5 Stars, Avril Ashton, Erotica, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa, Sinner's Haven Publishing

Review: (Watch Me) Unmask You by Avril Ashton

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Title: (Watch Me) Unmask You (Run This Town: Book Three)

Author: Avril Ashton

Publisher: Sinner’s Haven Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 254 Pages

At a Glance: An emotional and consuming read, and another win for the author and this series and, as a result, its readers.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: With one tug the thread unravels, and a world built on lies will come tumbling down

Too many bodies. Rivers of blood. Elias Kote sees them all in his sleep. Only the love of his husband and daughter keeps him alive and fighting. This contract killer is exhausted and weighed down with all the lies he tells every day. Who he is. What he does. How he came to have all he has. Elias can attest to nothing remaining hidden forever, but his secrets, when they do drop, shatters everything. Everyone. And leaves him scrambling to make his family whole again.

Ten years together. Three legally wed. One with their daughter. And in one night Lucky Mousasi’s world just…stops. What he thought was a random home invasion turns into way more. Masked men not only brutalize him, but they come armed with knowledge about Lucky, his husband, and the life he thought he knew. It seems nothing is coincidental, certainly not meeting and falling in love with Elias. Bruised, battered, heart ripped open, Lucky walks away.

An intimate rival will stop at nothing to neutralize the threat Elias poses, and the life he built out of guilt and desperation becomes collateral damage. When Lucky takes their daughter and disappears, Elias goes on a rampage. He will get his family back, but first he’s on an elimination mission. One bullet at a time.

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Review: Avril Ashton captures the danger of loving someone in (Watch Me) Unmask You, laying oneself bare and opening up to someone else, willingly becoming vulnerable and trusting another person not to destroy that trust. There is a danger for the men in the Run This Town series to fall in love because their secrets can kill and the lives they live are filled with things they can’t tell, for to confess some of those secrets would mean to risk losing everything.

Unmask You is a deeply moving and sometimes torturous love story between two men whose pasts tie them together in a profoundly unexpected way, in a way that, once revealed, obliterates the life they’d built together. The heartbreak and tension in this book is a thing of beauty as the author crafts the relationship between Lucky Mousasi and Elias Kote from a point in time when Lucky was a mere boy and Elias was already the man who killed people for a living. Theirs is a May/December romance that began well before it was a romance—back when it was simply a matter of Elias watching over Lucky from a distance, only surfacing on the occasions that Lucky needed Elias’s strength. Until one day the two of them could no longer deny or resist the bond that had been forged between them over the years, and Lucky then demanded what Elias was no longer able or willing to resist giving. Everything.

I love the way Avril Ashton tells a story. She doesn’t pull any punches on either the sex or the violence in her novels. Lucky and Elias, like all the men in this and her Brooklyn Sinners series, have an undeniable chemistry that’s evident from the moment they meet. It’s not always a sexual chemistry, but it is always a visceral response to each other that leaps off the page and draws the reader in. These books are honest, sometimes brutally so, and her characters hold to their own set of ethics that may be outside the law but are nonetheless the foundation upon which they build loyalty and love.

There are surprise alliances that, as these stories unfold, reveal the true measure of these men who are criminals, yes, but criminals who will give their lives willingly for the sake of those they hold dear. There should be a contrast in the way they deal in both death and intimacy, but there isn’t because they are both approached with a passion born in protecting the part of their lives that make them whole and better men.

Unmask You is easily the most sentimental of the three books so far in the Run This Town series, simply because of what Lucky and Elias had built together–a marriage, a home, a family–before their house of cards came crashing down around them. Lucky and Elias’s relationship is poignant, their longing for each other palpable, their love for each other tangible, and the pain that comes from the revelation of Elias’s secrets is bitter. It all blends together to make for an emotional and consuming read, and another win for the author and this series and, as a result, its readers.






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5 Stars, Avril Ashton, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: (Watch Me) Body You by Avril Ashton

Title: (Watch Me) Body You (Run This Town: Book Two)

Author: Avril Ashton

Publisher: Sinner’s Haven Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 299 Pages

At a Glance: (Watch Me) Body You is a tour de force of erotic tension and raw emotion.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: Denial only lasts so long…eventually the heart wins out.

What if loving him…

After recent events that had his life flashing before his eyes, Israel Storm is re-evaluating everything. His friends. His priorities. What’s not going to change is the deep connection he’s developed with Reggie Turner. They’re comfortable with each other, partners in crime with no qualms about sharing women. Whatever Is needs, Reggie is the one he calls. Their bond can survive anything. But maybe not the kiss Reggie plants on him out of nowhere.

Means losing him?

Despite what Is thinks, that kiss came from somewhere. An un-named current has been flowing between them for months. Reggie doesn’t bat for his own team, but the more time he spends with Is, seeing past the rough façade of the man leading The Rude Boys, the more Reggie loses sight of labels and where he fits. All he knows is there’s something there, something Is will never acknowledge. One kiss leads to a punch that lands Reggie in the ER, and sends Is digging through his darkest memories in search of himself.

