Review: The Bribe by Willa Nash

THE BRIBE
Series:
Calamity Montana #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Willa Nash
Release Date: October 15, 2020

Duke Evans didn’t expect to interrupt a beautiful woman in a staring contest with a bison on his favorite hiking trail. He also didn’t expect to see her again after rescuing her from the surly beast. As the sheriff in Calamity, Montana, he’s had his fair share of surprises but none as pleasant as pulling over a shiny black car and finding his mysterious hiking companion behind the wheel.

Only, she lied to Duke. She gave him a name as fake as her hair color. According to her driver’s license, her real name is Lucy Ross, the famous country music singer whose sudden disappearance has been a hot topic in the media over the past two weeks.

He’s not sure why Lucy lied about her identity or why she’s in Calamity. And she’s not talking. Instead, she offers him a bribe to keep her secret.

But Duke doesn’t want her money. He wants to know why this woman is on the run. And as long as the star shines on his badge, he’s going to find out.

 AMAZON 

In public, you’re Jade. But behind closed doors, you’re—”
“Lucy?” she breathed.
I shook my head. “Mine.”

I have a love affair with all things Devney Perry, so when I saw she’s releasing a new series under a pen name, I was beyond thrilled. I live for her small town romances. The Bribe was a sweet romance with a swoony hero and a country singer in hiding set in the charming town of Calamity and plenty of amazing secondary characters.

I was a woman running through a storm, searching for a haven against the onslaught of rain.

Lucy is a famous country singer that left her entire life behind in Nashville to disappear as Jade in Calamity. She first runs into Duke when he rescues her and her BFF on a hiking trail. She never expects to run into the handsome stranger again, especially not as the sheriff in the small town where she’s trying to hide. And this sheriff won’t let her hide and is determined to get her every secret.

Duke was….*swoony sigh*. Gosh. This man was everything. I love me an alphahole, but every now and then a girl needs a dose of a good guy, and Duke hit the spot just right. The man is protective, loyal, and persistent. He’s determined to get all of Jade’s secrets, even if he has to pretend to take a bribe to keep them. The sparks between these two were instant and potent. I loved the tension between them as much as I loved their instant connection. There’s a dash of suspense that’s thrown in that helped spice things up a little which really comes to a head at the end.

Jade and Duke’s romance wasn’t full of angst. It wasn’t easy either but there were no games, no stupid misunderstandings. It was just so immensely satisfying watching these two fall in love. Duke, the quintessential nice guy, and Lucy the famous singer just made sense together. The Bribe was a butterflies in your tummy sort of romance that you finish with a smile on your face. I love me some angst, but I never missed it here. The suspense gave it just the right amount of zing that the story needed. And the preview of the next book? I die for it. DIE FOR IT. I can’t wait for Everly’s book next.

Willa Nash is USA Today Bestselling Author Devney Perry’s alter ego, writing contemporary romance stories for Kindle Unlimited. Lover of Swedish Fish, hater of laundry, she lives in Washington State with her husband and two sons. She was born and raised in Montana and has a passion for writing books in the state she calls home.

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Review: I Promise You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

I PROMISE YOU 
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Release Date: October 12, 2020

New adult football romance! Complete standalone!

WSJ bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoony romance between the football hottie and the mystery girl he kissed years before.

Dillon McQueen: Babe. I promise. You want me.
Serena Jensen: Um, who are you?

There’s a legend at Waylon University: the first girl you kiss freshman year at the bonfire party is the one you’ll never forget. She’ll crawl under your skin and never leave. She’ll spark a passion so fierce you’ll burn the world down to possess her.

You might even put a ring on it.

As in all things with fate, timing is everything. That kiss can go horribly wrong. She might run in the opposite direction. And boy, did Serena run.

Dillon is Waylon’s hotshot quarterback with something to prove. All he wants is to graduate and make it to the NFL. What he doesn’t need is to finally meet the mystery girl he kissed at the bonfire freshman year. Isn’t it enough that she’s haunted his dreams for more than a thousand nights?

Fate laughs in his face when he runs into the quirky girl at the Piggly Wiggly. Surrounded by his entourage, he’s got all the Oreos in his cart; she gets revenge by buying every six-pack of his favorite beer.

Obviously, that legend is a curse. She’s not his type. She hates him. Worst of all, how can she not remember him when she left a Serena-shaped hole in his heart for the past three years?

So why can’t he stop trying to win her?

Will this quarterback score the girl or make the biggest fumble of his life?

 AMAZON 

He’s part smooth charmer, part uncertain college boy, and it ticks all my boxes.
Help.

Same, girl. SAME.

First of all, I am kicking my own @ss right now because how am I just discovering this series? Ok so maybe it’s not a series since it’s not marked as one. But if you haven’t read I Bet You, I Hate You, and I Dare You, you haven’t lived. Just saying.

It seems I’m always on the search for the perfect New Adult sports romance that can combine all of the feels with perfectly dozed steam and this book checked all of my boxes. I fell so hard for these characters, both the main and the secondary. I fell SO HARD.

