Review & Excerpt: A Secret For A Secret by Helena Hunting

A SECRET FOR A SECRET
Series: All In #3
Series: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: May 12, 2020

From New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting comes a new romance about trading secrets, breaking the rules, and playing for keeps.

My name is Ryan Kingston, and I’m a rule follower. I’ve never been in a fistfight. I always obey the speed limit. I don’t get drunk, and I definitely don’t pick up random women at bars.

Except the night I found out that my whole existence has been a lie.

I got drunk. And picked up a stranger.

Her name was Queenie, and she was everything I’m not: reckless, impulsive, and chaotic. We did shots and traded secrets. And ended up naked at my place.

She left me a thank-you note in the morning and her panties as a parting gift. But no way to contact her.

Six weeks later I’m sitting in the first official team meeting of the season, and there she is. I neglected to mention that I’m the goalie for Seattle’s NHL team.

And Queenie? Turns out she’s the general manager’s daughter.

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AMAZON | PAPERBACK | AUDIO

“You think our GM got himself an assistant?”I follow his gaze to the front of the room. Standing at the desk with her back to us, arranging papers, is a woman with wavy chestnut hair that nearly reaches her waist. “Maybe an intern?”

She’s wearing a navy dress that conforms to her very feminine form. I trace the dip of her waist and the curve of her hip, skimming down to where the hem of her dress hits the bend in her knee. Her calves are bare, athletic, and toned, and her heels boast a little bow on the back. Classy, yet sexy. “Possibly.”

“I hope the eye candy is gonna be permanent,” someone at the table behind us says, loud enough for everyone close by to hear.

“I wouldn’t mind if she helped me with my jockstrap,” one of the other guys chimes in, eliciting a loud chuckle from the rest of the table.

I glance over my shoulder and pin them with an unimpressed glare. I recognize Foley from Tampa, and Dickerson is an LA trade. They’re notorious womanizers. “Watch your mouth and have some respect. That’s someone’s daughter.”

“Take it easy, King. It’s not like we’d actually say that to her face,” Foley says.

I don’t have an opportunity to reprimand him further because the GM, Jake Masterson, and our head coach, Alex Waters, enter the room through the side door. The GM crosses over to the woman, whose back is still turned to us, and he gives her a smile that seems . . . overly warm. He leans in and squeezes her shoulder as he says something with his mouth close to her ear.

“Maybe she’s not his assistant. Maybe she’s his new girlfriend, ’cause that looks pretty damn friendly to me.” Bishop jams a sausage link into his mouth.

“Maybe,” I agree.

She turns slightly, giving me a glimpse of her profile. Her cheeks are flushed pink. I blink a couple of times, because she seems incredibly familiar.

“I think I know her,” I mumble, more to myself than to Bishop.

“Not as well as our GM does, by the look of things.”

It hits me like a puck in the chest without pads on. I do know her. Queenie. My one-night stand who bailed the next morning and left a Post-it and panties hanging from my doorknob. Destroyed panties. “Oh God.”

Did I sleep with the GM’s girlfriend? Memories come barreling into my brain, and I want to sink into the floor. My behavior that night was highly atypical. Everything about that night was. I chalked it up to the alcohol, the family drama, and the fact that she seemed to be a very eager and willing participant in our adventures. Do not think about the things you did to her.

I’d be lying if I said I haven’t thought about Queenie and our night together. I’ve even considered driving by the bar where we met, but I don’t know if she’s likely to show up there. And it’s not as if I can ask the bartender about her without looking like a creep. Besides, if she wanted me to have her number, she would’ve left it.

“Are you okay? You look like you’re about to hurl,” Bishop asks.

I cover my mouth with my palm, not because I’m going to be ill but to hide the fact that it’s hanging open and I can’t seem to close it. Although my stomach is starting to do those awful somersaults that will soon turn into full-on nausea. The kind I used to get when I’d first hit the ice for a game.

This is bad. Really bad. I’ve never had a one-night stand before. I’ve always been in committed relationships, and I prefer to get to know my bed partners before they actually get into bed with me. Teen pregnancy was pretty common where I grew up in Tennessee, because there wasn’t much else to do apart from playing sports or getting into trouble with drugs and alcohol—my brother, Gerald, went the latter route. I obviously fit into the sports category. By the time I became a teenager, my parents had finally learned their lesson. It was drilled into me to never become that kind of statistic, or to turn my girlfriend into a mom before she was ready to take on more than senior-level algebra.

