Thursday, October 15, 2015

Dirty English by Ilsa Madden-Mills Review + Giveaway



A scarred fighter.
A girl with rules.
One night of unbridled passion.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end.

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex.

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window.

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more.

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.


Come to my apartment and spend the night with me.” I touched his face, my fingers stroking the softness of his sensuous lips. “Just one night and we can make this shitty world disappear.”
He exhaled. “A one-night stand?”
He cupped my chin. “Someone hurt you, didn’t they?”
My lips tightened. No one at Whitman knew about Colby except for Shelley and Blake, and I sure as hell wasn’t telling him. He’d judge me like everyone else had in Petal, North Carolina. “That’s none of your business.”
“I see.” His eyes searched mine until I felt like a bug under a microscope. “What if I wanted more than just one night?”
“Then your hands can let go of my hips now.”
He removed his hands slowly, the tips of his fingers grazing mine. “This may surprise you, but I don’t sleep with every girl I kiss.”
I’d been rejected. Again. “Blake said you got around, that you used—”
“And you believed him?” His voice was incredulous. “Dude is in love with you and he saw exactly how we looked at each other tonight—”
Looked at each other? What are you talking about? You refused to dance with me and then you ran off with your girlfriend. Not to mention I just kissed you and you didn’t even care.” I threw my hands up.
“I wanted to fuck you the minute you walked in that party,” he snapped.
“Then why don’t you,” I bit out, tossing back my shoulders.
“You think you want me?” he said tightly. “You can’t handle me, Elizabeth. I can see it in your eyes. You’re scared of something, maybe not me, but something.”
My eyes went to his black eye.
He let out a harsh laugh. “Ah, that’s what you’re afraid of. You want the real truth? You told me tonight you didn’t like violence, but I’m an arsehole who uses his fists. That’s who I am.”
“What do you mean?”
His gaze was intense, dark and low, his face struggling as he fought to find the right words. “I’m in a fight club for money. I show up at warehouses and fight other blokes. Sometimes I beat them so bad they need medical attention. A few times, I’ve been beat to unconsciousness. I’m everything you need to stay away from.”
I inhaled, anger and lust and excitement all riding me. Anger that he was pushing me away, lust for the alpha male in him, and God help me, the fighting thing repelled me and excited me at the same time. “I don’t want to stay away from you. I want you to fuck me and stop making excuses for why you can’t.”
My words seemed to snap his taut restraint.
He pulled me back in his arms, his lips fusing with mine unerringly. His tongue plundered me in a sensual way my body had craved for years. I wrapped my arms around his neck, my anger morphing into all-out desire as he turned us and pressed me against the wall.
Yes, yes, this is what I craved.
A passion to remind me that I was real, not just some sad excuse of a girl who chose to exist on scraps of love.
Before I knew it, he’d shoved my robe off, his hands sculpting my shoulders, massaging them as he ravaged my mouth. I reveled in the warmth of his hand on my neck as his mouth skated down, kissing the hollows of my throat, sucking on my collarbone.
“Like this?” he asked, his voice dark and gravelly. “You want me to take you up against this wall?”
“Yes,” I moaned. Gone. Past caring as long as he kept his hands on me.
Out of control, my brain whispered, but I beat back the dark warnings as his warm hand found my breast and squeezed, his fingers rolling my nipple between his thumb and forefinger.
I gasped in pleasure and arched my back to get closer to his body, ignoring the fear that pricked at the surface.
The rules girl in my head stamped her foot and yelled at me. I ignored her.
But even if I wanted to stop right now, I couldn’t. My tongue tangled wildly with his, my hands pulled at his hair, spurring him on, his hand palming my breast and then tugging. Sharp sensations of need went straight to my core.
“Is this what you want? Something quick where we just take what we want and forget each other the next day?”
No. Not that. Not like the way he said it, like it was something dirty.
“Yes, like that,” I whispered against his shoulder, my mouth on his skin, tasting him as my teeth bit down.

Before I start this review, I have a sincerely honest question. Are underground fight clubs a thing? Like, does that happen in real life? Because if they are, someone tell me. This is the third or fourth book I've read that covers this topic in the indie romance world. If this is a thing that really happens, I want to know. Because I love the movie Fight Club, and if this is for real, I'm impressed.

So. Onward and upward. Dirty English is a pretty stellar story, and, as you may have surmised, has a character that is both English and in an underground fight club. I'm giving it four leaves! 

Our story centers on Elizabeth Bennett (no, not *that* Elizabeth Bennett, though our current Elizabeth has a deep appreciation for Pride and Prejudice) a college student who's doing her best to escape trauma from high school. She's been doing a pretty good job--keeping her head down, getting excellent grades, and making sure that all potential relationships are done purely on her terms. And then Declan Blay strolls in. Dreamy, delicious, tattooed Declan, a transplant from London (and the aforementioned fight clubber). Despite his obvious dangerousness, Elizabeth is drawn to Declan like a moth to a flame, and he is likewise entranced with Elizabeth. 

Unfortunately for Declan, Elizabeth has some serious walls around her heart, and they're not so easily breached. Likewise, Declan's not exactly a fan of the big loving declarations. To throw another wrench in the matter, Elizabeth's past has literally come back to find her, and he (because the past is always a man) is hell bent on causing trouble. 

For the most part, I enjoyed this story. While I'm still not sold, in general, on the whole underground fight club thing, Elizabeth and Declan actually have a really nice relationship progression that I found fairly realistic (and if you've ever read my reviews, you know how I appreciate stories grounded in reality). Similarly, I was extremely impressed with Elizabeth's growth as a person--the way she moved past her past trauma and reclaimed her life was very impressive and extremely well done. I didn't see that same kind of progression from Declan though. I feel like he fell squarely into the big, tough man trope and never really grew. I never got a feeling for him as a fully-fledged person--he was defined by his love of fighting and his loved of Elizabeth--I wish he'd been fleshed out a lot more. I also wish the antagonist was more present during the story and more well-integrated. into the story. The antagonist (who I'm not going to name because I never give spoilers) popped in once and then not again until useful at the end of the story. 

Overall, I'd recommend Dirty English, especially if you're into English dudes and alpha males that aren't arrogant, raging jerks, but rather, actual sympathetic people who you'd actually be willing to be in a relationship with. Cheers, folks!


New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She's addicted to all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding heroes in books. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she's a Gemini), Sephora make-up, and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master's in Education.

When she's not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets, paints old furniture, and eats her weight in sushi.



No comments:

Post a Comment