RELEASE DAY BLITZ: REVIEW AND EXCERPT: Wicked Grind by J. Kenner

WickedGrind_Ecover_FINAL_RSometimes it feels so damn good to be bad

Photographer Wyatt Royce’s career is on the verge of exploding. All he needs is one perfect model to be the centerpiece of his sexy, controversial show. Find her, and Wyatt is sure to have a winner.

Then Kelsey Draper walks in. Stunning. Vibrant. And far too fragile for a project like this. Wyatt should know—after all, he remembers only too well why their relationship ended all those years ago.

Determined to break free from her good girl persona, Kelsey wants spice. Adventure. And she’s certain that Wyatt is just the man to help.

But when Wyatt agrees to give her the job only if he has complete control—on camera and in his bed—Kelsey can’t help but wonder if she’s in too deep. Because how can a good girl like her ever be enough for a man like Wyatt?

All Wicked novels stand alone

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Review

Every time I enter J. Kenner’s Stark World, I’m transported into an erotically enticing environment – one that provides readers with multifaceted characters and a plot line rich with intrigue, heart, and emotion.

In Kenner’s newest release, Wicked Grind, she includes all of the components that readers have grown to adore about her stories and adds in a slow burn, second chance romance element that illustrates how difficult it is to break free from parental influence, how easy it is to believe the worst in people when life turns ugly and devastating and the need to prove oneself without using the family name to get ahead.

Wicked Grind alternates between Kelsey Draper and Wyatt Segel’s perspectives, flashing back to their first encounters 12 years ago and providing insight into how one night of adolescent passion…one night of taking risks and losing all self control leads to over a decade of regrets and what might have beens.

Kenner does a fantastic job of contrasting Kelsey and Wyatt’s lifestyles as teens as well as adults – one conforming to her father’s strict mandates because living outside of the box he forces her in has done nothing but hurt those she loves and one who despite his family’s wealth and Hollywood influence wants to be known for his personal accomplishments not gain accolades due to his family name.

As Kelsey and Wyatt reunite in present day, they must deal with the baggage of their past and learn to trust one another again because as much as neither of them want to admit it, they need each other for so much more than just to complete Wyatt’s upcoming show. But in order for both of them to move forward, they need to stop punishing themselves and each other and realize that this time around can be different as long as both Kelsey and Wyatt accept what happened all those years ago and focus on their true feelings for one another, shedding the hurt and anger from the past and preventing anyone from coming between them, whether it be one man’s puritanical beliefs based on a broken heart or a provocative and sensual show that demands Kelsey to bare herself in ways that she’s never done before.

I love how each series in the Stark World has such diverse and intriguing characters and that even though the environment uses some of the same story elements, the way that Kenner utilizes them vary based on the dynamics of her characters and their differing backgrounds as well as the conflict she creates for them to endure.

I do have to say that I felt like the end of Kelsey and Wyatt’s story was a bit rushed. When events caused their relationship to implode and things were in disarray, the way they were dealt with felt a bit incomplete…I wanted more…I needed more because Kelsey’s transformation throughout the story is one of the pivotal conflicts of the story line and I wanted to understand how she evolved and finally became the person…the woman…the dancer that always been lurking under the surface – she just needed the strength and support to free her!

Regardless of feeling a bit underwhelmed by the ending, I truly enjoyed Kelsey and Wyatt’s story. The flashbacks worked well with the present-day story line and they illustrated the reasons behind Kelsey’s abandonment and Wyatt’s bitter feelings towards Kelsey upon reuniting with her 12 years later. Kelsey and Wyatt’s new relationship has a slow burn feel to it, which makes sense considering everything that has happened in the years they’ve been apart and the fact that there are unresolved issues to deal with…both of their reactions and subsequent actions fit the situation and once the truth is revealed, their choices become based on their current attraction and need for each other.

I’m so ready for Lyle’s story in Wicked Dirty!

4.5 Poison Apples

Excerpt

She was driving him crazy.