Friendship is all that’s left if they bury the truth. If they ignore the pull that makes it impossible to do anything other than fight. But denials can be exhausting and hiding isn’t working, not when everyone can clearly see your heart’s desire. An enemy is out to make an example of Is and his weapon of choice will leave this Rude Boy bloodied…and bodied.

Dividers

Review: Contradiction – a killer who doesn’t like blood. A man who falls in love with his best friend but can’t possibly love another man. A man who doesn’t do relationships but suddenly wants nothing more than to be in one with the man he can’t allow himself to love. Israel Storm is logical incongruity personified.

Not quite as gritty as (Watch Me) Break You but no less exceptional, Avril Ashton’s (Watch Me) Body You is a tour de force of erotic tension and raw emotion between Israel and Reggie Turner, the man who’s been like a brother to Is since the moment they met and became nearly inseparable. These men live dangerous lives in a brutal environment, and through it all, Reggie has had Israel’s back, shared Israel’s women, but lately there’s been an undercurrent running through their bond, an unspeakable desire that is threatening to break them emotionally. They are circumspect because giving in isn’t an option, but the tipping point comes when Reggie begins to see through Israel’s facade.

Ashton’s building of the intimacy between these two men is tangible in its intensity. They have no secrets from each other, save for the most important one which threatens to tear them apart. The denial of their attraction builds to its limits, and once they finally give in to it, it’s carnal and explosive. There’s no turning back after the floodgates have opened, and as a contrast to the conflict of X and Dima’s relationship happening after it began, the conflict in Israel and Reggie’s all happens before. Once they acknowledge and accept the love they have for each other, there’s no more need for denial, only acceptance.

The sexual fluidity of so many of the characters in these novels is the norm in the world the author has created. It allows for an openness and acceptance one wouldn’t expect as usual in the testosterone driven business in which they engage, but is believable in spite of that simply because of the strength of connections Ashton constructs. These are damaged men who become a bit less so once they find someone with whom to share their pain, and everything about them works because the feelings they have for each other are real and are manifested with so much heat and passion.

The storyline built within the romance, that of one of Israel’s insiders turning to betrayal as a means of revenge, works not so much in the strength of the mystery and its resolution but as a means of solidifying Israel’s resolve to love Reggie without fear or reservation and despite the fact it influences and informs the relationship between Reggie and his parents.

Israel and Reggie are solid and (Watch Me) Body You is a solid and well written love story.






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5 Stars, Avril Ashton, BDSM/Kink/Erotica, Erotica, Reviewed by Lisa

Review: (Watch Me) Break You by Avril Ashton

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Title: (Watch Me) Break You (Run This Town: Book One)

Author: Avril Ashton

Publisher: Silver Haven Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 278 Pages

At a Glance: If you love a bit of rough in your romance, Avril Ashton delivers.

Reviewed By: Lisa

Blurb: They’re in a war for control of the streets, but love will be the ultimate prize.

Here comes trouble…

Men. Women. Drugs. Dima Zhirkov’s favorite things. Add in the element of danger and he should be right as rain. But not today. It’s not working, hasn’t for a long time. He’s grasping at the flimsiest of straws to prove he’s indeed strong enough to run his streets. Until he sets eyes on him. In the midst of a room full of strangers, Dima is drawn to a man as cold and dangerous as he is beautiful. Captivated, Dima embarks on a ruthless campaign to get his new toy into bed.

Here comes the danger…

Xavier “X” Storm is content to pull the strings while someone else handles the day to day dealings of his gang, The Rude Boys. He’s after what Dima holds closest—the Coney Island streets. He contracts out the job of killing the Russian, except Dima isn’t that easy to kill. When he suddenly shows up in X’s path, tempting him to indulge in the dirtiest play, he finds Dima isn’t all that easy to shake, either. His cocky attitude and rough submission tempts X to go where he’d vowed to never return, and they plunge head first into an affair fueled by possessive obsession.

Run for cover…

Sex and pain Dima can handle, and X delivers the most depraved kind. Their connection is explosive, their games addictive, but Dima can end it whenever he wishes. He doesn’t see that X is breaking him down, giving Dima everything he wants and even more than he ever thought to need. By the time he realizes who X is and what he wants, Dima is raw and bullet riddled. It’s run or fight. And Dima doesn’t back down. Neither does X.

Warning: Includes strong BDSM elements.

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Review: There’s nothing quite like a good book to remind me I have a bit of a twisted streak. Avril Ashton’s (Watch Me) Break You reads like a steamy, sweat-soaked mindf*** that shouldn’t be as irresistible as it is. Dima Zhirkov and Xavier Storm are two sides of the same sadomasochistic coin, working on opposite sides of a corrupt landscape, each heading up their own faction of their crime families and heading toward an all-out turf war in the New York boroughs.

