Stefan Talbot likes order and control. He approaches his life with the same meticulous precision that he uses to put paint on his canvas. Nothing good comes from chaos, and that is why he has refused to allow himself to get close to Jennifer Waters. They are like fire and ice. Though she is younger, her talent as an artist is unquestionable. But she lives her life like she paints—with wild, passionate abandon. It is intoxicating and terrifying, and he can’t get her out of his head.
Jennifer ran from Bliss to put Stef behind her. She had come to the mountain town seeking a mentor but found much more than she bargained for. Cool and distant, Stef was like a marble statue and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break through his shell. She moved to Dallas to start over, but nothing is going as planned. When the art gallery where she works is robbed and a precious painting is stolen, Jen is accused of the theft. Jen is thrilled when her bail is met, until she realizes her savior is Stef and he has a few conditions. First and foremost, she has to return to Bliss.
Against the backdrop of the Winter Festival, Stef and Jen’s attraction catches fire. But the dark forces behind the robbery in Dallas have followed Jen home. A criminal syndicate believes she still has the stolen painting and they’ll kill to get their hands on it.
A lifetime devotee to the written word, Sophie published her first novel this year. Prior to becoming a novelist, she worked in theater and comic books. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and three precocious children, who wonder when mom is going to write a book they will be allowed to read. Her answer: probably never. Sophie believes in happy endings for everyone, no matter how extreme the story. Her stories may feature some of the fringe elements of sexuality, but at heart they are always about love.
After the delicious push and pull between Stefan and Jennifer in the last two books, I was absolutely dying to get my grabby little hands on their book. But I was also hoping for two things from this book; a grovel from Stefan, and for Jennifer to grow a little more. Jennifer has always been incredibly open in her desire for Stefan, that at times I almost felt like she made it too easy for him.
And while I did spend a large chunk of this book wanting to punch Stefan in the eye and shake him until he sees reason, I'm happy to report that I absolutely LOVED Jennifer.
These are both incredibly multi-layered characters. But while Jennifer doesn't let her past dictate her future, Stefan uses his as a crutch and his answer of why he can never be with Jennifer. Considering he spends the entire book thinking that her age makes her not know her own mind because of the demons of his past, it was an exercise in frustration to say the least. And while a part of me gets it, another part of me wanted to slap him. Continuously.
There's a suspense plot that runs parallel to the romance that adds a much needed edge and entertainment factor. With the Russian mafia after Jennifer for a painting that may be in her possession, there's a character that's introduced that I absolutely fell in love with. Alexei Markov, with his gentle soul, violent past and broken english absolutely stole my heart. I cannot wait for his book. The set up is AMAZING!
As for this book, while I did spend a good part of it frustrated with Stefan's inability to see reason, I still enjoyed it. Admittedly, I was kind of expecting an uber Dom with him, but what I got was slightly different. I can't say I'm complaining, though. This is a man that's not perfect, has faults, and is not afraid to admit to them by the end. I did wish he groveled a bit more, but I was still satisfied with how things wrapped up. Jennifer was the perfect balance. I appreciated her strength and her will to fight for him even when he gave her every reason not to.
All in all, another wonderful addition to the series and as always, I can't wait for more!
ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review
One to Keep is still full of the quirky characters set in the town of Bliss. We get Stefan and Jen's story who have been side characters in books 1 and 2. Stef has played a big part in getting our couples together in both books 1 and 2. In fact, he is a big reason why the town of Bliss is so successful. He's great with seeing what others need, just not good at what he needs. This book was good but I hated to see Stef constantly push away Jen because he felt she was too young to make up her own mind about them. The author did a great job of explaining why Stef felt the way he did and what really drove him to keep Jen at a distance, but unfortunately it's my least favorite type of romance. I still very much enjoyed everything else that was going on in Bliss. This town is full of some strange characters and I like them.
A slighty different review going on here peeps and it ain’t pretty.
You know the whole spiel I love LB bla, bla, bla and I ‘m a fan bla, bla, bla but this book is just bla, bla, bla.
I was more interested in Alexei that I had to go and look to see if he gets a book. He so totally gets a book. Yay! I found Max, Rachel and Rye a pleasure to catch up with. I even loved that Sebastian Talbot finally got together with Stella. All these things made the book enjoyable.
Stef and Jennifer ruined this book for me. I could tolerate them when they were apart but when they were together. Well for the love of God it was painful.
I mean with these two I landed in crazy town and maybe a bad B movie. I met King Stef in book 1 of the series and well I could tolerate him just barely. By book 2 I was intrigued and with his book I went back from intrigued to tolerating him to effing loathing him.
