Once again I'm blown away by a great book written by Toni Blake.
One Reckless Summer is the story of Jenny Tolliver, a self-described "goody two-shoes"Once again I'm blown away by a great book written by Toni Blake.
One Reckless Summer is the story of Jenny Tolliver, a self-described "goody two-shoes" who is moving back to the house she grew up in, in Destiny, Ohio, for the summer... to rethink her future after her recent (and totally unexpected) divorce. Seems her "rat bastard" of a husband (a fitting term bestowed upon the man by her best friend) enjoyed sex with Jenny's teacher's aide more than he did with her. His reason? Jenny was just too "June Cleaver" for him - even in the sack.
On her first night back in Destiny, Jenny, an avid stargazer, decides to row over on the lake running behind her house to the old Brody property, where she will have an unobstructed view of the sky. Upon docking, she is rudely confronted by a man she remembers as Mick Brody - the classic "bad boy" from the wrong side of the tracks (or in this case - the wrong side of the lake) when they were in high school. Jenny had heard about Mick and his brother Wayne's criminal activities over the past 12 years (her father being Chief of Police in Destiny), but nobody had told her what a breathtakingly handsome man Mick had become! Oh, and hadn't she heard the property had been abandoned by the Brody's years before? Then what was Mick doing here? She wasn't going to find out now because Mick was shoving her back to her boat...telling her to forget she ever saw him. A little angry, a lot aroused and quite thoroughly sick of being pushed around, Jenny fights back. Push turns to shove and soon Jenny is up against a tree - her arms twined around Mick's neck kissing him passionately. Before she has time to really think about it, Mick has her (or does she have him?) lying on the ground. She knows she should stop him now...and she's going to...soon. But soon only sees her straddling Mick as he thrusts up into her. Uh oh...looks like June Cleaver has left the building...
So there you have it in the first 25 pages...an unorthodox beginning to an unusual romance between two people "most likely not to..." As the story develops, we see Jenny shed her "squeaky-clean" image (along with her clothes AND her inhibitions - take THAT rat bastard!) while Mick slowly warms to the unfamiliar feeling that someone finally cares about him. The sexual encounters are frequent but each situation is unique. Those of you that "skim" the sex scenes after the initial encounter should rethink that (bad) habit when reading this book because TB gets creative with these two. Aside from their first encounter in the woods, they do it on the linoleum in the kitchen with the freezer door open (it was hot outside!), on the grass during a torrential downpour, on a swing, against a tree and on the couch...all before they finally do it in a (ho-hum) bed. But somewhere along the way, "having sex" becomes "making love"; and both Jenny and Mick, while able to acknowledge and accept what they feel for each other is love, are more than a little uncertain about their future together. Can Jenny ignore Mick's criminal past, as well as the illegal activity he is currently involved in, for the sake of love? Can she live with the gossip her "coming out" with Mick will surely stir? And Mick...will he ever feel he is the right man for Jenny? Is he worthy enough to live in her world?
As in the other books I've read by Toni Blake, the protagonists in ORS are so thoroughly fleshed out they became "real". Less than halfway through the book, I really started caring about Jenny & Mick as though they were friends. Being so completely invested in their relationship, there were a few tears plopping onto the book during some of the sadder, touching scenes. However, those were replaced with happy tears when the new "I-am-woman-hear-me-roar" Jenny went after her man...suddenly oblivious to what people would think or how it might look. This, of course, led to a wonderful HEA and epilogue
Toni Blake is now my undisputed favorite contemporary author. How could she not be? Letters to a Secret Lover, Tempt Me Tonite and now One Reckless Summer are all 5-star keepers in my top 20 all-time favorites. I "love" her heroines and I am "in love" with her heroes. Or "in lust", I should say. But how can I help it when they are so damn hot they scorch the pages? I have a perfect image of Mick Brody in my mind. He is described as having olive skin so I have decided he's Italian...and, as most of you know, I'm obsessively honed in on one particular Italian, so VOILA! Mick Brody in my avatar!
