Jaimie: Gone Too Deep is the third book in the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue series by Katie Ruggle and I cannot say enough how great this series is. Hands down George and Ellie’s book is my favorite and that’s largely because of my love of George.
Joanna: So ditto! I’ve fallen hard for this hero. To the story – we open with our heroine, Ellie Price, who’s on an unfortunate bad date when she receives an unexpected phone call.
Jaimie: It’s Ellie’s dad Baxter is calling her, obviously off his medication, and rambling about people trying to kill him. Believing that he’s just in one of his episodes, Ellie doesn’t buy the part about someone trying to kill him, but she does believe that he’s in need of help. They never quite confirm what condition Baxter has, but there are references to schizophrenia.
Joanna: Ellie leaves her comfortable city life and flies/drives to Simpson. She pitches up at the local café and slips straight over on the ice. A very big mountain man (hurray!) helps her to her feet then ignoring her squeaks of protest, carries her to the door of the café. He drops her on the mat and goes without a word, leaving her astonished at his help.
In the cafe, she starts talking with Lou and Callum (book 1 couple) who are still investigating the death of headless dead guy.. With their help, Ellie works out that her father’s already started a trek into the winter wilderness. Ellie has to go after him to persuade him to come back to safety with her. He won’t listen to anyone else. But she can’t follow him alone and she needs the help of a local expert. Enter George, our mountain man and great big bearded hero. He’s huge, handsome and capable. But he doesn’t talk.
Jaimie: George Holloway is a loner and he seems to like it that way. In past books in the series you see him grunt and occasionally mumble a few words but he’s more the strong, silent type. No one knows the wilderness around them like George does and that makes him the perfect person to lead a city girl around in the snow.
George is literally one of the sweetest heroes I’ve read about in a book. He is strong, fit and independent, but his shyness and sweetness with Ellie is way too cute. He’s probably one of my favorite heroes to date.
I liked Ellie, too; don’t get me wrong. She’s a city girl like I am and hiking through the mountains sounds like a special kind of hell to me, but she keeps up with George and does her best not to complain or slow him down. Had to admire her spunk.
Joanna: A special kind of hell I’d happily endure for some time in isolation with George. Uh huh. Ellie manages to persuade him to help her and off they go together, Ellie with a new goal of getting the big man to smile before they reach their snowy destination.
There’s a grumpy sweetness to George that’s just under the surface and as they walk together, it starts to emerge more and more. He helps Ellie and tries not to frown or laugh when she’s incompetent or gets scared by a squirrel. He treats her blisters and keeps her safe. It’s touching. And she does get him to laugh and indeed talk. Whole sentences.
The first word he says to her, back at his place before they leave, is “Wait”. It seems like George the loner had just been waiting for Ellie to come along and get him out of himself.
Then check this – I love this trope so much – when Ellie leans in to kiss him one night in their tent as a tease to beat him in a game, he lies there thinking about it for hours after. Cos how could he forget his first kiss? Awww, swoon to the floor, love him! He’s 31, lives a self-sustaining existence and never had a relationship! It made me so much more invested in their HEA than if he’d have been a more experienced guy. This made me so happy.
Jaimie: Totally agree – this part was beyond adorable and sweet. Usually it’s the woman who has no experience so it was a nice layer to the story and just made me love George even more!
Joanna: George and Ellie aren’t alone in the wilderness – there’s someone else on the trail of Baxter – someone who wants information from him and isn’t going to hold their punches in getting it. Turns out Ellie’s dad isn’t completely paranoid. This adds a threat beyond Mother Nature to Ellie and George’s trek and this is all part of the wider story of the headless dead guy.
Now I like this series a lot. I love the heroines and I love the heroes so much. Callum in book one was grumpy and measured, Ian in book two was hella good looking and a biker, but George has definitely stolen my heart. He’s just so lovely. The strong, silent type but good with his hands, with survival skills and rescuing people? Yes please. He’s called by Lou the love child of Grizzly Adams and Pa Ingalls. And the way he slowly falls for Ellie is just swoony. There are so many little bits which I highlighted cos they melted my heart.
Jaimie: One thing I didn’t like was a completely unnecessary scene where George goes to the big city to try to fit in to Ellie’s life. While it was sweet that he wanted to try, it was out of place and almost seemed like it was simply a way to stretch the book.
Joanna: I agree. I didn’t like him being in the city – it somehow diminished him, but I’d happily read another book where his skills and lifestyle are shown. He’s so awesome.
Jaimie: There were quite a few twists in the story but right at the end there is a HUGE one and it was one I did NOT see coming. I’m dying to get my hands on the next installment so I can find out how this is all going to play out!!
Overall I loved this one. It was fast-paced, lots of action and twists, super adorable hero and a great heroine as well. My favorite one in the series for sure.
Joanna: Absolutely agree and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Just What I Needed is the second book in the Need You series by Lorelei James, and this series is quickly becoming one of my favorites! This story revJust What I Needed is the second book in the Need You series by Lorelei James, and this series is quickly becoming one of my favorites! This story revolves around Trinity and Walker and I absolutely loved it. The heroine was quirky and fun, the hero was sweet and sexy, and I love Walker’s family. I’m really looking forward to reading all of their stories as well.
Trinity Carlson is an artist and when the book starts, she is having a spectacularly bad day. Just when she thinks it can’t get worse, her ex-boyfriend and his new flame come strolling in. Not wanting to look pathetic and alone, Trinity decides to just grab the next guy that walks in the door, and plant a steamy kiss on him. And in walks Walker.
Walker Lund is the brother of Brady from the first book. There are worse things that can happen to a guy than a smoking hot woman waltzing up to you and giving you a super hot kiss, so what’s a guy to do but go along with it? After talking to her for a while, Walker is very intrigued by the woman sitting with him.
When Walker’s cousin calls for help, he is sure to ask for Trinity’s number, but there’s just one problem. She had used a different name to fend off a couple of creepers earlier, and when one of them walks by and uses that name she doesn’t correct it. She also accidentally gives him the wrong phone number after just getting a new one that day. When Walker tries to call the next day, he discovers the phony info.
So many things to love about this book. The relationship dynamic between Walker and his brothers and cousins is both sweet and a little sad. Always Mr. Dependable for everyone else, he says nothing about his own wants and needs but is there for them whenever they need him. There are a couple of great scenes where things boil over and it played out perfectly. We also see a lot more of Walker’s parents, and during a particularly ugly scene Trinity has with her father and step-mother, it is so sweet to see them have her back.
Trinity is quirky and suffers from some serious anxiety. When her nerves get the best of her, she kind of freaks out and embarrasses herself. Walker is so sweet with her through her episodes. I also enjoyed the fact that they didn’t just hop right into bed together, so you have time to become invested in them as a couple. When they finally take their relationship to the next level, it is all kinds of hot. Trinity is also a bit more of a curvy girl and it’s always refreshing to have a realistic looking heroine.
Overall I am in love with this series, and I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one. Lorelei James has done it again with this one!
Shayla Black’s Wicked Lovers series is one of my all-time favorites, but I have to admit, I wasn’t super excited to read Sweet Pea’s story. The bits we saw of her in Wicked For You, which was Axel and Mystery’s story, made me think she was going to be one of those needy, whiny heroines that I hate. Thankfully I was very wrong, and Falling in Deeper, the 11th book in the series, wound up near the top of my favorites overall.
Lily Taylor has been through some unimaginable things in her life. Desperate to save herself, she changes her name and starts over, working as the receptionist at Dominion and having a quasi-relationship with Axel Dillon. Once Axel meets Mystery, things between him and Sweet Pea are immediately terminated and she finds herself drifting, not sure what to do. She was never in love with Axel and is happy for him and Mystery, but he was the closest thing she had to a normal “relationship,” so she’s naturally sad.
Stone Sutter is under a deadline to persuade Lily to testify against the very powerful man that’s after her or return to jail. After being released to help out with his unique hacking skills in an earlier book, Stone is in no hurry to return to the big house. If he can convince Lily to come forward and put her enemy away, Stone’s sentence will be commuted and he can live a life of freedom. Should be easy enough, but he wasn’t counting on his growing fascination with the petite woman who trusts no one.
Before Stone has a chance to build up some trust with Lily, it becomes clear that her past has caught up with her. He narrowly saves her from a car bomb so out of options, he grabs her and they take off looking for somewhere to lay low. Jack Cole’s place in the swamp is the perfect place to hide out and come up with a plan, but Lily is still not revealing all of the truth to Stone and the pressure is mounting. Stone knows the only way she will ever be fully safe is if she puts away the man responsible for what happened to her when she was just a teenager, and deep down Lily knows that herself. But knowing and doing are two different things.
Like I said, I was worried Lily was going to be a simpering woman waiting for a man to save her, but she surprised me. She has a core of strength that has helped her survive some pretty horrible things, and she is a fighter. The issues she has are natural considering everything that she’s been through, and it’s actually surprising that she didn’t have even more.
The development of the relationship between Lily and Stone is very sweet, and it happens realistically instead of her miraculously getting over her issues right away. Despite the feds breathing down his neck, Stone’s concern and focus is Lily’s safety and not his get out of jail free card. He knows that people are looking for her and that time is running out, but he is still determined to get her trust him on her own.
