Blackballed from my job.
Moved back to my hometown with my tail between my legs and family issues crushing my back.
Slinging drinks in a dive bar.
Yes, the past year has been hell. So when a man who’s temptation wrapped in golden skin and sin offers me one night of no-holds barred, dirty sex, I’m all in. I deserve it.
But now those few unforgettable hours have me facing blackmail from my own father: He'll pay for my mom's medical bills, but only if I never again touch the man who has quickly become my obsession.
Because the man? My obsession?
He’s my stepbrother.
Each book in the Sweetest Taboo series is STANDALONE:
* Sin and Ink by Naima Simone
* Passion and Ink by Naima Simone
* The Scandalous Diary of Lily Layton by Stacy Reid
About the Author
Naima Simone's love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey, Sandra Brown, and Linda Howard many years ago. Well, not that many. She is only eighteen...ish. Though her first attempt at a romance novel starring Ralph Tresvant from New Edition never saw the light of day, her love of romance, reading, and writing has endured. Published since 2009, she spends her days—and nights—creating stories of unique men and women who experience the first bites of desire, the dizzying heights of passion, and the tender, healing heat of love.
She is wife to Superman, or his non-Kryptonian, less bulletproof equivalent, and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, sometimes domestically challenged bliss in the southern United States.
Come visit Naima at www.naimasimone.com.
Read an Excerpt
"Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim."
I run writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron's words of wisdom through my head like a mantra, and I clutch them like a drowning woman as I set down a pitcher of beer in the middle of a table surrounded by several more-than-halfway-to-tore-up frat boys.
There was a time I used my bachelor's and master's degrees in accounting to monitor business accounts and analyze markets for expansion and acquisition opportunities. Now I'm using them to count tips and the number of times I've been propositioned and groped in one night.
Fuck. My. Life.
Having my ass squeezed or my breasts ogled is part of the job description in The Rabbit Hole, the dive bar in Chicago's Ukrainian Village where I now work. The irony of it all — after being blackballed from my former, high-five-figure-salary job for blowing the whistle on systematic sexual harassment — is not lost on me.
"Me and my boys are having a party at the frat house next week. You should come by. Pi Nu knows how to party," Frat Boy #1 invites me with a drunken leer that I'm sure he believes makes all the girls drop their panties. Unfortunately for him, I'm not some naive college girl, and I've never been that damn desperate in all my twenty-six years. "We could use a girl with your —" The leer deepens, passing annoying and steaming full-speed ahead to yuck. "Assets."
Since he's staring at my tits and reaching for my ass, it doesn't take my two degrees to decipher his meaning of "assets." What the hell? Not only is he a douche, but not even an original douche. Do they offer classes in Asshole 101 at his university? And this is a perfect example of a future asshole that will probably one day run a company like the one I quit. Making it hard for women everywhere to come to work, do their jobs, and not be harassed.
You need this job. You can't pour beer over the customers' heads.You need this job.
I silently repeat the reminder over and over as my lips stretch into a smile that feels so brittle, it should crack right down the middle. I manage to evade his hand, but not quickly enough that his blunt fingertips don't glance over the upper curve. Nausea churns in my stomach, and the anger inside me threatens to spill over until I raze him, his buddies, and the city block The Rabbit Hole sits on to the ground.
That now-familiar sense of helplessness and powerlessness swirls inside me, damn near swamping me. I hate that it's familiar. I hate that I'm giving someone the control to make me feel this way. Again.
I hate that I don't know how to stop.
"Thanks for the invite," I grind out, turning and heading for the bar. "I'll keep it in mind."
"You do that," he says as I turn away. "Look at the ass on her," he groans.
I could give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that he assumed I was out of earshot. But I stopped being that naive around fifth grade when I discovered why Bobby Russo constantly asked Sister Mary Catherine to sing the "Pussywillow Song," then snickered with his friends in the back of the classroom.
As I scan my tables to see if they need more alcohol, food, or clearing, my cell buzzes in my back pocket. Though Ben, my manager, frowns on the servers being on their phones while on shift, I slip it free and turn toward the bar to conceal my wrongdoing. It could be Mom. With her, it could be anything from having a "bad day" to something regarding her heart attack and surgery three months earlier. After that terrifying voicemail informing me my mother had collapsed in the middle school cafeteria where she's worked as long as I can remember, I can't ignore a call. Especially now that her doctor wants her to have another surgery, I'm too scared to not answer.
