I really liked this book a lot. Which is not all that surprising since I've enjoyed this series overall.
Series Note: 4th book in Foster's "Men Who WalkI really liked this book a lot. Which is not all that surprising since I've enjoyed this series overall.
Series Note: 4th book in Foster's "Men Who Walk The Edge of Honor" series about a bunch of Alpha males who fight to stop crimes like human trafficking. I wouldn't say you had to read the other books first, but there would be a benefit to doing so.
Summary: Arizona Storm has been through hell in her life, growing up with an alcoholic mother and a cruel father who eventually sells her into forced prostitution. She managed to escape thanks to a good friend but the emotional scars of her ordeal still linger. She's never been able to let herself get close to a man and most people can't accept her need to go after human traffickers like the ones who held her captive.
Then came bounty hunter Spencer Lark. Since they first met she hasn't been able to stop thinking about him and she's experiencing feelings she's never had before. But first she needs his help shutting down a forced labor/human trafficking operation. Of course, during the course of the case, Spencer takes the opportunity to show Arizona that men and intimacy are not bad things. But both have tragedies of the past to get over, and a danger case, before they can move on to the future.
Review: I almost didn't read this series by Lori Foster. I've read a lot of her books and enjoyed almost all of them, but the last two books of her "Fighters" series totally turned me off. So much so that I had been close to passing on this series. But I'm really glad that I decided to give it a try because I rather enjoyed this series. And I really liked this book, probably equally as much as the first book in the series.
The best thing about this book, in my opinion, is by far the character of Arizona Storm. What a kick ass awesome heroine. You can't help but feel for her because of all she's been through, but personality wise she's such a fascinating character. She's spunky, a wiseass, she swears left and right, she kicks ass, loves knives...she's just so different from you're average heroine. And that's a great thing because sometimes in romance books heroines tend to follow a mold. They may be very different, but they have the same core characteristics. Arizona doesn't. And that along made this book worthwhile. She was just utterly fascinating. A mix of bad ass tough girl, and vulnerable innocent (though she'd kick anyone's butt who thought that ;)
And then there's Spencer; the hunky bounty hunter who's never quite gotten over the murder of his wife but who is hopelessly drawn to Arizona. I liked Spencer and how he was with Arizona. They worked really well together and had a great chemistry.
I also liked how the author played out the conflict between Arizona and her friends/family...how they come to realize what they need to do to make her feel truly accepted. I loved that they realized it was there mindset that needed to change and not Arizona.
Of course, there is a bit of a plot, too, though is does take a bit of a backseat to the characters and the budding relationship between Arizona and Spencer. This book falls into the category that I call romance-suspense (versus romantic suspense) because it's a romance with some suspense elements instead of a suspense with a romance. It's an interesting story and I thought very fitting to the characters and all that's gone on throughout the series. It definitely kept me reading, though it was the characters/romance that had me hooked.
The only minor thing I can quibble about is the borderline TSTL moment at the end when Arizona goes off on her own to do something. And it's questionable as to whether it was TSTL because she had a very specific reason for doing things the way she did. However, I still think it was dumb to put herself in the position she did.
Great book overall. Arizona is definitely a character that will stick with me and I'm a little bummed this was the last book in the series and we won't get to read any updates on her and Spencer in future books....more
Hmm, well. This book is by far better than the last book, "My Man, Michael" (which was an atrocity, IMHO), but I still didn't really liRating: 2.5 / 5
Hmm, well. This book is by far better than the last book, "My Man, Michael" (which was an atrocity, IMHO), but I still didn't really like this book. And I did not like Drew. Ugh.
Series Note: This book can probably be read as a standalone.
Summary: Drew Black is the president of the SBC, a sport for mixed-martial-arts fighting. He's sexy, foul-mouthed, crass, tactless, but also a brilliant businessman. Which is why the owners of the SBC send PR guru Gillian Noode to work with him and make him less abrasive. Drew is appalled, but strongly attracted to Gillian. As she is to him. The two give in and start a secret affair. But with someone out to get Drew, it doesn't stay secret long, and each finds their feelings for the other are stronger than they thought.