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a story with the "opposites attract" premise, who isn't adverse to explicit sex & much of it (between the H/h only) and who doesn't mind getting a little involved with, and perhaps a little emotional over, two fictitious characters from a fictitious little town called Destiny. Virgin River lovers - are you listening?
This is the 6th or 7th book I've read by Rachel Gibson and I'm wondering if I'll ever read one that I feel deserves less than 5 stars. Not that I'm coThis is the 6th or 7th book I've read by Rachel Gibson and I'm wondering if I'll ever read one that I feel deserves less than 5 stars. Not that I'm complaining...not at all. It's just that each book I've read has been totally different from the others...each plot fresh, the characters unique (but always enjoyable) and the romantic aspect feels as if it was written specifically for that hero and heroine. That is pretty amazing for an author to achieve among her stand-alone books, but to pull it off in a 6-book series really showcases this author's writing talent. I can't think of a friend at Goodreads who wouldn't enjoy the Chinooks series...even if you don't give a fig about sports. Yes, the Seattle Chinooks is a fictional hockey team but, no, the stories do not dwell on the game. In fact, the team is nothing more than a well to draw characters from. And what a cast of characters! Each player is hot looking, hard-bodied and lovable as all hell. The million-dollar fantasy man that is as down-to-earth and normal as the guy next door...needing to love and be loved by one special person just like anyone else. Okay, so maybe we don't run into this type of guy everyday, but you just never know. It happened to Katie Hamilton. This is her story of how she found her Chinook, Rob Sutter, in the small town of Gospel, barely a dot on Idaho's map...
When Faith Duffy's elderly husband, Virgil, passed away, not only did he leave her an outrageous amountTrue Love and Other Disasters by Rachel Gibson
When Faith Duffy's elderly husband, Virgil, passed away, not only did he leave her an outrageous amount of money, he left her his hockey team as well. Faith, who had been a trophy wife for the last 5 years and a stripper/Playboy centerfold before that, had no idea how to manage a hockey team. She was going to sell the team to Landon, Virgil's snarky son [image error] but retracted the offer when Landon embarrassed her in front of the team by calling her Layla - her stripper name. [image error]
Faith's life became unbelievably hectic, but with the invaluable aid of a seasoned assistant and a supportive Chinooks staff, Faith evolved into a competent owner. The team members were supportive of Faith as well...that is, except for the team captain, Ty Savage. Ty couldn't stop thinking about Faith's layout and what a [image error] she was. The damn team was in the playoffs...they didn't need some blonde bimbo (although a gorgeous, sexy bimbo, he had to admit) ruining their chances of winning the Stanley Cup [image error]
But time spent with Faith proved Ty's assumptions to be wrong. True, she was stunningly beautiful and built like a brick sh*t house but she was sweet and smart and funny and Ty wanted her in his bed! Just a one-night-stand - one very long night - nobody would ever find out. Then he would be done with this ridiculous obsession and could once again concentrate on what was important! [image error] I loved this audio book...so much so that when it ended, I listened to it all over again. The narrator, Susan Bennett, is new to me but her character voices were excellent! There are several steamy sex scenes in the book and Ms. Bennett was so convincing portraying both characters -especially a sexed-up Faith- that I thought she I was there. Whew! You'll need to stick your head in a bucket of ice after listening to that!
Even though this is book #4 in Rachel Gibson's series about the fictional Seattle Chinooks hockey team, it works perfectly well as a stand-alone, as very little time, if any, is spent on other players. So if you enjoy a contemporary romance featuring two beautiful characters (no plain-janes or hawk noses here) who are immensely likable as well (with awesome sexual chemistry) and have a story worth telling with a great HEA, then write this book in at the top of your wish-list. Better yet, download the audio book to your i-pod and "feel" the love! You won't be disappointed!
Thoughtless is a compassionate but heartbreaking story of three people caught in a contemporary love triangle. I read this book last Sunday, and I donThoughtless is a compassionate but heartbreaking story of three people caught in a contemporary love triangle. I read this book last Sunday, and I don't know if it was because Andy Whitfield passed away, or because it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11...maybe a bad case of the "Sunday blues" or simply because the angst was ratcheted up so high in the story. Whatever the reason, when all hell broke loose in Chapter 23, the damn burst. Reading with blurred vision is such a bloody nuisance but I had to finish the last three chapters to see if somehow, despite the cheating, deceit and lies, all 3 protagonists were able to find a measure of peace & happiness in the end.
