Author: Laurelin Paige
Series: First and Last #2
Release Date: June 14, 2016
My Rating: 5 Stars!
A GAME OF CAT AND MOUSE FILLED WITH DARK DESIRES AND DANGEROUS SECRETS…
Emily Wayborn has made a decision.
She might not fully trust handsome and deadly Reeve Sallis, but he is the one person that gives her what she needs. With Reeve she can finally be herself. Submitting to him is the only thing keeping her grounded as the rest of her life falls apart. But the hotelier is a master at keeping secrets and as she continues her quest for answers someone is making sure she doesn’t find them.
Time is running out and she is questioning everything she thought she knew about friendship and love. She must now make an impossible choice that will determine if she will survive with her heart...or her life.
“Oh, hi! I didn’t see you there.” I sounded flustered and on edge. “Sorry to have surprised you.” The man’s head tipped toward me. “Emily, right?” he asked, as he exhaled a puff of smoke.
I squinted at him, trying to place him, but I couldn’t. In fact, I was certain I hadn’t seen him before. He had to be one of the ranch guests, which didn’t explain how he knew me. “That’s right,” I said tentatively. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
He tilted his head as he took another slow draw from his cigarette. “Nope. We haven’t.” Even in the dark, I didn’t miss the hungry way his eyes groped my frame.
He took a step toward me, and I readied myself to run. Just then, the front door slammed open. I looked up to the porch to see a couple of Reeve’s men leaving the house. W hen I turned back, the man wasn’t there anymore. I glanced around and caught sight of him circling around behind the building.
A man didn’t run off that easily if he hadn’t had ill intent.
I shivered. I wondered if all of the guests were that creepy. No wonder Reeve was wary of them. Suddenly, I wanted to run and tell him about the encounter.
Then, at the top of the stairs, I noticed his door was shut, which meant he was in there. But what if he wasn’t alone? What if the conversation with Amber at dinner had led them to his bedroom?
Before I let myself get worked up, I looked to Amber’s door. It was shut too. It was the first time I’d seen it closed since her arrival, and my mind jumped to a hundred different possible conclusions. Maybe she was exercising her new babysitter-free status. Maybe she was puking again in the bathroom and wanted privacy. Or she was making out with one of the ranchers. Or crying over whatever Reeve had said to her after I’d left them.
Or she wasn’t in there at all.
I could easily knock on her door to find out, but I wasn’t sure I could face her if she answered, and I was absolutely sure I couldn’t take it if she didn’t.
Hoping I would be better equipped to handle the situation after a good night’s sleep, I retreated to my own room with a sigh of resignation.
Though it was late enough to go to bed, my emotions were too frazzled for sleep. And I was cold. My evening walk had set a chill in my bones that lingered even in the warm house. W hile I wished it was Reeve warming me up, a hot shower would be just as effective at raising my body temperature and would also calm my nerves.
I stripped, tossing my clothes onto the chair in the corner of my room, then went to start the shower. I turned the water on without getting in, sticking my hand under the stream until it was hot enough. Then I crossed to the linen closet at the other end of the bathroom and picked out a couple of towels. When I shut the door, I turned back toward the shower and nearly jumped out of my skin. “Reeve!” I patted my breastbone, trying to calm the thudding in my chest. “Goddammit, you scared the hell out of me.” Between his sneaky arrival and the lurking cowboy outside, I wouldn’t have been surprised if I was on my way to a heart attack.
His lip curled up with amusement.
I scowled. “I’m glad you think sending me to an early grave is funny.” But I wasn’t really irritated by his arrival in the least. I was glad, and I was certain the accelerated tempo of my heart rate had as much to do with his appearance at all as it did with the element of surprise.
He leaned his hip against the vanity and folded his arms across his chest, a position that highlighted both his broad shoulders and toned biceps. “You like it when I keep you guessing,” he said dismissively, not an entirely inaccurate statement, though it was a bit discomforting that he knew it so well.
“And I like you on your toes,” he added, his eyes dark as they slid the length of my body. I felt them like silk as they caressed over the slopes of my breasts, down the plane of my stomach, zeroing in on the landing strip above my pussy. Suddenly I’d warmed up quite sufficiently, the pool of moisture between my thighs as hot as the steam gathering in the room.
I met his scrutiny with ogling of my own, biting my lip as my eyes landed on the large bulge at the front of his pants. He was bare- foot, and I tried not to wonder if that meant he’d been undressed once already in the evening. Tried not to wonder if it was his first or second erection of the night.
Bringing the towels in front of me as a much-needed barrier, I mirrored his crossed arms. “What are you doing here, anyway?” He shrugged. “You wouldn’t come to my bed so I had to come to yours.”
It was surprising how easily happiness bubbled in my chest. Teasingly, I threw his words from the night before back at him. “This isn’t my bed.”
He was already walking toward me. “It’s close enough.” The towels fell to the floor as he seized my hips and turned my back to the counter. His mouth captured mine, greedily stealing my breath and sense of reason with his lips and tongue.
God, I was hungry for him. I roved my hands over his chest, wanting to touch all of his body at once, delighting at the hard muscles that met the underside of my palms. He was solid every- where. A wall of strength and potency that could so easily over- power me. I was weak in his presence, incapable of anything except to yield.
A warning bell sounded in the back of my head, though, urging me to get my wits together and address . . . something. It was difficult to remember what exactly when his hands were on my breasts, squeezing and pinching. The bite of pain sent jolts of electricity through my nervous system, signals that my brain read as pleasure. Pleasure I couldn’t resist.
This book, this book, this book. I think that's it. That's my review. No, in all seriousness this book means business. I can't quite explain it without giving a lot of pertinent information, but think dark, gut-wrenching, and outside of the box. Ms. Paige has given her readers a book that delivers that and so much more. Last Kiss will be that book that leaves you just gaping like a guppy fish. There was a lot of "Oh, s**t", "Son of a --!", "MOTHER TRUCKER!!" and "Well, f*-k". I mean quite literally, I don't think I've ever been so vocal about my reactions to a book before.
I will admit, I kind of saw the ending coming from book one (FIRST TOUCH), but experiencing getting to that ending packed on a huge wallop. I finished this book a few weeks ago and I STILL feel a little bruised up from it. I'll warn readers again, like I did in my review of book one, this is not your mother's, or even sister's romance. It's a rough one. It's twisted, and it gets even more twisted in this book. You never really know if you want to judge or empathize with Reeve and Emily. I think by the end I was definitely doing a mixture of both. But what I love about this book is that is IS so different from all of the other books on the market right now, the writing was incredible, the concept is ASTOUNDING, and the delivery left me gasping. It's not all sunshine and roses, but it's intense, dark and gritty. The kind of book you revel in for an escape.
Be warned, it's not a true romance, but an interpretation of one. Reeve and Emily are anything but conventional. Truth be told they're a little screwed up, but it works for them, and THAT'S what I like reading about. Two souls who have gone through unimaginable times that find a safe space in one another, find a home for their hearts. And that's exactly what Laurelin Paige achieved. A story that despite its extremities, and at times, crudeness, makes sense. I might not be able to relate to the relationship of Reeve and Emily, but I sure as hell enjoyed reading their journey to solace.
*Note: my omission of any mention of Amber in this review was intentional. I could go off on a tangent about her involvement in the story, but all I can say is to get an appropriate understanding of how she fits in is to read it. Nothing I could write would do justice for the wicked web Ms. Paige wrote surrounding Amber.
*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
USA Today and New York Times Bestselling Author Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine. She's also a proud member of Mensa International though she doesn't do anything with the organization except use it as material for her bio. She is represented by Rebecca Friedman.