Audiobook Review and Giveaway! GOLD RUSH by Jennifer Comeaux

Gold Rush
by Jennifer Comeaux
Genre: YA Romance
Release Date: January 9th 2017

Summary:

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?

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Excerpt:

“Hey, Liza.”

I looked up directly into the smiling face of Braden. He was holding the raffle bucket, and a Sox player stood beside him. I was so unprepared to see him that I couldn’t even get a “hello” to come out of my mouth.

“Would you like to buy a raffle ticket?” he asked.

I felt weird having him talk down to me while I sat, so I sprang to my feet. “Hi. Umm… yeah, I’ll take a couple.”

“Cool. How many?”

I bent to get my wallet and pulled out a five dollar bill. “As many as this will get me?”

The player tore a strip of tickets from the big roll and gave them to Braden before moving on to solicit Em and Dad, who were watching Braden and me with rapt attention. Braden set the bucket down and slowly separated my part of the tickets. Now that there wasn’t a counter between us, I could see his full physique better. The top of my head only reached his chin, so he had to be more than half a foot taller than me. He had a slender build, but he wasn’t scrawny. The short sleeves of his polo showed nicely-defined biceps.

“I remember you,” Quinn said.

Braden laughed. “I remember you, too.”

Quinn might also remember Holly and me discussing Braden’s date potential. I quickly stepped between them so Quinn couldn’t see him.

“I thought you worked concessions,” I said.

“I’m an intern, so I go wherever they tell me. I like doing the raffle better because I get to see more people.”

His eyes held steady on mine in the I’m-only-looking-at-you way they’d done at the concession stand. How was I supposed to come up with witty conversation when my heart was pitter-pattering so loudly I couldn’t even think?

“Were you going to visit me at the concession stand? I’m still waiting for my autograph.” He cocked his head with a sly grin.

“Oh… yeah. I’m sorry. I wasn’t sure if you were really serious.”

“I definitely was. I’ve never met anyone as talented as you. I watched a video of you at the world championships, and you were incredible.”

“You Googled me?”

“What kind of twenty-first century guy would I be if I didn’t?”

I had to break away from his gaze because I felt redness taking over my face. If only I could be incredible and confident right now.

Review:

Such a fun and sweet story!

Even though I can barely stop on skates without an assist from the wall around the rink (this is normal, yes?), for as long as I can remember (every 4 years during the Olympics, at a minimum ;)) I’ ve dreamed of being an ice skater. (Also normal, yes? Everyone plans out skating routines while listening to instrumental music, right? Right??)

So the chance to read a book from the POV of a slightly socially-awkward ice skating Olympic (hopefully) superstar? Sign me up!

I loved both Liza and Braden. Whether it was the beginning, when she practically ran from his flirtiness at the baseball game, when they were going on their first dates, or when they were trying to be just friends (because of her parents and her need to give everything to her skating during the Olympic season), they were just great together. Plus, how many guys will back off immediately when the girl they like tells them they have to devote themselves to their sport instead of dating and be willing to hang out indefinitely in the friend zone in the hopes of someday? (I’m hoping that there are actual guys who will fit that description out there, and not just (darn–is he really just) fictional Braden…)

It was fun seeing the behind-the-scenes life of a top level figure skater–their day-to-day life, training, and competitions–and the fact that Liza reads and writes romantic fiction in her spare time just made me love her even more 🙂

I know I’ll definitely have this book and its characters on my mind the next Winter Olympics…and not just those of The Cutting Edge as per usual… 😉

The audiobook version was nicely done–the narrator has a pleasant voice, and does a great job narrating the story. I’d definitely listen to something else performed by her in the future, even if no figure skating is involved.

Though, hopefully, figure skating will be involved…

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About the Author:

Jennifer Comeaux is a tax accountant by day, writer by night. There aren’t any ice rinks near her home in south Louisiana, but she’s a diehard figure skating fan and loves to write stories of romance set in the world of competitive skating. One of her favorite pastimes is travelling to competitions, where she can experience all the glitz and drama that inspire her writing. Jennifer loves to hear from readers! Visit jennifercomeaux.blogspot.com for contact information and to learn more about her books.

 

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New Release Review! THE SOLDIER’S SEDUCTION by Jane Godman

Title: THE SOLDIER’S SEDUCTION
Author: Jane Godman
Publisher: Harlequin
Pages: 288
Genre: Romantic Suspense
From the front lines to unexpected romance—and danger—in small-town Wyoming
After a war zone bomb nearly destroyed Bryce Delaney, he’s worked hard to hide his scars. Back in his Wyoming hometown, he can pretend the nightmares don’t exist. But when a secretive, beautiful new woman in town disappears, Bryce’s protective instincts put him on the front lines again.
Wanted for murder and on the run under an alias, former A-list actress Steffi Grantham can’t return to her life until she clears her name. It’s her boss, Bryce, to the rescue, but desire ties them together, and she’s forced to make a choice that could cost them both. Trusting the wrong man once before almost stole her freedom. Now it might take her life.

