Review: Luca by Sarah Castille

LUCA
Series: Ruin & Revenge #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sarah Castille
Release Date: June 27, 2017

Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in the city of sin, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart–until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants, but his mysterious temptress has slipped away.

For two years police detective Gabrielle Fawkes has lived for revenge. But a night of indulgence with a sexy stranger changes everything. Powerful, charming, and deliciously dangerous Luca, has his own private reasons for offering to help her pursue the drug lord who killed her husband. There’s a lot Luca isn’t telling her and the more she finds out the less she wants to know.

When Gabrielle becomes the target of the drug lord she has vowed to hunt down, she must do the unimaginable: place her life in a mobster’s hands. To save her, Luca must break his Mafia ties–or risk losing Gabrielle forever.

 

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Luca (Ruin & Revenge, #2)Luca by Sarah Castille

3.5 Stars


There was something wild beneath the surface that his suit couldn’t hide. He had the cocky arrogance of a man who broke the rules with impunity. A man who feared nothing. A very, very dangerous man.

I was instantly sucked into the world of Ruin & Revenge when I read Nico. I was hooked, line and sinker, on these mafia bad boys. The author spares no details with he grittiness of her stories. These are not your fluffy mafia guys that you know are bad but never see their bad sides. Oh no. You see it, feel it, and downright taste it in these books. As the senior capo for the Toscani crime family, Luca may take his fashion seriously with his three piece suits, but he’s certainly not afraid to get his hands dirty. When he takes a bullet for his boss, Nico, a visit to the hospital changes everything for the man that never thought he’d find himself in love.

Revenge was all that sustained her now, and she didn’t know what would happen when revenge was gone.

Ever since her husband’s brutal murder at the hands of a vicious cartel boss, revenge is all Gabrielle knows. For two years, she’s done everything to land on the force that’s hunting down the man until it all goes terribly wrong and she ends up on the wrong side of a bullet. A chance meeting with a smooth talking stranger in a hospital is all it should have been, but Gaby finds herself drawn to him and when she seeks him out sparks fly.

Luca doesn’t know much about the blonde beauty aside from his fierce desire for her that seems to grow with each new encounter. They’re on opposite sides of the law. Their relationship is forbidden and may cost both of them everything and in the end, it just might.

You sure this is what you want, mio angelo? ’Cause I like it dirty. So dirty you’ll never get back to heaven.”

This was an entreating read, though I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first book. Luca was sexy as sin, but at times the way that he was with Gabrielle was a bit…erm…fluffy for my tastes.

What does that mean?” He leaned down and kissed her, his lips warm and soft. “Roughly translated, it means you are my angel. Heaven is in your eyes. I am dazzled by you.”

I suppose their connection just felt so quick to me that I struggled to really connect to them throughout the entire book. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy these two together, because they certainly burn up the pages together. I just had a hard time connecting the brutal mafia capo to the sweet talking lover during super dirty sexy times.

I did enjoy Garbrielle and her take charge attitude. She was a great fit for Luca and I loved the way she fought for him even when the odds were stacked against them.

My other minor quibble is I saw the twist at the end coming pretty early on. Granted, it wasn’t exactly how I thought it would play out. But it was pretty darn close to fizzle some of the enjoyment of the ultimate revelation at the end there.

All in all, I did enjoy this story and I love the way we continue getting bits and pieces of future characters, because man oh man am I craving me some Frankie now. The man is ice cold and I can’t wait to meet the woman that will thaw his heart.

If you’re looking for a sexy and gritty mafia romance, definitely look no further. While it wasn’t a 5 star read for me, it was a damn enjoyable 3.5 and I’d definitely recommend it for readers that like anti-heroes with a whole lot of grit to them


THE SERIES

NICO
MY REVIEW | AMAZON

LUCA
AMAZON

ROCCO (Releasing January 2, 2018)
AMAZON

Review: Revenge by Lexi Blake

REVENGE
Series: Lawless #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: June 20, 2017

Passion and danger collide in the latest contemporary romance featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

When Drew Lawless discovers a fatal flaw in his plan to avenge his parents’ deaths, he turns to the one woman he’d promised he wouldn’t touch. He offers her a deal, one that will bring her into his investigation, his life, and his bed.

Investigative reporter Shelby Gates never dreamed how twisted the case would become—or how fascinated she would be with Drew. Every day they spend together binds them. And every night brings her closer to realizing he might be the man for her.

As Drew’s feelings for Shelby grow, so does the danger. From the streets of Dallas to Austin’s high-tech business world, Drew and Shelby play a game begun twenty years before—a game they will win, or die trying.

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He would change the rest of his world if it meant he could keep her.

The third and final book in the Lawless series goes out with a serious bang. Full of mind blowing twists and turns, lies and manipulations; Revenge was one suspenseful read. Lies get unraveled and when the truth finally gets revealed, it’ll leave your head reeling

She was his fucking salvation.

