Review: Dirty Little Promise by Kendall Ryan

10:21 PM

Dirty Little Promise (Forbidden Desires, #2) by Kendall Ryan | Rating: ★★★★★

"Ever since the words had left her lips, I could see it whenever she looked at me, whenever she touched me. At first, I wanted to pull back, but then I realized that what I felt for her was more than lust too. The more time I spent with her, the more I felt like she was becoming a part of me. Like she was half of something inside me that was only complete when she was near." 

The love story of fan favourites Emma Bell and Gavin Kingsley continues (and, sniffles, concludes) in Dirty Little Promise. After the startling conclusion we reached at the end of Dirty Little Secret, and the massive cliff-hanger that followed, fans were quick to wonder where the relationship was headed between Emma and Gavin. Were they doomed before they even truly began? What comes next? Will they ever be the same--or will they be better?

Kendall Ryan does not leave us hanging for too long, as the second installment of the Forbidden Desires series picks up right where we left off. As always, it has the makings of one of the most captivating romances. Because of Kendall Ryan's delicious prose and steamy leads, readers are sure to be treated to a fun and smart story to unravel. It's just as easy to get lost in these books as it is to get lost in your lover's eyes.

Whereas Dirty Little Secret was a foundation to the love story, featuring a brief (and entirely sweet) glimpse of affection between Emma Bell and Cooper Kingsley, that never quite reached love triangle status on both ends, and showed us bits and pieces of their lives before one another, this book zeros in on the development of Gavin. Specifically, his past and the tragic ending to his previous relationship. As for sub-plots, we have some serious angst as well as a compelling mystery.

Just as he is for Emma, Gavin was something of a cloaked figure. A mystery waiting to be solved. A very arrogant, very intelligent, very sexy mystery. The biggest promise of this novel is that we finally understand the ground that Gavin stands on. He was always apparently calculative but as we get to really and truly know him, it's easier to see the softness on his edges and understand what makes him tick.

In so many ways, this is more than just Emma getting to know the man beyond the bedroom. As the readers, we get to go on the very same journey of discovery with Emma. I liked this--I liked that it was easier to root for Gavin as the time expanded and his past, and personality and aspirations, fleshed out.

Undoubtedly, Dirty Little Secret and Dirty Little Promise add-up to their story as lovers. Secret was more Emma's story, and Promise allows Gavin to take the stage. I liked the way it flowed. I couldn't get enough.

Let's talk mystery, shall we? There was always an underlying grit to Dirty Little Secret and this is a far more present theme in Dirty Little Promise. The mysteries go beyond what lay in the past of both Emma and Gavin. More specifically, the threats that are suddenly pouring down around Emma and who is behind them. We have two suspects that are very easy to find, and doubt: Nathan, Emma's abusive ex-boyfriend, and Sonja, Gavin's (former) co-worker who seems to be slipping off the edge bit by bit.

While it was easy to predict who was behind this harassment, I genuinely enjoyed the way it unfolded and how it added that extra burst of energy to the story. Kendall Ryan really knows how to tease an audience and it truly shows in the mystery, the backstories and the romance. Unlike many of her peers in the genre, she knows her way around both the minds of her characters--they feel real, raw, unique and utterly human--and their bedrooms.

Not a single moment is repetitive. Dirty Little Promise is pure and explosive all at once. You will walk away from it with your heart trying to beat out of your chest. That's how good Kendall Ryan's writing is. So much about Dirty Little Promise keeps us on our toes or one step closer to a cold shower, which is the best kind of romance.

Other fun things to note:
  • The magical ending to Emma and Gavin's story. It's nice to look at all that happens to them in such a short amount of time because it really shows you how much they have changed. 
  • Emma's parents. I really enjoyed Gavin's scenes (though they are brief) with her. 
  • THE KINGSLEY BROTHERS. Hello, I love them. Like, we're talking levels of Calloway Sisters love. No, I am not saying these characters are similar (although I do get the same levels of warm and fuzzies in Kendall Ryan's writing when compared to the ones I get with Krista and Becca Ritchie's) when it comes to archetypes, but the love they have for one another is so unique and wonderful. "The three of them worked like a pack, my own little wolf pack. A family totally in tune with one another."
  • "You're the fucking sun, and I'm nothing but a dark cloud blotting out your light." "Gavin, you are the light." 
  • Cooper, although his role is minimal and your heart breaks for him, being Cooper. 
  • (...PRINCESS.)  
  • The sarcasm:
  • Fly her to the museum of typewriters? Right, because nothing says, "let's fuck" like a bunch of dusty, outdated writing machines. 
  • There's a scene where Gavin is unable to get a hold of Emma and so he has Alyssa call. I'll just say this: I was snorting. Boy is not made for subtly.  
  • "The story of our love is only beginning. It's time to write our own happy ending."
Overall, Kendall Ryan does it again! Get ready to fall head over heels for this story. Even better than its predecessor, Dirty Little Promise proves that Kendall Ryan only keeps getting better and her Forbidden Desires Series is a must-read. I cannot wait for more. I'm already salivating over the fact that the next book centers around Cooper Kingsley.

If you love Sylvia Day, Krista & Becca Ritchie, Emma Chase and/or Katy Evans, then you will love Kendall Ryan's impressive touch of romance. There's no turning back once you pick up a Kendall Ryan book--you're in it for life.

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