Review & Excerpt: Kiss And Break Up by Ella Fields

KISS AND BREAK UP
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Ella Fields
Release Date: March 8, 2019

Dashiell Thane wasn’t a nice guy.

He was an abrasive, demanding, conniving, intolerable brat.

Yet somehow, we’d been best friends our whole lives.

Until our senior year when I finally decided to dip my toes into the dating pool.

 

All it took was one kiss for jealousy, lies, and betrayal to sweep in and propel us heart first into dizzying, hostile depths.

 

You’re not supposed to kiss your best friend.

You’re definitely not supposed to kiss your best friend while you’re dating someone else.

And the absolute worst thing you could do is fall for your best friend.

Unless, of course, you want to ruin everything.

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I fell to the bed just as a thump hit the exterior of the house, and Dash launched himself through the window.“Can you ever land gracefully?” Or you know, use the front door. For as long as we’d lived here, he’d snuck in. At first, it was due to being unsure whether my mom would still want us hanging out, but it didn’t take her long to figure out what he was doing.

She didn’t care. When I’d shaken like a mouse cornered in a kitchen, she’d smiled and told me she’d never stop us from being friends. Yet the window always remained unlocked.

Dash kicked off his boots, and they hit the aging floor with two bangs. “I’m all man, baby. Not a fucking cat.”

Hearing him say that reminded me of why he was here. I sprang to my feet, hurtling out into the hall and into the bathroom.

“What are you doing?”

Too busy gargling mouthwash, I didn’t answer and spat it into the sink as he appeared in the weathered mirror behind me.

“Seriously?” he asked. “You burp in my face after eating garlic pizza, so this is just fucking dumb.”

“You burped in my face first.” I put the cap back on the bottle, not meeting his gaze. I couldn’t. I headed back inside the safety of my room.

But I had to wonder, as I heard Dash gargling mouthwash too, if it would be considered safe again after this. Would this ruin everything by making it awkward?

“Dash,” I said, wringing my hands as I paced the floor of my room. “We probably shouldn’t be doing this. What if––”

“What if it’s awesome and you fall madly in love with me? Well, we already know I don’t do commitment.”

A tiny laugh skittered out. “No, what if it gets awkward? I don’t want anything to change.”

He took me by the shoulders in the middle of my rainbow knitted rug and leveled me with his vibrant eyes. “We’ve done some pretty awkward shit, so what’s a little mouth to mouth going to change?”

I nodded, exhaling slowly, then I frowned. “Why are you doing this? I mean, I know why I want to, but you? What do you even get out of it?”

He grinned. “You might be my best friend, but I’ve always wondered what it’d be like to stick my tongue down your throat.” He tipped a muscled shoulder. “Let’s just say you’ll be killing that curiosity.”

“You’ve always wondered?”

“I’ve got eyes, Freckles. And I don’t need my glasses to appreciate the sight of something beautiful.”

I blinked. “Wow. That was actually really swe––”

“Shut your inexperienced mouth and kiss me.”

I was still laughing when he grabbed my face, and then I squeaked as the world changed color, and his lips lowered over mine.

My heart became a trumpet, blaring in my ears at the first touch of his lips.

I pulled away, startled and still laughing. “Oh, my God.”

Dash’s hands were warm on my face. “That good? They barely even touched.”

“No,” I choked out, pushing his hands away. “It’s just … a little weird.”

“Weird?” His brows scrunched. “We’ve barely even begun.”

I blew out a shaky breath, unable to look at him as my hands flapped at my sides. I stared at his white shirt, looking at where the cotton met his tanned skin. “I don’t know, Dash.”

“Wanna try again?”

I looked at him then, at the eager glint in his blue eyes. “It’s not weird for you?”

He chewed his bottom lip which was a little fatter than the top. And it’d just been touching mine. Oh, how crazy. “Maybe a smidgen. I can just picture Margot Robbie, and I’ll be good.”

I froze. “Margot Robbie?”

He gestured to my hair. “The blonde hair helps.”

“Jesus.” I swiped my hands down my face. “This is dumb. Let’s just forget it.”

He stood there a moment, glancing around my room. “Why don’t you imagine someone? That guy from the Thor movie. You like him.”

“Chris Hemsworth?”

“Yeah. Imagine him.” Then he grinned, waggling his brows. “Pucker up, baby.”

