Welcome to my review stop on the Tasty Virtual Book Tour for BLACK LISTED by Shelly Bell, the newest Benediction novel and trust me, this one is explosively good. Stick around for an excerpt & fab giveaway too.
***eARC provided by publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest and unscripted review – I already bought my copy because this one is a definite re-read.
Blurb for BLACK LISTED:
She sacrificed everything to keep him safe…
Five years ago, con artist Lisa Smith broke the first rule of hustling when she fell in love with—and married—her mark, billionaire Sawyer Hayes. The erotic nights spent acting out her darkest fantasies with her husband and Master were the happiest of her life. But when her ruthless father demanded she kill him and take his money, she had no choice but to disappear without a trace…or lose him forever.
He’ll risk everything to have her again…
Now Sawyer has found her, and he has an indecent proposal: submit to him for seven nights and he’ll grant her the divorce she desires. Forced to pretend she no longer loves him, each night spent in his arms is exquisite torture as they reignite their intense passion through role play and ménage. But when a deranged killer out for revenge targets Lisa, she must finally trust Sawyer with the secrets of her past…or neither of them will live to see the future.
Let me just say straight out…I love the Benediction series. I cannot get enough of it, and even though it is not a series for everyone, I think everyone should try it on for size just once. I didn’t expect to enjoy it as much as I do either, but it is truly addicting.
We first met Lisa Smith in the White Collared books and frankly, I didn’t like her much. I thought her conniving and was always feeling as if Kate needed to watch her back with her. I guess there was a good reason for that…she’s a con artist. Not just someone who manipulates to get things her way but an all-out, criminally minded, con artist, who came from a family of con artists, and is now hiding out from them—and her husband, Sawyer Hayes.
Lisa’s real name is Annaliese Hayes nee Hunt. She married Sawyer Hayes, the sexy billionaire computer genius who helped clear Rachel and Logan of murder in BLUE BLOODED. She married him because that’s what her father wanted her to do then divorce him for the money, only he changed his plans and decided she should kill him instead, and take it all. Only one problem with the old man’s plan…Lisa had fallen in love with Sawyer, so she took enough money to appease her hateful father, and left. She left the man she loved, the life she wanted with him, and took along with her a Black List that could put her entire family away for a very long time…her included. She warned her father that if anything happened to Sawyer, the list would go straight to the FBI. She gave up her life to save Sawyer’s. All was well until her picture appeared in the newspaper and Sawyer showed up at Cole and Danielle’s wedding.
Lisa asks him for a divorce. Sawyer says he’ll agree only if she agrees to spend one week as his submissive. Seeing that he was, and still is, her only Master, Lisa agrees because she still craves this man, still loves this man, and wants to protect him by making sure he goes away and stays away from her. The problem is…if Sawyer could find her…so could her father, her brothers and any one of the many marks, she’s defrauded over the years.
As I read each book in the Benediction series, I think Shelly Bell can’t possibly thrill or keep me enthralled as well as the one before but she can, and she does. Having just come off reading RED HANDED immediately before reading BLACK LISTED, I thought nothing could surprise me more, but it did.
BLACK LISTED, book three in the Benediction series by Shelly Bell is raw, rough, suspenseful, and not for the faint of heart when it comes to sex scenes but it’s also, beautiful, emotional, passionate, and overflowing with an intense love between two perfectly matched characters that are getting a second chance at love, marriage, truth, and the future. We are used to second chance romances where a couple who had unspoken feelings for each other come back together and reignite their love and relationship but this time, in BLACK LISTED, this is a married couple, a Master and Sub, two people who had already committed themselves and their hearts to a union torn apart by secrets and lies. It’s unique, it is heart wrenching, and we can’t help but be drawn into their world, their love, and feel the same sense of healing when the truths—all of them—finally come out.
Frankly, I hope Shelly never ends this series but I know it will happen eventually…happily, these are stories I will be revisiting many times in the future. I highly, highly recommend that if you love good suspense, characters rich in realism, a world of the sexually unusual—one that intrigues and makes you wish you were brave enough to venture into—and experiencing love that you wish could exist outside the realm of romance novels then please…read BLACK LISTED by Shelly Bell, and welcome the addiction.
Happy Reading Everyone!
Excerpt from BLACK LISTED:
Lisa turned and caught sight of Rachel walking toward her with two men by her side.
It took only a moment for it to register.
The long blond hair she loved to tug on during rough sex.
The stubble lining his jaw that used to scratch the skin of her inner thighs as he worked her over with his mouth.
The roguish and lighthearted appearance he maintained in public and the dark dominance that lurked beneath the surface.
It was him.
He was here.
He had found her.
She blinked a few times, trying to see if maybe she was imagining that the man she’d run from four years ago was suddenly only feet away and talking with her friends as if he knew them. That was impossible, right?
Her heart galloped a wild beat, and the sounds of the crowd disappeared under the roar of her pulse.
She wanted to run from him.
She wanted to run to him.
All the sorrow and regret she’d buried deep down inside came rushing back with a force that nearly bowled her over. And when the ghost from her past stood right in front of her and looked at her like a stranger, the glass of red wine slipped from her shaking hand onto the green grass, the liquid pooling beneath her heels.
Seemingly oblivious to her shock, Rachel smiled, a twinkle of mischief in her eyes. “I’d like to introduce you to Logan’s friend, Sawyer Hayes. Sawyer, this is Lisa Smith.”
Logan’s friend? Sawyer was Logan’s friend? This was the man who had helped Rachel and Logan in Las Vegas when they were framed for murder and running from the FBI?
“Hello,” Sawyer said cordially, standing so close she could feel his body heat radiating off him and smell a scent that reminded her of the best days of her life. “It’s nice to see you again, Annaliese.”
Her mind was a jumbled mess.
Like she was prey caught in the sights of a hunter, she became entrapped in his eyes.
She couldn’t breathe.
“You know each other?” Rachel said, her brows wrinkled in confusion.
“You could say that,” Sawyer said slowly, still holding Lisa captive with his eyes. “She’s my wife.”
“Lisa is the woman who conned you?” Logan asked incredulously.
Shame heated her cheeks, and she suppressed the threatening tears. Her friends would hate her when they discovered what she’d done. Not that she deserved any less.
And what did it matter? She was about to lose everything. She wouldn’t be surprised if she was arrested at any moment.
Rachel took her hand, but she still couldn’t look away from Sawyer. “I’m sure if she did, she had her reasons.”
Yes, she had her reasons. Dark, dangerous reasons that sometimes woke her out of her sleep in the form of violent nightmares.
And now with Sawyer’s appearance, her nightmares were one step closer to becoming true.
About the Author:
A sucker for a happy ending, Shelly Bell writes sensual romance often with a bit of kink and action-filled erotic thrillers with high-emotional stakes for her alpha heroes and kick-ass heroines.
She began writing upon the insistence of her husband who dragged her to the store and bought her a laptop. When she’s not working her day job, taking care of her family, or writing, you’ll find her reading the latest smutty romance.
Shelly Bell writes the Benediction series for Avon Red Impulse and the forthcoming Forbidden Lovers series for Grand Central Forever.
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