Drew Lawless was a character I’ve had an obsession with ever since he was first introduced in Lexi’s Masters & Mercenaries series. The closed off and most guarded of the Lawless siblings always gave off some serious broody vibes and I couldn’t wait to meet the woman that would bring him down. When
investigative reporter, Shelby Gates, was first introduced in Satisfaction, I had zero doubt she’d be that woman. A woman with her own retribution set in motion, she’s like a dog with a bone when it comes to unraveling the truth. Convinced that one of the corporate giants that Drew and his family is also after is responsible for her brother’s death, she’ll stop at nothing to get to the bottom of it; even at the risk of her own life. Drew doesn’t need the nosy little reporter interfering with his revenge plans, especially when his siblings believe that he’s done with it all. But to protect his family, Drew will sacrifice everything; even if he knows they may never forgive him for it. And first on his agenda? Manipulate and scheme the gorgeous reporter onto his side. He’ll offer her a deal, even if he never plans on delivering on his side of things.

You put everyone first. You make the sacrifices. But I’m not your sacrifice to make. You don’t get to sacrifice me because I won’t let you. I am yours, Andrew Lawless, and you should get with the program.”

While I enjoyed the book as a whole, I also couldn’t help feeling slightly let down. Partly it’s my own fault for setting my hopes so big for Drew’s story and building it up in my mind, because the story definitely didn’t go the way I though it would after the second book.

I loved Drew’s tough as nails personality and the power nerd thing totally did it for me. However, there was this child-like quality to him at times that just didn’t fit the image that he portrayed throughout the entire series. Perhaps that was intentional, perhaps it wasn’t, but whatever the case may be, I struggled with that side of him.

There’s a lot, and I do mean A LOT that happens with this story. There’s enough twists and turns that you’ll be eager to keep turning the pages until the very end. On the flip side, all of this also slightly diluted the romance for me. I struggled to really feel that connection with Drew and Shelby. I suppose a part of me really wanted Shelby to be more stern then she was with Drew at times. Shelby understands Drew to the very core, and she understands why he lies and manipulates, even when she’s the one that pays the ultimate price. She gets what sacrifices he’s making for the sake of his family and so I understand why she’s as forgiving with him as she was. But it was also a tough pill to swallow to keep watching Drew push her away and her being that understanding. It sounds horrible, but I wanted to see her push him too. She truly handles him with kid gloves most times, and I wanted those gloves to come off and to really see that tough as nails woman beneath. But again, that’s my own expectations getting the best of me.

Ultimately, I just found some of the things that happened here to be almost too unbelieving. The twists are certainly shocking and you don’t see them coming, but it’s difficult to imagine one family dealing with everything that they did. It’s entertaining, sure. But at times it almost felt like soap opera proportions and I felt my enjoyment fizzle.

Don’t get me wrong, while it may not have been what I’d hoped; I still enjoyed this book quite a bit; hence the 3.5 star rating. It may not have been my favorite book in the series, but it still hit the spot, and it was a satisfying conclusion.


DON’T MISS THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE LAWLESS SERIES!

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Review & Excerpt: Too Close To Call by Tessa Bailey

TOO CLOSE TO CALL
Series: Romancing The Clarksons #3.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: June 13, 2017

All-American wide receiver Kyler Tate’s life is about to change. A fairytale college career skyrocketed him to the NFL draft. Adoration and opportunity are thrown in his direction wherever he goes, thanks to being chosen in the first round by the Los Angeles Rage.

None of the accolades mean anything, though, without his high school sweetheart, Bree Justice, by his side. Four years ago, she walked away from Kyler, choosing a quiet life over the flash and notoriety his career would someday bring.

Now he’s back in their Indiana hometown, refusing to leave for Los Angeles without her. Demanding she give their life together a shot.

Her heart never stopped bleeding for the love of her life, but Bree’s decision was final.

Too bad their wild attraction has only been amplified by their separation, and Kyler won’t quit until Bree is wearing his ring.

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“Bree.” Her blood snapped with electricity at the sound of her name, said in that low drawl. Kyler stepped to the forefront of the crowd. The green eyes that still graced her dreams zeroed in, raking over her like they couldn’t help it.Heaven above, four years looked incredible on him. Extra inches had been added everywhere. His height. The athletic breadth of his shoulders. The corded biceps that tested the stitching of his T-shirt sleeves. Even his thighs, which were wrapped up in faded denim, were exploding with muscle; thighs she’d spent a good portion of her youth perched on since Kyler never allowed her to sit anywhere but his lap, no matter where they were or whether it was appropriate. “Hello.”

“Hello,” she whispered. “You’re in town.”

His slow nod was so familiar a ripple moved through her. “Here for the week. Can I get you that coffee?”

“No.” She flushed over her own abruptness. “I meant to say, I can’t stay. I’m going to be late for an appointment.”

“Fine. I’ll walk you out.”

His expression dared her to say no. Challenged her. And for the first time since Kyler left, sexual awareness danced in her middle, sending a swift tremble down the length of her legs. Because her body hadn’t forgotten what often lay on the other side of those challenges. “Fine,” she breathed. “Suit yourself.”

For all his sexual energy, Kyler was a gentleman, straight down to the soles of his feet. So Bree wasn’t one bit surprised when his long gait ate up the distance between them. He reached over her head to push open the glass door, sending his scent crashing into her senses, the combination so familiar, Bree’s nipples tightened until she winced. Grassy fields and Nautica Blue aftershave.

