WICKED by Sasha White

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Jaded divorce attorney Karl Dawson doesn’t believe in love, so when flirtatious Lara Fox does some computer network upgrading at his office, he figures he’s in for a good time. A sensual Dominant, Karl sees in feisty Lara a submissive challenge.

Lara Fox has been independent since a young teen, and likes it that way. She fun-loving, flirty, and loves to assert control, in a noncommittal sort of way. When she meets her roommate’s boss, Karl, she sees in him a challenge to good to pass up. Lara’s ready for nights of sensual pleasure, but when Karl informs her that he’s a Dominant, she’s not sure she’s ready to give up control. Willing to try anything one, she allows Karl to take control—and realizes it’s what she’s been missing in her life.

Afraid for what is beginning to look like commitment and love, neither is prepared for the direction their relationship is traveling. When a vandal starts targeting Lara, however, all bets are off and Karl’s protective nature reveals to Lara that this is more than just bedroom BDSM. Will these two
submit to their blossoming relationship and will they admit to themselves and to each other that live might be real, after all?

Sasha White has another hit with WICKED. This book is a good representation of the some of the delightful aspects along the BDSM continuum. The characters are likeable and the plot smooth. At times, I wished for a little more internal conflict in the two main characters. But the sensual tension and sexual intimacy between Karl and Lara is hot enough to melt ice, even on the coldest day. Kudos to Ms. White for one WICKED ride.
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Tagged!

This morning, I learned that I’d been tagged by my Wicked friend Shelley Bradley. Check out her blog here. My goal, should I choose to accept it, is to list 7 random facts about myself and then tag others. So, here goes nothing...

I absolutely love
Z’Tejas. I love their margaritas, their queso, their VooDoo Tuna. You can’t go wrong with that place. Seriously. I have many recipes from when I worked there aeons ago, including a salsa recipe that I altered and make all the time.
If I could take an extended trip tomorrow, I’d want to go to either Colorado or Alaska, if it’s in the country. Outside of the States, I’d want to visit Italy. But seriously, it’d take well over a month to visit all the places I’d want to go.
If I’m at a party and drinking alcohol, you’re most likely to see me with a glass of Cabernet. I’ve been to Napa, did a lot of wine tasting and love the taste of red wines, but especially Napa or Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve never met an Australian red wine that I liked.
When I get stressed about something, I have a compulsion to clean or organize. Stress somehow galvanizes my inner Martha Stewart.
I don’t drink beer. Ever. Nasty stuff. Looks like horse pee.
My brothers are greater than a decade younger than me. I used to get comments when I was a teen, complimenting my children!
I used to be a rabid Durany. Not only did my license plate say Durany, but I met the band more than once. They actually remembered me from the previous meeting. Scary. I don’t know how to take that!

OK I have to tag some people now.
Charli, Jennifer, Cathryn, Ann, Maura, Ali and Mimmi GO!
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Eve of Darkness by S.J. Day

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This book is not coming out until May 2009, but Ms. Day was gracious enough to provide me with an ABM—Advance Bound Manuscript--to read and provide a review.  Eve of Darkness is the first in a series of books about Evangeline Hollis, or Eve.  The second book is titled Eve of Destruction and the third book is Eve of Chaos, which will be published in June 2009 and July 2009, respectively.  S.J. Day's official website is www.sjday.net.
 
When young and inexperienced seventeen-year-old Evangeline Hollis sees the dark and dangerously sexy man astride his Harley, she knows she should turn and run the other way. But just as a moth to a flame, Eve cannot turn away. Accepting a ride on the man's bike, Eve finds in herself a courage that she never knew existed.  And later, throwing caution to the wind, she gives herself to the man she only knows as Alec Cain. 
 
A decade later, in a similarly magnetic situation, with a man that could pass as Alec's twin, Eve finds herself in a stairwell experiencing the ferocity of a rare, spontaneous sexual encounter. But instead of the relaxing satiety that she should feel after sex, she's branded with the
Mark of Cain by Alec's brother, Reed Abel.
 