If you’ve read the other books I mention, you’ll remember Dillon McQueen as the party loving, quick to smile golden boy. I just knew this boy was going to have more layers than an onion, but I simply wasn’t prepared for just how many there were. This is one character that has so much depth, that with every layer you peel back, you’re simply ravenous for more. On the surface he seems like a party boy that likes to sleep around and has no problem using his good looks to get what he wants. But beneath that is the heart of someone that’s still figuring himself out. He’s unsure. He’s vulnerable. And he’s so damn adorable in his uncertainties, that you just want to hug him.

People see me as some kind of, I don’t know, hotshot guy, but deep down there’s only a few things I want: football, my dad’s approval, and someone authentic.

Serena has been there, done that, and has the t-shirt. Literally. She’s a little older and a lot wiser, so when the college golden boy sets her in his sights, she’s having none of it. The banter and bickering between the two of them was FIRE. I lived for their back and forth. Serena has her own insecurities but this is a woman that gives as hard as she gets and I loved her for it. She made Dillon work for it.

I adored this story, simply adored it. The swoon, the feels, the hilarious banter. All of it effortlessly woven together to make for one addictive read that I never wanted to end. I immediately went back and read the other three books because I simply had to meet the three secondary characters that make an appearance in the beginning of this book. If you’re looking for that perfect NA sports romance, look no further! Welcome to your next addiction.

Wall Street JournalNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies.

Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

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Review: Muses & Melodies by Rebecca Yarros

MUSES & MELODIES
Series:
Hush Note #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Release Date: October 6, 2020

If I can keep Hush Note’s leading guitarist, Nixon Winters, on the straight and narrow for the next six months, I’ll finally get my own band to manage—assuming we don’t kill each other first.

The egotistical, irritating rock star is fresh out of rehab, but it’s obvious his demons followed him home—and now I’m sleeping down the hall. I’ve watched him self-destruct every summer, and with album deadlines and tour dates looming, I can’t let it happen again. My career is in his hands.

But tattoos can’t cover every scar, and I’m starting to see through his trademark, irresistible charm to the damage beneath.

Everyone wants the rock star.
I’m falling for the man.

If he doesn’t let me in,
he’ll never break the cycle—
And when these six months are up,
I might be the one left broken.

 AMAZON | iBOOKS | KOBO | NOOK

…he kissed like he played guitar—like nothing else mattered on the planet, and in that moment, nothing else did. He wiped away the rest of the world and altered the universe so it centered around.

An emotional and highly poignant story to end a fantastic series with. Muses & Melodies really closes it out with an emotional bang. Nix’s story was everything I had hoped for and so much more.

I wanted the only woman on the planet I couldn’t have.

The lead guitarist of Hush Notes has been spiraling for years. In and out of rehab, Nix’s favorite brand of self medication is sex, drugs and alcohol. You know that there’s something dark in his past that not even his closest friends know, but it’s not until the layers begin to be peeled back that you realize the full impact of his hidden pain.

Zoe is eager to make a name for herself in the music industry. But where Nix is center stage, she likes to be the talent behind the screen. She loves music and she loves the industry. And now her big break relies on her ability to keep Nix out of trouble. Babysitting a rockstar isn’t quite what she had in mind, but she’ll do it. It’s not just about the job for Zoe. She truly cares for Nix, which truly makes their journey to each other that much more potent.

Zoe has always been in the background of Nix’s world but now their forced proximity is making him deal with an attraction he didn’t even realize was there. The sparks between these two were so deliciously hot. But it was so much more than chemistry. I loved how Zoe gives as good as she gets, and a defensive Nix gives quite a bit. Zoe is always there for him no matter how angry he gets or how he lashes out. But you can see the pain he hides beneath that rockstar exterior and that just makes him that much more endearing no matter how broken he is.

This was a story that was full of passion and emotion. There was so much feeling packed in that just made me that more invested in this. A perfect romance to end the series with.

Rebecca is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, and is always ready to bring on the emotions. She’s also the recipient of the Colorado Romance Writer’s Award of Excellence for Eyes Turned Skyward from her Flight and Glory series.

She loves military heroes and has been blissfully married to hers for eighteen years. She’s the mother of six children, ranging from kindergarten to law school, and is currently surviving the teenage years with two of her four hockey-playing sons. When she’s not writing, you can find her at the hockey rink or sneaking in some guitar time. She lives in Colorado with her family, their stubborn English bulldog, and a feisty chinchilla. Having fostered then adopted their youngest daughter, Rebecca is passionate about helping children in the foster system through her nonprofit, One October.

Visit her website at www.RebeccaYarros.com for more!

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Review: Crowne Rules by CD Reiss

CROWNE RULES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: CD Reiss
Release Date: September 29, 2020

There’s a house in Cambria with no phone, no internet, no connection to the outside world.

Dante and Mandy are stuck there together.