There are a couple of surprising twists in the story, one of which is quite emotional. There are the usual Shayla Black crazy hot sex scenes, but there were far more scenes that made you really feel what both of them were feeling, and to me that made the book more enjoyable. We got to see more of Heath, the bodyguard that had been carrying a torch for Mystery, and it looks like his story is next – yay!! The “secondary” characters outside the core family unit have ended up being some of my favorite books, so I can’t wait to read Heath’s.
Overall, I loved this book. It had lots of action, twists, a sweet couple and the usual great supporting characters. Keeping up with some of these guys is one of the best parts to this series!
Persuasion is the first book in the Sons of Odin MC series by Violetta Rand. The description of the book intrigued me, despite not typically being a fan of motorcycle club stories, and I am really glad I gave it a shot. It had everything I love about a good book – great story, a kick ass hero and heroine, and smoking hot sex.
Lang Anderson finds himself the leader of the Sons of Odin MC after the former leader winds up in jail. After the death of his parents left him responsible for his three younger sisters, the last thing Anderson needs is to be dealing with the politics in the club. As the grandson of one of the founding members of the group, he finds himself left with no options but to take over the club that he truly loves.
Lily Gallo is a high school guidance counselor who has relocated to Texas to escape her parents’ increasingly acrimonious divorce and to start fresh. Her best friend Tina has been living in Texas for a while and she figures, why not live a little? The two go out to a club where she meets Lang, and the sparks fly. Lily isn’t a one night stand kinda girl, and despite the sizzling chemistry between them, it doesn’t go any further.
Flash forward a few weeks to the first day of school. The eldest of Lang’s little sisters has been struggling since the death of their parents, and one of the requirements for her to be allowed to remain in school is that she work with the school’s counselor. When Lang and Lily meet up again, it’s clear that the pull between them is as strong as it was when they met. It is also clear to Lang that his sister is actually receptive to Lily and opening up, and that makes him want the guidance counselor even more.
As is typical with these stories, Lily and Lang fall hard and fast for each other. Their chemistry is off the charts when they finally give in to their attraction for each other, but there is plenty of other story going on, so they aren’t completely shoved down our throats. Lang’s devotion to his sisters is adorable and there was no question of whether Lily would accept the girls as part of her life with him.
Someone is harboring a grudge against Lang and is using his loved ones to get to him. Instead of being the shrinking violet, Lily stands right beside her man, fighting hard for his sister and embracing his life even if she doesn’t fully agree with it. I really liked that she wasn’t just an arm candy accessory for Lang, because that would have pissed me off.
Overall this was a great book, and I’m now a big fan of Ms. Rand’s work. Looking forward to reading the next book in this series!!
I must admit – as much as I love Lorelei James, I’ve had it in my head that it’s only due to the sexy way she writes cowboys. Because of this, I have had her new contemporary romance What You Need, the first in her Need You series, just sitting there waiting to be read. I’m so glad I finally decided to read it, and once I started, I couldn’t put it down. There’s no big suspense or action; it is just a really great story with a lovable hero who has a lot of insecurities, and a strong heroine who has had her fair share of difficulty in life.
Brady Lund grew up in a privileged family that loved each other fiercely and worked very closely at the family business, Lund Industries. As the CFO of the company, Brady works 80 hours a week to prove himself worthy, earning him an intervention by his brothers and cousins. They want him to live a little and get a life outside the office and decide to take him out for a night on the town.
Lennox Greene is an office floater at Lund Industries and has, of course, seen the incredibly sexy CFO around the office. After a difficult childhood with an emotionally abusive and neglectful mother, she is determined to be successful and rise above it all. One night of letting loose at the bar she used to work at has her literally falling into Brady’s arms, and the chemistry is sizzling.
Typically in these types of books, it is the woman who has the insecurities for a variety of reasons, but in this case Brady is the one suffering from them. After a girl only pretended to be interested in him in high school in order to take advantage of his wealth and name, he is humiliated when he overhears her bragging about her plan to her friends. He still has a hard time imagining anyone being interested in him for reasons other than his name, so the fact that Lennox loves his geeky side just endears her to him even more.
Another thing I loved was that these two didn’t just hop into bed with each other, despite the smoking hot interactions that jumped off the page. And even better – it was Brady who insisted that they wait. He was all kinds of sweet and although he does have his moment that causes friction between them, it wasn’t an over the top asshole move like you often see in these stories. Once they do give in to the passion, it is hot!! Geeky Brady has a bossy side in the bedroom, and it pushes all Lennox’s buttons.
Lennox held her own, both at work and with Brady’s overwhelming family. With one brother playing in the NFL, a cousin in the NHL and the rest of the family working at Lund Industries, there’s really no escaping them all. Brady’s mom is a little snobby at the beginning with Lennox, but it wasn’t one of those “my son is too good for you” situations. This was just a mother who was concerned about the fact that the two worked together. I also really liked that she wound up being close with Brady’s sister as well – without the need for conflict or competition.
Obviously we will get more stories for Brady’s siblings and cousins, but I’m really hoping that one of them ends up with Lennox’s roommate, because her passion as a social worker was really great to see. Hopefully we see more of her later on.
Overall this was one of my favorite Lorelei James books and I can’t wait to read the remaining books in the series. It was a simple, enjoyable story with plenty of time to develop the characters and the hero and heroine as a couple, smoking hot sex and a set up for a great series.
Mind Games is the second book in the Harp Security series by Laura K. Curtis. Although I hadn’t read the first one in the series yet, I really enjoyed the last book I read by Ms. Curtis (from a different series) so I decided to give this one a shot. Thankfully I didn’t feel like I was lost by not having read the first book, but I enjoyed this one so much I will probably go back and read it at some point. I love a good romantic suspense novel, and although I figured out early on who the big villain was, it didn’t lessen my overall enjoyment of the story.
Dr. Jane Evans is the daughter of a schizophrenic who committed suicide years earlier, and she is on the verge of a medical breakthrough in her psychiatric research lab. Determined to come up with a drug that treats schizophrenia, without the debilitating side effects, Jane’s life revolves entirely around her job. On the way to work one morning someone attempts to kidnap Jane, and at the last minute the attempt is thwarted by a bodyguard she wasn’t even aware her boss had hired to protect her.
Eric Sorenson may be a hired bodyguard, but he owes Jane a huge debt of gratitude. Without her help he would never have made it through college and he’s determined to make sure whoever is trying to kidnap her doesn’t get the chance. In the years since he saw her last she has grown and matured into a beautiful woman and as he spends more time with her, he is drawn to her passion for her work and her strength.
When the attempts to get ahold of Jane start getting more aggressive, Eric’s team becomes increasingly frustrated with the lack of leads. They know her assistant Dani has gone missing, but no one can figure out who is behind it all. The thinking is that this is related to the new drug she is working on, and the plan is to keep her out of sight until the formal announcement of the sale of the drug. Eric takes her out of town and the chemistry between them bubbles over. The duo agree to keep their hands off each other until after she’s officially not his client, but it’s not easy.
Harp Security keeps Jane safe and gets her to the announcement as planned, but Eric doesn’t feel quite right about the situation. Believing Jane to be safe, he asks her out on a date for that night and they go their separate ways. When he shows up to pick her up for their date, Jane is nowhere to be found and there is Chinese food spilled all over her living room floor. Knowing she has been kidnapped, he enlists the help of his team to figure out who exactly is behind it and what they want.
When she comes to, Jane sees part of the team behind her abduction and when she realizes what they want from her she is sickened. Determined to stay alive because she knows Eric will come for her, Dr. Jane and Dani do everything they can to stall things. They know once their usefulness has worn out they will be killed, but helping the men that have her goes against everything she has worked for.
There’s a lot going on in this book and I really can’t wait to read future stories. I am particularly looking forward to Dani’s future story. There’s quite the cliffhanger left for her and I’m sure it’s going to be emotional once it happens. Despite the busy plot, there is still time to develop the core characters, and Jane is a badass woman. She’s crazy smart, determined to live and doesn’t sit around and wait for a man to do the heavy lifting. Eric appreciates her strength and intelligence, and doesn’t try to run roughshod over her.
Overall this was a fast paced story with a great plot, a lovable hero, kickass heroine and a really enjoyable read.
Oh Maya. Dominated is the second book in Maya Banks’ Enforcers series, and the continuation of Drake and Evangeline’s story. I wanted to love it I reaOh Maya. Dominated is the second book in Maya Banks’ Enforcers series, and the continuation of Drake and Evangeline’s story. I wanted to love it I really did – but I almost marked it DNF. I’m glad I pushed through because it did get better at the end, but there were times I wanted to reach through the pages and smack Evangeline – HARD.
I don’t even know how to write this review because it was another bizarre experience. Drake had his asshole moments, but overall I really liked him. I also love the men that work for him, and I cannot wait to get their stories. The men were the only reason I kept reading.
When Mastered left off, Drake had completely humiliated and destroyed Evangeline and she had taken off. The story picks up right away with Drake and his men tearing the city apart trying to find her. The men were all pissed at Drake and had no hesitation telling him that. The doorman finally gives in and tells Drake where she is and my disgust with her began.
What Drake did to her was completely inexcusable – no matter what the reason is – and yet within a couple minutes she forgives him, loves him and everything is great in the world. This is the first time I was about to stop reading. Obviously I knew they were going to get their HEA eventually, but come on – I don’t care how sweet and great you are; you don’t forgive that shit in 5 minutes. Ugh.
The next time I almost stopped reading was when Evangeline actually said this line to the man she loved “..if you ever get tired of me and no longer want me, all I ask is for you to never regret the time we spent together. Because I won’t.” Are there actually women out there that would talk like this, especially after everything that happened?
