#DGRFave & Review: Back Into It by Eve Dangerfield

BACK INTO IT
Series: Playing For Love #4
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Eve Dangerfield
Release Date:
December 5, 2023

A scorching hot, age gap, friends-to-lovers, boy obsessed, unrequited love story by critically acclaimed romance author, Eve Dangerfield.

Cheryl Karalis-Walker doesn’t have time to fall in love. After twelve-hour days marketing pineapple-print leggings and caring for her terminally ill mother, all she wants to do is relax, get white wine tipsy, and flirt with someone else’s dad.

Patrick Normal isn’t a dad. He isn’t even close to being someone’s dad. He’s a funny, kind-hearted football player with the body of a Greek god. He knows he isn’t the older, sophisticated man that Cheryl usually dates, but he’s loved her since he first laid eyes on her. How could he not? She’s the hottest girl in the world and gets him like no other. They’re perfect for each other. Everyone knows it – that is everyone but Cheryl. 

But being her best friend means years of unrequited lust and friendzone jokes. Somewhere Patrick would willingly stay, rather than risk losing her. After all, men come and go, but friends are forever. Right…?

Just as he’s losing hope of ever moving from ‘best friend’ to ‘love interest’, a wild party leaves Cheryl naked in his bed, confessing she’s scared to ruin their friendship… but she loves it when he takes charge. 

So, it’s on. No more games, no more tiptoeing around the tension between them. Cheryl wants him in control and loves that side of him? These two best friends are done f***ing around. It’s time to find out. What will it take for Cheryl to realize that the man who has always been her constant is the one she has been waiting her whole life for? 

Back Into It is a standalone, contemporary romance novel, and book four in the interconnected Playing for Love series. 

AMAZON

We’re done fucking around, KitKat. It’s time to find out.”
“I… What do you mean?”
He smiled, and that was different too. “I mean I’m into you, KitKat. And since you got pissed and tried to fuck me last night, I’m gonna call it and say you’re into me too. So, let’s get together.”

OH.
MY.
GOD.

I think I may have just met one of my favorite fictional men ever. Like I thought I had an obsession with Ty from Act Your Age but nothing and I mean NOTHING compares to the level of obsession I now have with Patrick Normal. I will be running a petition to change his last name because there is nothing normal about him. NOTHING. The man was a perfect dichotomy. He’s a total golden retriever who is a simp for his best friend that he has been crushing on for as long as they’ve been friends. But when this man is all in? He’s a dirty talking, controlling, bossy BEAST in between the sheets. But in between that, he’s completely obsessed with his woman. I cannot. I just cannot deal. My ovaries will never be the same. EVER.

It’s ironic because I rarely gravitate toward third person POV or cinnamon roll heroes who give off golden retriever vibes. But I swear to god, I think I just found my new religion with this man.

I’m obsessed with you,” he said, loud enough to shock her. “I don’t want to go to the fucking movies. I want to fuck you and be your boyfriend and fucking marry you one day.”

Now let’s talk about the book, shall we?

First of all, I loved the way it’s written with small flashbacks to the day Cheryl and Patrick first meet and the small snippets into their actual feelings with every flash back. I also love the spin on the usual playboy hero with a woman who’s sex positive and is a relationship phobe. Cheryl is 32 and has had a tough lot in life. She’s got daddy issues for days, and she owns this with her taste for the older men. Her new best friend is a pro AFL player, 23, and completely obsessed with her. I love me a reverse age gap and I was absolutely rabid for this one.

The chemistry between these two was incendiary.

If he sounded sweet and awed that would be one thing, but he sounded so… presumptuous. She pulled back. “Who are you?” “Your fucking boyfriend,” he snarled. “You gonna admit you’re feeling it? Or are you humping up against me for some best friend reason?”

Cheryl runs and Patrick chases and I loved their push and pull. I loved the way they love each other as friends. And I love how they each fill in a gap for the other. These were such multi faceted, multi layered characters and I couldn’t get enough of them. I loved both their growth as the story progresses. I love their friend squad. I loved absolutely everything about this book. EVERYTHING. I simply cannot recommend it enough.

If you’re looking for a friends to lovers romance where the guy is secretly pining for his best friend, that’s full of just the right amount of incendiary spice, and a perfect punch of feels, look no further. Do yourself a favor and read this!!!!

Review: The Choice by Ashley Jade

THE CHOICE
Series: 
Star-crossed Lovers Duet, #1
Genre: Second-Chance/Enemies-to-Lovers/Off Limits/Rockstar Romance
Author: Ashley Jade
Release Date: January 19, 2023

From USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ashley Jade comes a gritty, off-limits standalone romance about mistakes, choices, and love conquering all.

The world thought I belonged to another man…
they were wrong.

He was the mysterious dark knight always swooping in to save me when I needed it most.
I was the troubled girl with scars and a bleeding heart.

He was the gifted guitarist destined for big things.
I was the small-town girl battling her demons.

He was my earth….always keeping me grounded.
And I was his sky…always just out of his reach.

Our love was everything I wished for.
Until I destroyed it.

I never thought I’d see Memphis Payne again after I broke his heart, but the stars had other plans.
Because here he is…needing me to clean up his mess this time.

Only problem is…
Doing so will break both our hearts.

They say only the strongest love can survive an apocalypse.
That if two people are meant to be, they’ll find their way back to each other.

I hope they’re right.

Please note: This duet is an angsty, spicy, dark romance with flawed characters and contains material that may elicit a strong emotional response for sensitive readers.