“You didn’t just say that.” I laughed, plopping down on the edge of my bed.

“Whatever. Are we trying again or what?”

The thought of Byron and that mischievous twinkle in his green eyes, the way he’d wasted no time moving in to kiss me … yeah. I needed to do this.

“Okay.” I shook out my hands, bouncing a little on the bed. “Okay, let’s do this.”

Dash’s lips thinned. “This isn’t a cross meet. We’re only swapping germs.”

“You just had to say that, didn’t you?” My pep had officially vanished.

Dash tugged me off the bed. “Close your eyes and relax.”

I tried, but I was as stiff as a board when his mouth met mine again. He tasted like spearmint and cigarettes, but his hands were gentle as one held my chin and the other glided through my hair to the back of my head. Slowly, with the soft press of his lips on mine and the gentle exploration of their shape, my limbs loosened.

“Open,” he whispered, his voice threaded, rougher.

I did, expecting the invasion of his tongue, but the velvet feel of it only traced the inner edges of my mouth.

Out of all the things I’d expected to feel when he’d suggested this crazy idea, it wasn’t relaxed, and it certainly wasn’t the buzzing sensation currently warming my insides.

“This isn’t so bad,” I said when he pulled back, my voice a low exhalation.

“Good. Now repeat the same to me.” My eyes were about to spring open, but he growled. “Keep them closed. Don’t think, just do and feel.”

Drawing in a quick breath through my nose, I found his stubble-coated cheeks with my hands and lifted myself on my toes. I tried to do the same thing he did to me, but my tongue plunged deeper, meeting the warm softness of his. I licked it, stroking cautiously until I heard him hum, the sound vibrating up his throat and causing our lips to mash together.

His hands became firmer around my head, his tongue greedier, sweeping inside my mouth before my teeth found purchase on his plump bottom lip, and pulled.

He groaned, and it had me staggering back, my heart racing and my breath an unsteady, embarrassing sound.

Dash swallowed, then cleared his throat as he shifted on his feet. His eyes met mine, and I looked away, down to where my mint green toes were curling over the abrasive fabric of my rug.

Awkward. This was so awkward, and I prayed we hadn’t just made a huge mistake.

“So that’s how it’s done.” He grabbed the TV remote and plopped onto my bed. “Got any popcorn?”

I shook my head. “Wait, that’s um, it?”

He started flicking through Netflix. “Well, yeah. Not much else to it. We can practice again before your date if you want, but I’m fucking starving, and we need to re-watch the last season of GoT before the new one is out.”

“Oh, yeah,” I said, remembering I’d promised him that weeks ago. Hungry myself, I stepped outside, then scowled at him from the doorway. “Don’t put your socks near my pillow.”

He grumbled but shifted and moved over to the other side of the bed.

Who the hell do you think you are?”
“Yours, but apparently, it’s taking some time for you to get the memo.”

If you follow my reviews, then it’s no secret that I’m a sucker for angst. So then it really should be no surprise that I am obsessed with all things Ella Fields. The woman can write angst like no one’s business, and she’s not afraid to go there. She’s not afraid to write raw, unapologetically real, and truly broken characters and make her readers fall head over heels in love with them each and every time!

So when I saw she’s coming out with a brand new NA romance, I jumped on it like a sugar addict at a cake factory. Yes I know that’s not a phrase, but just go with me here.

The queen of angst strikes again with Kiss and Break Up and she knocked it straight out of the park! She hit the home run of angst! I’m talking teenage angst overload here, people!!! And. It. Was. Delicious.

Dash and Peggy have known each other since they were in diapers. And they’ve been best friends since Dash essentially decided it so and practically bullied Peggy into it. She’s never had a choice in the matter, but it’s not like she minds. The guy may be rude, crude, and completely tone deaf when it comes to proprietary, but he’s her best friend. Through thick and thin. And their senior year of high school definitely brings a change in their comfortable dynamic.

Peggy is a bit of a late bloomer. But with her braces off and a new haircut, suddenly she begins to see her own appeal. And with that appeal, she wants to experience dating like all girls her age have already done. But when a cute boy asks her out, she realizes that her inexperience is a crutch that she needs to get rid off. And in comes her knight in tarnished armor, Dash, with an offer she can’t refuse; practice with him.