I pushed on, because despite his assholery moments, Drake was awesome for the most part. There are some pretty big twists in the story, so about 60% through, it got really good and I enjoyed the book from that point on – despite Evangeline. There was this really random moment near the beginning of the book where her friends stopped by the condo, and it seemed as though there could be a sub story there, but then it was dropped and we never heard about it again.
I really enjoyed reading about the other guys – particularly Silas. I have my fingers and toes crossed that the heroine of the next book is not a simpering, pathetic excuse for a woman because Evangeline was a total disappointment.
I love Maya and will definitely read the next book in the series, but the heroine from this one was just not for me. Everything else was great – the story was fast paced, the supporting characters were funny and definitely damaged, the sex was smoking hot, I just wish Evangeline was likeable…
Oh Lora Leigh – how I love you but hate you right now. After the little tease we got in Nauti Enchantress, I just knew I was going to love youngest sister Zoey’s story, but man, Ms. Leigh outdid herself with this one. Nauti Seductress is the newest, and I thought last, book in the Nauti series. The story itself had plenty of twists that I didn’t see coming, but then at the very end of the book Ms. Leigh just slams you out of nowhere with a WTF ending. I was reading the book at work (while pretending to be working) and I literally said holy shit really loudly when I read it. I had to pretend it was a work related issue, but that’s beside the point. This was INSANE.
Zoey Mackay may be the youngest sister, but she is certainly the most feisty. In Nauti Temptress when we first found out that Dawg had four younger sisters, she was the first to burst in and demand that he help her mother and she still stands up to him as a woman. Despite the protection the men put around the women, someone manages to slip into Zoey’s room at the Inn her mother and Timothy own and inject her with a very powerful hallucinogen that has her convinced she has killed one of her friends.
Chatham Bromleagh Doogan, the big man on campus at Homeland Security, has been fascinated with Zoey since he met her five years earlier. Since that time he has endured a personal tragedy that has him convinced he is not meant for happiness. When he gets the call and sees the fragile, broken Zoey, he is determined to bring down whoever is responsible for the hell she endured.
When she awakens the next morning, safe in her bed at home, Zoey begins to question her own sanity. She knows that what happened to her was not just a dream but there is no evidence to suggest it really happened. They haven’t found Harley either dead or alive, so life must go on. Determined to protect herself at all costs, she moves out of the Inn and into her own apartment where she has a built-in gym. Learning martial arts and self-defense makes her feel safer, but she cannot shake the pain in her head whenever she tries to remember what happened to her.
A year later, Doogan shows up in town unexpectedly, and it isn’t long before the fire between him and Zoey ignites. He tells her there can be no future for them, and despite knowing she will walk away with a broken heart, Zoey dives in head first determined to make the most of the time she does have with him. Unfortunately, the person who drugged her is back and determined to take her out for good.
This book didn’t have as much of the drama and constant peril of the other books in the series. There were a few instances, but for the most part, the focus was on the relationship between Doogan and Zoey. The sex was hot as is par for the course with a Lora Leigh book, but there is also the emotional connection between the characters as well. I loved both Zoey and Doogan and liked that the story wasn’t just one crisis after another. It allowed you to invest in the couple.
Since Zoey was the youngest sister, I assumed that this would be the last book in the series, although I hoped that Ms. Leigh would one day write about the daughters that are growing up fast. Just when you think the story has reached its happily ever after, out of nowhere a huge twist is thrown at you and then the book ends. I reallllly hope we do not have to wait a long time for this one, because I cannot wait to get my hands on it. I suspect that one is going to make me cry a lot!
True is the first book in Erin McCarthy’s True Believers series and it’s one that has been sitting on my TBR pile for a while. Since I’ve been on a bit of a YA kick lately, I figured now is as good of a time as any to check this one out. I’m not going to say this was an all time favorite book, but I enjoyed it, and I’m going to grab the next book in the series. It’s a fairly typical YA/NA book so if you like those, then you will want to read this one. I’ve read some of Ms. McCarthy’s books before and have always enjoyed them. This book was published in 2013, so its not a new release. If you are like me and you like to dive right into a series then this is a good start, since the rest are already out.
Rory Macintosh is an overachieving 20-year-old virgin, making her way through college while staying firmly in the background. Compared to her gorgeous roommates and best friends, Rory feels like a plain Jane and the fact that she’s never had a boyfriend confirms that thought in her mind. When her friends find out that she’s still a virgin, they set a plan in motion to help her live a little and they offer bad boy Tyler $100 to help her with that pesky problem.
On the surface Tyler Mann is a cocky, self-assured guy living a carefree life. He’s always been intrigued by the quiet, shy Rory, so when her friends try to hook them up he figures, why not? He knows he’s not good enough for her because she’s pre-med and well on her way to a successful life, while he is struggling to become and EMT so he can help take care of his younger brothers. With his mom high all the time and not taking care of the boys, Tyler can’t just turn his back and say it’s not his problem. He has a plan, along with his older brother, to save up enough money to get custody of his brothers so that they can be properly cared for.
I had a couple of issues with the book that kind of took away from my enjoyment a bit. The first was that it was told only through Rory’s perspective. I would have liked to have seen things progress through both points of view. The second is the classic virgin who has great sex the first time. Not reality and it comes up all the time in books. The third thing is that it kind of felt like the end of the book was rushed. A great deal of time went in to developing a relationship between Rory and Tyler, but the way it all played out at the end just didn’t really grab me.
Overall it was a fast read and if you like YA/NA, I think you’ll enjoy this one. There’s no steamy sex scenes, so if you are looking for that then don’t bother. The focus really is on building the relationship between the hero/heroine and exploring the secondary characters. Rory’s friends were really interesting so I am looking forward to reading more about them.
Seduction Game is the 7th book in the I-Team series by Pamela Clare, and despite not being sure I would enjoy this one, I really loved it! The heroine has been in previous books and always left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but I actually really enjoyed her story in the end.
CIA Agent Nick Andris lost his lover in a mission gone wrong. Since then, he’s been fueled by his quest for revenge against the man who ruined his life. Intel has advised that a woman may hold the key to finding the man he’s determined to destroy. Unfortunately for him, it seems that the intel got it wrong.
Holly Elise Bradshaw is an entertainment writer that seems to only care about rich old men and shoes. After one of her dates goes horribly wrong, she finds herself in danger with no one to turn to – except the man that likely put her in that danger…
Heroines that get by on their looks alone annoy me, and based on what we had previously seen of Holly, I was worried that this was going to be one of those cases. I was very wrong! She turned out to be a great heroine and I absolutely loved the book. There was plenty of action, plot twists and smoking hot sex, and I was able to completely forget my earlier impressions of her.
Nick had been through a lot with his partner being killed, and because of that, I was able to forgive some of his macho moments. He didn’t cross the line into asshole territory, and the chemistry between these two was jumping off the pages.
If you aren’t aware, Ms. Clare has been battling breast cancer, and when she started writing this book, her mother-in-law died very suddenly throwing her life into chaos. The book was put on hold while she went through chemotherapy, surgery and radiation and at the end of the book she gives us an overview of her struggle. The fact that she was able to put out a book this good after everything she had been through is a testament to the amazing writer she is.
Overall this was a great book and I really loved this couple. The story takes you through every emotion whether it be anger, love or lust and you will definitely enjoy the ride. This is probably my favorite book of the series to date.
Bring the Heat is the fifth book in the Sugarland Blue series by Jo Davis and this one is an emotional wringer! After the death of his pregnant wife, who he is currently divorcing, Austin finds himself a suspect in the crime. The only person he can turn to is a co-worker he has lusted after for quite some time, and he has a hard time accepting her help. At times he acts like a complete jackass, but overall this was a great story that kept me reading from start to finish!
Life is not going like Captain Austin Rainey expected it would. He’s in the middle of an acrimonious divorce with his pregnant ex-wife and their child is due soon. He’s returning to work after having been injured in the last book in the series, and he’s trying to get on with his new normal. Suddenly he is thrown into a horrific mystery when his ex-wife and unborn son are brutally murdered. Even worse is the fact that as her ex-husband he’s, of course, a suspect.
Medical examiner Laura Eden has the hots for Austin, but she also firmly believes in his innocence. Determined to help him prove he’s not guilty, Laura unknowingly puts herself in the crosshairs of a stalker determined to destroy everything that Austin holds dear.
The resulting story is a fast-paced suspense novel that keeps you guessing from the get-go. Austin is your typical macho hero who tries to push Laura away “to save her” but she is a kickass, strong woman and isn’t having it. Considering what he’s been through, it’s not hard to get past his behavior because it is understandable. And thankfully, he never crosses the line to full on asshole, so that makes it easier.
The relationship between Austin and Laura is steamy, sweet and not necessarily a “given” happy ending, which I liked. I also enjoyed how quickly the story progressed, and I found myself unable to stop reading because I had to see who the killer was and how it all ended.
If you are a fan of Jo Davis you will definitely enjoy this one. It has everything you love about her books – a great hero and heroine that you really get behind, a story that keeps you engaged, and a finish that is satisfying even if it doesn’t end the way you wanted it to!
