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.
Ordinarily novellas or shorter stories are not my thing but I do read them if they are a part of a series I am already in to. Taken is a collection of novellas and short stories by Lora Leigh. All of these have been previously released so if they sound familiar that is why.
This one is the first in Ms. Leigh’s Tempting Seals series and even though it is short, Raven and Reno are one of my favorite couples from the series.
Raven has been in love with her best friend’s brother since she was a teenager but she is convinced that she is too much like her mother to allow herself to be with him. While her father was away on missions as a Seal, her mother would fall apart and when he died, her mother never recovered.
Reno has known for years that Raven is in the one but he has also known that rushing her would be a mistake. He needed her to realize that she was stronger than her mother and that she would be able to survive and thrive when he was on a mission. He’s done waiting and he sets out to show Raven how good it could be between them.
The sex between these two was smoking hot and their chemistry jumped off the pages, but there was also a very sweet story there. We see some of Raven and quite a bit of Reno in future stories in the series but I would have loved to see these two get a full length book. Overall it is a satisfying and enjoyable introduction to the Tempting Seals series.
For Maggie’s Sake
This story picks up after Dangerous Games and is the third in the Tempting Seals series. I don’t want to give away too much about Dangerous Games in case you haven’t read it, but the story in this one is directly related to the goings on in the previous book so it would not do well as a stand alone.
Joe Merino was a Seal and now works for the DEA. He has been in love with his best friend’s wife ever since he blew his chance to be with her. Now that Maggie Samuels’ life is in danger, he goes above and beyond to protect her, while trying to take down those that threaten her. We get to know Joe a bit in the previous book and there is only a couple of quick mentions about Maggie so it was fitting that most of the novella was surrounding their relationship as opposed to the story that drove the series. There was some of it to move it all forward but the majority of time was spent on the couple.
Overall a fast, enjoyable read but not one of my favorites of the series.
This story is the 6th in the series and I was really looking forward to getting Macey’s story after seeing him in previous books. I was slightly disappointed that it was a novella but it was still enjoyable. Mason March (Macey) is the communications guy for Reno’s Seal Team. His home is a fortress that few people are invited in to. When Emerson Delaney, the Admiral’s goddaughter is kidnapped by terrorists, Macey hides her in the one place he figures is the safest – his underground home. After lusting after her for years, Macey knows that having her in his quarters is a bad idea, but it’s the safest option for her.
Emerson has lived her life in an emotional vacuum, with her parents always preaching about duty and honor. Up until Macey, she had been sure she could live the life that she was supposed to and not let anyone close or ask for love. She doesn’t stand a chance when Macey sets his sights on seducing her.
I loved this couple. Macey is a sweet, alpha man and Emerson is a feisty, strong woman. There is a scene in the epilogue that is adorable and one of my favorites. A quick, but enjoyable story that doesn’t do a whole lot to move the overall plot of the series forward, but still serves its purpose.
The Elite Ops series is a spinoff of the popular Tempting Seals series and is the second book in the new series. Night Hawk is the code name for Lillian Belle, one of the female agents of the Elite Ops group. Although they have signed away twelve years of their lives in exchange for a new life with a new identity, she finds herself drawn to Black Jack, another operative. Night Hawk’s group is supposed to be limited to intelligence gathering and she hears a rumor that directly impacts Black Jack’s mission. There is no doubt that the duo are drawn to each other but both seem to accept that it is never going to happen so they settle for one kiss.
The events in this book are related to probably my favorite book in the Elite Ops series, Maverick and it sets the book up nicely. Eventually this couple gets their own full length story so I think this one was really just put out to set the rest of the series up. It was a very short freebie and it made me look forward to Black Jack as well.
This book is the first in the Wounded Warriors series and given the way Lora Leigh writes her Seals and other military men, I really hope this one continues! Ethan Cooper has been lusting after his prissy neighbor Sarah Fox since she moved next door, and when he looks out of his window and sees her laying in her backyard naked, he is unable to look away. After returning from the Army, Cooper opened a local bar that frequents bikers and all types of people so in his mind he thinks Sarah is way out of his league and would never be able to tolerate his sexual needs and desires.
Tired of being known as the town virgin since she relocated there, Sarah is determined to break out of that and live a little. After being the victim of a senseless crime when she was a teenager, she spent years running and has finally found a place she wants to call home. Ethan may not remember it, but the two had met before and he was the primary reason she moved to town. Now she is ready to do something about it.
Loved this couple and story. Ethan is your typical badass alpha man and sometimes comes off as overbearing but not in a way that ruins him. Sarah may be innocent in some ways but girlfriend has a bad side and she wants Ethan to help her discover it. There wasn’t a ton of suspense in the story but that is partially because it was a short one. The time was spent developing the relationship and getting to know the hero and heroine better and the sex was hot! Really enjoyed this one.
This story is the second in the Wounded Warriors series and given that the first two have been short stories as opposed to full length, I’m a little worried the entire series will continue that way. I’m hoping not, but even if it does I will keep reading them because I enjoy the characters that have been introduced. Nick Casey is one of the men that works at Ethan’s bar and we were briefly introduced to him in Coopers Fall.
Sheila is the daughter of the man that Cooper and his bouncers report to when they are gathering intel on criminal activity in the area. After being fooled by her first real boyfriend who was only with her to get a lucrative job from her father, Sheila is understandably wary about men that report to her father. The two dance around each other with neither willing to admit they love the other, but expecting the other to admit it.
I hadn’t read this one and I’m not sure how I missed it. It was a great story, I loved the two leads and I really enjoyed the set up for future books in this series.
When I found out Jaci Burton was releasing a new series, I could not wait to get my hands on it. I didn’t read Hope Smolders which was the introductory novella for Burton’s new Hope series and instead dove right in to Hope Flames. You can check out my review of Hope Flames on the site, but I was sadly underwhelmed by it. Despite that, I wasn’t about to give up on the series because I love Burton and the secondary characters sounded really appealing. I am so glad I stuck it out! Hope Ignites is the second full installment and revolves around rancher Logan McCormack and movie star Desiree Jenkins. I loved both of the main characters and their chemistry was smokin’ hot!