Now, suddenly, the lines get blurred. Years of friendship begin to get lost behind repressed feelings, unexpected connections, and a bit of unrequited love. In a word? ANGST!!! All of the sweet, delicious angst.

Dash is a character that you will love to hate and hate to love. He’s far from perfect and he makes plenty of mistakes. As hard as you want to hate him for the decisions he makes sometimes, you also can’t help but fall for him anyway. Peggy was the perfect balance for him. She accepts him in all his imperfect glory, but she also doesn’t take any of his shit. I loved the dynamic of the guy pining after the girl who takes a while to truly understand her feelings for him. It’s a refreshing change of pace.

There’s several secondary characters that are introduced, that I’m practically salivating for a book for. The set up for their books is utterly delicious. I have zero chill with getting my grubby little hands on their stories.

As for this one? I DEVOURED it. I’m talking binge read, people! Binge. Read. I loved every maddening, frustrating, and emotional page of it. I couldn’t set it down for even a second. It was infuriating and completely unputdownable. It was everything I’ve come to expect from the immensely talented Emma Fields, and so much more! A huge rec for all my fellow angst lovers! My one quibble was I wished for a little more development and character fleshing out. I didn’t have an issue connecting with either Dash or Peggy, but I did feel like I was getting to know them on more of a surface level rather than a true deep dive.

 

Ella Fields is a mother and wife who lives in the land Down Under. While her kids are in school, you might find her talking about her characters and books to her two cats. She’s a notorious chocolate and notebook hoarder who enjoys creating hard-won happily ever afters.

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Review & Giveaway: Heart Of The Devil by Meghan March

DEAL WITH THE DEVIL
Series:
The Forge Trilogy #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan March
Release Date: March 12, 2019

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes the stunning conclusion to the Forge Trilogy. In this final volume, ruthless billionaire Jericho Forge faces his toughest challenge. To emerge victorious, he’ll have to give up the one thing he’s never offered a woman—his heart.

It started as a game. She was nothing but my pawn.

But I was quick to see the error in my ways, and now she is everything I never knew I needed.

The value of a woman like India Baptiste is beyond measure.

But the problem with being a man like me? I’ve already screwed this up, and there’s no guarantee India will take me on for one last bet.

I’ll do whatever I have to do. Drop to my knees and offer her the only thing I have left. The one thing that’s only ever been hers—the heart of the devil.

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Jericho Forge doesn’t have a single clue what it’s like to be the center of someone’s world. He’s about to find out.

The pulse pounding trilogy conclusion is here and in true Meghan March fashion, it goes out with a bang!

The Forge Trilogy is like a good piece of chocolate, you can’t have just one. And three books is just enough to hook, reel, sinker! This has easily been two of my most favorite characters from March to date.

She’s a siren, and I’m the sailor she’s trying to lure in. I’ve never wrecked a ship, but she could tempt me to do anything.

There is nothing more satisfying to watch than a man that’s ultimately a fortress of hidden feelings fall hard for a woman he never saw coming. Indie was supposed to be a chess piece in the ultimate game of revenge for him. Just another pawn in an intricate and dangerous game with some very dangerous players. Pun most certainly intended.

Indie is definitely one of my most favorite heroines March has ever written. I love a heroine that has an effortless sort of strength to her. This is a woman that is ready and willing to fight for what she wants, and I loved getting to watch her show Forge exactly why he fell for her in this book.

There’s plenty of action and even more plot twists that will keep you riveted to the pages from beginning to end. If ever there was a binge read, this book was it. A delicious conclusion to a perfectly paced and scintillating trilogy that’s going straight to my favorites list. My only quibble is a certain revelation in the end. While it totally caught me unaware, I found it just a little lackluster. I don’t know why. I suppose I had it built up in my head, and it worked against me here. So it is very well a case of me here. But that VERY small quibble aside, this book was the perfect conclusion and it’s become one of my favorite trilogies from this author.

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret. With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world. A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

You can find her online at: MeghanMarch.com, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Review: Pure Bliss by Lexi Blake

PURE BLISS
Series: Nights In Bliss #6
Genre: Erotic Romance, Suspense
Author: Lexi Blake
Release Date: March 5, 2018

Re-released in a second edition with new content.

The town of Bliss, Colorado, offered Hope McLean a second chance at life, a gift she cherishes every day. Her past was dominated by dark secrets and regret, most of which centered on a man named Christian Grady. All of that was behind her now, years of horror distilled down into the occasional nightmare or a random feeling of being watched. Surrounded by new friends, she tried hard to leave the past where it belonged—in the rearview mirror.

Raised together, James Glen and Noah Bennett were the best of friends. They dreamed of growing up in Bliss, finding love, and settling down to share their lives on the Circle G ranch. James would manage the day-to-day operations of the ranch while Noah served the town as the resident veterinarian. Everything was perfectly planned out, until a woman came between them and their future shattered. Noah left Bliss for New York City and James was left to struggle to keep the Circle G alive on his own.

Noah returns to Bliss on a mission to rebuild his life. When he sees Hope, he knows his return home was meant to be. Hope’s kindness shines like a beacon calling him to her. Unfortunately, he isn’t the only man interested in Hope. James is also interested in the beautiful girl with a mysterious past. He can’t be forced to choose between the woman of his dreams and his best friend again.

As romance begins to bloom, a dark specter from Hope’s past returns to claim her. To save Hope, and themselves, James and Noah will have to rebuild the relationship they lost and fight for their future with Hope together.

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She’s going to learn her place.” Hope gasped, an irritated sound. “And where is that?”
“Between us, baby,” James said, taking over where Noah had left off. “Always between us.”

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this series is one of my favorite guilty pleasure reads. It packs emotion with sizzling hot MFM romance, wonderfully broken and multi-layered characters, and a perfectly paced suspenseful underlayer to make for one page-turner of a read!

James has been a character that I’ve been curious about since he first made an appearance in the series. I loved the fact that James himself was the son of a triad family dynamic. Sharing is pretty much in his blood. And while Noah isn’t his brother by blood, their fathers shared their stepmother, and showed them that a happy relationship with three people is possible. Noah and James are brothers in all ways that count. That is until a woman comes between them and severs a bond that they thought was unbreakable.

Years later, James is still not over the wound his brother’s leaving left. None of his relationships have been more than a night spent between the sheets. Which is also why he’s been avoiding Hope, because he knows without even trying, that she’d be so much more. But when a promise to keep her safe puts him fully in his crosshairs, he knows he can’t stay away. Then the sudden reappearance of his brother throws everything for a loop, especially when he seems to want Hope as much as he does.

I really loved Noah, even more than James at times. This man had his heart and trust broken by a gold digger, and yet he doesn’t let that color his future. He still believes in love and happily ever after, and while his ex wife left a stain, she didn’t ruin him. I adored him for this. James is definitely the cynical one in this relationship. I loved the push and pull he and Noah have with Hope. They truly fought like two siblings only could over a desired possession. But Hope was having none of it. I loved that she gave as good as she got. She’s not afraid to put either brother in his place.

There’s the added layer of suspense with Hope’s past and the mystery of what happened. I couldn’t wait to unravel all of her secrets and to see what happened to make her run so fast and hide.

Pure Bliss was everything I’ve come to expect from Lexi Blake; sexy, suspenseful, emotional, and a total page turner. I can’t wait for more in this series!

Review: Overture by Skye Warren

OVERTURE
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Forbidden
Author: Skye Warren
Release Date: February 19, 2019

Forbidden fruit never tasted this sweet…

The world knows Samantha Brooks as the violin prodigy. She guards her secret truth—the desire she harbors for her guardian.

Liam North got custody of her six years ago. She’s all grown up now, but he still treats her like a child. No matter how much he wants her.

No matter how bad he aches for one taste.

Her sweet overtures break down the ex-soldier’s defenses, but there’s more at stake than her body. Every touch, every kiss, every night. The closer she gets, the more exposed his darkest secret.

She’s one step away from finding out what happened the night she lost her family. One step away from leaving him forever.

OVERTURE is the first novel in a brand new series from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren.

AMAZON

It’s an exquisite torture, wrong on every level, and I never want it to end.

An underage music prodigy, her fierce protector, taboo romance, and a sweet sizzle of a slow born that’s expertly crafted made Overture one delicious page turner!

I love the sweet torture of a good slow burn, and this book definitely delivered on that front. It sets the stage for what I could already tell is going to be one epic romance. The heroine is a musical prodigy on the cusp of her eighteenth birthday and desperately in love with her legal guardian. Samantha has never been what society would consider normal. Her violin has been her closest companion and all she knows. She lives and breathes for her music. I was almost a little afraid that I’d get frustrated by her because she’s so sheltered, but there’s something so fierce about her that I just loved. Yes, she’s young. Yes, she’s inexperienced. But she’s certainly not sheltered, no matter how much Liam tries. This is a girl that lived a hard life and never truly felt the warmth of a parent’s love. She knows abandonment and pain. She also knows what she wants, and that’s Liam.

I’m the one who made the overture. He’s the one who will retreat.

Liam is everything I love in Skye’s heroes; he’s fiercely protective, broody and broken. And while he’s not related to Sam by blood, their age difference alone is reason enough to keep his hands off of her. No matter how much he yearns otherwise. There’s such a deliciously torturous back and forth dance of seduction and retreat that these two go through and I couldn’t get enough of it. Liam fights his feelings for Sam with everything he’s got. He’s a soldier first and her protector. He can’t imagine a world where he can be her lover. He’s to broken to offer her his heart. And he doesn’t want to hold her back from her potential.

If you’re looking to dip your toes in the taboo genre without totaling immersing yourself in the waters, this is the perfect book! I love a good forbidden romance, but this one is like a three on a ten scale. I wanted that taste of forbidden and that slightly uncomfortable feeling of rooting for something oh so wrong. The romance here didn’t quite feel like that. Perhaps because it WAS such a slow burn that it allows the reader to truly understand both of these characters and get comfortable with their differences. I can’t help but wish it was a touch more taboo-ish, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Review & Giveaway: Luck of the Devil by @Meghan March

LUCK OF THE DEVIL
Series:
The Forge Trilogy #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan March
Release Date: February 12, 2019

New York Times bestselling author Meghan March continues the story of ruthless, calculating billionaire Jericho Forge in Luck of the Devil. 

 

My poker face has always been one of my greatest assets, along with my grit and determination. I was beholden to no one. Asked permission for nothing.

Then Jericho Forge took my life by storm.

I traded my freedom for something infinitely more precious, but I didn’t realize he was holding an unbeatable hand.

Now, all I have to do is survive the high-stakes game that is my life—with my heart intact.

But not falling in love with Forge? That will take the luck of the devil.

 

Luck of the Devil is the second book of the Forge Trilogy, and should be read following Deal with the Devil. The Forge Trilogy concludes in Heart of the Devil.

AMAZON

India wasn’t supposed to affect me like this. She wasn’t supposed to get under my skin and into my blood.

It’s official; I’m Forgestruck and I will never be the same!

Luck of The Devil continues the sexy and thrilling tale of Forge and India as more secrets continue to unravel.

Brick by brick, the wall around my heart is crumbling.

With each chapter, Meghan March sucks you deeper and deeper into Forge universe. I don’t think I ever want to leave. Where book one brought the cold, ruthless, and enigmatic man with plenty of secrets, this book begins to peel back the layers. You get more and more peeks into the events that made him into the man he is today. You also begin to get some pretty big revelations about what put India on his radar in the first place. I didn’t think it was possible to love this man any harder than I already did, but seeing him fall for India made me fall even harder for him.

India still continues to be one of my favorite heroines. The woman has sass for days and a pair of balls on her. I can’t get enough of her.

There are some pretty big revelations that happen in this book with plenty of plot twists that kept me eagerly turning the pages. But of course, in typical March fashion, she leaves you with more questions than answers at the end and salivating for the final installment to see how it all ends.

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret.

With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world.

A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

 

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Geri’s Review: Three Little Words by Jenny Holiday

THREE LITTLE WORDS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Jenny Holiday
Release Date: January 29, 2019

 

Gia Gallo is officially in bridesmaid hell.

Stranded in New York with her best friend’s wedding dress, Gia has six days to make it to Florida in time for the ceremony. And oh-so-charming best man Bennett Buchanan has taken the last available rental car.

Looks like she’s in for one long road trip with the sexiest – and most irritating – Southern gentleman she’s ever met…

Bennett’s pretty sure that if there was ever a woman to break his “no flings” rule, Gia would be it. Sure, she’s stubborn. She’s also funny, smart, and the attraction between them is getting hotter with every state line they cross.

While Bennett doesn’t do casual, Gia doesn’t do “relationships.” But if they break the rules, this unlikely pair might discover that their impromptu road trip could turn out to be the best ride of their lives.

 

AMAZON

The setup was perfect to ask for something dirty. That’s what you did when you played truth or dare in the dark with boys, right?

 

Jenny Holiday delivered another delightfully swoony romance in the final installment of her Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. I adored all the previous couples in this series but Gia and Bennett might be my favorite. 😍

I’m not a huge fan of models, actors or entertainment persons in books so I was wary because Gia is a model. Tall, beautiful & unattainable. Something that I always find hard to relate to. But Ms. Holiday proved me wrong because I ended up loving Gia. She’s complicated, pricky, high maintenance & in Gia’s own words, unlikable. But I adored her. She has no illusions about herself and what other people thought of her. Despite that, she’s very loyal to her friends.

Bennett as a sweet, charming Southern gentleman, always atoning for his past mistakes was the hero we all deserve. At first glance, they couldn’t be more opposite. But as the book progresses, we get to see them in their element and realize that they actually fit. Bennet might be sweet but he was no pushover. He had to deal with his own issues in the book, and I must say that some of the most emotionally charged scenes come from Bennett.

Overall, this book was a delight from start to finish. The romance was top notch & steamy. I highly recommend this whole series not just for the romance but also for the friendship between the four women!

Review: Not A Hero by Cherise Sinclair

NOT A HERO
Series: Sons of the Survivalist #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance/ Suspense
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Release Date: January 29, 2019

In the Alaska wilderness, four streetwise boys became men—and brothers

Now the crazy ex-military survivalist who plucked Gabriel and three other boys from an abusive foster care home has died. But the sarge leaves them a final mission–to revive the dying town of Rescue.

Gabe is done with being a hero.

Wounded in body and soul, the retired SEAL simply wants to remain holed up in his isolated cabin. He sure doesn’t want to be chief of police in some defunct town. But he has his orders.

Audrey needs a place to hide

After the Chicago librarian discovers a horrendous crime, she wakes to an assassin in her bedroom. Injured and terrified, she flees, covering her trail every inch of the way. New name, new ID. New home. As Audrey learns to survive in Rescue, she begins to fall for the town…and the intimidating chief of police who protects it.

Can the shy introvert and the deadly police chief find a life together?

Despite the discord in town, Gabe is finding his own peace…with the quiet young woman who seems to have no past. She’s adorable and caring and so very lost. But how can he trust someone who lies to him with every breath she takes?

AMAZON

Ever since I met the four foster brothers in Defiance, I’ve been itching to get my grabby little hands on this brand new series. Four boys that grew up hard and were finally rescued by a tough as nails ex military survivalist and grew up into incredibly fascinating yet broken in their own way men? Yes, please, and thank you! Sign me right up for that! I will say that while it helps to read Defiance to get an intro into this series, you don’t have to. You can easily jump right into this book if you wish.

Gabe is the more serious and grounded of his brothers. After a mission gone wrong costs him his life and the life of almost his entire team and leaves him with as many internal scars as external, he retires from the mercenary life to live a peaceful existence away from everyone. But when his beloved foster father dies, he leaves his boys with a letter of request to revive the dying little town in Alaska that they grew up in. Now Gabe finds himself as the chief of police, begrudgingly serving the citizens of a town that enjoys their seclusion as much as he does.

Audrey has never been good with people. A shy introvert, her job as a librarian was everything to her. A skilled researcher, she finds herself running for her life when her research unearths a criminal underbelly that she never expected to target her. A secluded town in Alaska seems like the best place to hide when a ruthless hitman is after you. Too bad a grumpy and too observant for his own good chief of police now sets his eyes on her.

I have to admit, shy introverted heroines are not at all my cuppa. But there was just something so incredibly endearing about Audrey. She’s honest to a fault and so sweetly vulnerable that you can’t help but like her. But beneath the shy exterior is an understated strength and the soul of a warrior. I love seeing her unassuming personality turn fierce and protective when it came to those she cared about.

The relationship between her and Gabe was a slow burn filled with plenty of sizzle. If you’ve wanted to read this author but aren’t a fan of BDSM, you’ll definitely need to check this out. But while there’s no kink, there’s plenty of action, suspense, and steam to keep you turning the pages.