Their gazes clashed, but Bree couldn’t decide if he’d worn the scent on purpose. His steady eyes gave nothing away. Before hers could betray her curiosity, Bree turned and passed through the door Kyler held open. And hell if it wasn’t the longest walk in history, his presence behind her looming larger than a mountain. Every eyeball in the diner was sure to be on them and the attention made Bree twitchy, her fingers yanking on the strings of her hoodie.

She needed to get this reunion over with as soon as possible. Being around Kyler would only make her wonder what might have been. That kind of thinking was pointless. Destructive.

Back in high school, the writing had been on the wall when it came to Kyler. Everyone knew he’d been destined for greatness. That he would shake off Bloomfield and put his name in the history books. She’d been selfish to stay with him for so long, absorbing his love and attention, all the while knowing she’d wave good-bye to him someday. The decision was a painful one, but it had been made and now she would stick to it.

What happens later?”
Kyler moved in and brushed his lips along her jawline. “Depends on how good of friends we want to be.” One hand lifted to squeeze her hip, slow and possessive, that low voice directly against her ear. “Me, Bree? All due respect, I want to be the kind of friend who takes your panties home in his pocket. The kind of friend who sucks your lower lip until your fingers start fumbling with his zipper. You need a friend like that?” His labored breath matched hers. “Because trust me when I say I’ll be your best fucking friend.”

All of the pervy shudders! ALL OF THEM! Tessa Bailey scores another touchdown with her latest installment in the Romancing The Clarksons series and I couldn’t be more satisfied. There is nothing better than a swoony second chance romance for me…unless that second chance romance is written by the queen of dirty talk! So color me one happy reader here, because GAH!

I’ve been hoping that Kyler will get a book ever since he was first introduced in Too Hard to Forget. The sweet southern boy with a heart of gold drafted into the NFL thanks to his college coach also known as The Kingmaker. But all that wasn’t what intrigued me about him. It was this echo of sadness that drew me to him. It was hints a man with a broken heart that completely sucked me in.

Back in high school Kyler Tate and Bree Sutton were inseperable; high school sweethearts with their entire life ahead of them…until it wasn’t. Bree broke Kyler’s heart but he’s never forgotten or gotten over the first and only girl that stole his heart. Now he’s back in town before he has to go to training and he’s determined that this time will be different. This time, he’ll get the NFL dream AND the girl and he’s not afraid to fight dirty to get it.

There’s only us, Bree.” He shook his head. “The rest is just noise.”

Kyler goes after Bree with singleminded intent. He’ll woo her into being his friend again and then he’ll slowly break it to her that he’s still madly in love with her. If only Bree wasn’t convinced that their dreams are too different and her life is meant for the small town while his is under the bright lights of a stadium; a light she doesn’t see herself sharing.

Too Close To Call was a ridiculously sweet and swoony romance. Kyler was everything I thought he’d be and yet so much more. With the perfect mix of dirty and sexy, this man was pure temptation with a heart of gold. He loved Bree fiercely and no matter how many years they spent apart, that never faded. You can practically cut the sexual tension between them with a knife.

This was the perfect read to spend a weekend with. It’s short yet incredibly satisfying; packed full of feeling and oh so steamy! I can’t wait for the next one but this was the perfect read to tide me over until Sage and Belmont’s book.

Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans and laptop, driving cross-country to New York City in under four days.

Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband of eight years and four-year-old daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

New Release & Review: Lost Without You by M. O’Keefe

LOST WITHOUT YOU
Series: The Debt #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: M. O’Keefe
Release Date: June 19, 2017

ALL DEBTS MUST BE PAID

Tommy

Seven years ago, I thought I could save Beth, the girl I loved from the monster who was supposed to take care of us. I thought I could keep Beth and all the other kids at St. Jude’s Home for Court Placed Juveniles safe.

I failed. Badly. Now we all have blood on our hands and owe a dangerous man a very dangerous debt. We don’t know when he’ll come calling for payment, but when he does – we pay, or we suffer.

When my turn comes, I’m ready for anything.

Except seeing Beth again.

LOVE IS NEVER FREE

Beth

No one ever tells you that the cost of having your dreams come true is literally every single other part of your life. Yes, I’m a huge pop star these days, but I’m pretty much a mess, too.

I’ve spent my life hiding behind disguises, make-up and costumes, all to protect myself from the kind of pain that comes from revealing your true self to someone.

I did that once. With Tommy. The only person I ever loved. It didn’t turn out so well.

And now, with everything else falling apart around me, I’m suddenly in the backseat of his car.

Being kidnapped.

And the past we’ve both tried to run from is catching up with us.

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I wanted everything we never did. Everything I’d dreamed of. Everything I didn’t even know to dream about.

Molly O’Keefe is the queen of broken characters. She weaves incredibly poignant stories that never fail to hit you right in the feels and stay with you. She creates these beautifully broken characters that somehow burrow their way into your heart and you’ll find yourself thinking about them long after finishing the book. Lost Without You was just another reason why I’ve been obsessed with everything this author writes. It was emotional with just an edge of dark, full of feeling, and a book that you’ll read with a resounding feeling of dread as you wait for the other shoe to drop.

She was tourmaline and I was fucking concrete. But she always had been. And I’d always known it.

