In this irresistible Stark International Novel, J. Kenner ups the ante on Dirtiest Secret and Hottest Mess, proving once again with the S.I.N. series that she “may very well have cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them” (RT Book Reviews).
All eyes are on us . . . and there’s nowhere to run.
Everyone has their own ideas about Dallas Sykes: He’s a reckless billionaire, a devilish playboy, a man who gets whatever he wants the minute he wants it. But I know the real Dallas behind the money, bravado, and power—and he’s completely, blissfully mine.
We carefully guarded our secrets, and in each other’s arms we sought refuge from our dark past. Our pain became our pleasure, our control within the chaos. But we could only hide from the truth for so long.
Now we’ve let loose our inhibitions and are ready to face the future. And no matter what people think or say, coming clean is its own sweet reward.
Sweetest Taboo is intended for mature audiences.
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Rating : 5 out of 5 Stars
“You were my dirtiest secret, down there in the dark where nobody knew.”
“Now you’re my sweetest taboo.”
Sweetest Taboo was darkly intense and erotic, with an angsty ride of suspense that took my breath away! The pace was perfect and I loved how Julie Kenner built the suspense to its crescendo. This book is the third installment in her compelling Dirtiest trilogy. It is strongly advised that the first two books be read before starting this one.
“That’s the thing about monsters, Dallas. They don’t just hide under children’s beds and in dark closets. They hide right in front of us. That’s what makes them so damn scary.”
At the end of Hottest Mess, we were left with many questions unanswered, mainly related to the Woman, Jane and Dallas’ kidnapper, abuser and torturer. One thing is for sure, the Woman is an extremely intelligent psychopath who has been watching Jane and Dallas for years. Now that their relationship is out in the open, she is threatening Jane and her actions demonstrate her dangerousness. She still plays a perverted cat and mouse game. For Dallas and Jane, winning the race against time to identify and capture her becomes a question of life or death.
Dallas is desperately trying to protect Jane. There was so much depth to the way the author describes their relationship. The emotional aspect of the characters was once again extremely well developed. They are strong together, but the enemy is lurking in the shadows.
This book was breathtaking in its suspense and intrigue, incredibly seductive and with enough heat to melt an iceberg! I loved every minute of it, up until the perfect ending! If you haven’t started it yet, do yourself a favor and read this riveting series.
This book is mainly told from Jane’s point of view, alternating with third person storytelling in Dallas’ POV. It’s not a standalone, as it contains major spoilers to the first two books in the series, and it’s intended for mature audiences only.
An advanced copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher, via NetGalley.
“There are so many things to say. Important things. Essential things.”
“But not now. I don’t want to talk about any of it right now.”
Hope warred with fear inside him.
“I just want—oh, please, Dallas. I don’t want to talk. Right now, I just want you to kiss me.”
And that was it—that was the moment she broke him. He felt himself shatter, the fear that had hardened inside him like glass breaking into a million tiny pieces. He reached for her, then cupped her head and closed his mouth gently over hers.
Immediately, he became drunk on the taste of her, aroused by the feel of her.
He wanted to crush her body against his, to feel her heat, her heart. He wanted to bruise her mouth with his kisses and close his hands tight around her arms. He’d come so damn close to losing her, and he couldn’t stand the thought of ever letting her go.
But he didn’t—he couldn’t. She was too fragile, and the possibility that he might hurt her—more, again—ate at him. So instead, he littered soft kisses on her face, her neck. He stroked her. Touched her. Hell, he worshipped her.
“Dallas?” Tentatively, her fingers brushed his face.
He blinked and focused on a space over her shoulder, knowing that he’d come completely undone if he looked into her eyes. “I thought I’d lost you. First, when you walked out. And then—and then—”
The words caught in his throat, too horrible to even voice. “Christ, Jane. I can’t lose you.”
Gently, her fingertip stroked his lower lip. Even more gently, she took his chin and forced him to look at her. “I’m right here.”
“And thank God for that.”
Their eyes met and held, and for a moment there was no time, no space, no world that judged them. There was just them.