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Bryce’s laugh vibrated through her body. “Has anyone ever told you that you are the most stubborn person in the whole world?”
“Apart from you?”
“Apart from me.”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“Your family? I’d like to meet them.”
You never will. The thought jerked her back into reality. “I’ll be fine now, Bryce. You can go. Thanks for your help.”
“Yeah, like that’s going to happen.” The sarcasm in his voice was withering. “I’m just going to walk out of here and leave you when you can’t even crawl to your own bed.”
“You don’t have any choice. I don’t want you here.” With a determined effort, Steffi pushed herself away from him and tried to sit up straight. It was a mistake.
Behind the tinted lenses, the edges of her vision went black. Everything swam out of focus. She heard Bryce call her name in alarm, and the last thing she felt was his strong arms catching her as she fell back onto the pillows.

Review:

The Solider’s Seduction was my first book by Jane Godman, and the second book in the Sons of Stillwater series. It worked okay as a standalone–the main characters of book one (Covert Kisses) play a role here, but the details you might need to know about that story are briefly told here so you’re not at a loss.

I liked the characters here: Bryce and Steffi are interesting, and easy to root for. Their story is full of action and virtually non-stop twists and turns. Their romance feels a bit rushed, however–even though they’ve known each other for a while, their relationship has been boss/employee and rather antagonistic, and I didn’t quite feel the sparks here that I wanted to. The antagonist is sufficiently evil and his actions plenty dire, but overall the suspense plot required some suspension of belief to go along with it.

Overall, though, this was an enjoyable read, and enough clues are given about Vincente’s (the oldest brother of the trio) story to make me keep an eye out for it.

Rating: 3 stars / C

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 
Jane Godman writes paranormal romance for Harlequin Nocturne and SMP Romance, thrillers for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and steamy historical and gothic romance. 
Jane also writes erotic romance as Amanda Stewart.
Her latest book is the romantic suspense, The Soldier’s Seduction.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! REBEL IN A SMALL TOWN by Kristina Knight (Slippery Rock #2)

On Tour with Prism Book Tours.

Rebel in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #2)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
July 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

He’s not giving up his family without a fight

James Calhoun has never been able to resist Mara Tyler, or her knack for mischief. Her reputation as a reckless teenager drove Mara from their hometown. So Slippery Rock is the last place James ever expected to see her, and Mara’s timing couldn’t be worse. With the upcoming election for sheriff, she threatens the squeaky-clean image James needs to win. Because Mara has brought with her the result of their steamy affair: his two-year-old son, Zeke. After the initial shock, James is determined to have both his family and career. He just needs to convince Mara that her home is where it’s always been. With him.

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Review:

Mara and James’ story, the second in the Slippery Rockseries, is a sweet second chance/secret baby romance. I liked James a lot, which isn’t surprising since I liked him in the first book ( Famous in a Small Town ) too, as Collin’s best friend. Here we see him in more detail, learn of his less-than-pristine teenage past, and his secret relationship with the town rebel and Collin’s little sister Mara, who hasn’t been back in town for more than two years. Now he’s running for sheriff, a position formerly held by his father and grandfather, and struggling with wanting to win and wanting to create a life for himself with the town’s former rebel and their son.

Mara was likable too, though her insistence that she was exactly like their parents had been and that her being with James meant that he wouldn’t get the sheriff’s position got to be a bit much at times–it seemed like she should have gotten over it before she did. Still, she was a great mom, and it was nice to see her trying to fix the problems she’d created with her family by leaving so many years ago. Watching her begin to have faith in herself and in the life she could have with James and in Slippery Rock was heartening; their HEA, when it comes, is very sweet. Seeing the rest of their collection of friends once again makes me anxious to see what will be in store for future books in the series, especially Adam and Jenny, Levi, and the mysterious, absent Aiden.

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

Other Books in the Series:

Famous in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #1)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
May 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

Lifestyles of the small-town famous

Forced to leave Nashville after a scandal, Savannah Walters has come home to Slippery Rock, Missouri, with a bruised ego and her singing career in jeopardy. As if that isn’t humiliating enough, on her way into town she’s rescued by her swoon-worthy childhood crush, Collin Tyler.

His hands are full running the family orchard and dealing with his delinquent teen sister, so Collin doesn’t need to get involved with someone as fiery and unpredictable as Savannah. But the intense attraction between them can’t be denied. And when disaster strikes, they’ll both be surprised by who’s still standing when the dust settles.

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And coming September 2017…Breakup in a Small Town
(Slippery Rock #3)
Kristina Knight
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 pages
September 1st 2017 by Harlequin Superromance

This isn’t the man she married… 

Jenny Buchanan never considered what “for better or for worse” meant when she married Adam Buchanan at nineteen. Six years and two little boys later, “for worse” arrives in the form of a tornado that ravages Slippery Rock and injures Adam. Now he’s a stranger to his family…and love won’t be enough to bring him back.

Only when Jenny asks him to move out does Adam become the husband she needs…but Adam isn’t the only one who’s changed. As their attraction sparks back to life, Jenny and Adam must learn what it is to grow up—and grow together—before this small-town breakup lasts forever.

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About the Author:

Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police–no, she wasn’t a troublemaker, she was a journalist. Her career took her all over the United States, writing about everything from a serial killer’s capture to the National Finals Rodeo. Along the way, she found her very own Knight in Shining Cowboy Boots and an abiding love for romance novels. And just like the characters from her favorite books, she’s living her own happily ever after.