AMAZON

They say life is a series of choices, and a single one can change the course of your life forever. Last night, I had to make a choice between good and bad. Right and wrong. I chose her.

Well…hell. I knew this cliffhanger would hurt me down to my soul and boy did it. It hurt bad. SO BAD. I have absolutely zero chill until book two. NONE whatsoever. But I digress. Let’s talk about this book.

The Words is hands down one of my top reads of 2022. And I had a love hate relationship with Memphis and Skylar as secondary characters in that book. And if you’re reading this book without having read The Words, I highly recommend you read that first. Yes, this is a standalone duet with a new couple, but it’s the same universe, and The Words really gives you the best intro.

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of doormat heroines, and I really thought Skylar was on in The Words. How else can she tolerate her man constantly cheating on her. The tension between her and her fiancé’s bandmate, Memphis, was always palpable. This duet takes you deep into the why. The core of what laid the foundation that molded them and their future.

The Choice takes you all the way to the beginning. It introduces you to Josh, Memphis and Skylar when they were just kids and their years together into adulthood. This is the before Memphis hit his fame. This is is the foundation of who they are and what made them that way. And I can say that I now understand Skylar in a way I never thought I would. And she couldn’t be furthest from weak or doormat. This girl is a survivor. My heart absolutely broke for her and what she’s been through. You also get a front row seat to the toxic beginning of her and Josh. And now I really understand how they stayed together all these years. And if possible, I hate Josh even more than I hated him in The Words.

Memphis was…GOD. This man was everything. Quiet intensity. Raw magnetism. Electric. You get to see him and Josh and understand their relationship and connection. You also get the glimpse of Memphis before he hit rockstar fame and this man owned my heart in all the best ways. The pining in this book was on a whole other level and I was so here for it.

I really don’t want to give you any more information because you simply need to experience it blind. But if you had any doubts about Memphis and Skylar in The Words, this book will demolish them. You’l hurt for them. YOu’ll root for them. YOu’ll want to shake them both.

I flipped between hurt and anger so many times, I didn’t know which end was up. Ashley Jade took me on an emotional rollercoaster of wanting to chuck my kindle at the wall and begging for more. I’m ruined. Utterly ruined and completely desperate for the next book.

Ashley Jade is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and top 20 bestselling Amazon author who craves tackling different genres and tropes within romance. Her first loves are New Adult Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Romantic Suspense, but she also writes everything in between including erotica and dark romance. Her characters are flawed and complex, and chances are you will hate them before you fall head over heels in love with them.

She’s a die-hard lover of oxford commas, em-dashes, music, coffee, and anything thought-provoking…except for math.

Books make her heart beat faster and writing makes her soul come alive. If she’ not paying off student loan debt, working, or writing a novel—you can usually find her listening to music, hanging out with her readers online, and pondering the meaning of life.

Check out her Amazon page and Facebook page for future novels. She loves connecting with her readers—they make her world go round.

~Happy Reading~

Connect w/Ashley:
Website: | Facebook | Twitter |  Instagram | Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon

 

Review: Nightshade by Keri Lake

NIGHTSHADE
Genre: Gothic Romance
Author: Keri Lake
Release Date:
October 29, 2021

A love so forbidden, it would shake the heavens

My father called them messengers.
He once told me they walked among us, and that somewhere in this dark and godless city, there shined a faint sliver of hope. I had only to look for the signs.

Well, I’ve spent my whole life investigating the inexplicable, and all I’ve found are the unsettling vestiges of iniquity – the evidence of another world shrouded by the obscure. Purgatory to some, where depravity hides in shadows, and girls like me are little more than delicious bites of temptation.

Others call it Nightshade.

This peculiar place is where I first met the cold and callous recluse living in a decaying cliffside cathedral. Jericho Van Croix is the epitome of everything I’ve been told to fear. A raven-winged harbinger who wears intrigue like a warm black cloak. An enigma that I’m determined to unravel – even if it means getting closer than I should.

One touch is forbidden. Even so much as a kiss would be my demise. But the sin on his lips burns me up like a wild flame, and his growing infatuation weakens my resolve.

Giving him what he wants, though, will mean no chance for redemption, or escape. What’s worse is, the signs I’ve followed yet failed to see all these years begin to unmask a terrifying reality:

That falling may be my only saving grace.

AMAZON

You are a mystifying enigma, Mister Van Croix.”
His gaze swung back to me, devouring me in one sweep. “And you are a frustrating distraction, Miss Ravenshaw.”

I don’t know how the woman does it, but her books just get thicker with each release. And this book? Well she REALLY THICK. So set aside some time, brace yourself and prepare for one hell of a ride. Literally.

You belong to me, Farryn. Should another man dare to lay so much as a finger on you, I will flay his hand and shine my boots with his skin.”

I’ve seriously missed Keri’s unique brand of world building. I loved her PNR series. But this world? Well it’s just something entirely different.

Nightshade was unlike any book I’ve ever read. It was full of captivating and gritty world building. It had Keri’s signature dark layers, but it was also incredibly unique. And the romance? One that defies everything, including time. My suggestion? Go into this completely blind. I will also say that if you’ve read Master of Salt & Bones, you’ll appreciate this one even more.

Now about this book, what can I tell you? It had a bit of everything; angels, demons, monsters, and sinners. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned about Keri’s writing, she’s not afraid to give you the very depths of human depravity. And this book takes you into the very pits of that darkness, but with a twist.

