Geri & Lana’s Review: The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren

THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Roni Loren
Release Date: January 2, 2018

Liv’s words cut off as Finn got closer. The man approaching was nothing like the boy she’d known. The bulky football muscles had streamlined into a harder, leaner package and the look in his deep green eyes held no trace of boyish innocence.

It’s been twelve years since tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School.

Only a few students survived that fateful night—a group the media dubbed The Ones Who Got Away.

Liv Arias thought she’d never return to Long Acre—until a documentary brings her and the other survivors back home.

Suddenly her old flame, Finn Dorsey, is closer than ever, and their attraction is still white-hot.

When a searing kiss reignites their passion, Liv realizes this rough-around-the-edges cop might be exactly what she needs…

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GERI’S REVIEW

Broken glass still made art. Sometimes the most beautiful kind.”

My 2018 is off to a good start with The Ones Who Got Away by Roni Loren. This book packs an emotional punch, filled with complex characters and nuanced storytelling.

The Ones Who Got Away is about a group of friends who were survivors of a tragic school shooting. Finn Dorsey and Olivia Arias might have survived the shooting physically but the emotional wounds they carried had affected them profoundly. It is especially hard for both Finn and Liv because the shooting ended their burgeoning relationship back then.

I was a little wary going in because of the sensitive topic. At the same time, I was really looking forward to how that aspect of the story is handled. In my own opinion, it was handled well by the author.

That could definitely get messy.”
“We’ve always been messy, Livvy. That’s what makes it so good.”

The romance between Finn and Liv was beautifully done. I want to avoid spoilers as much as possible so I won’t go into the details of their romance while they were in high school and why they broke up. What I do want to mention was how mature their romance is in the present. There was no unnecessary drama between these characters. There’s tension, yes and obstacles they have to face but they deal with it like adults, which is really refreshing.

I love Liv so much. She’s a complex character with her own dreams and wants and issues. The way she dealt with the tragedy was heartbreaking. I love LOVE her friendship with the other female survivors. Their friendship and bond was featured prominently in the book, which I adored because I’m a sucker for female friendship in books.

Finn, like Liv, is another awesome character. He has his own way of dealing with the trauma. Except for his single-minded focus and devotion to his job, he’s basically stopped living. I liked how the author was able to succinctly present the hero’s arc and made us root for him despite his mistakes in the past.

Overall, The Ones Who Got Away was a poignant, character driven second-chance romance that will melt your heart.


LANA’S REVIEW

She’d been pretty in high school. Quirky cool. But now she was just flat-out beautiful. And successful. And hella smart. And offfuckinglimits.

Poignant, sensual, and truly unforgettable. I’m absolutely blown away by The Ones Who Got Away and can’t wait for more in this series!

I’ve been a huge fan of this author since I first read Crash into You years ago. There’s something about her writing that just wraps around you and…sticks. She wrote some of my most favorite sizzling BDSM romance. Yet nothing prepared me for this book. I expected it to be great, it’s Roni Loren after all. I simply wasn’t expecting it to effect me as much as it did. I give Loren so much respect for daring to take on such a sensitive subject matter and not turning it into fodder, but making it poignant and memorable. It was completely unforgettable.

How do you move on as one of the few survivors of a devastating and deadly school shooting? Twelve years later, Liv Morris is still struggling with the answer. Back in a town she swore she’d never come back to, she finds herself wandering the halls of her old high school. A documentary that will be sharing the proceeds with the families of victims and research to help prevent tragedies like that happening again are cause enough for her to come back. But what she’s not prepared for is to run into the love of her past.

Finn Dorsey was the golden boy of the town, a football superstar, son of an influential family, while she was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. They were polar opposites yet something drew them together only to be tragically torn apart due to impossible choices made in a terrible time that they both regret. But Finn isn’t the boy he used to be anymore. He’s hardened, changed, and full of regret. Olivia is also not the girl he used to know and it doesn’t take long for the sparks between them to reignite.

I hope you are selfishly using me right now to get off.” She laughed, breathless from his clever fingers. “Oh, I’m completely doing that. Have you seen you?” His expression went old-school Finn—all cocky and sly. “I have. I’ve been in an exclusive relationship with myself for a few years. I’m amazing in bed.”
“So I’ve heard. This morning, in fact. Glad I get to join in this time.”

Aside from their fantastic banter, there were plenty of other things to love about these characters. I loved the woman that Liv became. She’s a quiet sort of strength and while she’s not where she thought she’d be as a naive girl back in high school, she’s determined to change her life now.