Cradling the phone between my hip and the bar, I glance down at the screen and glimpse the notification. The niggling worry evaporates as relief slides in, quickly followed by irritation. And resignation.
Probably another invitation to Sunday dinner at his house. With his wife.
The woman who replaced my mother in his life all those years ago.
With a family who replaced me.
One of my customers waves a hand in my direction, and gratefulness sweeps through me like a cool, brisk breeze. Good. Any distraction that keeps me from tripping down that too-travelled, pitted road is welcome. Nothing but regrets, pain, and pointless what-if's litter that path, and I'm too damn tired of stumbling over them.
Minutes later, with an order for drinks and food delivered, I smother a sigh and head in the direction of the back booth in my section. Twenty minutes until my break. And three and a half more hours before I can escape this place and hide in my apartment until Saturday night, since I have a rare Friday off. Hell, my roommate might be kicking me out in a week to move her boyfriend back in — the "asshat, cheating bastard who could go suck a dick" boyfriend who she would supposedly never forgive — but that's a week from now. For tomorrow, at least, I have a place to sleep.
Forcing my lips into a smile that I hope is more "Welcome, I'm delighted to serve you," than "Oh my God, why are you here?" I approach the curved booth with its lone occupant, flipping to a clean sheet in my order pad.
"Hi, welcome to The Rabbit Hole. My name is Ro." I lift my head.
"What can I ... start ... you ...?"
The usual spiel dries up on my tongue like all the moisture in my mouth. My eyes widen — I can freaking feel them grow round — and I try to swallow past a throat as tight as Kris Jenner's face after a Botox session. The thud of my heart echoes in my head like thunder across a threatening, dark sky, and prickles of heat sting my face, throat, and chest.
He's ... beautiful.
Dark blond hair the shade of muddied gold just dug up from the earth frames his face in short chunks of curls while longer strands fall over his forehead and brush his cheekbones. And good God, those cheekbones. Slashing blades under tawny skin, they appear sharp enough to cut open the flesh of my thumbs if I brushed a caress over them.
My impatient, hungry gaze skips down to a mouth that has my thighs tightening. As if I can already feel those soft-but-almost-cruel lips with the slightly fuller bottom curve between my legs, rubbing over my pussy, latching onto my clit. Sucking ... A shiver works its way through me.
It's been a long time — over a year — since a man has been inside me, and staring at the wide shoulders and broad chest covered in a black, long-sleeved shirt, I'm viscerally aware of every month and day of my sexual deprivation. It's dim in the bar, and even darker in this corner of the room, but, Jesus, I can still make out the hard, thick muscles that his Henley can't begin to conceal.
I drag in a breath through my suddenly unrestricted throat. Funny how my abstinence didn't seem important until this moment. Until a man with the body of a god and the face of an ... Had I said angel?
Scratch that. Archangel.
Because no mere angel whose sole purpose is announcing immaculate births and guarding people could possess eyes so hot, so knowing, so ... fierce.
Green fire. A blazing emerald fire that could consume anything — or anyone — in its path.
God, yes. Only a battle-scarred warrior angel has eyes like that.
My mouth again finds a smile. Albeit a shaky one. "What can I start you off with?"
"A Hopsurd and a shot of Jameson," he says in a low rumble of a voice that is black velvet laid over churned-up gravel. "You're new."
Scribbling down the IPA beer and the whiskey, I stare down at my pad with focused concentration like the Ten Commandments suddenly appeared on them.
"Not really," I reply briskly. "I've been here about two months."
He flicks a glance down my body and then back up to my face, but instead of making me feel the need to loofah with rock salt and cement like with the frat boys, the quick survey has me fighting the urge to stroke my hand over every place his scrutiny touched. To capture and massage the sensual tingling into my skin. To wonder if those lips would be soft, or firm and demanding as they slid over my breast and closed around my nipple. With that slightly cruel slant to that beautiful mouth, I vote for demanding ...
Oh for God's sake. Get. It. Together.
"I'll go put this in and be right back."
I don't run from the booth, because that would be undignified.