Van Croix is an enigma that I couldn’t get enough of. He’s captivating, cold, tortured, and something just…other. When each new layer of his gets peeled back, you get sucked in even deeper into this world. And let me tell you, there’s a lot of it. The romance is a slow burn. The pacing was deliciously torturous but also perfect for the story.

Nightshade brought a dark and captivating world that I never wanted to leave. Full of vivid characters, spine tingling setting, and a romance unlike any I’ve ever read. In one word, I’m hooked. TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY HOOKED. SO GOOD

DGRFave & Review: Joyless by Nyla K

JOYLESS
Series:
Alabaster Penitentiary #2
Genre: Dark, Erotic MMF Romance
Author: Nyla K
Release Date:
September 30, 2021

Alabaster Penitentiary, Volume 2

Correctional officers get a bad rep. But in our case, it’s fully justified.
We’re not ???? people… We’re guard dogs. As twisted as the inmates we patrol, courtesy of the monster who created us.

Prisoners ourselves on an island of manipulation, we’ve spent years drowning in vices to dull reality. If these walls could talk, I’m telling you… they’d scream.
They call me Velle, but that’s ??????? ???????? to you. Hands dirtier than my mind, I have no qualms with staying ruthless to keep these creatures in line.
And I’m not alone.

??? ??????? is my partner in crime, and my ex. Together we rule Alabaster Isle like Bonnie and Clyde, only prettier and far more dangerous. It’s the two of us against this wicked, secluded world.
Until he shows up…

Although we need him, the rookie is a problem. Flipping me upside down, using my own hidden desires to tempt me.
????… with his green eyes and country boy smile…
He has no business luring me into something that will get everyone hurt.

Let it be known, denying myself and dominating this role is my default setting. But with him in the picture, I’m struggling to keep it intact.
The mask is slipping, control I can’t lose wavering as we welcome our newest psycho to the roster.

Let’s hope, for all our sakes, ?????? #101 doesn’t do anything stupid.

**Joyless is a MMF romance with its own HEA, and while it explores new characters, it is highly recommended that you read Volume 1 first, as the timeline mirrors that of Distorted and there will be references to Distorted in Joyless that could spoil book 1.**

AMAZON 

 

You’re like a rollercoaster, baby. Scary as fuck, but just the best shot of adrenaline.”

Holy.
Fucking.
Shit.

This book. I don’t even have the words right now. Gimme a minute here.

Being a self professed erotic romance addict for many years, I went on record a few years ago to state that I have steel plated ovaries. Like a book can be hot, but it’s not going to get me that hot because I’m desensitized to it. Ok. It’s what I thought. So what did I do? I read this fucking book in public. I was cocky and I miscalculated. Bite me.

So there I was. Squirming uncomfortably in the waiting room while getting my oil changed. Paranoid as fuck that everyone in the room and also outside of it knew exactly what I was reading. With my loins burning and my ovaries hurting, rethinking my stupid steel plated ovaries statement to hell and back. But I digress. Let’s talk about the fuckery that is this book for a hot second, kay?

Welcome to Hell, rookie.”

Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT read this as a standalone. Yes it has different characters from Distorted, but just trust me. You want to appreciate what is Nyla K’s deeply twisted, depraved, evil genius mind by reading this series in order. The time lines overlap and you will miss some huge plot nuances and do yourself a big disservice by not reading Distorted first.

So what’s this book? It’s a super sizzling, super fucked up, super dirty and deliciously kinky MMF menage. And this bitch? I WAS SO HERE FOR IT.

The second Velle made an appearance in Distorted, I knew I had to have his story. The big, bad, tatted and pierced prison guard that takes no shit just had to have a good story arc, right? Wrong. It wasn’t just good, it was fucking amazing. MY GOD. But I digress again.

So what can I tell you without spoiling anything? This book brought it, ok. It bought it big time. The revelations. The secrets. The backstories of Velle and Joy and how they came to be guards at Alabaster Penitentiary really lays the foundation. We get more glimpses at the mysteriously evil Warden, and when I say I never thought I’d hear myself say that I’m desperate for that man’s book, well let’s just say I’m still shocked as shit. But here I digressed again. FOCUS. GOD. OKAY.

One of my favorite things about this story was the dynamic between Rook, Joy, and Velle. How neither one of them are what they seem on the surface. I loved Joy’s sexual freedom and how she just owns her sexuality. This is a woman that’s not shy about her sex drive, her body, or her desires, and we need more heroines like this in romance. But Velle. Oh my baby Velle. He was the most dynamic, multi-layered of the three. Velle with his dark secrets and darker desires. He completely stole my heart.

A-are you gonna… lick me?” My breathing is truly out of control. “No.” He bites his lip. “I’m gonna eat you alive.”

Now this is not a story for the faint of heart. And what I appreciate about Nyla’s story telling is that she’s not afraid to go there. She’s not afraid to really dive right into the pits of true depravity if it’s what her characters demand, and it just WORKS. This is a book that if anyone else wrote it, I’d say had way too much sex. But when I tell you that EVERY SINGLE sex scene added something to the story, well that’s talent, folks. Because there was a lot of sex. A LOT. It was hot. It was incendiary. Seriously. It was fucking sizzling as hell. My loins are still burning.

There’s also nuances that get revealed from Distorted, and hints dropped about future characters. And just OMG. I FUCKING LOVED THIS BOOK.

It’s dark. It’s fucked up. It’s seriously fucked up. And I loved every depraved page of it. And the set up for the next one? HOLY SHIT!!!

So if you like your book dark as hell, sizzling enough to set ovaries on fire, and fucked up enough to make you uncomfy while reading it? READ THIS FUCKING BOOK.