Meanwhile, SBC hopeful Brett Bullman is hoping to sign a contract with Drew and the SBC when he meets Audrey Porter, leader of WAVS. Women Against Violent Sports. Brett is intrigued by the timid woman trying to destroy the sport he loves. And Audrey is hopelessly drawn to the brawny man, but she's horrified when she learns he's a fighter. She gives him a chance, though, and learns that there's more to MMA fighting than she once believed.
Review: Okay then...what to say, what to say...this was a weird book for me. I thought I would like Drew Black, from what I'd seen of him in other books, but as I read him in this story, he came across as an asshole. I like rough and tumble Alpha's as much as most romance readers, but Drew was over the top. He's utterly crass and tactless, says "fuck" at least every other sentence, calls women "broads," is fairly sexist, and is just rude and obnoxious. I didn't find much redeeming about him at all.
And the romance...I just wasn't feeling it. Gillian is called in to improve his image and before you can blink, she's thinking his rough guy talk is kinda sexy and before you can blink again she's giving in to his proposal for a secret affair. I didn't feel the romance at all between them...especially when Drew kept telling her what a great "rack" she had. I just did not see where these two connected beyond lust.
Plus, that whole PR thing where Gillian was supposed to make him less rude? It pretty much flies out the window when Gillian decides people just don't get him. Whatever. Totally pointless story point that was underdeveloped and useless.
What did I like about the book? Well, I liked the part of the story about Brett and Audrey. They are basically co-H/H with Drew and Gillian. Which was annoying...the book is only 281 pages and you've got 2 couples pretty much getting equal time. Way too short, which meant there wasn't enough development for either H/H.
But I did like Brett and Audrey. Rather interesting story hook there with him wanting to be a fighter and her protesting the sport. I think these two were all that kept me reading the book at times. I wish they'd been the sole H/H of their own book.
Also, what was up with the names? Gillian Noode? Lame. And could Brett's last name (Bullman) have been any more stereotypical for someone wanting to be a fighter?
So...by far not my favorite book and I was rather disappointed with it. At least it was better than the last one in this series. I think I'd give the whole Drew/Gillian part 1.5-2 stars, and Brett/Audrey 3.5 stars. I'm not sure if Foster has plans for another book in this series, but if she does, I'll probably still read it. I just wouldn't rush right out to buy it and read it....more
This book is a collection of 4 sexy stories by popular erotic/sensual romance authors.
Cooper's Fall by Lora Leigh
Summary: Sarah Fox is a shy but sensuaThis book is a collection of 4 sexy stories by popular erotic/sensual romance authors.
Cooper's Fall by Lora Leigh
Summary: Sarah Fox is a shy but sensual young woman living in a small Texas town. But she secretly lusts after the bad boy next door. She hasn't worked up the nerve to come on to him, and he's never really shown an interest in her. Then Ethan Cooper spies Sarah sunbathing naked in her back yard and all his preconceived notions of her go out the window. And he can't stop thinking about her. He tells himself to stay away from her, but he just can't. Then he finds out that Sarah has a slew of secrets and past he could never have imagined. But now that he's hooked on her, he isn't about to let her go.
Review: I really enjoyed this novella by Leigh. It's pretty typical, character wise, of what she usually writes. The heroine is an undiscovered sex kitten and the hero is an Alpha bad boy to the core. Cooper is mildly brutish at times, but never so much that it ticked me off. He's just Alpha.
The story is pretty simple, but what do you expect with something just about 100 pages. Still, it was a solid story that didn't leaving me feeling cheated because it was so short. I thought Leigh got enough in to make the story complete. And the sex was smokin'! It's mostly of the vanilla variety, but it was still damn hot.