Ironic how my actual mother would’ve been one of those girls had my grandparents not made the choices they had.

“King?” Bishop nudges me. “You’re staring, man.”

Jake whistles with his fingers, causing the woman beside him to cringe but then quickly school her expression into an uncertain smile. “Who’s ready for a new season?”

He’s rewarded with a chorus of cheers from the players. Waters stands off to the side, clapping enthusiastically. He generally runs all team meetings, but Jake is a hands-on GM, so he always manages first meeting intros before he hands it over to our coach.

Jake waits for everyone to settle down and take their seats before he continues. “Gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my personal assistant, Queenie.” He throws his arm over her shoulder and pulls her into his side.

A hot spike of anger rushes down my spine—it’s a foreign feeling. I’m usually very level headed. But not right now. It’s obvious by the way Jake and Queenie interact that there’s a relationship there. Is she a cheater? Did she make me one? There’s a definite age gap. He’s young for a GM, but he’s in his forties, and I’m pretty sure she’s in her mid twenties.

“She also happens to be my daughter, so don’t get any ideas, boys.” He somehow manages to wink and glare at the same time.

And it just went from bad to worse.

My one-night stand isn’t my GM’s girlfriend; she’s his daughter.

 
A Secret for a Secret (All In, #3)A Secret for a Secret by Helena Hunting

3.5 STARS


Give us a chance to get through this together, Queenie. Let me catch you when you fall. Let me be your safe place to land.”

This was so stinking cute, y’all! Like goofy smile on my face the entire time reading sort of cute.

Ryan Kingston is definitely a change of pace from your typical professional hockey player. The man is a freaking boy scout. He doesn’t swear. He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t disappoint his parents. And he doesn’t do one-night stands. He’s a guy that was a perfect kid growing up and then got the shocker of a century from his parents and finds himself reeling at a bar about it. One drink and a chance encounter with a beautiful woman leads to another drink and a different encounter entirely. But then he finds out that his beautiful one-night stand is the GM’s daughter and new assistant. Ruh roh.

Queenie is a free spirit. She’s never quite found herself and sees herself as a disappointment for her devoted father. She can’t find a job that sticks and always seems to mess up. So when her father tells her that the hockey players are off limits, she’s determined to do things right. But it’s tough to keep it friendly when your chemistry is through the roof and Ryan is determined to do things right with her and date her.

Now don’t pay my rating any mind, because this is based entirely on personal preference here. While I loved the opposites attract thing, Queenie and Ryan weren’t my usual cuppa when it comes to characters. Ryan was just a bit too sweet for my reading tastes. Stop judging me! I do love that he still had full alpha vibes even with all that sweetness. Queenie was a touch too brash for my particular tastes too. Though I did love her fire and spark. Ultimately, I loved the story and the characters, even if it wasn’t my typical preference. I simply adore all things Helena Hunting and this series just does it for me. It’s tough to follow the perfection that was book two for me, but this one still definitely hit the spot.


New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Website link: https://helenahunting.com/books/a-secret-for-a-secret/

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#DGRFave & Review: Beautifully Cruel by JT Geissinger

BEAUTIFULLY CRUEL
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: May 15, 2020

Alpha (noun):
1) Having the highest rank in a dominance hierarchy
2) The most powerful man in a group
3) Liam Black

He was a stranger to me, a dark and dangerous presence who materialized from the shadows one rainy night to save me from a vicious attack.

I didn’t know his name or where he was from. All I knew was that the only place I’d ever felt safe was in his arms.

But safety is an illusion.
And not every savior is a hero.
And—as I’d soon find out—having an alpha save your life comes with a price.

Liam Black wanted something from me in return.

AMAZON 

Don’t mistake me for something I’m not, Tru.”
“Like what?”
“A good man.”


If you like:
Intense, protective, and possessive alpha males
Fierce and I mean FIERCE, take charge and sharp witted heroines that take no bs
a story that will keep you glued to the pages from cover to cover
and
a mother of all plot twists that you will SALIVATE OVER

READ. THIS. BOOK.

There is only one word to describe this book: ADDICTIVE. I couldn’t get enough of Liam Black. I couldn’t get enough of this story. I couldn’t get enough of this romance. I devoured this in one intense sitting. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.

