Geri’s Review: All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

ALL YOUR PERFECTS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Colleen Hoover
Release Date: July 17, 2018

Colleen Hoover delivers a tour de force novel about a troubled marriage and the one old forgotten promise that might be able to save it.

Quinn and Graham’s perfect love is threatened by their imperfect marriage. The memories, mistakes, and secrets that they have built up over the years are now tearing them apart.

The one thing that could save them might also be the very thing that pushes their marriage beyond the point of repair.

All Your Perfects is a profound novel about a damaged couple whose potential future hinges on promises made in the past.

This is a heartbreaking page-turner that asks: Can a resounding love with a perfect beginning survive a lifetime between two imperfect people?

 

AMAZON

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!

It’s been a while since I’ve truly sat down and read a Colleen Hoover book until I came across the blurb for this book.

One. It has a marriage-in-peril trope that I love in my books. Two, the blurb along with the first chapter the author shared on social media truly captured my interest. Three. The meet-cute was quite unique. The whole book itself, however, was disappointing.

Quinn and Graham are two married couple whose marriage is on the brink of collapse. There were many things that contributed to this collapse, which readers will slowly learn but the main contributor to their marriage’s demise was Quinn’s infertility.

This was handled well by Hoover. As the book is told by Quinn, we get to experience her pain and bitterness first hand. And a lot of the scenarios that she mentioned rang very true. We immediately understand that this is a woman who is depressed and is barely holding on. Quinn’s POV benefited a lot from Hoover’s sparse but emotional prose. She captured Quinn’s pain so well.

Unfortunately, the past and present storytelling ruined the momentum for me. I hated it. Just when the story starts to get really interesting, you get pulled into the past again. It was Ugly Love all over again! Maybe it was an attempt to make the story more suspenseful than it is or emotional, but whatever the reason was, it didn’t work for me. I found myself getting angry and frustrated having to go back and forth to get the whole story.

Another thing that didn’t work for me were the secondary characters. Quinn’s mother was also a piece of work. She wasn’t a very developed character. She’s just there to be terrible and make Quinn feel bad. And now that I think about it, this book didn’t have a lot of characters. We get to meet Quinn’s sister and her husband, Quinn and Graham’s exes, and Graham’s sister, but they’re not very well-developed characters. They’re there to either prop up (Quinn’s sister) or tear down (Quinn’s mother) the two main protagonists. But I digress.

I didn’t really like Graham either. He is, in my opinion, one of Hoover’s weakest heroes. And I don’t know if it’s because we didn’t get his POV or whatever but he was just boring. The whole cheating thing—yes, it was cheating and there was really no justification for it—made me dislike him even more. I’m not even going to touch on his asinine reason for doing so but yeah, I wasn’t a fan of Graham at all. Not even his letters could make me like him.

And that ending? Ehhh. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t spectacular or fleshed out either. It felt very rushed. They opened the box, they cried, and everything just smoothed itself out. However, it was worth mentioning that they apologized to each other and renewed their commitment. But overall, it felt, I don’t know, underwhelming and rushed after all that build up.

Ultimately, this was too heavy-handed for me. Like it’s not enough that Quinn is infertile, she has to suffer more tragedy, she has get cheated on. But that wasn’t enough apparently because she has to miscarry and get a hysterectomy. I mean, goodness, the option to adopt was even taken away from her. There has to be more! More suffering, more hopelessness until it becomes a never-ending cycle of suck.

I was reading this book and I couldn’t help but think “Wow, CoHo really loves to torture her heroines.” Some of her last few releases had been a torture-fest for her female characters. I should be happy, I guess, that at least they’d get HEA but my gosh, she has to torture them first. Which brings me to my last point. One thing I realized about myself as a reader is that the more an author makes the heroine suffer by letting her go through tragedy after tragedy, after the less I care. Other readers have said this was an emotional book and I can see that, but it was just lost on me. It felt manipulative. From the way the whole story was structured to the ungodly amount of tragedy that befell the heroine, it felt manipulative. That was the whole feeling I had while reading this book.

Geri’s Review: Scoring the Player’s Baby by Naima Simone

SCORING THE PLAYER’S BABY
Series: WAGS #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Naima Simone
Release Date: July 9th 2018

 

After a divorce from her cheating football player ex, PR whiz Kim Matlock would rather drive a pine tree through her walled-off heart than work at the Seattle Wedding Expo.