Caught Up in You is the fifth book in the Loving on the Edge series by Roni Loren. I’ve been trying to go back and read some of the books on my TBR list and this one has been there for quite a while, so I thought I would give it a shot. With the whole post-50 Shades trend of billionaires and BDSM, I found myself completely jaded by a lot of these stories which is why it sat for so long. Overall the book was good. Nothing earth shattering or new, but still enjoyable to read.
Kelsey LeBreck has been through a lot. Her life finally seems to be on track with culinary school and making money at The Ranch, while she secretly lusts after Wyatt. Bad experiences in relationships have her convinced she is not relationship material, and even more convinced that they will derail her life. When her past comes creeping back, though, the one person she wants to avoid is the one she turns to.
Wyatt Austin is your typical workaholic who believes he is too busy for a relationship. After an accident with a previous girlfriend, Wyatt has suppressed his dominant urges and opted for a more vanilla lifestyle. Kelsey brings all those desires to the surface again and the explosion is hot! He is sent on a weekend retreat for business and he needs to take a girlfriend along with him. Since Kelsey needs to get out of town for a bit, he decides to take her along with him.
Both Wyatt and Kelsey have been in other books in the series with her sister Brynn from Crash Into You and his brother Jace from Melt Into You, so I was looking forward to reading their story. Although she is submissive at heart, because of her past she has trouble exploring that side of her and has instead done scenes as a domme. Wyatt is the one person that she is able to be herself with and she submits naturally to him.
As I said earlier, there is nothing particularly earth shattering about this book but I read it in one sitting. I really liked both the hero and heroine, and I was rooting for them very early on. Loren writes some steamy sex scenes and Wyatt definitely has a bad boy side despite his serious business side. Even though the ending was predictable, Loren’s writing style is really good and it keeps you wanting to read more.
By now, everyone knows my fangirl love for Maya Banks so this review has me so conflicted. Fans of the KGI series have been dying to know Hancock’s story – especially after we saw the softer side of him in When Day Breaks, and if you take out a big chunk in the middle of the book – I loved Darkest Before Dawn. But somewhere partway through, the book went WAY off in a different direction and I felt like the heroine had been switched out with someone else. I’m not even kidding when I say that I started to wonder if perhaps since this was a galley copy, Maya had done one version and then decided to go in another way and the book just wasn’t put together properly.
Guy Hancock has popped in and out of the KGI series, sometimes helping and sometimes working against the Kellys, so we’ve never really known what made him tick. When his “sister” Eden was in danger and was kidnapped in When Day Breaks, even the Kelly’s were shocked to see that Hancock had weaknesses. I was so looking forward to this one and read it in one day, but I alternated between loving and hating it.
Closer than he has ever been to his goal of taking down Maksimov, a terrorist he had intended to be his final job, Hancock is ordered to track down an American woman who has evaded a group of militants that wanted to tie up loose ends. Once he has the woman, he knows she will endure horrible things, but he tells himself that sacrificing one to take this man out and save many is worth it.
Honor Cambridge was working at a relief center in the Middle East when it is suddenly hit by an explosion. Everyone around her is killed and although she is injured, she is determined that she will not die at the hands of these terrorists. Gathering all of her courage and will to live, she manages to evade the terrorists that are relentlessly chasing her and just about gets to the border where she can seek help.
Hancock and his team finally track Honor down and convince her that they are there to help her. On the verge of being captured, she has no choice but to trust them. During their journey, Hancock’s team comes to respect and admire Honor and they all become conflicted about their mission.
But here is where the story takes Honor from a kickass woman who manages to escape a violent group of extremists and is determined to live at all costs, and turns her into a spineless, pathetic woman. I almost stopped reading, I was so pissed off and that has NEVER happened with a Maya book for me. I can’t say too much because I don’t want to ruin it for people, however I can tell you that there are some scenes that were so unbelievable and took the story so off from where it had been leading, that you may find yourself wanting to quit reading.
As hard as it might be, keep going because she does right the train and get the story back on track but my entire perception of Honor was completely ruined. The whole thing left such a bad taste in my mouth, I had to take some time between reading it and writing this review to process whether I completely hated it, or if the redeeming qualities were strong enough to outweigh it. Honestly, time has not helped that indecision.
On the plus side I think the stories of Hancock’s team members are going to be great ones, I enjoyed seeing Hancock and the Kelly’s sort of make peace, and there was a lot of action. It started great and ended well but I think a lot of people are going to be disappointed with Hancock’s story. There were many people that hated Donovan’s story where I loved it, so maybe my opinion won’t be the prevailing one, but I suspect it will.
Rating: C- (only because the parts I liked I really liked)...more
Get the fan out before reading this one because it is HOT! It’s also sad and funny – but mostly hot. After a four year gap between books, Lora Leigh is back to her Bound Hearts series with Secret Pleasure and it was worth the wait! In other books we have seen glimpses of Alyssa Hampstead in The Club and there were references to what may have broken her or hurt her so badly, and now we have the full story.
At the age of eighteen, Alyssa Hampstead is quietly setting herself up to break free of her political family and have a life of her own. At a party one night, a chance encounter with cousins Shane Connor and Sebastian De Loren results in a passionate kiss that marks them all. Knowing their “siren” is too young and under her mother’s thumb, the cousins wait for Alyssa to travel to Spain on a summer vacation. They spend five months planning their seduction of the woman they cannot forget. Once they have her alone, they pull out all the stops to get her to explore the passionate woman she is.
After weeks spending every moment with Alyssa making plans for the future, a blackmailer threatens to send pictures of her naked between the two men to the press unless they not only cut off all contact with her, but also pay monthly sums of money into a trust account. Their families insist that they follow the demands and take steps to ensure the men cannot leave and go to her. That sets off six years of separation that just about kills all three of them. The men work tirelessly to eliminate the threat to Alyssa while she goes on to marry her friend so they can be each other’s “shield”. Just as they figure out who the blackmailer is and eliminate him, someone tries to kill Alyssa.
In order for the three of them to finally have their happiness, they have to figure out who has it out so badly for Alyssa, and how to piece her back together after all she has been through. What results is a story that alternates between seriously hot sex scenes, some really sad scenes where you can almost feel Alyssa’s pain, and some funny moments as well.
One of the things I did not like however, and this happens a lot in books, is the whole virgin having mind blowing orgasms thing. This virgin also handled two men at the same time and had mind blowing sex. Just once, I would like a realistic virginity losing scene. This did not affect my overall enjoyment of the book though.
Another thing that can be annoying if not executed properly is the whole I must leave her to protect her thing. This wasn’t a case where the men intended to never see the woman again but fate throws them back together. These guys knew they would be with Alyssa in the end, they just needed to clean up the garbage first. Because of this, I was able to get past the whole protection routine.
I love this series; it was one of my favorites of Lora Leigh so I really hope she’s going to continue with it especially since I’m dying to read the story of Alyssa’s best friend Summer. We got a teaser of who she will be with and I suspect it will be another kick ass book.
Overall this was one of my favorite books in the series. It was a long time coming and Alyssa, Shane and Sebastian were all loveable characters. You could feel for all three of them throughout the book and I love a story that evokes emotion. Fingers crossed we don’t have to wait so long for the next installment!
No Kissing Allowed is a stand-alone book by new-to-me author Melissa West. I love the whole sleep with a guy, find out he’s your boss the next day trope, as long as it is executed properly. This one was. It had a sweet story, some steamy scenes and fun girlfriend lines between the heroine and her roomie and best friend. Overall, while predictable, it was an enjoyable read and I read it in one sitting.
Cameron Lawson should have known better when she agreed to her friends’ suggestion of one crazy night before their real world jobs began idea. After getting through 10 Wild Things to Do Before Adulthood, Cameron realizes her friends have added an 11th item – hookup with a random stranger. As she tries to talk her friends out of this one, a hot, but arrogant man who had been listening in, kindly offers to be that stranger.
When she wakes up the next morning with said stranger still in her bed, Cameron freaks out and has the man leave without ever finding out his name. Although she still feels the heat that fired between them, she has her new job to start on Monday and reminds herself she doesn’t do casual. Besides, it’s not like she’ll ever see him again.
Monday morning arrives and Cameron is excited to start her job at one of the top advertising agencies in the world. She goes into her first meeting and in walks her random hookup. His name is Aidan Truitt and he’s her boss’ boss. The duo agree that they will keep things strictly professional and abide by the company’s no fraternizing policy, but agreeing and doing are two different things.
Naturally one of them has an issue with relationships, because that’s how all these types of books go, but it wasn’t a long, drawn out drama, which I liked. Both of them have something in their past that changed them, her dad dying and his dad walking out, but thankfully the focus wasn’t all on those issues. We got to see their issues as they related to the story and not as a drawn out plot on its own which sometimes happens in stories like this.
I liked that even though the ending is predictable, how they get there takes a bit of a different route. I also really enjoyed the interaction between Cameron and her BFF’s and I think it would be great to see their stories. During one scene when Cameron is hiding Aidan from their co-worker she is trying to get her room mate to take the co-worker into her room so she can sneak him out. I actually laughed out loud when I read this exchange: “take her to your room” and the reply “What, no that was only the one time in college. I don’t…” There were some scenes where her inner dialogue was a bit over the top and I would have enjoyed seeing the story from Aidan’s point of view as well, but overall it was a fast, fun read.