That is all. I’m now off to calm my tits. And I thank you,

#DGRFave & Review: The Savage And The Swan by Ella Fields

THE SAVAGE AND THE SWAN
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: July 14, 2021

The king of wolves was more beast than man, more tyrant than king, and so much more than he seemed.
Raised to avenge his murdered parents, he’d been trained and conditioned until nothing but violence and hatred lined the walls of his dead heart.

For nearly four years, I’d done all I could to help my kingdom as we faced the wolf king’s unconquerable evil—hardly anything at all.
As the only heir to the Gracewood line, I’d been relegated to menial tasks that would keep me and my secrets safe.

A chance to do more than fret behind our castle walls arrived when I breached them after overhearing my parents’ plans for my future. Fleeing, I unknowingly raced into a fate we’d all desperately hoped to avoid.

By the time I saw him coming, it was far too late. For my family. For my kingdom.
For my heart.
Before I could staunch the bleeding, the king had me under his giant paw, and one wrong move after another caused those razor-sharp claws to sink deeper and deeper beneath my bruised skin.

I might have been trapped, naïve, and furious, but I still had a kingdom to save—and a plan.
 Yet when we collided, the bloodshed, the fear, his atrocities… all of it dissolved like stardust upon the night sea.

The stars had mapped out our destiny, but it didn’t matter what they or my heart wanted.
 I refused to see the enigmatic male, the heartless lost boy with a soul beneath the flesh of a monster.
The savage king who’d destroyed everything I loved would fall—even if my heart fell with him.

Inspired by Hades and Persephone, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Swan Princess, The Savage and the Swan is not connected to any other Ella Fields novel. It’s a full-length standalone romantic fantasy containing mature content.

AMAZON

I loathed her and all she stood for. I loathed her nearly as much as I wanted her. I’d been cursed. I was sure of it. The bird was both my remedy and my affliction.

*deep breaths*

Ok, ok, give me a second to gather my wits here.
*hyperventilates*

So I… no that’s not it.
This book was… no that’s not right.

*takes calming breath*

ILOVEDTHISFREAKINGBOOKSOMUCHICANTEVENDEALRIGHTNOW

Ah. I feel better now. So where were we?

It’s been a hot minute since I read a fantasy romance, and I’m not even sure why. I love PNR so of course I’d love fantasy, but I just haven’t come across anything that piqued my interest lately in the genre. Until I read the blurb for this book….

And then I may have begged, pleaded, and offered an ovary in exchange for an ARC. What? Don’t you judge me. Have you read that blurb? I mean C’MON!

Don’t you have innocent people to slaughter?” My cheeks burned, and I refused to meet his eyes, choosing instead to stare at his throat. The fine hairs that dusted it, crawling up and over that fiercely hewn chin.
“I’ve already crossed that off my to-do list,” he stated with such irritating indifference that I wished I had hit him with the poor books.

There is only one word to describe the experience that was this book. EPIC. The story developed behind my eyes like a movie reel and the majestic and rich world building sucked me right into an obsession.

The second I read that it was inspired by Hades and Persephone, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Swan Princess, I had to read it. Because I love all things Hades and Persephone, The Swan Princess is one of my favorite cartoons, and rumpelstistskin? Well I was simply rabid with curiosity on how that even fit in here.

Now imagine a world where two kingdoms are engaged in a bloody battle for years. A fae land where the beautiful princess has to marry a human prince in order to gain protection from the savage king of wolves, only to fall right into his clutches. Sound delicious? Well, that’s because it is.

If there’s one thing that I love, it’s a fierce heroine. And Opal? She was all of the things. She was fierce, brave, and one of my favorite heroines I’ve read in a while. And our wolfish king? OH MY OVARIES. The man was to die for. Pun intended. He’s a man who’s been honed into a finely tuned weapon for revenge. He’s vicious, cold hearted, and feared by all. The enemies to lovers vibe in this story was ON POINT. I couldn’t get enough of the tension between the two of them. And if there’s one thing that Ella does is deliver on that delicious angst with the feels thrown in and I was so here for it.

This is seriously going right up there in my top reads of 2021. I simply loved everything about this story. I devoured it. I was obsessed. I was riveted. Captivated. Hypnotized. I never wanted it to end. Ella seriously hit it right out of the ballpark with this book and I simply cannot recommend it enough. It was magical. It was deliciously, finger licking good. IT WAS EPIC.

#DGRFave Review & Excerpt: It Happened One Summer by Tessa Bailey

IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER
Series: It Happened One Summer #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Tessa Bailey
Release Date: July 13, 2021

Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong. 

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart.

AMAZON

Brendan Taggart was the first Westport resident to spot the women.He heard a car door slam out by the curb and slowly turned on the barrel that passed as a seat in No Name. His bottle of beer paused halfway to his mouth, the loud storytelling and music filling the bar fading away.

Through the grubby window, Brendan watched the pair exit on opposite sides of a taxi and immediately wrote them off as clueless tourists who obviously had the wrong address.

That is, until they started hauling suitcases out of the trunk. Seven, to be exact.

He grunted. Sipped his beer.

They were a ways off the beaten path. There wasn’t an inn for several blocks. On top of misjudging their destination, they were dressed for the beach at night, during a late-summer rain, no umbrella to speak of—and visibly confounded by their surroundings.