And the last thing she expects is to be grabbed and kissed breathless by a hot giant of a man looking to fend off a stalker.

She doesn’t want emotional entanglements, but she can’t say no to one scorching night with the sexy stranger.

To her shock, she finds out afterward that a) he’s a pro football player, aka her kryptonite, and b) she’s pregnant.

But nothing could have prepared her for his response…

 

AMAZON

I’ll give you whatever you ask for. Use me in any way you need to erase those shadows in your eyes.”

One of the things that I really like about Naima Simone’s books are her characters. She writes hot-as-sin heroes and gorgeous, accomplished heroines. Scoring the Player’s Baby is no different. It’s a fun, sexy read with a lot of heart.

Ronin Palamo is living a life most men could only dream of. He’s playing for a championship caliber team and he doesn’t lack female companionship. He has it all. But it doesn’t take long for readers to notice that Ronin is hiding a deep wound. One that makes him wary of love and relationship. He doesn’t want it or need it. Or so he thought.

His resolve was tested when he meets Kim Matloc. Like Ronin, Kim is hiding wounds of her own. She was cheated on by her ex-husband who also happens to be a football player. She also issues with her birth father who basically abandoned her and her mother as a child. This makes Kim not trust men in general. She armored herself so no one could ever hurt her again.

I liked Ronin a lot, but I LOVED Kim even more. She’s a successful woman who is constantly underestimated by people. Except for her half-brother, Kim has been hurt by the men in her life and I did not blame her a bit for disbelieving Ronin.

It took me awhile to warm up to Ronin. This is mostly due to personal preference. While I enjoy sexy, gregarious heroes, I don’t really gravitate to them all that much. I prefer a grumpier type hero and Ronin is the exact opposite of that. He’s full of personality which can be overwhelming at times. It was when he shows his vulnerable side that he shines as a character. I also didn’t really like the constant reference to ‘being a pussy’ or the ‘man card’ in his POV. It was very distracting.

Despite those things, I enjoyed the banter between Kim and Ronin. I liked how they resolved their issues, and the grand gesture towards the end was really cute. Although, I must say that Ronin’s come-to-Jesus moment felt a bit rushed considering he seemed hung up on his dead ex-girlfriend. The epilogue, however, leaves little doubt in your mind as to Ronin’s devotion to Kim.

Overall, Scoring the Player’s Baby scored a 100 on the hotness scale. If you’ve enjoyed Naima Simone’s books before, you will find plenty of things to enjoy here.

Review: Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley

ROUGH RIDE
Series: Chaos #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Kristen Ashley
Release Date: February 13, 2018

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kristen Ashley comes a new story in her Chaos series…

Rosalie Holloway put it all on the line for the Chaos Motorcycle Club.

Informing to Chaos on their rival club—her man’s club, Bounty—Rosalie knows the stakes. And she pays them when her man, who she was hoping to scare straight, finds out she’s betrayed him and he delivers her to his brothers to mete out their form of justice.

But really, Rosie has long been denying that, as she drifted away from her Bounty, she’s been falling in love with Everett “Snapper” Kavanagh, a Chaos brother. Snap is the biker-boy-next door with the snowy blue eyes, quiet confidence and sweet disposition who was supposed to keep her safe… and fell down on that job.

For Snapper, it’s always been Rosalie, from the first time he saw her at the Chaos Compound. He’s just been waiting for a clear shot. But he didn’t want to get it after his Rosie was left bleeding, beat down and broken by Bounty on a cement warehouse floor.

With Rosalie a casualty of an ongoing war, Snapper has to guide her to trust him, take a shot with him, build a them…

And fold his woman firmly in the family that is Chaos.

Note: Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.

AMAZON

I don’t care what way I gotta take you, as mine or just havin’ you in my life in a way you’d let me be there, but however that is, I’m not givin’ up. Not ever, Rosalie.

It’s been a while since I reached for a KA fix. Truth be told, the last two releases were a very sad DNF for me that left me questioning if I’d finally reached a point where I had to admit defeat with one of my previously favorite authors. But I love The Chaos series, and I simply couldn’t help but one-click this book to see if I’ll finally get a bit of those KA feels back. It’s just been too long since I felt them!