Y’all. It is really no secret that I live for JT Geissinger’s books. The woman can write an alpha male like no other. But what I love most about her writing are her heroines. They’re fierce, take no prisoners, rescue themselves sort of females and I am so here for it. But when I tell you that Tru may have easily been one of my favorite heroines of hers to date, that’s saying something. There’s just something to be said for a woman that’s shy but is also a sharp witted ball buster.

I don’t know what kind of women you’re used to, but my mother didn’t raise a worker bee. She raised a queen.” I stare at him without smiling. “And I don’t give away the honey for free.”

GAH. Do you see what I mean?

So here’s the thing, that blurb is vague AF. And there’s a good reason. You want this story to take you by surprise and go into it totally blind. Trust me on this. Avoid reviews and just read it. There’s so much that can be a spoiler, so of course my review will be vague AF.

What I will tell you is that the romance was incendiary. The characters were amazing. And the story was addictive. And there’s a surprise to beat surprises if you’ve read Geissinger’s other books. I won’t tell you which one, but just trust me. READ THIS. You will not want to miss this.

I inhaled this story in one breathless sitting. It was a page-turner from beginning to finish and I cannot recommend it enough!

#DGRFave & Review: The Hunter by LJ Shen

THE HUNTER
Series: Boston Belles #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: May 10, 2020

Hunter

I didn’t mean to star in a sex tape, okay?
It was just one of those unexplainable things. Like Stonehenge, Police Academy 2, and morning glory clouds.
It just happened.
Now my ball-busting father is sentencing me to six months of celibacy, sobriety, and morbid boredom under the roof of Boston’s nerdiest girl alive, Sailor Brennan.
The virginal archer is supposed to babysit my ass while I learn to take my place in Royal Pipelines, my family’s oil company.
Little does she know, that’s not the only pipe I’ll be laying…

Sailor
I didn’t want this gig, okay?
But the deal was too sweet to walk away from.
I needed the public endorsement; Hunter needed a nanny.
Besides, what’s six months in the grand scheme of things?
It’s not like I’m in danger of falling in love with the appallingly gorgeous, charismatic gazillionaire who happens to be one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors.
No. I will remain immune to Hunter Fitzpatrick’s charm.
Even at the cost of losing everything I have.
Even at the cost of burning down his kingdom.

AMAZON

He was a lonely prince. Untouchable yet in need of a hug. Brilliant, yet deeply misunderstood. Sitting on a throne of broken expectations and disappointment.

Are. You. Fucking. Kidding. Me. With. This?!!!!

Welcome to your next addiction, people! Because this new series from LJ Shen is the best sort of crack. Not that crack is good. Crack is whack. But you know what I’m saying so just go with it, mkay? What I’m saying is this book was finger-licking good. Like want to slap your own ass and have a cigarette after kind of good. And I don’t even smoke. GAH. Let me calm my tits for a hot second here.

This was easily, without a doubt, my favorite LJ Shen Book to date. And considering I’m obsessed with everything the woman writes, that’s saying something. Hunter forever owns both my heart and my ovaries and I never want them back. Addictive, unputdownable, and all encompassing.

You know when you crack open a book and you get honest to god tingles? That’s what this was for me.
I thought I loved Shen’s Sinners of Saint and All Saints High series, but that was nothing next to my giddiness of this new series. And it has the mother of all crossovers. I won’t tell you which book or who because you need the element of surprise, but DANG it was good.

I love a strong heroine, and Sailor was all of the things. This woman was FIERCE with a capital F. I loved the way she stood up for herself and stood her ground, even when the odds are stacked against her. Then again, with a family like hers, fierceness is damn near guaranteed. She couldn’t NOT be a awesome.

As for Hunter? GAH. This guy. He’s this incredible combination of goofy but with a good dose of intensity. He’s quick to joke and easy to smile, but beneath the handsome good looks are plenty of hidden layers. And the more they get unraveled, the deeper into this rabbit hole I fell.

I was hooked, line and sinker on this new world. I was obsessed with the characters. I was gaga over the romance. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.

Review: Blowback by Monica James

BLOWBACK
Series:
The Monsters Within Duet #2
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Monica James
Release Date: May 7, 2020

This was supposed to be simple. Vengeance was mine. But I should know by now that nothing in life is easy.