It was the one in the floppy hat who caught his eye right away, purely because she looked the most ridiculous, a lipstick-shaped purse dangling from her forearm, wrists limp and drawn up to her shoulders, as if she was afraid to touch something. She tilted her head back and gazed up at the building and laughed. And that laugh turned into what looked like a sob, though he couldn’t hear it through the music and pane of glass.

As soon as Brendan noticed the way the rain was molding the dress to Floppy Hat’s tits, he glanced away quickly, going back to what he’d been doing before. Pretending to be interested in Randy’s overboard story, even though he’d heard it eighty goddamn times.

“The sea was boiling that day,” Randy said, in a voice equivalent to scrap metal being crushed. “We’d already hit our quota and then some, thanks to the captain over here.” He saluted Brendan with his frothy pint. “And there I was, on a deck slipperier than a duck’s ass, picturing the bathtub full of cash I’d be swimming in when we got home. We’re hauling in the final pot, and there it was, the biggest crab in the damn sea, the motherfucking grandpappy of all crabs, and he tells me with his beady little eyes that he ain’t going down without a fight. Noooo, sir.”

Randy propped a leg up on the stool he’d been sitting on earlier, his craggy features arranged for maximum drama. He’d been working on Brendan’s boat longer than Brendan had been captaining it. Had seen more seasons than most of the crew combined. At the end of each one, he threw himself a retirement party. And then he showed up for the next season like clockwork, having spent every last dime of last year’s take.

“When I tell you that sucker wrapped a leg around the arm of my slicker, right through the pot, the mesh, all of it, I’m not lying. He was hell-bent for leather. Time froze, ladies and gentlemen. The captain is yelling at me to haul in the pot, but hear me now, I was bamboozled. That crab put a spell on me—I’m telling you. And that’s when the wave hit, conjured by the crab himself. Nobody saw it coming, and just like that, I was tossed into the drink.”

The man who was like a grandfather to Brendan took a pause to drain half his beer.

“When they pulled me in . . .” He exhaled. “That crab was nowhere to be found.”

The two people in the crowded bar who hadn’t already heard the legend laughed and applauded—and that was the moment Floppy Hat and the other one decided to make their entrance. Within seconds, it was quiet enough to hear a pin drop, and that didn’t surprise Brendan one bit. Westport was a tourist stop to be sure, but they didn’t get a lot of outsiders stumbling into No Name. It was an establishment that couldn’t be found on Yelp.

Mainly because it was illegal.

But it wasn’t only the shock of non-locals walking in and disrupting their Sunday-night bullshit session. No, it was the way they looked. Especially Floppy Hat, who walked in first, hitting the easy energy of the room with shock paddles. In her short, loose dress and sandals that wrapped around her calves, she could have stepped out of the pages of a fashion magazine for all those . . . tight lines and smooth curves.

Brendan could be objective about that.

His brain could point out an attractive woman without him caring one way or the other.

He set his beer down on the windowsill and crossed his arms, feeling a flash of annoyance at everyone’s stupefied expressions. Randy had rolled out the red carpet in the form of his tongue lolling out of his mouth, and the rest of the men were mentally preparing marriage proposals, by the look of it.

“Little help with the luggage, Pipes?” called the second girl from the entrance, where she’d propped open the door with a hip, struggling under the weight of a suitcase.

“Oh!” Floppy Hat whirled around, pink climbing the sides of her face—and hell, that was some face. No denying it, now that there wasn’t a dirty windowpane distorting it. Those were the kind of baby blues that made men sign their life away, to say nothing of that wide, stubborn upper lip. The combination rendered her guileless and seductive at the same time, and that was trouble Brendan wanted no part of. “Sorry, Hanns.” She winced. “I’ll go get the rest—”

“I’ll get them,” at least nine men said at once, tripping over themselves to reach the door. One of them took the suitcase from Floppy Hat’s companion, while several others lunged into the rain, getting stuck side by side in the doorway. Half of those jackasses were on Brendan’s crew, and he almost disowned them right then and there. 

Within seconds—although not without some familiar bickering—all seven suitcases were piled in the middle of the bar, everyone standing around them expectantly. “What gentlemen! So polite and welcoming,” Floppy Hat crooned, hugging her bizarre handbag to her chest. “Thank you!”

“Yes, thanks,” said the second girl quietly, drying the rain off her face with the sleeve of a UCLA sweatshirt. Los Angeles. Of course. “Uh, Pipes?” She turned in a circle, taking in their surroundings. “Are you sure this is the right place?”

In response to her friend’s question, she seemed to notice where she was standing for the first time. Those eyes grew even bigger as she catalogued the interior of No Name and the people occupying it. Brendan knew what she was seeing, and already he resented the way she recoiled at the dust on the mismatched seats, the broken floorboards, the ancient fishing nets hanging from the rafters. The disappointment in the downturned corners of her mouth spoke volumes. Not good enough for you, baby? There’s the door.

With prim movements, Pipes—keeper of ridiculous names and purses—snapped the handbag open and drew out a jewel-crusted phone, tapping the screen with a square red nail. “Is this . . . sixty-two North Forrest Street?”

A chorus of yeses greeted the strangled question.

“Then . . .” She turned to her friend, chest expanding on quick breaths. “Yes.”

“Oh,” responded UCLA, before she cleared her throat, pasting a tense smile on a face that was pretty in a much subtler way than Pipes’s. “Um . . . sorry about the awkward entrance. We didn’t know anyone was going to be here.” She shifted her weight in boots that wouldn’t be good for anything but sitting down. “I’m Hannah Bellinger. This is my sister, Piper.”

Piper. Not Pipes.

Not that it was much of an improvement.