Why you ask?
Because he is King Stef and he can dictate what everyone can do especially Jennifer. He kept on pushing her away repeatedly. So much back and forth repeatedly. I know where his anger came from but I didn’t get it. After having one conversation with Rye & Max he suddenly has a come to Jesus moment? Puh-lease!!! On top of that I really do know why Jennifer put up with that crap. Talk about a doormat till the very end. Jennifer deserved better and for me they were over even before they began.
If you read LB then you know how awesome a writer she is. The plot and pace flow and there is never a boring moment. But when you have two idiot main characters even that doesn’t make it better. In all honesty I was more interested in Alexei. Be still my beating heart. And Big Tag was there so you know it was worth it in the end. I would recommend this series but to be honest not her best work and I would personally skip this book.
The second go-round was just as good guys! If not, maybe even better! One to Keep by Lexi Blake is book three in her Nights in Bliss, Colorado series and has been re-released in a second edition with some brand new content! I’ve always loved the dynamic between Stef and Jen. It’s heartbreaking by the fact that Stef refuses to give more to Jen because of their age difference and experience. It’s sassy and feisty in the way that Jen isn’t afraid to speak her mind and give Stef exactly what he deserves. It’s sweet and swoony when Stef eventually caves, and it’s intense, passionate, and oh so sexy when they finally give in to their desires. These two are probably one of my all time favorite couples out of this amazing series!
It doesn’t matter if this is your second read through of the book or if you are brand new to the series…One to Keep has something for everyone who loves their romance a little on the kinky side. If you are a fan of BDSM romances full of emotion, humor, and wit, look no further. Lexi Blake has given us all that and more with this series! Fans, old and new, sit back, relax, and get ready to scream at Stefan Talbot through your kindles! Happy Reading!
One to Keep was my least favorite of the series. Stefan Talbot was an arrogant, controlling ass. He considered himself so tolerant as Bliss’ leading citizen and kink master, but he found the nine year age difference between himself and Jennifer Waters an insurmountable obstacle. Without any consideration of individual differences, and certainly without consulting Jennifer, he rejected her early on and made decisions for her “for her own good.”
Of course the point was that Stefan had some growing to do, and he does eventually make some progress in that regard. One to Keep is worth reading if your plan is to continue with the Nights in Bliss, Colorado series—to keep up with all of the other characters. Ms. Oak created an endearing cast who keep me going back: Stella; Mel; Nell and Henry; Marie, Tiny, and Logan; Max, Rye, and Rachel; Nate, Zane, and Callie; the naturists and the rest of Bliss.
Everyone in Bliss knows that Stefan is the ‘behind the scenes’ man . The one responsible for giving folks a necessary nudge or two when needed. Now Stefan spends one night with Jennifer Walters. It’s a night that Stefan will not forget anytime soon. Regardless of his feelings, Stefan pushes Jennifer away. Determined to cut off anything resembling a relationship.
Now that Jennifer finds herself falsely accused of theft, Stefan is determined to stand by her side. Even if Jennifer doesn’t want Stefan to be there! As circumstances have changed and the two find themselves ‘together’ again, Stefan is determined to never let Jennifer go again. Can Jennifer ever trust Stefan again? Will they overcome the past and find a way towards a new future?
One to Keep has hit the shelves in a re-released version. Lexi Blake has created a suspenseful tale in the town of Bliss, that will also entice you with the sexual tension of the two main characters. While many of the books in Blake’s series will deal mostly with the main characters, One to Keep gave a lot of ‘back story’ and details on the towns people in Bliss.
While the majority of One to Keep centered around Stefan and Jennifer, I couldn’t help but find myself invested in Alexei. So much so that I wanted to rush through Jennifer and Stefan’s ‘meat and potatoes’ and get to the heart of Alexei. I am looking forward to see what the residents of Bliss (and Lexi) have in store in the next book of the series!!
I think the worst thing about this book was the main romance between Stef and Jen. I liked both of them, but as a couple they just don't work for me. I found myself starting to skim the parts where they were together, or trying to get together. I was far more interested in Stef's dad, and Alexi the Russian mob guy. I really liked how he felt at home in Bliss, saw his chance for a new start and took it by protecting it's townspeople. I felt sorry for Logan and wonder where the events of this book will take him. He for sure won't be the happy go lucky guy any more. I can't wait to read more Bliss adventures to find out.
5 Star Review One To Keep (Love In Bliss #3) by Sophie Oak
Where do I start? I have been intrigued by the dynamic between Stefan Talbot and Jennifer Waters from the first time they appeared in this series.
