#DGRFave & Review: Creole Kingpin by Meghan March

CREOLE KINGPIN
Series:
Magnolia Duet #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Meghan March
Release Date: March 10, 2020

New York Times bestselling author Meghan March goes back to New Orleans and the world of Lachlan Mount with a dangerous and bold new anti-hero.

The thing about ghosts is they’re supposed to stay dead.

That’s exactly what I am, but I can’t stay away from Magnolia Marie Maison for one more day, let alone another year.

We’ve already got fifteen of those between us.

As it stands, she’ll want to kill me as soon as she lays eyes on me. And knowing her, she’s completely up to the task.

But I’m a man on a mission, and I’ve got everything riding on this.

So, here I come, Magnolia. This ghost is ready for whatever you got.

After all, there’s only one way I want this to end—’til death do us part.

AMAZON

Moses nearly broke me once. I won’t let him do it again.

I CANNOT EVEN RIGHT NOW. I SERIOUSLY CANNOT EVEN. This was…and I just…and all of it was…GAHHHHHH!!!!!!
This has been easily both my most anticipated and favorite Meghan March book to date. And having read the woman’s entire backlist, that’s saying something. Not only do we get the infamous madam’s story that we first met in The Anti-Heroes Trilogy (Mount), but we also get the most sinful anti-hero that was introduced in The Legend Trilogy. And then you put the two of them together and I CANNOT FREAKING DEAL.

If you wanna play, kitten,” a man’s voice says from over my shoulder, “I’ll make you purr.”
I turn around to look at him. “Kitten? Boy, I’m a goddamned lioness. Back the fuck off.” A dark chuckle leaves my lips at the sight of his shocked face, and I exit the club with a smile.

Magnolia Marie Maison is FIERCE. This woman grew up hard and turned into survivor. She’s a woman that learned to use her sensuality to get what she needs and grow an empire. She’ll never let a man define her, especially not the man that walked out of her life 15 years ago and hasn’t looked back. There’s just something so incredibly endearing about her sharp tongue and quick wit. She’s hardened, her life made her this way, but you also get glimpses of the vulnerable woman that hides behind the perfectly put together exterior.

I didn’t just come back for Magnolia. I came back for the fight that would come with winning her. Nothing worth having ever comes easy, especially a good woman.

Moses Gaspard. GAH. Just typing his name I get shivers. If you’ve read the Legend trilogy, then you know the mysterious criminal. But nothing prepares you for the full effect of everything that is Moses in this book. OH MY GOD. He was just everything. EVERYTHING. He walked away from Magnolia once, for reasons that remain a mystery. But now he’s back with only one purpose, make her his. And let me tell you, nothing is more delicious than a determined man going after his woman hard.

Because life doesn’t always work out the way you hope, when you hope. But if you’re lucky, sometimes you get a second fucking shot at the one thing you want more than anything else. This is me taking my shot, mama. And I don’t fucking miss.”

I mean, I’m fairly certain I came every single time he called her mama. No even kidding. My nether regions freaking tingled. TINGLED. But I digress.

This book was crack. It was addicting. It was all encompassing. It was completely unputdownable. I read it in one sitting and never wanted it to end. I think I had the shakes when I got to the end because I knew I’d be left a desperate mess in the wait for my next hit of Moses and Magnolia. It was a fast-paced thrill ride full of twists and turns and plenty of action. And did I mention we get even more Mount? Because freaking MOUNT. Suffice it to say I absolutely LOVED this book. I loved every page. I wanted to lick my fingers and my kindle once I finished. I AM NOT OK. NOT OK. I need the next book desperately here, people! If you need me, I’ll be rocking myself in a dark corner somewhere with all of the wine.

#DGRFave & Review: Runaway Road by Devney Perry

RUNAWAY ROAD
Series:
Runaway #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Devney Perry
Release Date: March 6, 2020

Londyn McCormack didn’t have a typical childhood. She ran away from home at sixteen, escaping parents more interested in drugs than their daughter. She doesn’t have loving siblings or an adorable pet. Her only family is the five other runaway kids who shared her junkyard home.

Life pulled them all in separate directions, taking her to Boston. For a short time, she thought she’d found something permanent. But after a devastating divorce, she’s running away again, this time to find a lost friend.
She’s driving across the country in her convertible. As a teenager, the rusty car was her shelter. As an adult, it’s her ride to freedom.

Except one flat tire derails her trip. Her life collides with Brooks Cohen. They walked away from the first crash. The second might destroy them both.

AMAZON

There was something fresh about her. Maybe it was her outlook on life or her spirit. Maybe it was that she had gone through so much and she hadn’t become jaded or cynical. Londyn intrigued me. She stirred my blood.

My heart feels so full right now. This book. GUYS. I just can’t. A lighthearted, feel-good romance full of swoons and feels. I devoured this book in one sitting. I kid you not. I sat down, opened my kindle, blinked, and I was already at 80%.

The wind whipped through my hair as I sped along the highway.
Just me and my cherry-red Cadillac.
On a runaway road.