The floppy hat came off, and Piper shook out her hair, as if they were in the middle of a photo shoot. She gave everyone a sheepish smile. “We own this place. Isn’t that crazy?”

If Brendan thought their entrance had produced silence, it was nothing compared to this.

Owned this place?

From IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER by Tessa Bailey, published by Avon Books. Copyright © 2021 by Tessa Bailey. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollinsPublishers.

He was a set-in-his-ways fisherman. She was a rich, adventurous socialite.

Y’all. I’m going to make a pretty extreme statement here and you may want to sit down for it. But this? This was, hands down, my favorite Tessa Bailey book to date. I’m on bookish cloud nine. I felt like I was floating just reading it. And the goofy grin on my face for the entire book? Couldn’t help it! I’m in love and his name is Brendan Taggart.
This book had everything; humor, steam, a slow burn, a small town setting, a quirky socialite, and a grumpy bear…err…fisherman.

It won’t let me just use my own name as my username.”
“Yeah, probably because about nine hundred Brendan Taggarts joined before you.”
“So what should I use?”
“CaptainCutie69,” Fox spat out.
“IGotCrabs4U,” Deke supplied.
“SlipperyWhenWet.” Brendan stared.
“You’re all fired. Go home.”

This story reminded me a little of It Had to Be You but in a totally unique way. Maybe it was just the feels that it brought out, but man, I just died.

Piper is a type of heroine that could easily be seen as a fluff, unless Tessa writes her. She’s a spoiled socialite who has never known hard work or trouble beyond no good parties around on the weekend. So when her stepfather finally has enough of her antics and inability to take anything serious, her and her sister find themselves in a small town running their late fathers dive bar in the middle of a fishing town. Suffice it to say they’re ill equipped for the task, but in the most hilarious of ways.

Piper followed, looking down at him from the top of the stairs. “Are we friends, Brendan?”
“No,” he called back, without missing a beat.
Her mouth hung open, a laugh huffing out of her as she closed the door. Hannah sat up and asked, “What the hell is going on there?”
Slowly, she shook her head. “I have no freaking idea.”

No one has ran the bar for years since the passing of their father. And the town just kind of took it as their own. So when Brendan meets who he assumes is an air headed socialite, suffice it to say they get off on the right foot. Add into the fact that no one knew of the long lost daughters and they do anything but fit in with the locals and well, it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen. But god was it good!

The slow burn of this romance was EVERYTHING. And I really mean everything. I loved watching Piper grow into her own and I loved watching Brendan fall for her. She was such a sweet, quirky, and endearing character. And the grumpy and broody fisherman captain? I LIVED FOR HIM.

Going to fuck the word ‘friend’ right out of your beautiful mouth. You’ll forget how to say anything but my name. Real quick, honey.”

I loved this book beyond words and beyond reason. It was funny, swoony, and with a sizzle of Tessa’s signature dirty talk and I was so here for it. If there’s one book you add to your TBR this summer, make it this one. The perfect beach read is here and I can’t recommend it enough. Now if Tessa can just write Hannah and Fox’s book faster because the level of need that I have for that one is UNREASONABLE.

 

#DGRFave & Review: For Lucy by Jewel E. Ann

FOR LUCY
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jewel E. Ann
Release Date: May 23, 2020

From USA Today & Wall Street Journal bestselling author Jewel E. Ann comes a novel so heartfelt and real it redefines the meaning of love. I’m the wrong guy in the right place the night I steal Tatum Bradshaw from another man. When she mistakes me for her blind date, I decide she deserves a man who shows up on time … like me. Emmett Riley, Mr. Punctual. Once I confess my true identity and convince her I’m not a creep–just a thief–it’s only a matter of time before my sexy smile and quick wit claim her heart, her hand in marriage, and the perfect life. Unfortunately, perfection is an illusion, like the promises of our wedding vows. No one can prepare for the unimaginable–the heartbreaking exception to all the rules in life. When thirty seconds destroys everything, I have to find a new existence and keep my promise to always love our daughter, Lucy, the most. For Lucy, I will keep a secret, and I will watch my wife drift into the arms of another man. Given the chance … can I reclaim my wife and the pieces of our life? *This story contains sensitive subject matter.

 AMAZON

It’s never been my hands keeping her hostage. I’ve always loved her with open arms. My love has never been forced. It’s always been free. She’s the one who cannot walk away. And she knows she needs me to take the blame for that too. So I do. Because that’s how I love her

This. Book. It emotionally eviscerated me. I was sobbing into my pillow at 2 am, completely incapable of setting it down, and totally wrecked by the story. This was a second chance romance unlike any I’ve every read. It was raw, devastating, heart wrenching, and so full of depth I felt like I was drowning in it. I think what struck me the most is that you can easily see yourself in the couple. In the devastation and what ifs that they go through, you feel it on a soul deep level that just stays with you and burrows so deep, it hurts even when you finish.

No matter how hard we try to be perfect, we are not. No matter how hard we try to do the right thing, the wrong thing manages to trip us up. No matter how undeserving one might feel of forgiveness, no one is unworthy of it.

While I’m not usually a fan of time jumps, it’s done absolutely flawlessly here. Jewel effortlessly weaves the past into the story where it doesn’t detract from the time line but adds a morsel of understanding with each new detail of their past that gets unveiled. I’m not going to tell you what the story is about. Read the blurb and go in with just that. Trust me on this. This a book that you simply need to experience blind. What I will tell you, is that I already somewhat knew what I’d be getting into and avoided starting it for that reason. I wasn’t sure I was ready for the type of feelings I knew it would invoke. However, the author handled the incredibly delicate subject matter so incredibly well, that I kicked myself for waiting to start. She gives details without going into too many details. I can’t tell you more so as to not ruin it, but I’ll say that the way it was written was sheer perfection. It was depth without being too much that I would be bawling my eyes out. All the while I still bawled my eyes out, but for other reasons.