Finn was simply devastating. Man but my heart broke for him. He has so much guilt over what happened to Liv during the shooting. And even though he’s dedicated his life to ensuring that what happened to them doesn’t happen again, he’s lost sight of the boy he used to be. All he’s known is his job and it’s slowly eaten away at his very soul. He’s not surprised that it takes the vivacious Liv to remind him of what he once craved and crave it all over again. The chemistry between them was completely incendiary but also quirky and sweet.

You okay, Batman?”
“No, you’ve killed me. I’m now speaking to you from the great beyond.” She laughed. “Is it nice there?”
“So nice.”
“Are there unicorns?”
He reached out and brushed his thumb along her lips. “You’re weird, Arias.”
“I know. You can be Oddly Hot. I’ll be Weirdly Sexy. We’ll be a crime-fighting duo.”

In addition to their romance, there were secondary characters introduced in the form of the other survivors that I was immediately hooked on. I can’t wait to get their stories; Rebecca in particular.

If you’re looking for a story that’s full of meaning and romance and a step outside of the typical, this is most definitely a must read.

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. She holds a master’s degree in social work and spent years as a mental health counselor, but now she writes full time from her cozy office in Dallas, Texas where she puts her characters on the therapy couch instead. She is a two-time RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

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Review, Guest Post & Giveaway: By The Hour by @roniloren

BY THE HOUR
Series: Pleasure Principle #2
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance
Author: Roni Loren
Release Date: April 25, 2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of Off the Clock comes a story of love, hate, and the fire that ignites when the two collide…

Dr. Elle McCray has a plan. Work hard. Be the best. And do it alone. After her ex-husband’s betrayal, she’s learned being feared is a hell of a lot easier than being humiliated. So when trouble personified, Lane Cannon, dares to flirt with her, she shuts him down cold. Too gorgeous. Too cocky. And his job as The Grove’s sexual surrogate is to sleep with patients. No, thank you.

Former escort Lane Cannon has spent enough years with people looking down on him. Stupid. Trailer trash. Rent boy. He’s heard it all. He’s worked too hard to shed his past to let some haughty doctor cut him down. But something about Elle’s ice queen act has his dominant instincts perking up and his body taking notice. He can’t walk away.

After an evening of verbal sparring turns into a night of steamy hate sex, Lane’s ready for round two. But Elle proposes a business deal. How better to keep things strictly physical than to pay him for his services?

Lane wants her, not her money. But he’ll play along in exchange for one thing—all the control. It’s only supposed to be a dirty little fling between colleagues, but these two are about to learn a lesson in love…by the hour.

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Elle paced her floors and shook out her hands, trying to get rid of the nerves that had insisted on stalking her as soon as she walked into her house. She never got nervous about things like this. It was only sex. Since her divorce, she’d had her fair share of it with a number of men. Some better than others. This would just be another hookup. A one-night stand.So what if she’d have to see Lane again at The Grove? He didn’t work on the rehab wing, her domain. He was easily avoided. Plus, she was a grown woman who could separate business and pleasure. She’d compartmentalized the hell out of Donovan. Compartmentalizing was a long-practiced art of hers. This would be no different.

If she were really that worried, she would lock her door. Shut down the possibility for good. Because she knew Lane would hold true to his threat. If she locked it, he’d never look her way again. She put her hand on the lock briefly, but she couldn’t bring herself to turn it, not with her blood pumping this hard and the silky panties she’d changed into already clinging to her. She wanted this.

But after twenty minutes of pacing, her focus switched from worrying about the possibility that this would happen to worrying that Lane wouldn’t go through with it, that it had been a tease. A joke.

So when she heard the back door click open, she had to bite her lip to keep from making a sound of relief. He was here. This was happening.

She halted in the spot where she was in the living room, waiting in the hazy gray moonlight that filtered through the curtains. She wouldn’t go to him, wouldn’t reveal how eager she really felt.

Heavy footsteps sounded on the wooden floorboards, the one in the hallway creaking beneath his shoe, and then he stepped into the doorway of the living room. Somehow he looked even bigger here in her house. Over six feet of man filling up the unevenly framed antique doorway. The stained-glass pane above the door showered pale, colored light onto his shoulders and left his face half in shadow.

Her throat went tight, bone dry. “It took you long enough. Decided to stay for dessert?”

His mouth curved as he stepped forward, absorbing her sharp tone like she’d said something sweet. “No. I’m having you instead. Hope you’re worth skipping bread pudding.” He eyed her. “Frankly, I have my doubts.”

The jab made her pull up short. But instead of it pissing her off, a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding released, the insult somehow softening the edge of her nerves. “Screw you, Cannon.”