Kristina writes sassy contemporary romance novels; her books have appeared on Kindle Best Seller Lists. She loves hearing from readers, so drop her a line!

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Other Harlequin Superromance Books by the Author:

Tour Giveaway

– 1 winner will receive a signed copy of Protecting the Quarterback and some fun swag
– US residents only
– Ends July 25th

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Tour Schedule:

July 15th: Launch
July 16th:
Sylv.net
Beck Valley Books
Becky on Books
July 17th:
Hearts & Scribbles
underneath the covers
Thoughts of a Blonde
July 18th:
Mythical Books
Deal Sharing Aunt
Christian Suspense Author Mary Alford
July 19th:
It’s All About the Romance
Inside the Mind of an Avid Reader
July 20th:
Nicole’s Book Musings
Harlie’s Books
Always Reading
July 21st: Grand Finale

 

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New Release Review! JILTED by Sawyer Bennett (Love Hurts #2)

Hollywood hath no fury like a woman scorned. In this fun, flirty second-chance romance from New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett, an aspiring starlet reconnects with her first love.

“Sawyer Bennett never fails to deliver heroes I fall hard for and heroines I adore.”—Violet Duke

Eden Goodnight went to Los Angeles to make it big, not to be publicly humiliated by her cheating fiancé at a red-carpet premiere. But when Eden returns to her hometown to put the scandal behind her, she can barely find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on. Turns out the locals are worse than the paparazzi, and they all think she’s turned into a spoiled brat. But in a strange twist of fate, the one person who seems to understand what Eden’s going through is Cooper Mayfield . . . the boy she left behind.

Small-town charm is no match for the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. At least that’s what Coop’s been telling himself all these years. As Eden’s old flame—and the landscaper for her family’s historic home—Coop feels some responsibility for getting her out of her funk. But as soon as he sees that million-dollar smile, he’s a goner. Soon they’re making out like teenagers again. But when a life-changing role falls into Eden’s lap, Coop just hopes she doesn’t give up on a love that’s meant to be.

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Review:

Loved!

Whether we were glimpsing the Eden and Coop of 14 years earlier, seeing their feud at the beginning of the present portion of the book, or enjoying their “friendship” and “rebound sex” later on (ha! as if it was ever just either of those things), Eden and Coop are absolutely magic together. There wasn’t a single time when I would have entertained the possibility of them not having an HEA, no matter where their lives and careers wanted to take them.

Though I know this series (Love Hurts) is a series of standalone books, I absolutely would not complain if we went back for a second visit to Newberry–Missy could use an HEA, after all (sure, she was with a hot fireman when her lousy ex returned that one time, but no mention of him was made other than that, so…) and I’d really, really, REALLY like to see someone give Ashley a much deserved b!tch slap.

Just sayin’.

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

 

 

Since the release of her debut contemporary romance novel, Off Sides, in January 2013, Sawyer Bennett has released more than 30 books and has been featured on both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists on multiple occasions.

A reformed trial lawyer from North Carolina, Sawyer uses real life experience to create relatable, sexy stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From new adult to erotic contemporary romance, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

Sawyer likes her Bloody Marys strong, her martinis dirty, and her heroes a combination of the two. When not bringing fictional romance to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to a very active toddler, as well as full-time servant to two adorably naughty dogs. She believes in the good of others, and that a bad day can be cured with a great work-out, cake, or a combination of the two.

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Release Day Review and Giveaway! RESURRECTION by Katie Reus (Redemption Harbor #1)

Today we have the release day blitz of Resurrection by Katie Reus! We’re so excited to share this fantastic new release with you—check out the festivities and grab your copy today!!

About Resurrection:

From USA Today bestselling author Katie Reus comes the ALL NEW Redemption Harbor series where sparks fly and so do bullets…

She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Colt banged his fist against the door, fear and the smallest bit of hope punching through him. “Answer the fucking door,” he snarled. “Open, or I kick it in.”

“Maybe you should take it down a notch.” Next to him, Brooks shoved an agitated hand through his hair, his Stetson held loosely at his side.

“And maybe you should be freaking out more.” One of their best friends had been holed up in his home for weeks, refusing to talk to anyone, to see anyone. Colt didn’t know exactly what his friend was going through, but he’d lost a lot of damn friends in the sandbox and the only woman he’d ever loved had died too. Something he couldn’t think about right now. He couldn’t focus on his own pain when he could help his friend, when he had a damn purpose.

Mercer had recently lost his wife, and the man wasn’t handling it. The guy had been in love with Mary Grace since he was fifteen. They’d been each other’s world. And two months ago she’d been killed in Mexico, a victim of cartel violence. Allegedly.

Colt hadn’t been in love with Skye since he was a kid, but eight months with her sure felt like a lifetime. Hell, when she died it felt like he’d lost part of himself. The only part that mattered. He had to force himself out of bed every day, to shove back the emptiness. So on one level, he understood how Mercer felt. He shoved that thought right back inside where it belonged and ignored it. He couldn’t fix his own problem, but he could help out Mercer.

Panic swelled through Colt as the seconds ticked by without any response from inside—until he heard cursing on the other side of the door. Good. If his friend was cursing, he was alive. A solid minute later the lock snicked loudly as it twisted open.