He needs a live-in assistant.

She needs a place to hide.

If she gives him total obedience, he’ll do everything in his power to clean up the mess she made back home. Anything less than unquestioning compliance, and she goes back to LA humiliated.

Those are the rules.

Take them or leave them.

Mandy figures she can do Dante’s menial tasks for awhile. Do what he says until the heat dies down.

She has no idea how hot it’s going to get until he tells her she has to do them on her knees.
—-
This is a STANDALONE.

 AMAZON 

I’m going to ruin you, and you’re going to let me.”

God but I love me a grumpy and domineering men. Make them ooze sexual dominance and depravity and I’m putty in your hands. The second Dante’s energy so much as appeared on the pages of this book, I was already a goner. The man simply has a way with words and I was so here for it.

If you were my whore, you’d be kneeling at my feet, naked with your ass up, offering it up for my pleasure, hoping I’d hurt you. Afraid I wouldn’t. You’d sleep at the foot of my bed to please me. You’d open your legs when I told you and take my cock down your throat to thank me. You’d let them call you a whore if I asked you to, because with every orgasm I let you have, you’d know you were only mine.”

Yeah.
See what I’m saying?

Mandy is dealing with the fallout of a very public and very ugly breakup. Caught in the middle of hollywood’s best kept secret she’s painted as the other woman and a home wrecker. Her heart broken, she’s desperate for a small piece of serenity. When Logan allows her to use his secluded house, the last person she expects to see there is Logan’s older brother, Dante.

Dante doesn’t hide his contempt for Mandy. He sees her as the public does, a vapid little rich girl. And even though they’ve known each other for years, he’s never made much of an effort to see the real woman beneath his assumptions. But forced in close proximity, the sexual tension between them is hard to ignore.

If there’s one thing I love, is watching men like Dante fall and fall hard. Mandy came off as a bit of a love crazy female in the previous books, but I really connected with her in this one. You can see her spine of steel really come out here and I loved the way she gave back as hard as she got. And Dante didn’t really spare his venom at times. Admittedly, he was almost hard to like in the beginning. And when his anger would unleash with Mandy, even more so. But the more the layers get peeled back on his past, the more I found myself connecting more and more.

You’re fearless,” he continued. “And I’ve lived in fear. You’re everything I’ve been too afraid to become, and without you, I’ll never be more than I am.”

This was deliciously dirty with just the right amount of steam to make it addictive. I do wish we got a little more fleshing out on the things from Dante’s past, but it was still satisfying. I love a man that can grovel, and Dante definitely worked for it here. This was probably my favorite Crown brother so far.

CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up she’s at the well hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

She’s frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

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#DGRFave & Review: Cruel Paradise by J.T. Geissinger

CRUEL PARADISE
Series:
Beautifully Cruel #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: October 1, 2020

Anti-hero (noun):
1) A powerful and charismatic man lacking moral character
2) A magnificent bastard
3) Killian Black

You don’t know me.
You think you do, but you don’t.
The only thing you know is my name, and even that’s a lie.

I’m king of Boston, lord of criminals, ruler of an underworld empire. Or am I?

Only one thing’s for sure: I operate alone.

Until I cross paths with a brazen little thief who sets my whole kingdom on fire.

Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, two villains don’t belong together. Especially since she’s the daughter of my most deadly enemy.

Taking her would start a war.
Keeping her would be suicide.
Making her mine would break every code of honor and defy all common sense.

Then again, where’s the fun in following the rules?

AMAZON 

Start the series of standalones BEAUTIFULLY CRUEL with here!

AMAZON

I climb into the car. The driver shuts the door behind me. In a moment, we pull away.All heat and coiled tension, Liam simmers in the seat beside me.

After we’ve gone three blocks, he says, “How long are you going to make me wait until you look at me?”

“I’m working on regulating my breathing so I don’t pass out. Maybe ten minutes?”

His chuckle is low and sensual, raising my blood pressure by at least two hundred points.

“You’re tougher than that. I’ll give you ten seconds.”

When the seconds have ticked by, I turn my head and glance at him warily from the corner of my eye.

He stares at me with such blistering intensity that for a moment, I can’t breathe.

His voice husky, he says, “Hullo again.”

Holy mother of god, he’s handsome. How can someone so evil be so hot?

My exhalation comes out in a burst. It’s accompanied by a shudder. Then I clear my throat and pretend I’m a mentally functioning adult. “Hi.”

He lets his gaze drift over me, head to toe, taking in every aspect of my clothing, posture, and expression.

“You still don’t trust me.”

I make a sound that’s supposed to be a laugh, but it sounds more like a small animal being strangled. “Trust? I’m sorry, did you just say trust?”

“I did.”

He’s serious. I stare at him in astonishment. “Of course I don’t trust you! You’re…you!”

The driver pipes in from the front seat. “That’s hardly fair, lass. You’ve only just met.”

Through gritted teeth, Liam says, “Declan.”