Every time I read one of these books, I’m reminded of why this is one of my all-time favorite series. I’ve met Shayla Black in person at Lora Leigh’s Raw and she was one of the sweetest people, so that’s just an added bonus for me! Wicked For You is the 10th book in the Wicked Lovers series and although most series start to fizzle out around this time, this one just keeps getting better! Wicked For You is our chance to get to know Dominion’s long-time employee Axel and his heroine Mystery. The story has everything you’ve come to expect from this series – crazy hot sex, alpha men and a fast-paced plot.
Axel Dillon has been somewhat of an unknown in the Wicked Lovers books. We see him pop in and out – usually playing with the club’s receptionist Sweet Pea, and always there to defend the ladies, but we really don’t know much about him.
Six years ago Axel was hired to rescue the daughter of an Oscar winning Hollywood director who had been kidnapped leaving a nightclub. Since that time, Mystery Mullins has been unable to forget or get over Axel, even though he rejected her when she threw herself at him during her rescue. Determined to finally screw him out of her system, Mystery dons a disguise, walks into a bar and seduces Axel. After the mind blowing sex, she runs out on him and disappears into the night with him not knowing it was her.
Through a series of events, Axel realizes that the woman that just blew his mind was the job he had been unable to get out of his mind. Turning her down six years ago had not been easy but she was a nineteen year old girl that had just been kidnapped and was running on adrenaline. Pissed off and determined to confront her, Axel heads to her hotel where he finds that the person who had kidnapped her years before, seems to be a threat again.
Once it’s obvious that Mystery is in danger, Axel steps in to help protect her alongside her bodyguard Heath and the action heats up from there. The story kept a steady pace not lingering too long on any one scene which I liked, and of course there was the steamy sex. Considering his place of employment, it is not surprising to learn that Axel is a Dom and Mystery is naturally submissive.
We got to see more about Sweet Pea and I suspect her book is going to be up next and that its going to be very emotional. The relationship between Axel and Sweet Pea was really quite sweet. I loved both the hero and the heroine and there were some twists in the story that I did not see coming.
Overall this was a great addition to the series and I cannot wait for more!
In His Keeping is the second novel in the Slow Burn series by Maya Banks and I could not wait to get my hands on this book. Ordinarily books with psychic elements are not my thing but the first one, Keep Me Safe, had me hooked from the get go and I couldn’t wait for Brock’s story. Maya threw me for a loop in the early parts of this one because I kind of thought this was going to wind up a two man, one woman story with Zach, Beau and Ari, but instead I was left even more curious about Zach’s future love. I didn’t necessarily love the overall story of Beau and Ari as much as Caleb and Remi, but I definitely loved watching Ari come in to her powers and kick some ass!
Arial Rochester has lived a very sheltered life with her parents going to extremes to keep her safe. Although the full scope of her gift is not known until the story starts developing, Ari’s parents are very aware that the little girl that was left on their doorstep as an infant is both unique and in danger. Determined to set out on her own, she gets a job as a teacher and her own apartment and finally starts to live a little. During an attack by a student, Ari uses her gifts to save herself and someone catches it on camera leaking it to the media. Her parents prepare to get her out of the country and then suddenly disappear.
After viewing the now viral video of Arial’s attack, Beau Devereaux finds himself strangely preoccupied with the delicate woman he sees being attacked. Security is their business, but the team knows from experience that the woman likely has psychic abilities. Since she is not their client, he tries to push the situation out of his mind. When an injured Ari shows up at his business claiming that her father always told her to seek out Beau or Caleb if they disappeared, he struggles to make sense of it all. The only thing that Beau knows of her family is that Ari’s father was the last person to see his parents alive and that alone has him on edge.
In the beginning, Ari’s naiveté and dependence on her parents kind of grated at me but set in the context of the story it made sense. Her “parents” had gone to great lengths to not only pamper and spoil her, but also to protect her from people that would exploit her abilities. She very quickly comes in to her own and starts to kick some serious ass, never having had the opportunity to do so before. By the end of the book I would put her up there as one of my favorite bad ass female characters. She literally levels buildings to save and protect the people she loves.
As with the usual formula for these types of books. Beau and Ari fall quickly for each other and hard. The book is pretty much non-stop once the action gets going and a lot of stuff happens in a relatively short amount of time. There are a few really touching moments between Ari and Ramie and the way she puts Caleb in his place is hilarious. Really enjoyed the book and I cannot wait for Zach’s story which is out next in June. There are a few different publication dates floating around out there but Maya has recently announced that she is scaling back a bit and as a result a bunch of release dates were shifted. Although this makes me sad because I love reading her books and cannot wait for them, Ms. Banks is a machine and put out an insane number of amazing novels each year.
Overall, this one was a great addition to the series and set up Zach’s story nicely!
Midnight Sins is the first book in the Callahan series by Lora Leigh. This one is not new, but I hadn’t gotten around to starting the series and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner! Ms. Leigh writes some great romantic suspense books and this one grabbed me right away. Rafer and Cami are a loveable couple that you can’t help but root for. I’m usually nauseated by the whole “I can’t be with him because losing him would destroy me” story, but this one was an exception. Given the overall plot, it was completely reasonable that Cami would fear losing Rafer.
Cambria Flannigan has grown up in the shadow of her murdered sister, with the entire town believing Rafe and his cousins were somehow behind the deaths of numerous women. Her father has ignored and verbally abused her all her life and her mother has hidden behind Valium. Cami’s big sister, Jaymi, had tried to be there for her as much as she could and when she is brutally murdered while Cami is only 13, she shuts her heart down and tries not to let people in.
When his best friend Tye is killed, Rafe Callahan takes the man’s wishes seriously and while looking out for his friend’s widow, begins a sexual relationship with her. Jaymi was devastated after the love of her life died and she starts seeking comfort in the arms of his best friend. After she realizes that her little sister Cami is looking at Rafer the way she used to look at the love of her life, she knows she has to end things despite Cami’s young age.
Growing up, Rafe and his cousins have been outcasts in Corbin County but no one can quite figure out why. The fact that three Callahan brothers married three of the daughters of small town royalty, and then they all died in mysterious circumstances seems to be the only reason that everyone has it out for the boys. They can recall times where their grandparents used to dote on them and love them, but now when they see their grand kids in town they act like they are nothing but dirt on their feet.
One thing I liked about this book, but could also be a bit disturbing for some, is that the book starts off from Jaymi’s point of view. She hurts for her little sister because of the way that she is being treated by their parents and she is dealing with the grief of losing her husband, but she’s also dealing with some very disturbing phone calls and threats. Not wanting to raise the alarm she keeps the calls secret from Rafe because she knows the voice on the other end of the phone, she just can’t quite place it. When she finally figures it out she is taken and brutally murdered near where the Callahan cousins are camping in an attempt to frame them. They catch the killer but most people still suspect the Callahans. There is a very beautiful scene between Jaymi and Rafe and it made me tear up reading it.
The book has a lot of action and the story moves very fast which I liked. I had no idea who the bad guy was and oddly it makes me happy when I don’t predict it all. I loved Cami and Rafer and there is plenty of story to go around for the cousins’ books. I will review the next book in the series shortly but if you are a fan of romantic suspense you should definitely give this series a try!
His to Take is the ninth book in the Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black and can I just say this series just keeps getting better! Admittedly when I read the blurb, I missed the connection between the hero and Kata (who was featured in book 4 of the series) and Carlotta her mother (who had her story in book 6.5 of the series), but when I figured it out, I was really looking forward to seeing another member of that family. Joaquin Munõz is determined to avenge the murder of his only friend and partner and will stop at nothing to make that happen. Believing Bailey Benson may hold the answers he is looking for, and knowing she is in danger, Joaquin kidnaps her to keep her safe.
Joaquin Munõz closed himself off to everyone after the death of his father when he was a teenager. He has kept himself from his family, only has one real friend, and his relationships are kept to one night stands. When his former partner and good friend is killed while investigating the disappearance of a woman, Joaquin cannot stand by and do nothing. After other women are kidnapped and killed in the same manner, he knows that he needs help and reaches out to his sister’s husband Hunter. When the link between these murdered women and the man who had been working for Callie’s father becomes clear, everyone agrees to help Joaquin track down the remaining women on the list they have compiled. They each take a woman’s name and head out to track her down.
Bailey Benson is a gifted dancer on the verge of her big break. An orphan with very few friends and no family, Bailey is lonely but otherwise happy. The only dark spot in her life is the nightmares that she has been having since she was a child that feel like a memory, but her parents always assured her that it was a figment of her imagination. Bailey wakes up from one of her nightmares only to find a man standing in front of her who quickly drugs her to knock her out. When she comes to, she is handcuffed to a bed in an unfamiliar place with a man she has never seen before telling her he believes she is someone else entirely.
This book had so many high points for me but my favorite was the involvement of pretty much every single character we have met and loved in this series. We start seeing Hunter and Kata who are now expecting their first child, but throughout the book we end up seeing everyone and in particular, we get to see a lot of Callie, Thorpe and Sean. Callie and Bailey develop a friendship, and considering Callie has always felt like an outsider, I loved seeing that. Callie was one of my favorite women in the series.
Another thing I enjoyed was that Joaquin did not seem to know he’s a Dom, so watching him explore that was fun and hot. At first Bailey is not aware that she’s being held in Dominion and when Callie takes her for her first tour, she is simultaneously horrified and intrigued at the activities taking place. Joaquin goes on quite the journey from realizing how he’s been keeping everyone at arm’s length to protect himself, learning about being a Dom, exploring that with Bailey, and ultimately coming to terms with the fact that you cannot always protect yourself from being hurt.
