Review: Grind by Sybil Bartel

grindTitle: Grind

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: Irina Tsarko Federov

The hero: Ex-marine/mercenary/escort Dane Marek

The blurb: I’m silent. I’m trained. I’m lethal.

My hand skimming down your thigh, my gaze a weapon—I know more ways to kill you than please you.

But you’re not paying for my aim. You’re paying for my control. Bringing you a breath away from ecstasy, watching you beg as I hold back your release, I’ll show you exactly what you’ve been missing. Your hunger is my currency and five thousand is my price. I only have one rule—no repeats, because I’m not for keeps. I’m for sale.

One slow grind and I’ll give you exactly what you paid for.

Standalone or series: Book three in the Alpha Escorts series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: This is the last of the Alpha Escorts series and by far the most intense. Dane Marek is an ex-marine who acts as a mercenary during the day (including killing, if that’s what he’s paid to do) and an escort at night. Unlike Alex and Jared, he won’t see a woman more than once. He just wants the release that sex gives him and if he’s getting paid big bucks for it? All the better.

He gets home early from one of his clients as a hurricane is about to hit Miami, only to find a young, white blonde woman with a Russian accent in his house. She is one of Alex’s clients who needed emergency accommodation, and Alex called in a favour. Dane soon learns who she is: the wife of Viktor Federov, a known Russian guns dealer. Dane also quickly realises what Irina is to Viktor: his submissive. Everyone in the business knows Viktor isn’t able to have sex after an accident damaged certain body parts, but he’s still able to cruelly control Irina, whom he married five years previously when she was eighteen. She did it with the encouragement of her mother and the promise of half a million if she stayed married to him for five years.

Irina had no idea what she was getting herself into when she married Viktor. He treats her as nothing more than a possession, and by the time Dane meets her she’s so conditioned that she does anything Dane tells her to. He’s disgusted by Federov and the hold he has over this beautiful woman, and soon Dane not only finds himself falling under her spell but becomes obsessed with the idea of getting her pregnant.

Irina sees a chance to finally be free of Viktor with Dane, but he’s as damaged as she is. Their relationship is intense and electrifying. There’s also the problem of Viktor. Dane wants to kill him for what he’s done to Irina, and Viktor seems to think she’ll just go running back to him as she always does. But with Dane’s help, Irina is able to break the hold Viktor has on her – but he’s not going to let his prized possession go.

This book was mesmerizing. This whole series was captivating. Recurring characters in these books have their own in another series, which I will definitely be checking out!

Review: Rough by Sybil Bartel

roughTitle: Rough

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: 2017

The heroine: PA Sienna Montclair

The hero: Ex-marine/escort Jared Brandt

The blurb: I’m not your boyfriend. I’m not the guy next door. I don’t even play nice.

My hands twisting in your hair, my whispered demand in your ear—I’m the fantasy you’ll wish you never had.

When I’m through with you, every inch of your body will know where I’ve been. Your only thought will be the insatiable ache between your legs as my name drags across your lips. You won’t crave more, you’ll beg for it. Because I’m not just a cocky smile with military hardened muscles you paid five grand for—I’m the experience you’ll never forget.

One night with me and you’ll know exactly why women pay me to be rough.

Standalone or series: Book two in the Alpha Escorts series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Oh boy. If you thought book one was hot, book two is scorching! Alex, Jared and Dane (book three) are all ex-marines who were involved in the same accident when their Humvee hit an IED. They’ve been home for three years and decided, for different reasons, to become escorts. Alex and Jared are in it for the insane amount of money they make and Dane is in it for the release he gets by having sex with different women.

The books have quite a bit of crossover, with the same characters popping up and the scenes being retold from each hero’s point of view, so it will flow better if you have read Alex’s book first. The three men organise their clients thusly: Alex takes the tame, vanilla ones who just want straight sex; Jared takes the ones who want it kinky and rough; and Dane takes the overflow and will do whatever. Unlike the other two, Dane won’t see the same woman twice.

When Alex finds himself wanting out of the game because of Olivia (in book one), he asks Jared to take on three clients he had booked for a Saturday night. Alex warns that one of the ladies is incredibly shy and that Jared needs to be gentle with her. Jared baulks, because he doesn’t do gentle, but he’s interested enough to set up the date because Alex said she’s young.