Logan is the brother of Luke, the hero from Hope Flames, who lives a solitary life running the family ranch. Deeply scarred by his parents’ relationship, Logan has sworn to remain single forever. Growing up, Logan and his brothers were always aware that their mother was miserable living on the ranch. Their father loved her deeply and they saw how their mother’s behavior hurt him. After their father died, she wasted no time finding a new husband, leaving Hope, Oklahoma, and her boys behind. Logan is convinced that no woman could possibly love the life he lives and he is mostly content with that. When a movie company approaches him about renting his land for a shoot, Logan figures the money is good so why not.
Desiree “Des” Jenkins is the current “it” girl in Hollywood. After growing up a military brat, she longs for a home of her own where she can put down roots. Knowing that an actresses has to strike while the iron is hot, Des has worked steadily for the last 7 years with very little time between movies. Des and her best friend Colt have known each other since they were teenagers and are lucky enough to have been co-stars in a number of successful movies. Their current project is a sci-fi movie being filmed on Logan’s property since the landscape can pass for being on another planet. The two may heat up the screens as lovers but in reality, Des is Colt’s “beard” and helps keep the fact that he is gay away from the press.
Logan’s sole interest in the movie being filmed on his property is the money they are paying him but his housekeeper/mother figure Martha is a huge movie buff and forces him to go down and check on things. Although he has no real interest in doing so, he would do anything for Martha so he heads down to see what all the fuss is about. While there he runs in to Des who has been out jogging, and he is immediately taken with her beauty and her direct nature. For her part, Des is attracted to the rugged owner of the ranch but he seems to go out of his way to be rude and abrupt. Trying to get to know him better, she invites Logan and Martha to the set to see everything in action. The sparks continue to fly and soon they are burning up the sheets. And the walls. And the floor.
There were so many things I loved about this book but the biggest were Logan and Des. Logan is an alpha, hard-working man who doesn’t care what people think about him. He is a gentleman who believes in treating a woman with respect, opening her doors and paying for dinner. On the flip side, he has no problem going all caveman in the bedroom, and the chemistry between them is scorching. Des is a woman after my heart. She says what she wants, doesn’t pull punches and is not afraid of being herself. She wants Logan and is not ashamed of that and she propositions him at every turn. Logan is not used to women like her but they agree to enjoy each other while she is there.
I also loved how loyal Des was to Colt. She fiercely guards his secret and even when Logan confronts them in a jealous fit, she refuses to set him straight. She encourages Colt to take the leap and officially come out of the closet, insisting that he should be free to love his long time boyfriend in public. Des fits in with Emma and her friends, she forms a bond with Martha and she loves being on the ranch. Of course Logan convinces himself that they are from two different worlds and she would never be happy on the ranch, leading to the inevitable break-up but even when he was being a stupid man I was still rooting for him. Seeing how unhappy his parents were, you can’t help but understand and sympathize with him.
Loveable hero and heroine, interesting secondary characters and sex that will steam up your mirrors, make this a great read. One character that had me intrigued from Emma and Luke’s book was Emma’s sister Molly. There were references to something big happening and her leaving town, and her story is up next so I can’t wait for that. Thankfully it comes out in a couple of months so I won’t have to wait long. Definitely glad I stuck with the series!
Break out the fan before reading this hot hot book by Rhyannon Byrd! Keep Me Closer is the third book in Byrd’s Dangerous Tides series and is probably one of the sexiest books I’ve read this year. Alex Hudson, the brother of Ben Hudson, the sheriff from the first book in the series and therapist Brit Cramer were a totally loveable couple who had chemistry off the charts. The book has plenty of suspense, lots of emotional baggage to work through and an alpha male who has met his match.
In his former life, Alex Hudson was a married Orlando police detective. After catching his wife in bed with one of his fellow officers (one of many), he self destructs, losing his job and drowning himself in a bottle. After cleaning himself up and getting sober he relocates to Moss Beach where he has become a private investigator. Alex has sworn off love and keeps his relationships strictly physical, never having trouble finding a willing partner.
Brit Cramer is a therapist and a close friend of Alex’s brother and his wife, who has moved to Moss Beach after an unpleasant break-up. She is an intelligent, beautiful woman who, despite being insanely attracted to Alex, holds a grudge for the way he treated Ben’s wife when they first met. Brit has found herself the target of a deeply disturbed former patient who has become obsessed with her. When Ben asks Alex to keep an eye on her while he’s away with his wife, Alex is convinced it is a ploy to throw him and the doctor together. He agrees to watch out for her but he doesn’t take the threat against her seriously. That allows the patient to attempt to kidnap Brit, but Alex is able to intervene before she gets hurt.
When it becomes clear that Brit’s stalker knows where she lives, Alex takes her to stay with him but the close quarters make it impossible for them to resist the sizzling chemistry they have. The two finally give in to their attraction and the sex is mind blowing for both of them. A lot of times I skim through sex scenes because when you’ve read as many as I have, they can become repetitive and boring. This time I read every word of those scenes and whether it was because of the connection that had been built between them, or just the way Byrd writes, they were steamy and sexy and didn’t feel like I had read the same thing a hundred times before.
As the psychotic patient becomes more unhinged, he steps up his threats and his attempts to get at Brit. Alex takes her out of town to not only keep her safe, but take her mind off it all and while they are in Miami, Brit gets to see a more playful, less guarded side of him. Despite the fact that she is falling in love with him, Brit decides to just enjoy the time she has with Alex and deal with the heartache later. For his part, Alex knows that something is different about his relationship with the voluptuous doctor but, of course, he refuses to acknowledge it.