Just an all around, moderately sweet, sexy, story to read. I liked it.
Rating: 4 / 5
Luring Lucy by Lori Foster
note: this novella is apparently a reprint of a previously published story
Summary: Lucy is a weary, lonely widow who is trying to get some spark back into her life after a marriage that was nearing divorce before her husband died. So she decides to head up to her vacation cabin on the lake with every intention of finding a man for a hot fling. But when her longtime friend (and her late husband's best friend), Bram, realizes what she has planned, he realizes he finally has to make a move on the woman he has loved for a long, long time. It's for him to seduce Lucy and reveal his feelings for her.
Review: I didn't enjoy this novella as much as the first one. It came off kind of flat to me. I didn't hate it or really dislike it, but it didn't draw me like the first book.
I thought the story hook was a bit trite, with the good friend longing for the woman he couldn't have but now that she's free he can finally go after her. Not a particularly original storyline. It needed something more unique to hook me in.
I also didn't really like how like 99% of the story covers only a few hours of time. There's all this build up and more build up, then you get the sex scene, then it's "they spent the next week..." I just wanted more.
But what I liked least was the love aspect from the heroine, Lucy. Throughout the story, I just never felt like she was "in love" with Bram. Attracted, yes. In sudden lust, yes. In love? No. And then the end roles around and she's saying yes, she loves him. Probably has for a while, and I'm thinking, huh? where'd that come from? I just did not feel it from her end. Which is a big part of what made this story feel flat for me.
So though it was a moderately good story, I didn't love it in any way. It was more sensual than erotic, as well...which, there's nothing wrong with, but compared to the Lora Leigh novella, it's a lot less racy.
Rating: 3 / 5
The Edge of Sin by Cheyenne McCray
Summary: Zane Steele, a RED agent, is in the Boston Common one day when he sees a gorgeous woman eating an ice cream cone. He's instantly drawn to her and though he tells himself to stay away, he can't help but approach her. The woman, Willow Randolph, feels the same attraction and it isn't long before the two begin a blistering affair. But Zane's dangerous job has always made him wary of relationships. He tries to tell himself Willow will be fine, but then a recent case directly affects her and Zane has to deal with the consequences.
Review: First it's important to note that this novella takes place in McCray's "Lexi Steele" universe. I would call it a between-the-numbers book as it is not crucial to the series, more just a bonus read. I haven't read the other books...but if I didn't already know that they are written in the first-person (which I HATE) I would probably consider reading them.
Hot story, though. It's kind of a love at first sight romance because the H/H are hooked from the first moment. I'm not always a fan of books where the H/H jump into bed right away when they hardly know each other, but this was an erotic novella and the H/H had great chemistry so I could overlook it.
I did wish the story was longer because I thought the ending was glossed over, concerning Zane's worries of his job spilling over into Willow's life. I didn't feel like there was any resolution there. So I wouldn't have minded if there had been another ten pages or so. But all in all, this was a good short story.
Rating: 4 / 5
Wanted: A Real Man by Heidi Betts
Summary: Claire Scarborough is desperate for help. A messy divorce has led to her soon to be ex to kidnap her daughter. So Claire goes to the one man she thinks can help, the little girl's biological father, US Marshal Lincoln Rappaport. The only problem is, Linc doesn't know he got Claire pregnant all those years ago when they were high school sweethearts. He just remembers that the girl he planned to married ran off one night, leaving only a note behind. Now she's back, telling him he has a kid, and asking for help. Linc has no choice but to help, but he won't let Claire into his heart again. Which is easier said than done.
Review: I must admit I was a little surprised by this novella. I've read a couple other of Betts's stories didn't really see the author as the erotica novella type. But I wrong. Betts writes a rather good, sexy short story. I actually thought it was hotter than Foster's novella.