My endgame has changed all because I met someone who wishes I was dead. Yet her hatred is the only thing saving her from The Big Bad. My lies protect her, so the harder she hates, the safer she is.

The thing about love and hate—it skates a very thin line. I need to stay away. It’s better for everyone if I do. But fighting this is like fighting nature.

Our paths crossed for a reason, and my Tiger isn’t fooled. Once the smoke clears, she will see every player, including me. I don’t deserve a second chance. But I want one…because I want her. The question is, what happens when the truth is finally revealed?

With the end in sight, I can promise you there will be nothing but violence and mayhem.

Oh yes, blood will be shed.

AMAZON

My body, my mind, and my heart are lost to him, and I don’t know if they’ll ever be found.

Truth be told, I’m not a big trilogy or duet girl. More often than not, the next book will lose it’s fizzle for me. Or the conclusion feels like filler, stretched out, and total anticlimactic. True story. Most trilogies I’ve read, I’ll devour book one and then the next one will fall short. I’m a picky beoch, okay? Stop looking at me like that.

When I read Bullseye: The Monsters Within Duet Book 1 I was immediately hooked on this dark world. The story was a whirlwind of bloody twists and depraved turns. Bull’s story is not for the faint of heart. And when the cliffhanger hit, you were left reeling picking your jaw off of the floor.

To say that I was desperate for the final book would be a small understatement. I was damn near rabid for it. So when this landed on my kindle, I jumped right in. And I devoured it in one sitting. What. A. Ride.

This brings the conclusion of Bull and Tiger’s story and it was EPIC. There’s so much that happens and I was so here for it. What I loved is even though Bull made peace with his fingers for Tiger, he never once lost the edge that makes him HIM. He was still just as darkly depraved and still focused on his revenge. Only now there was another factor in his motivation; to protect the woman he fell for from a complete and total psychopath.

Admittedly, I struggled buying into Tiger’s quick turn around when it came to her brother. It’s like a switch was flipped with her and she saw the light. But a part of me got it too. I loved Bull and Tiger’s depraved brand of love. They feed each other’s demons and I totally got the connection between them.

This story was a non-stop thrill ride full dark twist and turns. It was gritty. It was bloody. It was unputdownable. While the first 20% was a bit slow for me, it picked up quickly by the 30% mark and wouldn’t stop until the end. If you’re looking for a deliciously dark duet with a revenge plot, a tortured hero, and an imperfectly perfect heroine that falls for him, look no further.

Review: Stone Princess by Devney Perry

STONE PRINCESS
Series: Tin Gypsy #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Devney Perry
Release Date: May 5, 2020

Presley Marks has just become a cliché: the jilted bride. Wearing a white dress, standing in front of her friends and family, she announces that her fiancé—according to his text—has forgotten about the wedding.

Humiliated and angry, she hides from the world in the mundane routine of her life. Working at the Clifton Forge Garage isn’t glamorous, but it’s safe from the spotlight.

At least it was, until Shaw Valance comes to town.

The notorious Hollywood actor is starring in a movie based on the town’s infamous murder. When he’s not on set, Shaw hovers at the garage, watching as they build his custom motorcycle and irritating her with his handsome smile. He was supposed to leave once filming wrapped and go back to his fancy life, not buy the house next door.

But Shaw might regret that purchase once Presley’s ex-fiancé returns, bringing with him a war between old rivals that could burn both their houses down.

AMAZON

Somewhere along the way, he’d become more than Shaw Valance. The fame had worn off. Now he was just the beautiful man in my bed who made me feel special.

Gosh, I am SO obsessed with this series. And it just seems to keep getting better and better with every book. Do yourself a favor and definitely read these in order. Trust me on that. There’s an overarching story arc that continues through the series. And this book will have a HUGE spoiler for the first two books. So if you plan on reading those, don’t read this one first. You need to experience everything in order.

Presley Marks immediately caught my attention in Gypsy King. She’s just one of the guys when it comes to working at the garage. The guys are extra protective of her, especially when it comes to her fiancé that no one thinks is good enough for her. Especially when that fiancé is also a member of a rival biker gang to Tin Gypsy and there’s no love lost between them. Pres may look like a cute pixie, but she’s definitely a tough chick. But even tough chicks suffer from heartbreak, and that’s exactly what happens to Presley when she gets left at the altar.