Alex’s brothers and Ben’s wife Reese can clearly see that he has fallen for Brit, but he is so determined to fight it that he pushes her away. There is a cute scene with Reese telling Alex off and it is clear that the issues they had with each other in the first book have been resolved. He can see how happy and in love his brother is but is still convinced that love is not worth it. I loved the relationship between the brothers and I’m sure Mike’s book will be just as fun.
Despite the fact that he goes out of his way to push Brit away, you can’t help but love Alex. He’s definitely an alpha, dominant man but until now, he had never met his match. Brit is not a super skinny heroine which I liked since not every woman has a perfect body, but I also loved her intelligence, independence and the fact that she didn’t just roll over and play dead for him. She sees through his gruff nature to the man beneath and gives her heart to him knowing it may end in heartache. They were a great match for each other!
If you like romantic suspense books combined with loveable characters and chemistry that jumps out of the pages, then you will enjoy this book. Byrd’s writing style has me hooked and I’m really looking forward to the next installment.
I officially have a new book boyfriend! For years I’ve been all about Eric Northman (helped along by my minor obsession with Alexander Skarsgard) but he has now been replaced with Swanny. When Day Breaks is the newest book in the KGI series by Maya Banks and centers around Swanny, the adopted member of the Kelly family who was imprisoned with Nate, and Eden Sinclair, the world’s most beautiful supermodel. Action, sizzling romance and an insecure hero, combined with a “holy shit did that just happen” scene, made this one of the best books I’ve read this year.
Daryl Swanson (Swanny) is the teammate who was rescued with Nathan in Whispers in the Dark and he still bears the physical and mental scars from their capture and torture. A large scar down the side of his face, numerous scars on his body and all of his nightmares have Swanny fully believing that love and a family will never be for him. He is dedicated to his team and his job and most days he’s okay with that.
Eden Sinclair is one of the world’s most beautiful women. A supermodel with the world at her feet and a loving family that would do anything for her. When someone begins threatening her life and taking shots at her, she chalks it up to a crazy stalker. She has no way of knowing that she is being targeted as payback for something her father did when he was in the military years before. After the threats escalate in to actual violence, Eden’s brother Ryker calls in Nate, Joe and Swanny who he served in the military with. Their job is to keep Eden safe while she completes a major modeling gig in Paris.
I loved these two together. Swanny was so insecure about the scars on his body and face that when Eden lets it be known that she’s attracted to him, he pushes her away because he doesn’t feel he’s worthy of her. Watching them get past their individual demons and then help each other with theirs was really sweet. The action part of the book slowed down for just enough time that we were invested in them as a couple but not too long that we were getting bored. When it picked up again, I could not put the book down.
I really enjoyed seeing more of Skylar in this book and getting to know her a bit better. There has been very little info about her but now I actually want to read her story. She is an awesome combo of kickass woman and beautiful, feminine charm. Skylar played a role in helping Swanny accept that Eden really was attracted to him, and also helping Eden understand some of why Swanny was having such a hard time accepting that. I hope we see more of this friendship as the series goes on.
We also got more background and information on the mysterious Hancock. He has popped up in several books, some times hurting, and some times helping KGI. We haven’t been able to tell which side of the line he is officially on, but this mission is personal to him. It turns out Eden’s dad and Hancock have history, and while we didn’t get the full story, we got enough to intrigue us. Hancock joins forces with KGI to help bring down the threat to Eden and we see a different side of him.
I figured I had a pretty good idea of how this book was going to go and then Maya hit me with a curve in the story that had me actually yelling holy shit. It was everything I love in a good book – suspense, romance, a twist, hot sex. Bring on the next one!
Blind Faith is the third book in the Sin Brother’s series by Rebecca Zanetti and is the perfect example of why I have a love/hate relationship with book series. The first three books have me completely immersed in the world and the brothers but now I have to wait until March 2015 to get the conclusion and read Jory’s story!
Nate Dean has spent his entire life trying to be the buffer between his younger brothers Shane and Jory, and their older brother Matt. Matt’s job was to train and prepare them and Nate took on the role of trying to provide them with as normal a childhood as possible in the circumstances. Some of the most touching moments in all of these books come from the glimpses we get of the boys as kids.
Audrey Madison is the one person aside from his brother’s that Nate has loved. She also happens to be the daughter of Dr. Madison, the brilliant, yet twisted scientist that helped the Commander with his creations. Five years earlier she ended things with Nate in order to protect him and in Matt’s book it was revealed that Audrey had been pregnant with Nate’s baby when they split. Determined to find out the truth about the kill chips that are planted in the brothers’ spines, and find out what happened to his baby, Nate sets out to make Audrey talk.
After getting seriously injured in the explosion the Dean brothers’ set off at the compound they all lived at, Audrey has spent the last five years rehabilitating her leg while doing double duty as a Senator’s aide, and getting information for the Commander. Nate cannot believe that she would willingly help those monsters but it becomes clear that Audrey has her own agenda with the Commander. Despite his doubts about her loyalty, Nate and Audrey are unable to stay away from each other and their story is both sweet and hot! Right now Nate is my favorite of the brothers but I suspect that Jory is going to steal that title in his book.
As with the first two stories, there is plenty of action going on both surrounding the Commander and the organization the brothers want to take down, and there is also another threat to Audrey’s safety. There is a plot twist that I didn’t see coming which added so many layers to the series. I’m kind of sad that there is only one brother left. Hopefully this series will turn in to a spinoff maybe about other brothers that escape the Commander? A girl can hope!
If I had any complaints it would be that Audrey’s naiveté about her mother seemed a bit too extreme considering all the things that her mother had done to her and Nate. But all kids want to love their parents so it was easy to overlook that. After the glimpse we get at Jory’s book I cannot wait to read it. I suspect its going to be a very emotional, satisfying conclusion to the series.