Colt grabbed the handle and shoved it open, pushing past his best friend in case he tried to slam the door closed in his face.

Mercer, wearing boxers and nothing else, had grown a full black beard and his dark eyes were glassy. “What the hell are you doing here this early?”

“First, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Second…” Colt hauled off and punched him right in the nose. He needed to wake Mercer the hell up. Violence was pretty much the only way to do that now.

“Ah, hell,” Brooks muttered as Mercer flew back and fell on his ass with a grunt.

He held a hand to his nose, looking more alert than he had in two months as he glared up at Colt and Brooks. “What the hell, man?” His voice was muffled as he tried to stop the bleeding.

“I believe this is called an intervention,” Colt said, stepping into the foyer, cringing at the stench. “God, it smells like old pizza and cow crap in here. Mary Grace would kick your ass if she saw you living like this.”

“Don’t say her name!” Mercer shoved to his feet, letting his hand drop. Blood dripped down his face as he snarled at Colt. His teeth were toothpaste commercial white against his dark brown skin. Right now he looked like a rabid wolf baring his teeth at them.

“I’ll say her name if I want.” Yeah, he knew he was being harsh, but this was what Mercer needed. He needed to feel something, to wake the hell up. And making Mercer angry was the only way Colt knew how. Because the guy sure wasn’t going to talk about his fucking feelings. He needed to get out of this rabbit hole he’d let himself fall into. “We all lost her. Every single one of us.”

Most days Colt couldn’t believe she was gone. They’d all grown up together, and in his case, he’d been friends with Mary Grace since they were five years old. She was like a sister to Colt. Hell, he was still holding on to the hope that she wasn’t actually gone. It was why he was about to get on a plane in two hours and see if the tip he’d received was right. But first he had to make sure one of his best friends didn’t do something stupid while he was gone.

“Mary Grace.”

“Ah, hell,” Brooks said again, clearly not going to intervene. Just muttering his standard curse.

“Fuck you,” Mercer snapped, taking a step toward Colt.

That was it. Get angry, he silently willed his childhood friend. Mercer needed anger to replace the grief. God, or at least mute it. Just for a week. That was all Colt needed. Because if Mary Grace was alive, he was bringing her home to his best friend. He just couldn’t give Mercer the hope she was alive. Because if he did and it turned out she wasn’t… It would destroy him. “Mary. Grace.”

Mercer rushed at him like a bull.

 

Review:

Oh, I really enjoyed this one!

Katie Reus is a new author to me–I’ve been meaning to read her for a while, and figured a brand new series (Redemption Harbor) would be a great place to start 🙂

It did not disappoint!

Resurrection introduces us to Colt, a CIA agent who has been somewhat estranged from his father but has made his own family by choice from a group of close friends, many of whom he’s known since childhood. He’s so tight with them all that Skye, his last partner who also became much more to him than a coworker, knew all of them by name even though she had to fake her own death before ever meeting them in person…and then risked it all to save one of them, for him.

Okay, I know that all sounds kind of complicated. But I promise it all makes sense the way Ms. Reus writes it–and is a heck of a lot of fun to read, too!

Colt and Skye have great chemistry together, and the back and forth between these two is fantastic as well. We meet all of the group members here–some of them more than others–but it’s enough to see that this is going to be a great series. We’re left with some really strong indicators about what’s coming for book two, and I for one can’t wait for its release!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

About Katie Reus:

Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.

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Pre-Release Review and Giveaway! MISTER HOCKEY by Lia Riley (Hellion’s Angels #1)

Her biggest fantasy is about to become a reality. . .

MISTER HOCKEY
Hellion’s Angels #1
Lia Riley
Releasing July 11, 2017
Avon Impulse
Jed West is Mr. Hockey. The captain of the NHL’s latest winning team, the Denver Hellions—and the hottest player on the ice—at least according to every magazine. . .and Breezy Angel. Breezy has been drooling over Jed at games for years, and he plays a starring role in her most toe-curling fantasies. But dirty dreams don’t come true, right?
 
Then Jed saunters through the doors of her library, a last minute special guest for a summer reading event, and not only is he drop dead gorgeous up close, his personality is straight up swoon-worthy. He even comes to the rescue when she has an R-rated “Super Book Worm” costume malfunction. But when he mistakenly assumes she’s more into books than pucks, she’s too flustered to correct his mistake. And then comes a big kiss, followed by a teensy-tiny problem. Jed’s dating policy is simple: Never date a fan.
So what’s a fangirl going to have to do to convince her ultimate crush that he’s become less of a perfect fantasy, and more like the perfect man. . .for her?

Jed West’s stomach curdled faster than overheated hollandaise sauce as he squinted at the menu for Zachary’s, Denver’s most popular all-day breakfast hangout. Ghost-like shadows haunted the specials list, blurring the descriptions for peanut butter French toast, country fried steak benedict and sweet potato pancakes.  Ah, shit. Not fucking now. There went the prices too–the dollar signs and numbers blurring until barely legible.