Did I 5 star love this book? No. It was simply too short for me to truly get fully invested in. It did, however, bring back some of those KA feels for me. Now some may have an issue with Rosalie being a little bit of a…uhem…men hopper. But for me, I totally bought into the why of it. Dare I say, I understood it even. Basically, it didn’t bother me in the least. Nor was I bothered by the practically instant relationship development that happened between her and Snapper. It’s a novella, so I didn’t expect much on this end to be quite honest. I actually enjoyed the quicker pace of the story.

With KA’s previous two releases, I struggled with the slower pace, the stunted story where everything happens by 50% and then I’m reading a bunch of nothing for the last half. This book kept me invested from beginning to finish, without the typical wordiness or over descriptive prose.

Rosalie definitely has a lot of history with the men of Chaos, but that didn’t bother me either. I didn’t feel that she was still pining after Shy and I was totally sold on the connection between her and Snapper. Rough Ride definitely gave me the fix I was looking for and it was an enjoyable one. The one thing that kept this from being a full 4 stars for me was that ending. What in the ever loving hell was that? A lead in for the next book? A story hook? A glimpse of what’s to come? It took a perfectly satisfying HEA and turned it on its ass and left me confused, slightly annoyed, and anxious.
But mostly confused.

Seriously. What even was that? I still have no idea what happened. And no, it wasn’t a cliffhanger. I genuinely don’t even know what it was.

Either way, this was still a fun read and gave me my KA fix that I was looking for, so money well spent for this girl.

Geri’s Review: A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole

A PRINCESS IN THEORY
Series: Reluctant Royals #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Alyssa Cole
Release Date:  February 27, 2018

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed.

When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | KOBO

A Princess in Theory was one of my most anticipated reads for 2018, for good reasons. One. It has a fairy tale like premise: a royal prince looking for his long-lost betrothed who happens to have no idea of who he is and thinks he’s just out to scam her. Two. I’ve seen and read countless of “royal romance” stories in the past year or so featuring princes and princesses from fictional European countries but zero stories from non-Euro fictional kingdoms. A Princess in Theory gives us the fictional African kingdom of Thesolo. And let me tell you right now, after reading the book, I am so ready to book a one-way ticket to Thesolo. Three. The book features a STEM heroine and a prince. I mean, come on. That’s like peak OTP for me.

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So yes, I have high expectations for this book and fortunately, all of it were not just met, but were exceeded by this book. Alyssa Cole created a very colorful and exciting world filled with complex and interesting characters.

“She was fine on her own. She always had been. And if no good guy ever made it past her barriers? Well, that’d be fine, too. Just fine.”

Naledi is right up there as being one of my favorite heroines ever. She’s smart, driven, and a little bit broken. She hides her emotions behind a tough exterior but she’s all gooey on the inside. Her backstory was heartbreaking and explains why she keeps everyone at arm’s length. Prince Thabiso’s arrival challenges Ledi’s boundaries and forces her to change in so many ways. I love where the author took this character. The emotional character journey Ledi went through was so amazing and so worth it.

Ledi isn’t the only thing that made me love this book though. Everyone, meet the Crown Prince of Thesolo, Prince Thabiso.

“But instead of a peeved researcher standing in the doorway, there was the finest man Ledi had ever seen outside of a social media thirst trap pic.”

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Sorry. I didn’t mean to show my thirst like that but oh-em-gee, Jamal aka Prince Thabiso was amazing. And I don’t just say that because he’s hot and he’s a prince. Like Ledi, he went through his own emotional journey.

Thabiso is a prince—the Prince. He’s loyal and he loves his people, but he was also arrogant, privileged and can be dismissive of other people’s feelings. He grew up surrounded by people who’re there to accommodate his whims and desires. He was in for a rude awakening with Ledi though because here was a woman who he thought would fall over herself because he’s a prince. Instead he found someone who not only didn’t know who he is but mistakes him for a hired help.

I loved how he changed from this arrogant prince to someone worthy of Ledi’s love and affection. Their romance just builds off of that initial meeting and went to some really interesting places.

“Her mouth curved up into a smile and something in his chest moved out of alignment.

The romance between Ledi and Thabiso wasn’t all rainbows and roses. Ledi has her own issues while Thabiso wasn’t really being honest. And I admit I was nervous because there’s a chance that Thabiso’s deception would be swept under a rug just because he’s the hero of the story and that the reader and the heroine are supposed to forgive him immediately. Rest assured, Ledi did not make it easy for him. And I liked that so much. Thabiso had to work for her forgiveness and nothing warms my heart more than a hero that grovels.