I don’t think there was one thing I didn’t love about this story. The sweet and swoony hero. The slightly damaged but not broken heroine. The charming small town setting. The wonderfully vivid secondary characters. And the romance! OMG the romance! It was one of those things that just sneaks up on you. It wasn’t loud. It wasn’t angsty. It wasn’t quick and mighty. It was a beautiful slow burn full of emotion and it couldn’t have been more perfect.

Londyn McCormack thought she had everything she needed. A runaway teen that learned to survive on the streets, she married a rich husband and quickly lost herself. Now divorced, she yearns to move on and find herself. So she leaves her old life and her best friend behind to drive to California to find an old friend, but along the way things get complicated. A flat tire lands her in a sleepy small town where she meets a man that changes everything.

Brooks Cohen is one of the most swooniest heroes I’ve read in a long while. He’s sweet, caring, and patient. He’s everything that Londyn needs and nothing she thought she wanted. He’s unexpected but the chemistry between them is undeniable. They slowly get to know one another during casual dinners by the lake and it’s not long before they each weave their way into each other’s hearts.

I cannot gush enough about this story. I fell hard and fast for these characters and the premise of the series. A group of teen runaways that find themselves to happiness as adults? Yes, please and thank you! If you’re looking for an easy and light-hearted read that full of depth and emotion, this book is not to be missed.

#DGRFave & Review: The Guy In The Middle by Kate Stewart

THE GUY IN THE MIDDLE
Series:
The Underdogs Series #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Kate Stewart
Release Date: February 29, 2020

From the bestselling author of The Guy on the Right comes a heartwarming, steamy, second-chance romance. The Guy in the Middle is BOOK THREE of The Underdogs Series, but can be read as a stand-alone.

I was born to play and bred to win.

My priorities were instilled in me early on—family and football. Those ideals led me to TGU and a coach whose ironclad principles mirrored my own.

With one last college season to play, my goal was singular—get drafted. By realizing my NFL dream, I could save my family, our ranch, and the only home I’d ever known.

Two birds, one ball.

Playing hard was my only option, but there’s always a wild card.

For all of my planning and hard work, I never anticipated falling for the coach’s daughter. Harper was a fair catch, but who knew loving her could be the one play to throw my career before it started or that the weight of our secret would change the game.

The Underdogs Series order
The Guy on the Right
The Guy on the Left
The Guy in the Middle
*The Guy in the Middle was previously published as a short story (34k) in an anthology but has been expanded to full length novel of 107k words, including an extended epilogue.

AMAZON

I’ve spent enough time denying myself. It’s time to fight for what I want.

WOW.
Talk about ending the series with a bang. This book was EVERYTHING. I don’t even have the words for just how much I loved it. Beautifully written, brimming with emotion, full of passion, and layered in angst, this was one of the most satisfying second chance romances I’ve read in a while.

Loving Lance has always meant embracing his demons. Two years ago, we were able to keep them at bay. That no longer seems to be the case.

Lance and Harper were the perfect story of opposites attracting. Lance is the quiet and intense one of the group. His quiet intensity hides plenty of turmoil and demons that no one ever gets to witness. His only goal is to get through the season and get drafted because that’s his way out. He takes out his aggression on the football field, but everything that’s left over he saves for the boxing ring.

Harper has a goal of her own. She promised her father that she’ll finish college and that means two more years until she can go after her true dream to be a dancer. Her and Lance butt heads the seconds they meet, and the sparks fly immediately.

You really should do something about that.”
I glance back at him. “About what?”
“About that thorough fucking you need.”

Their story is not without bumps along the way. Forced to make a devastating decision for everyone’s sake, Harper leaves Lance to pursue their dreams. And their reunion two years later is no less bumpy.

The one thing I loved most about this book is Harper’s tenacity. The girl is a fighter just as much as Lance. She fights for him tooth and nail and I loved that about her. Even when everything is stacked against her, she doesn’t back down. Even when he gives her every reason not to, she still does.

Lance was impossible not to love. The man is full of so much depth and every time you peel back one layer, you find one hundred more. His emotion and everything that he buries deep is heartbreaking to watch at times. His inner rage and turmoil just as devastating. But the love between him and Harper is simply one of a kind. It’s fiery and angry and full of feeling. It’s raw and real and I just couldn’t get enough of it.

I loved the way they fought for each other. And I definitely love me a good grovel, and if there’s one thing this badass boxer knows how to do is GROVEL. GOD was it good.

This was, hands down, my favorite book in the series. Phenomenal and every second worst the wait.

#DGRFave & Review: Credence by Penelope Douglas

CREDENCE
Genre: Romance
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: January 13, 2020

From New York Times bestselling author, Penelope Douglas, comes a new standalone!

Three of them, one of her, and a remote cabin in the woods. Let the hot, winter nights ensue…

Tiernan de Haas doesn’t care about anything anymore. The only child of a film producer and his starlet wife, she’s grown up with wealth and privilege but not love or guidance. Shipped off to boarding schools from an early age, it was still impossible to escape the loneliness and carve out a life of her own. The shadow of her parents’ fame followed her everywhere.

And when they suddenly pass away, she knows she should be devastated. But has anything really changed? She’s always been alone, hasn’t she?

Jake Van der Berg, her father’s stepbrother and her only living relative, assumes guardianship of Tiernan who is still two months shy of eighteen. Sent to live with him and his two sons, Noah and Kaleb, in the mountains of Colorado, Tiernan soon learns that these men now have a say in what she chooses to care and not care about anymore.

As the three of them take her under their wing, teach her to work and survive in the remote woods far away from the rest of the world, she slowly finds her place among them.

And as a part of them.

She also realizes that lines blur and rules become easy to break when no one else is watching.

One of them has her.

The other one wants her.

But he…

He’s going to keep her.

*Credence is a full length, stand-alone romance suitable for readers 18+.

AMAZON

This is how he is. A breeze one minute, a cyclone the next.

Holy. Hell. This book. Y’all. I’m stunned speechless here. How do I even begin to review this book. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read. It was unconventional. It was riveting. It was taboo and sexy. It was downright brilliant. BRILLIANT.

I was immediately hooked on the story, though it did take me a bit to fully get into it. By the time I hit the 30% mark, I had my jaw on the floor, and I didn’t manage to pick it back up until the very last page.

It’s impossible to review this fully without giving away spoilers, and I refuse. I refuse to give you even the slightest impression of what this book has because you NEED to experience it blind. And experience it you will. I will say that if taboo and unconventional isn’t your thing, this wan’t be your cuppa. But if you want a book to take you out of your comfort zone, keep you glued to the pages, and leaves you craving more at the end, you need this in your life.

Tiernan de Haas is reeling from the death of her parents, but not in a way a child usually would. Her relationship with her parents was anything but traditional. Her famous, utterly in love with each other and blind to everything else parents were larger than life. Now that they’re gone, she’s desperate to escape the permanent lime light that her life has been. And when her father’s step brother reaches out and offers her a salvation in a cabin deep in the wilderness of Colorado, she jumps on it. But little does she know how much her life is about to change.

GAH. JUST GAH. I get goosebumps just writing this review. This book didn’t just take me out of my comfort zone, it shoved me out of it and kept a foot on my throat. This just speaks to what a brilliant author Penelope Douglas is. Because I’m pretty sure no one else could have pulled off a story like this without making it cheap. And cheap it was NOT. It was deliciously filthy, but beneath the sizzle there were layers. Layers that were deep. Layers that unraveled so beautifully that my heart pounded with every turn of the page. This may have been one of the most unique romance stories I’ve read and I loved it for this. Douglas wrote an unputdownable page turner full of heart, steam and emotion. It was beautiful, riveting, and completely unforgettable!!!

Review: Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas

CHASING CASSANDRA
Series: The Ravenels #6
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Release Date: February 18, 2020

Everything has a price…

Railway magnate Tom Severin is wealthy and powerful enough to satisfy any desire as soon as it arises. Anything—or anyone—is his for the asking. It should be simple to find the perfect wife—and from his first glimpse of Lady Cassandra Ravenel, he’s determined to have her. But the beautiful and quick-witted Cassandra is equally determined to marry for love—the one thing he can’t give.

Everything except her…

Severin is the most compelling and attractive man Cassandra has ever met, even if his heart is frozen. But she has no interest in living in the fast-paced world of a ruthless man who always plays to win.

When a newfound enemy nearly destroys Cassandra’s reputation, Severin seizes the opportunity he’s been waiting for. As always, he gets what he wants—or does he? There’s one lesson Tom Severin has yet to learn from his new bride:

Never underestimate a Ravenel.

The chase for Cassandra’s hand may be over. But the chase for her heart has only just begun…

AMAZON

He kissed her for all the midnights and mornings they would never share. He kissed her with a tenderness he would never be able to express in words, and felt her response in his blood, as if her sweetness had sunk into his marrow.

This book. This book right here is exactly why I love historical romance. If you’re not a reader of the genre, this book will make a converter out of you. It was sweet, quirky, funny, and oh so swoony! Lisa Kleypas can simply do no wrong for me, and this series only continues to get better and better with each new installment. But I really think this was my favorite in the series so far.

My wife expects me to join her upstairs for a nap.”
“How could a grown man sleep in the middle of the day? Why would you even want to?”
“I wasn’t planning to sleep,” Devon said curtly.
“Oh. Well, I would like to have my own wife to nap with. In fact, I’d like some good, hard napping on a regular basis.”

What if you took Sheldon from Big Bang Theory and made him into a quirky, dreamy and handsome historical romance character? That’s precisely what Tom was. I simply don’t have a better way to describe his unique personality. Tom is very black and white. He doesn’t believe in messy entanglements like love and romance and feelings. He’s ridiculously smart, incredibly so. His whip smart mind and ability to learn to do practically anything just by seeing or reading about it has allowed him to be the rich man that he is. Having come from nothing, Tom is one of the richest men now and known for his ruthless negotiations and no holds barred when it comes to doing business.

The second he lays his eyes on Cassandra, he knows he wants her. A marriage is the logical next step for a man like him. But a lady like Cassandra hasn’t been holding out with marriage for as long as she has for no reason. She wants a marriage formed from love and devotion, and that’s just one thing that Tom isn’t willing to give. He believes himself incapable of it.

Feelings are inconvenient,” Tom said. “It’s why I decided to limit mine to five”

I cannot even begin to describe to you just how satisfying it was watching Tom unwittingly fall for Cassandra as the story progressed. I loved his quirky and unique personality almost as much as I loved Cassandra’s softness and loving nature. She’s the perfect balance to a man as cold and aloof as Tom. But Tom isn’t quite as cold as he believes himself to be. And the more time he spends with the beautiful Cassandra, the more that becomes evident.

The story is perfectly paced and wonderfully crafted. It draws you in from the very first page and keeps you riveted until the very end. A beautiful, swoony, and memorable romance between two polar opposites that couldn’t be more perfect together. I absolutely loved this book!

#DGRFave & Review: Angry God by LJ Shen

ANGRY GOD
Series: All Saints High #3
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: L.J. Shen
Release Date: February 18, 2020

Vaughn Spencer.
They call him an angry god.
To me, he is nothing but a heartless prince.

His parents rule this town, its police, every citizen and boutique on Main Street.

All I own is a nice, juicy grudge against him for that time he almost killed me.

Between hooking up with a different girl every weekend, breaking hearts, noses and rules, Vaughn also finds the time to bully little ole’ me.

I fight back, tooth and nail, never expecting him to chase me across the ocean after we graduate high school.

But here he is, living with me in a dark, looming castle on the outskirts of London.

A fellow intern. A prodigal sculptor. A bloody genius.

They say this place is haunted, and it is.

Carlisle Castle hides two of our most awful secrets.

Vaughn thinks he can kill the ghosts of his past, but what he doesn’t know? It’s my heart he’s slaying.

AMAZON

We were an unfinished business, personal and always walking the tight rope between love and hate.

Let’s talk about angst for a hot second here. Because this book? Mother. Of. All. Angst. Would you expect anything less from any kid of Vicious?

This book. This book was EVERYTHING. It’s not for the faint of heart. It was gritty, painful, and downright captivating. It was deliciously angsty and rip your hair out frustrating. It was all of the things. Full of depth and emotion, layered with an angst only Shen can deliver, and characters that you won’t be forgetting any time soon.

I knew that LJ was going to be saving the best for last, and she did not disappoint. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved the previous books, but there was just something about this one that felt different. it was…more. It was like a live wire under your skin the entire time you were reading it. We’ve seen glimpses of Vaughn in the previous books, and it’s no secret that the guy is all sorts of messed up. His story unravels all those layers to bring you to the heart of who he is. And who he is, is deep, multi-layered, and oh so broken.

I was born with an insatiable appetite for destruction.

What I loved most about this book is how the characters balance each other. Vaughn may be all sorts of screwed up, but Lenora doesn’t just take it lying down. She gives as good as she gets, and in some parts, even better. I loved that about her. The girl has grit. She’s got a spine of steal and a smart mouth to go along with it. The two of them together were instant sparks.

There’s a lot of back and forth and their road is definitely not an easy one. It’s angsty, gritty, and dark. And I do mean DARK. This book is much darker than the rest of the series and it definitely fits. But don’t go into it expecting butterflies and rainbows. Your heart will break. It will bleed. It will ache. And at the end you’ll be thankful for it.

Angry God was everything I hoped it would be and so much more. Shen has given us one of her most tortured heroes to date, and I was SO HERE FOR IT!!!

Jennifer & Lana’s Review: The Rules of Engagement by JT Geissinger

THE RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romcom
Author: JT Geissinger
Release Date: January 28, 2020

Love is a battlefield for a quirky matchmaker and the cocky football star who hires her to find him a wife.

As the owner of Perfect Pairings matchmaking service, Maddie McRae earns her living helping others fall in love. And one thing the sweet Southern belle knows for sure is that the foundation of wedded bliss is built on similarities: opposites might attract, but they don’t stay together.

Enter Mason Spark.

Rude, arrogant, and notoriously allergic to monogamy, the hottest quarterback in the NFL is Maddie’s polar opposite. He’s also her new client. Her gorgeous, infuriating new client who’s paying her an outrageous sum of money to find him a wife. With his multi-million dollar contract on the line due to his behavior on and off the field, bad boy Mason is willing to pretend to settle down.

But when he starts to fall for the adorkable matchmaker who can’t stand him, the playboy finds himself in the game of his life to keep something he never thought he’d lose—his heart.

Eyes blazing, she says, “You know, before I met you, I hadn’t argued with anyone in fifteen years.”
“Doubtful. That tongue of yours is way too sharp to be outta practice.”

OH MY GOD. My face actually hurts from smiling so much. This was the most fun I’ve had reading a book in a while. It had the perfect amount of humor all wrapped around witty and fun banter, all anchored by a sizzling slow burn romance that I couldn’t get enough of.

My mistake was presenting lovely, intelligent, gracious single women who desired to meet equally lovely, intelligent, gracious single men. What Mason Spark needs is a lady gorilla.

J.T. Geissinger is an auto-read author for me. I don’t even bother reading the blurbs to her books because I already know I’m going to read them. But when I saw she’s coming out with something different from her usual, you know I had to read the blurb. And when I read the blurb to this, it gave me total Match Me If You Can vibes. And in case it’s not obvious, I loved Match Me If You Can. Yet this is not exactly the type of trope you find often. Now don’t get me wrong, this book totally stood out in its own unique right, and it hit every spot I never even knew I had.

It’s too bad the man has the personality of a chupacabra, because he’s actually very good-looking.

Mason is a football superstar, and a royal grump. I’m talking the king of grumps here. He’s a bit of a recluse and the only kind of woman he likes is a temporary one. But his agent is convinced that the only thing that would pull his terrible rep out of the pits of hell is a woman. Or a wife specifically. There’s just one problem, Mason has the temperament of a bear with a thorn in his paw. In comes Maddie, matchmaker extraordinaire. She’s a little prissy, a lot proper, with souther charm, a love of pink and mouth full of sass. The two of them set off instant fireworks, and so begins the best banter of all time.

Mason doesn’t believe in love where Maddie loves love. She’s determined to find Mason the perfect woman while he’s convinced she doesn’t exist. They snipe and snarl at each other at every step, and soon Maddie realizes that Mason doesn’t just need a matchmaker, he needs a dating coach. And off they go. You guys. These two had some of the funniest, cutest, and witty banter I’ve read in a while. The two of them set the pages on fire with their chemistry. And yet the slow burn sizzled so good, it actually made my ovaries hurt. True story.

Maddie is the perfect southern belle to Mason’s grump. GOD. He was so grumpy. I loved him. I loved her even more. Enter the most perfect secondary characters with Maddie’s aunt and Mason’s agent, and everything was just GAH. I couldn’t get enough of this story. Like I never wanted it to end. It was the cutest, quirkiest, sassiest, swooniest thing EVER. SO stinking good. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, witty, and feel-good romcom, this will hit every spot for you. TRUST ME.


JENNIFER’S REVIEW

This book is a super sweet read with a big dollop of sexual tension. It was sexual tension at first sight! It had me grinning through the whole thing, and I enjoyed every second of it.


Mason.

He is just so grumpy! And delicious! I love him! He’s got some PR issues, so his manager connects him with a matchmaker. He doesn’t want one, but he goes along with it. From the moment he meets Maddie, there are sparks and chemistry and delightful frustration. Mason has some anger management to deal with (along with basic dating etiquette), and Maddie is there to keep him in check and determined to find the right match for him, despite all of his outward emotional flaws.

Maddie.

She runs a matchmaking business and believes in true love. She’s got the sexy librarian look going on, but she is a tough pink cookie. Despite Maddie being the polar opposite of Mason, she still sees the good in him. She goes toe-to-toe with him in every verbal battle, and I loved her.

Mason and Maddie have both been hurt in the past in different ways (I appreciate that the author didn’t spend too much time on this), which makes them connect on a deeper level and need each other that much more.

It’s the perfect haters to lovers romance. The sweet sexual tension. The slow burn. I’m not usually a fan of slow burns, but this one had me hooked and I just couldn’t stop reading because of all the grinning.

I’ll read anything J.T. writes.

p.s. I didn’t care for the multiple points of view (match-making behind the scenes). It was cute, but it just wasn’t for me.

J.T. Geissinger is a bestselling author of emotionally charged romance and women’s fiction. Ranging from funny, feisty rom coms to intense, edgy suspense, her books have sold more than one million copies and been translated into several languages.

She is the recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book, the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy, and is a two-time finalist for the RITA® Award from the Romance Writers of America®. She has also been a finalist in the Booksellers’ Best, National Readers’ Choice, and Daphne du Maurier Awards.

Her first novel was published in 2012. Since then she’s written eighteen more novels. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, drinking wine, surfing the internet, and daydreaming about all the things she’s going to be when she grows up. She lives near the beach in Los Angeles with her husband and deaf/demented rescue kitty, Ginger.

Connect with J.T. Geissinger

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#DGRFave & Review: The Third Best Thing by Maya Hughes

THE THIRD BEST THING
Series: Fulton U #3
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult, Sports Romance
Author: Maya Hughes
Release Date: January 30, 2020

Dear Letter Girl, I need to see you. When can we meet?

Her response never came. My secret pen pal with a dirty mind has ghosted me. I’ve roped Jules, my sweet as pie next door neighbor, to help me track her down.

There’s only one problem–I’m falling for her. The tortoise shell glasses, out of this world curves and delicious treats are making the search for The Letter Girl even harder.

My notes were supposed to be a one time thing.

A little too much wine and naughty thoughts on a winter’s night. I never thought Berk would write back. I wanted to tell him it was me, but the fear of rejection kept my lips sealed.

Now he’s enlisted my help to track down The Letter Girl and our search has him hot on my, ahem, her trail.

She’s the girl next door.

He’s my secret pen pal.

Truth is on a collision course with their hearts and it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets wrecked…

She was an indescribable kind of perfect for me. The kind that made my heart ache that I’d only just found her and was ready to get down on my knees so I didn’t have to wait another day without knowing her beauty.

Be. Still. My. Heart.
It’s so full right now. I can’t stop grinning. This book was one of the most satisfying, feel-good, keep you swooning from beginning to finish kind of reads. My absolute favorite in the series and favorite Maya Hughes book to date!! It was, simply, EVERYTHING. Like all of the things. Perfection between the pages. I never wanted it to end.

Everything about her made me want to never let her go. She was the kind of woman I’d dreamed of one day being at my side. Beautiful. So warm and caring, and with a hint of a potty mouth.

Berk has been one of the most fun secondary characters in this series. He’s the goofball that always has an easy smile on his face. But you just know that beneath the smiles and easy going attitude there are some hidden layers, and boy were those deep. As a hero, this man was beyond multi-layered. Berk is a character with a tremendous amount of depth. he’s a guy that hides his pain and difficult childhood behind easy smiles and fun loving attitude. But beneath the college football superstar persona, is just a boy that wants love.

Jules has been crushing on Berk for over a year. What first started as a way for her to get her feelings out by writing him anonymous letters, soon turned into more when they began to write each other. But while Jules knows exactly who the letters are going to, Berk only knows her as the mysterious Letter Girl that he’s desperate to know the identity of. Living next door to each other they develop a sweet friendship. And while Berk adores Jules for everything that she is, Jules struggles with self esteem issues and can’t imagine someone like Berk ever going for someone like her.

I have to say that I loved both of these characters so much. Both Berk and Jules were incredibly multilayered with their own broken pieces. I loved how they filled in the broken pieces for each other in their friendship. I loved seeing Jules through Berk’s eyes, and I loved even more watching their friendship blossom into something so much more. Berk is a hero that’s simply impossible not to love. He’s vulnerable and tough, and oh so endearing.

Jules, even though her crazy family has certainly added to a lot of her self esteem issues is still a tough cookie. I loved watching her grow into herself throughout the book. She’s not a damsel and I loved that about her. And together? GAH. PERFECTION. I couldn’t get enough of the two of them. If you’re looking for a New Adult romance that has one of the most memorable friends to lovers tropes I’ve ever read, you need this book in your life. I’m addicted to this series. Simply addicted.


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Maya Hughes can often be found sneaking in another chapter while hiding in the bathroom from her kids! 🙂 I’m a romance writer who loves taking inspiration from everyday life, namely my husband and biggest fan. Inspiration also strikes when I hear a song, meet someone new or daydream while at soccer practice.
I’m the mom of three little ones, the wife to an amazing husband and also work full time. Some of my favorite things are cinnamon rolls, white wine, laughing until I can’t breathe and traveling with my family.

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#DGRFave & Excerpt, Review & Giveaway: A Favor for a Favor by @helenahunting

A FAVOR FOR A FAVOR
Series: All In #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Author: Helena Hunting
Release Date: January 28, 2020

From the New York Times bestselling author of Pucked and A Lie for a Lie, a new stand-alone romance about trading favors, battling wills, and winning love.

When I joined Seattle’s NHL expansion team, I thought it was the start of something great. But nothing ever goes the way you expect. Take my introduction to my new neighbor. She came rolling in on the hot mess express at midnight, making a racket while she tried to get into my team captain’s apartment. Did I mention that he’s married to a woman who definitely was not her?

Imagine my surprise when I end up with an injury that has me out of the game for weeks, and she’s the one to offer to help me. I should probably add that she’s not the captain’s mistress. She’s his sexy, pastel-haired younger sister.

So we come up with an arrangement: she rehabs me so that I can get back on the ice sooner, and she can add a professional athlete that isn’t her brother to her client list. Seems simple enough. As long as I can keep my hands to myself and my hormones in check.

AMAZON

“Say you were taking a woman to a formal work function. Would you get her flowers or something?” I’ve gone on my fair share of dates, had a few relationships, but I’ve never been one for hearts and flowers or any of that bull. I’m thinking I might need to do that with Stevie, though, since she’s been screwed over pretty hard.“Is this a date or a favor for a friend?”

“I guess she thinks I’m doing her a favor.” At least that was the impression that I got when I offered to go with her.

“Is that actually what you’re doing?”

“Yes and no.”

“Can you give me a little more to go on?”

“Her ex is going to be there and I don’t want her to go alone.”

“You don’t want her to go alone because you’re worried he’ll be a jerk or he’ll try to take advantage of her?”

“Sure, yeah, that’s part of the reason.”

“Instead of me dragging the information out of you, why don’t you lay it down for me?”

“So, Stevie—”

“Hold up, we’re back to Rook’s little sister?”

“Who else would I be talking about?”

“I thought you said there isn’t anything going on between you, and now you’re taking her to some kind of work function? That’s not a favor; that’s a date. Does Rook know?”

“It’s none of his damn business.”

“I’m not sure he’ll see it that way.”

“Well, he doesn’t have control over her or what she does, or what I do.” I’m agitated now. “She’s not going to that thing alone. I don’t trust that ex of hers, and I don’t want her to end up in a situation she doesn’t like.”

Kingston tips his head to the side. “Dang.”

“What?”

“You like her.”

“Well, yeah, I like her.” What’s not to like? She’s gorgeous, and she’s funny and feisty; her body is rockin’; and she’s fun to be around, super chill, and genuinely selfless.

“Like you actually want to date her, though.”

I shrug, because what am I going to say? The answer to that is yes, I want to date her, but the timing needs to be right. “I don’t want the ex thinking he has another chance.“

“You really love complicated situations, don’t you?”

“They just tend to find me, is all.”

“When’s this event you’re supposed to take her to?” King asks.

“Saturday.”

He frowns. “We get back at noon on Saturday.”

“It’s in the evening.”

“You better hope our flight isn’t delayed.”

I hadn’t considered a delay. The only reason that would happen is if the weather isn’t good. “It doesn’t start until five. I should have plenty of time to get home and throw a suit on.”

Kingston nods and taps restlessly on the edge of the pool. “So would you call this your first date?”

“We hang out all the time.”

“‘Hang out’ meaning what?”

“Other than PT sessions, we watch hockey, eat pizza, stuff like that.”

Kingston blinks several times in rapid succession. “That’s it?”

“I pick her up from work a lot.”

“Have you ever bought her flowers before? Brought her any gifts?”

“I brought her over an aloe plant once. But, like I said, it hasn’t been like that.” I don’t get why he’s so hung up on the flowers.

“Again, please try not to take offense, but are you sure you haven’t inadvertently put yourself in the friend zone?”

“How do I know if I’m in the friend zone?” I haven’t had a lot of friends who are girls. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever had a friend who’s a girl who isn’t related to me. And I only have two female cousins, whom I see a couple of times a year at family functions. They’re significantly younger than me, so mostly I avoid them.

It’s Kingston’s turn to blow out a long breath. “If you put your arm around her and she gets all snuggly but doesn’t try to take it any further, it could mean you’re in the friend zone.”

I don’t know what my expression must be, but the panic I feel inside quite possibly reaches my face. I feel like it should be obvious that I’m interested. A guy doesn’t spend endless hours with a gorgeous woman who combines weird pizza toppings for shits and giggles. But then again, I haven’t attempted to make a move on her since the almost-kiss. And any conversation I’ve tried to have with her about it has been shut down. In fact, she wants to pretend it didn’t happen. I hadn’t considered that this might be because she actually didn’t want it to happen at all. She seemed just as into it as I was. Or maybe I’ve been misreading the whole thing. “If I’m in the friend zone, how the hell do I get out?”

I need you to stop touching me!” It’s stupid because I’m still holding on to her, not the other way around.
“Why are you yelling at me?” she shouts back.
“Because you’re half-undressed in my tub,and I’m a guy, and apparently my dick is a fucking sadist. It honestly feels like my balls are on fire right now. A semi has literally never been this painful.” “Well, close your damn eyes and think about dead things.”

FAVORITE. HELENA HUNTING BOOK. EVER.

How do you even top this? This book was EVERYTHING. The blurb was amazing but it didn’t even begin to do this justice. I loved the first in the series, but this story just owned me. It was enemies to lovers with a slow burn to beat all slow burns. It was full of banter and humor and all of the sizzle. GAH! I seriously can’t right now with all of my feels!!

These two were easily my favorite characters that Helena Hunting has created to date.

Stevie is RJ’s younger sister from A Lie for a Lie. She’s feisty, sharp-witted, and currently trying to move on from walking in on her boyfriend having sex with another woman in their bed. The bed in the apartment they just moved into together. The apartment that they got because of a job they both got and will be working together at. Good times. As she runs away to lick her wounds, looking a hot mess, her brother offers up his condo to her. So of course as fate would have it, what happens when everything that can go wrong does and you’re looking a hot mess trying to get the key to work to your temporary new gigs? You run into your ridiculously good looking but terribly tempered neighbor.

To say that these two get off on the wrong foot would be a serious understatement. While Stevie is dealing with her new normal, she now has to deal with her grumpy new neighbor that happens to assume that she’s his married teammate’s sidepiece. So suffice it to say, he’s not that happy to see her. No matter that the relationship between RJ and Bishop is antagonistic at best.

These two begin an intricate dance of antagonism laced with enough sexual tension to set their condo building on fire. It’s enemies to lovers at it’s very best. With amazing banter, sizzling chemistry, and all of the funny barbs and one-liners. When Bishop gets dangerously hurt during a game, he’s desperate to get back on his feet. And then Stevie offers him her help. She’s a physiotherapist specializing in sports therapy. It’s a great arrangement. A favor for a favor. She’d help get him back on the ice, and he’d give her the chance to work with her first professional athlete and make a name for herself without her brother’s help. Thus begins an even more intricate dance of denying their chemistry as they’re forced in tight quarters and to be around each other a lot more often.

Bishop was such an amazing hero. This man is brooding, and while looks are deceiving, he’s not the typical man-whoring athlete. He takes care of his younger brother and focuses on his career. He has no time for a woman, until one quite literally stumbles into his life.

This was such a delicious story. I don’t even have all of the words to describe how good. The chemistry was incendiary, the humor was on point, and the story was addictive. Pure perfection on pages. I can’t recommend it enough. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t read a Helena Hunting book yet, then this is the perfect one to hook you with!