This book brought some closure to the storyline that is started in Callie’s book and there was a sweet moment with Callie, Sean and Thorpe that made me love the three of them even more. Bailey and Joaquin were a great couple with tons of chemistry and the book had plenty of action to balance out the steamy stuff. I am really looking forward to Axel’s book which is the next one up. We have learned very little about him even though we have seen him a lot and I suspect his book may be my favorite of the series. Overall I loved His To Take and this was a great addition to the series.
Owning Violet is the first in The Fowler Sisters series by Monica Murphy and this was my first time trying any of her work. The blurb caught my attention and I’ve been having a lot of luck lately with new authors so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, I really had mixed feelings about this one. I could not relate to the heroine at all and at times I wanted to reach through the pages and smack her. When I can’t relate to the heroine, it makes it very difficult for me to enjoy a book.
Violet Fowler is the middle, dutiful child always doing everything that is expected from her. She is being groomed to take over their family cosmetics company and has found the “perfect” husband to be. Violet is dating Zachary, a man who works for the company, and she quietly ignores his cheating and betrayal, telling herself he will suddenly become faithful once they say I do. The book starts with Violet having some inner dialogue that really set the tone for the rest of the story saying things like “I would make the perfect politician’s wife. Standing behind my man, offering my never-ending support all while wearing the pleasant smile I’ve mastered over the years.” I admit after this sentence I had pretty much decided this wasn’t going to go well.
Turns out Zachary was just using her to get ahead in the company, which I’m sure will come as a surprise after the cheating and stuff. Enter Ryder McKay, a former bad boy who has turned his life around and is just as determined to succeed as Zachary. Like his nemesis, Ryder has an ulterior motive for getting Violet in to bed but it takes a bit of time to figure out everyone’s end game. I love a bad boy turned good. It is one of my favorite types of men, but I found that Ryder rode closer to the asshole line than hot alpha male line, and it was hard to get past that. Both characters start to redeem themselves as the story progresses, but I just could not get past my first impressions.
Ryder owes a lot to Pilar, a woman who helped him get to where he is today, but she has her own motivations for having him seduce Violet. In many ways she was a more interesting character than Violet. For his part, Ryder wants to stick it to Zach and steal the promotion from him and if he can accomplish that while also getting to have sex with Violet – well that’s a win/win. He’s a dirty talking, rough kinda guy and that part of him didn’t bother me. Love me a dirty talking man, but there was just something about him I could not put my finger on.
There were some positives in this book so it was not all bad. Violet and Ryder did have some sizzling chemistry and the sex was hot. They grew on me as the story went on and I also found that the later parts of the book were really well written. I will probably check out the next book in the series out of curiosity. Unfortunately my first impressions of the heroine tainted the story for me but the sisters intrigued me. I will definitely approach the next one with an open mind and I suspect I’m going to like it a lot more.
This one was all over the map for me. There were some really big positives and some really big negatives. I think it comes out as a draw making the book just okay.
Midnight Action is the fifth book in the Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy, and if you are a fan of this series – this story is the one we’ve been waiting for. Throughout the books leading up to this one we have seen the genuine hatred between Jim Morgan, the leader of a group of mercenaries who have been the focus of the previous books, and Noelle, aka the Queen of Assassins. But as we all know there is a fine line between hate and love and I couldn’t wait to find out all about what had led them to this point.
Eighteen years ago, Jim was part of a black ops unit and was given a mission to track down and capture a traitor who was selling information to the enemy. In order to achieve his objective, Jim seduced the man’s daughter Noelle but what started as just another job quickly turned in to genuine love. Unfortunately that love cannot stand in the way of completing his mission, and he has no choice but to betray her. Noelle has never recovered from the devastation of finding out the man she loved had been using her to go after her beloved father. Flash forward to present day and Noelle has been offered five million dollars to kill the man she had once sworn to kill for free. Instead of taking care of the job and pocketing the cash, she finds herself at his compound in Costa Rica warning him. In order to find out who has taken out the hit, Jim and Noelle must work together and find a way to trust each other just a little.
Where to start. I had crazy high expectations for this book to the point I was worried I would be disappointed. I shouldn’t have worried, Ms. Kennedy delivered and these two are by far my favorite couple of the series to date. While I couldn’t wait for Jim and Noelle to have their HEA, I didn’t want Noelle to suddenly turn in to a mushy, love sick woman because that just would not have jived with everything we had read up to that point. Thankfully she maintained her bad ass persona right to the end, with the odd emotional moment mixed in. Noelle had a difficult life before meeting Jim at the age of 17. Although her mother and step-father were very wealthy, and materially she had everything she could have wanted, she had been suffering abuse at the hands of her step-father for years. After Rene’s abuse, Jim’s betrayal, and finding out her dad wasn’t who she thought he was, it is really no wonder Noelle distrusts men and keeps her stone cold bitch persona up even around her own team.
We knew at least some of the reason Noelle hated Jim from the blurb that had been released, but we haven’t had any clues as to why he felt the same way. I don’t want to give too much away because the reasoning is a pretty big twist, but I LOVED this new turn in the story. We really got to see a side of Jim and even Noelle, that had not been exhibited in previous books, and it made for a great story. Given that they both had very real reasons to feel the way they did about each other, it took careful story telling to get them to the point where they could believably get to the start of their HEA. There is one scene in particular where Noelle beats the shit out of Jim and unleashes all of her heartache and anger, and it was very emotional to read. In the end the way he finally manages to get her to admit her feelings, although strange to many people, was actually very touching and it showed that Jim really knew Noelle in a way that no one else does.
There were so many things I loved about this book it is impossible to list them all without giving it away. Noelle obviously has some issues given that she seems to genuinely enjoy killing people, but she is also fiercely loyal to those she cares about (even if she won’t admit she cares), she holds her own in any fight physically and mentally, and she is a self made woman. The twist I talked about above was awesome and I really liked how it all played out. We get to meet Bailey and there is an interesting story to be told with her and her HEA. But the thing I probably loved the most was the set up for Liam’s story. We get a peek at who that may be with and I have many theories as to how that’s going to work but I can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Overall, this was another fantastic addition to the Killer Instincts series and Jim and Noelle have chemistry that jumps off the page. The sex between them is smoking hot and I really hope we get to see their story develop further – perhaps with Noelle having a baby. Bring on Bailey and Sean!
Hope Burns is the third full length book in the Hope series by Jaci Burton and I was really looking forward to this one. The story focuses on Emma’s sister Molly Burnett and local business man Carter Richards, and it was clear from previous books that there was some serious history between these two. The former high school sweethearts have not seen each other for 13 years as Molly has not been back since she skipped town all those years ago. Coming home for Emma’s wedding, Molly is determined to get through the ceremony and get right back on the road. A family emergency puts her careful plans – and her heart – at risk.
Molly Burnett hit the road right after her high school graduation and never looked back. Her family and friends have speculated as to why she refused to even visit, but no one could have guessed what really happened. Convincing herself that she likes the freedom of moving from place to place and job to job, Molly is content to reassure everyone that her life is great. Her sister’s wedding, and her position as the maid of honor, have left her with no more room to run. She will return to Hope, get through the wedding and get the hell out of Dodge right after.
Carter Richards has made a good life for himself in Hope. He purchased the auto shop where he had his first job, and over the years has opened more locations. He earns a decent living, owns his own home that he is renovating and is ready to settle down and have kids. Running in to Molly when she is literally just rolling in to town, it becomes clear to him that he has not quite gotten over his first love. Unfortunately she is still running from him and cannot say loud enough that she is heading out of town right after the wedding.
With Emma off to her honeymoon, Molly prepares to head out of town and get back to her life. After her mother takes a fall and will be immobilized for several weeks, Molly knows she has to step up and stay. Emma has been handling everything on her own for years and she deserves her honeymoon. When she finds out her mother has been working on a town revitalization project she is excited to take over. Unfortunately her mother has been working closely with Carter on the project and that means a lot more time with the man she was hoping to avoid.
During the time they spend together, Molly has a chance to get to know the adult Carter and realizes that he is nothing like the young man she left behind. Telling herself that she can just have a fling with him and move on, the duo begin heating up the sheets and spending time together doing couple things. Carter knows he wants her to stay and have a future with him, but every time things get close Molly panics and pulls back.
I loved these two. They experienced something as teenagers that many adults would have had difficulty handling and they reacted as typical teenagers would. There were two scenes that really stood out for me and I thought Ms. Burton wrote them perfectly. The first was when Molly confronted Carter after her sister’s wedding and let out all of her hurt and frustration. He allowed her to vent and get things off her chest, but was quiet about how he had been affected. His turn comes later and Carter does not hold back when he unloads on Molly, saying the things he has been keeping pent up for all those years. It was clear that no matter how much time had passed, those two were stuck in the past and in their pain.
One of the enjoyable things about this series is that the community is very close knit and even though some people have had “their” story already, we still get to see a lot of them. I am really looking forward to Chelsea’s story and we get a glimpse at who her HEA will be with. Thankfully its not a crazy long wait, their book hits stores in April 2015.
So far this is my favorite book of the series. I loved both main characters and I was dying to find out what this history was between them. I was a bit worried there would be build up but a unsatisfactory story, but I was wrong. The couple had crazy chemistry and the book was not crammed full of plot points distracting from them. Cannot wait for the next one.