“Right. Sorry.” Falling silent, he turns his attention back to the road.

Liam smiles reassuringly at me. “It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

I look back and forth between them, gobsmacked by the whole situation. I could be hallucinating. Maybe that hipster bartender put something into my drink.

I’m still pondering that when Liam leans over and settles his huge, hot hand around my throat.

I grip his thick wrist in both hands, gasping and shrinking back into the seat.

Looking into my eyes, he murmurs, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

My voice comes out high and panicked. “This is a shitty way of proving that.”

“I’m not trying to choke you, lass.”

It’s true, the pressure of his hand on my throat is gentle, but still. “Then what the hell are you doing?”

He slides his thumb back and forth over the throbbing vein in my neck. “Feeling your pulse.”

Heart hammering, I stare at him. “Why?”

“Because I want to see how fast it gets when I kiss you.”

I freeze. “Don’t you dare.”

He quirks one dark brow. “Why not?”

“I don’t want you to.”

He leans closer, his eyes burning into mine, his body heat and the warm scent of his skin surrounding me. He growls, “If you were telling the truth, little thief, I’d honor that request.”

I blurt, “I’m not ready for that!”

Instantly, he stills. His dark gaze searches my face. Then, slowly, his full lips lift into a smile. “Then I suppose I’ll have to wait until you are.”

He stares hungrily at my mouth for a moment before releasing me.

I remain where he left me, frozen and wide-eyed, slumped against the door, staring at him and trying to convince myself of several important facts.

One, that I should be afraid. Because, two, that there’s at least a fifty-fifty chance he’s going to snap my neck. And three, that I really didn’t want him to kiss me.

Especially that I didn’t want him to kiss me. Because what would it say about my sanity if I did?

Adjusting his tie and looking straight forward, he says, “Don’t overthink it. But thank you for being honest. If this is going to work, we have to be honest with each other.”

My laugh is weak and disbelieving. “This? There is no ‘this!’”

He turns his head and sears me with his gaze. “Aye, lass,” he says, his voice thick. “There is.”

Do you always talk like you ate a dictionary for breakfast?” He puts his mouth close to my ear and lowers his voice. “No. Sometimes I talk like I fuck: dirty.”

You all don’t even understand the level of addiction that I have for Geissinger’s alpha males. The woman has created not only some of my most favorite and memorable heroes, but she can write a sharp witted and kickass heroine like no one else. I thought I died for her Wicked Games series, but that was nothing compared to her Beautifully Cruel series.

Now if you’re like me and have also read the Dangerous Beauty trilogy then you definitely remember Killian Black as one of the most dynamic secondary characters and have been slowly dying for him to get his own book. And if you haven’t read that trilogy, it’s an absolute must read.

Having said that, I do not recommend reading Cruel Paradise without having first read Beautifully Cruel. There are too many details and slight nuances that would be lost on you if you don’t read that first. And besides, that book was another HUGE 5 stars for me, so it’s worth the read for that alone.

There are some things I don’t know about you.”
I say tartly, “Like what? Which utensil I’d most like to gouge out your eyes with?”
He stares straight into my eyes. “Like how you sound when you come.”

Nothing can prepare you for the full force of Killian Black as the leading character. NOTHING. The man is potent with a capital P. And if you’re not reading the double entendre there, then you clearly don’t know me *evil grin*. But enough about me, let’s talk about this book. Because this book? This book was EVERYTHING. It was worth every agonizing minute, hour, and month of waiting because Killian Black is jumping straight to my number one.

If you’re a fan of sassy and sharp witted heroines, Juliette is going to be a favorite too. The woman is tough as nails and is full of sharp barbs and witty zingers. The banter between these two was some of the best I’ve read in a while. Killian is single focused on having her and she’s intent on resisting. The chemistry is utterly incendiary.

Cruel Paradise was a slow burn full of heat, suspense, and so much chemistry I thought my kindle would set on fire.

If it meant I could have you for good, I’d light my whole life on fire and walk away from the ashes.”

Killian is the head of the Irish mafia, but he’s not at all what he seems. And if you’ve read the first book, then you already know that. You know this man has secrets that run deep and a past that’s riddled in pain and shadows. Juliette is a bit of a female robin hood. She and her merry band of sassy girlfriends steel from the rich and morally corrupt and give to the poor. But when they steel from Killian, he’s not about to let it go. And when he sees who his little thief is, he knows he has to have her and pursues her with a singleminded intent to wear her down.

This book was completely unputdownable. The chemistry, the utter dominance that oozes from Killian was addictive as all get out. I couldn’t get enough of the man. Juliette definitely puts up a fight in her feelings and at times it almost grated on me, but I simply couldn’t care less because I was so riveted and invested in their story. I lived for these characters. I died for their romance. I couldn’t get enough of it. And I swear on all things holy if JT Geissinger doesn’t prolong this series by giving Fin, Max, and Diego a book, I will die. DIE I tell you. And I don’t even care if I’m being dramatic. I need it.