Seven years ago, Beth and Tommy were each other’s salvation in one the darkest parts of their childhood. An innocent, young love forged at a time when they needed each other the most. But then one night change the course of all their lives. A choice was made and a debt must be paid.

I tightened. I clenched. I became hard and solid and impenetrable. I made myself my own armor. And it hurt. And it ached. But it kept me safe.

In the present, Tommy is no longer the skinny starved boy he used to be. He’s reserved, closed off, and just as broken as he once was, if not more. But he’s grown into his body and can now stand his own. When the debt he owes finally comes calling, he finds himself facing a memory he’s spent the last seven years trying to forget; Beth, his Beth, but no longer the Beth that he knew.

Seven years has changed a lot for Beth. Now a famous pop star, Beth hides the girl she used to be behind a veil of fake armor and makeup. When faced with a blast from her past and the boy that she never got over, she finds herself chipping away at her own armor for the mere chance to get lost in him one last time.

We kissed like we were dying. Like an antidote for pain was in each other’s mouths. We kissed like it was the first time and the last time all at once.

But fate is not on their side, and circumstances are dire. Giving into feelings of the past can cost them both everything and for Tommy, it just might.

Lost Without You is no light read. It’s full of emotion and an undercurrent of grit. Both Beth and Tommy are broken characters. Life has dealt them different cards, but certainly not easy ones. I ached for these two and everything they’ve been through and continue to go through. Don’t expect much happy to be found in this book, though. As the first in the duet, O’Keefe lays the groundwork for what will certainly prove to be one satisfying HEA (or so I hope). You really get to the depths of these characters and see the hell that they’ve lived through. And while Tommy’s secrets are flayed open, Beth continues to be a bit of a mystery.

Consider me hooked, because I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book to see how everything gets resolved. You get a whammy of a cliff hanger at the end, but luckily the wait for book two isn’t too long.


PREORDER WHERE I BELONG – June 26th

THE GIRL I LOVED IS THE WOMAN I CAN’T HAVE

It was simple: Pay the debt and I stay out of jail. Pay the debt and I stay alive.

But I sacrificed it all for Beth.

I didn’t pay what I owed. I’m sure punishment is coming, but I can take it – as long as Beth is safe. Away from her mother and everyone else who would hurt her.

I gave it all up for two days with her. And it was worth it.

She always was.

THE SECRETS WE KEEP ARE WHAT TEARS US APART

We’re supposed to be done. Over. Tommy goes his way, I go mine. Cue the heartbreaking music.

I’m supposed to forget him, but I don’t think I can. And when the danger closes in on Tommy, we’re on the run again. From Bates. From my mother. From our past. And there are no safe places to hide.

Except one. And it’s the place that will hurt Tommy the most.

But maybe it’s time for me to face my past. My demons.

Maybe it’s time for me to save Tommy for once.

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Molly O’Keefe is an award-winning author of over 30 romance novels. She lives in Toronto, Canada with her family and the largest heap of dirty laundry in North America. Sign up for her newsletter to get release day news, exclusive excerpts, sale announcements and in-depth author interviews!

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Review: Love In Transit

LOVE IN TRANSIT ANTHOLOGY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 1, 2017

Find out what happens when you give six authors the SAME blurb and they write their OWN story.

The blurb:

You know those people that have a house full of motivational slogans? Embrace Every Moment, stamped on their coffee mugs. Always Kiss Me Goodnight painted above their perfectly made beds.

I’m not one of those people.

This morning I overslept, then slipped on a stray sock and banged my toe into the nightstand. The elevator in my building broke and I had to run down six flights of stairs. And then my local coffee shop was closed. For health code violations.

What’s that? Not the end of the world? You want me to suck it up?

Did I mention I’m wearing a wedding dress… on the subway?

It’s a Good Day for a Hot Mess.

Someone embroider that on a pillow.

AMAZON

One blurb. Six different authors. Six entirely different and unique takes. What does it add up to? A super entertaining read! My review is for:

(1) The Hammersmith & City Line by Kitty French= 4 STARS

and

(2) The Loop by BJ Harvey= 4 STARS


The Hammersmith & City Line by Kitty French

We’re going to go out there and be enemies for the purposes of the show, and I’m going to beat you this round. And then once the camera stops rolling, I’m going to get you out of this dress, spread your legs, and give you the fucking of your life. Your clit’s gonna remember me forever.”

What could possibly go wrong when you let your best friend and bridezilla convince you to don a tacky wedding dress to go head to head with two other women on a TV show for the chance to win a dream wedding? Well… a lot. One, the women you’re supposed to be competing against are actually two men. One is a future groom competing on his bride’s behalf, and the second is his BFF and the man you shared an intense moment of sizzling attraction on the subway. Sparks fly. Sassy TV show host snark. And passions ignite in this super entertaining novella.

This was so much fun to read. I adored these two characters together. I loved how well Kitty French managed to develop them in so few pages. There’s plenty of depth and a perfect amount of humor to go with this super cute story. If you’re a fan of Kitty French, this is not to be missed!


The Loop by BJ Harvey

If I’ve only got ten hours to change the course of her life—and mine—then I’m damn well going to make the most of it.