Kiera and Denny, both in their early 20's, have been an exclusive couple for 2 years. When Denny is offered an intern position with a prestigious ad firm in Seattle, Kiera applies for and receives a scholarship to the University of Washington. Leaving small-town life behind they travel across the country...moving in with a close friend of Denny's from when he served as an exchange student in high school. Enter Kellan Kyle...an extremely good-looking, sexier-than-hell lead singer in a local band...and new roommate to the transplanted Ohioans.
What follows is an extremely intense story of a young woman who is torn between her love for two equally-deserving men and their unwavering love for her. There is no menage here, where in a fantasy world Kiera would keep both Denny and Kellan. This isn't erotica, yet the sexual tension is so prevalent and so fine-tuned you'll be buzzing with expectation. Told through Kiera's POV, it is a simple day-to-day story made complex by the unexpected attraction between Kiera and Kellan and the powerful, emotionally high-charged atmosphere that settles among these two as well as the unsuspecting Denny. Fortunately, even with the limited POV,the author won't ever leave you scratching your head and wondering 'what just happened here?' She leaves nothing to speculation and plays the entire drama out in explicit (although somewhat lengthy) detail.
As you can probably guess, there is cheating in this story. And while the idea of cheating in a romance novel might totally turn you off, at least the circumstances that prompt the cheating are not due to the overplayed drunkenness or selfishness or the big misunderstanding...they are simply due to inexperience, vulnerability and the inevitable loss in the struggle to follow one's head and not one's heart. As such, there are no bad guys in the story. Unfortunately, this greatly restricts the reader's ability to justify the cheating; and because of the devastating outcome, it was hard for me to forgive Kiera and be truly happy for her.
This book is angst at its best. I was riding the emotional roller coaster of a lifetime and had to physically unwind & stretch cramped muscles whenever I took a break. But I loved the fact that a story could totally consume me like Thoughtless did...blubbering tears and all. The author, S.C. Stephens really has the ability to express feelings and emotions and internal struggle. She gets to the heart & core of the characters and thoroughly fleshes them out...so much so you will feel like a personal friend to Kiera, Kellan & Denny. Their story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and you will live every moment with them.
I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it!
Finally! Erotic historical romance is starting to make a strong bid for recognition as an established sub-genre of Erotica and/or Historical Romance nFinally! Erotic historical romance is starting to make a strong bid for recognition as an established sub-genre of Erotica and/or Historical Romance novels. Jess Michaels is one of a handful of authors making a significant contribution to this category... writing quality mainstream HR romances injected with a liberal amount of explicit, graphic, not-so-mainstream sex.
Taboo is a perfect example of erotic HR at its best. Those of us familiar with Regency England are well aware of the numerous "rules of polite society" that members of the ton were forced to adhere to. Those that were found acting outside of these rules/restrictions were immediately ostracized from polite society...sometimes for life. Such is the basis for the premise of Taboo...class difference. Although the heroine, Cassandra Willows, has a profitable business creating designer gowns for the elite members of the ton, and is accepted "per se" by polite society, she is still a member of the working class. She also maintains a lucrative side job creating sex toys for a discreet group of peers. The hero, Nathan Manning, Earl of Blackheath, once had his heart broken by the heroine. After a 4-yr trip to India, he is back and he is bitter. His sole purpose in life is to exact revenge on the woman who stood him up the night they were to elope to Gretna Green. He does so by blackmailing her with sex. She must be available at his whim or he will expose her sex toy secret to the proper ladies of the ton...causing a sure scandal & probable downfall of Cassandra's business and social acceptance.