And as for this book? Cruel Paradise is a must read if you love a protective and possessive uber alpha and a sassy heroine that loves to give him hell! Read it. Thank me later.

J.T. Geissinger is a #1 internationally bestselling author of emotionally charged romance and women’s fiction. Ranging from funny, feisty rom coms to intense, edgy suspense, her books have sold millions of copies and been translated into several languages, including German, Hebrew, French, Czech, and Japanese. The film & TV rights to her Night Prowler series have been optioned by the BAFTA-winning studio that created VFX for movies such as Avatar, X-Men, and The Avengers.

She is a three-time finalist in both contemporary and paranormal romance for the RITA® Award, the highest distinction in romance fiction from the Romance Writers of America®. She is also a recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book and the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy.

She’s a Southern California native currently living in Nevada with her husband and rescue kitty, Zoe.

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Review: Rifts & Refrains by Devney Perry

RIFTS & REFRAINS Genre: Contemporary Romance Series: Hush Note #2 Author: Devney Perry Release Date: September 29, 2020

From the moment Quinn Montgomery sat behind her first snare and cymbal set, she was destined for fame and glory. As Hush Note’s infamous female drummer, she sets the rhythm for the band’s chart-toppings hits. When people tap their feet to their music, it’s to her pulse. Quinn is content to live in a world away from her family and the cage of her youth. Her only regret is leaving Graham Hayes behind without a goodbye. No matter how many sold-out stadiums she plays, no matter how many crowds sing her songs, his voice haunts her when the music stops. When a family tragedy forces her to return home to Montana, she plans to leave the second she’s paid her respects. But seeing Graham again turns her life upside down. As a boy, he wasn’t able to make her stay. As a man, he might be her future. If they can mend their rifts and find solace in the refrains.

 AMAZON 

You were supposed to let go when your first love ended. You were supposed to look at the past and smile at the memory. You weren’t supposed to hold it so close that it wound into your very existence, making every moment impossible to forget.
I’m a sucker for a second chance romance, and no one delivers on those feels quite like Devney Perry. A refreshingly different take on the rockstar second chance, Quinn and Graham’s story stole my heart. Unlike the typical rockstar books, we get a female rockstar that walked away from her love this time around. But Quinn didn’t walk away. Her path was riddled with plenty of pain. Growing up a preacher’s daughter was never easy for Quinn. Not when her dreams were bigger than the small town she lived in and not when her parent’s stifling expectations boxed her in. She ran to pursue her dreams but it cost her her family and the boy she loved. Now a famous rockstar, she’s forced back home for the funeral of her beloved Nan and the only family that kept in touch with her while she was away. Her only connection and person who always believed in her now gone, she’s forced to deal with the resentment and anger left behind. Facing her family may be hard, but facing her childhood sweetheart and his anger is almost impossible. Graham never forgave Quinn for leaving and he never moved past not being enough for her to stay. But the longer they’re forced together by the wishes of her nan in her will, the more they’re forced to realize things. Graham begins to see beyond his own anger. The connection between them is just as potent, even after all of these years. Neither Quinn nor Graham ever got over the other. But there’s plenty that was left unsaid. This book was a one two punch straight to the feels. I spent the entire time reading going from tearing up, to goofy smile, to tearing up again. There was so much depth and emotion that’s packed into this story, I never wanted it to end. I loved the small town setting but I loved Quinn and Graham even more. Quinn and Nix’s connection was so incredible too. I love these two friends. The way Nix is so messed up but is always there for her just melted my heart. I can’t wait for his book next. As for this one, if you love an emotional and steamy second chance romance, you need this book in your life!
Devney is a USA Today bestselling author who lives in Washington with her husband and two sons. Born and raised in Montana, she loves writing books set in her treasured home state. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her family. Writing one book, let alone many, was not something she ever expected to do. But now that she’s discovered her true passion for writing romance, she has no plans to ever stop.

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Review: Out Of Love by Jewel E. Ann

OUT OF LOVE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jewel E. Ann
Release Date: September 27, 2020

Conspiracies. Corruption. Serial killers.

You name it–I’m fascinated by it. My mom always blamed my overly curious and highly suspicious mind on my dad.

My incredibly overbearing dad.

Mr. No One Is Good Enough For My Daughter has been terrifying my dates since I turned fifteen.

College is my chance to be free from his control and date any guy I want.

I’m absolutely certain he would hate Slade Wylder–almost as certain as I am that I do too.

Since when have I shied away from trouble?

Slade fascinates me. He lives in a house I’m certain is haunted. His dog is trained as well as any guard I’ve ever seen. Rumor on campus is that he deals drugs. It would explain a lot.

But it doesn’t explain why he saves me from my darkest moment.

It doesn’t explain why I can’t stop thinking about him.

And the explanation I finally discover is far more dangerous than any rumor.

