The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

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“A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending.”

Francesca Rossi thought she had her life already figured out, even though she was only nineteen, and regardless of what kind of life she has ever wanted for herself. Her father is very powerful and has built an empire in Chicago, even if he deals with and in some very dark things. And Francesca’s hand in marriage is going to be connection to another powerful family one day. And it appears that the day is coming very quickly.

Angelo Bandini is the boy that Francesca has grown up with, and now he is the man that she believes she will share her life with. He is safe, he is dependable, and he has been a constant in her life for as long as she can remember, even if he has never given her a real kiss before.

Wolfe Keaton is a very powerful senator, and he and his lifelong vendetta is about to ruin everything at a masquerade party that they are all attending. Especially since Francesca stole one of the notes that are passed down from the women in her family, but they are supposed to be kept locked away in a chest for their wedding day. And those notes are supposed to completely predict and/or alter your fate.

And the note that Francesca pulled the night of the masquerade said that she was going to be kissed by the love of her life. Which she completely assumes will mean that Angelo is finally going to give her the kiss she has dreamed of her entire life. But Wolfe and his grudge have very different plans in mind. And all the angst ensues, along with a promise of marriage.

“But, my darling, that’s the difference between me and your father. I never pretended to deserve you. I simply took you.”

I actually really enjoyed this story so much. I loved the angst, I loved the romance, and I really ended up loving the characters. But the first sex scene in this is honestly one of the most sus things I’ve ever read in my life. Francesca was truly being so stupid, and the lie she told to make a point? It truly took a year off my life. Also, Wolfe not understanding the basic concept of birth control, while pretending he did, took an extra year off my life.

But besides these two things? I honestly loved this and completely recommend. Especially if you like a good alpha dude, because Wolfe is literally the epitome of that. I had a blast while reading this, and was so pleasantly surprised to finish and realize that it was a standalone, too. If you’re looking for some sexy dirty talk, a whole lot of angst, and a little romance, then I completely recommend this one.

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Content and trigger warnings for use of the term sp*rit animal, some weird discourse about food and dieting, talk of loss of a loved one, domestic abuse and talk of cheating (not involving the main characters), murder, attempted murder, grey area cheating, and a very unpleasant virgin sex scene.

Buddy Read with Myonna & Riley! ❤

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!


Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen

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“I met Baron Spencer and he became my nightmare.”

Okay, you were all 100% correct. Vicious is totally the human equivalent of Cardan Greenbriar and I immediately want to reread this book this very second. Like, the first scene in his room, where he is sitting on the bed? I was waiting for my good dude to sprout a tail, honest to God. But yeah, this was an amazingly sexy read, and I enjoyed every single second of it. I can’t wait to continue on with the rest of this series.

Basically, this is very much an enemies to lovers story. And Vicious is a bigger bully than Cardan in every way, so if that is not your thing, I might skip this read. But if that is your thing? Oh Lord, please pick this up immediately. Seriously, I think L.J. Shen made a fan for life from this book alone.

This is a book told in flashbacks from present day to events that happened ten years ago that lead both main characters to where they are now. Vicious believes that Emilia overheard a conversation about a secret that he has been keeping forever. Emilia continues to be sweet, caring, and curious, and Vicious believes he has to remind her who has the power in every aspect of their lives.

That is, until Emilia is forced to leave LA forever, and goes to NY to pursue her dreams while trying to forget her tormentor. Yet, ten years later, things aren’t going great for Emilia; she just lost her job, she was just mugged, money is now extra tight, and she is also taking care of her chronically ill sister. Then one night, while she is working a night shift at a bar, the boy who has haunted her dreams walks in and gives her an offer that she is unable to refuse.

“I see you successfully graduated from a bully to a tyrant in the span of a decade.”

She then is forced to work under her bully, doing any and everything to keep him pleased. And we get to see them both struggle with their feelings for one another and decide if it is worth it to just get the other one out of their system. Emilia isn’t willing to fall for her tormentor, and Vicious won’t allow himself to have feelings for the one girl who is off limits for him. And the chemistry is honestly off the charts.

Friends, I’m just going to say it; the sex in this book is 11/10. Seriously, I immediately had to take a cold shower after, because the angst almost killed me during this reading experience. Like, the sexual tension in this is so damn extreme and some of the best I’ve read in a very long while. It feels like the slowest burn of all time, even though I don’t think I’d necessarily classify it as a slow burn. I don’t know, it’s a really weird reading experience, but so damn gratifying. The dirty talk was expertly done, too, and totally leg crossing inducing if you get what I’m saying.

“Vicious was vicious. It was too bad that my hate for him was dipped in a thin shell of something that felt like love.”

Overall, I just loved this completely. I will say that if you don’t like possessive partners then you probably wont like Vicious, but if you do enjoy that kind of thing then I completely implore you to pick this one up immediately, because I thought the trope was really well done. Like, I recommend this with every fiber of my being if you like hate to love romances. And all my friends promise me that Ruckus is even better, so I cannot wait to continue on with this series!

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Content and trigger warnings for extreme bullying, talk of past child abuse, talk of chronic illness, talk of cancer, loss of a loved one, drug use, underage drinking, physical abuse, and extreme invasion of privacy.

Buddy Read with Riley! ❤

❤ I also read this for Contemporary-a-thon!