Not A Hero was a deliciously suspenseful read with a swoony romance tied in. I loved the slower pacing and the relationship development. I loved getting a taste of the other brothers (especially Hawk), and I loved the vividly quirky citizens of this little town. Everything together turned this into a perfectly blended contemporary and suspense romance. I can’t wait for more in this series.

Review: 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne

99 PERCENT MINE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sally Thorne
Release Date: January 29, 2019

Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

AMAZON

If I can just get Tom Valeska to lose his mind over me, I can die happy.

Alright. I have a confession to make before I dive into the review for this book.
*whispers*
I haven’t read The Hating Game yet.
*hides*
*pokes head back up*
Are you still judging me? Because quit it! I bought it immediately when I started this book, ok?! From this author’s magical writing style, I can clearly see what I’ve been missing. But I digress here. What I’m going to be doing, is reviewing my very first Sally Thorne book. And spoiler alert, I adored it!

I’m a scary bitch. He’s a bashful sweetheart with pink cheeks.

Now here’s the thing. Nice guys aren’t usually my thing. And there you go, judging me again. What did I tell you about that? Back to my review, though. So while the bad boy alphas are typically my thing, I couldn’t get enough of Tom Valeska, the alpha male with the beautifully wolfish eyes, sweet tenderness, and understated sexiness. I fell in love with this man through Grace’s eyes. The entire book is in the heroine’s POV, and yet you get such wonderfully developed characters through her eyes.

The first touch of his tongue loosens my knees and I’m grateful that he’s holding me up. I shudder a breath out. He breathes it, changes our angle, exhales it back to me. Air is better from his lungs. Life is better with his kiss. The word mine is now something I need to make him understand.

Darcy is spunky and enigmatic. This is a girl that doesn’t stay in any one place for long. She craves adventure and hasn’t dated any guy seriously. Admittedly, she can come across as brash at times. The way that she almost rabidly lusts after Tom was a touch much at times. She’s loved Tom since they were kids, but the one time she could have had him, her teenage thoughtlessness cost her that chance. And while he’s been as strong a staple in her life as her twin brother, he’s also been engaged to another woman. But now the renovation of her recently passed grandmother’s house that her and her twin inherited bring them together again, she’s not about to waste another opportunity with Tom. Especially since he’s now surprisingly single.

This was a deliciously character driven slow burn of a romance. I loved learning about Tom and seeing him through Darcy’s experience. He’s such a sweetheart that you can’t help but fall completely head over heels for him.

No one else is kissing you anymore,” he tells me in a conversational hush, not breaking our contact. “Your mouth is mine.”

I have to say that only being in Darcy’s head did get a bit exhausting at times. This is a girl that’s always at a ten, and I wanted her to bring it down to an 8 or 7 at times. But there’s also something oddly endearing about her. She loves her friends and she’s completely in love with Tom. I also loved the way that Tom cares for her. I struggled a bit with the relationship she had with her twin brother, but they did win me over in the end.

But one thing is for sure, I fell so hard for this wonderfully quirky and sweet romance. I adored Tom and Darcy together. I adored the friends to lovers trope. I loved their love and couldn’t get enough of it. 99 Percent Mine was a perfectly paced, feel good and lighthearted romance. It was endearingly sassy and swoony. A definite rec for any slow burn lovers out there that love their alphas sweet and their heroines edgy.

Review: Ruthless King by Maya Hughes

RUTHLESS KING
Series:
Kings of Rittenhouse #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Maya Hughes
Release Date: January 10, 2019

A STANDALONE second chance, enemies to lovers romance.

My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart…

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

AMAZON

I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

The second I read the blurb to this book, I knew this would be my first Maya Hughes read. I’m a sucker for a good second-chance romance, and this one checked all of my boxes.

Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

I dove into this book without having read the previous two in this series, and while I had absolutely no problem enjoying it as a standalone, I’ll definitely be reading the other books if only because I’m intrigued by the characters and loved the author’s writing style.

As for this book? It was a mildly angsty read with plenty of feels that I fell in love with from the very first pages.

Emmett and Avery were high school sweethearts. They were everything to each other, and even though they were young, their love was one that should have been a forever kind. The reader doesn’t know what happened to rip them apart, but you know it was enough to plant a seed of resentment into Emmett that even years later he can’t get over.