Nursing a broken heart, the last thing she wants is for a Hollywood movie star in town to film a movie based on events that shattered their lives to set his sights on her. But Shaw is not at all what he appears. He may be a famous movie star, but he’s also down to earth, sweet, and patient. He’s determined to wear her down because the first time he lays eyes on her, he knows she’s different. He’s not a player. He’s not cocky. He’s utter perfection with a Hollywood smile and it wasn’t difficult to fall hard and fast for Shaw right along with Presley.

I love the small town backdrop of this series. And when you have an unforgettable romance set in this sleepy town, it’s utter perfection. The chemistry between Shaw and Presley is instant and sizzling, though their romance is a bit of a slow burn. The man pursues and woos her, and I loved every page of it.

But there’s also a good bit of suspense happening in the background. You get to understand exactly what kept Presley with her boyfriend all those years. You get to understand her history and how it followed her into her present. The second half of the book was definitely my favorite. I love that Presley doesn’t sit on a pedestal pining after a man. There’s an incredible set up for the next book with a bombshell of a twist thrown in that I was obsessed with. If you’re a fan of this series, you definitely won’t want to miss this book! I can’t wait for the next one.

#DGRFave & Review: Sea of Ruin by Pam Godwin

SEA OF RUIN
Genre: Dark Historical Pirate Romance, Stand-alone
Author:
Pam Godwin
Release Date:
April 28, 2020

Bennett Sharp is on the run.

Wanted for piracy, she fears neither God nor death nor man.

Except Priest Farrell.

 

The unfaithful, stormy-eyed libertine hunts her with terrifying possessiveness. Nothing will stop him from coming for her. Not his unforgivable betrayal. Not when she’s captured by the ice-cold pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler.

She must escape Ashley’s prison and Priest’s deceit. But can she walk away from their twisted desires?

 

Two gorgeous captains stand on opposite sides of the law. When they collide in a battle to protect her, the lines blur between enemies and lovers.

Passion heats, secrets unravel, and hearts entangle until they break.

Can love prevail in the sea of ruin?

AMAZON | B&N | KOBO | iBOOKS | GOOGLE PLAY


The short story, KING OF LIBERTINES, can be read before or after SEA OF RUIN.

It’s only available in the AUSTRALIA anthology:

AMAZON | iBOOKS | B&N | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY

Love isn’t a decision. It arrives unannounced, breeds madness, and leaves a sea of ruin in its wake.

Two words: FUCKING. EPIC.

My god. Y’all. I’m rendered speechless. This is easily my favorite Pam Godwin book to date. And considering I’ve read and loved her entire backlist, that’s saying something. But this book? It was something else entirely. Mesmerizing. Magical. Unique. And totally and completely unforgettable. It was unlike any book I’ve read lately, and I loved it so much more for that!

There was only so much suffering a person could endure before they broke. Sometimes, broken things couldn’t be put back together.

This was certainly a huge step away from Pam’s usual dark romance, but it was no less gritty or gut wrenching. This is a historical romance that introduces the reader to one of the most fierce lady pirates you will ever read. Not that I’ve ever read about a female pirate before. But now that I did? I NEED MORE!

How do I even begin to describe to you the incredible experience that was this book. And that’s what it was. An experience. It was so much more than just a romance. The rich world building, the characters, the depth and development. All of this combined to make this like a movie reel that unrolls with every turn of the page.

Bennett Sharp is a force to be reckoned with. Her birth is the result of two worlds crashing together that couldn’t be more different. Her childhood wasn’t perfect, but she had hope for something more, until an a tragedy rips that away from her in the most devastating of ways. Now she’s a pirate, a captain of her ship, with the sea the only thing she craves. She’d do anything for her loyal crew, even sacrifice herself to ensure they survive. This is how she ends up in the hands of the commander of the royal navy and facing one of the biggest battles of wills I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

I can’t seem to make sense of you.”
“It’s easy, Commodore. Just think of the smartest man you know, remove all the hauteur and bigotry, and add a larger pair of testicles.”