“Fuckboyism is a fairly common disease in men aged eighteen to thirty-five.”
“What’s the cure?” he asked.
“You’ll have to ask your doctor about that. But I can tell you right now that it’s not me.”

And oh, did I mention that this book was funny? Not slapstick funny but understated-but-still-makes-you-laugh-out-loud funny. Ledi’s Ledisms are hilarious and Thabiso’s stint as a lowly waiter had me rolling.

I also loved the secondary cast of characters from Thabiso’s parents to Ledi’s family and friends. Speaking of friends, Portia, Ledi’s best friend was very interesting. There were moments where I really didn’t like what she did, but I couldn’t help but root for her to find redemption. Her story is next and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am to read it.

A Princess in Theory is a breath of fresh air. If you’re looking for a swoon-worthy read, I highly recommend this. This book made laugh and gave me characters I could relate and really root for. I finished this book with a huge smile on my face. I was soooo good, you guys! I highly recommend it.

And Alyssa Cole, take a bow, because A Princess in Theory is one of those books that readers will be recommending and talking about in the weeks to come.

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m just gonna run out and one-click more Alyssa Cole books. Kthnxbye.

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DGR’s 2017 Favorites: GERI’S PICKS

Another year gone in the blink of an eye and the turn of many book pages. And did we have a lot of book pages between us. We had one hell of a 5 star year between the three of us and we can’t wait to share our favorites with you all. Oh wait…we’re not waiting. Well, can’t say suspense was ever a forte of ours.

I had a great reading year! There were so many books that I enjoyed throughout the year but the books I picked for my favorite reads for 2017 are special. They’re not necessarily perfect 5-star books but they are the ones that stayed with me. And it might sound corny to you but these books have changed my life and gave me a new perspective this past year. And I’m so glad I could share them all to you!

So without further ado, I present to you my favorite picks for 2017!! *in random order


GERI’S FAVORITES OF 2017 


DEVIL IN SPRING by Lisa Kleypas

This book put me on an HEA coma that I had a hard time waking up from. It had everything I want in a historical romance:

-Funny banter? CHECK
-Swoony hero? CHECK
-Adorable heroine? CHECK
-Sizzling sexy time? DOUBLE CHECK

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Everything about Devil in Spring just tick all the boxes. I was swooning and grinning and swooning some more. Not only did Lisa Kleypas gave us a new OTP to root for, she also gave romance readers what they want: seeing previous book couples living their happily ever after.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


THE DUCHESS DEAL by Tessa Dare

And yet another book that had us (Lana, Jen and I) swooning for days! The Duchess Deal is wonderful romantic take on the beauty-and-the-beast trope. And it has one of the funniest meet-cute I’ve read this year.

I just love how this book was so unabashedly romantic–hence the swooning–and how humorous it is. This book had me in stitches. The scarred hero, Ashbury, was a perfect blend of grumpiness and deadpan humor. His interaction with the heroine and the other characters in the book were delightful. And Emma the vicar’s daughter turned duchess was delightful. Tessa Dare have consistently been writing fabulous heroines throughout her career and Emma is no exception.

I have been recommending this book to everyone who will listen especially those who don’t necessarily read historical romance but want to. This book is the perfect gateway for readers who want to try this genre!

AMAZON | GOODREADS | MY REVIEW


ILLEGAL CONTACT by Santino Hassell

If you’re looking for a slow-burn romance featuring two equally gorgeous and equally stubborn characters, Illegal Contact is the book for you. I’ve already heard some fabulous things about this author but it wasn’t until this book that I finally took the plunge and read a Santino. And boy, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year ’cause this book was EVERYTHING!

Steamy hot with loads of banter and full emotional moments that had me smiling or laughing or crying, sometimes all the same time. There’s nothing like a hard-won happily-ever-after, and this book gave me one of the most satisfying HEAs this year. No one is more deserving than Noah and Gavin.

Illegal Contact was fun ride from beginning to end. And yes, I am now hunting every Santino Hassell book I could get my hands on so I could do some catch up reading.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


FEELS LIKE SUMMER by Six de los Reyes

Six de los Reyes came to my attention after Courtney Milan raved about her book Beginner’s Guide on Twitter. I hastily grabbed a copy and hasn’t looked back since. I love her quirky characters and her humor, all of which are in full display in this book.

