) You should definitely pick this one up if you’re looking for a fun book.

Check it out on Amazon:

Stripped with the Vampire, by Jax Garren

Stripped with the Vampire

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 56%

Catnip: Ginger Men; Ass Biting; Vampires; Stripper with a Heart of Gold; All of the P None of the V; Second Chance Romance; #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: The cover is way more shameful than the actual story in this one. Could have used at least 30% more shame-y bits.

Fantasy Cast: Nick Bateman, Michael Fassbender

Book Description:

In a world of dark spells and blood ties where no one is safe, love is the most powerful magic of all. 

Shy vampire Charlie never intended to see Vince again after the bad boy human broke his heart. But when Vince turns up beaten and marked for sacrifice to an Aztec God, Charlie will do anything keep him safe. 

Vince has never forgiven himself for the lie that ended things with Charlie. The spark between them is as hot as ever, and Vince would risk body and soul to make it a fire again. But as they hide deeper in Austin’s supernatural society—a world of lies, dark magic, and warring immortals—he finds the path to reconciliation more twisted than he’s ever imagined.

We requested this ARC because we were looking for a good cheese book, and a closeted gay vampire book sounded perfect. It was actually much better than I expected. Which is good and bad. The cover makes this look like it will a Red Hot Burning Shame read, all P with no plot. And sometimes that’s what I have a hankering for. I like what I like, ok? The romance is a big part of the story in this one, but it ends up feeling comparable to a Sookie Stackhouse book, with lots of plot, less camp and 100% more anal sex. To skip the spoilers, scroll down from one extra hot guy to the other. You’re welcome.

Nick Bateman

Vince is a really hot stripper (human) who shows up for a job at a night club in a creepy old house. Also: he drives a Miata. I highlighted that part because I thought it might be relevant. (It wasn’t, but I still love it) Inside, he realizes that his best friend’s brother who booked him for the party, is actually a vampire now – and that everyone else is too. He knows all about vampires, because his ex boyfriend, the reserved ginger carpenter, Charlie, was one. Charlie was the love of his life, but when he found out that Vince was stripping, he broke up with him via paper note. He’s very old-fashioned that way: not a text, not a fax. Neither of them has really gotten over the other.

Vince realizes belatedly that these vampires are not like his rather normal/boring carpenter ex, rather, they’re more like the bloodthirsty Blade type vamps. There is a human woman directing everyone, and she tells Vince they are going to rip his heart out in a ritual sacrifice, but he needs to voluntarily give it up, or else her god won’t recognize it as a proper sacrifice. Vince is like, ok well that shouldn’t be a problem because I can’t imagine any situation in which I’d be cool with that! Unfortunately they drug him up with some type of Aztec drink and lots and lots of shots, and make him dance for hours while the vampires torture and feed on him. He ends up delirious, but still sane enough to Nope them when they ask for his heart.

He eventually escapes with the help of some friendly vampires. On the way out he is chased by some were-rats (no, not joking), but he manages to escape and run to his ex’s house. Charlie is shocked to see Vince and fights off the deadly were-rats. (I can’t stop laughing at that) Afterwards, Charlie takes Vince back to his place to bathe and rest, and they start bickering about their break up. Charlie never forgave Vince for lying about being a stripper – he is super jealous and possessive, and couldn’t stand the thought of other people seeing and touching him like that. Vince is still pretty pissed that Charlie dumped him with a Dear John letter, and never gave him a chance to explain himself. Vince feels like Charlie was the love of his life, but that he meant nothing to Charlie, who has lived hundreds of years, and will continue to live hundreds of years after he dies:

Soon he would be a memory to Charlie. But to Vince, Charlie would never be less than the universe compressed into human form.

Also, Charlie is very much in the closet, and Vince won’t put up with any of that. It made me lol a bit that vampire society in this universe is socially conservative. Aren’t vampires supposed to be inherently morally ambiguous?

That’s sort of how this book goes: There’s the overall storyline with vampire politics and mythology – in a nutshell, the two factions of vampire society are getting into a war, with the bad side being led by an evil mastermind Aztec witch with an apocalyptic plot. They team up with some other friendly vampires, who I hope show up in some other Vampires of Austin books. And then Jax weaves in the romance between Charlie and Vince. Going over their old hurts, the two of them trying to figure out if there’s a way they could ever work out.


Garren does a good job building the mythology of this universe for us – witches came into play, shifters, even a god. The plot was engaging, and I really bought into the relationship between Vince and Charlie. Could have used a bit more sex though. That cover is selling something much more smutty than this is. Plus side though: there was some really great ass biting.