Misconduct, the newest erotic romance from Penelope Douglas, is everything you want in a romance: two solid lead characters, steamy scenes that leave you a touch breathless, with a little bit of drama mixed in along the way. Read our review plus an exclusive excerpt from the book, and get your copy today!
[Some Spoilers; For Mature Audiences]
Rating: 4 of 5 stars
My weary heart pumped harder, begging me to agree. If you don’t give in, you’ll always want him. Go home with him. Get in his bed. Self-destruct, because some rides can’t be stopped.
Easton Bradbury has started her teaching career at a prestigious private school in New Orleans after graduating college, and she’s trying to keep her head above water and blend into the crowd. As a former tennis phenom, she knows all about being in the limelight, and Easton wants to let her brother have his time to shine as she settles into a normal, easy life. A chance meeting at a Mardi Gras party makes her question if she’s playing things too safe, but it isn’t until months later that she meets her mystery man again, just in a much different setting.
Tyler Marek has a lot of things going for him. His work and political career is on point. It looks like he could very well be the next senator of Louisiana. Then there’s everything else that’s not doing so well. Being a good dad? Not so much. Personal life? Not even on the radar. When his son’s mom heads to Africa for a year, he finally gets some quality time with this son, but he realizes he might be too late to salvage any kind of relationship with him. Toss in the history teacher who has been on his mind for months, and Tyler is more confused that he’s ever been before.
I really enjoyed Misconduct! When I first read the summary, I was instantly interested in this story. I love the dynamics of age-gap romances and was excited to see this story’s take on it. I wasn’t disappointed at all.
The writing is very strong writing and the characters are fully developed. Easton is a strong heroine. I love her attitude. She knows exactly who she is, and she’s not afraid of sharing her opinion. Her dedication as a teacher is fantastic, and the way that teaching isn’t just a default job for her but is really a central piece of the story really appealed to me. Easton is damaged by her past and her history effects her current actions, but the reader is able to recognize that without it being handed to them. She’s smart, hardworking, and passionate. I really like her a lot.
She’s basically all of us at some point, and I laughed out loud at some of her thoughts.
I’d clearly overestimated the shape I was no longer in.
Same, Easton. SAME.
Throughout the novel, Easton tries to remain so detached, but the writing allows you to see as little cracks in her wall start showing. She cares so much for Tyler, and she’s terrified that he could break her.
Tyler…I like Tyler. He’s a hard worker, too, but he’s so wrapped up in himself that he forgets about everyone else outside his own little bubble. The story focuses on Tyler as he comes to many realizations about his life and what it means to move forward from the point he’s at. His growth is amazing. I’ve read so many romances where there is very little change in the male lead while the female alters her life for him. This is not that kind of romance.
Tyler has a fourteen-year-old son that he’s been an absentee father to for nearly that entire time. I love that Ms. Douglas puts this relationship to the forefront of the story along with Tyler’s romance with Easton. So many people deal with a situation similar to this one, and I’m so happy it was pressed and explored as opposed to waving a wand and everything was okay and tied up with a bow. The change between Tyler and Christian is realistic and even by the end, it isn’t perfect, but it’s on its way to being whole.
Then there’s Tyler and Easton’s relationship. You can feel the sexual tension from the very first time they meet, and it just amps up every single time they meet. Even after they get together, their times together leave you a little flushed and breathless.
“What are you doing?” I gasped.
His forehead pressed against mine, and his hands moved urgently, holding my face. “Dark spaces, quiet places,” he whispered over my mouth. “That’s all we need, Easton.”
They depend on each other a lot, but the realize that what they’re doing could have far-reaching consequences, both for Tyler’s campaign and Easton’s job, but most importantly, for Christian. Their concern for how their relationship could affect him gained a lot of respect from me.
And that’s when it hit me. I had things I wanted but didn’t need and things I needed but didn’t want.
On top of all that, there’s a mystery surrounding Easton’s past that she’s not very keen on sharing that seemingly starts back up. I’m not going to lie, when the secret came out, I was shocked, but then I thought about it. It makes so much sense in the grand scheme of the story. I was so wrapped up in Easton and Tyler’s romance that I didn’t pay attention to the hints left for me to pick up on.
There were so many great things in this novel, but I will warn that there is a scene over halfway through that made me pause and tense up so bad until it was over. It seemed so out of character for both Easton and Tyler, and I’m still not sure how that moment brought anything to the story that couldn’t have been done some other way. This scene takes place at Veil, a private nightclub, and features Easton pushing another woman onto Tyler and asking him to kiss her and touch her. My fragile heart was freaking out a little. That being said, things don’t progress far at all.
I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a great contemporary romance with a strong-willed heroine and a flawed but trying to change hero. Throw in the political and teaching aspects along with a New Orleans setting and nothing in this novel is flat. Everything is full of life and opportunity with a southern feel that only comes from The Big Easy.
“Why you?” he questioned. “Why have I been thinking of you ever since that Mardi Gras ball?”
He pressed his body to mine, and I shook my head slowly.
“Mr. Marek,” I pleaded, but it was useless. My eyes fell to his mouth, and then I glanced to my closed door, knowing that even though the students were gone for the day, there might still be staff around. “Please.”
“There was something that drew us together that night,” he maintained. “Something that got under my skin, something that’s still there.”
His mouth was an inch from mine, and I breathed hard, needing to push him away, but at the same time, that was the last thing I wanted.
“Easton,” he whispered, and reached down behind my thigh, lifting it to press himself closer against I groaned, feeling the ridge of his cock nestle between my legs.
“We can’t do this,” I told him.