Now that is all of the details that you’ll be getting from me. I went into this completely blind, and I recommend all readers do the same. All I can tell you is prepare for the experience of a life time. Yes, this is a historical, but it’s no less edgy than what we’re used to from Pam. This story was heart wrenchingly dark, sinfully erotic, and oh so gritty. It packed one hell of a punch that kept me riveted to the pages. And that’s not even starting on these incredible, multi-layered characters. MY GOD. It was utterly hypnotic.

Pam not only mastered this genre, she slapped it’s ass and made it call her daddy. PERFECTION. Sheer perfection between the pages. This is an absolute must read. Trust me. Even if historical isn’t usually your cuppa, this will make a converter out of you. It’s simply not to be missed.

Pam Godwin Books GrayScale

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author, Pam Godwin, lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.
.
Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.
Join my Facebook Reader Group: here

Other Books by Pam Godwin

Tangled Lies Series
ONE IS A PROMISE (#1) – FREE
TWO IS A LIE (#2)
THREE IS A WAR (#3)

Deliver Series
DELIVER (#1) – FREE
VANQUISH (#2)
DISCLAIM (#3)
DEVASTATE (#4)
TAKE (#5)
Manipulate (#6)

Trilogy of Eve
HEART OF EVE – FREE
DEAD OF EVE (#1)
BLOOD OF EVE (#2)
DAWN OF EVE (#3)

Stand-alones

🎼 STUDENT-TEACHER ROMANCE 🎼
DARK NOTES

🏍️ ROMANTIC SUSPENSE 🏍️
DIRTY TIES

🎸 ROCK-STAR DARK ROMANCE 🎸
BENEATH THE BURN

👄 CELEBRITY ROMANCE 👄
INCENTIVE

 

Review: Heartless King by Maya Hughes

HEARTLESS KING
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse #5
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Author: Maya Hughes
Release Date: April 23, 2020

Two blue lines. That means not pregnant, right? Right? Oh, sh*t.

Five years ago, Colm Frost asked me to marry him and I ran. I ran from my painful past too raw and fresh to escape. He was the only one who looked at me like I wasn’t broken and made me believe it. He made me feel it.

Now, he’s the hot, angry, hockey player on the mend.

I’m the physiotherapist who’s supposed to get him back on his feet.

I don’t think our night together was what his doctor prescribed, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t dreamt of him every time I close my eyes. I woke up beside him with my body still singing from the way he fanned the flames of my desire, but I couldn’t stay.

His lips on my neck. His hands wrapped around my waist. His impressive…ahem, touch leaving me breathless.

One moment of wild inhibition and it’s come back to bite me in the butt. Kind of like he did that night.

But a baby? Our night was supposed to be a one time thing, closing a door on the future I couldn’t handle.

Will this new bump in the road be everything we needed to find our forever?

Heartless King is a standalone friends to enemies to lovers, accidental pregnancy romance that brings all the laugh out loud, angsty feels!

AMAZON

Imogen was a dangerous element to introduce to my life. She made me feel whole when I wasn’t. She made me feel things were possible that weren’t. She made me want things I couldn’t have.

Colm Frost. Oh you poor broken soul, you.

This book introduced an interesting dilemma for me. On the one hand, I absolutely hated Colm in the previous book as a secondary character. I’m talking HATED him. Like wanting to reach through the book and twist his nuts off sort of hate. Yeah. That serious. But on the other hand, I was desperate to know more about the man and what makes him tick. There had to be some serious hidden pain for him to lash out as he did, and boy was I right.

I held onto that anger because it was a hell of a lot better than the crushing sadness, the loneliness and rejection that had become the hallmark of my life with everyone other than the Kings.

First of all, if you’re planning to read this as a standalone; don’t. Seriously. Yes, technically there’s enough background given to be able to understand everything, but you’d also be missing a lot of overarching story arcs and background that the previous books paved the foundation for. Trust me on this. You’d enjoy this book so much more if you read it in order. And you’d also be able to understand Colm a whole lot better as well.

Reeling on the heels of finding out his sister went behind his back and set fire to all of their plans while also dating his teammate and best friend behind his back was the catalyst that set everything in motion. Colm was already a live wire of feeling, but this was the straw the broke the camel’s back. He’s tired of being the good guy. The reliable guy. The guy that gives up everything to do what’s right and puts everyone first. But his new look on life is also one full of fiery self destruction fueled by anger and a pain kept hidden for years. Drowning his sorrows in alcohol and lost in a haze of partying and resentment, Colm may lose everything, including his spot on the team. His teammates and friends are desperate to help him, and the only solution they find is Imogen.

