New Release Review and Giveaway! THE DEVIL’S SUBMISSION by Nicola Davidson (The Fallen #2)


The Devil’s Submission
by Nicola Davidson
The Fallen #2
Publication Date: February 6, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Scorched, Erotic, Historical Romance, Standalone

 SYNOPSIS:

Disinherited by his parents and estranged from his wife, Fallen pleasure club co-owner Lord Grayson ‘Devil’ Deveraux long ago learned to place his trust in ledgers rather than people. But his ice-cold reserve hides the scandalous truth: he’s a man who craves pain with his pleasure, and a loving lady to instruct him.

Banished to the country when her whirlwind marriage collapsed, Lady Eliza Deveraux never knew why Grayson fell out of love with her: she’d tried so damned hard to quell her fiery self and be a proper, obedient wife. But when Eliza is forced to return to London and back into Grayson’s intoxicating world, banked passions reignite. Can a marriage built on secrets and pretense truly get a second chance?

Review:

Short, and….well, not all that sweet. Parts are sweet-ish, but other parts are far removed from that…which is very, very good in this instance. 😉

The Devil’s Submission is a second chance romance. Grayson (AKA Devil) and Eliza met and married fairly quickly, but almost as quickly things fell apart and when this novella begins they’re living separately. Miserably, and separately.

Insert Eliza’s self-absorbed witch of a mother (and, it turns out, about 90% of the reason why Eliza and Grayson aren’t currently together) and suddenly Eliza’s back in Grayson’s life. Could be good, right? Except for the fact that the two of them aren’t talking about why they’re apart or what they really want from each other and for themselves…

Normally the types of romantic conflict that can be resolved with a conversation or two drive me crazy. Here, though, it works pretty well. Grayson’s issues are ones that many guys today would have trouble talking about and admitting to, let alone two centuries ago, and it makes sense that Eliza wouldn’t even know such things exist without some outside education. What we end up with is a second chance romance story with just the right amounts of angst, longing, lust, and smexy times with two characters who manage to both figure out who they are and what they need and discover that their lives are infinitely better together. As Grayson puts it at the end,

That was all you needed really. The love of the right person, good friends, a place of your own, and acceptance of your true self.

Well, that and a very sturdy cane.

My first book in this series, but not my last! The Devil’s Submission worked fine as a standalone, but I absolutely want to see how Sin and Vice’s stories go as well.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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ABOUT NICOLA DAVIDSON

NICOLA DAVIDSON worked for many years in communications and marketing as well as television and print journalism, but hasn’t looked back since she decided writing wicked historical romance was infinitely more fun. When not chained to a computer she can be found ambling along one of New Zealand’s beautiful beaches, cheering on the champion All Blacks rugby team, history geeking on the internet or daydreaming. If this includes chocolate – even better!

Keep up with Nicola’s news on Twitter (@NicolaMDavidson) Facebook (Nicola Davidson – Author) or her websitewww.nicola-davidson.com

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon Author Profile

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! WEDDINGS, CRUSHES, AND OTHER DRAMAS by Emily McKay (Creative HeArts #6, Willa & Finn #2)

Weddings, Crushes, and Other Dramas
(Creative HeArts #6, Willa & Finn #2)
by Emily McKay
Publication Date: February 13, 2017
Publisher:  Entangled Teen Crush

 

Falling in love with the best man wasn’t on the program…

Willa is happy to be the maid of honor in her dad’s upcoming wedding to uber-celeb Mia McCain. Not as happy about the best man being her soon-to-be stepbrother, the infuriating—and infuriatingly gorgeous—Finn McCain. Every time their paths cross, the attraction simmering between them grows a little harder to ignore. Willa knows all about guys like Finn—they only want what they can’t have. What’s between them isn’t real.

Finn has never felt anything more real than what’s developing between him and Willa. Sure, her dad warned him to steer clear, but it’s not just about forbidden temptation. He’s determined to prove to Willa he’s not going anywhere—and that happily-ever-after will always be worth the risk.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a wedding so crazy it’ll make you laugh, a stepbrother so hot he’ll make you swoon, and a heroine so real she’ll make you cry.

 

Review:

So. Much. Adorableness. Here.

I am really enjoying the Creative HeArts series, and Willa and Finn are possibly my favorite couple in the group, so when I heard that their book 2 was available? You’d better believe I jumped right on that!

I’m happy to report–it did not disappoint.

Once again we have all kinds of angsty chemistry going on–a forbidden romance (Willa’s dad is still dead set against her dating Finn), tons of will-they-or-won’t-they drama, awesome secondary characters (as usual!), and so many truly funny moments (the personalized three-weeks-to-the-wedding to-do binders? Just OMG) Gah! I ship these two so hard. Loved every second of this book.

My only complaint?

It took 90+% of the book for the two of them to finally get together–which is fine–but I really, really want me some more Willa and Finn together time. Instead, they come together and wham! Bam! we practically fast forward to the end of the school year and…it’s over. I really, really was hoping for a book 3, but it doesn’t look as if I’ll get one. Sigh. I would have loved to (slightly spoiler-ish comments to follow–skip to the end if you don’t want to read them) have seen their talk with Willa’s dad, Willa’s college admissions drama, and how their senior seminar project turns out (though fingers crossed we’ll get more on that from the other series books).

Still, though. Willa and Finn. Can’t go wrong. Plus, they’re sure to pop in and out of the rest of the series books, so it’s all good.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

Follow the rest of the tour here.