BJ Harvey delivers a sizzling second chance romance featuring Sarah and Cameron. They fell in love as teenagers and then Cam left her heartbroken when he broke things off and went off to the army. The last time he saw her was when he left his privileged life behind for basic training. But not all is at it seems for Cam and his family. Now having severed all ties with his philandering father, he’s back in Chicago and a chance meeting with his first love allows him to finally right a wrong and get her back.

I love a steamy second chance romance and this one certainly fit the bill. In usual BJ Harvey fashion, the heroine was full of sass and the book a mix of humor and steam. I have to admit that I struggled a bit to understand why Cam took so long to seek her out since he’s been back in town and his reasons didn’t mesh with me. On the one hand, I got it. On the other hand, it also didn’t. If that even makes sense.

Ultimately this was still a fun and steamy novella and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I plan on reading the rest of the stories in the anthology eventually as well, but being a huge fan of these two authors, I had to read their stories for. A definite rec from this girl!

Blog Tour: My Best Friend’s Ex

MY BEST FRIEND’S EX
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan Quinn
Release Date: June 1, 2017

When I found an eviction notice taped on my apartment door, I had two options: find a comfortable cardboard box to call home, or move in with Tucker Jameson.

Seeing that cardboard makes me feel itchy, I chose the latter. Which shouldn’t be that big of a deal Tucker is one of my good friends. And because he’s still pining after his ex-girlfriend and I’m trying to finish my nursing degree, there is nothing to worry about in the romance department, making my last semester an easy one to conquer.

Boy, was I wrong.

Rules are set, dinners are made, conversations are had, and a shirtless, swoony roommate walks around in nothing but a pair of black briefs, ruining me for every other man.

Before I know it, I turn into a panting, lust-filled woman begging for Tucker to kiss me, touch me, and show me exactly what is hiding under those briefs.

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

Tucker might be my friend and roommate but he’s also my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, making him completely off-limits. At least that’s what my brain is telling me, my heart is speaking an entirely different language.

AMAZON

When Emma Marks received an eviction notice for her apartment, she found herself accepting an unconventional arrangement with Tucker Jameson, her best friend’s ex.

Best friend’s ex-boyfriends are always off limits.”

Although this book can be read as a standalone, both Emma and Tucker appeared in another one of Meghan Quinn’s book, Co-Wrecker. And while I don’t think you necessarily need to read that book, it would definitely give you more insight into Tucker’s character.

In My Best Friend’s Ex, Tucker is trying to pick up the pieces of his life after his relationship with Sadie imploded. He found himself an owner of a house he has no idea how to do with. So when he found out that that Emma needs a place to stay after being evicted from her apartment, Tucker offered her a place in his.

This arrangement gave Emma and Tucker a chance to reconnect after what happened in the past. I really liked how Ms. Quinn was able to show how they reconnected and build on that reconnection. The decisions these characters made make sense and one of the best aspect in the book was them rebuilding their friendship.

You have taught me about perseverance, about the strength a human possesses, and that despite your upbringings and influences, you rose above it all and became the most beautifully broken man I’ve ever met.”

There were some laugh-out-loud moments in the book but there were also instances where the humor just didn’t land for me, which says more about my taste in comedy rather than Meghan Quinn’s writing ability. Personally, I just found the comedy a little too out there.

I did like the fact that Tucker and Emma didn’t fall in love immediately. The book acknowledges the difficulty of starting a relationship with a friend’s ex. Ms. Quinn didn’t shy away from exposing both Emma and Tucker’s reservations regarding their relationship. But at the same time, the author didn’t overburden their story with the past. She gave them a surmountable issue.

Their transition from being friends to lovers was also written really well. It was believable. We got insight into what Tucker is going through, trying to unpack his feelings and coming to terms with his own hurts from the past. That was really important because I wouldn’t have believed their HEA if I didn’t read what was going on in his head.

I want her for all the wrong reasons, and yet, I can’t help but think how right she feels.”

My Best Friend’s Ex was an enjoyable ride, overall. The difficult subject matter was really written well, and at the end of the day, Emma and Tucker’s HEA was well earned and believable. My only issue really was the comedy aspect. It was kind of ‘eh’ for me. There were times where the interaction was ruined by the joke. It wouldn’t bother other readers probably but personally, it just didn’t work as well for me. But again, this is more of a personal preference than anything else.

New Release & Review: One Is A Promise by Pam Godwin

ONE IS A PROMISE
Series: Tangled Lies #1 (trilogy)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: June 6, 2017

One promise.
One forever.

One look and I knew Cole was mine. My dark rebel in leather. My powerhouse of passion, devastating smiles, and impulsiveness.
When his job sends him overseas, he promises to return to me.
A promise that’s destroyed in the most irrevocable way.

Two years later, an arrogant suit invades my heartbroken loneliness.

Clean-cut and stern, Trace is everything Cole wasn’t.
At first, he’s a job that will rescue my dance company. But as he intrudes on my life, our hostile relationship evolves.
He knows I’m still in love with Cole, but his dedication is my undoing.

Then a catastrophic moment changes everything.

Promises resurface.
Lies entangle.
And an impossible choice shatters my world.

I love two men, and I can only have one.

