6/10/17

REVIEW + EXCERPT: THE FARTHEST EDGE BY KRISTEN ASHLEY!!

Title: The Farthest Edge
Series: Honey Series Standalone
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: June 6, 2017
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SYNOPSIS:
Step into the Honey Club, where every sensual boundary will be tested in search of the ultimate pleasure…
Branch doesn’t exist. Living off the grid, he’s looking for a way to forget his past and the guilt that plagues him. But no woman has ever been able to bring him to the edge he craves.
After a traumatic experience of her own, Evangeline stepped away from the decadent world of the Honey Club. But when she gets Branch’s offer—to play without boundaries or commitments—it’s too tempting for her to refuse.
As their passion ignites, Evangeline and Branch push each other to their farthest limit, fulfilling their darkest desires while falling harder and deeper than they ever imagined.
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In this second standalone erotic romance in The Honey Series, Kristen Ashley delivers a sweet but shattering love story edged in pain, both the exquisite torture found in a Domme's playroom, and the brutal heartbreak of knowing that something so good can only end badly.  Straight out of the gate, I knew Branch and Evangeline were going to gut me. Branch is your quintessential KA alpha badass, a delicious mix of Deacon, Raid and Olivier but with an unbreakable yet tender quality making him unlike anyone else. He's ex military with a vendetta. He's strong and physically intimidating. He wants no attachments, no emotional connections, no questions. He just wants someone to fulfill his kink until he decides to move on. He's a man broken, closed off, impenetrable. Give that, of course, I couldn't wait to see how Evangeline would try to break through.

This story seemed to move more quickly than KA novels typically do. It never dragged but it wasn't hurried, the timing and pace were just perfect. And where the ratio of sex to storyline may have felt a bit unbalanced in The Deep End, with a lot more sex than romance in that book, things felt much more fluid in The Farthest Edge. The sex scenes are spread out in such a way that a decadent but difficult romance establishes a solid foundation of, not just sexual chemistry, but raw emotion. With all that goes on in this meaty, provocative story, the sex never felt gratuitous. It's so well done, this book, the steamy scenes only adding depth to these characters and their journey rather than detracting from them.

I said it after reading The Deep End and I'll say it again. The BDSM component in this story is so outside the box from anything I typically read. A brooding alpha male taking the submissive role in the relationship is still sometimes difficult for me to wrap my head around. But Kristen Ashley beautifully illustrates this refreshing concept making for a thought provoking, captivating storyline I was completely immersed in. It's mind boggling to me, still, that a man like Branch, a man so alpha in every aspect of his life, prefers to be ordered and owned, made to serve the way he does. But it's also really freaking hot. I love a book that makes you think, makes you step outside your own comfort zone and look at things in a new light, and this entire series, so far, has been an exercise in exactly that.

The Furthest Edge is pure eroticism at first glance, but it's ultimately a devastatingly brilliant story that made my heart ache as much as it swelled with joy. Passion, romance and titillating kink are layered seamlessly with drama and heartache to make for a story that truly felt like NOTHING this author has written before. The Farthest Edge surprised me from cover to cover. There are moments in this book that were too heavy for words. There were bits of banter that had me smiling from ear to ear. There are scenes in this book that are explosively erotic and there are moments so raw, they completely stole my breath away.  Every Kristen Ashley book has THAT moment you instantly visualize when you think back on each book. Well, The Farthest Edge has more than one wholly UNFORGETTABLE scene that'll be ingrained in my heart for always.  I really, truly enjoyed this story and I hope there's more to come for the Bee's Honey clientele. There's so much more to be gleaned from so many other characters and my appetite for more is far from satisfied.

Jessica's Rating:
He knew this was her playroom before he’d entered but right then he saw that she didn’t hide it under sheets and tarps, just behind the shutters.

Branch shifted the light around, seeing a horse, a bench, a table, all of them good quality. It cost a mint to outfit a good playroom and she didn’t make do. She’d been investing. Making smart purchases that would look good, stand strong during play and last a while.

Fashionable sink in the corner set in an attractive wood vanity, two matching tall, slim cupboards on each side.

He moved there, looked through the vanity and cupboards. Thick towels. Washcloths. Wet wipes. Soap. Bottles of foam anti-bacterial. Cleaning supplies. A large box of condoms. A little basket filled with some cosmetics—powder, lipsticks, gloss. Another filled with first-aid supplies—Band-Aids, bottles of antiseptic, tubes of ointment, gauze, cotton.

He closed the door to the cupboard he was inspecting, turned and shined the light around the room. Moving across the space, he noted hooks on the walls, in the ceiling, eyes in the floor, all looking sturdy. Whoever put them in might have wondered why or he’d been hers. But whoever that was knew what they were doing.

There was a tall cabinet and a large dresser across the room, both in the wood that made up the vanity and the cupboards. It all matched, was heavy and dark but attractive, giving the space the definite feel of playroom, not a dungeon. It was stylish and handsome, even warm, somewhere you’d want to stay awhile.

He didn’t think on his last thought as he opened the top cupboard doors of the cabinet and shined the light in, feeling what he found there in his dick.

Cats. Whips. Switches. Flogs. Paddles. Some straps. Some harnesses. All hanging from hooks. All well organized and well maintained. All also excellent quality. Not many, but again, quality, not quantity, was what she was clearly going for.

He closed the doors and crouched down to the two drawers at the bottom of the cabinet, opening them. Top one had silk ropes, some chains, shackles, cuffs. The bottom drawer was full of leather straps with cinches attached.

Branch straightened, moved to the dresser. Nothing littered the top, so he opened the first drawer.

What he found there made his balls draw up.

Carefully placed in what looked like purple silk-lined, custom-made grooves were her toys.

Plugs. Cocks. Vibrators. The first two in an impressive range of lengths, girths and shapes. If they had them, remotes were placed at the side of the toy they controlled. There was also a complicated cock ring, rabbit ears at the front for clit stimulation, and a strap that would lead between the balls to a bullet that could be inserted in the anus, all of it obviously vibrated—triple the fun.

She like ass.

Not many of her kind didn’t.

He didn’t think on that either.

Kristen Ashley was born in Gary, Indiana, USA and nearly killed her mother and herself making it into the world, seeing as she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck (already attempting to accessorize and she hadn't taken her first breath!). Her mother said they took Kristen away, put her Mom back in her room, her mother looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). Kristen's Mom remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning. 

Nothing's changed.

Kristen grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and has lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus, she's blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write. They all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up. 
And as she keeps growing, it keeps getting better.

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