Emmett?” “Hmm?” “Thank you.” “For what?” “For being in my corner.” Swallowing my pride, my pain, and a lifetime of emotions, I nod several times. “Always.”

When Emmett met Tatum, he knew she was the one. And no it wasn’t the corny insta love sort of thing. It could have easily been that way. But instead it was endearing and emotional and oh so good. The book is told entirely in Emmett’s POV which I really loved. Being in his head was unlike anything I’ve experienced. The man is flawed but also perfect. He loves selflessly. He gives everything. And he’s impossible not to love wholeheartedly. The story spans years, the majority of it in the present, where Tatum and Emmett have been divorced for 5 years, still dealing with the fallout of their marriage. I hated Tatum for a good portion of this book. While a deeper part of me understood her, I still couldn’t help but hate her for the things she says and does. Emmett is just so flawed yet perfect, that it was impossible to hate her a little being in his head, even though he loves her selflessly through all of the pain.

You can’t love me,” she whispers. “You can’t tell me who to love.”

The story is incredibly emotionally charged and raw. It’s full of love and pain, mistakes and forgiveness. If you’re looking for a second chance romance that will own you, heart and soul, look no further. Dare I say this may have been my favorite Jewel E Ann book to date.

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.

Connect with Jewel 

Website | Goodreads | Amazon | Facebook | Facebook Group | Instagram | Twitter  |Bookbub | Pinterest

#DGRFave & Review: Reparation of Sin by Natasha Knight & A Zavarelli

REPARATION OF SIN
Series: The Society Trilogy #2
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli
Release Date: April 20,  2021

My husband hates me. But he’s also the only man who can save me.

Taken by a stranger, Santiago is my only hope.

Except that I don’t know if he’s dead or alive.

And for as cruel as he can be, the thought he might be gone is unbearable.

But he has nine lives, my monster.
He’s not finished with me yet.

And soon I’m back at The Manor.
Locked in my room.
At his mercy.

I know I am despised.
I know I have become the face of his vengeance.

But there’s something else too. Something between us. It’s a dark and gnarled thing. And it has its claws around my heart.

AMAZON | iBOOKS | NOOK | KOBO

 

Requiem of the Soul #1

AMAZON | iBOOKS | NOOK | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY 

PREORDER #2 & #3 TODAY!

Resurrection of the Heart #3– Releasing May 18th

AMAZON | iBOOKS | NOOK | KOBO

It’s not my right to claim this yet, and it may not be healthy, but she’s mine. I didn’t see that for too long, I didn’t value that the way I should have, but she is God damned mine.

When I tell you that I INHALED this book the second it landed on my kindle…

I’m talking the sort of obsessed that keeps you hidden in a dark bathroom with a locked door so the kids don’t interrupt your reading. I’m talking the sort of obsessed that leaves you with honest to gawd shakes when you’re done because you’re that desperate for your next fix. I CANNOT DEAL RIGHT NOW. THIS TRILOGY.

Do you know the last time I can tell you when I liked book two in the trilogy almost more than book one? Never. It’s pretty much never happened. But where book one was spell binding, this was a dose of electricity straight down my spine. I LOVED IT is what I’m trying to tell you here. LIKE dying for the next book loved.

Now if you follow my reviews, you already know I love mean heroes. If they’re extra tortured and mercurial, even better. And Santiago is the definition of a tortured alphahole. The man is beyond broken and all things damaged. His pain is rooted with the type of betrayal you can’t recover from. So when faced with the betrayal of his own wife? Not even the devil himself can keep his vengeance at bay. There were times in this book where I wanted to throw him off a tall cliff. Honest to god, the man took things way too far and almost to the point of no return when it came to his wife. And yet, I couldn’t help but still root for him. How does that even happen?!

Ivy is the type of heroine by bookish dreams are made of. She’s a fighter with a sharp wit and a spine of steel. She doesn’t back down easily and even though she’s been through hell and back, she doesn’t stop fighting. This book almost brings her to her breaking point, and it was devastating to watch that point be brought by here husband. But man was it unputdownable.

Lies, betrayal, murder, a secret society with archaic rules…this story had it all. It was spine tinglingly delicious and addictive to the point where I binge read it in one sitting. To say that I’m dying for the conclusion is a mild understatement here!

About A. Zavarelli:

A. Zavarelli is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author of dark and contemporary romance.

When she’s not putting her characters through hell, she can usually be found watching bizarre and twisted documentaries in the name of research.

She currently lives in the Northwest with her lumberjack and an entire brood of fur babies.

Connect w/A. Zavarelli: 

FacebookFacebook GroupInstagram | Twitter | Mailing List | Website | Goodreads |Amazon | Bookbub

About Natasha Knight:

Natasha Knight is the USA Today Bestselling author of Romantic Suspense and Dark Romance Novels. She has sold over half a million books and is translated into six languages. She currently lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two daughters and when she’s not writing, she’s walking in the woods listening to a book, sitting in a corner reading or off exploring the world as often as she can get away.