Link to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

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First book in the series:

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains an unbelievably hot bad boy, an unbelievably famous actress, and all the drama that comes with adding both to your family. Oh, and a forbidden flirtation with a soon-to-be stepbrother.

When Willa Schofer’s father comes home from a business trip with an über-famous new fiancée, Willa’s senior year blows up in paparazzi-fueled flames. Overnight, she has a new house, a new car, and a new soon-to-be stepbrother—the unbelievably hot, unbelievably arrogant, Finn McCain. Thank god he’s constantly pushing her buttons, or she might do something irresponsible. Like fall for the jerk.

Just when Willa’s decided to avoid him for, oh, ever, Finn lands in the center of her senior project team. Seriously—how hard is it to shake a guy? At least her work on the project snagged the attention of the (second) hottest guy in school. He might only be into her because of her famous stepmom, and he’s not quite as exciting as a certain annoying housemate, but at least she’s allowed to crush on the guy.

Because crushing on your annoying stepbrother? So not cool.

 

Goodreads

 

About the author:

Emily McKay is a life-long fan of books, pop-culture and anything geeky. She has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and baking cookies. When she’s not kicking-ass and scooping cookie dough, she’s watching videos from Screen Junkies (her favorite Youtube channel) or Pemberly Digital or Classic Alice. Okay, she has a Youtube problem! She’s seeking help. Really. Though, she may also have a slight problem with procrastination.

When the internet is down and there are no chocolate chips in the house, she does write books – everything from Harlequin romance novels to post-apocalyptic YA. Though her interests may appear broad, the common denominators are swoony heroes and snarky humor.

 

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

 

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New Release (Box Set) Review! JUSTIFIABLE CAUSE by Adirenne Girodano (THE CHASE, THE EVASION, and THE CAPTURE)

Included in this novella series are:

THE CHASE

Hard-driving attorney Jo Pomeroy is as determined as she is sexy—in other words, a major pain in NYPD Sergeant Gabe Townsend’s butt. Working together on a high-profile task force charged with busting sales of counterfeit goods has been rocky from the start. And Jo’s penchant for trouble is as difficult to ignore as her spectacular legs.

The world of knock-offs isn’t as frivolous as it appears. The purses are fake, but the danger is all too real—and Jo seems hell-bent on putting herself in the middle of it. Her investigations have uncovered valuable leads for Gabe’s team, but they’ve also drawn the wrong kind of attention. Now, she’s on the radar of a mysterious smuggler not afraid to use violence to evade the law. At the risk of their lives—and their hearts—Gabe and Jo must find him before he finds them.

THE EVASION

His role on an anti-counterfeiting task force earned NYPD Sergeant Gabe Townsend the catch of a lifetime—tough as nails but sexy as hell Jo Pomeroy. The woman has a body that drives him wild and a way of attracting danger that’s making him crazy. And her relentless pursuit of an elusive criminal has his protective instincts in overdrive.

Jo didn’t get to be a hotshot attorney by giving up easily. Her high-end clients count on her to keep knockoffs of their luxury goods off the streets. Distractions are the last thing she needs. Especially six-foot-three, hard body calendar-worthy distractions.

She failed once, letting a smuggler slip through her grasp. Next time, he’ll have nowhere to run. A lead takes Jo and Gabe to a small town where not everything—or anyone—is as innocent as it seems. Making this bust could be the biggest break of her career…but at what risk to her newfound love?

THE CAPTURE

Sun, fun, and Jo Pomeroy, the sexiest, most-driven attorney around, await NYPD Sergeant Gabe Townsend in Los Angeles. A trip to the West Coast is the perfect vacation—he won’t have to hide his relationship with Jo from the New York anti-counterfeiting task force, and he can finally enjoy some overdue time-off with the woman of his dreams.

Jo makes undercover deals for fake merchandise, but her feelings for Gabe are all too real. Unfortunately, she isn’t the one on vacation, and while she can’t wait to get her heartthrob alone, she also can’t say no when the mayor of Los Angeles asks for her help in ridding the city of illegal knockoffs.

Being too dedicated for her own good backfires when Jo ends up on a killer’s hit list. Gabe wants Jo to back down; she’s not about to. As the danger escalates, so do their feelings for each other. All Jo’s ever wanted is to expand her task force nationwide. Now, with her life on the line, Jo must decide if heading the taskforce is worth sacrificing it all, including a future with the man she loves.

 

Reviews:

THE CHASE

So much fun! Finally, I got the chance to read about Jo and Gabe before they were (technically) “Jo and Gabe”! 🙂 Snappy dialogue, fantastic chemistry (as a bonus in this one, it’s a forbidden work romance, and they’re still fighting it!), and a fast-paced story all add up to an explosive series start. I was glad that this one was novella-length, because I had a lot to do this week and I didn’t want to stop reading once I’d started! The shorter length totally worked here, and since I was reading the box set, I didn’t have to wait to find out what the next phase of their brand-new non-work relationship would bring.

The Chase has everything a good romantic suspense story needs–and you won’t be able to stop with just one of this series! 😉

Rating: 4 stars/ A-


THE EVASION

Once again, the action is non-stop for intellectual property attorney Jo Pomeroy and her now-beau NYPD sergeant Gabe Townsend. They’re keeping their relationship under wraps, which is stressing them out, but when they’re alone and away from work? Watch out, because these two are hotter than ever together! The main bad guy from book one ( The Chase ) is still on the loose, though, and Jo and Gabe are determined to bring him to justice.