But I damn sure power walk.
Minutes later, I head back to his table with his IPA and whiskey, and a disquieting sense of being watched scurries through me. Without even looking up, I know his gaze is on me.
In my uniform of painted on black skinny jeans, boots, and a tight T-shirt with the bar's name blazoned across my breasts, I'm well-accustomed to eyes resting on me, stripping me down. Yet his scrutiny is as different from the others as a fingerprint. It's unique. His. Mainly because of how it causes my stomach to twist in a sweet but gnawing ache. How it causes my pussy to clench, spasming in emptiness. How it reminds me of how long it's been since I gave another person permission to touch me. How I miss it.
Approaching his booth as carefully as if I'm balancing on a suspended tight rope above a gasping crowd, I keep my eyes on the drinks and floor, bracing myself for the impact of facing him again.
A useless effort.
As soon as I set the beer bottle and glass in front of him and lift my head, I'm ensnared. Helplessly. Powerlessly. Fucking willingly.
"Thanks." He picks up the beer and twists the cap off, and damn if I don't find the sight of that big, strong hand with its long, surprisingly elegant fingers wrapped around the bottle hot. No doubt he could be both gentle and rough with those hands.
Unbidden, images of him being both with me — in me — flash through my head in vivid, technicolor, HD clarity. He could fill me with those fingers. Two of them could probably stretch me, make my neglected flesh burn. God, I want to burn.
"If you don't need anything else —"
"What's your name again?" he interrupts, lifting the beer to his lips, taking a sip, and waiting for my answer while I wrestle with my jealousy of a bottle getting some up-close-and-personal action with those lips.
It's official. I need help. The kind of help that comes with a dick and orgasm.
"Ro," I eventually shove out. Jesus, the effect he has on me. There's no other explanation that justifies why I almost uttered "Cypress Winters." Giving any customer in this dump my real name is on my top list of no-nos. Right under fucking one of them. It's another barrier I can place between me and them. And as silly as it may seem, it's less of myself I have to give away. Ro is a costume, a mask I slip into when I enter this place.
"You're not from here, are you?"
"No." I shake my head. "California." At least for the last ten years. But he doesn't need to know my life story when this is the last time we're going to talk unless he wants another round. "If you need anything —"
I blink. Then blink again. The blunt, rough answer rocks through me, a sucker punch that threatens to lay me out if I don't shake it off. But God, I'm having a hard time shoving past the automatic flare of lust that blazes inside me, licking at my nipples, my clit. Self-preservation has me backpedaling a step before I catch myself. I've vowed to never be weak again, especially in front of a man. And though there's no predatory glitter in that steady, unwavering gaze, it still makes me feel vulnerable. Like prey exposing its throat.
"What?" I rasp. And wince. Outrage. There should've been outrage in that question instead of hoarse shock and, goddammit, need. "Look, you might not have noticed, but I'm working, so ..." I trail off, again taking a step away from the temptation that is him.
"Wait. I'm sorry. I'm fucking this up." He shakes his head, more of those longer strands of hair falling into his eyes before he shoves them back. "I get it," he murmurs, and yet I have no problem hearing him above the music, chatter, and raucous laughter in the bar. Maybe because, in spite of my internal alarm blaring like a tornado warning, I move closer until the edge of the table presses into my thighs. "You're used to random strangers dropping some line on you, and that's probably how I'm coming across. But to tell you the truth, I've had a shitty day. Scratch that, a shitty week. Which is why I came here in the first place — to drink and forget about it for a little while." He leans forward, resting his forearms on the table and pinning me in place with that mesmerizing stare. I set my tray on the table in silent invitation for him to continue and sink my teeth into the flesh behind my bottom lip to prevent myself from asking what happened to make his day — no, week — so horrible. "Then I saw you. Gorgeous, so close, but untouchable. And the most attractive thing you have going on? I don't know you, and you don't know me. I could be brutally honest with you or lie my ass off, and you wouldn't know the difference. You ever want that, Ro? To be someone else just for a little while?"
About every other hour. I briefly close my eyes, the part of me I thought had been successfully atrophied by disillusionment, betrayal, and pain stirs, troubled by that ... something in his voice. Longing, need, a quiet desperation. The same things that reverberate and rattle inside of me every night when the noise stops and there's nothing left to distract me from my thoughts, my memories. From me.