Lora Leigh is back!! For a little while some of her books seemed like she was dialing them in but with the latest Breed book Rule Breaker and the newest installment in the Nauti Girls series, Ms. Leigh is back on her game! Her books were always good, but for fans of her writing “good” was a step down from great. I’m happy to say she is firmly back with great. Nauti Enchantress is the third book in the Nauti Girls series and centers around Dawg’s third sister Lyrica MacKay and former marine Graham Brock. Steaming hot sex scenes, plenty of adventure, and a sweet love story bring all the elements that made me fall in love with the Nauti Boy series way back when I read Rowdy’s story.
Lyrica MacKay is not like her sisters. Rather than letting Dawg, Rowdy and Natches guilt her in to behaving in a way they would prefer, she meets each man on their own grounds and as a result she has had more freedom than the other girls. Since she met Graham at the age of 18, Lyrica has flirted, tempted and teased him in an attempt to get closer. A genuine friendship strikes up between her and Graham’s sister and that affords her the chance to be around Graham even more. After someone tries to shoot Lyrica during a girls night out, she reaches out to Graham who rides to her rescue.
Graham has been doing his best to distract himself from his growing attraction to Lyrica by methodically sleeping his way through the majority of the women in their town and the surrounding towns. Believing he is not the happily ever after type, he stays away from her in a attempt to “save her”. Not going to lie, that trope can get old, but I was able to overcome it and enjoy the writing and the rest of the story. The McKays knew Graham’s parents and there is a very touching scene where Natches talks to Lyrica about his relationship with the elder Brock. While the group tries to figure out who is after Lyrica, Graham is unable to stay away from her. Despite the fact that he’s convinced things will never work, he finds himself falling for her more and more and you are left wondering why Natches is being particularly hard on him. Once the story comes out about him and Graham’s father, it all makes sense. Waiting for him to pull his head out of his ass and realize he can’t walk away is a little frustrating but it makes the final scene that much better!
Although this series focuses primarily on Dawg’s younger sisters, I really love that we still get to see plenty of Rowdy, Dawg, Natches and the rest of the group. This book brought quite a few more of the previous characters back and it was nice seeing what they have all been up to, aside from making Lyrica and her sister’s lives hell. As overbearing and protective as all the men are, it is clear that they all love the girls very much and are trying to protect them from the enemies they have made. It is also sweet the way they are trying to ensure that all four have a man that are capable of protecting them since they are now all in their fifties. I really hope the series continues and we can see what becomes of all those daughters.
The sneak peek we got at Zoey’s book had me anxiously running to Ms. Leigh’s site to find out when that one will be coming out. We haven’t heard or seen much of Zoey since she confronted Dawg and the rest of the guys when the sister’s were first introduced and it seems as though she has held the most secrets. I cannot wait to read it!
I think I might have a new favorite Maya Banks series. Well at least until I read the newest KGI book. Giving In is the second book in the Surrender trilogy by Ms. Banks and in a small way it is a spin-off of her popular Sweet series. In this installment we get Jensen and Kylie’s story and this one had me all teary right from the beginning!
Kylie Breckenridge is still reeling from the death of her brother Carson, the only person who has ever protected her and been there for her. Horribly abused as a child, Kylie has survived by keeping everyone at arms length and hiding herself. Working at the company her brother and his best friend Dash started, she is content to manage their office and never go after her dreams.
Jensen Tucker is Dash’s new business partner and he’s tired of watching Kylie run herself in to the ground. He can tell she’s not sleeping or taking care of herself and his protective instincts are all riled up. Jensen also sees that Kylie’s talent is being wasted in the office manager job and he gives her a project to show her that she is capable of so much more.
There was no mystery, no one trying to hurt them, just two people working on their issues and there was more than enough story to fill the book. If I had any complaints there were just two small things that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book, but kind of irked me. The first was the number of times the word dominant was used. We got it he’s dominant, but it could have been used a little less. The second was that I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Kylie taking on new challenges at her job and succeeding. I know the work part was secondary to her emotional issues but I think her confidence in business was part of her transformation. Like I said it wasn’t enough to ruin the book, just caught my attention.
Both Kylie and Jensen had difficult childhoods and the scenes where they confided in each other were very sweet and emotional. There of course was the inevitable “break-up” that these books call for and it was nice to see a role reversal with how it all worked out. One thing I really liked was usually in most books where the one partner promises to not be so dominant with the other, that doesn’t last. The man usually plays nice for a short time and then just cannot control his alpha instincts. Jensen keeps his word to Kylie and that was nice to see.
I did this series backwards I haven’t read the first book yet but after seeing how in love Joss and Dash are, I can’t wait to go back and read their story. I’m sure it was just as emotional as this one and from the blurb for Chessy and Tate’s story I have a feeling that one will take the cake emotion wise. Cannot wait to read it!
Wrath and Beth have always been my favorite couple in this series and I was so happy that we were getting another book dedicated to them. After the fiWrath and Beth have always been my favorite couple in this series and I was so happy that we were getting another book dedicated to them. After the first couple of chapters I will a little frustrated because we hadn't seen a whole lot of them. That finally picked up and I was really enjoying the way the story was playing out. Loved Trez and Selena, XCor and Layla, and iAm and damn cat. I'm definitely looking forward to Assail's book too.
The ending of the story was just okay for me and it felt like J.R. Ward couldn't make up her mind about how she wanted it to play out and I wasn't impressed with a couple of the "twists". That being said it was still a good book and it set up the next several books nicely....more
Secrets and Sins: Raphael is the third book in the Secrets and Sins series by Naima Simone. This book was my first experience with Ms. Simone’s work and I am so glad I decided to give it a shot! The series focuses on a group of four men, Gabriel, Malachim, Raphael and Chayot, who have been friends since they were babies. This installment focuses on Rafe, a hot, tattooed, alpha male who owns a security company with Chayot, and Greer Addison, a privileged, upper class woman who has been framed for her cheating ex-fiancee’s murder.