The novella was a pretty solid one, too, in the sense that I didn't feel like I was short-changed due to the length of the story. It had a mini-plot, a reunion, hot sex, a resolution to the mini-plot. The only area I thought could have been a little better was the reconciliation between the H/H. It was a little to simplified. But overall, I thought this was a really good, sexy story. It fit well with the others in this collection.
Rating: 4 / 5
For the collection as a whole, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Romance novellas are often very hit or miss, but this book was mostly hits. My favorite would probably be the Lora Leigh novella and my least favorite the Lori Foster one.
WARNING, this book contains: explicit sex and language, oral sex, a little voyeurism/exhibitionism, body jewelry, semi-public sex...to be continued......more
This was one of those anthologies that was fairly good, but each story could have been better if it had been longer. It's hard for a 10Rating: 3.5 / 5
This was one of those anthologies that was fairly good, but each story could have been better if it had been longer. It's hard for a 100 page romance story to be really good. The stories just tend to come off a little abrupt because so much has to be squished into so few pages. But this anthology was better than some I've read.
In the first story by Lori Foster, which features Dex Winston - cousin to the Winstons in some of her other books - twins Hart and Dex Winston are so alike in a lot of ways that most people can't tell them apart. So Hart asks his brother for a favor: pose as him for a few weeks so that Hart can secretly go try out for the SBC Ultimate Fighting sport. Dex isn't happy with the request, but agrees. Then he meets Hart's neighbor, Christy Nash. Something about her draws him in...and he's intrigued by the fact that she has an innate sense that he's different than the neighbor she previously met (which is true, because he's not Hart). The two begin a steaming affair, but Dex wants to tell her that's he's not really Hart. He just hopes that when he does, she'll forgive him.
I enjoyed this story. Foster's Winston series (and the related Visitation, NC series) are one of my favorite romance series. Great characters and great romance. So it was fun to get to revisit those characters...plus, Joe Winston had a cameo, which I loved.
Overall, this was a sexy, steamy story. I wasn't too keen on the hidden identity theme. That kind of thing bugs me, but aside from that, the romance was nice. Other than the hidden identity aspect, my only other problem with this story was the abrupt ending. It came off really, well, abrupt. It just needed more. The HEA felt kind of iffy to me. But I'm looking forward to Hart's story, which I think will be in another anthology coming out sometime this year.
The second novella by Deirdre Martin is a spin-off of her popular Blades series and the beginning of her Wild Hart Saga series. In her book Just A Taste she introduced the character Quinn O'Brien and in this novella Quinn's sister Maggie is feature. She's waitress at her family's Irish Pub (the Wild Hart). It's being renovated by Brendan Kelly and his dad. She's attracted to him, but has sworn off relationships after a disastrous marriage. The chemistry can't be denied though and the two begin an affair.
Like all the other Deirdre Martin books I've read, this story was kind of superficial and soap-operay. The romance was cute, but it didn't really engage me all that much. And I can't say I feel any burning need to read the next book in the series (With A Twist).
The third novella by Jacquie D'Allessandro is a typical enemies-turned-lovers story. Jack Walker is the CFO of Java Heaven and Madeline Price is a consultant brought in to make the accounting division run better...and also to give a report on which 5 of the 20 people in the department should be fired. Jack resents her interference and Maddy is annoyed by his stand-offish attitude. But when they department goes on a retreat, sparks flare between the two. And what was meant to be a one-night stand turns into more.
I'd probably give this story a 3/5 stars. It was sexy and a nice little romance to read, but lacking some in development. The conflict and resolution of the relationship was also very predictable. I knew where this story was headed from very early on. So it was just an average story.
And the last novella by Penny McCall adds a little romantic suspense to the mix. Abigail West is a doctor in a small town, having moved there to get to know the grandfather she'd thought was dead. She's on morgue duty when a body bag is brought in...and is shocked when she recognizes the body as her college lover, Drake...and more shocked to realize that the body is still alive. The shock keeps coming when she finds out Drake is now an FBI Agent in the area and sent to protect a man in the witness protection program...a man who turns out to be her grandfather. Now Abby and Drake must hide from hitman, protect her grandfather, and confront the chemistry that still exists between them.