I loathe and fear those hours.
And a part of me resents him for making me acknowledge it.
Why couldn't he just proposition me for a quick screw like every other man — and the occasional woman — in this place? I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm not a stranger to one-night stands. Relationships have never been my thing, but sex has been. Not that I've gone there with anyone at The Rabbit Hole, but a few hours of pleasure where two people are up front about what they want, with no messy feelings and broken promises of commitment and fidelity muddying up the works, are my specialty.
But something warns me that this man wouldn't be an uncomplicated get in, get me off, and get out. He reeks of "complicated." Oh, I have zero doubts he could more than handle the get-me-off part, but the rest? I'm not certain him leaving would be a simple thing. Especially since I might not want him to go as soon as the orgasm fades. Considering how my body lights up like the fireworks over Disneyland at just the sight of him, that's entirely too possible for my comfort.
And emotional security.
Jesus. I part my lips to say ... hell if I know, but before I can say anything, he curses and, reaching into his pocket, removes a cell phone.
"Goddamn it," he growls, scanning the screen. His full lips flatten into a grim line. He flicks a glance up at me, and the raw lust there mixed with such turmoil sends me reeling, even though I don't move. Once more, I'm battling the urge to ask him what put that vulnerability there. "I'm sorry," he says to me for the second time in the last few minutes. "Never mind. I have to ..." He frowns, sliding out of the booth and standing to his full height. I'm not a small chick, yet he towers over me. Thrusting a hand into his pocket, he withdraws his wallet and several bills. "Thank you for the drink, Ro," he murmurs.
Numbly, I take the money, and with one more bruised glance, he stalks away, headed in the direction of the bathrooms and the alley that runs alongside the bar.
Good. This is good. He walked away before I could do something incredibly stupid like ask him what's wrong. Leave myself open for him to dig in my life.
It all worked out the way it was supposed to.
And minutes later, when I shrug into my coat and trace the same path he took, it's because I'm taking my last break of the night. Not to find out if he's out there.
Maybe I would be able to believe my own lies if anticipation wasn't speeding through my veins at just the thought of seeing him again.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Passion and Ink"
Copyright © 2019 Naima Simone.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Jude and Cypress! Wow didn't disappoint. I love this series. My new author.
Holy Moly! Get your fan ready. The author wasted zero time getting down to business. I was so wrapped up in Jude and Cypress that I totally forgot this was part of a “taboo” series. That revelation has the potential to rip the Gordon family to shreds. PASSION AND INK was so good that I never wanted to put it down.
This romance is a gripping tale of one young woman’s life struggle and the temptation presented her by the man wrapped in golden skin and sin who turns out to be her stepbrother. Jude and Cypress have some seriously electrical chemistry going on throughout this romance as they struggle against a whole host of taboo and emotional issues. These strong, compelling characters are full of life and readers find themselves wanting to be a part of their story as they overcome adversity and reach for their happily ever after with a sinfully delicious relationship full of passion. The story is fast paced and the suspense builds throughout as Cypress and Jude struggle with the obstacles that life keeps throwing their way and a family issues that include blackmail. Jude may be Cypress’s obsession but he has her wanting to sin in all kinds of ways in this red hot and passionate romance that has readers unable to put this story and has them wanting some of that deliciousness as well. The author has brought a difficult but real situation to life that is steamy, gritty and extremely satisfying.