No point blinking. He knew the drill. Jaw tight, he reached for his orange juice, took a swig and waited. Short bouts of double vision had dogged him ever since Game Seven, the pattern the same. After a minute or two, his focus would snap back to normal as if nothing had happened. Until then, he needed to follow one of coach’s favorite axioms: “Suck it up, Buttercup.”

Who cared about the damn menu anyway? He pushed it to one side, having already ordered the “Manwich”, chorizo and eggs smashed between a jalapeno cheddar biscuit–the kind of breakfast that wanted to kill you in the best kind of ways–and crunched ice. Too bad the cubes didn’t pass on their chill, because this. . .situation for lack of a better word, was getting under his skin and it shouldn’t.

No–Scratch that. It couldn’t.

Unexplained double vision wasn’t a walk in the park, but facts were facts. And the ugly truth was that if he didn’t quit batting his lashes like Scarlett O’Hara with a fly in her skirt, The Post’s toughest sports columnist would glance up from across the table, mistake his tic for a cheesedick wink, and go Lord of the Flies on his nut sack.

At least for the moment, Neve Angel was occupied. She hunched over her digital voice recorder, dark bangs obscuring her sharp gaze as she fiddled with the control settings. Her lips moved to the upbeat Buddy Holly song piping over the sound system while she plucked a mic from her messenger bag. His vision came back online in time for him to read the orange button pinned to the front.

Had a Ball at The Rock Creek Testicle Festival.

Christ, looked to be an authentic souvenir too.

Slamming his knees together, he forced a grin, the one that had potential endorsements lined up around the block, eager for him to shill everything from vitamin infused coconut water to shaving cream. He unwrapped the paper napkin from around the fork and knife, and began tearing the corner into neat strips.

No doubt the eye thing was fatigue-related, an inevitable toll from the grueling NHL season and subsequent hard-fought playoffs. Everything would be all right in the end. If it wasn’t all right, it wasn’t the end.

“You plan on telling me what’s up with Mount Napkin Shreds?” Neve leaned her elbows on the recycled wood tabletop, a signal they were shifting into interview mode. Her brows arched beneath her thick-cut bangs. “Nervous about being in the hot seat, princess?”

“Yeah, terrified,” he answered laconically, not missing a beat. Hiding his true feelings behind a mask of confidence was a reflex; it came with the territory of having the “C” stitched on the front of his jersey. A good captain never showed fear to an opponent. “A jackal’s bark is worse then it’s bite.”

“Jackal? Don’t tell me you’re using Gunnarisms now.” She rolled her eyes. “And I’d so wanted to enjoy my bagel without gagging.”

The Hellions Head Coach, Tor Gunnar, had a reputation for dismissing the press as “jackals.” He fostered a tense relationship with journalists, in particular, the tiny woman sitting opposite. Neve had run a piece on his divorce a few years ago. He retaliated by refusing to call on her during press conferences. Neve hit back with increasingly critical op-eds. Their mutual enmity had devolved to the stuff of local legend.

A librarian meets–and dates–her hockey crush? Yes, please! 🙂

This book was so much fun to read. I absolutely loved the beginning, when Breezy first meets Jed and can barely string two words together…and then, OMG, her costume malfunction. Absolutely too funny! Their relationship progresses along nicely, if a bit quickly, though the specter of her stalker-like “Jed closet” is always hovering in the background (and yikes, it’s more than a little scary how closely I resemble Breezy’s fan persona…funny, but scary. And when she’s talking about where she is in her Goodreads challenge for the year? I’m pretty sure we were separated at birth). Still, they’re really adorable together. Not to mention H-O-T…

Certain parts of the story (Breezy’s mom’s turnaround, for one) seem a little bit too easy, but overall I enjoyed this story too much to really mind. I absolutely cannot wait to see what’s going to happen with Breezy’s sister Neve and Coach Tor in the next book, especially if Jed and Breezy are going to be hanging around… 😉

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


After studying at the University of Montana-Missoula, Lia Riley scoured the world armed only with a backpack, overconfidence and a terrible sense of direction. She counts shooting vodka with a Ukranian mechanic in Antarctica, sipping yerba mate with gauchos in Chile and swilling fourex with stationhands
in Outback Australia among her accomplishments.

 

New Release Review! FUEL FOR FIRE by Julie Ann Walker (Black Knights, Inc. #10)

Fuel for Fire
by Julie Ann Walker

 

Synopsis:

A brooding covert operative and a spunky CIA agent discover a burning passion in the next installment of Julie Ann Walker’s red-hot BKI series

Dagan Zoelner has made three huge mistakes
The first two left blood on his hands.
The third left him wondering…what if? What if he had told the woman of his dreams how he felt before his world fell apart?

Spitfire CIA agent Chelsea Duvall has always had a thing for bossy, brooding Dagan. It’s just as well that he’s never given her a second look, since she carries a combustible secret about his past that threatens to torch their lives…

 

“The heat between the hero and heroine is hotter than a firecracker lit on both ends… Readers are in for one hell of ride!” —RT Book Reviews for Hell for Leather 4½ Stars

 

Review:

I’ve had this series on my TBR for a while now–I loved Ms. Walker’s Deep Six series–and was beyond excited when I got a chance to read Fuel for Fire! I am happy to report that it definitely did not disappoint, and that even though this one’s pretty far into the series (#10! Whoa :)) I had no problem jumping right into the action with this one. There is previously-known bad guy at play here, but you are given enough information to understand the seriousness of the situation without going into info dump territory.