Their quest takes them down south, and OMG watching alpha male and super-intense Gabe have to deal with a small town sheriff who is out of his office (leaving it locked and empty) more often than he’s in it? So. Funny. Jo is up to her old tricks too, trying to do it all in her quest to rid the world of counterfeit items and practically giving Gabe a heart attack in the process. Seriously, it’s amazing these two make it through to book 3, but I sure am glad they did!

Once again the novella format absolutely worked here, and Ms. Giordano’s tightly developed plot kept me on the edge of my seat right up to the very end…at which point I was more than ready to dive into book 3 ( The Capture )!

Rating: 4 stars / A-


THE CAPTURE

I actually read book 3 for the first time a while ago–at that time it was the only one in the series I’d read–and I was thrilled to re-read it again, this time right after devouring books 1 and 2. Have I mentioned how much I love Jo and Gabe’s relationship? In book 3,it reminded me a lot of Castle and Beckett’s back when they were still trying to keep theirs a secret; like them, Jo and Gabe aren’t exactly fooling much of anyone but, hey–nice effort 😉

Like any good romantic suspense hero and heroine, even being on vacation doesn’t stop the danger. (Also like any good romantic suspense hero and heroine, they pretty much invite trouble to join them on their trip out of town.) An accidental witness to murder, Jo’s soon on the hit list of a dangerous motorcycle club, and Gabe has to work with an LA lieutenant who’s been a part of Jo’s new task force to keep her safe.

Only, you know, he’s not really working, because he’s on “vacation”.

Can Gabe keep Jo safe? Will Jo be able to stop a counterfeit cigarette ring? Will they ever have a real vacation, with actual relaxation and a lack of death threats and everything? You’ll have to read The Capture to find out!

(Meanwhile I’ll be sitting here quietly, hoping that Ms. Giordano is going to give us more Jo and Gabe in the not-so-distant future…)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

New Release Review and Giveaway! CALL TO HONOR by Tawny Weber

Known for her distinctive ability to blend emotion, humor and suspense in tight gripping stories featuring irresistible alpha SEAL heroes, New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Tawny Weber returns with her brand-new novel, CALL TO HONOR, the first book of three in her SEAL Brotherhood series.

Title: Call to Honor
Author: Tawny Weber
Publisher: Harlequin
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780373799282

 

The Poseidon team are hard-bodied, fiercely competitive navy SEALs. But when a sensitive mission goes disastrously wrong, three of the team’s finest will have to trust their hearts and instincts to uncover the truth…

“No man left behind” is inscribed in the DNA of every SEAL and Lieutenant Diego Torres is no exception. But with a team member killed—and the body missing—Diego’s honor is sorely tested. Now his career and reputation are on the line, and a traitor is hiding among them. Diego wants answers…and only one woman has them.

Single mom Harper Maclean has two priorities—raising her son Nathan and starting a new life. Her mysterious new neighbor may be impossibly charming, but Diego asks too many questions about her past—and about the father of her child. Questions she fears will reveal her burning attraction for Diego, and ultimately put them all in danger’s path.

Add to your TBR list:  Goodreads

Available:  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes

Review:

Call to Honor went in a direction I didn’t expect, but OMG did I enjoy every minute of it!

Diego and Harper are absolutely fantastic together, and when you throw in Harper’s seven-year-old son Nathan? Pure magic. Seriously. I loved these three with an intensity that shouldn’t be possible in a 300+ page book, but there you have it. They have to show up in later series books, because I am not at all ready to say goodbye to them!

There’s a secondary thing going on between Harper’s BFF Andi and Diego’s teammate Jared here that has to get its own book (sadly, it’s not book two, Call to Engage ; I’m holding out hope for #3 in the series) and the entire situation that Diego’s team was trying to resolve in this book isn’t finalized either–as if I needed more reasons to be first in line for the rest of the books in this series. Can’t wait!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About Tawny Weber:

The New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than 40 books, Tawny Weber writes sassy, emotional romances with a dash of humor, featuring hot alpha heroes. The recipient of numerous awards, she has also hit number one on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists. Readers can visit Tawny’s website www.tawnyweber.com for free reads, first chapters, insider story info and much more. . You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter (@tawnyweber) and Goodreads. Tawny lives in Northern California with her family.

Website  |  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR by Cat Sebastian

 

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 
 
 
THE LAWRENCE BROWNE AFFAIR
Cat Sebastian
Releasing Feb 7th, 2017
Avon Impulse
An earl hiding from his future . . . 

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . . 

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

 

Cornwall, 1816

CHAPTER ONE

All this fuss about a couple of small explosions. As far as Lawrence cared, the explosions were entirely beside the point. He had finished experimenting with fuses weeks ago. More importantly, this was his house to burn to the ground if that’s what he wanted to do with it. Hell, if he blew the godforsaken place up, and himself right along with it, the only person who would even be surprised was the man sitting before him.

“Five servants quit,” Halliday said, tapping Lawrence’s desk in emphasis. Dust puffed up in tiny clouds around the vicar’s fingertips. “Five. And you were woefully understaffed even before then.”

Five fewer servants? So that was why the house had been so pleasantly quiet, why his work had been so blissfully undisturbed.

“There was no danger to the servants. You know I keep them away from my work.” That was something Lawrence insisted on even when he wasn’t exploding things. The very idea of chattering maids underfoot was enough to discompose his mind even further. “And I conducted most of the actual explosions out of doors.” Now was probably not the time to mention that he had blown the roof off the conservatory.