Nathan's blackmailing scheme starts off with a bang (literally) as he is determined to hurt & degrade Cass. (He doesn't want to get personal with her so he takes her from behind or he won't remove his clothes so she can touch him intimately.) However, the blackmail aspect soon looses steam and their relationship, once again, evolves into one of mutual desire and eventually love. But things aren't any different now than they were 4 years ago...Cass & Nathan are still from two classes that are not socially acceptable together. To make matters worse, Nathan must find a wife.
I loved this book! The story pretty much centered around Nathan & Cassandra's relationship, and what few secondary characters were involved were all crucial to the story. The sex was HOT...definitely not your mother's gothic romance novel's standard-3-times sex from back in the day. The sexual encounters were frequent (but not to the extent they overrule the story, fresh (never repetitive) and fun (creative use of Cass's designer toys). Also, the sex was between the hero & heroine exclusively..my personal preference provided it doesn't get repetitive (as well as my "personal" personal preference provided it doesn't get repetitive with the same person LMAO);D
I'd recommend this book to all my friends here at GRs because you all enjoy the same kind of books I do 51% awesome story 49% awesome sex!
[image error] Nathan Manning, Earl of Blackheath ~ arriving at the dressmakers for his unscheduled "appointment"...more
"If you think my truck is big..." (bumper sticker on Bubba's pickup)
Going Cowboy Crazy is Katie Lane's cheeky debut novel about life in a small Texas"If you think my truck is big..." (bumper sticker on Bubba's pickup)
Going Cowboy Crazy is Katie Lane's cheeky debut novel about life in a small Texas town...and she has hit the ground running. Her style is a mish-mash of Susan Elizabeth Phillips (quirky but loveable secondary characters), Rachel Gibson (believable romance between two polar opposites) and Vicki Lewis Thompson (sexy, swaggering, modern-day cowboys). This is one of the sweetest books I've read in a long time and was just what I needed to pull me up from the literary doldrums I've been wallowing in lately...having no one to blame but myself for the slew of angst-ridden books I've been reading.
Faith Aldridge is on a mission. The demure, introverted woman from Chicago received the most unsettling news from her mother on her death bed...she has a twin sister. So Faith makes the trek across country to the small town of Bramble, Texas to, hopefully, meet her sister, Hope. Upon her arrival, Faith stops at what looks to be the local watering hole, but before she can open her mouth to ask after Hope, the townsfolk swoop down on her with kisses, hugs and adoration for their favorite hometown girl who is back from making it big in Hollywood. And they are gonna make damn sure she does things right this time by getting hitched to her high school sweetheart, Slate Calhoun.
Faith is overwhelmed by everyone's reaction and Slate, who knows instantly that Faith is not Hope, comes to her rescue. That's right, darlin. The big, strapping hunk o' cowboy with the rock-hard abs and sexy bedroom eyes becomes her champion of sorts...and he two-steps her right into bed in almost no time flat! (Of course, this is after she has no choice but to go along with the farce and do what Hope would do...slam down a number of tequila shooters.)
When Faith learns she has slept with her sister's "boyfriend", she wants to hi-tail it out of Bramble but her damn car has been impounded and nobody will tell her where it is. Resigned to her fate, Faith "adopts" Hope's identity and is soon practicing her southern drawl as well as her line-dancing. And somewhere along the way, she falls in love with the man the good people of Bramble have earmarked for her...er... for her sister. Uh-oh...look who's really back in town!
I can't recommend this book enough to someone looking for a "pick-me-up" read that will actually have you laughing out loud one minute and sighing "awww, that is so sweet" the next. For maximum enjoyment, listen to the audio book if you can. The narrator, Nicole Poole, gives voice to an entire town of rednecks so well you will think you've been plucked out of your cozy reading cubby and dropped dead center into the town of Bramble, Texas...wearing your big hair, skin-tight jeans and shit-stompin' cowboy boots! Ride 'em, cowgirl!
First of all, if you are on the fence about whether or not to read this book because it is giving you that "chick-lit" vibe, you can climb down now siFirst of all, if you are on the fence about whether or not to read this book because it is giving you that "chick-lit" vibe, you can climb down now sista and start reading ...this one is all about the romance.