* * * * * * * * * *

TANGLED LIES (a trilogy)
One is a Promise
Two is a Lie: Coming Jul 11, 2017
Three is a War: Coming Aug 29, 2017

AMAZON

My hands plunge into his hair, pushing, pulling, and ripping at the strands. Desire wars with disgust. Anguish begets pleasure, and I’m lost beneath the diabolical swirl of his tongue, torn between wanting him and hating him, aching for relief and despising myself for it.

It doesn’t matter what this woman writes, she manages to hook me with just the first page alone. Her words are riveting, crackling with so much intensity, you feel like her characters are going to jump right out of the pages. They’re living, breathing things that are so real, it’s hard to believe you’re reading fiction. Her stories are live wires full of so much chemistry, it crackles and burns. And this book? It was all of those things and more. So much more!

You, my tiny dancer, are an erotic dream dipped in the sweetest honey. A man only needs to look at you to become fiercely protective of your smile.”

What happens when you find a once in a lifetime kind of love, only to lose it in a way that you’re still not able to move on from? That’s exactly what Danni is trying to figure out. Three years ago she was living the dream with the love of her life; Cole. After a ridiculously sweet meet-cute, they fall hard and fast. They plan their life together. They plan a wedding. But then everything gets shattered and Danni is left alone to pick up the pieces.

His love branded me, left its mark beneath my skin, like swirling colors of ink.

Because love doesn’t end with death. It doesn’t shrivel and disintegrate with the ashes. It hovers, follows, haunts the living.

Only now finding the courage to date again, Danni has resolved herself to never finding a man that was as compatible to her needs as Cole was. A man that’s intense, overwhelming, demanding, and owns with his presence alone. What she never expects is to meet exactly that sort of man, but the only thing he wants from her is her acceptance of his job proposal.

Jesus, this man is potent. All he has to do is stand there in his tailored suit and transmit displeasure like it’s foreplay.

Trace is ridiculously enigmatic. He’s cold, at time callous, and business only. Only his eyes hint at the burning passion behind his callous words. His mouth says that he wants nothing to do with her, but his actions show he’s as drawn to her as she is to him.

What begins is a cat and mouse game with a sexual tension that’s so thick, you can practically cut it with a knife. Danni is not afraid to flirt with danger, and Trace is definitely dangerous. His continuous rejection of her chips away at her bravado, but she sees the promise behind his eyes. Danni was a heroine that was this amazing mix of vulnerability and strength. She’s a woman healing from a terrible loss, but she also wants to move on. She’s sassy and funny and has just the right amount of snark that she doesn’t hesitate to wield as a weapon against a certain broody man.

I loved the chemistry between her and Trace. The hate lust is strong with these two, and I couldn’t get enough of it. And when the inevitable happens? Holy fireworks!

Then he fucks me, grunting like a feral caveman and hissing past clenched teeth. He’s a hurricane of fury and aggression, slamming his cock rapidly, violently, and punishing my mouth with deep bruising kisses. 

What I really loved is how believable Danni’s connection is to Trace without taking anything away from her memory of Cole.

The story itself is addicting; full of angst and sizzle. You spend the entire time waiting for the other shoe to drop. There’s not one calm moment. It keeps you at the edge of your seat the entire time, absolutely riveted to the pages. And when the secrets begin to unravel? You’ll be picking your jaw off of the floor.

This is book one in a trilogy, and I’m pretty sure I may die of anxiety before I get my hands on the next book after this cliffhanger. It. Was. Painful. PAINFUL, I tells ya! Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be rocking myself in a corner until July.

Review: Open Hearts by Eve Dangerfield

OPEN HEARTS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Eve Dangerfield
Release Date: April 25, 2017

Ash Bennett’s had enough. She’s not wasting any more time longing for Prince Charming and getting stuck with Prince ‘Babe, What’s For Dinner?’

If she can’t find a respectable, self-sufficient man to start a family with she’ll just do it by herself. It’s better than pinning all your hopes on a guy who’s never going to make you happy. Take Dean Sherwood, sure he’s stupid hot but that doesn’t pay the bills or remember to pick you up from the airport. No, they’re just having a little fun until Ash can find a donor. Right?
If only it was that easy…

Everyone loves Dean. He’s easygoing, a great footballer and always up for a beer or sixteen. He also has the attention span of a Cocker Spaniel on MDMA, but that’s never been a problem where the opposite sex is concerned. At least it wasn’t until he met Ash. Beautiful, driven and wild in bed; she’s all he’s ever wanted in a wife.

Unfortunately, he’s far from what she wants in a husband, what with his perpetually empty bank account and inability to cook anything other than bacon. When she tells him he’s not baby-daddy material, Dean vows to become the man she needs, whatever it takes.
Open Hearts is the sequel to Locked Box. It features angst, bogans, hot sex, naked snowboarding and the triumphant return of Max and Julia who are dealing with a romantic dilemma of their own.

AMAZON

 

She kissed Dean, no, she attacked Dean, sinking her fists deep into his hair and claiming him like she was a Viking warrior and he, a helpless English milkmaid.

If you were to tell me before I started this book that I would fall fast and hard for a lovable doofus ginger of a hero, I’d have laughed in your face. If you were to tell me that this lovable doofus also happens to have a VERY unorthodox kink in the bedroom, I’d have run for the hills. But I’m here to tell you that it’s exactly what happened. If there’s one thing I love, it’s out of the box characters. Characters that are different from the status quo of romance novels, and this story should be a how to on how to pull it off. Eve Dangerfield did a flawless job delivering main characters that have more flaws than I could count, yet are so incredibly endearing, you can’t help but love them.