Jennifer ran from Stefan once before and now that circumstances have brought her back to him, he has no intention of letting her go again. Offering his assistance when Jennifer is falsely accused of theft, Stef knows that it is time to swoop in and save the day, but at what cost?
Stef is a totally a Dominant and when he hurt Jennifer, by trampling on her feelings she ran from Bliss. Will Jennifer dare to open herself up to him again? Can Jennifer trust Stef or is she destined to be forever alone?
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was learning about Stef’s past and why it turned him into the man he has become. It was also great to catch up with previous couples and see how they are travelling.
One To Keep is full of passion, hope, strength, BDSM scenes, some humour and determination. This was a well written, strong story with characters that are easy to relate too, not to mention loveable. The scenes are smoking hot and the danger and suspense had me invested from the start.
Jennifer Waters left the only town that ever felt like home to escape the one man who would forever be the master of her heart. What else was she to do when Stefan Talbot tramples on her declaration of love? Stefan is always in control of everything...or so he believes. All it takes is one not so obedient sub being in the right place at the wrong time to bring his otherwise well-ordered life to its proverbial knees.
In the third edition in the Nights in Bliss series readers are treated to finally getting to know the reclusive and dominant Stefan Talbot. If you’ve ever read Ms. Oaks Siren books you know she has a way with creating the most deliciously dominant men. Her Doms make even the most inexperienced and “vanilla" of us want to dabble in the lifestyle. Be aware though Ms. Oak's Doms accept no “dabblers”.
Stefan is no exception until his heart becomes involved. Ms. Oak slowly unveils the layers of Stef’s life as this incredible story unfolds. We are given intuitive insight into Jennifer’s nomadic childhood as well. Ms. Oak’s ability to draw on the readers emotions and have them fully invested in a story and its characters is only one of the reasons she has a large and ever growing fan base.
Readers first met Stefan and Jen as well as the quirky yet lovable citizens of Bliss, CO in Three to Ride. If we’ve learned anything about this fantastical mountain haven she created we know that when danger lurks the townsfolk ban together. Also, there’s a good chance someone’s going to die. As you can see, this not a fluffy love story with no substance to the plot. Without spoiling a nice surprise, be sure to pay special attention to who all you meet in chapter one. That’s all I can say about that. Except…Read The Book!!
One to Keep is part of a series but it can be read as a stand-alone. If you do happen to read them out order don’t be surprised when you find yourself running back and pick up the other books. Yes, the stories are just that entertaining and engaging. I’ve mentioned it before but it bears repeating, Ms. Oak is more than a writer, she’s a storyteller. Pick up your copy of One to Keep today and you’ll be saying…”So, how do I get to Bliss?”
We got back to the wacky town of Bliss Colorado in One to Keep. Sophie...ummm where's the extra penis? ;p
This book is the story of an I'm-not-sharing relationship between our town puppet master Stefan and quirky artist/waitress Jennifer. Stefan has always been the aloof, but secretly meddlesome man behind the wonderful relationships in Bliss. He has pushed couples together when they needed it, but from behind the scenes. Doesn't mean he hadn't been caught from time to time and gotten his ass kicked for it.
The best part of this novel for me was learning why. Stefan was always just a omnipitant force in Bliss, and this book took us on a ride through him as a person. There was a lot of inner dialogue for Stefan in this book, that I normally don't enjoy in a read, but I was so intrigued by him as a character that, even though it slowed the pace of the novel slightly for me, I definitely wanted the information. If only all guys came with a well-written inner dialogue taped to their forehead life would be so much easier.
We had more of a body count this time around, as the Russian Mob pays our favorite town a visit. I loved the accents and the flubbed American slang. Great touch. I don't know how she did it, but Sophie Oak even made a Russian mobster likable and a possible love interest in a future book. (and if I hear that Caleb/Alexei/Holly is not in the works...well you will make me cry Ms. Oak)
Another great one. Soft and tender with a Dom who needed a smack upside the head at times, and action-packed with guns, mobsters, and babies. Mel still didn't get his aliens, but I have high hopes now that he has a hunting partner.
This does contain a few BDSM punishment scenes if that isn't your cuppa. I will never look at office supplies the same again. And we do touch on the other characters. We get to see how their relationships are growing, and how their families are too. And all of it with a wink, a nod, and a HEA.