“All I’m suggesting is a sort of secretary.” Halliday was dangerously unaware of how close he was to witnessing an explosion of the metaphorical variety. “Somebody to keep records of what you’ve mixed together and whether it’s likely to”—he puffed his cheeks out and made a strange noise and an expansive gesture that Lawrence took to represent explosion—“ignite.”

The Reverend Arthur Halliday did not know what was good for him. If he did, he would have fled the room as soon as he saw Lawrence reach for the inkwell. Lawrence’s fingers closed around the object, preparing to hurl it at the wall behind the vicar’s head. Sod the man for even suggesting Lawrence didn’t know how to cause an explosion. He hadn’t invented Browne’s Improved Black Powder or even that bloody safety fuse through blind luck, for God’s sake.

“Besides,” Halliday went on, “you said you need an extra set of hands for this new device you’re working on.”

Oh, damn and blast. Lawrence knew he shouldn’t have told the vicar. But he had hoped Halliday might volunteer to help with the device himself, not badger Lawrence into hiring some stranger. The vicar was convenient enough, and when he wasn’t dead set on sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, he wasn’t entirely unpleasant company.

“I’ve had secretaries,” Lawrence said from between gritted teeth. “It ends badly.”

“Well, obviously, but that’s because you go out of your way to terrify them.” Halliday glanced pointedly at the inkwell Lawrence still held.

And there again was Halliday missing the point entirely. Lawrence didn’t need to go out of his way to frighten anyone. All he had to do was simply exist. Everyone with any sense kept a safe distance from the Mad Earl of Radnor, as surely as they stayed away from rabid dogs and coiled asps. And explosive devices, for that matter.

Except for the vicar, who came to Penkellis Castle three times a week. He likely also called on bedridden old ladies and visited the workhouse. Maybe his other charity cases were grateful, but the notion that he was the vicar’s good deed made Lawrence’s fingers curl grimly around the inkwell as he plotted its trajectory through the air.

“I’ll take care of the details,” Halliday was saying. “I’ll write the advertisement and handle the inquiries. A good secretary might even be able to manage the household a bit,” the vicar said with the air of a man warming to his topic, “get it into a fit condition for the child—”

“No.” Lawrence didn’t raise his voice, but he slammed his fist onto the desk, causing ink to splatter all over the blotter and the cuff of his already-inky shirt. A stack of papers slid from the desk onto the floor, leaving a single dustless patch of wood where they had been piled. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a spider scurry out from under the papers.

“True,” Halliday continued, undaunted. “A housekeeper would be more appropriate, but—”

“No.” Lawrence felt the already fraying edges of his composure unraveling fast. “Simon is not coming here.”

“You can’t keep him off forever, you know, now that he’s back in England. It’s his home, and he’ll own it one day.”

When Lawrence was safely dead and buried, Simon was welcome to come here and do what he pleased. “I don’t want him here.” Penkellis was no place for a child, madmen were not fit guardians, and nobody knew those facts better than Lawrence himself, who had been raised under precisely those conditions.

Halliday sighed. “Even so, Radnor, you have to do something about this.” He gestured around the room, which Lawrence thought looked much the same as ever. One hardly even noticed the scorch marks unless one knew where to look. “It can’t be safe to live in such a way.”

Safety was not a priority, but even Lawrence wasn’t mad enough to try to explain that to the vicar.

“Villagers won’t even walk past the garden wall anymore. And the stories they invent…” The vicar wrung his hands. “A secretary. Please. It would ease my mind to know you had someone up here with you.”

A keeper, then. Even worse.

But Lawrence did need another set of hands to work on the communication device. If Halliday wouldn’t help, then Lawrence had no other options. God knew Halliday had been right about the local people not wanting anything to do with him.

“Fine,” he conceded. “You write the advertisement and tell me when to expect the man.” He’d say what he needed to in order to end this tiresome conversation and send the vicar on his way.

It wasn’t as if this secretary would last more than a week or two anyway. Lawrence would see to that.

 I really enjoyed Ms. Sebastian’s first book set in this universe ( The Soldier’s Scoundrel ) and was so happy to see that Georgie (Jack’s brother) was going to get a book–I’m thrilled to say it did not disappoint! Somehow, it was an even better read than Jack and Oliver’s book–and that’s saying something 🙂

Once again Ms. Sebastian gives us two characters who are absolutely delicious together, who don’t at all intend to at the beginning but end up making life for the other one worlds better at the story’s end. Georgie, who grew up in deplorable conditions, has been a highly effective con man for his entire life, but it’s never really sat right with him and lately has been developing a conscience, which has him at odds with the crime boss he’s worked for since forever. Lawrence grew up with an unstable and cruel father and brother and was told from an early age that his sexual orientation was shameful and wrong. He’s isolated himself in his (literally) crumbling ancestral home, behaving like a brilliant but more than a little mad scientist. He lives in fear that he really will go mad, as his father and brother did before him, and it colors almost everything he does.

Together these two were just magic. Both their friendship and their relationship was slow moving but oh so satisfying, and I loved watching Georgie sllloooowly make Lawrence’s home, his very existence better and more comfortable. And then the last 20% when Lawrence returned the favor? OMG. I was completely unable to stop reading from that point to the very end, for any reason at all. So. Good. Throw in some wonderfully humorous writing and great secondary characters (Simon! Uncle Courtenay, hero of book 3!) and you have an all-around fantastic read.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Cat Sebastian lives in a swampy part of the South with her husband, three kids, and two dogs. Before her kids were born, she practiced law and taught high school and college writing. When she isn’t reading or writing, she’s doing crossword puzzles, bird watching, and wondering where she put her coffee cup.