God, he was something else. A big dumb sweetheart. Ash just wanted to take his hand, tell him everything was going to be okay, gently steer him towards a quiet room and fuck the shit out of him.

Ash is tired of dating losers. She doesn’t remember what it’s like to be on her own but one disastrous relationship after another has burned her out. After the rough upbringing in the slums that her and her sister had, all she wants is a family, a baby. And if she can’t find a man responsible enough to give one to her and hold down a job for more than a day, she’ll make it happen on her own.

Dean is her sister’s boyfriend’s best friend and as ditzy as they come. He hasn’t held the same job for longer than a year, has the attention span of a fly, and doesn’t take much seriously. The sparks fly between them right away, but where Ash knows he’s everything she’s sworn off and wants him anyway even for just a mutually satisfying tumble, Dean wants forever.

There was a sharp tug on his hair. “Red?”
“Yeah?”
Ash’s eyebrows were raised. “You just made a face. What are you thinking about?” She looked so stern he couldn’t help but blurt out the truth.
“My grandad.”
“What the fuck!” Ash pushed his head away from her. “Ew!”
“Sorry! I mean because he has these flowers that smell kinda like your pussy and I was wondering what they were called, but I can’t ask my grandad because he might be jealous and then I was thinking about him eating pussy. And then I kind of grossed myself out, but it was only thinking about other things I was trying not to bust in my—”

Dean was this adorable fluff of a man. He has a heart of gold and he means well, but he’s also like a rabid squirrel. Nothing keeps his attention for long and he’s in his middle thirties and still doesn’t have his own place or a job to support himself. He wants to be the man for Ash but Ash is determined that he’s everything she’s sworn she’ll never go back to.

Ash was a great heroine. Can I say how refreshing it is to read about a heroine that’s not a blushing near virgin. Here’s a woman that owns her sexuality and makes no qualms about it. She enjoys sex and doesn’t berate herself for it.

Her looks, mother and housing situation, meant she was getting called a slut before she’d so much as kissed a boy. Ash had decided not to bother trying to make anyone see her differently. Instead, she got on the pill, bought the Kama Sutra (the only sex book she’d heard of) and reinvented herself as the David Bowie of fucking. People waited for her to get pregnant or some nasty STD. Instead, she got her Kingswood, modelling campaigns, a nursing degree, and a collection of knobbish but undeniably attractive ex-boyfriends.

What made these characters so endearing is the amount of depth they had. They weren’t surface personalities, there was a reason for all of their personality quirks that ran deep into their past. The more you read, the more you connect with them, and the more you root for them. You want Dean to get his shit together and get the girl. You want Ash to get her baby and a man that loves her beyond reason.

This is a follow up book to Locked Box, which I haven’t read yet (but will definitely make a point to now) and I had no problem connecting with the secondary characters that starred in that book. I loved getting that continuation to Jules and Max’s story.

Thank you. And Connor?” “Yeah?” Max said hopefully. “You are in the doghouse. There will be no coming near my labia for a month. It’s total labial recall.” Max let out a howl of misery.

This book was nothing what I’d typically gravitate to but I loved everything about it. I’m so happy I took a chance on this new to me author because I’ve found myself a new author to read. This woman is going straight to my auto buy list and I’m going to stalk through her entire backlist now.

Review: The Story of Us by Tara Sivec

THE STORY OF US
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tara Sivec
Release Date: June 13, 2017

From USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec comes an emotional, breathtakingly romantic new book about the power of first love and the promise of second chances.

How much can a man take before he breaks?

1,843 days. That’s how long I survived in that hellhole. They tried to break me, but I resisted. And I owe it all to the memory of warm summer nights, the scent of peaches, and the one woman who loved me more than I ever deserved to be loved. Now, I’ll do anything to get back to her.

Only Shelby Eubanks isn’t the girl I left behind all those years ago. She’s someone else, a stranger. My Shelby-my little green-eyed firecracker-would never give up her dreams, would never disappear into her mother’s ambitions. But I won’t give up on her. On us. I may be broken, and scarred, and not the man I used to be, but I will do whatever it takes to remind her of the story of us.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

I wonder if she still thinks of me as much as I do her. I wonder if she knows she’s the only reason I’m still breathing, still fighting, and still holding on.

It’s been a while since Tara Sivec wreaked havoc on my emotions with Fisher’s Light. Now she’s completely destroyed me with The Story of Us. And no, these stories are not connected by anything other then the fact that they both equally broke me. I mean, God. GOD! This story. This incredibly poignant and powerful story of love and second chances. This gripping, emotional, utterly heart wrenching story. My heart will never be the same. I was a complete and utter mess at the end. I love a good second chance romance, but when that also comes wrapped in a story that’s as powerful as it is emotional, I’m putty. Total putty.

How much can a man take before he breaks? When do the dreams stop giving him comfort and he has to accept that he’ll never see her again, touch her again or hear her say “I love you” again?