I would have loved it if this novella had been a full length story. The beginning was great....unzipping a body bag, finding an old lover inside, and realizing he's still alive. Very interesting way to start a story. And it could have been a great way to set up a full-length romantic suspense novel. The story was pretty solid as it was...though the ending needed more development, but I enjoyed this story a lot. It was probably my favorite of the 4 novellas.
So overall...a decent anthology. Not great, but not awful. If you don't mind anthologies and have read any of these authors before, then you'd probably find something worth while about this set of stories....more
It's interesting to see how people's thoughts on this book fall. Here on GR, the ratings and reviews go every which way. But, if you pop over to AmazoIt's interesting to see how people's thoughts on this book fall. Here on GR, the ratings and reviews go every which way. But, if you pop over to Amazon, out of 149 reviews this book got there, 106 were 1- or 2-star reviews. As for me, unfortunately, I fall into the 1-star category. Which I wasn't surprised about. I knew going in I most likely was not going to enjoy this book, but I did want to give it a try. I just don't like time travel romances, though. But more so than that, I was really annoyed by the nature of the story, it's place in a running series and how all that tied into the time travel element. Nothing about this book fit for me. It mostly just bored me to death.
My Man, Michael is the 4th book in the SBC Fighters series which is basically about ultimate fighters and the women they fall in love with. I wouldn't say it's necessary to read the series in order since the storylines of each book are mostly independent, but I do think it would be better to read them in order. Just for the sake of character nuances.
This book starts off with SBC fighter Michael "Mallet" Manchester, introduced in previous books, in the hospital after being in a horrific car crash. He was seriously injured and the damage to one of his legs means that he will never fight again. Depression is settling in when Mallet gets a visit from a strange woman named Kayli Raine - a woman who seems to be able to pop out of nowhere. Mallet thinks he's hallucinating, but eventually he realizes she's real, and that she's come from the future to ask him for his help. Kayli's colony needs a warrior to help train them to protect themselves. If he'll return with her and help her she will restore his body to perfect health. Disbelieving but curious, Mallet agrees...and soon finds himself in the year 2220.
The transition goes fairly smoothly for Mallet, but when he finds out they plan marry him off to cement his position in the colony, he tells the leader there's only one person he wants. And that's Kayli. But as Claviger of the colony, Kayli was never to marry. She'd been trained almost since birth to be a warrior and she doesn't know what to do about the feelings Mallet brings forth in her. But Mallet is patient. He's determined to have Kayli, and to help her people be safer.
I dreaded reading this book since I first heart about the time travel aspect. Maybe that's not quite fair, but it's the truth. I actually thought I was misreading information when I first saw it. I'd been poking around Foster's website, looking for info on upcoming-releases when I saw a little snippet about the next SBC book (this one). And all I could think was, travel travel? are you kidding me? It didn't make the least bit of sense.
Part of that is because I really don't like time travel romance books. I've read several and none have appealed to me. They're just not my thing. But the other, more dominant, factor is that the time travel element just does not fit with the series at all. Here you've got an established, contemporary romance series about ultimate fighters. Fans are enjoying it and waiting for more...then poof, characters are popping off to the future. It doesn't fit and it doesn't make any sense to me. The whole thing leaves me scratching my head. I know authors have every right to write what they want to write, but they have to take into consideration what works and what doesn't work. This doesn't seem to have worked at all. People reading contemporary romance want contemporary romance. Not some weird sci-fi trip and a complete departure from everything the series previously was. Basically, if you've ever heard the phrase "jumped the shark," it most definitely applies here.
Trying to put aside my overall annoyance with the nature of the book, I did read it and I did try to keep at least a partially open mind. But I just found the story boring. It took me about four days to read this book - which is a long time for me - and I had to force myself to go back and read more. I usually always read before I go to bed and 2 nights in a row while reading this book I watched TV instead.