Connect w/Natasha: 

Website: | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter  | Instagram | Pinterest |  Goodreads | Bookbub | Amazon |  NL Signup 

#DGRFave & Review:Requiem of the Soul by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

REQUIEM OF THE SOUL
Series: The Society Trilogy #1
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli
Release Date: March 23,  2021

A Brand New Arranged Marriage Dark Romance Series by A. Zavarelli and Natasha Knight.

I was born with noble blood in my veins.

Heir to a powerful dynasty.

Wealth. Power. Aristocracy.

Temptations too dangerous to resist.

Until someone tried to steal it all.

Scarred and broken, I emerged from the flames.

Now I’ve returned to take what’s mine.

Revenge.

The first item on my agenda?
Make Ivy Moreno my wife.

Second?
Bend her until she breaks.

AMAZON

I’m your worst fucking nightmare, wife of mine. It’s about time you realized it.”

Tell me a book completely owned you without telling me a book completely owned you.
When two of your favorite authors come together to write a trilogy, you just know you’re in for something good. But when I tell you that nothing prepared me for this story, I mean NOTHING prepared me for this story. It. Was. EVERYTHING.

She will be mine to do with as I please. Mine to take. Touch. Torment.

I devoured this book in one sitting and was left rocking myself in a corner while nursing the book hangover to beat all book hangovers. GAH. I still just can’t, but I’ll try to get my sh*t together long enough to write this review.

A secret society of secrets, duty and power. A revenge years in the making. An arranged marriage between a ruthless man and the beautiful woman stuck in the crosshairs of his deadly plans. Sound intriguing? IT WAS EVERYTHING!

Santiago and his sister are the last remaining in their family line. He’s spent years waiting for his revenge, and now Ivy will become collateral damage in his plan. I don’t even know how to describe the feelings this story brought out in me. There’s just this aura of darkness with a doze of spine tingling danger that hooked me from the first page and kept me riveted until the last one.

Santiago is the ultimate tortured and brooding hero. Or an anti-hero, if you will. Because the man is the furthest thing from decent. He’s set on his revenge at any cost, and his new bride is the ultimate collateral damage. Her family cost him everything and he will make them pay, starting with her.

Ivy was an incredible heroine. She’s strong, fierce, but also with just the right amount of vulnerability that just makes you connect with her from the second she appears on her page.

This book had everything; incredible chemistry, a dark undercurrent of mystery, a dangerous revenge, and romance brewing in spite of everything being stacked against it. And then that cliffhanger? I honestly don’t even know what to do with myself until the next book. But what I do know, is this is easily one of my favorite books from both of these authors and I DIED for it. DIED FOR IT I TELLS YA!

#DGRFave & Review: The Darkest Temptation by Danielle Lori

THE DARKEST TEMPTATION
Series:
Made #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Danielle Lori
Release Date: December 12, 2020

A fortune teller once told Mila she’d find a man who would take her breath away. She refrained from telling her it would be literally while Mila ran for her life.

Having always done what is expected of her, Mila dresses the part, only dates college boys with exemplary backgrounds, and doesn’t ask questions. Not about her papa’s absences or his refusal to let her set foot in her birthplace—Russia.

Suffocated by the rules and unanswered questions, Mila does what she’s always wanted to. She boards a plane to Moscow.

She never expected to fall for a man on the way. One with unexplained wealth, tattoos on his hands, and secrets in his eyes. But it doesn’t take long for his caress to become a rough grasp muffling her screams.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately, a Russian winter is the coldest of them all, and Mila soon learns the only way to escape intact is to do the impossible and thaw her captor’s heart.

 AMAZON 

He was a monster dressed like a gentleman.

When I tell you that I am obsessed with this series, I’m saying I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SERIES. If you have been sleeping on this author and haven’t yet been introduced to her brilliance, allow me to give you the swift kick in the @ss that you obviously need. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Now if you haven’t read the first two books in this series, you’re seriously missing out, however, you can easily read this as a standalone. Ronan is Christian Allister’s brother from The Maddest Obsession and when I tell you that NOTHING will prepare you for his story, I mean NOTHING will prepare you for his story. This book isn’t quite dark, but it’s gritty AF. It skates the edge of darkness with a splash of dub-con and this girl LIVED for it.

She gave me her forgiveness. I had nothing to give her but vengeance

Ronan is the ultimate anti-hero and Mila is his innocent and slightly naive unsuspecting victim in his plot for revenge. Oh and did I mention the age gap? Because GAH. Delish! But I digress. One of my favorite things about this book was the development of both of these characters. It was watching Mila go from a young, naive, and sheltered young woman to someone that’s fierce and has a spine of steel, even when facing off with the devil of Moscow. She’s searching for answers and freedom and lands in the lap of her family’s ultimate enemy.

Ronan’s name gets whispered in fear throughout Moscow. The devil of Moscow, as he’s so eloquently called, is a ruthless and brutal crime boss. He has a hidden agenda when the beautiful Mila lands so perfectly in his clutches, one she never sees coming. But the more time Mila spends in his captivity, the more the plot twists. Because the cold and unfeeling devil soon begins to feel.

When I tell you I lived for this book, I mean I LIVED for this book. This was my most anticipated and favorite book in the series. Hands down. The tension. The grit. The slow burn. The character development. All of it so flawlessly combined to create a completely unputdownable and unforgettable story. These characters will stay with me for a long while and will be my ultimate rec for anyone looking for a great mafia read. This book was EVERYTHING. Sexually charged, quick paced, and full of twists and turns. I devoured it from cover to cover. Danielle seriously outdid herself with Mila and Ronan’s story.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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