Feels Like Summer is engaging characters, captivating storyline and super hot sexy times. A story about a hot up-coming rockstar who needed a 5-minute pretend girlfriend and the mysterious, complex girl who made him want to extend that 5 minutes into eternity. *swoon*

Seriously, this book was fun and delightful read. Plus, it’s definitely the author’s hottest book yet. And lemme tell you that after reading this book, I don’t think I could look at a light saber the same way again.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


SILVER SILENCE by Nalini Singh

Oh my gah, Valentin. *melts into a puddle of goo*

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This Changeling alpha bear stole my heart from the get go and he almost ALMOST replaced Hawke as my favorite Nalini Singh hero ever! No small feat coz duh, Hawke is Hawke but oh man, Valentin is right up there. It has intrigued and a dash of suspense. But the romance…the ROMANCE was top-notch swoonworthy. SO BEARY GOOD!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


PRETTY FACE by Lucy Parker

 Sometimes I feel like the book goods are smiling down at me and they send me a book that ticks all of my “how I want my romance book to be” boxes. Reading Pretty Face by Lucy Parker is definitely one of those times. And oh my gosh, I don’t have enough words to express how much I love this book! Lucy Parker delivered a stunning follow up to Act Like It. I was in book heaven!

Luc and Lily ended up becoming of my favorite couples of all time. I have a weakness for grumpy, taciturn heroes with hidden sweet side, and Luc fits the bill perfectly. And Lily is just awesome.

Pretty Face is full of laugh-out-loud dialogue, quick witted banter and scorching chemistry between Luc and Lily. The conflict also felt organic. And their banter is beyond hilarious! And did I mention swoony? As you might notice, I’m addicted to swoony books and Pretty Face delivers on the swoon factor!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


BETTER AT WEDDINGS THAN YOU by Mina Esguerra

If someone were to ask me why they should read this book, I would say read it because of the wedding planner hero. That might sound too simplistic but that’s totally what made me one-click this book.

Both the hero and heroine are wedding planners. Talk about subverting expectations and challenging well established gender roles! It’s something that this author did really well in this book. Mina Esguerra is one of the authors that I follow that continues to challenge me as a reader. She challenges me in the way she writes her characters and the way she tells their story. I love it when authors challenge me like that. Like I never thought I would one day read about a male wedding planner who happens to be the hero in the book! But Mina gave that to me, and it makes me weep with joy!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


MAGIC BINDS but really the KATE DANIELS SERIES by Ilona Andrews

Okay, full disclosure: I AM OBSESSED with this series. And if it were up to me (which thank God, it’s not), I would totally include the whole Kate Daniels series on this list. That would be nine books, not including the novellas, which I also loved! Y’all would be here all day reading about how much I LOVE LOVE this series and how much you guys SHOULD TOTALLY READ IT!

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I love everything about it. EVERYTHING! But my top two reasons would be Kate Daniels and Curran Lennart. Sarcastic, mouthy Kate and growly, scary Curran! *heart eyes* You guys, they are my ultimate OTP. Their meet-cute was hilarious and they brawl throughout the series.

To be honest, it scares me how much I’m invested in this series. Like I would legit cry once the series is finally over. OMG, don’t even get me started on the possibility of my favorite characters dying. I won’t be handle it!

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


DAY OF THE DUCHESS by Sarah MacLean

I was a sobbing mess after I finished this book! It has tons of angst and tension and best of all, it has a fabulous amount of groveling!!

I am in love with everything Sarah MacLean writes. Her stories make me laugh, cry and swoon at the same time. And even though her books are set at time where women are subservient to men but she always managed to write strong and complex heroines.

And her heroes are as amazing and interesting as her heroines. Strong, complicated men who will stop at nothing just to prove their love for the heroine. *heart-eyes* And the hero in this book is one of her most flawed and most unforgettable. Boy, talk about a hero who fell from grace.

There’s a reason why I always mention Sarah MacLean’s name every time someone asks me for recommendations on which historical romances they should read, and this book perfectly illustrates that. You want heart-wrenching, emotionally satisfying historical romance with complex characters? Pick a MacLean. You won’t regret.

GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


BURN FOR ME, WHITE HOT, WILDFIRE by Ilona Andrews

Ah, the series that launched my Ilona Andrews obsession. This series is phenomenal!! I don’t even know where to begin! I’m not a huge fan of Urban Fantasy. Don’t ask me coz I’ve already forgotten my reasons why. I mean, what was I thinking really? UF is great. And Ilona Andrews writes some of best! And this series? Yeah, one of the best. No doubt about it.