My trend of finding great romantic suspense books has continued! Mean Streak is the latest book from New York Times best-selling author Sandra Brown and it had all the elements I love in a good novel. Tortured hero, kick ass heroine and plenty of intrigue. Just when you think you have it figured out, a new twist pops up.
Pediatrician Dr. Emory Charbonneau is in training for a charity marathon which she is organizing. In order to push herself harder and get a break from her failing marriage, she heads out of town to run on the most difficult paths she has attempted. One moment she is running as planned and the next she is waking up in a cabin with a splitting headache, nausea, and the most intriguing man she has ever seen. When it becomes clear that he does not intend to let her leave, Emory does everything in her power to escape – to no avail. The man has promised that he will not hurt her and that he will release her when it is safe, but not until then.
Hayes Bannock is on the run, determined to meet out justice as he sees fit. His mission is not yet complete and the last thing he needs is to become attached to the feisty doctor. Intending to let her go, he keeps her in his cabin for just a little bit longer than is necessary and the two begin to grow closer. Unfortunately fate steps in before he can follow through on his promise to return her to her family, and he needs her help to save the life of a young girl. Throughout the crisis and the days she spends with him, Emory begins to see that there is a lot more to this man than he lets on.
Knowing he must let her go before he becomes even more involved, he turns on his cold side, rebuffs her and drops her at a gas station outside of town. The media is all over the story and her husband, who had been suspected of killing her, seems to be turning on the charm to win her back. Although Hayes intended to leave and never look back, he discovers a clue as to who was trying to kill Emory and he can’t just walk away.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was some of the secondary characters. It’s probably an unrealistic hope, but I would love if Ms. Brown gave FBI Agent Jack Connell and Bannock’s sister Rebecca their own story. It is clear the two have some chemistry in their interactions and I would definitely buy it. The detectives that investigated Emory’s disappearance would make good books too.
Moving back to Mean Streak, there were plenty of plot twists that kept you guessing as to who the bad guy really was, and I was wrong. This is one case where I like being wrong. With respect to Hayes, you never really know is this guy on the right side of the law, the wrong, wrongly convicted, in trouble, tragedy. It keeps things interesting. He was so sweet to Emory but he also did not apologize for who he is and he doesn’t hesitate to show his dark side. His interactions with the young girl and her mother make you all mushy for him. Emory was a great heroine because she didn’t just sit back and take the word of everyone, she used her intuition and relied on her gut to tell her what was real and what wasn’t. She also wasn’t waiting for a man to save her.
Overall a great book. Sweet love story, smoking hot sex (although there wasn’t a whole lot of sex), and a genuine suspense plot. This was my first experience with Ms. Brown’s work and I would not hesitate to read her again.
Every time I think I have found my favorite Maya Banks book, she sets me straight with the next one! Keep Me Safe is the first book in Ms. Banks’ Slow Burn series and I could not put it down. The new trilogy contains plenty of suspense, love and even psychic elements, but at the core this book is a gripping story with loveable characters. Although Maya is known for her smoking hot sex scenes, Keep Me Safe really focuses on the emotional side of the relationship between Caleb and Ramie while setting up some future stories in the series.
Caleb Deveraux lives a life of privilege, aware that there are risks to that, but believing that his family is safe. When his security proves ineffective and his little sister Tori is kidnapped by a deranged psychopath, Caleb will do whatever is necessary to find her. He sets out on a mission to track down psychic Ramie St. Clair, who has a history of helping families find their missing loved ones. While she has been in hiding for several months, money and power help track her to a remote cabin.
Ramie is barely hanging on by a thread when Mr. Deveraux shows up on her doorstep accusing her of selfishly withholding her gift. What he cannot know is the toll that locating the victims takes on her, and he does not give her a chance to explain. Shoving his sister’s scarf in to her hands, Caleb throws her immediately in to the same hell his sister is experiencing. Watching what he has done to her, a horrified Caleb knows that he can never possibly repay the debt he owes her. He leaves to rescue his sister but promises her that he will be back to help her. When he returns she has disappeared again and this time he cannot find her.
Flash forward a year and Ramie is at the end of her rope. The lunatic chasing her continues to stay one step ahead of her and she has nowhere to turn. After she has to abandon her car, her purse and all of her belongings, a desperate Ramie calls Caleb Devereaux in a panic. After having searched for her consistently for the last year, Caleb had given up hope of locating the woman he owed so much to. To her relief he immediately agrees to help keep her safe and sends his best people in the area to protect her until he can get to her.
Caleb takes Ramie to his family home, which has significantly beefed up security since his sister’s abduction. Despite resistance from his brothers and his sister’s horrified reaction, he insists that she stay while they track down the man who is stalking her. Forming plans is difficult since the killer appears to have some type of a connection to Ramie and the team struggles to take him down.
The series is full of characters that I cannot wait to read more about. Although this is “Ramie and Caleb’s story”, the book serves as a great introduction to all the people we will be seeing in the series. Tori’s story is going to be heartbreaking after all that she has endured and it is going to be emotional to see her come out the other side. Caleb’s brothers are also a great story waiting to happen so I can’t wait to read the rest.
Ramie has been through hell and back. Knowing that she may be the last chance for many people, she has tortured herself doing whatever she can to help locate family members. She has been on her own since childhood with no one ever looking out for her, and trusting Caleb does not come easy. Her story was difficult to read at times but she was written in a way that she did not play the victim. Sure she had her moments but overall she is fighting to survive and did not give up. Caleb was a great match for her because he came from a supportive family, he was determined to make things right with her and he would not give up. Their story was really sweet.
Overall I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one. Thankfully it is being released in January 2015 so I don’t have to wait long!
Taking It All is the final book in the Surrender trilogy by Maya Banks and revolves around Chessy and Tate Morgan. Based on the blurb that was released I knew this was going to be very emotional and Maya did not disappoint. In addition to a powerful story about the main characters, there were some minor side stories about the other two couples, and the epilogue wrapped the series up in a way that we weren’t left with questions. We also got to see some Damon Roche from the Sweet series which was great because he was one of my favorites.
Chessy has always been bubbly and happy and she is married to the love of her life. When her husband becomes wrapped up in his business and starts to neglect her, Chessy just bites her tongue and suffers in silence. The duo live a dom/sub relationship and used to frequent The House, an elite sex club owned by Damon. Lately they rarely even see each other let alone have sex, and Tate has been neglecting his duties as her dom. Joss and Kylie are insanely happy with their lives and that makes Chessy long to have her husband back even more. With their anniversary coming up, she decides to discuss her concerns with Tate so that they can go back to being happy.
When Tate’s business partner up and left him, he went on a mission to prove that he didn’t need anyone else to make his company a success. He buries himself in the business and doesn’t notice how miserable Chessy has been. On the night of their anniversary dinner, Tate arranges a business meeting in the bar of the restaurant the couple are supposed to be celebrating. Time gets away from him and Chessy is stuck sitting in the restaurant, cold food in front of her, and completely devastated. She gets up to leave and on the way out sees Tate at the bar with his potential client, who happens to be a very attractive woman.
The anniversary fiasco is the catalyst that Chessy needs to confront Tate with the way he has been neglecting her. Her husband is completely shocked as he was oblivious to the pain she was in and he vows to do better. Chessy is thrilled that she seems to have her loving husband back and things seem to be back on track. Tate arranges a night at The House for the couple and makes plans to bring some of the steaminess back to their sex lives. While they are there he takes a phone call from a very wealthy potential client and that decision puts Chessy’s safety and their marriage in jeopardy.
There were some very powerful and emotional scenes in this book and those scenes were written perfectly. Chessy is absolutely devastated by her husband’s decision to place business before her, but Tate is equally devastated that he let his wife down. I loved seeing Joss, Dash, Kylie and Jensen rally around her. Chessy was there to kick their butts when they were screwing up their relationships so it was their turn to pay it forward.
Overall I really enjoyed the book and the entire series was fantastic. My only complaint about Taking It All is the number of times the words dominant and submissive were used. It felt like overkill and at times it distracted me from the storyline. In actuality the “dom/sub” situation played a fairly small role in the overall arc of the story, which made all those references even more conspicuous.
The story was fast paced and I was invested in Chessy and Tate as a couple. They clearly had a deep love for each other and even though Tate screwed up large, I was rooting for them to work it out. I was happy to see that Maya didn’t resolve the situation quickly because it would not have been believable and I would have lost all respect for Chessy as a woman. There weren’t a ton of sex scenes but when there was one, it was hot hot hot.
This was a satisfying conclusion to a trilogy that I really enjoyed. All three couples were loveable and worked through some pretty big issues to get where they were. We got three very emotional stories that draw you in and each of the books I could not put down. The epilogue tied the series up nicely and I am sad that we won’t be seeing more of these characters. Another awesome series for Maya!
I have completely enjoyed the other books in the Secrets and Sins series by Naima Simone but this is the one I have been waiting for! One of the things I really enjoy about Ms. Simone’s writing is that she writes in a way that you can actually picture someone thinking that way or talking the way it is set out in the scene. Often books have inner dialogue, and really even actual dialogue that has you thinking who the hell talks like that? But with lines like “Damn. Why didn’t he just go home, pop in the last season of Vampire Diaries, and bedazzle his toenails”, you can actually picture someone thinking that. Another favorite was “men who looked like hot-monkey-sex-on-a-stick.” I love her style of writing and I was not so patiently waiting for this story.