(And can I just say–that antagonist?–gives me chills.)

Chelsea and Dagan grabbed me from the very first page–I absolutely loved their back and forth when they were at odds…and their explosive chemistry when they weren’t as well. The danger they find themselves in, combined with the camaraderie they share with their fellow teammates and the others they bring in to help them get out of their current situation, make this one heck of a fun read. The story ends a bit in the air as far as Black Knights, Inc. are concerned–the president who commissioned them is leaving office, and his predecessor doesn’t have any interest in keeping them around–but I sincerely that Ms. Walker has plans for them anyway, because there’s at least two couples here who really, really deserve their own books 😉

Oh yeah, and a bad guy who may still be at large…

At least I’ve got a nine-book backlist to keep me busy while I wait!

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

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New Release Review and Giveaway! A TASTE OF YOU by Teri Anne Stanley (Bourbon Brothers #3)

Her bourbon-flavored kisses threaten his carefully constructed boundaries. 
A TASTE OF YOU
Bourbon Brothers #3
Teri Anne Stanley
Releasing July 3, 2017
Entangled Lovestruck

Office supply addict Eve McGrath’s meticulously organized life is on the verge of crashing at her feet. Blue Mountain distillery’s new tasting and visitor center has to be finished pronto or her mother will lose her mind. Good thing Eve likes a challenge—which is exactly what she’ll face trying to convince the flaky contractor’s hot son to finish the job.

Nick Baker is back in Kentucky just long enough to get his wayward dad back on his feet. Then he’s gone. Unfortunately, he can’t resist helping Eve, the sexy distiller-in-distress, whose addictive, bourbon-flavored kisses threaten his carefully constructed boundaries. And if he can’t rein himself in, the uncomfortable secrets of past will nail him to the wall…


They were alone. Eve was suddenly nervous. What was the deal? She wanted to ask Nick if the incident in the truck last weekend was a one-shot deal, if he’d decided he really wasn’t that into her, or if there was going to be more, but reminded herself that she was taking things as they came.

Not stressing over the future. The bag with her planner inside banged against her hip as she led Nick down the hall to a door at the end. “Well, this is it,” she told him.

“Your mecca.”

“No. The Office Superstore out on 62 is my mecca. This is just a temple.”

“You really like office supplies, huh?”

“Oh yeah,” she told him. “Those times I get to take the company credit card and go to the office store? All that potential for organization and efficiency? It’s like Christmas and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one.”

“Copy paper.” He said it in a deep, growly voice that could have come from a 1970’s R&B singer. “Thumb tacks.” He waggled his eyebrows at her, and she giggled.

She turned away to grab the door handle, and he stepped closer, so she could feel him almost but not quite touching her from shoulder to butt. No, it wasn’t the thought of file folders that had her nipples tightening and heat pooling low in her belly. She stepped back, bumping into him as she pulled the door open, revealing her stash of office supplies.

“Paper clips.” This was more of a husky whisper. Which did actually send a shiver down her spine, but not because of the words themselves, more about the way he said it. Right into the place where her shoulder met her neck. His hands were on her hips now, and with just a tiny bit of effort, he could have her fully back against him. “Ball point pens.”

Her entire body flushed, and she took a chance asking the question, because leaving this up to fate was no longer an option. “Are you trying to seduce me with sexy language?”

“Is it working?”

“I think it is,” she told him and turned to face him.

 
Such a fun read!

Eve and Nick make one heck of a couple, and an even better team as they worked together to get Eve’s family’s tasting center up and ready to go for her mother’s big charity event. And okay, there were some pretty serious issues being dealt with here too–alcoholism, both from the personal POV and that of their family’s, guilt and abandonment–but even though their treatment was well done and realistic, they didn’t bog the story down. Throughout it all, Ms. Stanley’s writing had me giggling out loud–a lot–and even tearing up at the end. Because, dang. Good ending.

A Taste of You is the third book in the series, but should work fine as a standalone; even though the MCs from books one and two ( Drunk on You and A Shot with You ) make frequent appearances, you don’t have to have read their books to enjoy them here. But given what happens at the end, you’re probably going to want to.

Just sayin’.

Also just sayin’–an office supplies addiction is only a problem if you let it be one. There’s nothing wrong with a healthy appreciation for post-it notes, composition books, and exactly the right size tabs for every project. Nothing. At. All. Plus, everybody counts down the days until the back to school sales start at office supply stores, don’t they? I know Eve has my back here… 😉

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.


Teri Anne Stanley has been writing since she could hold a crayon–though learning to read was a huge turning point in her growth as a writer. Teri’s first stories involved her favorite Saturday morning cartoon characters, followed by her favorite teen idols. She has also authored a recipe column (The Three Ingredient Gourmet), and scientific articles (Guess which was more interesting!). Now she writes fun, sexy romance populated by strong, smart women and hunky heroes.