4.5stars Another great book from this series. This time we also have a taboo between stepsiblings Jude and Cypress. Their story is unique, interesting and what I liked the most that it was not predictable. Both have very hard past and Cypress hard life accompanies her still to this day. The story is full of family drama and how secrets can ruin someone's life. I loved both Cypress and especially Juda, he is so great character. I loved how he wanted to protect Cypress how he wasn't afraid o reveal his emotions and that he inspired Cypress to stand for her self. They make a great power couple. I volunteered to review an ARC of this book for Netgelly
Great storyline. The sex was off the wall, but watching them both grow was better. Both had a lot they needed to work through and they did to b together. Loved the ending,
Review: PASSION AND INK (Sweetest Taboo Book 2) by Naima Simone Publication Date: February 18, 2019 Genre: Contemporary Romance Reviewed by: Reading in Pajamas/ Donna Rated 4 Stars This is a smoking hot erotic romance that still manages to portray feelings and barriers. I do wish there was more talking and less of the long-winded descriptor sentences. I enjoyed the interaction with the characters, including secondary ones. The problems this couples faced was not because of their step-sibling status, but because their parents are weak and ridiculous, yet manage to have damaged them both. I’m glad they found the strength together to overcome that foolishness. The drama wrapped up rather quickly, but that can be forgiven since it is a shorter novel. I did not feel cheated. I liked it and look forward to the next. *Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ~*~*~*~
Wow-Wow-Wow-Wow-Wow! Passion and Ink is my favorite of the series so far. Hot but tender. Angsty but not dreary. Deep and nuanced. Dirty and oh. so. sweet. All elements of the story are balanced. Jude and Cypress are both immensely likable and relatable. Two people with lots of baggage between them yet they dealt with their problems individually and with support from the other. They're mature characters who face their crises head-on, who express their wants and needs, who act with a purpose. I liked that the push and pull wasn't severe. I appreciated that the side characters added depth to the story. Some initiated the conflicts, others provided the light relief. I loved that hard topics like sexual harassment in the workplace and mental health issues are addressed with sensitivity and compassion. I loved that friendship and family are at the core of the story. Finally, I absolutely believed in the transition from lust to love between Jude and Cypress. Superb writing. Definitely a contender for one of my Top 19 of 2019. I can't wait for Simon's story!
This is another wonderful book in this series. This can totally be read as a standalone read. However, in my opinion, you should read book one because of the strong ties between the two and honestly, Sin and Ink was incredible! There is a deep, powerful history that fuels the characters and the storyline and reading both books and in order will enrich your reading pleasure and give you more insight into the characters. This forbidden romance focuses on the romance between stepsiblings, Jude and Cypress. I myself truly didn't get too much of a forbidden vibe from the story; except in the loosest sense. Although these two interacted a little bit when they were younger, they never really shared that familial bond or sentiment. The storyline is filled with seething emotions, tensions, turmoil and drama. The attraction between this couple is instantaneous and sizzling. Their scenes are scorching but always with a simmering underlayer of emotion underneath. Both these characters were wounded and yet strong. Stronger than they ever thought they were. I loved that Cypress could make Jude see that he wasn't responsible for everyone else's secrets and choices and it was heart melting to watch Jude convince Cypress that true love is not a weakness but a strength. A very beautiful romance with plenty of heart and heat.
Passion and Ink by Naima Simone is book Two in the Sweetest Taboo Series. This is the story of Cypress and Jude. I have read the previous book, but feel you can make this a standalone book if you wish to do so. Cypress and Jude are both having family and career issues along with other bad baggage. They come together for one hot night of no promises and just need. But things are so easy because they feel more than just that night but a relationship would be somewhat taboo since they are step-brother/sisters. But together they pull each other together to make them whole. Exciting hot read!!!
Passion and Ink is book 2 in the Sweetest Taboo series and since I loved the first book, I was really looking forward to the second book. Jude and Cypress are supposed to have just one night together and then go their separate ways. That's not easy for either of them to do when they can't get that night off there minds, and of course there's the fact that they are kind of related. ' Jude and Cypress''s relationship is a little forbidden as they are step siblings, but it's also intensely hot and hard to not pursue for the both of them. Their journey to happiness is not an easy one with family bonds being tested along with Jude and Cypress having personal issues of their own to work through. If you're looking for a romance full of heart, with passion that's off the charts then you will want to pick up Passion and Ink.
Explosive chemistry, broken souls and glorious redemption! With the next book in the Sweetest Taboo series, we step into the familiar Gordon family's world. In the first book, we met hardened brother Knox, and the story continues now with Jude's story. I recommend reading SIN AND INK first even though they are both stand alones just because you'll get a greater appreciation of the family nuances if you do. Jude and Cypress were a great second book and I enjoyed their story a lot! Cypress Winters has had just about as much of "life" as she can take. She lost the high paying job that she had worked hard for just for having the nerve to stand up for herself, her mom is sick and running up hospital bills left and right, and now she finds herself serving drinks to grabby jerks in a dive bar just to survive the best she can. She needs an outlet for this frustration or she's going to explode! Jude Gordon has a bit of his own pent up energy to burn, and when he sets eyes on Cypress, he can't leave until he makes her his. One night of fun, that's what they agree to. Only there's just one little thing that neither of them realized ... they are step-siblings and their parents are going to flip out!