Imogen and Colm have a history dating back five years, but it’s certainly not as simple as the blurb makes it seem. Imogen is still working through the pain of losing her fiancé. It’s been over five years, but as much as everyone around her tries to get her to move on, she simply can’t. The only man that seems to be the exception to the rule, is Colm, and he comes with issues of his own.

As a physiotherapist, Imogen offers to help him recover from his recent injury to get him back on the ice. But this is no simple relationship. There’s a connection there that burns bright, but both Imogen and Colm seem to not be able to help self destruction.

Man, I loved and hated these two together. While Colm comes off as selfish and irrational in some of his anger at first, this book begins to peel back the layers, and soon you understand just how deep it goes. Imogen was the perfect salve to his tortured soul. But Imogen has issues of her own. Their chemistry was undeniable. I’m not usually a reader that goes for the surprise baby trope, but it seriously worked here. This was the perfect book to end the series with. And while there were parts of the story where I still wanted to strangle Colm and shake some sense into him, I grew to love him, faults and all by the end.

If you’ve read this series, you certainly won’t want to miss the conclusion.


Maya Hughes can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.

I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe and traveling with my family.

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Review: You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

YOU DESERVE EACH OTHER
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sarah Hogle
Release Date: April 7, 2020

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves–and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

AMAZON 

Through the windshield, he murders me with his eyes. He’s got his entire soul compressed right up against his irises and they’re the color of hatred. They desperately want telekinetic powers so they can blow me into the sky, through the fabric of our universe and into another one. I hope it’s a parallel universe with a parallel Nicholas and Naomi. I want to torture him with two of me.

Truth be told I struggled with my rating for this book. A lot. I’m blown away that this was Sarah’s debut novel. I was immediately hooked when I read the blurb. It was something refreshingly different in the lover to enemies to lovers trope. I mean, an engaged couple, in a battle of wills, a la War of Roses, to see who calls off their doomed relationship first? A grumpy heroine, a snooty hero, meddling parents, and plenty of tiny disasters combine for one amazing read. Seeing that so many of my friends loved this book, I went into it with pretty high expectations. And I think that may have played against me here, so take my review with a grain of salt.

I wish Nicholas were handsier—I mean handier,” I say, stealing the spotlight right back. “I’ve been performing maintenance duties by myself. But I’ve been getting better results, interestingly enough.” Nicholas’s stare is dehydrating. “Sounds unlikely.”
“Maintenance duties?” Deborah repeats, turning to him. “Has something broken? Naomi shouldn’t be trying to fix anything. She could make it worse.”
“I have no choice,” I tell her in a low, conspiratorial voice. “It’s a desperate situation…”

Admittedly, I struggled with the first 40% of the story. It dragged a little and I kept finding myself skimming. The characters felt a little blah and I just kept waiting for the moment they would jump off the pages for me. Luckily the second part of the book really brought that much needed zing. The banter here was amazing. The hilarious way Nicholas and Naomi tried to push each other into an out was entertaining as all get out. The fact that the story is written entirely in Naomi’s POV actually increased the enjoyment for me because I discovered the true depth of her fiance right as she did. There was something so magical about this. Granted I would have loved to be in Nicholas’s head a little bit, but that would have been icing on the cake.

This was a fun, light hearted romcom from an author that is now going straight to my auto buy list. If you’re looking for steam, this won’t have much of it, but the tiny bit that it had was a perfect fit. If you’re looking for a hilarious contemporary romance with plenty of banter and zing, this had it in spades.

Review: Missing In Action by Kate Canterbary

MISSING IN ACTION
Genre: MM Romance
Author: Kate Canterbary
Release Date: March 30, 2020

Former Navy SEAL turned covert agent Wes Halsted spent his days—and weeks and months—being someone else. But with his cover blown and his injuries requiring months of recuperation, he must learn how to be himself again.

Only…he’d rather save his issues for another day and get to know a stressed-out, suited-up businessman instead.

Tom Esbeck has everything under control. Meal plans, workout plans, project plans, five-year plans. A plan for everything and everything according to plan.

Except there’s no plan for a surprise—and shirtless—encounter with the built-for-sin spy he’d crushed on years ago.

But crushes—and spies—burn out fast.