New Release Review! AT CLOSE RANGE by Laura Griffin (Tracers #11)

When her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control.
AT CLOSE RANGE
A Tracers Novel 
Laura Griffin
Releasing Jan 31st, 2017
Pocket Books
New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin “delivers the goods” (Publishers Weekly) again with the eleventh title in the gritty, heart-pounding Tracers series.

When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.

As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights. 

 

Dani watched him. Scott stood beside the car, his back to the victim as he skimmed his flashlight over the ground. The firearms expert was tall and broad-shouldered, with the super-ripped body of a former Navy SEAL. Instead of his usual tactical pants and combat boots, he wore jeans and a leather jacket tonight, so maybe he’d been out when he’d gotten the call. Dani knew from experience that his jacket had nothing to do with the weather and everything to do with the Sig Sauer he carried concealed at his hip.

Something glinted in the grass, and Scott crouched down to tag it with a numbered marker. Two minutes on the scene and already he’d discovered a piece of evidence. He stood and squared his shoulders, and Dani felt a pang deep inside her as he approached.

He stopped and towered over her, and for a moment they just stared at each other.

“Was the passenger door closed when you got here?” he asked.

“That’s right.”

“Where’s the girl?”

“No sign of her.” She nodded at the woods. “One of our officers is searching near the lake with Travis.”

He watched her for a moment with those cool blue eyes. His gaze shifted to the woods. “You need a K-9 team.”

She bristled. “I know.”

He strode over to his truck and opened the toolbox again. He took out a metal detector, which would help him locate shell casings or bullets, and maybe even the second victim if she was wearing jewelry or a belt.

Then again, the killer might have taken her somewhere else. Dani glanced back at the road and got a queasy feeling in her stomach. Where was she? She turned her attention to the lake, visible just beyond the trees. It was a scenic spot, usually–a tranquil little oasis for couples. But not tonight.

She glanced at Scott again, and he was watching her closely–so closely it made her wonder what he was thinking.

“You coming?” he asked.

She nodded at the body. “I’ll stay with him until the ME shows.”

Scott walked off, and Dani let her gaze follow him until he disappeared into the woods.

The medical examiner’s van rolled up, followed closely by Ric, and Dani’s stomach tightened as she thought of everything she didn’t like about this case. And it wasn’t even an hour old yet.

Ric walked over, his expression grim as he took in the scene. “The media has it.”

“That didn’t take long.”

“It was all over the scanner,” he told her. “I give us ten minutes, tops, before they roll in here with their cameras. We need to barricade the road.”

“Daniele.”

She turned toward the sound of Scott’s deep voice calling her from the woods. He was a tall silhouette at the edge of the trees, and from his tone Dani knew it was bad.

“What is it?” she yelled back.

“I found her.”

##

Copyright 2017 by Laura Griffin

I have GOT to go back and read the beginning of this series! Seriously, I. Am. Loving. Them!

At Close Range delivers one heck of a suspense plot–a double murder that appears to be a crime of passion suddenly turns into a complex crime with a body count that is twice that, and the perpetrator soon appears to have the police detective who is put in charge of the case in his or her cross-hairs as well. Throw in a slow burning romance–SMPD detective Dani Harper has had a “thing” for Delphi Center’s ballistics expert Scott Black, her older brother’s best friend, since she was a teen, and has been trying to avoid him for months since a drunken New Year’s Eve kiss led to awkwardness. But now they’re working together, trying to solve the puzzle before anyone else gets killed, literally dodging bullets and finding resisting each other to be harder than ever.

So, yeah–it’s an incredible ride!

At Close Range had me on the edge of my seat, guessing what was really going on right up until the very end. And the chemistry between Scott and Dani? Fantastic. Adding to the drama of the book is the fact that Dani’s partner, Ric Santos and his wife Mia (hero and heroine of Unforgivable ) spend the bulk of the book waiting for their first baby to be born–Baby Santos is amazingly unwilling to make his debut–and there’s a hint that detective Sean Byrne and Delphi’s Center Brooke Porter might be subjects of a future series book–fingers crossed!

Whomever’s next on the list, though, you’d better believe I’ll be first in line for it!

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


New York Times
 and USA Today bestselling author LAURA GRIFFIN started her career in journalism before venturing into the world of romantic suspense. She is a two-time RITA Award winner (for the books Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Laura currently lives in Austin, where she is working on her next book.
 

New Release Review! FATAL LOVE by Misty Evans (Shadow Force International #3.5)

Fatal Love
by Misty Evans

Synopsis:

Girl or boy? Find out what Cal and Beatrice are having in this Shadow Force International Worlds novella! And meet Connor and Sabrina – two SFI members who must overcome their inner demons in order to find love in the middle of chaos.

Once upon a time, former Navy SEAL Callan Reese risked everything to protect his estranged wife from the enemies who wanted her dead. Now reunited and expecting their first child, Cal’s past makes Beatrice a target once again.

When Beatrice is kidnapped by a desperate woman bent on revenge, Cal must put everything on the line in the most dangerous mission of his life to keep her and their unborn child alive.