Ashton wastes no time setting the tone of this novel, which revolves around a strong BDSM element (if you’re looking for shiny-pretty sex, this isn’t the book for you). When Dima first spies Xavier in a club, dishing out a whipping to a bound woman, his obsession with X is born. Dima is a sexual submissive, an unapologetic masochist who homes in on Xavier, wanting what the sadistic Dom seems to find no pleasure in delivering. Dima wants to light a fire in X, to see the man throw some passion into his punishment, and Dima’s not averse to stalking X, nor submitting to his own deviant devices, to get what he wants. I loved Dima’s nonchalant attitude toward his proclivities, which could burn like fire at the blink of an eye. He’s nothing if not mercurial. And what Dima doesn’t realize, until he’s in too deep, is that Xavier is the man behind the gang he’s trying to destroy.

Xavier Storm knows exactly who Dima is—he’s the Russian, the man X has ordered a hit on. Dima’s also the man X is drawn to, his need to be dominated like a magnetic force Xavier is powerless to resist. They form a connection through pain and punishment and raw sex which becomes a metaphorical war for territory in and of itself, each marking and laying a physical and psychological claim on the other, though Dima tries (and fails) to keep a controlled barrier between his emotions and his obsession with Xavier. Their relationship is built upon desire and dysfunction—secrets and lies of omission, the danger that is the inherent nature of the lives they lead—and when it all comes to a head in an explosive revelation, the depth of Dima’s damaged innermost self is the catalyst for revenge, as well as an all out binge of self-destruction.

(Watch Me) Break You is a novel that begs the reader to question every motivation and action of its characters. These men are flawed, if not outright damaged and corrupted, and the way they act and interact and react toward each other is gorgeous in its deviance. Not to mention the author manages to capture the chemistry between them and weaves it so deliberately into the plot that it’s near impossible not to become invested in its kinky and fascinating expression.

This book, like any book, really, isn’t going to be for every reader, but if you love a bit of rough in your romance, Avril Ashton delivers it with a white-hot intesity.






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3.5 Stars, Avril Ashton, Drama, Genre Romance, Reviewed by Jackie, Sinner's Haven Publishing

A One Night Stand Causes Conflict in Avril Ashton’s “So Far Gone”

Title: So Far Gone

Author: Avril Ashton

Publisher: Sinner’s Haven Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 108 Pages

Rating: 3.5 Stars

Blurb: One night? Feels like three years…

Jacob Donnelly wants something new. Something different. Which is why he’s got a one-way ticket to New York and his bags packed. One last night out to the bar finds him in a sexy stranger’s bed, giving in to an explosive chemistry Jacob had been searching for, but never found. Until now. It’s too bad he’s leaving town, although once he finds out his one night stand’s true identity, Jacob can’t get away fast enough. Continue reading

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Avril Ashton, Cover Reveal

Cover Reveal and Excerpt: “So Far Gone” by Avril Ashton


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Release Date: August 1, 2014

Blurb: Jacob Donnelly wants something new. Something different. Which is why he’s got a one-way ticket to New York and his bags packed. One last night out to the bar finds him in a sexy stranger’s bed, giving in to an explosive chemistry Jacob had been searching for, but never found. Until now. It’s too bad he’s leaving town, although once he finds out his one night stand’s true identity, Jacob can’t get away fast enough.

Cash Warner made a mistake. It doesn’t matter that he’d never felt anything like the fire generated between him and Jacob. He doesn’t plan to ever see his one-night hookup ever again. Except he does. When the reality of what they’d done fully sets in, Jacob flees, leaving Cash struggling with how to deal with the bitter taste of betrayal he can’t escape. Because even with Jacob gone for years, Cash can’t stop wanting more of that one night. Fate conspires against them once again, bringing Jacob home after tragedy strikes, and they’ll find it near impossible to keep their distance despite being committed to other people.
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Anthology, Avril Ashton, Eileen Griffin, Evernight Publishing, Giselle Renarde, JC Holly, Karly Germain, Lucy Felthouse, Nikka Michaels, Pelaam, Reviewed by Lana, Tamsin Baker, Tyler Robbins

Lana Gives Some Serious Love To “Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition”


“I’m all wolf, honey. One-hundred percent alpha bastard.” ― Moria Rogers


Title: Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition

Author: Anthology

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Pages/Word Count: 252 Pages

Rating: 5 Stars

Blurb: Strength. Power. Domination.

The shifters in our Alpha’s Claim: Manlove Edition anthology have one thing in common—they won’t take “no” for an answer. Whether they lead packs of their own, or whether they walk a solitary path, these alphas won’t let anyone stop them from claiming their men.

Lose yourself in these ten sinfully delicious love stories. After all, who could deny an Alpha’s claim?
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