Finding out her fiancé had been cheating on her with her best-friend was bad but when Greer’s father tells her to get over it and get back with the fiancé for business reasons, it’s too much to handle and she heads to a bar to drink the hurt away. While at the bar she runs in to Raphael, the sexy security specialist who Greer and her ex had met with a week earlier to discuss issues with the bank Greer’s father owns. Rafe is the opposite of the men Greer normally associates with, but his sexy rocker look and complete sex appeal draw her in. She decides to throw caution to the wind and the two have smoking hot sex in the back seat of his vehicle on a public street.
When Rafe drops Greer off at her house she walks in and finds her cheating ex dead on the floor. The next thing she knows, she awakens in the hospital with a splitting headache and as the number one suspect in Gavin’s murder. Rafe validates her alibi, but she is too humiliated to speak to him and leaves the police station with her brother, and still the prime suspect. Flash forward four months and Greer is living with her brother, pregnant with Rafe’s baby and feeling completely alone in the world. When she starts remembering glimpses of the crime, and starts receiving threatening letters and creepy packages, Greer heads to the one person she knows will protect her and her baby – Raphael.
Poor Rafe – his one night stand from months ago shows up at his office and announces that not only is someone threatening her, but she is also pregnant and claiming he’s the father. Experience has made him jaded and he can’t help but question if in fact he is the father. Regardless, Rafe immediately moves Greer in to his house to ensure that her and the baby are safe from whoever is threatening her, and he begins to see a side to her that he never imagined was there.
With Greer having flashbacks of the night Gavin was murdered, the killer steps up the plans to remove the only witness to the crime. While trying to figure out who was behind the vicious crime, the two slowly begin to get to know each other and let down the walls that their pasts have built. Greer gets to know Rafe’s best-friends and from that interaction I can’t wait to go back and read the two earlier books. I also suspect that Chay’s book is going to be very emotional but I still can’t wait to read it!
Smoking hot sex scenes, fast paced mystery and a couple that were relatable and loveable, make this a satisfying, keep you guessing story. Thankfully the next one comes out in July according to the blurb at the back of the book so I won’t have to wait too long to read the conclusion of the series!
Midnight Pursuits is the fourth book in the Killer Instincts series by Elle Kennedy. I was introduced to this series when the third one was released but went back, read the first two and now it is up there as one of my favorites. Ms. Kennedy writes some bad ass women who are also seriously damaged and I’m loving it. This instalment surrounds the rookie from Jim Morgan’s team Ethan Hayes, and the master thief from Noelle’s team, Juliet Mason. After the teasing that Juliet dished out towards Ethan in Midnight Games, the sexual tension between the two was obvious but the relationship that built between them was even more appealing.
Ethan is the youngest and newest member of Jim’s team earning him the nickname of rookie. He had a perfectly normal childhood, in deep contrast to the childhood that Juliet had and the wistful way she listens to him talk about his parents makes you sad for her. There is one scene where she breaks into a bakery to steal him cookies to remind him of his mother and that was too cute. In previous instalments Ethan seemed laid back and sweet, but damn the man has an alpha side! While house sitting for Trevor and Isabel when they head for their honeymoon, Ethan intercepts a call from an injured Juliet and rushes to help her.
Juliet is one of Noelle’s most heartless team members and doesn’t care who she steps on to achieve her goal. At least on the surface. After she is severely injured during a deeply personal mission, Juliet has no choice but to let Ethan help her out. When they uncover a conspiracy that shows that others, including a 15 year old girl, are in danger Ethan cannot turn a blind eye. Juliet is determined to see her mission through but grudgingly follows Ethan, telling herself that she’s only doing it so that she can move on to bigger fish.
I love strong female characters in my books, but I also like a lot of emotion. Juliet offered both. There is no doubt that she is ruthless and vicious but that kind of made me love her even more. She is unapologetic about the way she dispatches with the assassin that killed her brother, but the way she handles Anastacia shows her sweet side as well. Ethan accepts both sides of her and doesn’t try to change her which just increased his appeal.
As Juliet and Ethan get closer to bringing down the person that orchestrated the hit that killed her brother, things between them heat up. But we also get to see more of Noelle, D and Jim and man I cannot wait for Noelle’s book. I just know without a doubt that this one is going to make me cry even more than Abby’s did. There are still a few team members we have heard of but haven’t seen yet so I’m keeping my fingers crossed this is one series that keeps going!...more
Rule Breaker is the latest instalment in the popular Breeds series by Lora Leigh. Often times with long running series, the story gets stale and it is difficult to remain interested. That is not the case with this series. This book did a lot to move the overall arc forward, while giving us a satisfying, steamy hot couple.
Gypsy Rum McQuade is a woman on a mission to atone for a sin that was never really hers. Believing she was at fault for the death of her brother and hero, Gypsy keeps emotional and physical distance between her and everyone in her life. On the surface, she is a party girl who lives a flirty, carefree life. She works at the family image consulting business, helps out at the family bakery and answers phones for Navajo Covert Law Enforcement Offices. Dig a little deeper and you find that Gypsy has been working secret missions gathering information for the Unknown. Thought to be a fairy tale or myth, the Unknown is said to consist of six warriors who are chosen to protect what is most important to the Navajo people.
Rule Breaker is one of Jonas’ most trusted enforcers who is set to become the Division Director in Window Rock. After he and his brother Lawe Justice witnessed the horrific death of their mother and her mate, Rule has sworn to never take a mate. He goes to the extent of adding in a clause to his work contract allowing him to run should he ever start to feel mating heat. Rule’s lion recognizes its mate immediately, but knowing the man will run, it bides its time. With danger all around Gypsy, the lion is determined to protect its mate, while the man fights for the woman he loves.