 AMAZON 

After their kissy-huggy greeting ended, they walked toward the house with Jericho in tow. I waited for him to glance back at me. He saw me. There was no way he passed me a few seconds earlier on the street and didn’t see me. Yet, he made no attempt to acknowledge me.Until …

My boy Jerry stopped abruptly and turned like he caught whiff of my scent. All the warm fuzzies filled my chest. A dog gave me more feels than any man had given me in a long time. Maybe ever.

Jericho liked me. Hell, maybe he loved me.

He protected me.

He smiled when he saw me—tongue out, tail in a low wag. I continued my way up the sidewalk, feigning surprise when he trotted toward me in spite of Slade barking his own command.

“Hey, Jerry.” I squatted down to give him double the love Miss Sophisticated gave him … and I had a treat in my pocket because part of me anticipated—hoped for—a chance encounter. “Oh, buddy … I love you too.” I closed my eyes and turned my face side to side while he showered me with kisses.

Slade cleared his throat.

I opened my eyes—noticing his friend must have gone inside. “Sorry.” I stood, sliding a treat into Jericho’s mouth along the way. “I know it’s hard for you to know he likes me more.” On a shrug, I bit my lips together to keep my shit-eating grin under control.

“Inside,” he said to Jericho while looking at me.

Jericho turned and headed to the back door.

“If you have a job to do … Jerry can hang with me tonight. I’m alone this evening.”

“Jericho. And he doesn’t need a babysitter.”

“Maybe I do.”

His brow tensed a fraction, contemplation settling into a slight frown for a few seconds, before he whistled and Jericho came running. “Send him home when your friends get back.”

Why was the only word that sat on the tip of my idle tongue? Why protect me?

“What are you going to do?” Okay, apparently “why” wasn’t the only word on the tip of my tongue after all. Six other words were in line first.

“Does it matter?”

Letting my gaze settle over his shoulder to the firehouse and images of Miss Sophisticated waiting for him, I lifted a single shoulder. “No. Just curious. Is she your girlfriend?”

“Does it matter?”

“I hate you.” I rolled my eyes. “Worst communication skills ever.”

“Good. Hate me. I prefer it.”

I recoiled. I didn’t really hate anyone. It wasn’t my personality to be hateful, vengeful, or hold grudges. Why did Slade Wylder want me to hate him? It was a joke. I hated his lack of sharing information.

“If you’re selling her some shit that will ruin her life, may I suggest you rethink that? Not cool, Wylder.”

“Noted.”

Tipping my chin up, I gave him several tiny nods. “Okay then. I’ll take Jerry to my house and spoil him. Maybe he comes back to you … maybe he doesn’t.”

Slade let his gaze slide down my body, a slow and easy trip. He didn’t do that when we met. Somewhere along the way, he decided it was okay. I wasn’t sure what reaction he desired from me.

Maybe nothing.

Maybe he did it out of pure selfish desire.

“I’m only allowing this because I love Jerry.”

Curious eyes met mine, slightly squinted.

I smirked. “Stripping me with those eyes of yours.”

Moments …

I collected moments in my mind, my heart, my soul, like Aubrey collected rare coins—my mom dying, my dad spending a few years thoroughly drunk. Mostly bad moments—permanent scars.

That moment I tucked into my memory forever as one of the first truly great moments.

Wylder …

The corners of his mouth quirked into pure sin. If Satan was hot as fuck, his name would have been Slade Wylder, and I would have been in a whole helluva lot of trouble.

Either you die, or you’re born again. But you’re never the same.”

Actual footage of me while reading this book:
Holy mother of all plot twists, what did I just read?!

So first of all, confession time. I’m a little nervous here because I know I’m going to get side eyes from all of you judgy jundgersons, but it is what it is. It’s been years since I’ve read a Jewel. E. Ann book. *hides* I’ll give you a minute to contain your shock. I know. I know. I don’t even know why myself. But just know that I’m already kicking my own ass for this sin. Because that’s what it was if this is the kind of books I’ve been missing out on.

Now I did go back and rectify it by reading the Jack and Jill series. Which is the world this book is set in. But that’s the only thing I’ll tell you about the connection. You’ll have to read the rest for yourself. Trust me on this.

Livy is one of the most vivacious, sexually positive heroines I’ve had the pleasure to read recently. This is a woman that’s not afraid to want what she wants and to go after it. And the second the grumpy and mysterious Slade and his dog appear in her orbit, nothing will ever be the same. Sade hates her at first sigh. He doesn’t exactly hide his hatred either. He barely spars her a glance and calls the cops on her on one occasion. This was enemies to lovers on a whole other level, people.

Slade Wylder reminded me of the Grim Reaper—minus the scythe—cloaked in black, right down to his car and its windows. Eyes so dark they appeared hollow from a distance.

But Liv is nothing if not determined, and she’s determined to wear the man down. What begins to unravel is one jaw dropping page after another. There’s plenty of secrets buried and when they begin to surface, you won’t have time to pick your jaw off of the floor before another one comes at you.