Agnostic Eve doesn't quite know how to handle the state she's in.  In an instant her life is altered from mild-mannered businesswoman to strong, fast, kick-ass demon killer.  It's a life that she doesn't quite believe and she certainly doesn't want.  She'd rather go back to her old life where her most exciting of days included watching
Buffy reruns with the elderly woman down the hall from her condo, while slurping pasta. And now, not only is she quickly learning the ins and outs of the theocratic tiers—the heavenly AND hellish kind—she also realizes that her agnosticism is quickly becoming passé in this world where myth and fairy tales are reality. 
 
Before sinking my teeth into erotic romance, before touching paranormals (The Chronicles of Narnia doesn't count, since I was a child when reading the series), I loved books that were fights between good and evil.  Granted, many stories have subtle battles between the good guy and the villain, whether they be mysteries or romances, but that's not what I mean.  I particularly preferred apocalyptic thrillers that showcased angels, demons and spirits.  At the time, however, there were few options in mainstream fiction.  Should you wish to delve into eternal battles, it was necessary to read stories by authors like Frank Peretti and Ted Dekker.  Fabulous authors, but they are nonetheless Christian writers that leave the reader with a clear conclusion that good will always prevail.  (They are getting better, leaving conflicts dangling for conclusion at a later time, a premise that, to be honest, is much more to my liking.)
 
When I learned that S.J. Day was writing a series that spotlights demons, angels and God Himself, I was more than intrigued, I was entranced.  I had to get me a copy!  May 2009?  Are you kidding me?  I grew up with Sesame Street and McDonald's where narcissism rules.  I don't want to wait until May 2009!  I want to read it NOW!
 
Finagling an advanced bound copy of
Eve of Darkness, I was, understandably, in heaven.  No pun intended.  With the stress of my job, working many hours and several book reviews due, I didn't want to do what I did with many of the books I read:  get five minutes in here and there.  No, I wanted to get INTO the book, which could only occur when I actually had time to spare. 
 
Being the OCD person that I am (well, not quite… or if I am, I'm highly functional) once I discovered that I was able to move north of Phoenix, I packed rather quickly and was able to find a few hours to devour this story in one sitting. 
 
I have to say,
Eve of Darkness was all I expected it to be, and more.  With a heroine that is unbelievably strong and intelligent (the term "kick-ass" just doesn't do her justice), two sinfully sexy men that are as old as time, literally, and non-stop action between the forces that simple humans cannot begin to fathom, it's a match made, um, err, that is to say…well it's a match made in heaven!
 
Can you just imagine that a lust-filled moment as a virgin teen with an intense and brooding Harley rider would literally alter your life, forever?  Now imagine meeting his equally devastating brother years later, not knowing for certain that he is related to that man that walked out on you a decade earlier but believing to your very core that you want him more than your next breath.  Picture a heated stairwell moment, mind blowing sex, being branded as one of God's own to work off your sins and realizing that although you haven't died, life as you know it is gone.
 
Now picture your new life as a demon hunter.  Those you thought were mere mortals only days before, you know see as they really are:  demons, angels and various otherworldly beings… those who aren't completely immortal, as they can be slain, but who aren't human either. It's enough to make my head spin.  I can't imagine being up to the task, but Eve manages it with aplomb, with a fierce determination that makes me want to sit up and shriek, "I want to be like HER when I grow up!"
 
There's only one thing that I didn't like about
Eve of Darkness:  its ending, leaving me wondering what will happen next.  I CANNOT believe the next book isn't due out until June 2009.  That's over six MONTHS away! Thankfully the third installment will be released a mere month after that, but I'm so beyond impatient, I don't know what I'll do between now and then.  This book has gotten me so excited that I can just tell that after I read the third book, I'll be in that empty, downward spiral that readers often get when their favorite series is completed.  Is it too much to wish that there will be more of Eve than a mere three books?  One can only hope.  Or pray.
 
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