IA hooked me and they still haven’t let go. This series has everything! The world building is masterful. It has magic and family rivalries and intrigue and suspense! Not to mention, there are plenty of pulse pounding action and a healthy dose of “made-me-weak-in-the-knees” romance.

I believe in paying it forward. So every time I found someone who says they don’t read UF, I get in their face and show them this series. They don’t call me hooker Geri for nothing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go and pester Lana and Jenn to read this series.

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GOODREADS | AMAZON | MY REVIEW


Check out Jenn’s list HERE

Check out Lana’s list HERE

Blog Tour & Excerpt: Gun Shy by Lili St. Germain

GUN SHY
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Author: Lili St. Germain
Release Date: October 6, 2017
A stand alone psychological thriller.

** NOT A ROMANCE **

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS GIRL?

In the middle of a fierce snowstorm in Gun Creek, Nevada, seventeen-year-old Jennifer Thomas disappears without a trace.

The second girl in nine years.

Identical cases. Identical conditions. Only last time, the girl was found. Dead, stuffed in a well beside the creek that feeds the town’s water supply.

The killer was never found.

As the small town mobilizes and searches for newly vanished Jennifer Thomas, one suspect comes to the fore. But did he do it? Or is there something else at play? Something nobody could have anticipated?

For Jennifer’s friend Cassie Carlino, the worst is yet to come. As she pins MISSING posters to store windows and joins the search, she begins to suspect that Jennifer’s disappearance might be much closer to her than she could have ever imagined. 


Amazon | Nook | Kobo | iBooks

 Leo

I visit Jennifer every evening at the diner; she seems to like the attention, and I could use the distraction. I make sure to turn up just before her shift ends, and she gives me a ride home every night. The first night she came over we ended up talking for hours. My mouth hurt by the end, every sense on high alert. I was a gentleman. I didn’t lay a hand on her again, not after she started to talk. She’s in trouble. A lot of trouble. I think it eased her mind to be able to confess to somebody who pretty much wrote the book on trouble in this town.I mean, there’s not a thing I can do to help the girl. Not unless she tells me who got her into this mess in the first place. “That’s the problem with men,” she said to me when I urged her to give me the name of the guy blackmailing her. “They always jump straight to problem-solving. Men always want to fix everybody.”

“You don’t want to be fixed?” I’d asked her.

“I can fix myself,” she’d replied. “I just need somebody to understand.”

I don’t understand. Her predicament is something I’ve never experienced. But I can listen. I listen to her talk as she drives me home in her shiny new car every night, and it makes me feel less of a fuck-up. I mean, she hasn’t killed anyone. But she’s planning to. And that’s why we’ve found each other. I am a killer and she is ready to spill blood. She is a welcome distraction from my sins, and I am a makeshift altar for her to lay her own sins upon. Because when I’m with Jennifer, I don’t think about Cassie Carlino. I don’t think of Karen Brainard. And, most especially, I don’t think of Teresa King and the way she burned beside me in that car.

* * *
The night Jennifer Thomas disappears is like all the rest. I go to the diner. Order nachos and a Coke. I’m surprised Jennifer is working. It’s Thanksgiving, and the place is deserted. Even Amanda is nowhere to be seen.

“Working on Thanksgiving?” I ask Jennifer, as she slides my food in front of me. She shrugs, that glitter lipgloss catching the light as she moves. “It’s just another day, isn’t it?”

I nod.

“Besides,” she says, “It pisses my dad off. I asked for this shift.”

At ten, I help her to turn out all the lights. I wait beside her as she locks the front doors of the diner, feeling vaguely worried about the fact that somebody left a sixteen year old cheerleader alone to lock up this late at night. I note the lack of video surveillance, the remote location, the fact that everyone is tucked safely inside their houses while Jennifer is alone with a convicted criminal in the dead of night.

Jennifer offers me a ride home, which I accept. Except, instead of driving me straight home like she has done for the past six nights in a row, Jennifer pulls her Range Rover off the road into an uncleared section of pine trees that tower over us. The track is narrow and winding and she doesn’t answer me when I ask her where she’s taking us.

She stops in a small clearing and cuts the lights. The engine is still running. Bits of snow fall outside, slow and bloated in their trajectory toward the ground. Jennifer’s hands are small as they grip the steering wheel; her eyes lit up by the red illumination of the dashboard, making her look almost demonic.