My One and Only is Harper Evan's story, a 33-year-old divorce (and divorced) lawyer living year-round on Martha's Vineyard with her Toto-lookalike dog. She is attractive, successful...but OMG what a force to be reckoned with!. She is cynical, she is sarcastic and she has extreme OCD issues. Having as much to do with her personality as with her profession, she "gives advice" (think "forcing it down one's throat") to family, friends, strangers...wherever she (and only she) thinks it is needed.
Early on, Harper is telling Dennis, her hunky fireman BF of 2 years, that it's time to get married...reading him a list of changes he needs to make before they do the deed, and then whips out the engagement ring she bought for herself! I don't like doormat heroines, but would I enjoy an opposite to the extreme? Fortunately, we learn early on why Harper is so controlling, why she refuses to leave anything to fate, and why she is in the business of breaking up marriages, although to Harper's credit her clients come to her when their marriages are already in trouble, and she simply counsels them with her motto "accept in your heart what your head already knows". (Having been through a divorce, I might have spared myself the unnecessary grief and wasted time spent trying to make the marriage work if someone would have counseled me with that advice.)
Under Harper's many layers of self-imposed protective armor, we find there is a frightened and vulnerable girl beneath who has had her heart broken twice...by the two people she loved the most. Nick Lowery, Harper's ex-husband and the love of her life, is one of those two people. Now Harper is on her way to Montana to serve as maid-of-honor for her sister, Willa, who is marrying Chris Lowery, Nick's brother. Harper and Nick haven't seen each other for 12 years...
This is the first book I've read by Kristan Higgins and I was totally blown away by how talented she is. I admire authors in general simply because they have the ability to come up with an idea that they can stretch over several hundred pages. Then there is that select group of authors who are, to me, what movie stars are to my mother. I want to see them in person...be the first in line to buy their latest books...talk about them, talk with them...be eternally infatuated with each and every one of them because they provide my entertainment, and, therefore, are responsible for a big chunk of my happiness. In short, they are my auto-buys. With one book, Ms. Higgins is in. She is a fantastic storyteller and funnier than hell...which, IMO, is no small feat. I make an effort to avoid authors that try to be funny because it rarely works for me in a romance novel. But KH has that great talent of being subtly funny - kind of in the dry humor family - and I was LOL throughout the entire book! Not a big deal, you say? A common mechanism used by writers? Then let me rephrase that: KH (love the initials) has the unique ability to make you laugh out loud on one page and have you sobbing miserably on the next. No kidding! It happens so many times you are emotionally spent (but in a good way) by the end of the book.
My One and Only is also a great character study. Whether it be the wise-cracking priest, Father Bruce, Harper's Tammy Faye Baker-like stepmother BeverLee, or Nick's half-brother Jason (I wannabe Tom) Cruise, everyone who has a speaking part in this book is a lifelike, 3-dimensional character. Assessing these people through Harper's eyes is a delight, and for the first time I truly enjoyed a book written in first person. Harper is the "smart-ass extraordinaire" and so downright candid that it is a little shocking at first but wicked cool once you get used to it. In fact, I think I was suffering from a little 'heroine worship' there for awhile as she acted out in situations the majority of us would never have the nerve to attempt.
At that moment, Jodi Pickering, Dennis' high school girlfriend and a waitress here, shoved the prow of her bosom in Den's jaw. "Are you all set here, Denny?" she asked, ignoring me and giving my soon-to-be fiance a docile, cowlike gaze. "Hey, Jodi. What's up?" Dennis said, grinning past her 36-Ds to her face. "How's the little guy?" "Oh, he's great, Denny. It was so nice that you stopped by the game the other night. He just loves you! And you know, without a father in the picture, I think T.J. really needs ---" "Okay, we get it, Jodi-with-an-i," I said, smiling pleasantly up at her. "You have an adorable son and are still quite available. Dennis, however, is with me. If you would just take your boobs out of my boyfriend's face, I would deeply appreciate it."
Even Harper's dog, Coco, a tiny Jack Russell/Chihuahua mix, had a personality (albeit that of a drama queen).