Live was this beautiful free spirit that loved and loved hard. Her over protective father did nothing to deter her from her boy chasing ways. But Slade is definitely not a boy and he’s certainly not at all what he seems.

I don’t even know what else to tell you about this book aside from the fact that I couldn’t put it down. The angst, the secrets, the suspense. All of it masterfully crafted and interwoven between one unforgettable romance that should have never happened but did. I’m desperately hoping that we’ll be getting more books set in this world because there’s one thing that is left hanging that I need a resolution for. Not even need. DESPERATE for.

Jewel is a Wall Street Journal & USA Today best selling author a with a quirky sense of humor. When she’s not saving the planet one tree at a time, you can find her role modeling questionable behavior to her three boys, binge-watching Netflix with her husband, and writing mind-bending romance.

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Review: No Love Lost by Lexi Blake

NO LOVE LOST
Series:
Masters & Mercenaries: The Forgotten #5)
Genre: Romantic Suspense, BDSM
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: September 29, 2020

When Ezra Fain joined the ranks of the CIA, the last thing on his mind was romance. After meeting Kim Soloman, it was difficult to think of anything else. A tragic mistake drove them apart, leaving him shattered and unable to forgive the woman he loved. But when his greatest enemy threatens her life, Ezra leaps into action, prepared to do anything to try to save her.

Solo accepted long ago that she won’t get over Ezra. She’s worked for years to get back into his life, looking for any way to reignite the love they once shared. Unfortunately, nothing seems to penetrate the wall he has built between them. When she’s arrested for a crime she didn’t commit, she believes she’s on her own.

Racing across the globe, Ezra and Solo find themselves together again, caught in the crosshairs of the agency they sacrificed so much to serve. Days on the run soon turn to steamy nights, but Levi Green isn’t about to let them find their happily ever after. And when the smoke clears, the men and women of McKay-Taggart will never be the same again.

 AMAZON 

He would win her back. He wouldn’t stop until she said yes to him again.

I have spent years, YEARS waiting for this book. YEARS. Y’all don’t even realize the amount of want I had for this. When you crave a book this bad, when you’re so desperate for a particular character’s story and HEA, let me tell you something, you set your expectations high. You can’t help it. Beck and Solo have spent years being some of the most memorable secondary characters in previous books. I’ve been dying for their HEA and my hopes were high. I was almost terrified going into this book for fear that I may have set them too high. And then Lexi Blake comes in and blows all of expectations right out of the water. Because this book didn’t just meet them, it far exceeded anything I could have ever hoped for.

Fuck you, Beck.”
“Yeah, I’d intended for this to end that way, but if you need to rage a little more, go on. I assure you I can take it.”

This is a love story years in the making. A romance that started out fiery hot between two agents and then burned out even hotter when lies and espionage came between them. It’s been years, and the rage that’s there still burns for Beck. He may not be over Solo, but he’s not ready to forgive her either. He blames her for the death of his brother and he doesn’t mince his words or spare her his hatred when they’re in each other’s vicinity.

Let me tell you I almost wanted to hate Beck. His treatment of Solo is almost callous at times. The amount of anger and resentment he carries towards her is almost painful to read. And the way she takes all his verbal punches on the chin and doesn’t flinch made me love her even more. Solo is one tough cookie. Lexi wrote some of the most kickass heroines I’ve read, but Solo is in a class of her own. She may have her hard and tough exterior, but she cares and she cares deeply for those she considers friends.

There’s so much that happened in this book. So many secrets and twists that sent my head spinning. It was a non-stop action packed ride full of depth and emotion. I spent so long waiting for Beck to finally see the error of his ways but I wasn’t prepared for just how hard he’d feel it. The second chance feels of this story were on a whole other level. I lived for these two.

After so many years with the Masters and Mercenaries series and this spinoff, I feel like I know these characters. I crave each little glimpse of them as the years pass. But no one is quite as potent as Ian Black and his kids. The hell raisers that his daughters have come to be is the most deliciously hilarious thing to read. I loved them!

To say I loved this book would be an understatement. I devoured it. I lived for it. I couldn’t get enough of this story. There’s so many revelations that by the time I picked my jaw off of the floor, another would come out of left field and whack me over the head. It was so good! I think the last time I was anticipating a book this bad, it was Ian’s. But this one far exceeded any expectations. Beck and Solo were everything. One of my favorites in the series. Bar none.

Review: Lies & Lullabies by Sarina Bowen

LIES & LULLABIES
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Hush Note #1
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: September 22, 2020

Summer nights and star-crossed lovers! From USA Today bestselling author Sarina Bowen.

Once upon a time, he gave me a summer of friendship, followed by one perfect night. We shared a lot during our short time together. But he skipped a few crucial details.

I didn’t know he was a rock star.

I didn’t know his real name.

Neither of us knew I’d get pregnant.

And I sure never expected to see him again.

Five years later, his tour bus pulls up in Nest Lake, Maine.

My little world is about to be shattered by loud music and the pounding of my own foolish heart.