I added this as romantic suspense because there was a bit of murder/mystery/mayhem with the Russian mob mixed in. I love this town Bliss. I wish like many friends here at GR that this town existed. I also now know Ms. Oak's real names is Nell. She's the crazy pacifist writing dirty erotic stories about her friends. Ms. Oak, I'm on to you, you dirty little voyeur.
I loved Stef's story because I was waiting for him to fall. King Stef was definitely an appropriate name for him. Loved it. I find him adorable and quite the loving dom. Well, he isn't much of a dom now that Jen has taken him over. Still, this was a great story. I loved the added touches Ms. Oak wrote. She gives insight to each of these zany characters. I think one of my favourite scenes was when Sebastien, Stef's father bring in the butt plug and demands to know what it is. Caleb's answer was HILARIOUS! Ms. Oak's dry sense of humour and comic timing via the written word is impeccable. She is so funny.
This book did bring a tear to my eye as I have a soft spot for children who grow up as adults, feeling unwanted and unloved. Stef's baggage was rather sad for me. I loved him more for it. He's such a sweetheart. I wish I had a friend like Stef. His loyalty and generosity doesn't exist in this day and age. I do live Ms. Oak's books because they bring out the idealist world filled with redemption, hope and second chances. I'm hoping to see a book with Alexis and Caleb next. I love the names Ms. Oak gives her luscious men. These are all the names I adore.
Even though Jennifer Waters fled after Stefan Talbot finally succumbed to his desire to be with her after one night, Stefan has not been able to move on. When Jennifer ends up in jail falsely accused of theft, Stefan is by her side protecting her whether she likes it or not.
Jennifer has not forgotten their one night together, nor the fact that Stefan broke her heart in one swift move either. Returning to Bliss, Jennifer realizes that she never should have left her heart and soul belongs in Bliss. As Stefan continues to try and push her away, Jennifer sinks her heels in and gives him the fight of her life as she fights for him.
Stefan has been a favorite of mine since the series started, something dynamic about his all-knowing personality and Jennifer is ia perfect pair for him. Looks like more sequels in sight as new characters are introduced and old favorites are back bringing humor to another fantastic read.
This was the third book in the series of Bliss, Colorado where I would like to live btw. I have been looking forward to Stefan's story and although I liked it, it wasn't quite as good as the others and Stefan seemed different in this book. At times I wanted to slap him because he was so stubborn. It was great to see the characters from previous books and I fell in love with Alexi the gorgeous Russian and hope he will get a story maybe a menage? with Holly and Dr. Caleb. Here's hoping. Some of the lines in this book had me laughing out loud and remind me why I love reading a Sophie Oak book. Btw, the cover looks NOTHING like what Stefan is described in the book.
Just did a re-read and thought that Stefan wasn't a very good Dom. Not my fav book.
The older H is, generous with money but not to the younger woman who has loved him for years. The plot has Russian mobsters, murder, torture and humour. So it's a lot of fun but for me the Telling writing style made it tedious. So many names used to Tell what they thought or did. Just OK.
I absolutely love Lexi Blake’s books – they are always engaging and captivating. But there’s something about her alter ego, Sophie Oak that just calls out to me. While written by the same author as the Masters & Mercenaries series, Sophie Oak goes a little beyond. Leaving the suspense that is linked to the mystery of mercenaries and spies, and you get to the nitty gritty that is D/s in a small town that has no qualms about having unconventional marriages with two husbands for one woman.
Like many of her previous books, One To Keep was the book of the week that kept me awake until 2 am because I had to find out what would happen next. Did I mention that I have to get up at 6.30 the next morning to go to work? I swear, the struggle is real people. I wish I could have called in sick and kept reading. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when it came to Stef and Jennifer, because these two were hilarious and frustrating at the same time.
You know they’re perfect for one another, but for some insane reason, they like to torture themselves and play the part of knight in shining armour. It won’t be any surprise when I say that I really can’t wait for the next book by this author, but it’s true. She has this way of writing that draws me in when I should be sleeping and getting the rest I need… then again, i`ll manage to catch up on my sleep when i`m dead **cue the laughter here**.
Stefan Talbot is a billionaire, artist, dominant and self proclaimed caretaker of Bliss and all of its residents. He’s also in love with Jennifer Waters even though he refuses to admit it. While his actions sent her running once, he’s kept watch, and when she needs him after being arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, he brings her back home to Bliss.
Jennifer Waters may be young, but she knows exactly what she wants . . . Stef Tallbot. When he tells her he regrets their night together, Jen flees to Dallas to work in an art gallery. When she’s set up for a crime she didn’t commit and finds herself back in Bliss, she realizes just how much she gave up when she fled. Now that she is home amongst the friends that are her family, she’s ready to make her stand and show Stef she’s all in. She just needs to convince him that he is too!