Amusement crossed his face. He was close now, almost within arm’s reach, making her step back. “That’s the idea, sunshine.”

She licked her lips and her back pressed against the wall. “No one knows you came here?”

His hands planted against the wall on each side of her shoulders, caging her in and enveloping her with his scent, his…bigness. “No, don’t worry. No one knows you’re slumming it. That you’re horny and hot for the institute’s hooker. Your dirty secret’s safe.”

She winced. “I didn’t mean—”

“Yeah, you did,” he said. “But it’s all right. I wouldn’t want anyone to know I’m here either. I’ve got my own reputation to keep.”

She narrowed her eyes. “What? For only fucking people who pay you?”

He smiled, a wickedness to it. “Oh, people don’t pay me for this, sweetheart. This isn’t for sale.”

Before she could register what was happening, he spun her around, pinned her against the wall, and pressed his body along her back. His erection pushed hard and heavy against her and a hot shudder of need chased down her spine. She had to fight not to whimper.

“Give me a safe word, McCray,” he said, his voice low and serious against her ear. “Because I’m about to give you what I know you want, but I’m not gonna do it without one of those. Your attitude’s got me wanting to do bad things to you.”

She closed her eyes, heat flooding her sex and making every part of her prickle with awareness. She said the first word that came to her head. “Birthday.”

He pressed his nose to her hair, inhaling. “Good girl.”

“No.” She tensed, the endearment scraping across her psyche and making her stomach clench.

He stilled. “No, what?”

“Don’t call me that. Ever.”

He was quiet for a second, and then his hand coasted down her bare arm in a soothing touch, like he was trying to calm a skittish horse. “Got it. That’s all you have to say to me, all right? Anything that’s out of bounds for you, just tell me and I’ll respect it.”

She took a deep breath, hating that she’d reacted so strongly, that the demons floated so close to the surface. That her ex-husband’s old endearment would get to her. She was off her game tonight. He was putting her off her game. “I don’t need your therapy mode, Lane.”

“This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a responsible dominant and human being.”

A dominant? Great. Of course he was. “I’m not submissive.”

“Yeah, I got that.”

“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”

He chuckled behind her, his breath tickling her neck. “I’d like to see you try.”

GUEST POST

DGR: What was your favorite scene to write in this book?

RL: Writing an enemies-to-lovers story is actually way too much fun. The scenes feel like they write themselves sometimes because it’s all this verbal sparring and banter, which is one of my favorite things to write. Both the hero and heroine are smart and sarcastic, so they can hold their own with each other. The opening scene in the book was so much fun because Lane, the hero, is trying to do a favor for a friend by talking to Elle, but Elle does everything she can to insult him and get him to go away. Lane is impervious to it. In fact, her attitude and insults amuse him greatly. So he just keeps prodding her more. It results in way more than either bargained for that night.

Excerpt:

She sat up straighter in her chair and crossed her arms, sending the go away signal with a bullhorn. That always worked. She had a Ph.D. in that signal.

Lane ignored it. He grabbed the chair next to her, slid into it, and then plunked the glass of wine he’d been carrying onto the table in front of her. When she didn’t reach for it or acknowledge him, he draped his arm over the back of her chair as if she’d invited him there. He didn’t touch her, but his body heat warmed her neck as he stared out at the group like she’d been doing.

“You know, I’ve heard you can’t really kill someone with a look. But good on you for continuing to test the theory.”

She didn’t look his way and tried to keep her expression smooth as he did the man-spread next to her—knees wide, big body taking up too much space. He smelled like laundry soap and dark, rich beer. And when the side of his knee bumped against hers, soft jeans brushing bare skin, an uninvited spark of awareness shot straight upward, announcing his presence to her renegade lady parts.

She cleared her throat. “Brave of you to be a test subject.”

His lips quirked in her periphery. “I saw you give the death ray to Donovan earlier. Figured if he survived, I was safe.”

She frowned, hating that any of her emotions about Donovan had slipped through, hating that she even had emotions about Donovan. “Don’t be too confident. If you’re coming over here to tell me to smile or join the party, I may dial the look up to eleven.”

“Ouch, Spinal Tap level.” He took a drag off his beer. “But no. You do your thing. I don’t need you to smile and fake it to make me comfortable. I’m good.”

“Because you’re comfortable anywhere,” she said, not hiding the wryness in her tone.

He shrugged. “Pretty much.”

She grabbed the wine and sipped, enjoying the smooth warmth of it and hoping it would settle the jumpy feeling Lane’s presence was causing. “Must be nice.”

DGR: What was the inspiration for this series?