 AMAZON 

He’d been a charming diversion with enormous consequences.

I am a sucker for a second chance romance. I live for it. The angst. The emotion. All of the feels. Now it’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a Sarina Bowen book and I was so excited to get my hands on this one. This trope is my book crack so I was so here for it.

Kira and Jonas spent one unforgettable summer together. They were both in a place where they were looking for a connection and were a little lost. They gave each other something that changed them both irrevocably. Kira had no idea at the time they met that Jonas was a famous rockstar. Jonas fell hard for Kira but knew he couldn’t give her what she needed, so he left.

Five years later, their paths cross again. This time Jonas knows exactly what he wants, and he needs a second chance with the woman he never got over. What he doesn’t expect, is the secret that Kira has kept from him all these years in the form of an adorably rambunctious daughter.

Now I do love me some surprise baby trope as well. But it also has to have one thing for me to connect; a good reason for the baby to be a secret. And sadly, I didn’t feel that Kira had one. This ultimately began to grate on me, because I couldn’t help but judge her for it.

Jonas was everything. The man was swoon personified. I loved the way he manned up and was there for his girls. I loved the way he handled the reveal. And really, I just loved him.

The pacing was a bit off, and I did find myself growing bored. The flashbacks to their summer five years ago also felt lacking. I wanted a little more meat here. I really wish it was fleshed out further. Don’t get me wrong. While I didn’t love this story, I still enjoyed it. It may have been a little slow for my tastes, but it still hit the spot. The other band members really hooked me, but my favorite part of the book was Kira’s brother. The man was just GAH. I hope he gets a book of his own because I loved being in his head for the few short pages.

#DGRFave & Review: God of Monsters by Keri Lake

GOD OF MONSTERS
Genre: Dark Apocalyptic Romance
Series: Juniper Unraveling #4
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date: September 22, 2020

I’ve heard stories about the Alphas. Violent soldiers, bred to kill both humans and mutations, whose sole purpose was to balance our survival against the infected.

Until they turned on their masters.

Held as subjects of the Calico research facility, they were forced to endure the gruesome experiments that transformed them into callous savages with hearts as impenetrable as their defenses. More terrifying than the monsters that decimated our world with disease and famine.

In the aftermath of Calico’s collapse, many of the Alphas fled, only to be hunted by our own

Legion army. And in their absence, the balance has shifted.

I thought they no longer existed.

Until I met him, the god of monsters.

Now I don’t believe in the stories anymore.

To fall in love with the unyielding heart of an Alpha is said to be impossible.

But to fall in love with a god would be a tragedy.

 AMAZON 


…In the land of monsters, survival comes before everything else.”

What was the last book you read that kept you up all night, turned you inside out, and stuck with you for months to come? I can say this about the ENTIRE Juniper Unraveling series. But God Of Monsters absolutely owned me. A dark, captivating and gut wrenching romance in the midst of hell on earth, this book ripped me to shreds and I’ll never be the same again.

This is a dark apocalyptic romance and if you haven’t read this genre yet, Keri will suck you into this world and keep you on the edge of your seat. Even if apocalyptic isn’t your cuppa, trust me, this series will make a believer out of you.

As for this book? The epic conclusion to one of the most epic series was a non stop, action packed ride. I can’t imagine the series closing with a better book. Thalia and Titus’s story was on a whole other level. It was simply otherworldly. Ha! See what I did there? But I digress.

If you’ve read Kings of Carrion, then you’ll remember Titus. But nothing, and I mean nothing will prepare you for the full force that is Titus as the main character. This man was GAH. He was TORTURED with a capital T. Titus has survived the very depths of human depravity and has seen horrors that most can’t even imagine. He’s lost more than any person could imagine in their lifetimes. He’s a warrior through and through, but this story takes you into the dark depths of his world, and an easy read it is not.

Thalia is a woman that hasn’t truly experienced Calico. She’s only heard stories and warning tales of the Alphas that were created within those walls. She was born with a purpose but her heart doesn’t agree. She yearns for something else, something beyond the life of her small and sheltered village. Something beyond her duty. But nothing could prepare her for what she is about to go through.

Now I will tell you, this book was dark. I mean it was DARK. If there’s one thing that Keri Lake knows how to do, is make her readers squirm. I’m talking, dread in the pit of your stomach, anxiety ridden hot mess of a reader who is just waiting for that other shoe to drop. Keri is not afraid to bring readers into the darkest pits and spare no detail. And she doesn’t. You experience it all; the despair, the violence, the devastation. The story takes you to hell and back and somehow manages to stitch you back together in the end. I sobbed my way through the last 20% of this book and I can’t stop thinking about it months after.

This is a story about survival and love amongst ruins. It’s a story of perseverance and strength. It’s emotional, captivating, and utterly mesmerizing. Easily my favorite series from this author to date. If you read any book this year, make it this one. Trust me. And if you haven’t read this series yet, do yourself a favor and experience it. Because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever read.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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