Rule Breaker was a fast paced story that brought us resolutions to some situations, a few answers to questions and of course some big cliff hangers. There are still so many characters that haven’t had their own stories and rather than getting bored and wanting a new series, I cannot wait for each breed book. Ms. Leigh ended this book on a perfect note that will have you anxiously checking her website to see when the next one is coming.
I loved Gypsy and I really enjoyed seeing that softer side of Jonas outside of his mate and his child. Rule’s determination to not take a mate was completely understandable and watching him struggle with the subconscious knowledge that his lion had claimed Gypsy, made for a great story. It was easy to figure out who the person was that betrayed Gypsy’s brother, but that did not lessen the enjoyment of the book for me. As usual for a Lora Leigh book, the sex was smoking hot.
One thing that stood out that I really enjoyed about the book was that the primary focus wasn’t on the mating heat and the effect of the heat on the couple. Yes it was there, but in some of the books the overall storyline took a back seat to the heat and in this one I thought they were balanced perfectly. The mate trope is one that I love so I don’t get tired of that, but there is a lot going on with the Breeds and I was happy that the stories moved forward.
Overall a great addition to the Breeds series. Cannot wait for the next one!
Theirs to Cherish is the eighth full length book in the Wicked Lovers series by the amazing Shayla Black. If you haven’t been reading this series and are a fan of BDSM books, I highly recommend you get started right away because no one writes BDSM quite like Ms. Black. She started long before the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon and gets even better with every book. It has been a long wait for Callie and Thorpe’s story and I was really excited to dig in!
Callie Ward has been on the run for almost a decade, accused of killing her family. With no way to prove her innocence, she had no choice but to walk away from her family fortune and name. Hiding out in Club Dominion for the last 4 years, Callie has felt a sense of belonging for the first time in her life. In other books in the series we have seen the bratty submissive doing everything in her power to tempt and taunt Dominion owner Mitchell Thorpe. In an attempt to make her boss jealous, Callie begins submitting to Dominion newcomer Sean Kirkpatrick. As she learns to let her guard down, the walls around her heart begin to melt too and Callie finds herself in love with both Sean and Thorpe.
Believing he has been doing the best thing for Callie by staying away from her, Thorpe has watched from the shadows as she submits to, and falls in love with Sean. He doesn’t trust the other man, but when Callie finds out Sean isn’t who he says he is and takes off, the two men must team up to find out who is after her, and keep her safe. I was a little worried at the beginning as to how the story was going to pull off having the two men end up with Callie at the end given all the animosity and tension between them, but it came together in a believable and sweet way.
I’ve loved every book in this series and one of the primary reasons is the way that Shayla always makes sure to integrate the characters we’ve fallen in love with from past stories, in every book. Sometimes its just a brief mention, other times they are part of the action, but you always get updates about what they are up to. I wish all authors did that because once you fall in love with the characters it sucks to never hear about them again. In this book we got to see a bit of Logan which was awesome and I’m really hoping we will get Axel’s story soon. I have a feeling its going to be realllly good.
Typically in these kinds of stories I find myself rooting for one guy over another but both Sean and Thorpe had me rooting for them. Each man provided something that Callie needed and the sex was smoking hot! Sometimes the woman on the run to protect the men trope can be annoying, but in this case Callie wasn’t worried about them getting hurt, she didn’t want them in trouble for harboring a fugitive. That was a little more reasonable than the woman believing the big strong men she loves will be killed if she sticks with them. My only complaint is that we have to wait a year for the next book in the series!!...more
Hope Flames is the first book in the new Hope series by Jaci Burton. I am a huge fan of Burton’s Wild Rider series so when I saw that she had a new series coming out, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. She writes smoking hot sex but one of the things I enjoy about reading her books is that the sex isn’t the primary focus. A lot of authors lately seem to build a storyline around the sex but Ms. Burton builds strong characters and interesting worlds, and then adds the sex as a bonus.
Emma Burnett is a veterinarian who has recently moved back to her hometown of Hope, Oklahoma to take over the practice of the popular town vet who had recently retired. When local police officer Luke McCormack brings in his injured police dog Boomer, the sparks fly. Luke promptly puts his foot in his mouth by asking Emma out in a way that makes it look like a pity date and Emma says thanks, but no thanks.
After a disastrous marriage and divorce, Luke is determined to never do a serious relationship again. He is careful to only hook up with women who know the deal, and his first impression of Emma is that she’s not a one night stand kind of woman. Emma has her own relationship demons and is as adamant as Luke that she does not want a boyfriend or complications.
A burglar has targeted Hope’s medical facilities, stealing all the drugs and frustrating the police. Their first break comes when Emma happens to catch a glimpse of the guy and Luke moves in to her place to protect her while they try to catch the guy. The couple and their dogs fall into a comfortable routine, despite their insistence that the relationship is just casual.
While I really wanted to love this book, I’m afraid it was just okay. There were several things that frustrated me and interfered with my enjoyment of the story, and I found myself focusing more on those things than the overall book. The first thing was the constant mentions about this horrible relationship that Emma had been in. It was brought up so often that between her inner dialogue and comments from her parents, I was expecting something much more dramatic. I’m not trying to trivialize what Emma went through, but it felt a little anticlimactic when we got the whole story.
The second thing that irked me was the wrap up of the two “dramatic” storylines. It felt like once we got to the end, there was a mad rush to finish the book and I kind of sat there and said “where’s the rest?”. There was also a complete overreaction by Emma to a situation that came out of nowhere. I don’t want to give anything away so I won’t get specific, but that part had me wondering if I had been missing pages because it felt like I must have missed something.
Despite these issues, the secondary characters were really interesting and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. I’m hoping that this was just a one-off because I really enjoy Jaci Burton books overall....more
Do or Die is the first book in the Reluctant Heroes series by Suzanne Brockmann. This new series is a spin-off of Ms. Brockmann’s popular Troubleshooters series and in fact Do or Die is set in the TS world. Characters Martell Griffin from Force of Nature and Deb and Yashi, who work with Jules Cassidy, all play prominent roles in this book. If you are a fan of that series you are going to love this one.
