Crown Jewels by Ella James
Publication Date: November 20th, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
4.5 Crown Jewels
Ella James is an author that always brings the heat, the romance, and the suspense. God, the suspense this woman puts in her novels sucks me in every single time, and Crown Jewels is another romance that is intriguing from page one.
Lucy and Liam’s relationship is the center of this story of suspense and betrayal. From the very beginning of the story, when the reader is introduced to Lucy, she has already separated herself from the reality show that has made her and her family famous. Her return to Hamptons is simply to spend time with friends, but she happens to stumble upon, Liam, the playboy prince in a rather compromising position, only solidifying what she believes about him. During her time at the party, she runs into a past she is trying to flee, and her reaction makes it clear to readers that she is still traumatized from past experiences. Her reaction serves to create sympathy for her as well as build intrigue. It also makes the interactions between Liam and Lucy in the bedroom seem believable and the emotion between the two in this scene reads authentically. Throughout the novel, the reader continues to fall in love with Lucy for her ability to see who he is behind the title, to remain dedicated to him when it is hard, and to be brave enough to take on her responsibilities. Lucy is the type of character who the reader wants her to reach the happy ending, to root for her, and to empathize with her plights throughout the book.
Prince Liam is more than what meets the eye. With the reputation of the playboy prince, readers expect him to be a manwhore, and maybe he is, but Ella James doesn’t really show the reader this aspect of his personality, which works to build reader allegiance to his character. His boyish charm and his kindness and care for all of those around him only endear the readers towards his character even more. Throughout the story, it is clear that he is hiding something from Lucy, and, as a result, the reader. This intrigue makes the reader want to not only know his story but also to see how it is going to impact their relationship.
The chemistry between these two is off the charts, but the story is still more than sex. It is built on compassion, care, and genuine concern for the well-being of the other. They make an effort to choose to abstain from sex, and take the time to get to know one another. This dedication to getting to know each other serves to develop their relationship and create reader buy-in for the fast to fall in love romance. The sexual acts that they partake in heighten the need for the full act with each passing scene, and all the foreplay only serves to make the act when it does occur explosive.
The plot of this story will have the reader working hard to figure out all of the parts of the story. My mind was constantly working to figure out how all the pieces were going to fall together and to figure the secrets that were clearly being withheld by Liam. There is also the sub-plot with Lucy and her old Fiancé that I wish would have played a larger part in the climax and falling action or the story. I do, however, recognize that this part of the story is need as the impetus to get Lucy to visit Liam in Gael. So even though I wish it would have played a larger part in the plot, it is clear that the purpose for her past relationship acts a plot development tool throughout the novel. Even with this one tiny aspect of the plot, it is still a story that had me sitting on the edge of my seat, swooning over the romance, and falling in love with the relationship between Lucy and Liam
Ella James ability to create suspense and intrigue with romance is unparalled, and very few can weave the suspense and the romance together so that both equally share the stge. This author however seems to have the magic formula, and Crown Jewels is just another example of the genius nature of her brain, and this new royal themed book is another book that absolutely must be on your TBR.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
From USA Today bestseller Ella James…
After that close-up of his package on the sailboat in Morocco, TMZ started calling him Crown Jewels.
Not that I keep track of Prince Liam. Definitely don’t stalk him online like my friends do.
I’m out of that scene now. My family’s reality show might still be running, but I’ve been off-screen for a while. When people pass me on the sidewalk, they might squint, but most of them don’t scream “Lucy Rhodes” and ask about my love of Lucky Charms or how my broken toe healed.
Prince Liam—my stalking his Instagram—that’s just for fun. It’s my dirty little secret. Trust me, I’m the only woman in the world who doesn’t actually want him.
Except I’m back in the Hamptons for the first time in two years. I’m at a party, and Prince Manwhore is here as well. I tell myself that smile has no effect on me. That his ridiculous charisma is a parlor trick I see right through.
After our one night together, no one knows that I succumbed.
It doesn’t matter. It meant nothing.
Not until I see those two pink lines.
Crown Jewels is an 80,000-word contemporary romance novel with no cliffhanger ending.
Get your copy of Crown Jewels today!
I awaken in darkness.
The room is pitch black, and someone’s arm is locked around me. For a blind, horrific second, fear grips my heart, so hard and painful that I gasp.
And then I smell him. I’m not sure exactly where I am right at his moment. But I smell aftershave and soap, a little bit of sunscreen and a little bit of sweat, and my body knows it’s him.
Liam, prince of the Isle of Gael, is lying in this bed behind me. A few careful, quiet breaths and I’m pretty sure…he’s sleeping.
Holy Hello Kitty. Prince Liam is sleeping next to me. My body flushes, bliss and horror.
How’d we get here? What the hell is going on? And then I feel his fingers in my hair. His hand is in my hair—right now! He fell asleep rubbing my hair.
My eyes fly to the windows: dark. What time is it? My clutch is somewhere in this room. I’m not sure where.
I shut my eyes and try to keep my breathing even as I run the night’s events back through my mind. Downstairs, talking to the Playmate. Bryce. My body jerks at the memory, and I can feel Prince Liam’s body rock a little bit against mine. Big and wide and hard. He’s bowed around me like a shield.
Heat blooms in between my legs.
I freaked out, and he saw me. I embarrassed myself, walked in on some kind of threesome.
Why did he come back?
It’s his room, you moron. I’m probably in his guest room. I draw a deep breath in and feel his sturdy arm tighten around me. I feel his face against my neck, the roughness of his scruffy beard. Warmth spreads through me. Then he stirs some more and makes a low sound in his throat. And then I feel his mouth against my neck. His lips—
He’s kissing me.
I don’t mean to make a sound, but then I feel him press himself against my backside. Terror bubbles in me.
I pull away, and he’s awake. His eyes, I see them in the dark. They’re wide. He pushes up on his arm and holds his big hand up.
I watch him rub his eyes. He looks around. He looks confused.
“You fell asleep,” I offer.
He blinks at me as if he didn’t understand my words. Then he reaches for me. He takes my hand and cradles it in his two hands. He looks into my eyes.
“Are you all right?” he asks me, voice low, words rolling with that Scottish-sounding accent of his.
He shakes his head slowly, at least I think I see him do that. Then he’s simply staring at me. With those hazel eyes.
Dear God, he’s gorgeous.
His hand traces mine. Then he lies back down and pulls me down beside him. He wraps me up against his body, and I notice he’s not pushing his dick against me anymore.
“You smell good,” he murmurs. “You have pretty hair.”
“Are you drunk?”
I think I see his lips twitch. “I don’t get drunk.”
I turn around to face him. He pushes some hair off my forehead. Then he kisses me. It’s so gentle, so careful, I can’t help responding. He tastes like cinnamon, like liquor. His mouth explores mine, his tongue gliding past my own, his big hand in my hair again.
He kisses me until I can’t breathe, and then he pulls away. “Tá tú álainn.”
He smiles, that gentle, gorgeous smile. “Gaelic.” He tips his forehead to mine. He says something else I don’t understand, then kisses the side of my mouth, his lips feathering gently over mine.
I feel his knee move, as if he’s shifting his hips, and I can’t help pulling him closer for another kiss.
I touch his shoulders as I kiss him, and I can feel his body tense under my hands. His tongue glides back into my mouth, and he moans.
Holy shit. I kiss him deeper and his body rocks against mine. His hands are on my head; he pulls me closer, till we’re pressed together, chest to hips.
He says something low and very soft, something that sounds like, “On all that is holy…”
Then his hand is on my shoulder, squeezing. His hand is squeezing, then he’s grasping my breast.
I grind myself against him, gasping between kisses. My body burns with heat and fear. My heart riots. Adrenaline almost overcomes me at the feel of his hard body up against mine, his chest pumping, his breath warm. I’m losing it when his hand leaves my breast and slides around my hip to cradle me against his body.
God, I’ve never been handled this way, as if…I’m everything. He’s rough then gentle, firm then tender, desperate all the while. I can feel the warmth of his breath, can hear the pattern of his ragged inhalations.
His scratchy cheek presses against mine, and I can feel his body heat. He leans away, his chest still pumping. I put my hand between his pecs. I can’t help it. He’s so…perfect. My fingertips wander to the seal above his heart, the royal tattoo he got when he was younger.
I trace my finger down his chest, and the prince’s abs harden. “Christ.” That was a flinch, I think.
I swear to God, I can feel the heat pulse in between my legs. Something overtakes me, something big and brash and heady: power.
I rub my fingertip over the hair that trails down toward his pants, and that’s when I see his stiff erection.
My brain explodes with memories of perfection wrapped in wet boxer-briefs. I’m not thinking. I just touch.
He sucks back a sharp breath. I trace the plump, perfect head, hating the fabric barrier between my hand and his skin. Liam groans, his length jutting toward me.
I look into his eyes and find them hazy. “Lucy…”
“You want me to touch it?” My voice is sultry, not my voice at all.
I’m rubbing him before he has the chance to answer. His breath catches. Then he moans low in his throat and starts to pant. His eyes are shut, I find as I rub his thick cock through his pants. His hand hovers over my mine as if he wants to grab me. His long fingers curl into a fist.
I drag my fingers down the length of him, surprised to find he’s even bigger than I thought. His heavy eyelids lift a little. My Lord, he’s fucking gorgeous. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more perfect male, and this one, shirtless, panting as he presses up against my hand—he turns me on so much I want to screw him.
Holy hell, I want to screw Prince Liam.
I try to grip him through his pants, fondle his balls, waiting for him to jump up and throw me on the bed. Waiting for him to scare me.
But he doesn’t.
He just locks his big fist up over my arm and leans his head back on the pillow, groaning through his locked jaw as I unbutton his pants and come to his black boxer-briefs. I can see his head so well. I see the rim of it. I rub a fingertip over it and he mutters a curse.
His hand uncurls, the side of his fingers touching my wrist. I reach inside his boxer-briefs and wrap my hand around him. Still, he doesn’t grab my arm. I watch his face as I firm up my grip and stroke him. I can feel his hips tremble. I fold his fly back, try to pull his briefs down. He lifts his hips and pulls them down himself. I look with wide eyes at what has got to be an eight-inch dick and the weighty balls below. Crown Jewels.
I touch his balls and watch them draw up underneath my fingertips. I run my hand from the base of his cock back up toward the tip. His eyes open on a deep breath.
Oh my God, is that a little bit of precum? I feel a rush of heat between my own legs as I blink at it. For the first time in two years, I clench. I feel greedy. Needy.
Holy hell, I have to have him.
My head spins as I climb on top of him, straddling his hips as his eyes rise to meet mine. He flexes beneath me, and a zip of fear streaks through me. That he’ll throw me off and get on top of me. That he’ll grab my wrists and squeeze. Instead, Prince Liam peers up at me with hooded eyes, smiling a pirate’s smile as his hand rubs my knee.
I pull my dress up and struggle with my thong. My hands are shaking too hard to pull it off. I rub myself against him, panting. Liam groans.
“Christ almighty…” His jaw is locked as he rasps, “Lucy.” Then he rips my thong.
He says something else in what I realize must be Gaelic. Then he’s reaching down, stroking himself. With the fingers of his other hand, he parts my lips. He rubs a finger over me, making me tremble.
“Fuck, you’re beautiful…”
I don’t know how he knows because his eyes are shut, but I love the way his face looks. Suddenly it’s all I can do to stay still. And then I can’t. I’m shaking as I pull his cock away from his amazing abs. My legs quiver as I rise up, holding his shaft, pushing his thick head against my entrance.
His lips are parted now, his eyes still shut. I sink down on him inch by slow, amazing inch and watch him writhe, knees coming up around me as I take him deep—so deep I can’t help crying out.
His hands squeeze my hips, not to hard. And then he’s lifting me off him, his muscular arms straining so my legs don’t have to. His powerful abs ripple with each thrust: he rises just a little, letting me sink down on him. I put my hands over his and use my legs to rise and fall, taking control of things. Taking control because I have to.
He doesn’t let me fully. Liam sets the pace, his big breaths punctuating the rhythm of our thrusting. I’m rising up, using the well-honed muscles of my thighs, but his hands around my hips are lifting, too.
When I sink, I lean over, pinching his nipples sometimes, reaching around behind myself to cup his balls. His groans are loud and ragged. His face is tense, almost pained, and I love it when I feel the goose-bumps on his diamond-chiseled hips.
Then he changes something up… Changes the angle. When he fills me up…I lose control. I can’t stop the sounds from pouring from my throat. Can’t stop the way I lean sideways against his raised knee, gripping it with my arm. I hear a whimper, and it’s mine.
“Oh God!” I’m so full. I don’t think I’ve ever been this full before…
“That’s right,” he murmurs, thrusting harder.
When he pulls out and lifts me up, I’m desperate for him, scrambling to get back on that huge cock. My skin tingles with sweat. My mouth is open; I can’t breathe—
I feel him harden, swell and tighten, stretching me. When I’m filled with him, I grind around.
“Oh my God!”
I’m right there on the edge. He draws me off him, and I fumble to grab onto his arms and press myself back down. My fingers graze his hips, and then he pushes me down hard. I’m filled so deep and full, my body starts to quake. My stomach quivers, and my eyes flip open just in time to find he’s watching me.
His lips are curved, his eyes lust-hazed.
I do the only thing I can think of to equalize the situation, reaching around behind myself again to roll his big balls in my shaking fingers. One roll, followed by a gentle tug. I feel his cock thump hard inside me, causing me to lean down on him. That’s where I lie as heat fills me: there across his flawless chest.
For just a second, his hands cup my face. His eyes linger on mine, his mouth still open with pleasure, his thick pecs rising under me.
It’s an exultation.
I feel so good there on him, I can’t move for a long moment. He just came inside me, and it feels so right.
I marvel at how…fine I feel. How tired and good and…good.
I stroke my nails up his side. “Mmm.” I grin.
Liam laughs, a throaty sound.
I feel his lips on my forehead as he leans up, the quick swipe of his palm over my hair. “You are fucking perfect, Lucy Rhodes.”
He pushes up on one elbow, holding me against him for a moment, one big arm around me.
Then I’m easing off him, and he’s moving lithely off the bed. “Let me get you something.”
I sink into the covers, waiting for the fallout: for a shudder, for a sob. But nothing comes.
He returns smirking, and grins broadly when our eyes meet. Instead of handing me the warm, wet cloth, he delves under the covers, his knuckles grazing my belly as he spreads the cloth over me and lays his hand there, as if offering some wordless blessing over my vagina.
I start laughing, and he laughs with me.
“You’re a real prince, Liam.”
He grins. “I’ve been told.”
And it’s so natural, I don’t feel funny cleaning up under the covers with him there beside me.
I stretch out on my back, catching my breath. I’m thinking how sad I’ll be to get up when he lies beside me, his big shoulder bumping mine.
“You were incredible,” he says in a gravelly voice. And somehow, it’s not patronizing or weird. Just very, very genuine.
I giggle like a dumb teenager.
He turns over on his side, propping his head in his hand as he looks down on me. Then he lies back flat, wraps an arm around me, pulls me close, and kisses just under my ear. One of his legs rubs mine. He makes a soft, male sound, then falls asleep as if we do this every night.
I lie awake staring at him in the darkness. Who is this man? I run my open palm over his hair, which he let down sometime when I wasn’t looking. He relaxes just a little more against me, and I like it. That’s the last thought that I have before I wake up to an empty bed.
About the Author:
Ella James is the USA Today bestselling author of fifteen teen and adult love stories. She’s an angst-a-holic who loves exploring difficult situations and the emotions of the people caught up in them. Also, smut. But always, always romance.
Ella’s obsessions include vanilla cream soda, hiking, other obscure, crunchy stuff like rock collecting, and the antics of her 2.5 little monsters. (Monsters 1 and 2 will meet Monster 3 in November).
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