Even right from the start the book didn't draw me. I was disappointed that the it started off with Mallet already injured and settling into depression. I thought the story would have been stronger if we'd gone through accident with him, seen how his friends reacted, how HE reacted when he found out his fighting career was over. The beginning just felt sort of weird jumping in where it did.
And the rest of the book I just found boring. It seems to just go 'round and 'round the same issues. Mallet wants Kayli, Kayli is confused over her sexuality, Mallet wants to protect Kayli, Kayli feels like Mallet is trying to take over, etc etc. There was no oomph to the story. Everything in it moved too slow and there wasn't enough action. Which made it rather boring.
I also didn't like how disconnected this book felt from the rest of the series. The previous books built on a set of connected characters with lots of interactions, the whole SBC thing and whatnot. But this book felt like it was floating along on its own. Other than a scene at the beginning and one at the end, all the past characters were personas non gratas. I missed that whole vibe, with all the guys interacting, the testosterone flying, and alpha tendencies pushing at each other. There wasn't anything like that in this book and it made it fall flat for me.
As you can see, I pretty much didn't like anything about this book. It was a chore to get through and if the book hadn't been a part of a series that I'd been previously reading and by an author I liked, I would have never read it. For anyone considering it...well, if you find yourself totally put off by the time travel element and not particularly interested in the story, then most likely you're not going to like the book. I certainly didn't. I'm not sure if I'll read the next book in the series, featuring Drew Black. The excerpt makes it seem like it will be a more traditional contemporary romance, but who knows. If it does end up having something with time travel like this one, then I think I'll skip it. One round of torture was enough....more
Three short, feel-good romances about couples reuniting while facing down deadly storms. A nice, quick read that I enjoyed. I'm always a little wary oThree short, feel-good romances about couples reuniting while facing down deadly storms. A nice, quick read that I enjoyed. I'm always a little wary of these novella type stories because it's really hard to fit a well-rounded story into less than 120 pages, but these 3 worked. Sure they might not have been overly complicated or deep, but they were sweet and romantic with a splash of danger added. It's a toss-up which I liked better, Foster's or Kauffman's stories. Both were equally good. Shalvis's story, while still good, just didn't have that same zing as the other two. Good book, though, if you like basic romance....more
Lori Foster is one of my favorite authors, and she doesn't disappoint with this book. I didn't like it quite as much as "Simon Says" and "Causing HavoLori Foster is one of my favorite authors, and she doesn't disappoint with this book. I didn't like it quite as much as "Simon Says" and "Causing Havoc" but it was still a great read. I love all the characters from this series of books and the ultimate fighter setting is a nice change of pace from other books.
There are one or two critiques I could give for this book: the plot resolution at the end was a bit rushed, kinda blink and you miss it, and the indiscriminate sexuality from Barber and to a lesser degree Harley in the early parts of the book were a bit of a turn-off. Otherwise, a fun read; great characters, good romance, and an interesting storyline. ...more
**spoiler alert** I've read a few books by Foster now, and I have to say this is the best of those I've read. Great characters, great romance, a nice**spoiler alert** I've read a few books by Foster now, and I have to say this is the best of those I've read. Great characters, great romance, a nice minor suspense storyline. Just an all-around enjoyable romance read.
The romance was by far the biggest aspect of the book. Zane and Tamara are a great couple. And their scenes together are very, very hot. This is definitely one of the better erotic romances that I've read. It's sexy and sensual without being crass or just about sex. It's about the characters connecting and being drawn helplessly to each other. True, Foster doesn't quite do justice to the emotional bond, but I don't think the story suffers all that much.
I loved the side characters of Luna, Joe and Tamara's family. They were great, and I enjoyed the cameo's from the other 3 Winston brothers. Also, the small suspense angle gave the story some nice added depth, making the book more well-rounded.
Overall, a good read if you want a sexy romance....more