Claim Me (Stark Trilogy #2)
By J. Kenner
Published April 23rd, 2013
Contemporary Romance | Erotica “Lite”
About the book:
For Damien, our obsession is a game. For me, it is fiercely, blindingly, real.
Damien Stark’s need is palpable—his need for pleasure, his need for control, his need for me. Beautiful and brilliant yet tortured at his core, he is in every way my match.
I have agreed to be his alone, and now I want him to be fully mine. I want us to possess each other beyond the sweetest edge of our ecstasy, into the deepest desires of our souls. To let the fire that burns between us consume us both.
But there are dark places within Damien that not even our wildest passion can touch. I yearn to know his secrets, yearn for him to surrender to me as I have surrendered to him. But our troubled pasts will either bind us close . . . or shatter us completely.
There are times when I just want to get lost in some good smutty romance. But with the whole advent of “mommy-porn”, there’s so much out there to read now that I just don’t know what is worth my valuable time and what is just going to end up being a brain drain. And I certainly don’t want to take review books willy-nilly to find out the books suck and then have to explain to the publisher/author why I won’t be reviewing the book. It’s quite the battle I face daily. How do I get out of bed?
Thank goodness I stumbled on the Stark Trilogy on NetGalley a while back. I took a chance on a review copy based on reputable friends’ reviews and immediately got sucked into the both tragic and magical world of Nikki and Damien. Yes, there will be a lot of sex in this story, but there’s more to it than just that. In this second book in the trilogy, there’s a bit more to the story between Nikki and Damien.
Nikki is one of my favorite protagonists in this genre. First and foremost she is smart. Intellectually, she’s brilliant and has a quick wit. But often times the most brilliant people are not the most street savvy. So sometimes you see Nikki’s naivety come out. Nikki most of all is not perfect, though. She hides a terrible secret about herself. In this book, she continues to grow her trust of Damien to help her redirect her need for pain; pain she uses as a coping mechanism.
Damien’s secrets are hidden a bit deeper. Despite Damien’s efforts, Nikki can see these hidden scars. She develops the ability to read Damien, his moods, and to push him to open up and trust her with the horrible truth about himself. One of the reasons why I love this couple better than some other adult romance couples I’ve read in the past is because Damien is attracted to Nikki’s strength and how she doesn’t put up with Damien’s crap. I love how she thinks every thing through and doesn’t jump to quick (which often leads to dumb) conclusions.
The other thing I enjoy about this series is that Ms. Kenner stays consistent with her characters. Damien is absolutely to die for and he never surprised me or threw me for a loop (that does NOT mean he doesn’t surprise Nikki!). You already know I love Nikki. The supporting characters never take anything away from the story. They only add to push the sub plot along and add to the mystery in the story.
Story / Tempo
So, uh, yeah… there’s some sex in this book. Oh, alright… a lot of sex. But that’s why we read romance books, right? We want the hot lovin’, too! But a story along with the romance is always good. And this trilogy DOES have a few sub plots that weave in and out of the romance and actually push and pull on the romance. In Claim Me, the main story is how Nikki deals with dating such a high profile, sought after public figure and the publicity hounds that follow her and Damien everywhere they go. How can you keep private matters secret? And what happens when everything blows up in your face and you’re again faced with coping, especially when your coping mechanism isn’t the healthiest thing in the world for you?
It was so easy for me to get lost in Damien and Nikki’s world again. It flew right by me all the way to the crazy ending (Damien, you’re such a nut!). I did find that I was questioning the motives of every single supporting character so that got tedious. But other than that, I absolutely loved this distraction from reality.
Because when it comes right down to it, you don’t pick up a book like this for it’s Pulitzer Prize writing (I’m not saying the writing is bad!). You read these books to get transported to a world completely different than yours and to get lost in it.
I got plenty lost… 🙂
About the Author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) has published over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.
Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. is also a two-time RITA finalist, the winner of Romantic Times‘ Reviewer’s Choice Award for Best Contemporary Paranormal of 2001, the winner of the Reviewers International Organization’s award for best romantic suspense of 2004 and best paranormal of 2005, and the winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award for best mainstream book of 2005.
She writes a range of stories including sexy and quirky romances, young adult novels, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures. Her current book, Release Me by J. Kenner, is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller and has sold to over a dozen territories/sub-rights.
Julie lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.
Other books in the series: