Posts Categorized: Contemporary Romance

Book Review and #Giveaway: FOUND IN YOU (Fixed #2) by Laurelin Paige (@LaurelinPaige)

October 2, 2013 Adult, Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Past Giveaways 0

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Welcome to the Found in You Book Tour! This is the second book in the Fixed Series by Laurelin Paige. Read my review of the book and enter the giveaway for a $50 Gift Card and Fixed Series Gift Packs!

 

CLICK HERE to read my review of Book #1, Fixed on You.

 

About the Book

 

Found in You Cover

 

Title: Found in You (Fixed #2)

 Author: Laurelin Paige

 Release date: October 1, 2013

 Publisher: Mandevilla Press

 Age Group: Adult

 Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tour organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com

 

Alayna Withers has only had one kind of relationship: the obsessive, crazy stalker kind. Now that Hudson Pierce has let her into his heart, she’s determined to stay away from her past tendencies and develop their love into more than just amazing sex. At least Hudson is as dedicated to her as she is to him, though she could do without his new found jealousy and need to control everything. To complicate matters, Hudson has his own baggage including a penchant for mind games and a hateful alcoholic mother who’s set on destroying any happiness he might find with Alayna.

Needing insight, Alayna turns to an unlikely source—Celia Werner. Celia’s been in love with Hudson herself and knows how to ride the rocky waves of the emotionally closed-off man. But when Celia’s true motivations behind their friendship are revealed, Hudson’s commitment might not be as solid as Alayna thinks, and even their all-consuming passion for each other isn’t enough to fix their mistrusts. This is the first relationship where Alayna hasn’t spiraled out of control. And she might lose Hudson anyway…

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My Review

 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Our pasts will always threaten to come between us. But nothing can come between us unless we let it.”

 I was so happy to get to spend some more time with one of my favorite couples, Alayna and Hudson. Found in You picks up immediately where the first book left off and I felt like I had only just finished the first book, though it was months ago. The story and the characters had stuck with me and the author immediately brought me right in to the moment: into Alayna’s whirlwind emotions and the amazingly sexy, domineering presence of Hudson.

This second book in the series completely lived up to my high expectations. We really got to see growth in these two characters as they continue to struggle to find trust and stability and a real, solid relationship. It’s absolutely clear how they feel about each other: the chemistry is beyond sizzling, the sex HOT, and their love towards each other is genuine. Old habits and insecurities get in the way as more past secrets are uncovered. Alayna in particular shows how far she has come in her handling of the precarious situation and volatile emotions. It made me like her even more: she’s far from perfect but recognizes her her issues and does her best to deal with them. She may be neurotic and a little insecure but her strength and determination to move past it is admirable. And Hudson, well he’s Hudson. Sexy as all hell and I can’t help but feel like his dark past makes him even more alluring, especially now that he too is trying to move beyond it.The story holds some definite surprises and I was rooting for this couple all the way through.

This book is romantic, super sexy and moves along quickly and smoothly. It’s not without darkness and angst but it’s well-balanced with humor and warmth. I truly enjoyed getting deeper in to this couple’s lives and reading what felt like a natural progression for these characters. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

CLICK HERE to read my review of Fixed on You (Book #1)

 

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About the Author

 

Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine. She is represented by Bob Diforio of D4EO Literary Agency.

Connect with Laurelin

Website ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

Twitter: @laurelinpaige

 

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Purchase Fixed on You (Fixed #1) for $0.99

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

 

To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpts click here or the tour button below.

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Book Review and #Giveaway: FINDERS KEEPERS by Nicole Williams (@nwilliamsbooks)

September 22, 2013 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Past Giveaways 0

Welcome to the Finders Keepers Book Tour! The third book in Nicole Williams’ Lost and Found Series finally gives us Garth Black’s story! Read my review and enter to win print copies of the book and a gift card.

 

About the Book

 

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Title: Finders Keepers (Lost and Found, #3)

Author: Nicole Williams

Release date: September 16, 2013

Age Group: Mature YA/New Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tour organized by: AToMR Tours; http://atomrbookblogtours.com

 

There’s tortured. And there’s Garth Black.

His life has been a constant carousel of tragedy and disappointment, including his love life. Of course, applying the term “love” to Garth’s conquests is a gross misuse of the word. Some people were made to give and accept love, and others weren’t. Garth Black redefines the “others” category. He’s made a vow that the day he meets a woman who could sucker him into falling in love will be the day he runs away.

Garth’s plan has one flaw. What happens when he’s already fallen hard for a girl before the warning signs and red flags go up? What happens when the love he’s avoided his entire life brings him to his knees? What happens when Garth Black lets the dirtiest four letter word he’s ever known into his dark, lonely life?

This cowboy’s about to find out he can control some things, and he can’t control others. Number one on the what he can’t control list?

Love.

 

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My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

“Everything she was saying about the trail she’d navigate if she gave me the chance was right. Except for one thing. If she was brave enough to take that first step, and I was brave enough to let her, there wouldn’t be an end. I knew the trail we walked together would be a hard one, but I wouldn’t ever leave her alone on it.”

Garth Black’s story was the one that I have been waiting for in this series. With Rowen and Jesse perfectly in love and off in Seattle planning their wedding, Garth is still in Montana and so is Josie. Together they will have to face their past, present, and future. They will have to face tragedy and heartbreak and if they are still standing on the other side, decide if their love for one another is enough.

I absolutely adore Garth Black. Except for a couple of appearances, this book lacked our golden boy Jesse and his deep “Jesse-isms”, but instead we get Garth, and I’ll take the rough around the edges, bad-boy bull rider any day. Jesse’s deep thoughts are replaced by Garth’s dark, sardonic humor, just one of the ways he deals with his tragic and abusive past. Along with whiskey, women, and fighting, Garth also deals with his past and self-loathing by pushing people away, specifically Josie, the one person with power to break down his walls. Their relationship is a tumultuous emotional roller-coaster, a constant push and pull; just when things start to go smoothly for them, all hell breaks loose. It was so clear to me that they were perfect for each other, they complemented each other so well. I cried and gritted my teeth as they fought hard to find that out for themselves. As Garth faces his own demons, Josie must face everyone around her thinks Garth isn’t good enough. They are both such strong characters, stubborn, proud and protective, and that protectiveness may tear them apart.

” ‘The only reason I paint you as the misunderstood good guy is because that’s who you are. You’re the guy who shows up on his friend’s doorstep in the middle of the night if they call. You’re the guy who is one of the first guys at work in the morning and one of the last to leave. You’re the guy who played Cupid when his best friend almost lost the woman he loved. You’re the guy who would give your kidney to a homeless three-legged dog if it needed one. You’re that guy, Garth. You know it. And I’ve known it for a hell of a lot longer.’ “

Garth and Josie’s story is heartbreaking and funny, intense and emotional. As always, Williams creates palpable connections between her characters, complemented by witty dialogue, heartfelt romance, a hint of sexiness, just enough darkness and those profound moments that make the reader believe in friendship and hope and love and happily-ever-afters.

” ‘Who we choose to love, and who chooses us has nothing to do with being deserving or undeserving. It has to do with who you simply have to love and who simply has to love you.’ “

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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About the Author

 

I’m the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that’s one tiny way I can make it so. I’m one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

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Connect with Nicole

Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter

 

To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpts click here or the tour button below.

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Book Review and #Giveaway: KISS ME IN PARIS by Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov

September 13, 2013 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Past Giveaways 2

Welcome to the Kiss Me in Paris Book Tour! Read my review and more, and enter to win a $50 Gift Card, a signed copy of the book, or an ebook!

 

My Review

 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Love is the cornerstone of the human experience.”

Le sigh… What a great read! A lovely romance that spans continents and emotions: a satisfying combination of both heartbreaking moments and moments that made me laugh out loud.

Cade and Winter didn’t initially seem like the perfect couple to me, but there’s certainly a connection from their first meeting. The relationship has its ups and downs, but they are able to find common ground in their difficult pasts. It didn’t take me long to realize that this couple DOES belong together and I was rooting for them through all of their obstacles and triumphs. Cade and Winter are both strong passionate characters, and in steamy moments, their passion really heats up the pages.

Kiss me in Paris is a story about risking your heart to for love, and risking everything to truly become who you want to be. Engaging and descriptive prose transports the reader to the romantic city of Paris, and into the hearts and lives of two characters you are sure to fall in love with.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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About Kiss Me in Paris

Kiss Me in Paris by Karpov KinradeNo one knows my secret. Ever since high school, ever since I started living in fear, no one has known the true me. But then I met him, and I couldn’t hide anymore.

He became my hero, saving me from the villain of my past. He became my friend, his smile a blanket of warmth. And he scared me. Because he, this beautiful man, he might become more. Then he’d see the real me, and I couldn’t let that happen.

My name is Winter, and what I desire most I can’t have.

Flashes of the night I was drugged rush back to me. His strong arms carrying me through the streets of Paris. The feel of his heart beating as my head rested against his chest. The soft press of his lips against my forehead when he thought I was asleep.

Oh shit. I’m falling for the cowboy. Cade.

But we can’t be anything more. He has his own secrets. His own darkness he keeps hidden, like the letter he keeps with him everywhere he goes.

The letter he refuses to open.

* * *

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Full length novel: 87, 000 words

Kiss Me in Paris is a standalone novel in the Kiss Me Series. Travel the world with the Deveaux sisters as they find love, and trouble, in all the right places.

Kiss Me in Paris is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Add it your Goodreads to-read shelf here!

 

If reviewers can be believed—and OF COURSE they can be—then Kiss Me in Paris is an epic tale of love, romance, family, friendship and forgiveness. For those of you who might think this book is just another insipid romance, not so my friend.

Not so.

You will pee your pants laughing and cry your eyes out weeping. You will become so angry you might need to punch something, and you will sigh in pure happiness. One reviewer even left part of her soul IN THE WORDS OF OUR BOOK.

Yes, this is the power of Kiss Me in Paris. It’s SOUL STEALING, and we are not going to apologize for that.

You see, we are the authors, and we are married, living our own epic romance. So epic we even had a fan-following during the early days of our courtship. So we know love.

And we know you will love Kiss Me in Paris!

Here’s the part where we tell you about the book, but it’s really not enough to do it justice. So let us first say that there is just so much in Kiss Me in Paris. Layered themes and a sexy cowboy studying to be an architect, and a girl who’s a dreamer with a dark past, and gargoyles and Notre Dame and mazes designed by futuristic architects (because that’s an actual thing, and the sexy cowboy will tell you what that means), and heartbreak and love and happy endings and evil and just SO MUCH.

But here’s the ‘official’ blurb about Kiss Me in Paris:

No one knows my secret. Ever since high school, ever since I started living in fear, no one has known the true me. But then I met him, and I couldn’t hide anymore.

He became my hero, saving me from the villain of my past. He became my friend, his smile a blanket of warmth. And he scared me. Because he, this beautiful man, he might become more. Then he’d see the real me, and I couldn’t let that happen.

My name is Winter, and what I desire most I can’t have.

Flashes of the night I was drugged rush back to me. His strong arms carrying me through the streets of Paris. The feel of his heart beating as my head rested against his chest. The soft press of his lips against my forehead when he thought I was asleep.

Oh shit. I’m falling for the cowboy. Cade.

But we can’t be anything more. He has his own secrets. His own darkness he keeps hidden, like the letter he keeps with him everywhere he goes.

The letter he refuses to open.

 

Here’s what reviewers are saying about Kiss Me in Paris

5 stars “I experienced every emotion as each character felt it. Every tear, every laugh, all of the fear, anxiety, and stress, I experienced every last bit of it. And even though this is a romance, there are tears. I cried more times reading Kiss Me in Paris than I did watching Nicholas Sparks’ The Last Song. Kiss Me in Paris left me hollow when I finally finished it. I feel as if a piece of me was left in the words as I read. And for once, I have a book to call my favorite.” ~Merumei on Amazon

5 stars “A timeless and beautiful love story that will sweep you off your feet, but it’s also much more than that.” ~Amy Conley, Amazon

5 stars “Beautifully drawn characters and stunning pallets that bring you in to Paris itself.” ~Stormy, Amazon

Here are some of our favorite quotes from Kiss Me in Paris

  • “One star breaks off from the others, shooting across the sky, a bright light trailing behind it, and I finally understand why people wish on dying stars. Because something always has to die for life to give birth to a new dream. “
  • “Paris is pregnant with layers of history, colored with the ink of artists who dared to dream of a world only they could see.”
  • “It’s like I’m giving birth from my mouth.” [You’ll understand this when you get to chapter 5. Then you’ll pee your pants laughing.]
  • “It’s the nature of being human that, in our own blindness, we lash out and blind others.”
  • “I think of Winter, of her smile, her eyes, her arms wrapped around me, and I know where home is. It’s wherever she is, and right now she is too far away. My heart has escaped my body and is walking Paris without me.”
  • “She opened herself to him, and, in that moment, she opened herself to the world. Let it hurt her. Let it burn her veins, boil her blood and scorch her heart. For where there could be pain, there could be pleasure and love. She would be cold no longer. She would melt the hearts of others, and in turn, they would melt hers. She would feel the full spectrum of emotions and cry. She would be human. And she would be happy.”

And this is just a SAMPLE. It’s like hearing an inside joke if you weren’t at the party. So go to the party, and by this stretched metaphor we mean READ THE BOOK. Then you can laugh and *le sigh* and cry and be a part of the cool crowd.

Kiss Me in Paris is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Add it your Goodreads to-read shelf here!

 

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About Karpov Kinrade

Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry KarpovKarpov Kinrade is the pen name for the husband and wife writing duo of bestselling, award-winning authors Kimberly Kinrade and Dmytry Karpov.

Together, they write fantasy, paranormal, mystery, contemporary and romance and hook readers into new and exciting worlds that will leave you laughing your ass off, crying your heart out and falling in love.

Look for more from Karpov Kinrade in the Kiss Me series, Seduced Saga, the Forbidden Trilogy and more coming soon.

They live with three little girls who think they’re ninja princesses with super powers and who are also showing a propensity for telling tall tales and using the written word to weave stories of wonder and magic.

Become a member of the Street Team for Karpov Kinrade.

Connect with Karpov Kinrade on Facebook.

Connect with Kimberly online: Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Amazon, Goodreads.

Connect with Dmytry online: Twitter, Google+, Amazon, Goodreads.


Book Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway: THE SHADOW OF MUDFLAP by Christi Snow and M.F. Smith

September 11, 2013 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Favorite Books, Past Giveaways, Romantic Suspense 4

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Welcome to The Shadow of Mudflap Book Tour! Read my review an excerpt from the book and enter to win a choice of an iPad Mini or a Kindle Fire HD!  *All proceeds from the sale of this book benefit the Lubbock Red Cross*.

 

About the Book

 

The Shadow of Mudflap

A Foxtrot Team Novel

By: Christi Snow & M.F. Smith

All the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the Lubbock Red Cross.

Release Date: August 19th, 2013

 

To us, first responders are heroes. But for them, risking their lives is a normal, everyday thing.

Mudflap:

Born the baby of the family, Mudflap has always had something to prove to emerge out of the shadows of his older siblings. He spent eight years as a Special Ops elite sniper and is now a firefighter. But at his heart, he’s just a normal West Texas good old boy who loves his beer, women and football, until the Department of Defense calls him up to say they need his skills again.

Shanae:

Shanae is a first responder of a different sort. She’s a trauma nurse who works on a medical evacuation helicopter team. But while she lives a life full of adrenaline every day, it’s just a cover for her real life, where she hides in the shadows and is secret agent, Shadowfox for the Lubbock Foxtrot Team (LiFT). She’s living the kind of life that most people think exists only in movies and books.

Working for two different branches of the government, Mudflap and Shanae are in a race against time and the terrorists who threaten the very heart of West Texas life, football. They’re working toward the same goal, but find themselves in a confrontation against each other and the lies they’ve each had to hide behind. Can love win out in the end or will the cost be each other and their very lives?

First responders are heroes every day, but this story tells the tale of when they become even more and find love along the way. The key is for them to stay alive so that they can complete their mission and just maybe live happily ever after.

On an ordinary day, they save lives. On an extraordinary day, they save the country.

 

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My Review

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

I had an absolute blast reading this book, and for several reasons. I’m thrilled to be involved in helping to spread the word about this book: all proceeds and from sale of this book go to the Lubbock Red Cross. AND, the book is just plain fun to read! The story is sexy and exciting, just like it’s lovable hero and heroine. Mystery, humor, and great big dash of Texas charm round out this entertaining read.

There’s multiple layers to this fast-paced and action packed story. There’s romance, intrigue, and a football championship that hangs in the balance. I’m a football fan, so this added a fun angle to the story, but if you’re not, don’t be put off, it doesn’t overwhelm the plot. The plot has tons of twists and turns; I was constantly surprised and kept guessing by this engaging story filled with secret military ops and potential terrorist plots.

I was totally taken in by Mudflap and Shanae’s romance. They are both fantastic characters: funny and bad-ass, both are hard-working first responders, and he’s a military sniper and she’s a secret agent! Together, their chemistry sizzles. Their relationship is hot, fun, flirty, and potentially dangerous for them both. But, this meant to be couple just can’t stay away from each other, and I didn’t want them to.

I highly recommend this fantastic read that has excitement and intrigue, romance and heat. It’s a must read for fans of contemporary romance with elements of suspense, strong heroines, and sweet, sexy, charming alpha-male heroes.

“Brushing a tight kiss across the top of her head, he whispered, ‘Trust me.’

Butterflies danced down her spine at the whisper of his breath on her forehead. Just that slight glance of his lips and she was ready to melt in a puddle at his feet. Even though her highly trained head told her to be on alert, her heart already trusted him completely. Not a good position for a spy to find herself in.”

 

Excerpt

 

She took a sip of her wine and looked at him appraisingly. “Okay, now it’s your turn to share. Tell me how in the world you got the name Mudflap. It has to be a nickname, right?”

He chuckled mockingly. “Unfortunately, no. It’s the name that my parents gave me on my birth certificate.”

“Why? And please tell me you’re an only child or that they didn’t do the same thing to your brothers and sisters.”

His eyes sparkled with amusement although he tried to sound annoyed.  “Are you making fun of my name?”

She worked to straighten her grin. “No sir, I would never make fun of a highbrow name like Mudflap.” She giggled. “Come on. You have to tell me the story.”

He sighed deeply before launching into the story. “I have a brother who’s seven years older than me and then twin sisters who are five years older.”

“Ooh, twins run in your family, too. That settles it. We’re never allowed to procreate. We’d end up having a litter,” she teased.

His eyes darkened for a moment as he considered her. A shiver of awareness rolled up her spine, but then he continued. “I wasn’t planned. My mom never forgave my dad for getting her pregnant. To add insult to injury, my dad was out hunting when mom went into labor. I’m not sure what the story is, but mom swears the night I was conceived dad was so horny, he got turned on by a mudflap girl. Obviously, that’s not even possible, but I honestly don’t really want to know what the whole story is. All I know is that mom was hormonal and ticked at dad and I paid for it with my name. She’s since forgiven me for being born, but I’m stuck with the name.”

Shanae snickered. “That is so wrong.” But her lips continued to twitch.

“Tell me about it. I’m the one who’s had to live with the name my whole life.”

“Have you ever considered changing it?”

“Yeah, it’s crossed my mind a time or two or hell, one hundred times, but I figure it’s a good reminder to always use birth control.”

She full-out guffawed at that. “Oh my God.” The snorting continued. “That’s absolutely priceless.” She giggled into her hand.

“Oh yeah, just continue to laugh it up. I see how you are.”

“I’m sorry, but it really is a great story.”

 

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About the Authors

 

Christi Snow

As an avid reader her entire life, Christi Snow always dreamed of writing books that brought to others the kind of joy she felt when she read. But…she never did anything about it besides jot down a few ideas and sparse scenes.

When she turned 41, she decided it was time to go after her dream and started writing. Within four months, she’d written over 150,000 words and hasn’t stopped since.

She’s found her calling by writing about sexy, alpha heroes and smart, tough heroines falling in love and finding their passion. She’s truly living the dream and loving every minute of it.

Her tagline is… Passion and adventure on the road to Happily Ever After. She’s loving this adventure!

Christi Snow

Connect with Christi

Website ~ Book Blog ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

 

M.F. Smith

Mudflap is a morning show personality for 96.3 KLLL in Lubbock, TX. He’s been on the morning show for seven years and in radio for over ten years. He’s entertained people all over the world, and has helped raise money for many non-profit agencies and charities.

Mudflap loves to see people smile and believes everyone deserves a hug.

MF Smith

KLLL radio station website

 

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5 Star Book Review: LITTLE BLACK DRESS by Scarlet Chastain (@ScarletChastain)

September 8, 2013 Adult, Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Favorite Books, Novella/Short Story 1

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Title: Little Black Dress

Author: Scarlet Chastain

Publisher: Evernight Publishing

Publication Date: August 31, 2013

 

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book

Never underestimate the power of the little black dress…

Paris: The romance and fashion capital of the world. So what the hell makes Jamie Scotts, an IT geek from New York, think the city of lights holds the answers? Driven by need for change, she lies to her boss about her fluency in French and becomes the company’s first international sales person. Fluent? She can barely ask for directions to the ladies’ room.

Jamie’s a duck out of water with her low maintenance style and New York accent. Her unsuccessful sales pitch almost sends her home, until she meets the epitome of elegance, Giselle Bianchi. An unlikely relationship blossoms as the dress designer takes Jamie under her wing. Giselle’s guidance not only reveals Jamie’s missing je ne sais quoi, but also unlocks repressed passion with the help of a little black dress.

 

My Review

” ‘Show me what a real kiss feels like,’ Jamie whispered. She’d made a transformation over the past month, both physically and emotionally. She was ready to let the old Jamie go, spread her wings and allow the person she was becoming to soar free. Starting with this first kiss.”

Another great story from Scarlet Chastain for readers, like me, who enjoy a book girlfriend just as much as their book boyfriends. A sweet and sexy romance set in Paris, a city thought to be one of the most romantic cities on earth, Little Black Dress had me sighing and smiling, and even a tiny bit tearful.

I love the easy, believable comfort between Jamie and Giselle: the way their romance stems from a genuine friendship. And let’s face it, Giselle’s character, the beautiful, graceful, generous blond with the french accent, is one anyone could have a girl crush on, even if that’s not really your thing. I’m not sure if everyone does this, but I give characters voices in my head and Giselle’s french accent got my heart all fluttery. There’s a lovely chemistry between the two main characters, a building sexual tension, and a little conflict to make the story a little exciting and really get the reader engaged in this relationship.

I thoroughly enjoyed this brief and sexy European vacay, complete with a very well done f/f sex scene. The tentative Jamie finds herself and her true home, and two beautiful women find love and romance in The City of Light.

“Home doesn’t have to be a physical place. Think about it. Home is a place where you feel comfortable.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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5 Star Book Review: VAIN by Fisher Amelie (@FisherAmelie)

August 26, 2013 Book Review, Contemporary Romance, Favorite Books, New Adult 0

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Title: Vain (The Seven Deadly #1)

Author: Fisher Amelie

Publication Date: (3rd Edition) August 16, 2013

 

My Rating: 5++ Stars

 

About the Book

If you’re looking for a story about a good, humble girl, who’s been hurt by someone she thought she could trust, only to find out she’s not as vulnerable as she thought she was and discovers an empowering side of herself that falls in love with the guy who helps her find that self, blah, blah, blah…then you’re gonna’ hate my story.

Because mine is not the story you read every time you bend back the cover of the latest trend novel. It’s not the “I can do anything, now that I’ve found you/I’m misunderstood but one day you’ll find me irresistible because of it” tale. Why? Because, if I was being honest with you, I’m a complete witch. There’s nothing redeeming about me. I’m a friend using, drug abusing, sex addict from Los Angeles. I’m every girlfriend’s worst nightmare and every boy’s fantasy.

I’m Sophie Price…And this is the story about how I went from the world’s most envied girl to the girl no one wanted around and why I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

 

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My Review

“I was also, simultaneously, recognizing something in myself I didn’t know could exist.

I was worth more than the sex I had defined myself with.”

So much more than a beautiful, touching romance: a gripping story portraying the stunning and inspirational transformation of a sad, selfish young woman. When Sophie Price is sentenced to six months working in a Ugandan orphanage, she can hardly imagine anything worse. She is faced with caring for and teaching children orphaned by unspeakable violence and tragedy. What she doesn’t realize is that it will be the best thing to ever happen to her.

I suppose that in the beginning, Sophie was a character that I should “love to hate”. But that wasn’t the case at all; I felt sorry for her. She seemed so lonely, so empty. She was starved for real affection, which she had never received from her parents. She was cold, shallow, and infinitely lost. The book chronicles, with an emotional intensity, Sophie’s powerful transformation. It is a gradual shift, but she slowly gains confidence, empathy, and empowerment. She recognizes her self worth, she learns to accept her mistakes and learns from them. She learns to care for others more than she cares for herself, so much that she would die for them. On a daily basis, the orphaned children and the orphanage’s staff face extreme difficulties: they overcome lack of resources, a beautiful but harsh environment, attacks from LRA soldiers, and the threat of deadly diseases all with hope, optimism, bravery, and just plain hard work.

Adding another layer to the story is the romance between Sophie and the *extremely sexy* Ian (Dingane). He’s strong and intense, but with a humor and lightness about him. He has found who he is, but Sophie causes him to realize that he want, no needs, something more: her. The sexual tension between these two is fantastically intense, made more so by the circumstances: many of their moments are stolen between other important events in the story. The author has achieved the perfect, delicate balance between a beautiful, sometimes challenging romance between two people with similar backgrounds that face an undeniable connection and a story that encompasses a much larger human picture. I rooted for this couple from their first moments together, loved each moment as they grew closer; I cried through their tragedies and hardships, and was ecstatic for their ultimate happiness.

I can’t say enough how much I loved this book. It’s darkness, loneliness, tragedy, and violence overcome with hope, faith, love, innocence, and perseverance. It is stunningly beautiful and powerfully emotional. I cried so many tears but at the end was left with a feeling of lightness. I highly recommend this amazing, unexpected treasure.

“I’d come to Uganda to fulfill a mandatory sentence but was being fulfilled in a completely unexpected manner and happily, with my full consent. I’d come to help teach these children but instead they were teaching me.”

 

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Book Review, Excerpt and #Giveaway: DARK WATERS by Toni Anderson

August 7, 2013 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, New Release, Past Giveaways, Romantic Suspense 11

Dark-Waters

 

Welcome to the Dark Waters by Toni Anderson Book Tour! Read my review and an excerpt from this brand new release and enter to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card! Also, *comment on this post* for the chance to win an ebook from the author’s backlist!

 

About the Book

 

Danger once again laps at the shores of Barkley Sound, the Graveyard of the Pacific…

Since her rocky childhood and its abrupt, brutal ending, schoolteacher Anna Silver hasn’t given her trust easily. But when her estranged father gets in over his head—again—and winds up dead, his last message to Anna is as clear as it is insistent: she’s in danger and Brent Carver, the man with whom he shared a prison cell for five years, is the only person she should turn to for help. With nowhere else to go and with her father’s killer on her trail, Anna flees to what she hopes is safety.

​Tucked into the west coast of Vancouver Island, Brent Carver’s isolated home hasn’t seen many visitors. And his friend’s daughter is the last person he ever expected to grace his doorstep. She’s in trouble, and he can’t deny her protection…just as he can’t deny his attraction to the independent beauty. As their passion sparks into flame, the perfect storm brews off the coast of his island home, bringing with it a sadistic killer hunting Anna and the secrets she’s come close to uncovering.

 

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My Review

 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“He watched Anna watching his ocean. Watched her as she slowly absorbed the rhythm of the waves against the shore. All the anger and resentment fell away from him. Peace fell over her features and he knew, with gut-wrenching certainty, that he’d do anything to keep it there.”

A fantastic read for fans of romantic suspense and books with broken heroes and heroines, Dark Waters strikes the perfect balance between romance and page-turning mystery.

So I’m a little (okay a lot) in love with Brent. I can’t help it. Not only is he movie star sexy, broken and dark, but his loyalty to Davis and his protective streak are what really drew me in. He didn’t ask for Anna to show up at his door, but when she does, he agrees to help her. Even when her own difficult side shows, his loyalty to her father, as well as his growing attraction for Anna keep him set on his task to save her at all costs, and to clear her father’s name in the process. Anna has her own difficult past, and like Brent, trusts no one. I enjoyed watching their relationship, begun only of necessity, grow from an undeniable spark of chemistry, to something much more, something that could save them both.

The plot of the book is twisty and turny, with plenty of page-turning action. The reader is offered glimpses in to the mind of Rand, a man that will stop at nothing to find Anna and kill her, as she has unwittingly become a threat to his future. Having the perspective of Anna’s pursuer adds another interesting layer of intrigue to the story.

An engaging and past-paced storyline, smooth writing style, well-crafted and intriguing characters, and a romance that offers both sizzle and healing make this a truly enjoyable read.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Excerpt

 

Brent Carver lay in bed listening to the surf outside his open window. The rhythmic pounding pulse helped calm the ragged unset­tled feeling that clawed inside him. Sometimes it even let him sleep. Not tonight.

He shifted restlessly, sweat damp on his skin. The west coast was getting a blistering-hot summer that had him thanking God he wasn’t stuck in that shithole prison, sweating it out with a few hundred of his least best friends. He sat up in bed and swiped irritably at his too long hair.

Gina had liked it long.

Damn.

He’d spent the past year trying not to think about Gina, or her murder, and yet memories snuck past his guard all the time. Her smile, her giving nature, her unwavering dedication to his undeserving ass. When he’d broken things off with her, he’d hoped she’d finally move on. Find herself a man she could marry and have babies she could spoil. But things hadn’t worked out that way, and no one regretted it more than he did.

He whipped back the covers and padded naked to the open window that faced the Pacific. It took a moment for his heartbeat to stop hammering. A moment for the burn in his chest to ease. At nearly forty years old, he’d spent half his life in prison and would never get enough of breathing in the fresh clean air of freedom.

The dark water before him stretched like a smooth satin sheet all the way to the horizon. But the calm tranquility was an illusion that disguised deceptive currents and gigantic swells, cold depths and wicked storm surges.

That ocean called to him—it always had. This sliver of coast was what he’d missed locked up in his cell for so many years. Not peace. Not serenity. Not pissing in a private bathroom. Huge rollers crashing home. Elements clashing like titans in his backyard. The abandon. The wildness. The energy. Prison had squeezed the need for that energy into a tiny corner of his mind and tortured him with it in his dreams. When he’d gotten out, he’d spent two days just staring at the ocean. This was where he belonged. This was where he needed to be. And no one was ever going to take it from him again. Being caged, being imprisoned, had almost wiped him out of existence, and the worst thing was—it was his own damn fault. He’d taken a life and gotten what he deserved.

He’d been out four years now, but the smells, the memories, the sense of watching his back, was ingrained, tattooed on his brain like most cons wore ink. He’d found his salvation in a tal­ent for painting, enough of a talent that he could afford a kick-ass mansion anywhere in the world. But he’d returned here, to the small remote strip of land on the western edge of Vancouver Island. The scene of the crime and the only home he’d ever known.

Maybe he should buy a yacht, learn to sail. But that sort of aimless wandering didn’t appeal and his parole officer probably wouldn’t approve either. He rubbed his aching neck muscles and headed downstairs for a drink. He’d finish that last piece for the exhibition.

Exhibition.

He shook his head in disbelief. Some fancy-schmancy museum in New York was giving him an exhibition. He opened the fridge and pulled out a beer and popped the top. His agent had worked some serious magic, wrangling that mother. Only trouble was the gallery wanted the elusive and mysterious B.C. Wilkinson to turn up in person to the opening. His agent had even taken care of a passport and special visa requirements.

Yeah, right. He snorted. No fucking way. Still, Brent had learned years ago that it was easier to do what he wanted and beg forgiveness later. Not that he dealt much in forgiveness. Gina’s image smiled sweetly inside his head, but she was dead—stabbed to death by a homicidal maniac last year—and thinking about her wouldn’t bring her back.

His fist tightened around the neck of the bottle and he resisted the urge to hurl it at the wall. Prison had taught him iron control—he just hadn’t realized how much he’d need it on the outside. He headed onto his back porch, buck naked and glad of the fresh ocean breeze that cooled his overheated body. His nearest neighbor lived a quarter of a mile away, out of sight, over the bluff. This region was too remote for passersby and anyone with a boat would moor it in a sheltered cove, not at the mercy of Barkley Sound’s treacherous grasp. The moon was cloaked behind restless clouds that billowed like smoke across the sky. He was just about to sit his ass down when he saw a shadow flitter near the woods.

He had visitors?

No fucking way.

In prison he’d received enough death threats to take serious precautions with his safety. When some of the local thugs had been arrested last year, he’d let down his guard and thought the danger was over. He’d obviously thought wrong. What if it was his brother, Finn? Or the cops? He pressed his lips together. Finn knew better than to spook him and the cops had no reason to be sniffing around.

Something was going on.

No one made social calls on Brent Carver—no one without a death wish. He lived on a peninsula that, due to the rugged terrain, was only accessible by boat. There were about thirty locals living on this side of the inlet, but they were more likely to hand-feed rabid wolves than drop in for a beer.

Did his visitor know he was out here?

Leaving the bottle on the deck, he carefully slipped over the side of the porch and melted into the night. It was pitch-black in the woods, but he’d grown up here and knew every tree and hol­low. He made his way along the side of the shed and ducked into the forest. Over the last year, he’d gradually stopped listening to the scanner for signs of trouble, stopped keeping firearms in the house. He’d gotten soft, but not stupid. Silently he dropped to his knees beside a massive Sitka spruce that was technically on his neighbor’s property. If she found out about his little cache, she’d be pissed. He swept dirt and dead needles off the top of a waterproof box he’d sunk into the ground, and removed his SIG Sauer. He replaced the lid and covered it as best he could in the dark. He got his bearings, and found the tree where he’d hidden his ammo. He grabbed a magazine and headed up to the road, circling around. He inched down an old trail and came up behind where the shadow had been.

Darkness cloaked the clearing where his house sat but his night vision was sharp. And damned if the woman—put a man in prison long enough and he could spot a female blindfolded at twenty paces—wasn’t climbing his porch steps shining her flashlight around the place like a laser show. Maybe she was a thief? Maybe someone had figured out Brent Carver was B.C. Wilkinson and sitting on a shedload of very expensive artwork? Then she knocked on his back door.

What the…?

He rubbed his hand over his brow. He was stark naked except for his gun, and now some woman was standing on his deck? He hoped to hell she wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness because she was about to have acome-to-Jesus moment.

But she could still be armed and dangerous. He’d pissed off enough bad guys in the joint to be wary of anyone turning up in the middle of the night. Hell, no one visited here, period.

“Hello?” She pressed her ear to his door. “Mr. Carver?” she said louder. Her shoulders sagged when no one answered.

He didn’t recognize her voice. He moved fast and silent across the clearing, padded up the stairs just as she reached for the doorknob.

“You’re trespassing.”

She jolted, her hand going to her heart as she spun to face him. “Oh, my God. You scared me.”

Never admit fear.

“I don’t like visitors, lady.”

Her flashlight dipped and then shot back to his face, almost blinding him. She swallowed, taking in his lack of clothes and keeping her eyes north of the hot spots. “You’re naked.”

“I was in bed.” He didn’t know why he needed to explain himself.

Her voice came out like gravel. “I’m looking for Brent Carver.”

“I’m looking for peace and quiet. Looks like we’re both screwed.”

“You’re Brent?” Her free hand slipped into her bag and he grabbed her wrist and pinned her against his door before she could get the drop on him. She went ballistic and tried to whack him with the flashlight. He jerked it out of her fingers and threw it behind them. She felt tiny and delicate, crushed between him and that solid piece of oak, although her lungs were in full working order.

Shit, his ears hurt.

“No one will hear you, so you might as well stow it.” She jammed one hand against his chin, squirming like an eel, then went for gold by trying to knee him in the nuts. He deflected the attack and pressed her tighter against the door, wedging her there with his body. She barely came up to his chin but fought like a wild thing. “Want to tell me who you are and why you’re knock­ing on my door in the middle of the night?” He concentrated on making sure he didn’t injure her while he tried to check out what she was going for in her purse.

She scratched sharp fingernails down his arm, drew in a breath to scream even louder. Her breasts pushed against his chest, which would have worked for him in a big way if she wasn’t so goddamn terrified. Sonofa-fucking-bitch.

Why me?

He had nowhere to stick his gun so he removed the pocketbook from her fingers and stepped back, keeping a wary eye on her bloodthirsty knee. She stood there stunned, trembling, and breathing heavily. He didn’t think it had anything to do with his dazzling good looks.

“You bastard.” Her chin snapped up. “You aren’t Brent Carver.”

He cocked a brow. “What makes you say that?” He searched her bag, more by touch than sight in the darkness. A cell phone, wallet, keys, tampons, tissues. No gun or shank.

“He’s a respectable painter. He’s not some nutcase who runs about in the middle of the night, waving around a gun, among other things,” she muttered darkly. “Attacking innocent, defenseless women.”

The scratches on his arm stung enough for him to snort out a laugh at that. Her eyes narrowed. He watched moonlight flow over her features, fine boned and delicate, except for the tight clench of her jaw.

There was no obvious threat in her pocketbook, but it didn’t mean he should let his guard down. He needed clothes. For some crazy reason, he was getting a little turned on by Miss Prim and Proper telling him who and what he was. It was probably being naked and within a hundred yards of anything two legged and female, but he didn’t want to scare her any more than he had already. He wasn’t a hound. Nor was he under any illusion about what she thought might happen when he grabbed her. Someone had jumped him in the shower once and lost their eye for the trouble. Hell, most people thought he was evil incarnate and that was the way he liked it. He reached past her and opened the door. “Inside. Now.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” She tried to dodge aside.

He grabbed her by the shoulders and forced her across his threshold. “You want to meet Brent? I’ll take you to him.” Her eyes were so huge with fear she looked like she’d been electrocuted. But she’d come to him, she had to play by his rules.

 

Enter the Giveaway Below

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*Don’t forget to comment on this post for the chance to win an ebook of one of the author’s backlist!

 

Please visit the other stops on the tour!

8/6/2013
Reading Between the Wines
Cocktails and Books
Hesperia Loves Books

8/7/2013
We Love Kink
Tattooed Book Review
Love N. Books

8/8/2013
Busy Moms Book Reviews
Twinsie Talk Book Reviews
Queen of All She Reads

8/9/2013
Fae Books
Musings From An Addicted Reader
StoreyBook Reviews
First Class Books

8/12/2013
Read Your Writes Book Reviews
Smardy Pants Book Blog
Blackraven’s Reviews

8/13/2013
Erzabet’s Enchantnents
Delighted Reader
HEA Romances With A Little Kick

8/14/2013
The KariAnnAlysis
Mrs Condit & Friends Read Books
The Readers Roundtable Smokin’ Gun

8/15/2013
SnifferWalk Books
Shh Moms Reading
Reads and Thoughts
Guilty Pleasures

8/16/2013
Bookworm Brandee
My Book Muse
Simply Ali
Reviewing in Chaos

8/19/2013
3 Partners in Shopping,Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too!
Heart Breaking Reviews
From the TBR Pile

8/20/2013
Manic Readers Guest Author Blog
My Fiction Nook
Books Books and More Books

8/21/2013
Romancing the Book
Harlie’s Books
My Life Beyond Labels

 

 


Book #Review and Series Spotlight: ALWAYS A MARINE Series by Heather Long

August 6, 2013 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Favorite Books, Novella/Short Story 0

marine series

I’m so excited to share with you a series that is very close my heart. Because I have a very special Marine in my own life, Heather Long’s Always a Marine Series from Decadent Publishing hits home. I have my review of What Part of Marine Don’t You Understand, as well as info and excerpts from other books in the series. There’s a little something for everyone… Enjoy!

 

About the Books

 

HL_What Part of Marine_LG

 

What Part of Marine Don’t You Understand?

Matt McCall’s struggles to reintegrate into civilian life have been an ongoing battle for the better part of two years. Daily group sessions and weekly one-on-ones have only allowed him to grow so far. Twice he’s returned to his home state of Ohio and twice, he retreated to Mike’s Place. Uncertain of where he belongs in the world, he battles depression silently. The unexpected gift of a black Labrador retriever perks his spirit…and a chance meeting in the park gives him a precious gift…

Aspiring country singer Naomi Sparks comes from a long line of Marines, she knows all about sacrifice and struggle. When her brother asks her to visit to Mike’s Place on his behalf, she discovers a real opportunity to make a difference. Matt McCall inspires her with the real challenge of discovering love and daring heroes who takes risks.  Writing music has never been so sweet…

Can one woman who believes in him really heal the wounds in this Marine’s heart?

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My Review

My Rating: 5 Stars

A beautiful country songwriter, a handsome Marine struggling to overcome PTSD, and a lovable service dog… the main characters in this hopeful, beautifully written, and warmly romantic story.

I’m a HUGE fan of this series and of this book. Long captures brilliantly the issues facing soldiers and families of soldiers, all while immersing the reader in an emotional and well crafted romance. In a short span of time, she creates characters that you relate to, feel for, and wish a bright future. Both main characters show such great strength, Matt as he works to overcome his demons, and Naomi as the always supportive member of a family of Marines. I enjoyed their relationship immensely, their chemistry, courtship, and eventual happy ending.

This book tells a story that needs to be told: a struggle that many military veterans face and their loved ones face with them. I cried and smiled and hoped my way through this heartwarming, romantic journey that starts with a man in his darkest hour, as he manages to find his way out, towards love and a brighter future.

” ‘I hear a good brother who cares about his family, a good son who respects his mother, a tough Marine who honors his unit, and a strong man facing his own demons. You’re exactly the kind of guy I want to see.

‘But I can’t take you out and do all the things you deserve- real dates, real romance-‘

‘I don’t need those trappings, Matt. I just need you.’ She wasn’t sure which one of them moved, but she went from sitting next to him to sitting in his lap, and his mouth closed over hers.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

Excerpt:

“We have to talk about what happened. You have to remember and not relive it.”

“I’m not reliving it.” Am I? The bitter taste in his mouth burned his tongue. Shouts echoed in the hallway. Feet thundered past. He jerked to his feet and started forward three steps. Jethro butted against him and he stopped. Disoriented, he felt the leash rub against the cuts on his knuckles—and he looked at James.

No feet echoed in the hallway. He wasn’t in Iraq. He was in Allen, Texas.

“Holy hell on a biscuit.” He sat down before he fell down and Jethro shoved his head under Matt’s hand.  He couldn’t make it stop.  “How do I make it stop?”

“Breathe, Matt. Look at Jethro. He knows you’re upset. Breathe.” If only James’ calmness could flow from the psychologist to him. It was like Matt could hear the words, but he couldn’t quite process them. “You haven’t hurt anyone and you haven’t hurt yourself.”

“Why does my mouth taste like ass?” Sweat trickled down the back of his neck. Oxygen burned in his chest with every breath he took.

“That’s the adrenaline. You got upset. You remembered and you were there. The bitter taste is adrenaline.”

“I’m getting short-changed here.” Amusement and disbelief warred against the craziness swirling inside him.

“No, it’s normal. With a lot of veterans, you start cooking and after a while, you can’t stop it anymore—that’s when you snap. You keep bringing yourself up to the boil and then backing off in full retreat.”

“What gets me cooking?” And why hadn’t they talked like this before? The blood pounding in his skull eased and his heart stopped trying to pound its way out of his chest.

“With veterans it can be a car backfiring, a twig snapping, or a box dropping off a shelf. The sudden, explosive noise reminds them of…”

“Gunshots.” That made sense. He could actually wrap his mind around that.

“But that’s not what sets you off.”

“So what is it?”

“I know this will sound like I’m telling you that five plus five equals a pile of hay, but it’s people yelling or laughing or running. Large movements of people. It’s what set you off in the bar. It’s why you didn’t stick it out at Damon’s restaurant. It’s why going home…”

 

HL_A Marine Affair_LG

 

Commander Rick McConnell and Colonel Elijah Masters have been secret lovers for years. They nurtured their very private relationship with planned vacations and leaves, always meeting somewhere different—always escaping off the grid. It worked for them—career officers with a desire to serve their country and a passion for each other. The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell provides them with the tremendous opportunity to come out to their friends and loved ones—Rick wants to seize the day, but Eli isn’t so certain. His hesitation leads to a fight, an ultimatum, and a breakup. Rather than confront their issues, Eli takes a foreign assignment.

A year’s separation changes both of them. The last person Eli expects to see when he steps off the plane is Rick, but the physician wants another chance with the only man he’s ever loved and he has a plan.  Will bitterness, recriminations, and loss keep them apart or can these two officers rediscover the faith and loyalty that bound them for so long?

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Excerpt:

“You’re late.” Eli greeted him with a dry smile. The man looked better than the day before, if that were possible.

“Sorry, surgery ran longer than I expected.” He took the chair next to him rather than the one opposite. “A beer please.” The waiter took his order and left them alone.  The best part of the restaurant were the availability of private party rooms where diners could enjoy their meal and not have to share their table with a family of strangers.

“I figured.” Eli gestured to the sushi. “They just delivered it. Your favorites.”

The gesture struck him with its kindness and compassion. Eli didn’t have a favorite kind of sushi, he didn’t particularly care for it. Rick knew he only ate it when they were together because Rick enjoyed it. “Thanks.”

Unwrapping his chopsticks, he tucked into the Philadelphia rolls with their salmon, cucumber and cream cheese. He’d spent nearly ten hours in the operating room. A light day by his usual standards, but he hadn’t had time to eat since breakfast that morning.

“What happened?” The quiet question drew him back to the moment.

“Just a long day.” The waiter brought his beer and they both ordered. Steak and shrimp for Eli. Chicken and fish for Rick. Fried rice for Eli, while Rick chose white. They both wanted extra veggies and Eli added an order of shrimp tempura for himself.

So many little differences, from food choices to the teams they liked. Rick loved the Mets while Eli was a dyed in the wool Yankees fan.  He exhaled a humorless laugh and looked sideways at the Marine. “Red meat, fried rice, and fried food—you going for the early heart attack?”

“My first real red meat in a year and the last time I saw fried food it was a McDonald’s drive thru on the way to the airport. I think I’ll survive. Besides I lived on rations more often than I care to count—if that doesn’t kill you this sure as hell won’t.” Eli saluted him with the beer. “What happened in surgery?”

The man possessed homing radar. He always knew what bothered him. Weird how he was an open book while Eli remained a mystery unless he chose to share.  “Lost a patient. Complications.” Acid churned in his stomach. “Kid didn’t report some medication he’d been on. Too many bleeders, not enough blood. It happens.”

“Sorry.” No platitudes, no coaxing comfort, just a plain and simple word that encompassed so much more.

“Me, too. Anyway, how’s Christina?”

“She’s good. Recovering. Kid’s cute—well—not really, he’s ugly as sin, but then most babies have that smooshed look, so I figure he’ll grow out of it. Healthy.” Eli rubbed the back of his neck. It looked like he wanted to say more, but their chef arrived and along with Eli’s tempura. They ate in silence and watched the food preparation show.

“You have your new orders yet?” Small talk gave them both an out.

Eli shook his head. “Marine Barracks next Monday. Fitness assessment, and debrief. Probably get them while I’m there.”

“You apply for anything?” With his rank and credentials, he could open a lot of doors.

Shaking his head, Eli speared a piece of meat onto his fork. “I thought about it, but I don’t want a desk job. Colonel Spears asked me to consider a teaching position either at Parris Island or OCR at Quantico.”

A position at either base would keep Eli in country—Quantico would keep him in the region. Rick swallowed back the urge to give him any advice. “Nice.”

“Maybe. What about you? Running your department yet?”

“No.” Rick shook his head. “I didn’t want to play those politics. I like my patients. I like training interns and I like having something of a life outside the hospital. Department Chief doesn’t give me much time for any of that. I am going to Amman in a few weeks, but it’s a three week clinic to train some of the locals at the hospital.”

“Huh.” The bland grunt didn’t reveal as much as the tightness flexing Eli’s jaw. He didn’t like it.

“I like keeping my hand in and they need a cardio thoracic specialist. Too many of their cases have to leave the country, they’ve got some good candidates signed up for the training and the top two will return here for another six months of training that I’ll supervise.”

“You ever think we’d be teachers?” Eli finished all the meat on his plate. He didn’t like mixing his foods. He ate methodically, one dish after the other.

“Not as a life goal, no. But it makes sense. See one, do one, teach one. Learned that in medical school.” The educational method described most of his internship, fellowship and his current residency. He could have his pick of civilian hospitals, but preferred his military service. Two years as a medic to a forward unit during the initial incursions into Afghanistan taught him more than all his years at a hospital combined.

“Christina tried to set me up with another date.”

The unexpected bit of news sent a shock through Rick. He chewed a piece of chicken thoroughly as he tried to digest the information. He could handle this. “Yeah? Anyone I know?”

“One of her girlfriends from college—thrice married. Apparently she thinks my prospects are limited and wants to fix me up with my first divorce.”  If Eli tried to be funny, the humor was lost on him.

“She doesn’t know.” The revelation stunned him. Rick’s family knew about him, his mother was more comfortable with the information than his father, but both accepted it. Eli’s family didn’t?

“Nope.”

Why hasn’t he told them?  The thought burned through him, igniting a dozen other questions. He clamped a lid on it. In a decade together, Eli never indicated his sexual preference was a secret from his family. Was that the problem? He chewed that thought over and over, eating to try and cover his silence.

Two beers and half the meal later, Rick turned sideways in the chair.  Bit by bit Eli relaxed while they ate.  Maybe it was the company, the day’s loss or the alcohol—or some combination of the three, but wanted their cards on the table. He wanted Eli back. “I miss you Eli. I want us back. What do we need to do make that happen?”

 

HL_Marine ever after_LG

 

Marine Paul Torres is used to the casual thing, women who enjoy the pleasure of the moment and whom he can bed with a wink and a smile.  Lately though, he’s turned on by the allure of finding the right partner for him with so many of his friends settling down.  Attending a wedding in Texas for one of his oldest friends, he meets Lillianna Hansen.

Paul and Lillianna get off on the wrong foot, enjoying a wildly passionate encounter after the wedding. He wakes to find her gone, but still tries to track down her number. Paul wants more than a one-night stand, but his limited leave is up and must return to active duty.

He might be ready to take their relationship to another level, but all Lillianna thought she wanted was a good time. But Paul’s attention—even from thousands miles away—is hard to resist and while she tells herself repeatedly she doesn’t want a relationship with a Marine, she can’t deny the consequences of their passionate night.

And when she finally does reach out, it’s to confess she’s pregnant, and she has to figure out if she’s ready to let the father of her child be her Marine ever after…

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Excerpt:

Paul eyed the bridesmaid from the moment she made her entrance through the double doors. He was fourth groomsman, which meant he’d get to escort her out. Thank you, Jesus.Gorgeous was the only word that would do. Not that the other bridesmaids weren’t good looking, Jazz was a hell of a looker and if he looked too long, one of her two husbands might be inclined to take his head off.

All in good fun, at least on Zach’s part. Logan was standing right net to Paul. Better to keep his eyes on the more attractive prize. From her rich dark hair piled atop of her head to the deep natural dark tan of her skin. He hesitated to call it brown, but the white gloves and deep navy of her dress looked so smashing against her skin tone. He barely got a glimpse at her eyes and his training kept his gaze forward as they walked.

Photographs would be next and then a drive to the reception at Mike’s Place. If he played his cards right, he’d be in her limo. Sadly, the evening wedding meant the sun was already sinking as they exited and the shadows lessened the chance he could tell what color they were.

But we have to dance… A smile curved his mouth. He would have plenty of opportunity to stare at her eyes and determine their color then.

“Paul Torres,” he murmured.

“I’m sorry, what?” She glanced up at him, a distracted smile softening her expression. It hit him like a fist to the gut.  He needed to revise his earlier opinion, gorgeous didn’t do her justice.

“I’m Paul Torres, you must be Lillianna,” the only bridesmaid who missed the big rehearsal dinner. Not that I can complain…He almost missed it, too. But his flight landed an hour beforehand and it was only with some skillful driving that Damon managed to get them both there in time to be in the line up before the bridesmaids did their obligatory walk.

“Yes, sorry. I can’t get over how happy she looks. And Lillianna Hansen.” She let go of his arm and offered her gloved hand to shake.  The urge to kiss it was a little too romance novel for him, so he shook it and then held onto it.

“The captain looks pretty happy, too. I think he got the better end of the bargain.” He chuckled. They were all settling down. He’d served with most of the men in the groom’s party and earned his invitation when the wedding coincided with his leave. Unfortunately, Brody hadn’t been able to make it. But he promised to visit the happy couple on his next trip through Dallas.

“I hope so. There’s a tiny part of me that doesn’t like him.” The announcement surprised him, but the photographer summoned them to join the bride and groom so he swallowed the question.

Five hundred photographs later, they were dismissed to make their way to the waiting limousines. A small fleet of them waited, Jazz and her husbands loaded into one, the freshly marrieds got their own, James and Lauren claimed the third, and Paul drifted back a little, and fortunately Lillianna waited for him as Damon and A.J. helped their bridesmaids into a limo and joined them.

Score. We get the last one to ourselves.

“Everything all right?” She eyed him expectantly.

“Fine, I just wanted to check a button.” Lame, Paul. Lame. But it was the first excuse to pop into his head. He motioned for the limo and she shook her head and led the way. He beat her to the door and opened it, and handed her inside before slipping off his cover and joining her.

She sat opposite him in the wide area of the stretch, and on the far side. He considered swapping seats, but he liked looking at her better—even if only in the illumination of passing headlights.  “I hope you’re ready for a big party.”

“Me too.” Lillianna didn’t sound like she was ready.  He raised his eyebrows and she moistened her lips.

Damn. Mind out of the gutter. He gave his body the order, but it was too late to prevent the shock of reaction running riot through his system. If he hadn’t already been curious about her before, he definitely was now.  Out. Of. The. Gutter.

 

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Freewill bound…

Greg Rainwater lost a piece of himself in the deserts of Iraq, a piece that his Shaman great-grandfather would call his soul. After months of grueling physical therapy at Mike’s Place, he’s still empty. When his discharge papers arrive, Greg has no idea where to go until A.J. calls and invites him to Freewill. The ranch turns out to be exactly what he needs—hard physical labor, horses, and the mountains soothe his injured soul.  If only Old Man Crane’s granddaughter didn’t look at him with such scorn in her eyes… Determined to put her out of his mind, he signs up for a one-night stand.

Under her skin…

Stuck in Freewill, Georgia Crane gave up her own dreams to look after her grandfather. She hates small towns, she hates busybodies, and she really hates outsiders, but she adores her grandfather, so she stays. If only the old man wouldn’t keep wandering off. The self-proclaimed medicine man insists on walking the hills and the mountains, communing with nature and the spirits. Her frustration increases when a new arrival encourages his lunacy.  Not content to hunger after the man replacing her in her grandfather’s affections, Georgia signs up for a one-night stand.

Sexual healing…

When Greg is paired with Georgia, his blood boils—the woman turns him inside out. Georgia’s as shocked as he is…after all, this is the guy her grandfather keeps wandering off with. Stuck together for the evening, distrust turns to attraction and irritation to desire, but can they bridge the distance in just one night?

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Excerpt:

The beautiful woman marched straight for them and sent all the blood in Greg’s body south. He’d spent most of his time on the ranch or at Mike’s Place. The women he knew were therapists, Marines, sailors—or A.J.’s girlfriend. This lady, with her mane of midnight black hair, sun kissed skin, and soft pink lips reminded him of all he’d been missing, a sprite of nature given living, breathing form.

“I’m sorry, son,” Crane muttered and picked up his pace. “Georgia…”

“Don’t you Georgia me.” The beautiful sprite turned into a fire-breathing dragon, right down to the heat flaming in her eyes. “You’re supposed to be taking it easy, Grandpa. This—?” she waved her arms toward the ranch and included Greg in her sweep. “Is the complete opposite of taking it easy.”

“I’m fine. Georgia, this is—”

“I don’t care who this is.” She exhaled a hard breath and looked at Greg. “No offense. I’m sure you’re very nice. I know you served, and we’re grateful. But this is my grandfather you’re dragging all over the back of beyond, not one of your Marines.”

“Georgia Crane.” The older man frowned.

“No. You’re an hour late. You didn’t tell me where you were going. You didn’t leave a note. I’ve looked for you everywhere. If I hadn’t run into A.J., I wouldn’t know where you were now.” She held up a bottle and shook it. “You’re supposed to take this, on schedule, three times a day. You can’t skip.”

Anger tightened the lines around her eyes and her mouth had a hard pinched look. Greg hadn’t encouraged the older man to take a long walk, but he hadn’t discouraged him either.

“It was good to meet you, Greg.” Crane turned away from his granddaughter pointedly and offered his hand. Greg shook it. “Don’t forget to keep listening.”

“I won’t. You two all right to get back to town?” He didn’t doubt for an instant the little firecracker could handle it, but in her current frame of mind, they might need a mediator.

“We’re fine.” The older man didn’t seem hurried. “Georgia, this is Greg Rainwater.”

“Mr. Rainwater.”

“Miss Crane,” he echoed her tone.

“Grandpa, come on. You need your meds and probably something to eat with them. We can pick up sandwiches on the way.” She may as well have acted like Greg wasn’t there, but since the pair seemed likely to engage in an argument at any moment, he left it alone.

After she loaded her grandfather in the car and walked around to the passenger side, she set her fierce gaze on him again. It raked him from head to toe before she gave him a grudging nod, although her expression didn’t ease one iota.

He stared after the car long after it disappeared into the distance and he listened.

If only he was certain what he listened for.

 

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She’s his best friend’s sister…

From cradle to grave, Derek and Keith grew up together, enlisted, served, and rose through the ranks together. When Keith died in the field, the last thing he asked for was Derek to keep watch over his sister. But every time Derek is around Kara, he wants to touch her. A promise stands between them and he refuses to seduce his best friend’s baby sister. Determined to get her out of his mind, he signs up for a one-night stand.

He’s the one she wants…

Ever since Kara ran into a shirtless Derek, she’s known he was the one. He promised to bring her brother home and he was there for her at his funeral. But he remains unattainable, no matter their chemistry. Frustrated, she takes a girlfriend’s advice and signs up for a one-night stand.

The last person they expected…

Dressed to kill, Kara doesn’t know whether to scream or cry when Derek turns out to be her date. He’s furious that she’d sign up for a night of sex with a perfect stranger, but together their reunion is combustible and neither can deny the power of their attraction.

He may have been her brother’s best friend, but she wants him to be her Marine with Benefits.

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Excerpt:

He needed to get it together. Tonight was about purging demons and having a good time. When the waitress delivered his jack and coke, he swirled the ice around in the glass, watering down the alcohol. An icy hot shiver skated over his skin. Twisting in the seat, he looked toward the entrance in time to see her walk in the door. It was like every cell in his body leaned in her direction, drawn by the inexorable force of nature that was Kara Childs. He’d know her anywhere.

Steel bands squeezed his chest, compressed his lungs, and bruised his heart. She was gorgeous. A red dress hugged her luscious curves, too much so. His dick stood at attention without a second thought for courtesy, commitment, or promises made. And damn if she didn’t make an entrance, her arrival captured more than a few looks of interest from the single men at the bar and a few not so single men at the tables.

Rising, he crossed the room toward her. The moment her gaze collided with his, heat flashed through him. She had no business being out in a dress like that much less in a club like this.

“What are you doing here?”

“I planned on asking you the same question.” He caught her arm and turned her around, not quite hurrying her back up the red-carpeted steps toward the front door. “And why aren’t you wearing some damn clothes?”

Kara stopped, and unless he planned on picking her up or knocking her over, he had to stop, too. Although, he had to admit the former idea held a certain appeal. “Let go Derek.”

“You shouldn’t be here.” He kept his voice low and leaned into her. The scent of plum and flowery blossoms in the soap she favored smelled like coming home.

“Really?” The cold spray of her gaze flicking over him cooled his ardor. “I live here. What’s your excuse?”

“I’m moving here—moved here.” Yeah, not how he planned to drop this particular bomb.  And from her shocked expression, not one she expected either. “I planned to call you,” and it was a little to late to apologize. “After I settled in.”

Her chest rose with her swift inhale and his gaze dropped to the warm curves of her breasts visible above the strapless line of her dress. That dress was made for her. His cock jerked in his pants and he was grateful for the lower illumination near the door.  “Well, thanks for the notice.” She turned away from him and surveyed the room beyond. “If you’ll excuse me, I have a date.”

Violence rocketed through him. “With who?” He didn’t even realize he gritted his teeth until he tried to speak.

“With a gentleman called none of your damn business,” she tugged her arm out of his grasp.

Flushing hot and cold and then hot again, he moved to stand next to her and studied the room. Who the hell was she meeting in a place like this? How did she even know a bar like this existed? Keith’s baby sister did not belong in a club like this. “Who are you here to see, Kara?” He bent his head, his lips damn near brushing the warm curve of her ear and half tempted to kiss it while he was there. Locking down that urge, he ordered his body to knock it off.

She was—and had always been—way out of bounds.

 

About the Author

 

A national best selling author, Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. In addition to military romance, Heather writes a wide variety of romance from paranormal historical western romance to contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She loves characters and the stories they have to tell.

As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.

 

Connect with Heather

Website: http://www.heatherlong.net

Email:  heather@heatherlong.net

Blog: http://dailydose-fantasyromance.blogspot.com

Twitter: @HVLong

Facebook: Always a Marine Series ~ Heather Long


Book #Review and #Giveaway: NEAR AND FAR by Nicole Williams

August 3, 2013 Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Past Giveaways 7

Welcome to the Near and Far Book Tour! This sequel to the bestselling Lost and Found continues the story of Rowen and Jesse. Read my review and enter the giveaway for the chance to win a print copy of the book and a $50 Amazon Gift Card!

 

About the Book

 

Near and Far Amazon GR SW

 

Title: Near & Far (Lost & Found, #2)

Author: Nicole Williams

Release date: July 30th, 2013

Age Group: Mature Young Adult/New Adult

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

 

**NEW YORK TIMES & USATODAY Bestselling Series**

There’s optimistic. And there’s Jesse Walker.

If he wasn’t so charming, his sunny disposition and incessant grin would get old. Fast.

Falling in love with the broken girl who had at first seemed immune to anything resembling love was the best thing to happen to Jesse since the Walkers adopted him when he was five.

As Jesse’s life continues at the ranch and Rowen begins making her mark in the Seattle art community, they wonder where the middle ground is. Or if there even is one.

As push comes to shove, they’re forced to make choices neither are eager to make, and Jesse and Rowen have to face what their lives might look like without the other.

Can two people with such tragic pasts and different presents expect a promising future together? Whatever the answer, they’ll need a lot more than love to make it.

 

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My Review

 

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

“Sometimes love was about compromise, and sometimes it was about sacrifice. Most times, it was a little of both. I’d learned that the trial-and-error way.”

Equal parts uplifting romance and devastating heartbreak, Near and Far is a surprising and beautifully emotional journey. It reminds us that true love is not without imperfections, and to reap its benefits, we may have to search the darkest corners to find the light.

It’s fitting that the story is told through both Rowen and Jesse’s perspectives. They are very different people and are miles apart, not only in physical distance, but in character. Rowen, the cynical, struggling young artist with a dark past she continues to move forward from. Her boyfriend Jesse, light as air and solid as a rock; the cowboy with bright smile and arms that have been Rowen’s salvation. He charms the reader with what I came to call “Jesse-isms”: little gems of wisdom and philosophy, or sometimes beautiful and achingly romantic declarations for the woman he worships without without question.

“That girl, that woman, was mine. And even though that was a hallmark I was intensely proud of, I was more sure and proud of something else.

I was hers.

It wasn’t a question. It had never been an option. It was something set into motion the day the universe was created, and thousands of years later, there we were.”

The story seemed to be broken into two parts. The first part was what I expected the book to be: a poignant tale of young lovers struggling with finding common ground despite the distance between them and other outside forces. I figured they would struggle through the difficulties of their situation and would eventually come together in the end. I should have been prepared for something else. The author gave hints that something was not quite right, but I was too wrapped up in Jesse and Rowen to notice. Part two: in a twist I didn’t see coming, the bottom drops out. I was devastated: crying and angry, possibly unnecessarily abusing my kindle during the incredibly heart-wrenching scenes. There were a few times when I didn’t think I would get through this part of the book; and without the help of their infinitely supportive and oddly insightful best friends, Rowen and Jesse have no hope of making it through it, either.

This story surprised me in many ways, not only in it’s sudden and complete darkness, but in the contrast of light and dark. And that the light seems to be found in peculiar places, and humor and healing words come from unlikely mouths and hearts. This gives it a quirky, interesting quality, made completely unique by this author’s voice. I’m so glad I read this book, beginning, middle, and beautiful end.

” ‘ I love you for all of your pieces, not just a select few. I love you for your dark, dirty secrets too. I love you, Jesse. I love…you.‘ “

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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About the Author

I’m the New York Times and USATODAY bestselling author of the LOST & FOUND series, the CRASH series, and a handful of others. Basically, I get to do what I love. Every single day. I write romance because I’m a sucker for a good love story, and I write happy endings because there are too few of them in real life.

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Connect with Nicole

Blog ~ Facebook

Twitter: @nwilliamsbooks

 

CLICK HERE for more stops on the tour!

 

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Book Review and #Giveaway: FIXED ON YOU by Laurelin Paige

August 3, 2013 Adult, Book Review, Book Tour, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance, Erotica, Past Giveaways 1

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Welcome to the Fixed on You by Laurelin Paige Book Tour! Read my review of this sexy romance and enter to win a $50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble Gift Card!

 

About the Book

 

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Title: Fixed on You

 Author: Laurelin Paige

 Release date: June 2013

 Age Group: Adult

 Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Pierce’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out – move up at the nightclub she works at and marry the manager, David. He’s perfect for her because, although he’s attractive, he doesn’t get her all turned inside out and upside down like some other men have. It’s a safe plan, one that assures she’ll remain in control of her obsessive love disorder.

But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous – the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of his plans to seduce her. Avoiding him becomes impossible after he offers a business proposition Alayna can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull.

Soon Alayna’s charmed by Hudson in every way possible and the control over her old behaviors slip. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

 

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My Review

 

My Rating: 4 Stars

” ‘I’m drawn to you, Alayna. Not because I want to hurt you you or make you feel a certain way, but because your beautiful and sexy and smart and, yes, a little crazy, maybe, but you’re not broken. And that makes me hopeful. For me.’ ”

This is just one of those lovely books, where everything fits, everything flows. It’s a pleasure to read and get lost in for a few beautiful, warm, sexy hours. There’s conflict, strong emotion, tons of fantastic sex, flawed characters, difficult pasts, and questionable futures; but the overall book is an enjoyable ride.

So I’ll start with my highlights: Hudson. Extremely sexy, domineering, successful, damaged alpha-male hero. YUM. Oh, and funny and playful, too. He has so many desirable characteristics for a male lead, and he is made complex by the fact that although, as the reader you want to trust him, it’s difficult to discern whether or not he is truly genuine. When Alayna enters his life, she challenges who is is, or who he as decided he is. She a great female lead: the right balance of vulnerability and strength. I love that in spite of her past, and all of her self doubts, she has the strength to stand-up for herself and to better her life. She can be wishy-washy at times, and she rankled me a little when she became a little too neurotic, but I admired her ability to trust in someone else (Hudson), perhaps even more than she trusts in herself. Her trust (and love?) may be the only chance that Hudson has to move on from his past, and begin to heal. The connection between these two characters is undeniable, and the sex is super steamy.

I was desperate for this couple to make it, to find common ground and the confidence to take a chance on a real relationship. Their romance builds and builds and as I began to realize that the book was coming to a close, I was heartbroken; I simply did not want to let these characters go. Fortunately, though the book has a satisfying conclusion, there is the promise of more to come from Hudson and Alayna.

“I trusted him. In his words, in his actions, I felt fixed. I’d fallen into something that had nothing to do with love. Into healing.

And it was love too. If I could stand to admit it to myself, love was exactly what it was.”

*I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

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About the Author

 

Laurelin Paige is a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine. She is represented by Bob Diforio of D4EO Literary Agency.

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Connect with Laurelin:

 Website ~ FacebookGoodreads

Twitter: @laurelinpaige

 

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