When Sienna Montclair turns up at Jared’s doorstep (he never gives out his address, but something about Sienna in their initial contact intrigued him) he’s floored. She’s incredibly young (twenty-four) and absolutely beautiful. He has to wonder why she’s booking an escort; she only saw Alex once.

Sienna works for one of the coaches of the Miami Dolphins, who also happens to be her uncle (although nobody knows that). She got involved with the star quarterback, a big no-no, and although she’s broken it off he won’t take no for an answer. He’s presented her with a ring she doesn’t want. He won’t leave her alone.

Jared wants Sienna badly, but she’s too innocent. She turns up with her red hair and her yellow sundress and he just knows she’s going to bring him to his knees. But something about her invokes his protective side, and as he gets to know Sienna, he wants to untangle the mess with the ex, Dan Ahlstrom. They get into a fight after Ahlstrom won’t stay away, and Jared’s training as a marine means Ahlstrom’s no match. Ahlstrom promptly sues Jared for damages to the tune of twenty-five million, but offers to drop the suit if Sienna goes back to him.

But Sienna doesn’t to. She’s drawn to Jared, even though she doesn’t think she should be. They come from vastly different backgrounds, but they’re intoxicated by each other and the amazing sex they have. Then something happens and Sienna finds out about a big secret her family never told her which threatens to destroy their relationship.

You know what happens in the end, of course – Sienna chooses Jared and he admits he’s in love with her. Everything is sorted out and he leaves the business, just as Alex did for Olivia. Another book that completely sucked me in 🙂

Review: Thrust by Sybil Bartel

thrustTitle: Thrust

Author: Sybil Bartel

Year of publication: 2016

The heroine: Dog trainer/charity owner Olivia Touissant

The hero: Ex marine/escort Alex Vega

The blurb: I know the game. I know the angle. I know how to make you beg.

My hands on your body, my mouth hovering over yours—I’ll tell you everything you want to hear. Ten inches of real estate never felt so good.

But don’t take my word for it. My client list is long and my motto is short—one single thrust and you’re mine. I’m not good at what I do, I’m fantastic. But satisfaction doesn’t come cheap. So open your wallet and prepare to forget your name. I’m about to ruin you for any other man.

One single thrust and you’re mine.

Standalone or series: Book one in the Alpha Escort series, but can be read as a standalone.

The review: Whew! This is one of the steamiest books I have ever read. There was something so seductively captivating about it that I didn’t want to stop and I didn’t want it to end.

Olivia Touissant has spent two years trying to get her charity off the ground. She wants to train dogs to help veterans with PTSD cope with civilian life. The cause is close to her heart; two years previously, her unnamed Marine brother killed himself at their father’s grave. Olivia is wracked with guilt because he’d asked her to go with him and she’d turned him down in favour of having dinner with her best friend, Jesse, who she’s been in love with for years.

Alex Vega is an ex-Marine who’s seen things nobody should ever see. So when he comes home, he decides to make a living as an escort. An extremely good one, as his clients – bored, rich housewives – are willing to pay thousands to have sex with him. He hasn’t had sex with a woman who hasn’t given him money for the privilege in three years.

Olivia has arranged an art show in which she gets half the profits of all paintings sold. She’s hired some kennels off her employer and needs the money to finally get her charity off the ground. The evening is going well until Alex Vega arrives with a long time client, and Olivia’s boss – who happens to be another of Alex’s clients – gets into a catfight with Alex’s date. Instead of intervening, he’s just amused, and Olivia’s boss is so annoyed she gets all her friends to cancel their bids on the artwork, leaving Olivia without a dime.

Devastated, she blames Alex for ruining the evening. Since they’re the only two left at the venue, she decides to drown her sorrows with the alcohol she’s provided. Alex is drawn to Olivia for reasons he can’t even begin to fathom, and before the night ends they’ve had hot sex.

They don’t want to like each other, yet their shared experience with Marine life and their unexplainable attraction to each other sees Alex being willing to give up his job as an escort. Olivia is torn between Alex and Jesse, the latter of whom kissed her at the art show and has subsequently declared his love for her and asks her to move away from Miami with him.

Olivia finally has the man she’s wanted for a long time… but can’t stay away from Alex. She has to make a choice. Which man will really make her happy?

This book is not for the faint of heart. There’s plenty of sex and swearing, and it’s all graphic. If you don’t mind that, you’ll love it. Read it, now!