This is book 2 in the Sweetest Taboo series and can absolutely be read as a stand alone although I recommend the first book as well just because it is a really good read. This one is about his brother Jude and Cypress. Jude and Cypress meet one night in a bar and have a one night stand, not realizing exactly who they are to each other until later as they had seen each other in over a decade. But this also leads to conflict not only for them but for their combined families. Along with the conflicts they are both already facing. I really liked this one! They both have issues that they are trying to overcome while at the same time trying to just figure out what they need and want in their lives. Throwing in the family dynamics and having that hit close to home also drew me in and made me want to read more. The only thing that drew me back and made not give this one 5 stars is Cypress could have stayed in the town she was already in and found another position instead of completely uprooting herself and starting over. And I really don't like Jude's mom. She definitely get's on my very last nerve! But I think that is part of the family dynamic and she is that way in order to explain why they are the way they are. On a whole though, it is definitely a great read!
This book was very emotional and poignant. It's about rising above the lessons you were taught in childhood, and embracing your own life, flaws, hurts, happiness, and all. It's about forgiveness, and loyalty, loss, and going after what you want, regardless of the consequences. It was so good. Jude Gordon is an amazing tattoo artist, but he's always felt as though he was in his older brother Knox's shadow. Knox was a famous MMA fighter, and now he owns the tattoo shop that Jude works in. His family has been in turmoil since Knox and Eden got together in book 1. Eden was their dead brother's wife, and Knox and Jude's mother, Katherine, can't forgive them for getting together. It's left Jude holding all the pieces and trying desperately to keep them together, as he's done since his father died. He needs a break, even just for one night. Cypress Winters needs a break. She left her job 3 months ago after a horrible workplace sexual harassment episode left her unable and unwilling to deal with the fallout. Also, her mother had a heart attack, so she packed everything she could and drove from California back to Chicago to help take care of her mom. She's slinging drinks in a dive bar, and wondering how in the world this became her life, when he walks in. She sees a one night distraction from all her problems. Little does she know her problems are just beginning. As they both discover a few days later, they are step-siblings. They haven't seen each in 10 years, not since those awkward early teenage years. Cypress' dad is married to Jude's mom. Jude and Cypress' chemistry was blazing hot, and it practically singed me through the pages. Though, the forbidden aspect of their connection wasn't lost on them,, eventually they decided it didn't matter. They wanted each other too much. But after everything that happened with Knox and Eden in book 1, Jude was reluctant to stir the family pot too much. Cypress also had horrible examples of selfish love throughout her life, and she didn't know what it should really look like, even when it was staring her in the face. I love Jude and Knox's younger brother Simon. I hope he gets his own story one day. He's such an enigmatic character, and I feel we've barely scratched the surface of him. All the other employees at the tattoo shop were awesome too. On the other hand, the rest of their family is a HOT MESS. I HATED their selfish, horrible mother in book 1, after the things she had said and done to Knox, but I hated her even more after I found out what secrets Jude had been keeping. She was a spoiled, selfish witch. I understand that she had horrible loss in her life, but what she did, and the burden she left on Jude was more than any young boy should be made to bear. Even later once they FINALLY started talking and being honest about the problems in their family, her apologies and regret weren't enough for me to get over it. Jude and Cypress really needed each other. They didn't know what they were missing until they found each other, and I loved how much better, stronger, and happier they made one another. It was hard watching them dig through the muck to figure their stuff out, but it was so worth it. I love when the heroine is the one who has to make the grand gesture and grovel, and Cypress did it perfectly. They both truly deserved happiness, and found it in each other. The epilogue was lovely, but I hope to get some other glimpses of them in the future. I love everything I've read by this author!