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.
 
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Review: The Maddest Obsession by Danielle Lori

THE MADDEST OBSESSION
Series: Made #2
Genre: Contemporary, Mafia Romance
Author: Danielle Lori
Release Date: April 15, 2019

She fears the dark.
He rules it.

Her dresses are too tight, her heels too tall. She laughs too loudly, eats without decorum, and mixes up most sayings in the book. Little do most know it’s just a sparkly disguise, there to hide one panic attack at a time.

Nobody can crack Gianna’s facade . . . no one anyway, until hecomes along.

Most see a paragon of morality; a special agent upholding the law. In the New York underworld, others know him as a hustler, a killer, his nature as cold as the heart of ice in his chest. Christian Allister has always followed the life plan he’d envisioned in his youth, beneath the harsh lights of a frigid, damp cell. With a proclivity for order and the number three, he’s never been tempted to veer off course. But perhaps one should never say never . . .

One winter night and their lives intertwine. She hates him—his stone-cold demeanor, his arrogance and too-perceptive eye—but over the years, even as their games consist of insulting each other’s looks and intelligence, she begins to live to play with him.

Nowhere in Christian’s plans had he ever prepared for Gianna. She’s chaos embodied, not his type, and married, but none of that can stop his eyes from following her wherever she goes.

All along, she doesn’t even know that she’s his—his frustration, his fascination.

His maddest obsession.

AMAZON

If you ran, Gianna . . .” The words were malicious yet somehow as soft and desperate as sex in a war-torn field. He pressed his lips to my ear. “I would find you.”

Where has this book been all my life?!!!! I’m talking about all of my favorite book crack in one story here, people! And it’s amazingly written. And it’s set in a world that I can’t get enough of. And it had Russian that was 100% correct. So for me, this was the holy grail of reads. Because let’s be honest here, I’m a ridiculously picky shit when it comes to Russian in books. But I digress.

Now I thought that I loved The Sweetest Oblivion, but nothing could prepare me for how obsessed I was going to be with this book. Ha! See what I did there? Ok, that was weak, but whatever. You see where I’m going here. The Maddest Obsession was addictive, enrapturing, and all consuming. One of those stories that you read that stay with you.

His eyes were what nightmares were made of, ice and fire, and filled with secrets no one wanted to know. He could only pass as normal because of his too-handsome face—otherwise, he’d be locked up somewhere, the world seeing him for what he really was.

A story with characters that are so vivid and unique, that they’re impossible to forget. And Gianna and Christian were definitely impossible to forget.

We all searched for strength in life. Unfortunately, mine just happened to lie at the end of a line of powder.

First of all, I highly recommend that you read The Sweetest Oblivion first. There are parts of the story here that run parallel to the events in the first one that are spoilers. You would certainly have a better appreciation for all the characters, if you read the series in order.

I was making a deal with the devil. And I couldn’t even find the grace to save myself.

If you read book one, then you definitely remember Gianna. Gianna grew up in the mafia life, and as such, she’s certainly been quickly broken of her innocence and nativity. She used to be Nico’s stepmother, while young enough to be his sister. Her husband’s infidelity and inability to care for anyone other than himself has ultimately broken her. She’s disillusioned by life and her role in it, and finds her oblivion in the additional hit of coke. But in her world, you don’t marry for love, and she’ll never put her heart on the line again.

He was cool, icy control. But something burned hot beneath the surface. Something shrouded by ice for so long. I wanted to watch it melt. To unravel him until I understood every layer. I knew it was dangerous. I even knew I wouldn’t win. But sometimes, even the best gambler doesn’t know when to quit.

If you thought Nico was intense, nothing can prepare you for the full effect of Christian. The man is a dark enigma. He’s cruelty and obsession all wrapped in one of the most deceptively handsome packages. A crooked fed that’s a law onto himself. He takes orders from no one, not the FBI, not the mob, and definitely not women. He has a rule of three when it comes to his lovers, and no one has ever tempted him to break his icy control.

It’s immediate sparks when Gianna first notices Christian. Their story spans many years, from her first husband to ultimately her second. Their relationship is complex game of cat and mouse, chock full of sexual tension, and witty barbs. They hate each other, seemingly. But beneath the glares and insults, there brews something intense and fiery.

I loved this story beyond words. Gianna was such a broken and imperfect heroine, and I couldn’t get enough of her. She may appear broken, but she has the heart of a lioness. She’s smart, strong, and gives as good as she takes. The woman has been through hell and back in her young life, but she doesn’t let it break her. She’s just shattered in parts.

Christian was just….GAH. My god. The man was everything. Intensity oozes from his every pore, almost as much as his sexuality does. And the two of them together? Sweet mother of all that’s holy. They’re incendiary.

The story was twisty, dark, and full of grit. It was a page turner, edge of your seat sort of read that I couldn’t bear to put down for even a second. This is a book that I would recommend for all mafia romance lovers out there. If you haven’t been introduced to Danielle Lori’s brand of awesome, you’re definitely missing out.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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