Series: Lick

Only For You by Naima Simone

Only For You by Naima SimoneOnly For You by Naima Simone
Series: Lick #3
on December 12th 2016
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three-stars

It’s been five years since I’ve seen her.
Five years since Gabriella James damn near destroyed me with her betrayal, sending me to hell in a cage.
I’ve crawled free, escaped the mob, opened a night club, and continue to battle my demons through underground fighting and sex. But now Gabriella’s back, begging for absolution, wanting my forgiveness. All I want is what she’s denied me for all these years — her body.
Sex. That’s all we’ll ever have.
Because Gabriella is still keeping secrets. I see it in her eyes.
I don’t trust her, and I’ll never forgive her betrayal.
But that won’t stop me from taking her.
Over...and over...and over...

Killian Vincent seeks punishment and absolution: it’s found in the fights and the pain he doles out and takes, and later, in a heavy, BDSM encounter with Gabriella James, the woman who betrayed him five years ago and left him to the dogs. As a wronged party who needs closure, he finds it in dominating and punishing sex when she turns up one night long after he thinks he has escaped his tortured past.

Naima Simone can write a deliciously dark romance—now that I know exactly what to expect from the Lick series—but it ends too quickly as it begins, closing on the implication that betrayal can after all, be forgiven and forgotten by a night of domination, spanking and submission. It’s not for the faint-hearted who want only hearts, flowers and angst, because ‘Only For You’, as with all the Lick series books, delves into anything but vanilla sex and sits on the knife-edge of humiliation and torture. By the end of it however, I remained sceptical, expecting Gabriella to make some grand gesture which never materialised and wondered why Killian was the one who had to make amends in the end when the onus was on her to make that first step.

But with this particular imprint, perhaps the sexual encounter is the point rather than the focus on forgiveness and moving ahead. As much as I do like Simone’s writing, I would have loved a more drawn-out book where both Gabby and Killian could have taken their issues out of the bedroom—only so that the HEA and the epilogue would feel richer and somehow, more worth it.

three-stars

Only For Your Touch by Naima Simone

Only For Your Touch by Naima SimoneOnly For Your Touch by Naima Simone
Series: Lick #2
Published by Entangled Publishing on October 10th 2016
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three-stars

The Boston press calls her the Mob Princess. I call her trouble.
Discretion is my business, and the reporters dogging her every step are bad news. She’s looking to rebel, to tarnish her naïve “good girl” image by getting dirty with me. I gave up a career as a thief, but Corrine Salvaggi’s wide eyes and sinful mouth damn near begs me to steal her innocence. To corrupt her.
Lucky for her, I deal in sex.
Whatever your fantasy, I deliver. Voyeurism. Threesomes. A little slap and tickle.…
If it’s your kink, I can fulfill it.
So yeah, life is good. Simple.
Until she enters my club.
Still…
It’s just sex. Our little secret.
For now...

After Naima Simone opened the doors of ‘Lick’, I’ve come to appreciate the brand of erotica that she writes with elements of BDSM, voyeurism and every other type of sexual play for what it is: titillating and boldly explicit for the sake of pushing sexual boundaries. Throw in mob connections, violent histories and the shade of smut gets darker. Which isn’t to say I don’t miss her romantic suspense novels, because I do, but reading the Scorched imprint means that some expectations have to be adjusted.

Sasha Merchant intrigued me from the first book and it seems fitting that he’ll get his own temptation in the form of the head honcho’s daughter when she walks through the door of his sex club asking for something that he never thought he’d be able to give: control and his submission. But Corinne Salvaggi represents more than just willing female body; it’s her close connections and the dangerous life he’s addicted to that she brings within touching distance which Sasha finds irresistible. In this way, Simone brings another layer of understanding and conflict between them which I liked, because it moves beyond the sex games they both play.

I did hope for more though, apart from sex they’ve been having, having been given a glimpse of the type of mob conflict could have brought but this novella pretty much offers what this imprint is meant to be: a slice of momentary bliss (pun not quite intended) and a happy-for-now ending aimed at satisfying more carnal appetites than anything else.

three-stars

Only for One Night by Naima Simone

Only for One Night by Naima SimoneOnly For A Night by Naima Simone
Series: Lick, #1
Published by Entangled: Scorched on May 30th 2016
Pages: 120
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three-stars

Rion Ward fought hard to be free of the Irish mob life. Now, as the co-owner of Boston’s hottest aphrodisiac club, he’s traded crime for the ultimate sexual fantasy. But when the “good girl” from his past walks through Lick’s doors, he discovers that his unconsummated hunger for her never abated.
Widowed for two years from a man who felt that anything besides the missionary position was dirty, Harper Shaw is ready to move on. The first step to feeling alive again is sex. Hot, dirty, black-out-from-orgasm sex. And who better to provide it than the brooding, sexy, tatted bad boy-turned-man she’s known for years?
Rion, however, has one stipulation: He’ll be hers only for one night. One night to explore her every fantasy. One night to push her limits. One night to introduce her to a passion that makes both doubt if it will be enough…

There’re always a million shades of smut and I hadn’t realised ‘Only for One Night’ offered less of plot and more of sex in this newer Scorched imprint than in the previous Brazen ones. It’s dirtier, hotter, filled with pages of behaviour that some might find objectionable.

And if ‘Only for One Night’ is a representation of the new imprint, I’d be the first to say that it isn’t for everyone, unlike Brazen’s more…inclusive set of stories.

Rion and Harper play out their second-chance sex-drunk romance mostly in bed and in a variety of positions. Considering how their reunion mostly takes place in a sex club where everything is mostly permitted, there are obviously instances of ménage(s), anal play and other sorts of kink (I’d appreciate some warning here) for those who prefer the down and dirty – and are done as soon as the couple in question finish up.

I’m not exactly a die-hard fan of erotica and with a preference for a little more plot to frame the steamy moments, ‘Only for One Night’ disappointed in this particular aspect. It’s hard though, to resist most things that Naima Simone writes, not because her characters or plot are beyond reproach, but the lingering geek in me has realised that her style – fluid, sometimes cocky and a little overboard – is in fact, my guilty pleasure, ever since I caught onto her Sins and Secrets series. My scepticism about following an author into the bowels of sex-fuelled tales nonetheless remains.

If I loved Ms. Simone’s romantic suspense writing, her foray into erotica left me flailing a little. With the setup of three men who are trying to flee their own demons of their tortured pasts – somehow, indulging in vices seem to be the only way they dig themselves deeper in their own misery through the ownership of a sex club. ‘Lick’ is starting to shape out to be a series that would veer towards fully exploring sins and sinners with a thin veneer of a happy ending for the couple in question.

three-stars