Rated 4.5 Stars I loved Passion and Ink. It's the perfect blend of taboo, filthy and emotion. I thoroughly enjoyed Jude and Cypress' journey and highly recommend it. Copy provided by publisher through Net Galley
Ro (Cypress) moves back home after an incident at work and takes a job as a waitress in a bar. One night at work she meets Jay (Jude) ... a tattooed hunk and they agree to a one-night stand. Weeks later when Cypress goes to her fathers one night, she is taken aback when Jay is there ... at her father's house. Cypress is then re-introduced to Jude, who she hasn't seen for over 10 years ... and has he ever changed. Jude can't believe that his step-sister is his hot as hell one-night stand. As the sparks fly between them, it doesn't take long for them to start a relationship. This book is HOT HOT HOT! This author sure knows how to write steam. And there is so much more to this book. I couldn't help but fall in love with the characters. Cypress just didn't want to end up like her mom (who was devastated when Cypress' dad left her). And Jude just wanted to be known for himself ... not as Knox's younger brother. This is a great addition to the series and I recommend you read the first book ... to get the most out of this book. I received an early copy courtesy of Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.
Cypress and Jude meet one night in a bar – she is waiting tables and he is a client. Instant connection with one night of passion and no expectations only to meet again over a family dinner table. This is a somewhat predictable story and the continuation of a series that seems to do with the Gordon brothers finding their partners. I believe there is only Simon left but...am not sure where the series might go after Simon gets his story. Anyway...the taboo thing has to do with their parents being married so a step-relationship between them. They both have issues to deal with including abandonment, secrets, self-worth, dysfunctional families, loss and more. The story was well written and definitely HOT but for I felt some of the issues were more mentioned than actually dealt with in depth. Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled-Scorched for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3-4 Stars
I received an ARC of this book to read through NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. Passion And Ink by Naima Simone is the second book in her Sweetest Taboo series. It can be read as a stand-alone, characters from the first book do briefly appear in this one. Cypress Keller has moved back home to Chicago from California after her mother suffers a heart attack, to make ends meet she is working as a waitress in a dive bar and the hot guy she takes home for a one night stand turns out to be her stepbrother Jude Gordon a tattoo artist. Both of these characters are buried under huge amounts of baggage from their parents as well as dealing with stuff from their own lives. The steam level is super hot but I would have liked to liked to see a bit more about how they went from lust to love. Enjoyable read. Publishing Date February 18, 2019 #NetGalley #PassionandInk #NaimaSimone #EntangledPublishing
3.75 stars—PASSION AND INK is the second instalment in Naima Simone’s contemporary, adult SWEETEST TABOO erotic romance series. This is twenty-seven year old,tattoo artist Jude Gordon, and twenty-six year old, waitress /accountant Cypress Winters. PASSION AND INK can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Told from dual first person perspectives (Jude and Cypress) PASSION AND INK follows the forbidden or ‘taboo’ relationship between step-siblings twenty-seven year, tattoo artist Jude Gordon, and twenty - six year old, waitress / accountant Cypress Winters. Tattoo artist Jude Gordon struggles with his direction in life; an ex-girlfriend who won’t let go; and the secrets and memories he is must keep to himself. Meeting the beautiful waitress who calls herself Ro, is the perfect foil for a man who battles between in the here and now. But a family dinner reveals Jude’s one-night stand is none-other than the step-sister he hasn’t seen for close to ten years, a woman who now consumes his fantasies and dreams. Enter Cypress ‘Ro’ Winters-Keller, and the woman with whom Jude will fall in love. What ensues is the building but secret relationship between Cypress and Jude, and the potential fall-out as Cypress and Jude’s time together comes with an unexpected expiry date. Cypress Winters left California amid a work place controversy, and her mother’s inability to thrive on her own. Returning to Chicago meant starting over but never did she think she would have to face the man who all but destroyed her family and her mother’s life. Jude Gordon struggles with memories of the past, a time long ago where a thirteen year old boy became the adult to his mother’s spiral out of control. A gifted tattoo artist, our hero finds himself in direct competition with his more ‘successful ‘ brother Knox. The relationship between Jude and Cypress is a step-sibling, taboo romance. Cypress’ father makes our heroine an offer she is unable to refuse but in doing so, places her relationship with Jude towards a path with only heart break but no future. The $ex scenes are passionate, vibrant and intense. The colorful secondary and supporting characters include Cypress’ broken mother Brenda Keller, her father Dan Keller, and Jude’s mother Katherine.We are reintroduced to Jude’s brother and fellow tattoo artist Knox Gordon (Sin and Ink #1), and his girlfriend Eden, as well as several fellow tattoo artists at Hard Knox Ink, and Jude’s ex-girlfriend Annalise. The world building continues to focus on the forbidden, the relationships deemed taboo by society but relationships where two people find love and their happily ever after. PASSION AND INK is a story of family, betrayal, loss and love. The premise is captivating; the romance is seductive; the characters are broken, determined and lost.
I loved this book! It's not the typical forbidden romance between step siblings since Cypress and Jude never lived together but the angst and yearning are still strong. Cypress and Jude have a real connection and an incredible night of passion before they ever realize who the other is. That connection is fiery, hot and all consuming, Once they know about the step sibling connection they try to resist the chemistry that burns between them. The last thing this family needs is more scandal. Yet some things just can't be denied. Great characters, great writing, and an amazing story. Don't miss this one.
Sexy and hot, I loved this romance. Cypress is estranged from her father....and his replacement family. However, after a series of tough blows, she finds herself without her fancy corporate job, instead waiting tables in a dive bar. When she sees Jude, he is just too beautiful to be real, and he wants her too. After a night of the hottest sex ever, they go their separate ways. A week later she goes to her father's house to ask for help, and learns that her one night stand is her step-brother... Normally, I'm not a fan of step-brother romances, however, this one is so well done that I fell in love with the characters and loved their story. This series has sexy and hard men falling for forbidden women and no one can create a tale of naughty love like this author. If you enjoy your romance sexy, spicy, and just a bit forbidden, you will love this book. While part of a series, this is a stand alone novel. The author is on my must read authors' list.
Well Naima Simone has surprised me again with a taboo storyline. Wasn’t sure what I was getting into with a step brother/ step sister story but dang! Because of how they met each other I was completely able to get into the whole taboo storyline. Because I mean seriously Jude sounds like a pretty sexy guy and Cypress was a hottie in her own right. These two just completely clicked right off the bat. It was instant chemistry but there was also just something about each other that they were able to talk to each other and like each other as a whole. The passion between Jude and Cypress was off the charts HOT!! Once I started this book I was hooked and couldn’t put it down. I loved Knox in this book too and really enjoyed the talks he had with Jude. It helped Jude get past the baggage he was carrying from his childhood. Cypress had her own childhood baggage that was tied up with Jude’s family but Jude was able to help her with moving past it, after a few bumps in the road of course. It was great seeing Jude get his HEA after the few peeks at him in the first book. If you read Knox’s book and loved it then you will definitely love Jude’s. I would definitely recommend this hot and sexy book!
"Passion and Ink" continues the Sweetest Taboo series with Knox's brother, Jude. Each book in the series can be read as a stand-alone. The book begins with Cypress, also known as Ro (short for her middle name, Rowena) who is working at a bar after leaving her high-paying job in California due to sexual harassment. She is also trying to gather the money to help her mother while keeping her own head afloat. When a customer comes in and the attraction is mutual, Ro is willing to have a one-night stand. Ro and Jay (a.k.a. Jude) have an unforgettable night together, presuming they would be unlikely to run into each other. However, when Sunday dinner at his mother's comes around, he finds out his stepfather Dan's daughter is coming over. They haven't seen each other since they were teenagers; their parents married when they were teens, and Cypress barely ever came around as she was mad at her father who had multiple affairs and eventually left her mother for Katherine (Jude's mother). Shocked when Ro arrives and sees Jay, they both find it hard to believe that they were actually step-siblings. Both Cypress and Jude are dealing with their own demons, primarily focused around their parents. As they struggle to deal with their own problems, they also cannot deny the attraction that pulls them together. While the book starts with a bang and seems fast, the pace does slow down so that we can get to know the characters and see them grow as individuals before they grow as a couple. I would add some warnings for suicide (past- not Cypress/Jude), mental illness (multiple side characters), stalking, and sexual harassment. While I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book at the start (due to the immediate one night stand), I found the follow-up and development of Cypress and Jude's individual stories and their healing/growth to be a really engaging and worthwhile read. Overall, I think this was a great installment, possibly better than the first, that deals with some important issues. I liked both the main characters and enjoyed seeing them deal with their pasts and move on to a healthier present. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.