Full of pulse-pounding intrigue and a whole lot of heart, FATAL LOVE is a passionate thriller that’s sure to keep readers riveted from the first page to the last.

 

Review:

A fun little addition to the Shadow Force International series!

For an novella, there’s an awful lot going on here–Cal and Beatrice’s baby is about to make his (or her) appearance, a team seeking revenge invades their home, and several other team members, among them Connor McKenzie and Sabrina Merinos, are going to have to rush in to help. Oh, and of course there’s also a side plot that has to do with the attraction that Connor and Sabrina have apparently been feeling for each other for some time now.

So, yeah. A lot going on. The birthing a baby and fending off an attack bits are awesome–there’s even some humor worked in there!–but the Connor/Sabrina romance does take a back seat. (Which of course it has to–babies to birth! home invaders to fight!–but still, romance…) I wouldn’t have complained if this story had been a bit longer, with more Connor and Sabrina time to enjoy. Still, though, if you’ve read Cal and Beatrice’s book (Deadly Force, #3 in the Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce series–and if you haven’t, why not?) you definitely won’t want to miss watching them greet their new bundle of joy. I mean, a Shadow Force International book is a Shadow Force International book, amirite? 😉

Though now I totally feel like a wimp for ever daring to complain about being asked to approve an emergency c-section while in the middle of a contraction while in a nice, normal hospital delivery room with actual doctors and nurses and no terrorists, bulletproof vests, or bombs in sight…

Way to raise the bar unnaturally high, Queen B. 😉

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


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New Release Review and Giveaway! LORD OF THE PRIVATEERS by Stephanie Laurens (The Adventurers Quartet #4)

Synopsis:

Revel in the action, drama, intrigue and passion as the Frobishers— with help from Wolverstone, the Cynsters and many familiar others— steer the adventure to a glorious end.

Unstoppable determination

Widely known as the lord of the privateers, Royd Frobisher expects to execute the final stage of the rescue mission his brothers have begun. What he does not expect is to be pressured into taking Isobel Carmichael—his childhood sweetheart, former handfasted bride and current business partner—with him. A force of nature, Isobel has a mission of her own: to find and bring a young cousin safely home. And along the way, she hopes to rid herself of the dreams of a life with Royd that still haunt her.

Unfinished business

Neither expects the shock that awaits them as they set sail, much less the new horizons that open before them as they embark on a full-scale rescue-assault on the compound deep in the jungle. Yet despite the support of his brothers and their ladies, Royd and Isobel discover that freeing the captives is only half the battle. To identify and convict the conspirators behind the illicit enterprise—and save England from political disaster—they must return to the ballrooms of the haut ton and hunt the villains on their home ground.

Unforgettable love

But having found each other again, having glimpsed the heaven that could yet be theirs, how much are Royd and Isobel willing to risk in the name of duty?

 

#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens delivers the thrilling conclusion to her acclaimed series THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, a passionate Regency-era drama where intrigue and danger play out on the high seas and in exotic tropical jungles, ultimately reaching a dazzling climax in the glittering ballrooms of London.

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

Review:

A fitting wrap up to the quartet!

Books 1-3 ( The Lady’s Command , A Buccaneer at Heart , and The Daredevil Snared ) have been building up to this point, where the enslaved men, women, and children at the diamond mine would be saved (or not), the slavers stopped (or not) and the mysterious backers revealed and punished (or not). Oh, yes, and when the final and eldest Frobisher brother, Royd, would find his HEA…or not.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved seeing all the brothers and their significant others work together for a common goal–the chemistry between them all is fantastic. I’d been anxiously awaiting the rescue of the captives at the diamond mine camp for months–though I loved getting to know Royd and Isobel (and a surprise someone else), I was practically bouncing on the edge of my seat, just waiting for them to get to Africa already.

Finally they do, and the rescue is of course very exciting and action-packed. But the book’s not over yet–the backers need to be identified and brought to heel, and Royd and Isobel need to resolve their relationship issues, once and for all, a relationship that’s literally been years in the making. So there’s a whole lot going on in this book: so many threads of the series to tie up, as well as those of all of the relationships–Royd and Isobel but also all of his brothers’ as well–making this a pretty hefty book. At just over 500 pages, it did feel like it possibly could have been tightened up a bit–all of the Black Cobra and Cynster characters did start to feel a bit like name-dropping after a while–but really, with everything going on here you know it’s not going to be able to get done in a short book, so be prepared to settle in for a good, long read when you pick this one up.

I definitely wouldn’t recommend starting with this one–everything here builds on the books that have gone before, and though they do bring Isobel up to speed (she gets involved because Kate in book 3 is her cousin) it’s still a lot to take in all at once. Ms. Laurens does do a good job of catching characters up without belaboring the point for the rest of us, though, which is much appreciated.

We leave all of the Frobisher brothers here in a good spot–happy weddings and babies galore on the horizon!–and there’s a teaser thrown in at the end for a future book for Catrina (Kit) Frobisher as well that will have me keeping an interested eye out.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About the Author:

Stephanie Laurens was born in Sri Lanka, which was at the time the British colony of Ceylon. When she was 5, her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, where she was raised. After continuing through school and earning a Ph.D. in Biochemistry in Australia, Stephanie and her husband moved to Great Britain, taking one of the last true overland journeys from Katmandu to London.

Stephanie and her husband live on peaceful acreage on the outskirts of Melbourne. If she isn’t writing, she’s reading, and if she’s not reading, she’s tending her garden.