Eli has lived through hell for the past five years. The only thing that kept him going through the daily beating and torture as a POW are thoughts of his one true love. When he’s rescued and returns home where everyone mourned him and thought him long dead, the only thing on his agenda is to make things right with the woman that he walked away from due to circumstances out of his control.

I’m broken and scarred and half the man I used to be, but if she’ll let me explain, I hope to God she can put me back together again.

But the girl that he fell head over heels in love with before he left for his overseas tour, is not the woman he comes back to. Shelby is now completely under her mother’s thumb of political ambitions and image. She’s buried her dreams of dancing and moving away from this town to live in New York. She’s engaged to a man who has political ambitions that may be grander than her mother and someone she feels no passion towards. She’s a pawn in a game she wants nothing to do with, mourning a man that she believes dead, walking around a shell of the woman that she used to be.

Eli may be scarred as much inside as he is outside, but nothing will stop him from bringing back the sunny, beautiful girl that whose dancing stole his heart almost as much as her smile.

I hug him tighter, one last touch of his warm body against mine, one last second of feeling his heart beating with mine. I take it all in and shove it into the compartment in my brain reserved just for him, where I can take it out whenever I want and remember this moment. This one moment where I could pretend, for just a few seconds, that this could be my life. Wrapped up in this man who went through hell and found his way back to me.

There is a lot of things that happen in the story outside of this couple. THere’s so much going on that happened to set the gears in motion for a lot that happened to them. As they try to navigate to the truth, they also find peace again in each other’s arms.

He makes me feel whole, he closes up wounds while at the same time ripping them wide open…and I never want it to stop. 

I loved the letters that Eli wrote to Shelby and the way she experiences reading them. I love the way he fought for her and my heart absolutely broke for everything he’s been through.

I would do anything for Eli, anything he asks, and that includes breaking myself wide open and letting him see all of my scars, inside and out.

Nothing is as it appears and soon the puzzle pieces begin to click together. But can Eli and Shelby survive the truth when it finally reveals itself?

This was such an emotional and gripping story. The only reason that held it back from being a full 5 stars for me was the amount of almost soap opera like intrigue and drama at the end. It was one thing after another and while it all does come a full circle, I felt like it didn’t have to get that crazy to be just as powerful. That certainly didn’t diminish my enjoyment much, because I truly did love it. Tara Sivec is such a versatile author; she can write romcoms that make you cry laughing and then turn around and write something that will punch you right in the feels. If you’re looking for a powerful second chance romance with plenty of feeling and steam, you seriously can’t go wrong with this one.

Review: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

SHACKING UP
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: May 30, 2017

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

This man is like a nuclear bomb of sexy, just waiting to go off. I’m honestly surprised women aren’t super-gluing themselves to his body like in one of those men’s spray deodorant commercials. He may actually need women repellent.

Girl, you tell NO lie. Bancroft “Bane” Mills was a whole different level of hotness and I’d lick the hell out of him….erm…LIKE. LIKE. I mean like the hell out of him. OK. No. I didn’t. But whatever. Moving on.

Every time I pick up a book with a ridiculously hot cover, I’m always extra nervous. Is the story going to live up to the cover? Is it going to overwhelmed by too much sex with a hot half nekkid dude on the cover. Yes, I just asked that. Quit giving me the stink eye. Even us perverts have standards. For the most part. Anyway. Moving on again.

I’m happy to report that the story was even better than the cover, and that cover is pretty freaking spectacular. It’s full of zingers, hilarious banter, slow burn romance, adorable pets, and awesome chemistry.

Did you kiss him back?”
I shrug.
“You didn’t even know who he was!”
“I was caught off guard. He’s a good kisser. And have you seen him? That man could revive a corpse with his hotness.”
“Sometimes you’re very creepy, you know that?”

Ruby is determined to make her dream of starring on broadway happen. But being a triple threat and the daughter to the man running a pharmaceutical empire hasn’t given her a boost. She walked away from everything to chase her dreams, even her father’s financial support. Everything is riding on her making the audition the next day…until a sexy, drunken and sick stranger proceeds to kiss her and sneeze on her, effectively infecting her with the flu from hell.

When Ruby realizes that the sexy stranger is none other than her best friend’s finance’s cousin, uber rich, ex Rugby superstar Bancroft Mills, she’s not exactly thrilled. But she’s also now homeless with no roles in prospect and no job, and Bane happens to have her solution in his very sexy hands; move into his apartment to take care of his pets while he’s away on a business trip. Sounds simple, right? Until their shacking up leads into an unlikely friendship with a heavy underlying of sexual chemistry that’s so thick, it’s practically suffocating. Add into the mix Tiny the tarantula and an adorable ferret, an it’s a recipe for a laugh out loud romance.

I love a good slow burn and the one here was perfection. Ruby and Bane’s relationship goes from texts to FaceTime to something much, much more…

Bancroft shirtless is a vision. Bancroft naked is damn well fucking phenomenal. “Oh God, that is huge!” I say when I finally reach the visual destination of Erectiontopia.

With just the perfect amount of steam, Shacking Up was a laugh out loud, feel good romance sure to put a goofy smile on your face and a swoon in your heart. Helena Hunting effortlessly mixes humor with undeniable chemistry and endearing characters to create one delicious story that enjoyed from cover to cover.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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