Just as things are warming up between Stefan and Jennifer, more heat comes their way as Jen finds herself wanted by the Russian mafia who descend on the tiny town of Bliss during the winter festival. They want the missing painting and will do anything to get it, including kill anyone in their way.
First off, let me do my happy dance to be back in Bliss! Second, I was thrilled to finally have Stefan and Jennifer’s story on my kindle . . . I’ve been waiting for Stef to get his head out of his behind for quite a few books now, and Lexi Blake doesn’t disappoint!
As always, Lexi’s characters are amazing and feel like friends. Jen is a sweetheart, and while young, she knows exactly what she wants out of life. I adored that she decided to make her stand whether or not Stef was on board. It really showed her strength of character. And Stef . . . I absolutely loved how human and imperfect he is in this book. He’s not the perfect Dom when it comes to Jen, as he totally projects what he thinks she needs onto her . . . but it comes from a place of absolute love and caring. This book is all about him finally realizing how he works all of his relationships, including friendships, and his emotional growth is stunning. Even though Stefan and Jen’s relationship is messy, it’s gorgeous!
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Lexi Blake book without amazing suspense. You gotta love when the Russian mafia shows up in the quirkiest small town in America! The suspense in this book really highlights some of the side cast of characters and now I can’t wait for their stories, including Caleb, Holly, Alexei and Logan.
One to Keep was a phenomenal romantic suspense and emotional roller coaster, so strap on your seat belt and enjoy the ride. 5 stars!
Bliss, Colorado is a really dangerous place to live! Thankfully, all the murder is balanced out by the delightful quirkiness of the townspeople and all the hot men running around. But, no man is more attention-grabbing than King Stefan. We've seen him in all the other Bliss books - he's the man you go to when you need something done because it seems like he has fingers in all the pies. But, the one thing Stef doesn't have is someone to love. That's where Jennifer comes in.
Jennifer and Stefan could've had something special, but his idiocy about their differences in age (not all THAT large in the grand scheme of things) and experience (duh Stef - the fun part is bringing her up to speed) have driven Jennifer to move away from Bliss. But, when she's accused of a crime she didn't commit, and it appears her life might now be in danger as well, Stef's protective instincts rear up, and he brings her back to Bliss with him so he can help her and protect her.
Jennifer tries to resist him. I don't blame her. Stef has been acting like an ass, and it's only hurting her to put her back in his orbit again when he doesn't seem to have any intention to make them official. But, the man is magnetism personified, and she can't hold him off for long. The problem is, Stef does an exorbitant amount of waffling in this book. I wanted to smack him around more than once. The usually confident Stef is being ruled by his past, and it was a new and frustrating look for him. And Jennifer was equally frustrating at times for putting up with his emotional whiplash.
It does appear that Bliss is able to churn out mainstream couples and not just the less common triads. One to Keep is a story about Jennifer and Stefan - there is no third to their relationship (Stefan would never stand for that, LOL). But, they are plenty steamy and sexy, so no worries there.
Also, I've said it before, and I'll say it again - Lexi Blake's reimagined versions of the older stories she wrote under the Sophie Oak pen name are brilliant. I love how, with just a few extra paragraphs here and there, she's managed to tie all her worlds together. And, I'll never complain when Ian Taggart makes an appearance. He always makes things better.
This was book 3 in "Nights in Bliss, Colorado" When the going gets tough Jennifer Waters runs. After hooking up for the first time with Stefan Talbot that exactly what she does when she realizes that he doesn't want a relationship. Stefan Talbot is a hot sexy Dom who is also an artist who doesn't do relationships he trains subs. When she is arrested and charged with stealing a painting Stef comes to the rescue along with Finn Ian Taggart turns out her boss Renard was working for the Russian Mob and he has a cocaine addict. Stef father also decides to come back to Bliss, he had cancer and never told his only son he realized that life is short and that he has something in Bliss that he wants beside his son. The problem with Stef is that Jennifer is young and like Jen so was his mother who left him and his father he has commit issues because of it. Jen gets and ear full from a pregnant Rachel about leaving without telling her friends who love and worried about her. Alexei Markov who is working with the Russian Mob comes to town to find Jen and the painting he just wants to get the painting and move on he has a mission to bring down his boss because he killed his brother but his partner Ivan is a professional serial killer. When they find Jen and Callie he helps them by killing his partner blowing his cover he couldn't let Ivan do to them what he did to a tourist that he killed. While in jail his boss comes to town and all hell breaks lose. After being with Stef Jen realizes she can't continue to wait for him to stop thinking she is leaving one he arranges for her to study art in Paris she leaves his house. This was a pretty good read I wanted to slap Stef but it turns out that he was afraid he uses his large trust fund to by his friends so them will continue to like him and I am glad that Rye pointed it out to him he has been doing it since he moved to Bliss as a kid. This book was well written with no errors in grammar or spelling. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.