RL: Before I was a full-time writer, I was a clinical social worker. I worked at a state mental health hospital and provided therapy to children and their families, so it wasn’t the same environment as The Grove by any means (which is exclusive and caters to celebrities and such.) But it was its own social world. Psychologists, social workers, doctors, nurses, and other staff all working together for long hours in high stress situations. Plus, all the patients have their own interesting stories. So, I thought it could be a good setting for a series. Like Grey’s Anatomy but with a lot less blood and more sex, lol.

She wanted a hate fuck? He was ready to deliver.

What can a previous escort turned sex surrogate and the brainy and standoffish doctor possibly have in common? A whole lot of chemistry!

I’ll be honest, I hated and I mean HATED Elle in the first book. She’s rude and cold and she certainly doesn’t mince words or make friends. She’s an ice queen in every way and there’s only two sides to her; the professional and the woman you don’t want to be on the wrong side of. I wasn’t sure I’d ever like her, but Roni Loren proved me wrong in just one chapter.

By The Hour gives the reader a whole different side of Elle; the side that tells you why she is the way she is and you can’t help but feel for her. Whether it’s sympathy or pity, you understand her and the depth of her hurt. This is a woman that suffered the worst sort of betrayal from someone who was supposed to love her and she never recovered for it. She lashes out before anyone gets close. She’s closed off and rude. She’s the one everyone avoids at a party…except for Lane Cannon.

You know, I’ve heard you can’t really kill someone with a look. But good on you for continuing to test the theory.”

Lane is a man who has his own demons from the past. A previous escort, he’s working hard towards his dream career. He’s damn good at what he does now, even if the snobbish doctor never ceases to remind him how little she thinks of his lowly sex surrogate ways. But one vulnerable moment leads to some sizzling hate sex and things are irreversibly changed between them forever.

The best part will be when I’m deep inside you and you’re riding your edge, begging for this guy you hate to give you exactly what you need, to drive you so out of your mind that you have no choice but to forget everything except the way I’m fucking you and how good it feels and how much you want it.

There’s quite a bit of back and forth that goes on between Elle and Lane. Elle struggles with letting her walls down and in her hard shell of self preservation, hurts Lane on more than one occasion. As much as I wanted to rage at her or judge her, it’s tough, knowing her history. This is a woman that has every reason to lose her faith in men and love, so she struggles deeply with accepting Lane’s affection.

This isn’t therapy mode. This is me being a reasonable dominant and a human being.”
“I’m not submissive.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“And if you ask me to call you sir, I will fucking punch you.”

What I really appreciated about her is she was never simpering or whiny about it. She’s tough as nails and she certainly gives as good as she gets. She’s mouthy but she’s also funny and has a soft side to her that she hides beneath her hard layers.

I loved the chemistry between her and Lane. Their hate lust was entertaining….

Are you feeling tempted to beg? Because, boy, would that be a feather in my cap.”
“Fuck you.”
“Already doing that. Effectively, based on the look on your face.”

But what really sold me was watching the development of their relationship. It’s a slow build and they each have their own insecurities that they battle, but they also help balance each other out. I loved how understanding Lane was with Elle and I loved watching Elle’s fierce protectiveness and caring heart come out more and more when it comes to Lane.

What are you doing to me?”
“Bad things.”
“They don’t feel bad,” she said softly.

By The Hour was a fantastic addition to this sizzling series. It was packed with just as much feeling as steam, and it was a book that kept me glued to the pages from beginning to end.

Roni wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than actually talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she likes to think her storytelling ability has. If she’s not working on her latest sexy story, you can find her cooking, watching reality television, or picking up another hobby she doesn’t need–in other words, procrastinating like a boss. She is a RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author.

Places to find Roni Loren:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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DGR Fave & Review: Loving You Easy by @RoniLoren

review-loving-you-easyLOVING YOU EASY
Series: Loving On The Edge #9
Genre: BDSM, Erotic Romance, Menage
Author: Roni Loren
Release Date: September 6, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

lovingyoueasycover

Three lovers really click in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Call on Me—
  
Cora has an amazing sex life. She’s beautiful, daring, and the most popular submissive in Hayven. Too bad none of it’s real… 
 
IT specialist Cora Benning has figured out the key to her formerly disastrous love life—make it virtual. In the online world of Hayven, she’s free of her geek girl image and can indulge her most private fantasies with a sexy, mysterious master without anyone in her life discovering her secrets. Until her information is hacked and she finds herself working to fix the breach under two very powerful men—one who seems all too familiar…

Best friends and business partners Ren Muroya and Hayes Fox were once revered dominants. Then Hayes was wrongfully sent to prison and everything changed. Ren wants to get back to who they were. Hayes can’t risk it. But when they discover the new IT specialist is their online fascination, and that she’s never felt a dominant’s touch, the temptation to turn virtual into reality becomes all too great…

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKS Review-DGR5 stars

You have no idea the things I want to do to you. Don’t tempt me.”