Connect with Stephanie:

Website | Facebook

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New Release Review! PLAYING THE PLAYER by Amy Andrews (Sydney Smoke Rugby #3)

Title: Playing the Player
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby #3
Author: Amy Andrews
Release Date: Jan 30, 2017
Add to TBR
 

After a long history with crappy guys, high school teacher Em Newman is going man-vegan. Four months of revirginization has opened her eyes to her doormat imitation but, baby’s got spine now, and some smooth-talking—even if he is sinfully hot—rugby player, won’t be adding her as a notch anytime soon.

Lincoln Quinn loves rugby, women, and poker. And he likes to win at all three. When his team mates bet him he can’t break through Em’s resolve, he’s more than up for the challenge. But this lady has a shoebox of stipulations before she’ll even go on a date with him, much less use that mouth for kissing instead of giving orders.

Something’s gotta give but this time Em’s not settling. And Linc’s questioning everything he ever knew about matters of the heart.

Each book in the Sydney Smoke Rugby series is a standalone, full-length story that can be enjoyed out of order.
Series Order:
Book #1 Playing By Her Rules
Book #2 Playing it Cool
Book #3 Playing the Player

 
  

Linc rang Em at the same time he had the day before. Every part of him ached from a morning of gruelling training, but in a good way. The kind of way that made him grateful for his fitness, that made him feel alive. And pumped.

Pumped to make this phone call. Pumped to hear Em say yes.

“Hi, Em Newman speaking.”

She had one of those teacher’s voices. Firm but kind, with just enough fuck-with-me-and-I’ll-send-you-to-the-principal edge to keep a guy in line. That kind of voice that had never really worked on him when he’d been in high school, but then he’d never had a teacher as sexy as Em Newman, either.

He might have turned up more often if he had.

“I think I’ve been going about this all the wrong way,” he said, picturing her sitting at her desk, her mouth pressing close to the phone receiver so she wasn’t overheard.

“I’ve been going for traditional names. But it’s not Ermintrude. Or Emma. Or Emily or Emmeline. So I’m thinking now your parents might be hippies, and it’s actually something like Ember. Or Emerald.”

There was a long pause then a deep sigh. “Why do you care?”

“I want to be able to call you by your real name.”

“Well, the kids call me Miss Newman.”

Linc chuckled. “Oh. Don’t tempt me.”

Another heavy sigh. “Are you just going to ring me every lunch hour?”

“Sure. If I have to.”

“Don’t you have…push-ups to do? Or something? Balls to kick. Tries to score?”

He grinned. “Training finishes at twelve, and in case you haven’t noticed, I’m trying to score right now.”

“Linc…” He’d have to have been deaf not to hear the exasperation in her voice. “I have papers to mark.”

“You are hell on a man’s ego, Miss Newman.” He loved the way “Miss” rolled off his tongue, and a dozen dirty thoughts about naughty teachers with crazy curls bending over to help a student with a problem, their shirts gaping to reveal pretty bras flitted through his head with a predictable effect on his dick.

Who knew teachers could be such a fucking turn-on?

Certainly not a guy who’d spent a good portion of his life avoiding them at all costs.

She snorted. “I have a feeling your ego couldn’t be brought down with an elephant gun.”

He laughed, not even bothering to try and dissuade her from the accuracy of her statement. “The Nerd Chicks are in town on Friday night.”

She didn’t say anything for a beat or two. “You know who the Nerd Chicks are?”

“I do now.”

Linc had spent a long time online last night trying to come up with something that’d blow Em’s mind. He’d finally found An Evening with the Nerd Chicks. Apparently they were three women with science backgrounds who ran a popular YouTube channel discussing all things science and had taken their show on the road.

“We should go together.”

There was another pause, but he thought he could hear her breath hitch. “Top marks for trying, Linc. But it’s sold out. It sold out in about half an hour.”

“Lucky for you I have two V.I.P. tickets.”

He definitely heard her breath this time. Hissing slowly out this time in a long exhale. “Thank you but…no.”

“No? Did I mention you get to meet them afterwards?”

A soft noise that sort of sounded like a whimper or maybe even a low growl caressed his eardrum. “I said no.”

But it was the most unconvincing no Linc had ever heard. He could practically feel her conflict. “Come on, Miss Newman,” he pressed. “Why deprive yourself?”

“Because, Linc,” she muttered, her voice terse, “afterwards I’ll probably fuck you in your ridiculously sexy car.”

Linc’s pulse spiked at her direct prediction. Even if she had sounded utterly depressed over it. He laughed. “And that’s a bad thing?”

“Yes.”

“Okay. What if I promise to not let you fuck me in my car? Or anywhere else?”

It wasn’t going to win him the bet—but he really didn’t give a fuck anymore. Linc just really wanted to take her to the show. Because she obviously wanted to go.

She snorted. “I can be very persuasive.”

Review:

I loved Em and Linc’s story–there’s nothing more satisfying than a player finally falling for the one, amirite?

Okay, yes, Linc was a total man you-know-what throughout books one and two of the series ( Playing by Her Rules and Playing It Cool ) and speaks of it proudly in the opening scenes of this one. And yeah, the impetus for Em and Linc getting together here is (kind of) an ill-advised bet. However, he’s pretty much a one-woman-man from the first page through to the last–before they get together and while they’re mired in their darkest relationship moment, he doesn’t even think about other women. And even though Linc takes the poker night bet, it’s never really a part of why he pursues Em; when it eventually comes to light she knows better than to be worried about it (which made me really happy–I was pretty worried that we’d spend an inordinate amount of time on this nonissue.)