Every time I get one of these re-release ARC’s of Sophie Oak/Lexi Blake’s older series, I get a smile on my face, especially if it’s one from the Nights In Bliss Series. In One To Keep we get Stefan and Jenn’s story. Jenn calls Stefan the King of Bliss more than once, not because he lords his money over everyone else, but because he helps everyone no matter the cost. He pulls strings to get them everything he thinks they need, especially love.
In her 2018 dedication, Ms. Blake tells that when it originally released some of her fans didn’t respond well to how very broken Stefan was considering he was such a classic dominant. It surprised me that anyone was taken aback by Stefan being broken because I knew he was from the first book. Yes, he was the epitome of a perfect dominant, even being renowned for training subs, but doms can be broken too and he definitely was.
Now before I tear Stefan apart, I need to make it clear Stefan has a heart of gold and he’s a sexy as sin dom so there is a lot there to like. But, I wanted to shake him. He may want happiness and love for everyone else, but abandonment issues stemming from his childhood have him terrified of it for himself. Actually terrified is too tame a word for how scared he was of Jenn because even the thought of becoming a couple with her panicked him. It’s good Jenn has always loved him and has infinite amounts of patience because, goodness, she needed it. I can’t begin to tell you how bad he worked my last nerve.
As for Jenn, she’s been in love with Stefan since the day she met him and has done everything including throwing herself at him to get him to acknowledge the fact he loves her (and he does), but nothing worked. After he crossed the line she finally left which ended up being a disaster. So now she’s back and completely under his control but not in the way she wants to be. It’s funny how just like with Stefan, no matter how much I liked her I wanted to throttle her too. I felt like she lost some self-respect in the way she just kept taking what she could get from Stefan but not demanding what she deserved.
Despite my misgivings about Stefan and Jenn’s relationship, I loved being back in Bliss and all its craziness. Max and Rye’s antics concerning Rachel’s impending childbirth had me cracking up. We are also introduced to Alexei and his broken English which is hilarious. I remember him becoming one of my absolute favorites in future books so I’m already anticipating more fun to come.
Rating: 4 Blissful Stars
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.
What do art thefts, small towns, and controlling Dom's have in common?
More than you'd think, actually.
Stef and Jennifer have a past. One that she ran from, and he let her, because of her age. But, when she needs him, when her world seems to fall apart, there's nowhere else he'd think of being than with her.
I can't say I totally loved Stefan. He's a little controlling, even for a Dom, and there were parts that had me thinking it might be a little much, that he was over the top. But, it worked. And, more importantly it worked for the characters in the story, so I was able to move past that and enjoy this title.
I recommend this latest in the Bliss Colorado series of titles.
Re-read of re-released version of this book with new material: August 2018
3.75 stars. This was a pretty good book. I had read this book a few years ago as it was originally written and it was only okay for me. I don't know if my tastes have changed, or my mood at the time of reading, or the added/changed material in this re-released version, but I liked it much better this time.
This is Stefan/Stef and Jennifer/Jenn's story. Stefan is a dom, famous artist and wealthy businessman in the small town of Bliss. He has abandonment baggage/control issues due to his history that makes him not interested in relationships beyond D/s. Jennifer is a young, burgeoning artist. She came to Bliss to meet Stef and beg him to mentor her. The two had an instant chemistry and attraction, and Jenn falls for him quickly. But Stef feels like Jennifer is too young (23 to his 32 years) to know her own mind and what she really wants, even though he does like her. Stef gives in and they spend a night together in which Jenn's dreams come true, but he pushes her away afterwards. So much that she flees Bliss and moves away. Six months later, Jenn finds herself some trouble (arrested for theft) when a Picasso at the gallery she works at goes missing. Stef comes and bails her out, saving the day, and dragging her back to Bliss. The two have a lot to work out between them. There is push and pull, emotion, sexy times, funny moments and some suspense, but it all works out for Jenn and Stef in the end.