Phoebe Kruger is an attorney in her first few weeks at a prestigious law firm when she is pulled in to assist on a file with one of the firm’s super secret clients. The partner in charge of the file is injured in a car accident and no one else seems to have any information on him. Knowing nothing about the client except what she is able to dig up on the internet, she heads to the prison where he is serving time, in to offer him what should have been the deal of a lifetime. Teaming up with Martell Griffin, a police officer turned lawyer, Phoebe must convince her client to work with the government or two kidnapped children will disappear for good.
Ian Dunn is a former Navy Seal who has apparently gone rogue and turned to a life of crime. When Phoebe and Martell show up at the prison, Dunn not only turns down the opportunity to get out of jail and rescue the two children, he does all he can to make the duo go away. Refusing to take no for an answer, Griffin pulls some strings and a few short hours later Ian walks out the front doors of the prison but he is not a happy man. The lives of his brother and his brother’s family depending on him staying IN jail so in addition to having to plan a rescue for the kids, he also has to figure out a way to convince the mob that he didn’t go back on the terms of his deal with them.
After taking off with Phoebe in tow, Ian beelines to his brother Aaron’s house to warn him of the impending danger. The mob has friends in high places so they know immediately that he is out and they also head there. After a shoot-out, Aaron, Ian and Phoebe are trapped in the panic room and with the house surrounded by police and the mob, they have no choice by to contact Griffin and the people he reports to for help getting out of the mess. In turn Ian must agree to rescue the kids – which he was going to attempt anyways.
Do or Die is a fast-paced book with plenty of action, interesting characters and an adorable main couple. I really loved Phoebe and Ian, although her naivete about the criminals that she represents was a little unbelievable and frustrating. That was a very minor irritant and overall I really enjoyed the book. The most interesting character in the book was Francine and I absolutely cannot wait for her story. Just from the bits that Brockmann dropped in the book I know that one is going to be a huge tear jerker and I’m going to love every minute of it. The only complaint I’ve ever had about her books is that there is typically a large gap between them and I’m one of those that forgets a lot of stuff when you have to wait a year. Hopefully that won’t be the case for this series.
On a side note I must say I love that Ms. Brockmann writes great romantic suspense books but she does not hesitate to have gay primary characters. For the most part gay couples usually appear in M/M erotic books or they are friends of the primary couple, and it is refreshing to see them take part in a story with more than just sex. She also avoids stereotypes and writes realistic men that you can relate to.
If you are looking for a well-written book that has a lot of action and likeable characters, you will enjoy this one. I cannot wait for the next one to be released! ...more
Luck of the Dragon is the first book in a new series by Susannah Scott and revolves around a group of dragon shape-shifters who live in plain sight in Las Vegas. Dragons are not typically my thing but the blurb of the book hooked me and I’m definitely glad I gave it a shot!
Luciana de Luca is a world renowned gemologist who has worked incredibly hard to put her difficult childhood behind her and build a stable life. The only thing holding her back is her useless twin brother who continuously gets in trouble through gambling debts and then turns to his sister to bail him out. His latest screw up has him in deep with a notorious mob boss and he once again turns to Lucy to save his hide.
In order to save her brother, Lucy puts on a tight, revealing dress and killer shoes and heads to the Crown Jewel Casino on the Las Vegas strip. The owner of the casino, Alec Gerald, invites Lucy to the grand opening so that she can appraise his extremely valuable gem exhibit that will be one of the big draws at the Crown Jewel. Successful, intelligent and extremely attractive, Alec also happens to be the king of the dragon shape-shifters. Lucy’s objective is to get close to him and swipe the key card for the exhibit to pass on to the mob boss and save Joey. Since his senses are heightened as a shifter, he feels her grab the card but does not call her on it.
Alec is immediately drawn to Lucy and quickly realizes he has met his mate – and just in time. As a male dragon waits to find his mate, he slowly begins to lose his dragon form and Alec has been waiting for a long time. He has his hands full as his people are getting ready for a mating ceremony that only happens periodically and in addition to trying to convince Lucy to give him a chance, he also needs to figure out why she stole his key card.
Thinking she has saved Joey, Lucy buys them one way plane tickets to get out of town but the mob boss and Joey have different plans. Alec has changed the codes on the pass so that it cannot be used and they demand that Lucy steal another one or Joey will die. While she is figuring out a way to do this, she begins to develop feelings for Alec and is very conflicted over where her loyalties should be.
I really liked the world Ms. Scott created for this series, particularly having the dragons living in plain sight in Las Vegas. Having only the male dragons lose their form if they don’t find their mate adds an interesting component to it for future stories as I find that its usually the woman that has consequences for not finding their mate. Alec is a total alpha male but does not come across as an asshole, and he was willing to lose his dragon if walking away was what Lucy wanted.
Lucy was a little more challenging for me. She is smart, successful and has worked really hard to get where she is. But when it comes to her brother she is a total sucker and repeatedly bails him out. The siblings, who are twins, have been close since their difficult childhoods but it is a completely one-sided relationship. Joey screws up, Lucy bails him out, he says he will never do it again, then repeat. When Lucy calls him crying for help he refuses to give it to her and she still turns around and steals from Alec. It made her look naive and and brought my opinion of her down a few notches.