Well hot diggity damn that was freaking AWESOME! No seriously, y’all! That was quite possibly my favorite book in this series. And let me just tell you, I’ve been a huge fan of this series from book 1, so that’s really saying something. I must have read this entire thing in one pervy glee filled sitting. I couldn’t put it down for even a second. This book was everything I love as a romance reader. Yes, like all of Roni’s books in the series it was smoking hot, but it was also so much more than that! It was a little angsty with some suspense and mystery thrown in. The characters were incredibly endearing that you simply can’t help but fall for them right away. And then there was Hayes. *dreamy sigh*
I swear, that man tugged at every heart string I had…until he got in his Dom mode. Then he just made my ovaries sing.

I love a spicy little MMF romance, but the great ones are harder and harder to come by lately for me. What I loved most about Loving You Easy is that the men already have such an amazing relationship as friends and it naturally develops into something more. Their bond is so strong and watching them give into the inevitable was equally satisfying and shiver inducing. I loved that the woman wasn’t used as a buffer for them to get together and it happens before the menage element gets introduced. Actually, that was one of the things I loved most about the story.

They’d just found something none of them had ever had. And no one had any idea what to do with it.

Cora Benning is a heroine that’s impossible to not like. Growing up as the daughter of a female police captain, she knows how to spot dangerous men a mile away…but what happens when she wants the danger that they exude? Cora is a tomboy and a tech geek. She’s used to hiding behind the computer screen and not being the object of male fantasies. But everything changes for her when a virtual game turns into something much more than she ever anticipates.

He was so tired. Tired of hiding. Tired of keeping so many emotions tucked away. Tired of being scared. Tired of fighting his instincts.

Hayes Fox isn’t the man he once was three years ago. Once one of the most sought after Doms at the ranch, he used to thrive on his control. Sharing women with his best friend was nothing out of the ordinary. But getting sent to prison for a wrongful conviction can change a man. Now, no matter how much Ren may try, his trust in women is shattered, and ultimately his trust in himself is gone. But then one woman changes everything.

Ren’s hands slid down Cora’s arms and drew her hands behind her back. He locked her wrists together in his grip. “Look at our pretty captive. Take her, Hayes. It’s time.”

I loved everything about this book. EVERYTHING. I loved how different each of these three characters were. I loved the relationship between Ren and Hayes and how they feed each other’s strength. I loved the bond they share going back to their teenage years. I also loved how quirky and endearing Cora was. She wasn’t a bombshell and she knew it. Yes, she certainly had her insecurities, but they didn’t define her. She was such a strong character and I loved how that played into the later part of the story. This is no damsel in distress and I adored that about her. Ren was enigmatic from his very first appearance, and you didn’t even know his name then. I couldn’t get enough of him.

I loved the pacing of the story and the romance and I really loved the additional element of the suspense.

As for the romance? Holy mother of sizzle! It. Was. Hot. As. Hell.

Shattered. Done. Never to be put back together the same way again. She was all sensation and body parts and feeling. And she loved every fucking second of it.

Some of my favorite characters from previous books had a cameo, which I always appreciate. And I loved a few of the new faces we got to meet here. I was captivated by the budding romance and I was so invested in the lives of these characters that I couldn’t bear to put the book down for even a second.

My heart ached for Hayes and everything that he went through. My heart melted reading about his bond with Ren and the way their friendship developed and only got stronger through the years. And my heart beat a rapid tap right out of my chest when the chemistry between Ren, Hayes and Cora finally boiled over the surface and they gave into the inevitable.

This was what bliss felt like. This is what it felt like to be alive again. And these two people had brought him there.

Even if you haven’t read any other book in this series, and you love an incredible well written MMF romance, this book is a must read. You can easily enjoy it as a standalone but I highly recommend the rest of the series because it’s just as good. I can’t believe this is already book 9, but I never want it to end.


LOVING ON THE EDGE SERIES

CRASH INTO YOU | STILL INTO YOU | MELT INTO YOU | FALL INTO YOU | NOT UNTIL YOU | CAUGHT UP IN YOU | NEED YOU TONIGHT | FOREVER STARTS TONIGHT | NOTHING BETWEEN US | YOURS ALL ALONG | CALL ON ME | BREAK ME DOWN

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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