MISSING IN ACTION is a full-length steamy contemporary romance standalone with strong ties to the Walsh Series.

AMAZON 

I want to be the man who gets to love you …
I want that job. I want the right to call you mine and I want to be yours, and I want to do this with you.”

If you’re a fan of character driven romance, this one is truly cream of the crop. This is only my second book by Kate, but I can safely say that the woman knows how to write some of the most multilayered characters I’ve ever read.

Wes is a covert agent who’s currently recovering from an almost lethal injury after his op went bad. His job is all he’s ever known. He’s used to the shadows and the secrecy that comes with his daily life, and now being normal is a struggle. Being around his happily married and meddling brother is another struggle. But worst of all, it’s his sister in law’s incredibly handsome business associate that’s the problem, because he wants him beyond reason.

Tom is the definition of buttoned up. His life is all about order, where Wes is pure chaos. Tom has everything planned from his days to his meals, and he doesn’t deviate. Their attraction is instant, and their connection is the definition of opposites attracting. The story is a slow burn romance that peels back the layers on both of these characters, and they have many layers. Tom may be all about order in his life, but that doesn’t mean his life has been perfect. How can he be with a man that makes it clear he has no intention of staying? Wes is a man that’s struggling with what his new normal may be when he comes to terms that his covert career may be blown to smithereens.

I really enjoyed the story, though admittedly, I did skim a bit through parts. I like a good character driven story, but I was bored in some parts. Luckily the story does come together beautifully, and I can happily say that I enjoyed it quite a bit,

Review: The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jiminez

THE HAPPY EVER AFTER PLAYLIST
Genre: ContemporaryRomance
Author: Abby Jiminez
Release Date: April 14, 2020

From the USA Today bestselling author of The Friend Zonecomes an adorable and fresh romantic comedy about one trouble-making dog who brings together two perfect strangers.

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

AMAZON 

I would notice you in a crowd of a million.”

I’ve been dying for Sloan’s story ever since the end of The Friend Zone made me cry my eyes out. I loved her and Brandon so much, it was difficult to imagine the man that would make Sloan’s heart beat again. But man, oh man, never in a million years could I have imagined the perfection that was Jason.

Sloan has been a shell of herself for two years since the tragic loss of her fiancé. Her love for Brandon was one of a kind. But sometimes, life gives you a second chance that you never see coming. For Sloan, this comes in the form of a dog that literally jumps through her sunroof and into her car after she almost hits him while driving. She takes the dog in while trying to get in touch with the owner, and quickly falls hard for the adorable mutt. When the owner finally calls looking for his dog, she’s not ready to let go.

Now, admittedly, I’m a little over the rockstar element in books. But Jason was so different. He’s a rising talent on the music scene and one of the most down to earth men I’ve read in a while. He’s charming, sweet, and incredibly patient. Their relationship starts through a series of funny texts and phone calls that I couldn’t get enough of. I love that they get to know each other before they even know what the other looks like. Jason falls hard and fast for the mysterious woman that refuses to share what she looks like or give his dog bag. He’s determined to woo her for a date. And woo her he does. The man woos her so hard. It was DELICIOUS.

Now I will say, I loved the sweet undercurrent of the book. I really did. I loved the slow build of a relationship between Sloan and Jason. I loved that Jason was a genuinely nice guy. I loved that he was so patient when it comes to Sloan and didn’t try to replace her dead fiancé or felt threatened by his memory. I loved that he treated her right.

What I didn’t love is a lot of the drama around the industry part of Jason. I wished that the time spent on the drama was spent more on seeing Sloan come out of her shell. It was just a touch too much for me, especially at the end. This is entirely personal preference, so take this with a grain of salt. I’m just not a fan of OTT drama, and this felt like OTT for me. It did drive the plot forward, so it certainly wasn’t aimless, but it did nothing for me either. I think I was just so invested in Sloan’s HEA after the events of The Friend Zone, that I wished more time was spent on her personal growth and moving on rather than Jason’s industry drama. I think this is why I’m over the whole rockstar thing in my books, because the industry drama sort of comes along with the territory.

Now don’t get me wrong, I still loved the romance here. SO MUCH. And the ending? Absolute perfection. It wasn’t the laugh out loud hilarious sort of romance that Friend Zone was, but it was a sweet and emotional one that was just as satisfying.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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