Teri currently supplements her writing income as a neuroscience research assistant. In her nearly non-existent spare time, she is the human half of a therapy dog team, an amateur genealogist, and a compulsive crafter (if there are directions on the internet, she can probably make it). Along with a variety of offspring and dogs, she and Mr. Stanley enjoy boating and relaxing at their weekend estate, located in the thriving metropolis of Sugartit, between Beaverlick and Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

 

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New Release Review and Giveaway! THE DUKE OF DEFIANCE by Darcy Burke (The Untouchables #5)

About the Book:

Difficult and defiant as a child, Bran Crowther, Earl of Knighton left England as a young man to pursue independence and adventure. He never expected to inherit the title and when duty calls him home, he still finds Society’s codes constricting and others’ expectations oppressive. Nevertheless, he needs a wife to be a mother to his young daughter, preferably a woman of intelligence and warmth who is, above all, immune to his idiosyncrasies—and to falling in love.
Widow Joanna Shaw isn’t interested in a second marriage, not after the loveless, passionless union she endured. She’d much rather dote on her young niece and nephew since they will likely be the only children in her life…until she meets a precocious girl, in desperate need of a mother. But her father, the so-called Duke of Defiance, is as peculiar as he is handsome, and Jo won’t take another risk with her heart. Their rules, however, are made to be broken, even when the consequences  could destroy them both.
Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo

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Excerpt:

Oh, he looked magnificent in evening wear, his dark charcoal-colored coat offset by his silver-threaded waistcoat and the snow-white of his cravat. Was he uncomfortable? She wondered how long he’d be able to endure the garments and pictured him stripping them off. The ballroom suddenly seemed overly warm.

He strode right to her and offered a bow, first to Nora as required by her rank, and another to Jo. “Good evening. You look lovely.” His gaze swept over her.

“Thank you.”

“I thought we could discuss the governess interviews,” he said. “My secretary has arranged them for Tuesday.”

Jo nodded. “Good.”

“Lord Knighton, why don’t you ask Jo to waltz? It’s just starting.”

Waltz? At Nora’s insistence, Jo had practiced the steps earlier today, but she’d never actually waltzed. “I’m not certain that’s necessary.”

Lord Knighton held out his arm. “Would you do me the honor?”

Now she was trapped. Although if she could refuse any man and predict that he wouldn’t take offense, it was Knighton. Once she explained her anxiety, she’d no doubt he would understand given his own foibles.

In the end, she simply put her hand on his arm and allowed him to escort her to the dance floor. It could be her only chance.

“I’ve never waltzed,” she said softly.

“Me neither.”

She turned her head sharply to look at him. “Oh dear.”

“How hard can it be?” he asked as they stepped onto the dance floor.

He rested his hand on her waist and clasped her hand. She placed her palm on his shoulder and, despite the layers of clothing, was certain she could feel his muscle.

“See, we’re experts,” he said.

Review:

Jo and Bram might be my favorite couple in this series 🙂

I loved Bram’s idiosyncrasies and his devotion to his daughter–they definitely helped to make him one of the more unique heroes out there. (Though I kept hoping we’d find out something more about why he was that way–even just an author’s note. I’m guessing with the anti-touch tendencies and the way he tensed up in social situations that he’s somewhere on the autism spectrum, maybe? Either way, his need to get out of restrictive clothing ASAP led to some–ahem–interesting moments for him…and Jo ;))

Jo just broke my heart with her awful first marriage and conviction that she couldn’t have children because she hadn’t yet, which was her main argument for why they couldn’t be together. Kudos to Bram for pointing out it wasn’t necessarily her “fault” that she hadn’t; it made for both a frustrating and heartbreaking reason for keeping them apart.

All while not keeping them apart, of course, because yeah. They were all kinds of together when they weren’t supposed to be. 😉

Evie was a fun character, even though towards the end she sometimes acted just a little bit too mature for her age, she was still all kinds of adorable.

It was fun seeing what is going on with the rest of the Untouchables and their wives, though this book could also stand on its own if needed.

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 Check out the other books in  The Untouchables series:

 

Meet the Author:

Darcy Burke is the USA Today Bestselling Author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids who seem to have inherited the writing gene, and three Bengal cats. Visit Darcy online at www.darcyburke.com and sign up for her newsletter, follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/darcyburke, or like her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/DarcyBurkeFans.

Connect: Site | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

Giveaway:

  • $25 Amazon Gift Card, Signed copy of The Duke of Daring and Swag

*If the chosen winner resides outside of the US, an eBook will be sent instead of the print book.*

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New Release Review and Giveaway! LOVE WITH A SCOTTISH OUTLAW by Gayle Callen (Highland Weddings #3)

All she does know? She’s starting to fall in love with him. 

 

LOVE WITH A SCOTTISH OUTLAW
Highland Weddings #3
Gayle Callen
Releasing June 27, 2017
Avon Books

 

Catriona Duff can’t remember who she is. Discovered in the midst of a raging thunderstorm, she has no recollection of how she came to be there or how the guards around her ended up dead. She certainly doesn’t remember that the handsome Highlander who saves her is her family’s sworn enemy. All she does know? She’s starting to fall in love with him.