My clothes felt like sandpaper on my skin, and I wanted them off. I wanted his shirt open and to know what he felt like under my fingertips.
“I know,” he answered.
But while his left hand held my knee up, his right hand slid between my legs and rubbed my clit through my panties.
I sucked in a sharp breath and clutched his shoulders, letting my eyes fall closed as my head floated away from me.
“Mr. Marek,” I begged.
But his breath fell against my mouth, and he whispered, “I told you there would be no stopping me when we finally ran into each other again.”
And before I could open my eyes, he’d captured my bottom lip between his teeth and then kissed me, sending me reeling until I didn’t know which way was up.
I couldn’t fight it. His tongue dove into my mouth as he pressed me against the whiteboard and kissed me hard. I circled my arms around his neck, knowing I was getting myself into a shit ton of trouble, but I didn’t care at the moment.
My body needed him. That’s all it was. I wouldn’t get involved emotionally—I never did. He grabbed me underneath both thighs and swung me around, planting my ass on the desk. I groaned, his mouth working strong and fast over mine, stealing my breath as pleasure swarmed in my chest. It spiraled downward like a cyclone low in my belly. I tightened my legs around his waist as his fingers slid under my dress, raking down my thighs. I grabbed the back of his neck, cocking my head and returning every inch of his kiss. He tasted like coffee with vanilla, and I felt a hint of stubble on his face under my fingertips. Dropping my hands down his body, I started unbuttoning his black vest. It was too thick, and I couldn’t feel him. I pulled my mouth back, then dove back in to flick his tongue with mine.
“Jesus Christ,” he groaned, eating me up with quick kisses and nibbles. “Why does it have to be you, huh?”
I fumbled with the last button and finally tore open the vest, running my hands up his stomach and chest, covered only by his fine white dress shirt. But even through the shirt, I felt the dips of his abs and pecs and of his toned waist and back. Something screeched to my right, and I twisted my head to see the flailing branches of the tree outside scraping against the windowpane. The leaves blew, and I knew the storm would be here soon. But I turned back to him, both of us breathing heavily, and I loved the storm in Tyler Marek’s eyes even more.
He slid his hands inside my panties and leaned his forehead into mine. I whimpered and grasped the back of his neck with both hands, my pussy throbbing at the thick ridge of his cock pressing against my leg. He leaned down, his teeth nipping at my jaw as my eyes fluttered closed.
“Tyler.” I let my head fall back, craning my neck for his lips. “Mr. Marek, please stop,” I begged.
His hot breath fell across my ear, and I shivered.
“I thought about you all weekend,” he whispered. “How do you make me do that?”
I snatched up his lips again. I liked what he was telling me too much.
He grabbed the hair at the back of my head and pulled, exposing my neck again as he dived down and whispered against my skin, “When you walked in, dressed in that short little skirt, my fucking hands wanted these thighs”—he raked his fingers down my legs again—“almost as much as my mouth did,” he admitted.
I squeezed my eyes shut, the need becoming agony. “Mr. Marek,” I quaked. “Oh, God.”
I didn’t want to stop him, but…
I bit my bottom lip, feeling his fingers slide up and down my pussy, dipping and bringing out the wetness, spreading it over my clit.
And then whimpered, feeling two long fingers plunge inside of me.
“Shit,” I moaned, squirming against his fingers. “Please stop,” I pleaded. “Tyler, please.”
But he just added another finger, staring down and watching the pleasure of what he was doing spread across my face.
“Say it again,” he ordered.
I blinked, opening my eyes, even though his thumb rubbing circles on my clit was driving me wild.
“Tyler,” I said gently. “Please stop.”
His mouth curled into a smile, and he stole a kiss, nipping at my bottom lip. “You don’t want me to, do you?” he breathed out.
He increased his speed, flicking my clit faster and harder and curling the fingers inside of me, making me suck in air quicker and quicker and making me so needy I damn near gave in and begged to ride his cock.
“Tyler, oh, my God,” I cried, squeezing my eyes shut again and feeling my insides swirl and tighten.
“On second thought, call me Mr. Marek,” he insisted, and I popped my eyes open, seeing the devil in his grin.
I bit my lips between my teeth, groaning as I leaned back on my hands and slid my ass back and forth, fucking his fingers.
“Yes, Mr. Marek,” I breathed out, dropping my head back as the whole fucking world started to spin.
One of my heels dropped to the floor, but I couldn’t care less.
He continued staring down at me, looking like he was completely captivated with my face.
“You going to be nice from now on?” he challenged in a hard voice, rubbing harder.
“Yes, Mr. Marek,” I rushed out.
“You going to keep your temper in check?” His long fingers filled me up again and again.
I nodded frantically, feeling the orgasm coming. “Yes, Mr. Marek.”
“And I’m not done with you yet,” he warned. “Just so you know.”
I breathed in and out quickly, my body tensing and shaking. “Yes,” I cried out.
And then the orgasm exploded, spreading down my thighs and through my belly. I dropped my head all the way back, plastering my hand to my mouth to stifle the cry as I squeezed my eyes shut and let him rub my clit, bringing the orgasm to an end. My legs, suddenly as shaky as Jell-O, released their grip on his waist and dangled off the side of the desk. He kissed me, holding my lips for a few moments, and for a just a few moments I felt like I did on Sunday mornings. When I woke up and realized I could stay in bed.
Berkley NAL is also giving away three HUGE Penelope Douglas prizepacks: the winners will receive five books each (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, and Misconduct)! Follow the Rafflecopter instructions below to enter! (U.S. residents only.)
Many thanks to the author and publisher for providing an advanced review copy.