There were a couple of things that bothered me in addition to my comments about Lucy. (view spoiler)[The first was how quickly Alec forgave her after she stole from him. The scene where they worked things out felt extremely rushed and after the time it took to build it up, it felt a little anticlimactic. The second thing was that after the scene where Lucy is attacked by the dragon everything felt a little rushed. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me but I definitely noticed it. (hide spoiler)]
Overall I enjoyed the book and I will be checking out the next one in the series. I’m hoping we will get to see a story for Joey that involves him turning his life around. There were also a few secondary characters, in particular the Doctor and Lilly Belle, that drew me in and I’m looking forward to reading about them.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Sweet Revenge is the second book in the Sin Brothers series by Rebecca Zanetti that revolves around the Dean brothers who were genetically engineered as part of a black ops division of the government. The boys were created and raised in a lab but they made their escape when they were older and are now on the run trying to survive. If you read my review of Forgotten Sins you know that I instantly fell in love with the brothers from the prologue of that book and I really enjoyed Shane and Josie’s story. Matt and Laney’s story was even better and this book put Ms. Zanetti on my auto-buy list!
On top of being hunted by the group that they abandoned, they all have chips implanted in their spines that will kill them if they don’t enter a new code every five years. They are 6 weeks away from that deadline and Matt is on the hunt looking for one of the doctors that can save his brothers, when he gets a lead that sends him to Charmed, Idaho. On the way there he is jumped and arrives in the alley of a bar bleeding. There are three doctors in town that Shane cannot find background information on and with the tight deadline Matt doesn’t have time to be injured. As he’s resting in the alley Laney Jacobs comes out of the bar she owns and sees the injured man. Instead of using caution and running back inside she immediately goes to his aid and brings him into the bar – where she faints when she sees the blood.
Shane’s book was really more about bringing us in to the story, giving the essential background and building the characters while in Matt’s book the focus is on finding anyone that can help them stop the chip from killing them. We learned a lot more about the agency they worked for and got to know each of the brothers a little better. Even though the locations change, Zanetti has written the books in a way that we don’t need to see the brothers together all the time to know the bond that they have and that point is the heart of the series.
As the oldest, Matt had the difficult task of training his brothers harshly in order to save their lives. He protects them and puts them first and his main concern is their’s and Josie’s safety. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to find out how to stop that chip and the sexy bartender is the perfect cover. She is looking for a bouncer for a bike rally that travels through once a year for two weeks and she hires Matt, instinctively knowing that she can trust him. The three doctors that Matt needs to investigate are customers of the bar so he is able to gain access to them fairly quickly, but his judgment is becoming clouded by his attraction to Laney and his growing feelings for her. For the first time in his life he wants something more than just his brothers.
I really liked both Matt and Laney. Matt could snap your neck in a second but he is extremely protective of people he cares about, and as a serial killer puts Laney in his sights, Matt is determined to make sure she stays alive. Lately I find I skim through a lot of sex scenes because it kind of feels like you are reading the same thing over and over, however in this book the chemistry was so hot and the sex scenes were done so well I read every word. Laney doesn’t take orders from Matt (unless its in the bedroom), and she is a strong, confident woman who obviously has her own demons and secrets. The two agree that this is just temporary and they want to make the most of it. But as both the Commander and the serial killer close in both realize their feelings run a lot deeper than temporary.
I LOVE being surprised in a book. Sometimes I read a book and I think I have things figured out and then it doesn’t work out but this book gave me numerous surprises. I was wrong in which Doctor I thought was the “one” Matt was looking for, I was wrong about who the serial killer was and there were a few scenes and surprises that had me re-reading because I was sure I had read it wrong. There were a couple of WTF I didn’t see that coming moments and I literally could not stop reading. I was up until 4am finishing it because I had to know how it ended. The tease at the back of the book for Nate’s book was just plain torture since we have to wait until May for the next one!
I have already recommended this series to all of my friends and if you like a tortured alpha male who’s not an asshole, and strong female leads then you are going to love this series! It is fast-paced, the “character story” and overall plot of the book weave together perfectly and at the end I was frantically searching Ms. Zanetti’s website to find out when the next one comes out. I cannot wait for Nate’s story to release and to see where some of the plot points are going to end up!...more
One of my favorite tropes is the secret baby one so when I read the blurb for Not Your Average Joe by Nell Carson, I knew this book would be right up my alley. Although the plot for these types of books is predictable, I still enjoy them and read pretty much every book I come across with this theme.
Jennifer Wright is a single mom who works during the day at Brickman Foods and attends law school at night. At the end of her shift one day her boss brings over new employee Jason Baxter and asks Jennifer to train him. The only problem is Jennifer instantly recognizes him as Jared Brickman, the son of the owner of the plant – and the father of her 6 year old son. Jared is there to film an “Undercover Boss” type show so she plays along and doesn’t let on that she knows him. Jennifer has always struggled with whether or not to tell Jared about their son, and their close working relationship makes the urge to tell him even stronger.
The back story between Jennifer and Jared really portrays him as a cheating asshole and it is a little hard to overcome that dislike even as the story progresses. Granted we’ve all done things we weren’t proud of in college, but it seems that he is still an asshole. His comments about single moms and daycares really do not help us like him at all. Jennifer on the other hand I really liked. After getting pregnant in high school her parents kicked her out and she was on her own. She had to drop out of school because she was so ill during her pregnancy but now that her son is older she has gone back and not only completed high school and college, but she is in law school.
Jennifer is being sexually harassed by the plant manager and her friend Mandy is determined to do something about it. Unbeknownst to her, Mandy has been in contact with Jared’s sister in an attempt to get the manager fired. When their father won’t do anything about it, Jared and his sister take matters into their own hands. A video is obtained of the manager assaulting Jennifer and they show it during the live airing of the show. I found myself cheering for Mandy and Cynthia and I’m hoping they get their own books.
I enjoyed the book overall but there were just a few things that irked me. One was the fact that the author never really redeemed Jared which made it a little difficult to cheer for him in the end. The second thing was the big reveal that Jared was Chris’ father. It was just blurted out, he took her word for it and they ran and told Chris immediately. There was no time to absorb the shock, none of the normal are you sure questions, nothing. I felt like so much more could have been done with that scene.
If you are looking for a fast read with a predictable story then you will enjoy this one. I wouldn’t hesitate to try more of Ms. Carson’s books and if this happens to turn into a series I will be reading them all....more