“What are we doing here?” I ask her again.

“I don’t want to go home,” she says staring straight ahead.

“Fair enough,” I reply. I watch her as she struggles to find words. She squirms in her heated leather seat, her nails shiny and perfect, her shoulders sagging under the weight of something I cannot see.

“Do you think I’m pretty?” she asks me in a tiny voice, and she sounds so mouse-like and weak that I almost laugh.

“Do I think you’re pretty?” I echo, feeling a smirk cut its way across my face. “Jennifer, you’re so pretty I could die just from looking at you.”

She rolls her eyes. “You think I’m stupid. You’re just here because you feel sorry for me, Leo.”

I shake my head. “I don’t think you’re stupid. And I’m not here because I feel sorry for you.”

She swallows thickly; I can see the pulse beat nervously in her throat. “Then why are you here?”

“Well, I guess I’m here right now because you just drove us off the road and into the woods.”

“You know what I mean.”

Do, I, though? I sigh. “Because you’re the only person in this town worth talking to who will even look at me.”

She bites her lip and I have the sudden, piercing urge inside my skull to wrap my hands around her throat and drag her onto my lap. That’s some messed up shit. She’s sixteen. Six. TEEN. I’m repeating the number in my head over and over, willing my dick to settle down. I can feel the throb of wanting her in my cock, in the thunderous rush of blood that makes my heart hit my ribcage like the firing of a gun, bang, bang, bang. My need eclipses my rationality. So what if she’s sixteen? She drove into this fucking clearing and licked her lips and asked me if I thought she was pretty.

“Why have you been back to the diner every single night, just as I’m about to get off shift?”

“Umm,” I try. “It’s the only decent place in town?”

She narrows her eyes at me and there’s a fire inside her pupils; it might be below freezing outside, but it’s a billion degrees in here. We’re already fogging up the windows with our breath, and I haven’t even laid a finger on her.

“Liar,” she says. “I want the real reason.”

You’re about to get the real reason, sweetheart. I grip the armrest. I grip it so hard my fingernails ache.

“I’m here because I’m a bad guy, Jennifer.”

“And?”

“Because you’re so pretty I can’t think about anybody else. Because I want to do things to you… that would probably frighten you. Things that might hurt you.”

Her cheeks are flush; her breathing quickens. I haven’t even touched her, and she’s already excited. Or scared. Or both. I want to reach between her thighs and see if it’s lust I’m reading on her face.

“What kinds of things?” she asks.

I cover my face with my hands.

“What kinds of things?” she repeats, a hand on my shoulder. I let my hands fall into my lap and fix my stare on this girl who should be home with her family, not out here in the dark in the woods and snow with a criminal. I watch in awe as she slides her seat back and reaches her hands up underneath her skirt, tugging a pair of panties down her legs and unhooking them from her heels. She can’t look at me as she hands me a pair of baby blue silk panties with a bow on the front. I grip the underwear in my fist so tight I could tear it to shreds with a single pull, but I don’t rip it. I find the damp spot of arousal in the center of the material and bring it up to my face. I close my eyes. I breathe Jennifer in.

I shouldn’t be here. Not with her. Not like this. I will get out of the car, I decide. I will walk home. I will not touch this girl.

But then, “I promise I won’t tell anyone,” she whispers.

Fuck.

I grab her. I drown her shock out with my mouth. I squeeze her slender neck with my prison-rough palms. I keep my promise and I hurt Jennifer Thomas until I’m sated.

It’s only after when I’m looking at the blank expression on her face, the odd tilt of her neck, the bruises blossoming on her spread thighs, that I understand what I have done.

By then, it’s too late.

The night Jennifer Thomas disappears is like all the rest.

Apart from the way it ends.

 

Lili writes dark, delicious romance full of love, lust and revenge. Her USA Today Bestselling Gypsy Brothers series focuses on a morally bankrupt biker gang and the young woman who seeks her vengeance upon them. The Cartel series is a trilogy that explores the beginnings of the club, published through HarperCollins.

Lili quit corporate life to focus on writing and so far is loving every minute of it. Her other loves in life include her gorgeous husband and beautiful daughter, excellent coffee, Tarantino movies and spending hours on Instagram.

She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write.