Duncan Carlyle couldn’t believe his luck when he found Catriona, the daughter of the man who made him an outlaw and forced him from his ancestral home, stranded on the road with nothing to her name–including her memory. Speaking out against Aberfoyle’s evil practices of stealing poor and orphaned children to sell to the highest bidder has cost him everything, but now he has the opportunity to make the man understand the true price of a missing child. But as Duncan begins to know Cat, guilt over his actions wars with his irrepressible desire for her.

When Cat discovers the truth of her identity, she decides she can teach the outlawed clan chief a lesson, but in love, there’s more than one way to win.

 


Duncan lifted the woman’s upper body into his left arm, cradling her head so that he blocked the rain. He probed near her wound gingerly with his right hand, and she frowned and weakly tried to turn away.

His wariness deepened. There was something about her, a familiarity that echoed inside his head but refused to take shape.

“Where am I?” she whispered, her accent English. “What happened?”

An English lady in the Highlands? He chose to answer the second question rather than the first. “Ye’ve a nasty wound to your head, mistress. Did ye fall?”

She blinked as if she might lose consciousness. “Where am I? What happened?”

Now it was his turn to blink, but he remembered that wounds of the head could cause confusion. He knew he had to stop the blood loss.

“Mistress, can ye stand?”

She opened those eyes again, large and golden, in a delicate face. Her dark hair streamed back from her forehead, her hairline coming to a peak.

He recognized her, a flash of memory from Stirling several years ago, when he’d glared his hatred at the Earl of Aberfoyle, a haughty old man on horseback, forcing aside a poor lass heavy with child to make way for him. The earl’s family was seldom in Scotland, so their arrival in the Highlands had caused a stir. Duncan had seen this woman riding just behind, wearing the fine gown and jaunty hat that marked her a noble lady. At least she’d looked distressed at her father’s actions.

Catriona Duff was the daughter of Aberfoyle, the chief of the Clan Duff and Duncan’s bitter enemy. Aberfoyle was one of the main reasons that Duncan was an outlaw who had to protect and feed his people while on the run.

He lifted his head and looked about, as if the earl and his entire retinue were somewhere nearby, waiting to attack him. “Where are your men?” he demanded.

“What happened?” she asked weakly.

“Ye’ve hit your head. Where are your men?”

“My—men?”

Her hand fluttered toward her forehead, but he didn’t allow her to touch the wound.

A spasm of pain narrowed her eyes. “I found them . . . dead,” she whispered. “What happened to me?”

“I don’t know.” Six weeks after almost being captured, he was still wary of anything unusual in his part of the Highlands. Dead men would prove her story true, but he couldn’t deal with them now.

“I—I can’t remember—I can’t remember anything!” Though her cry was feeble, it was full of helplessness and fear.

“Ye don’t remember the accident?”

“Not . . . the accident, not even . . . my name.”

He frowned down at her, wondering at what intrigue she was playing—or what her father had set in motion. He wouldn’t put it past the bastard.

She clutched his plaid. “What happened to me?” she cried in despair.

“I do not ken. I must clean that wound. Can ye stand? I can pull ye up on my horse.”

He rose, lifting her up with him until she could clutch the saddle for support. After mounting, he reached down for her. He would have preferred she ride astride behind him, but she seemed so weak that he ended up cradling her across his thighs. She leaned into him, her head lolling onto his chest, her blood staining his black, red, and yellow plaid.

It didn’t take long to reach the rocky overhang he’d used for shelter several other times. Once out of the rain, he searched his saddle pack but found nothing that would do for a clean bandage. He ended up cutting several strips from the end of his shirt with his dirk. The wound seemed clean enough after all the rain, so he wrapped the improvised bandages around her head and hoped they stopped the bleeding.

She looked at him helplessly the whole time, and he felt like she was memorizing his features. He studied her, too. Her high cheekbones emphasized the hollows beneath, and her full lips hinted at an expressive mouth. Her pale face was as remote and beautiful as a statue, making her appeal to him on a primitive level that he would never acknowledge.

Why was she in the remote Highlands? According to gossip he’d heard long ago, she rarely visited her father’s castles. Was she the advance of a larger party headed right for Duncan’s unsuspecting people? She was so close to his hidden encampment. If he let her go, she could bring men to hunt the area, risking his people—risking the good he was trying to do. He couldn’t release her until he knew all the facts.

I love this series! <3

Duncan and Cat’s story is just so good. I haven’t read a lot of amnesia stories–it always seems to me an awfully convenient plot device–but here it works, and OMG it creates one heck of a story. Even though Duncan starts out their relationship…well, lying to Cat and to his people…he does so for the same reason he’s been doing just about everything since taking over as head of his clan–in an attempt to keep the Carlyle clan safe. And yeah, he takes a big risk keeping up those lies, but I’m not sure he could have told her much earlier than she found out. Well, maybe he could have…but that might have robbed us of our grand gesture moment.

Because OMG. These two. So good together! And what a fabulous ending 🙂

Here’s hoping there’s going to be more Highland Weddings to come, because I will be so there! 🙂

Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 


After a 
detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than twenty historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion, the Laurel Wreath Award, the Booksellers’ Best Award, and been translated into eleven different languages. The mother of three grown children, an avid crafter, singer, and outdoor enthusiast, Gayle lives in Central New York with her dog Uma and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero. She also writes contemporary romances as Emma Cane. Discover more at her website.
 

 

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