The way she held his eyes while she moved, so bold and flirtatious, as if she was just daring him to pull her into his arms and kiss her senseless.

Daring him? No, strike that. She wasn’t just daring him, she was throwing down a goddamned gauntlet. But was she challenging him to claim her? Or was she goading him that he couldn’t have her?

Damned if he knew. Right then, Wyatt was certain of only one thing—his body was tight, his cock was hard, and he wanted to be somewhere other than here. Someplace without other people.

Someplace with a bed.

It was the dancing that did it. Because Kelsey Draper and her dancing had always been his downfall. After all, that was what had started everything all those years ago. He’d seen her dancing to a bouncy pop song, her interpretation elevating the music and lyrics. He’d seen passion and precision, sensuality and seduction. She’d enchanted him. Cast a spell over him.

He’d seen the magic in her, so much larger than the quiet, subdued girl he’d met before. The Kelsey he’d watched dancing had surprised him. She was vibrant. Alive. Unexpected.

He’d fallen hard, and then she’d broken his heart.

He wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

He might want her—hell, he did want her. For his bed. For his show.

But he damn sure wasn’t going to trust her. He’d already learned that lesson, and he really didn’t need a refresher course.

As he watched, she dropped to the floor, then used one hand to rip open her shirt before letting it fall down her arms. She writhed on stage, her seductive movements making him ache inside, all the more when he imagined taking it further. Her wrists bound not with a tattered blouse, but with silk ropes. And not just her wrists, but her legs as well. Red ropes, the only color in an otherwise black and white image. Her body twisting, and the audience unsure if she was fighting the bonds or reveling in her own rising passion.

She was exactly what he needed for the show. The complete package. Hell, he’d known that from the moment she’d walked into his studio.

So why was he hesitating?

Because he wanted her?

Or was it because he wanted to punish her?

Or maybe it was even more insidious than that. Maybe it came down to how much was riding on this show. It was his shot, after all. The apex of all his work and sacrifice. The chance to escape from under the black cloud his father had left hanging over him.

The chance to prove himself to his family.

To live up to the goddamn Segel name.

But that would only happen if the show was a success.

So maybe that was why he was hesitating. Because the moment he committed was the moment the truth crept toward him on little cat paws, and it would either curl up and purr, or rip his heart out.

On stage, Kelsey rose, then did some sort of pirouette, twirling as she pulled off one of those transparent, colored scarves that served as a barely-there skirt. Wyatt imagined his hands on her waist, the brush of her skin against his palms as she spun. He could imagine her heat. The way she shivered under his touch.

So help him, he wanted that. Wanted to hear her sighs. Those little moans he remembered.

Another scarf went flying, and he straightened so that he was no longer leaning against the pillar. Instead, he shifted his weight from foot to foot as he tried to tamp down the rising lust. The violent need. To not only have her, but to have her in his show.

He wanted her, yes. But she was an indulgence he couldn’t justify. An indulgence and a risk, because he knew damn well that she’d run if things got too intense.

And damn but his show was intense. That was the point, after all.

He couldn’t take a chance on her, no matter how much he might want to. Couldn’t even bring her in only long enough to test her out. Not on such a tight schedule. Not when there was no way to ensure that she wouldn’t bolt.

Kelsey was a risk he simply couldn’t take. He had to get it right. There was too much at stake for him to be wrong about her.

The final scarf fluttered to the ground, and Wyatt’s pulse pounded in his throat as he moved closer, his mouth going dry as she reached for her bra, pulled it over her head, then tossed it aside.

The music faded out, and the dim, colored stage lights made the flesh-colored G-string blend into her pale skin, enhancing the illusion that she now stood before the entire room not just topless, but one hundred percent, birthday-suit naked.

She took a bow as the lights came up, and the men in the audience actually stood to applaud her. She’d blown away the competition, and even though Wyatt wanted to rush the stage and wrap his jacket around her, he couldn’t deny the swell of pride he felt for her victory.

julie-j-kenner-author-photoJ.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.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

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