Release Blitz: We Own Tonight by Corinne Michaels

WE OWN TONIGHT
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Corinne Michaels
Release Date: September 7, 2017

I’m not a one-night stand kind of woman. I’m especially not the woman who has a few drinks at a concert and ends up in bed with my childhood celebrity crush, Eli Walsh.

However, that’s exactly where I find myself.

What’s a girl to do after a drunken mistake?

Run.

I grab my clothes and get away from the powerful, irresistible, and best-sex-of-my-life superstar as fast as I can. His gorgeous green eyes, rock-hard body, and cocky smile have no place in my world. My life is complicated enough.

Someone forgot to tell him that.

Eli is relentless. Pushing his way into my heart, wearing me down, proving he’s nothing like I assumed, and everything I need.

But when my world shatters to pieces, he holds the broken bits together.

Unwillingly, I fall desperately in love with him.

He made me think we’d have forever . . . I should’ve listened when he said we could only own tonight.

From New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Corinne Michaels, comes a sexy new STANDALONE romance novel.

 

WE OWN TONIGHT is available now!

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PURCHASE NOW!

iBooksBarnes & Noble  | KoboGoogle Play

Amazon Paperback

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New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

 

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Spotlight: Dating-Ish by Penny Reid

DATING-ISH
Series: Knitting In The City #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Author: Penny Reid
Release Date: May 16, 2017

Dating
-ish, an all new standalone from the USA Today bestselling Knitting in the City romantic comedy series by Penny Reid is coming May 16th!

Dating-ish’ can be read as a standalone, is a full length 100k word novel, and is book #6 in the Knitting in the City Series.

There are three things you need to know about Marie Harris: 1) She’s fed up with online dating, 2) She’s so fed up, she’s willing to forego the annoyance and consider more creative alternatives, and 3) She knows how to knit.

After the most bizarre and irritating first date in the history of humankind, Marie is looking for an alternative to men. With the help of her friends, she quickly identifies a few possibilities:

Need a cuddle? Use a professional cuddler. Need affirmation? Get yourself a life coach. Need an orgasm? Try orgasm meditation! Why does she need the hassle of a romantic partner when she can meet all her needs with paid services?

But then her irritating date resurfaces. And he’s not at all the person she thought he was. And he suggests a different–and crazier–solution to her dilemma . . .

As everyone knows (or will soon come to realize), traditional relations between humans are a thing of the past. Robots are our future. And if robots are our future, then why do we need other people at all?

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

 

Blog Tour: My Best Friend’s Ex

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

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

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

Boy, was I wrong.

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

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

But with great orgasms, comes great consequences.

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

AMAZON

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Surprise Announcement from Brooke Blaine!

A LITTLE BIT LIKE LOVE
Standalone Romance
Genre: MM
Author: Brooke Blaine
Release Date Reveal: May 23rd, 2017

A Little Bit Like Love, an all-new sexy STANDALONE MM romance from Brooke Blaine is coming soon!!! 

What if you had everything in the world you wanted…except the man you’d left behind?

Jackson Davenport, the charismatic, strait-laced heir to the Davenport fortune, has a secret. One he’s been hiding since he graduated from South Haven all-boys academy—and that secret’s name is Lucas.

When a work trip takes Jackson back to his old stomping grounds, memories of the year he shared with Lucas come crashing to the surface. With growing pressure from his father to settle down and take over the family business, Jackson knows he’s on borrowed time, and sets out to find the free-spirited daredevil he once knew.

But Lucas isn’t the same man he was eight years ago.

One night. A shattered heart. And an endless parade of nameless faces. Lucas Sullivan is South Haven’s ultimate playboy, a reputation he’s honed since the only boy he ever loved left without a trace. To the world, he’s brash and confident, an in-demand artist who spends his days designing one-of-a-kind pieces and his nights as king of the downtown scene.

Many have tried and failed to get past the barrier he’s carefully constructed, but it’s the shy, studious boy he once coaxed out of his shell who still haunts him.

Maybe it was a mistake. Maybe it was lust. Or maybe…it was a little bit like love.

You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her ‘quiet time.’ Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.

She is the author of Flash Point, a romantic suspense standalone, as well as the co-author of the erotic series, A Desperate Man, with Ella Frank. The latter has scarred her conservative southern family for life, bless their hearts. Licked, a romantic comedy, will be released November 11th, 2015 and is the first in the L.A. Liaisons series.

If you’d like to get in touch with her, she’s easy to find – just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that’s dominated her cell phone for ten years.

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