Though I'd checked on Coco numerous times throughout the day and Dennis had taken her on a few walks, she was in full Chihuahua orphan mode, huge eyes, still body, not raising her head from her tragic little paws, looking at me as if I'd just locked her in Michael Vick's basement...
I realize I'm putting emphasis on the book's humor but overall the storyline is very serious and quite heart-wrenching. This is Harper and Nick's very precious but very sad love story...two people who had found that true, once-in-a-lifetime love together but were unable to hold on. Their siblings' wedding will bring them back together for the first time in 12 years. Will they at least be able to get the closure they both need so desperately?
My throat tightened, and the nearness of him, the only man who ever made me feel cherished...it just sucker-punched my heart. "Sleep tight," I whispered. "You, too." God, I'd missed him. Nick was quiet, his skin as warm as I was cold. We lay like that for a long time, not talking, not moving. The wind blew, Coco adjusted herself and gave a little doggy snore. Nick's breathing was slow and even, and this...the two of us lying together, was as comforting and wonderful as anything I'd ever felt. And horrible, because it brought such a pain to my heart. We'd had something special and rare, Nick and I. There had been more to our marriage than loneliness and tunnel vision and wretched communication skills. There'd been times like this, lying in the dark...together. When I was sure he was asleep, I touched his hand. Just a little, just a little brush of my fingertips against the back of his lovely, wonderful hand. "You asked why I couldn't forgive you," Nick said, very quietly, and I jumped a little. "It was because you were the love of my life, Harper. And you didn't want to be. That's hard to let go."
*sigh* Such a good book. many, many stars ********...more
Being sucked into that literary vortex of all things dramatic, melancholy and depressing for quite some time now, I needed to put aside the Virgin RivBeing sucked into that literary vortex of all things dramatic, melancholy and depressing for quite some time now, I needed to put aside the Virgin Riverites and Regency rakes & rogues and read something uplifting. She picks! She scores! lol I LOVED this book! The hero is Luc Martineau, a Canadian hottie who plays professional hockey for the Seattle Chinooks. He is drop-dead gorgeous with a lean, athletic body and a killer tattoo that begins at the base of his hoohaa and peeks out from the top of his boxers. Yum! He's into blondes, boobs and beer, and is having a stellar season "tending the net". The heroine is Jane Alcott, a five-foot nothing, flat-chested brunette who writes a "single girl in the city" column for the Seattle Times & has just been given the temporary assignment of covering the Chinooks for a season. She's into bottled water, wearing black and dealing with the fact she sucks in serious relationships. She's also into the column she writes in secret for a men's mag about a barmaid named "Honey Pie", a trash-talking, gum-popping nymphomaniac who screws men into comas (but I won't go into that).
Obviously, Luc & Jane are polar opposites and neither can imagine ever hooking up with the other. However...Luc does wonder what Jane would look like minus the hideous clothes, and Jane does admit she fantasizes about following the path of that tattoo.... Fortunately for us, Rachel Gibson doesn't wait long to put her protagonists completely "in the know" about each other...bringing them both (literally) to their knees (though not at the same time, of course):)
The book has some great laugh-out-loud moments as Jane takes some hard knocks in her quest to become "one of the boys" and prove that women do indeed have the right to be in a locker room (ahem...as long as you don't look down). Luc, on the other hand, fights a constant battle with himself about what he thinks he wants as opposed to what he knows he wants. A few misunderstandings are easy enough for the couple to deal with as they seem to be on their way to a HEA...until Jane pulls a bonehead "chick" move that turns everything upside down!
This is the cutest book! Anyone looking for a light, humorous read (possibly one sitting) with a hot hero who says "aboot" and a tiny heroine with a big attitute...should read this book. There are a few touching scenes that help keep the story grounded, but the couple's sexual chemistry made evident during the bedroom scenes blows it right back through the roof.
His lips were warm and welcoming and she slid into the kiss with the abandonment of a true nympho. Because sometimes in life, Ken didn't always choose Barbie. For that, he had to be rewarded.
Rachel Gibson rocks! Thank you, K., for pointing me in her direction....more