I liked Stef much more this go around. Don't get me wrong. He is definitely an jerk to Jenn at first. He hurts her with his words and he also thinks mean stuff about her in his POV. It was hard to like him. But by the end, I did think he softened significantly. He understood that he was placing the blame on Jenn, when he was really the one with the issues. It was obvious that he really loved Jenn. So I was able to forgive his past behavior. I liked Jenn, even if she had way more patience with Stef than I would have.
I do think the book was a little slow moving in the first half, but it began to pick up more as the suspense ramped up towards the end.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I enjoy this series and the fun atmosphere of Bliss, CO. I look forward to more from Ms. Blake in the future!
*arc provided in exchange for an honest review*
Original review: October 2015
3-3.25 stars. I didn't like this one as much as the others in the series I've read. I didn't really like Stef. He was cold and I never really believed he loved Jen. They weren't happily together for very much of the book and Stef pushed her away most of the time. I did like Jen, but I felt bad for her. I was glad to revisit the other couples from Bliss though. I will keep reading the series too. Although I did not love this book, overall, I still enjoyed aspects of it.
I’m so glad to be back in Bliss, Colorado - a place where the community is as quirky as can be and loves to meddle in other people’s lives, but it’s also a tight knit group who has each other’s back and will do whatever needs to be done to take care of their own.
In their own right, Stefan Talbot and Jennifer Waters are intriguing and complex characters and the fact that readers are privy to both of their perspectives, including their internal musings, allows us to get to the heart of Stefan’s issues with relationships and commitment and the reasons behind Jennifer’s escape to Texas and the risks and complications that surround her as she comes back home and faces off with not only Stefan but the issues that also seemed to follow her home.
I do have to admit, though, that I struggled with Stef and Jennifer as a couple. As a man who thrives on order and control, Stef tends to demand obedience from those around him, especially Jennifer, even though he knows that she lives her life in ways that match her artistic nature and that stifling her creativity rids the world of her chaotic beauty. I just didn’t understand why Stef would want that to happen when it clearly defines who she is, and even when readers are given much needed reasoning, my buy-in was still a bit lacking due to certain situations and exhibited behavior, so while I could tell that Stef’s feelings for Jennifer were strong despite some of his actions, I wanted to feel like they couldn’t live without each other and that they had a bond that would survive anything and even at the end, I still wondered if they had what it takes to work through everything that happened and focus on what’s most important.
A lot goes down in One to Keep, which makes Stefan and Jennifer’s story about so much more than them figuring out if they belong together. There’s suspense, dramatics, and a whole lot of sexual tension as well as an air of danger that surrounds, not only Jennifer, but the entire town of Bliss, which makes the secondary characters just as important as the hero and heroine, partially because Stef and Jennifer need their support to overcome what they’re up against but more so that through the townspeople, readers gain further insight into the ins and outs of the town and their views on King Stef, the Dominant, and his artsy submissive.
Despite my misgivings about Stef and Jennifer’s relationship, I loved revisiting this crazy Colorado town and its inhabitants, and I’m hopeful that some of the characters who were introduced in One to Keep and/or the ones readers learned more about have their stories told because there’s definitely some interesting dynamics that I’d love to see explored.
3.5/4 Poison Apples (The Fairest of All Book Reviews)
Disclaimer: An eARC was provided via Inkslinger PR and the Author as part of the Blog Tour. The Thoughts, opinions & feelings expressed in the review are therefore, my own.
This book, One To keep, is another re – issue from Lexi Blake in her Nights in Bliss series.
Stefan Talbot has been a man I have had a lot of interest in since I started this series – he is the controlled, stoic dominant who only at extremes shows that he has a soft spot in that abrupt, grumpy manner of his.
Jennifer, on the other hand is a free spirit and total antithesis of Stef – which means that they have been circling around each other for as long as they have known each other!
There is attraction between them of course and even feelings that while Jennifer wears it on her sleeves, Stef tends to play it a little close to the chest!
See I loved going back to Bliss – and loved getting back to all the cuckoo residents of this crazy little town - & the fact that they introduced not one, but TWO new characters, who I know I adored more than Stef and Jennifer together!
Sigh; and I really wanted Stef and Jennifer together – but through 90% of their relationship was more of a push and pull & honestly it ended up being a little exhausting! But I am so freaking glad that new characters are getting their own book, for they deserve their own HEAs!
One to Keep is the third book in Lexi Blake's Nights in Bliss, Colorado series and we've seen the push and pull between Stefan and Jen in previous books so I was really looking forward to their story. We know that Stef keeps Jen at a distance because of their age difference but I could never quite understand why that was such a huge sticking point for him before reading this book. I'm not going to go into details in my review but let's just say that I'm able to understand him so much better now. I still found it totally infuriating when he'd pull Jen close only to push her away again any time it seemed like she might have broken through his barriers but I could understand why he did it and why Jen forgave him not just once but several times.