Then she lunged, her mouth closing over his with such firm finality that it both broke the moment and had him laughing. “This is how I want you,” she said, and he answered her silently but enthusiastically, pulling her hard against him, slamming his mouth against hers. Taking. Consuming. Until he was nothing but heat and need, an ache building in him that he couldn’t quench no matter how tight he held her, how hard he kissed her.
He was lost in her, drowning in the sensuality of her fingernails digging into his back. Of her teeth claiming his lips. Of the way her pelvis ground hard against his erection.
With a low, needful groan, he slid his hands down and grabbed her hips, craving an even closer contact. He tightened his grip, pulled her toward him, then immediately released her and stepped back when she released a soft, sharp, “Oh!”
She stood before him, breathing hard. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
He frowned. “I hurt you.”
“No. No, I’m fine.” She shook her head, but he knew better. “Dallas, please. I don’t want—”
“Distance.” She dragged her teeth over her lower lip as if she was unsure about how he felt.
“Oh, baby. No. Never.” He held out his hand. “Come here.”
She cocked her head, then narrowed her eyes. “Where?”
“Do you trust me?”
The speed of her reply sang in his heart. “Then let me take care of you.”
The corner of her mouth twitched. “If you’re thinking about putting me to bed, you can just stop that nonsense right now. I’ve been in a hospital for almost two days. Between boredom and sedatives, I’m all caught up on my sleep.”
“I promise, sleep is the last thing on my mind.”
That was a little bit of a lie. She’d protest, he knew, but she needed more sleep. Good sleep, not with nurses popping in and out and a sterile bed with the scent of hospital disinfectant permeating the room.
She’d sleep, all right. But he intended to make sure she was ready for it. That she would drift under, safe and warm and content in his arms.
Gently, he drew her into the bathroom, her favorite room in the apartment. The previous owners had knocked out a wall, turned the small second bedroom into a closet, and used part of that space to make room for a steam shower and an oversize whirlpool tub. The day they’d moved in, Jane had told him this bathroom was a little slice of heaven.
He turned the water on, cranking up the heat the way he knew she liked it, then he stood her on the dense, white rug that filled most of the space.
“Are you tending me?” Her voice was as teasing as her expression, and it was all he could do not to gather her close and sigh with contentment. Yes, he knew she was still aching and sore. No, they didn’t know who her attacker was. Yes, her birth father was locked in a cell, and Dallas was the one keeping him there.
But none of that mattered. Not then. All he cared about—all he could hold in his head—was Jane. That she was alive. That she was his.
That she’d come back to him.
“Damn right I’m tending you. Now put your hands up,” he added with mock sternness.
She complied, and he peeled off her scrub top, delighted to find that she wore nothing beneath it. Her breasts were perfect, round and firm, and as he watched, her nipples tightened and her areolae puckered. He wanted to roll her nipples between his fingers. He wanted to taste her breasts and feel her arch back and moan, her tits hard and hot in his hands as he licked and sucked, taking her so far that she came in his arms simply from the pressure of the desire building between her legs.
Not now. Not yet.
Instead, he met her eyes. Then he lowered his gaze to her chest, watching it rise and fall as her desire heightened to match his. Her pulse quickened in her throat, another spot that he wanted to lick and tease.
Slowly, he reached for the drawstring of her pants. His fingers brushed her abdomen as he did, the touch so light it was almost negligible. It was enough, though, and he felt the shock of that connection all the way down to his cock. He was rock hard and straining against his jeans. And when her pants slid over her hips to the floor—when she stood before him completely naked—he had to fight the battle of his life not to step forward, slide his hand between her thighs, and feel the creamy heat of her arousal.
Instead, he simply stood and stared and wanted, his gaze caressing her. Reviewing every curve, every nuance. He knew her body as well as he knew his own, and the bruises he saw on her thighs and hips started a slow burn inside him.
He was going to kill whoever did this. No doubt. No question.
About the author
J. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.
JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development with AwesomenessTV/Awestruck.
Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.
In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.