I should have known better than to worry, though–this is an Amy Andrews book! Instead of the same-old-same-old pretty much pointless drama, we have a developing relationship between two adults that both made me laugh out loud on one page and reach for a fan to cool down on the next. And then the grand gesture at the end? OMG, le sigh. Absolutely perfect.

I still know next to nothing about rugby–how many people are on a team, again? (and yeah, I only want to know to get a ballpark figure of how many books to expect in the series ;))–but I sure do enjoy reading about the fictional guys who play it. Add in a wealth of Aussie-isms (many of which are conveniently defined in the back of the book–some of the used in a sentence bits made me snort-laugh a little) and I am 100% sold. How long do I need to wait for #4?

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Amy is a multi award-winning, USA Today best-selling Aussie author who has written over sixty contemporary romances in both the traditional and digital markets. She’s sold over two million books and been translated into thirteen different languages including manga. Her sizzling books feature lots of sex and kissing. She likes to make her readers tingle, laugh and sigh and please don’t mess with the HEA!

At sixteen she met a guy she knew she was going to marry and she did. They’re still living out their HEA and have two new adult children who are spreading their wings and flying the coop. She loves good books, frequent travel and great booze although she’ll take mediocre booze if there’s nothing else.

Amy spent six years on the national executive of Romance Writers of Australia including a two year term as president and after many years of unofficial mentoring of emerging writers, now runs her own manuscript assessment business, Word Witchery, which specialises in romantic fiction. With unique insight into what makes a story that sells, Amy aims to help every manuscript shine.

She lives on acreage on the outskirts of Brisbane with a gorgeous mountain view but secretly wishes it was the hillsides of Tuscany.

  

New Release Review and Giveaway! A KNIGHT OF HER OWN by Oberon Wonch (Rogues of Rouen #2)


A Knight of Her Own
by Oberon Wonch
Rogues of Rouen, #2
Publication Date: January 23, 2017
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Select, Historical Romance

SYNOPSIS:

Sir Drogo LaForce has spent a lifetime chasing the family honor and wealth denied him by his bastard birth. A clever scheme to uncloak a traitor against the Crown finally promises to win him everything he desires…Lady Isabel has been in hiding ever since an evil Norman lord killed her father and usurped her English lands. But her plot to avenge her father and free her people is threatened when a mysterious Norman knight abducts her with plans to use her for espionage.

Drogo’s fascinating captive is nothing like he anticipated. Outspoken but innocent, Isabel reluctantly submits to Drogo’s tutoring in the spymaster’s craft, as well as the art of making love. But their potent attraction nearly leads to disaster. In the end they must decide between their dueling appetites for riches and revenge…or love.

 

Review:

Every time I read a medieval romance that I really like, I wonder why I don’t read more historical romances set in the medieval period.

So right now I’m wondering–why don’t I read more historical romances set in the medieval period? 😉

I loved the main characters here; Lady Isobel and Sir Drogo were strong characters with a lot of fantastic qualities. They’re both trying to do everything they can to protect those they care about, which for both of them, despite their antagonistic start, soon includes each other. Ms. Wonch does a great job of pitting the two of them against each other, and of making it difficult to see how the two of them can be together in the end. Uncertainty at how they can get to their HEA causes both the characters and the reader more than a little bit of angst throughout, right up until the very last chapter of the book!

Though this is the second book in the Rogues of Rouen series, it worked just fine as a standalone. Drogo mentions the main characters and their basic plot from the first book (Come to Me ) once, but that was it–neither of them is in this one at all.

Of course, that once is enough to make me want to read that one too…and I’ll be first in line to read a book three, should it come along (subtle hunt).

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

BUY:

DON’T MISS THE FIRST BOOK IN THE ROGUES OF ROUEN SERIES!

SYNOPSIS:

A maiden’s duty becomes a woman’s desire…

Comte Gregoire FitzHenri, the new Earl of Shyleburgh, is known for his prowess as one of the Norman conqueror’s most favored warriors…but not for his romantic sensibility or his command of the English language. Gregoire looks forward to his imminent marriage with his seneschal’s beautiful daughter, his longtime betrothed. But as a rough-hewn soldier, he wishes to enchant the elegant lady before taking their wedding vows-which means an interpreter…and much-needed lessons in courtly love.

The clever Bridget of Shyleburgh has been secretly in love with Gregoire since his visit as a dashing young warrior-when he was promised in marriage to her sister. But when he returns five years later as their new earl, Bridget is tasked with translating for him-including his love letters and somewhat awkward attempts to woo her sister. Mortified at first, Bridget soon finds herself completely charmed by his whispers of love and desire. She never expected such tenderness…or such wicked temptation… from a man like him. Gregoire’s heated missives tempt a fair maiden to stray down a path filled with forbidden pleasures.

But his words are meant for another… aren’t they?

ABOUT OBERON WONCH:

Oberon Wonch has engaged in a love affair with books for as long as she can remember. Penning her own stories from an early age, she later earned a degree in World Literature while studying several languages—all in order to learn what makes a tale endure the ages, but really just to read more books. Her very favorite stories—both to read and write—are those that celebrate the happily-ever-after.

An avid gardener and armchair archaeologist, she grew up in northeast Ohio but now lives in Indiana with her college sweetheart husband and two very joyful little dogs.

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