Every day of his life, Chayot Gray lives with guilt, anger and embarrassment after his darkest secret came to light. If you’ve followed the series you know that in the first book, Secrets and Sins: Gabriel, it is revealed that Chayot killed his mother’s boyfriend when he was a teenager and his friends had helped him cover it up. Because of his actions, his best friends now have criminal records, his mother not only lost her boyfriend, but her second husband as well, and his life has become tabloid fodder. As a part-owner of the security firm he owns with best friend Rafe (you can read my review of his story on the site), Chay has a comfortable financial life. He moves to the suburbs to escape the media scrutiny and spots a peeping tom checking out his extremely beautiful neighbor.
After being stalked and attacked by a deranged fan, Aslyn Jericho is recuperating in Boston while trying to return to her first love – the piano. After her too hot neighbor chases the creep away from her window, Aslyn, who has a tendency to blurt out whatever comes to mind, speaks her thoughts about Chay’s good looks in front of everyone. When her manager insists that Aslyn beef up her security, she goes to Chay’s company and they agree to take her on as a client.
It quickly becomes clear that lightning has struck twice and that Aslyn has another stalker, and the threats escalate rapidly. Although Chay and Aslyn begin to grow closer, he believes that she is too good for him and pushes her away at every turn. When she is attacked, Chay moves her to a safe house and he moves right on in with her, while telling himself that she is strictly a job. The duo give in to the building sexual tension and the result is some seriously hot sex!
I loved Chay. From the beginning of the series it was clear that his story was going to be highly emotional and it delivered on that point for sure. When Chay finally opens up to Aslyn about the truth of the night so many years ago when he killed his mother’s boyfriend, it was so sad and heartbreaking. He had never told anyone the full story, not even the three friends that had helped him cover the crime up, and he had done so despite believing there could be no future between them.
I will preface this next part by saying I really loved the book and the entire series, but there was a scene missing that I waited the entire book for and even went back to read the last little bit to ensure that I hadn’t missed it. I was waiting for a scene between Chay and his mother, especially after the couple of references to his relationship with her at the beginning of the book. That never came and I really felt like something was missing to close the series off.
The book and the epilogue wrapped the series up well and there was one particular moment that makes your heart melt for Chay all over again. Both the hero and the heroine were lovable and the chemistry between them is sizzling. The story is one of survival and I really enjoyed seeing Chay get his happily ever after. I really enjoy Simone’s writing style and I will not hesitate to check out more of her work.
In general I do not read cowboy books, western type books or anything of the sort, but I always make an exception for anything Lorelei James writes. My first experience with her writing was with her Rough Riders series and I was immediately hooked. After meeting her in person at Lora Leigh’s RAW a few years ago, my fan girl crush on her only grew. She is so down to earth, fun and approachable and the James Gang had a blast. Sadly, the Rough Riders series has come to an end, but James’ other cowboy series Black Top Cowboys is in full swing. Hillbilly Rockstar is the 6th book in the series and is about Harper’s sister Liberty Masterson, and country music star Devin McClain.
After one of his crew members is attacked while laying in Devin McClain’s bed, his record label insists that he bring on security. Devin grew up in Muddy Gap, and he reaches out to one of his childhood friends, Tanna, whose brother owns a security firm. Even though he does not believe he needs protection, the label digs its heels in. During the meeting at GSC Security, Devin reluctantly agrees to bring on one bodyguard but does not want people to know that the person is guarding him.
After an injury ended her military career, Liberty Masterson drifted until she was hired by GSC. Her career gives her personal satisfaction and she is working towards buying a home of her own to settle in to. During her meeting with Devin and his team, it is clear that he doubts her abilities. When the team reveals that the only way to ensure that no one knows Liberty is his body guard, would be for her to front as his personal assistant, Devin flippantly remarks that it is a good thing he is not attracted to her. With the promise of a $100,000 bonus at the completion of the contract, Liberty checks her pride and asks for her little sister Harper’s help. Of course Harper is delighted to have the opportunity to give her sister a make-over and Liberty undergoes a complete transformation.
Due to their extremely close quarters, Devin and Liberty get to know each other on a personal level, and he finds himself revealing stuff to her that he has never discussed with anyone. After his baby sister died of cancer, Devin kept an emotional wall up between himself and everyone else. He has a healthy sexual appetite, but has only engaged in oral sex for the last year and a half and Liberty is testing his resolve in that area.
Liberty is the kind of female heroine I love. She is strong, both physically and mentally, she knows what she wants and she’s not afraid to get it. She is comfortable in her sexuality and the chemistry between her and Devin is off the charts. It is not long before the two are heating up the sheets, but both seem content with the idea that their fling will end when the tour ends.
Devin was my idea of a perfect hero. He has confidence in Liberty’s abilities with respect to her job, and out in public she takes the lead. In the bedroom, however, it is a totally different situation and he has no problem taking the reins. The couple inevitably falls in love with each other, but Liberty refuses to acknowledge that they may have a future together.
Hillbilly Rockstar had all the elements that I love in a Lorelei James book – a sweet love story, a couple that you can totally get behind and root for, and smoking hot sex. Another fantastic story by Ms. James!
Hold Still, the latest novel from author Lisa Regan, is really more of a thriller than a romantic suspense story, but it was great nonetheless. There is some romance but it is very secondary to the storyline and the sex scenes are minimal. The book was fast-paced, well written and full of twists and turns. There are some difficult topics such as rape, torture, prostitution and drug abuse so if these are topics you are not comfortable with, you will want to skip this one.
Detective Jocelyn Rush thought she had seen the worst that humanity had to offer. When she winds up in the emergency room after saving her three year old daughter from a carjacking, she runs in to Anita, a former prostitute who is the victim of an unspeakable crime. Despite the fact that she is not a member of the Special Victim’s Unit, Jocelyn becomes invested in solving these crimes. It is not long before the attacks hit close to home, and she is forced to confront an ugly family secret if she wants to break this case.
When she was just a teenager, Jocelyn witnessed the gang rape of her sister Camille. Shortly after, she was involved in a horrific car accident and is unable to remember all the details of what she saw. After her family covered the crime up, Jocelyn and her sister went down very different paths in life. As she races to catch the men who are responsible for the brutal attacks, she must consider if the answer lays somewhere in the past.
One thing I really enjoyed about this story was the number of strong female characters. Jocelyn turned her back on her family because she could not accept the way they handled her sister’s attack, and now lives for her daughter and her job. She has issues for sure, but she is still a kick-ass woman. Anita, the woman who is attacked early in the book, has had a difficult life herself. She had cleaned herself up, kicked her drug habit and was doing the best she could to take care of her kids and her sick mother. Even after her assault she remains dedicated to providing a good life for her kids rather than wallowing in self pity. Jocelyn’s co-worker Inez is another bad-ass and the friendship between the two is one of the highlights for me. In a less obvious way, Camille is also a strong woman who has been through a lot. She has made a lot of bad decisions no doubt, but she keeps going instead of giving up.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. It was my first time reading Ms. Regan but I will definitely check out more of her work.
I’m on a roll right now with some really great romantic suspense books and this one fit right in. Lost is the second book in the Dobbs Hollow series by Laura K. Curtis and revolves around Tara, a police officer that abandoned her career after a costly mistake, and Jacob, a determined FBI agent. Ordinarily I would not read a “cult” book, but the blurb drew me in and I’m glad I gave it a shot. A good blurb is so important! After her friend Lucy almost died while Tara was on the job, she handed in her badge and walked away from the law. While working at a restaurant she meets Andrea, a sweet if naive woman and the two become fast friends. Andrea begins attending a ranch run by a “spiritual group” that her cousin is a part of, and Tara goes with her a few times to be supportive. When Andrea drops off the radar and cannot be reached, Tara leaves her belongings and life as she knows it behind and becomes a member of the Chosen to find out what happened to her friend. Since she had been there before visiting, they easily accepted her in to the group.
When Lucy (the heroine from the first book in the series Twisted) doesn’t hear from Tara, she and her husband ask FBI Agent Jacob Nolan to go undercover and pull her out. After deliberately being cruel to Tara out of guilt, Jacob has been anxious to make amends with her. When he finds out that no one has heard from her, he quickly creates a fake identity and background and joins the group. With no backup available, the pair are on their own but things are not adding up with the Chosen and they set out to figure out what the group is up to.
After being a Chosen for months, Tara, or as she’s know now, Selena, is no closer to finding out what happened to her friend. The official line is that Andrea and her cousin decided to leave and no one knows where they have gone. Tara knows that there is no truth to that, but she is determined to stick it out to get to the bottom of things. At dinner one evening she is stunned to see Jacob introduced to the group as their newest member but at first the pair pretend not to know each other. When it becomes obvious that they do have history, they create a cover story that Tara fled and joined the community after Jacob was unfaithful. As they get closer to the truth of what the leaders of the Chosen are up to, Tara and Jacob must rely on each other as much as their own instincts.
I haven’t read the first book in the series but thankfully I was able follow along with no difficulty. We learn enough about the interactions between Jacob and Tara that occurred in Twisted, that I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. Both characters were relatable and likeable and there was a good balance of the progression of their relationship and the suspense of taking the Chosen down. The story was fast paced and well written, and I thought it was a fair assessment of the reality of cults. Curtis didn’t set out to make all religious groups appear evil, and highlights that the majority of the members are self-sufficient, hard-working people.
Overall I really enjoyed the story and the main characters and this is a series I will continue to follow. It was my first experience with Curtis’ writing and I would definitely check out her future work.