This is one of those stories where you know that they'll be perfect together but one of the characters is running scared and I enjoyed seeing Jen break through Stef's barriers and making him realise that what they had was worth fighting for. Stef has a constant need to be in control but as much as Jen enjoys him taking over in the bedroom she is happy to stand up for herself in other situations and she doesn't let him mess her around without pushing back at him.
I really enjoyed going back to Bliss and catching up with the previous characters, it's great to see how happy they all are in their various relationships and I was really pleased that Jen has supportive friends for when Stef was acting like an idiot. I'm enjoying the Texas Sirens books (which are set in the same world with some characters appearing in both series) but it doesn't have as many quirky and fun side characters as this series does and I miss them. I loved the addition of Alexei and I'm really happy to know he's getting a book later in the series too.
This series has a little of everything - sweet romance, plenty of steam, fun characters and strong friendships with a little suspense and drama thrown in - and I can't wait for the next book!
I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to rediscovering the books by Sophie Oaks that I read years ago and are reading once again. All the feelings I felt back then, I still feel and at times even more. Now I must say One To Keep wasn’t my favorite back then and it’s still not now but I did enjoy it a lot more the second time around. Actually it was Stef that I didn’t like, but this time I warmed up to him and actually looked at him in a different light.
The push and pull between Stef and Jen has been evident from the first book. The chemistry between them is unmistakable but there is so much holding Stef back that you wonder if he will ever remove his head from his ass and go for Jen. All Jen wanted was for Stef to want her, to love her as she did him. Jen is sassy and while it may not seem like she is strong when it comes to Stef’s treatment of her at times, I think deep down she was strong in her own way.
I just continue to be a fan of this series and even more so now that I am rediscovering these books, characters and stories that I still can’t get enough of. One To Keep is another sexy book by Sophie Oak that this book whore really enjoyed.
This is the 3rd book in the Nights in Bliss series. IMO you should read these in order.
This series keeps getting better. These books are all entwined together. Each book you get to see a little of the other characters in Bliss, CO. This book is about Stef and Jen and the push and pull between them. At times I felt frustrated because it kept happening but the dynamics between the two made it a fun read. The character development is always good and I felt I could feel how the MC's were feeling.
I love when I get to return to Bliss! The characters just continue to make me smile and laugh. I love how with every book we still get to catch up with all our favorites. This book focuses on Stefan and Jennifer and the bond they can’t shake even when they are separated by hundreds of miles! When Jennifer finds herself in trouble Stefan comes to the rescue the only way he can, by taking care of everything possible and bringing her home to Bliss. The intensity of attraction between these two is off the charts but they stumble their way through for most of the book. Of course trouble follows them to back to Bliss and the town must again help each other in the way only those quirky residents of Bliss, Colorado can. I also love how we get snippets of some of our favorite M&M characters as well! So if you want some sexy, suspenseful, kinky good fun in a book look now further than another adventure in Bliss!
One to keep is one I've been waiting for since the very beginning it was very good but a tad disappointing . The story line drew me in to what was happening to the characters but I was more interested in what was going on with the secondary characters and wanting to know more about them the the couple that the story is based on . Over all this was a great read that just felt a little different then the first two books in the series . copy provided for honest review **************************************** hero= 7 heroine= 6 secondary characters=10 Chemistry= 6 steam= 6 romance= 6 humor= 3 darkness level= 4 action= 3 mystery= 4 enjoyment=7 angst= 5 story line=8 Story ending=7 character development= 6 pacing= 6 cover=8 stars= 4 would I recommend this book= would I re read this book= would I read future books by this author=
I am not a fan of second chance romances, but this one worked for me. I was happy that their separation didn't last long. Six months is an ok period in my book and on the bright side neither of them did anything with another person. There was a lot of drama because Stef is stubborn and hung up on not becoming his father and he ended up pushing poor Jen away. The only thing that frustrated me though is the main characters of the next book. I was expecting Holly, Alexei and the doctor to be the focus of the next story. I am intrigued and I want to see how these people will end up together since they are so different. In this story we also get a sneak peak of Nick and Hayley's story. I really hate Des. The secondary characters were the best and they made me laugh. They have a lot of things going on and I was glad that we caught up to them. Stef and Jen didn't have the easiest relationship but I liked their story. They made a lot of progress and I liked both of them.