When fate and circumstance throws them together once more, they are forced to acknowledge everything that happened between them, though it’s certainly not a smooth road. I’m not typically a fan of the continuous misunderstanding plot device in my books, but it actually worked here. I understood why Avery was hesitant to shed light on everything that happened in high school. And while I wanted to smack Emmett for his reaction to the bumps on their path to a HEA, I also couldn’t help understanding him either. These characters are both flawed in their own way, but in a very endearing way. Avery is extremely loyal to her family and I loved her fierce protectiveness and care for her sister. I understood why she did what she did.

Emmett, while being a successful pro-hockey player and having his pick of any woman he wants, is like a lost boy when it comes to Avery. She was the only woman he ever loved and he never got over her breaking his heart. I loved this vulnerable side to him.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters and the pacing of this book. I wished there was a little more angst beyond the constant misunderstanding between Emmett and Avery, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. Maya Hughes is a new to me author that is now going straight to my auto-buy list and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Review: The Wrong Man by Natasha Anders

THE WRONG MAN
Series: Alpha Men #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Natasha Anders
Release Date: September 4, 2018

No commitments. No expectations. No way this could possibly go wrong…right?

Former special-ops soldier Sam Brand is used to getting what he wants. What he wants is to unbutton the buttoned-down, sweet, and shy Dahlia McGregor. He’s hot to find her wild side. She’s eager to let him explore it. So he makes his proposition—no strings, no hurt feelings, and no promises—save for one: she’ll have the time of her life.

After a broken engagement, Lia’s looking to someday find the right man and settle down. That’s some day. Now it’s all about the night. A hot, meaningless fling with a magnificently weathered blue-eyed stud like Sam couldn’t hurt: he’s sexy, and sure he’s arrogant, but best of all, he’s here. In other words, he’s perfect…for now.

But when Sam is wounded in the line of duty and left in Lia’s tender loving care, all bets are off. Because the more time they spend together, the more it becomes clear: this “one night” deal is getting steamier and lasting longer than they counted on. It started as a fun little game. Is it possible they could be playing for keeps?

AMAZON

I was your rebound guy, now let me be your final fling guy. Let me be the last wild thing you do before you settle down.”.

I knew when Sam first graced the pages in The Best Man that he was going to be my favorite Alpha Man. After finishing this book, I can also tell you that it was my favorite in the series! I love a good unrepentant womanizing alphahole, and Sam definitely brought his A-game as the commitment phobic alpha with a sharp tongue and no small lack of insults. While I can see that he may not be a hero for everyone’s likes, he definitely did it for me and I couldn’t wait to see him fall for the sweet and proper Lia.

Dahlia was a heroine I wasn’t sure I’d like, but ended up absolutely loving. She’s sweet, thoughtful, innocent, but not overly naive. This was definitely a formula that worked for me. She’s the sweetest of the three McGregor sisters, and I was rooting for her from the very beginning.

After her engagement to an a-hole of epic proportions goes up in flames, Lia gives into something that’s completely out of character for her; a one-night fling with a womanizer that she never expects to see again. Sam makes no secret of his love-them-and-leave-them preferences, and he makes it crystal clear that he will never be Mr. Right. Lia is determined to find her forever man, and when a series of catastrophic (yet comedic) dates leave her disillusioned and giving up, seeing Sam again make her willing to pick right up where they left off.

Sam never expects to be back in the small town or to see Lia again. But when his job leaves him wounded and unable to fend for himself, what better way to heal that to hire the beautiful Lia to care for him and take the opportunity to try to lure her into his bed once more.

I loved the combination of Lia’s sweetness and Sam’s snark. These are two characters that don’t really make sense on paper, and yet their chemistry is off the charts. I loved seeing Lia slowly cave to Sam’s alluring nature and Sam slowly fall unwittingly for Lia’s sweet and endearing one. What starts off as a fling to scratch an itch soon begins to turn into something so much more for both of them. Natasha Anders crafted two incredibly well-developed characters with this book. As much as you want to hate Sam for the things he does and says, you simply can’t. You see just enough of his vulnerable side that he keeps cleverly hidden behind a smart-mouthed persona to know there’s a lot more to him than the initial playboy that meets the eye.

The Wrong Man had a little bit of everything; humor, steam, and plenty of emotion. It was incredibly satisfying. And even though I wanted Sam to work for it a little harder at the end, I couldn’t help but love their HEA. The epilogue was especially wonderful. It was the perfect conclusion to the series and it couldn’t have ended with a better book.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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