New Release Review and Giveaway! A CHANCE THIS CHRISTMAS by Joanne Rock

A Chance This Christmas
by Joanne Rock
October 5, 2017
Tule Publishing

 

Growing up in the Christmas-crazed theme town of Yuletide was fun for fashion designer Rachel Chambers until a family scandal made her unwelcome. Eight years later, she’s home for a friend’s wedding and trying to go incognito… until her old flame spots her.

Snowboarder Gavin Blake wants to make things right with Rachel, and smoothing her way back in Yuletide seems like the best way to do just that. Making Rachel his date for a week of pre-wedding parties is sure to bring them closer. Except he underestimated how long a small town can carry a grudge–or how much the memory of a long-ago kiss could tempt him all over again.

As the wedding approaches, Rachel remembers all she loved about her close-knit, Christmas-loving neighbors. But even if she can win over the town again, will she be able to convince her footloose, mogul-shredding wedding date that they can find happiness beyond the holidays?

Goodreads

Buy links:
Amazon
iBooks
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

Excerpt:

For a second, she blinked up at him, blue eyes wide. She still had that sweet, girl-next-door appeal. But there had always been an edge to her, too. A wicked gleam behind the innocence. A twinkle of mischief.

She edged past him. “Hi. Sorry I don’t have time to visit. I need to see a friend.” Fumbling her keys with her red mittens, she dropped them in the snow.

“No problem.” He moved to help her retrieve them, hearing the brush-off in her tone. “I’m glad to see you back in town.”

“If that’s true—and I doubt it—then that makes you the only person besides my mother who would ever admit it.” She sounded breathless and agitated.

Irritated.

The last time he’d spoken to her, she’d been breathless for much better reasons. At least at the start of the day. His fingers closed around her keys where they’d fallen behind the Cadillac front tire. Gavin turned toward her, the two of them still crouched side by side in the snow.

“I’ve always regretted the way we parted, Rachel. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry about what happened.” He reached for her hand in the shadowy darkness lit mostly by the empty Christmas carousel spinning around nearby. He held her wrist and deposited the keys into her mitten.

“Sorry for what? That my father thought it would be a great idea to bankrupt the town? That he timed it to happen while everyone was distracted by my ex-boyfriend proposing in skywriting? Or that my embarrassment over making out with you caused me to flee and look as guilty as my crooked dad?” She yanked her wrist away from him and shot to her feet, already sifting through the set to find the door key. Her breathing sounded labored, like she’d just finished a snowboard run at full speed.

“I felt bad about all those things, Rach. But I’m sorry I acted like an ass and clammed up when Luke came along.” He shook his head, uncomfortable with the memory. “I had no right to hang you out to dry like that.”

Key in the door, she let go of the fob. The thick metal elf icon banged against the door. Her shoulders rose and fell with her breathing.

“It’s been eight years.” She sighed out the number. Or tried to. It came out as more of a wheeze. “If Luke hasn’t put it behind him, he’s not as much of a grown-up as we all gave him credit for.”

Good to know his actions hadn’t kept her up at night. But he wasn’t letting himself off the hook yet.

“Are you okay?” He held a hand out to her, cupping her shoulder through her dark coat.

“I’m fine.” She shook her head, her face illuminated by the blue and yellow lights of one of the animals on the carousel as it spun past. “Just a tree allergy, I think.”

“In thirty-degree weather?” He frowned.

“I might actually be allergic to the whole town.” She pulled an inhaler out of her pocket and took a quick puff.

“I’m sure it’s not as bad as all that. I’ve been hoping I’d see you again ever since I bought Jingle Elf’s house.” He didn’t move his hand right away, enjoying the feel of her.

They’d been friends for a long time before things fell apart. When she’d been Luke’s girlfriend, he’d been respectful of that, giving her a wide berth because he’d always felt a bit more than friendly toward her. But with his training schedule, he’d been wary of jumping into a relationship even as a teen. He shouldn’t have been surprised when she started dating Luke.

Then, after his friends had split, he should have known it was only a matter of time before the chemistry simmered to the surface.

“I never would have guessed you’d want to be a part of the madness that is Yuletide.” She shivered lightly. “I’ve been back in town for a day and Katie Garrett is already threatening to have me thrown out on my ear.”

“I’ve always loved it here. You know that.” Gavin remembered a time when her father had been a mentor to him, giving the local teens all a role in helping the Christmas town take shape in the early years. “And it’s past time you reminded the old guard you have just as much of a right to be here as any of them.” He noticed a few of the town board members in the next row, wearing their tree-lighting finery and the light-up necklaces that said “Yuletide.” “Although, unless you’re prepared to do that right now, maybe you should let me drive you where you want to go.”

Glancing over her shoulder, Rachel pulled her hat lower. “That’s okay. I’m going in to Lake Placid. I can take Mom’s car.”

“You realize there isn’t a more recognizable vehicle in town outside of St. Nick’s sleigh?” He kept his voice down, unwilling to end this unlikely reunion with the intrusion of a bunch of the town founders who’d grown cynical since the Chris Chambers’ embezzlement. “That Cadillac is going to announce your presence pretty quickly.”

Rachel glanced back and forth between him and the car. “I don’t know.”

Insulted that he didn’t look like the better option, he tugged the keys free from the door. “The Rachel Chambers I once knew had a sense of adventure.”

He held out his hand, waiting. And yes, hoping.

“And look where that got me?” she whispered, but took his hand just the same. “I’m a pariah in my own town.”

Leading her toward his truck a few spaces on, he made sure they stayed out of the reflected carousel lights.

“Not if I have anything to say about it.” Unlocking the passenger door, he helped her up into the old F150 he’d bought when he purchased the house. He hurried to the driver’s side and slid behind the wheel before she changed her mind.

“Oh really? I’m not sure you’re going to be much help salvaging my reputation.”

He really shouldn’t get involved. He knew that. Championing Rachel in this town would be bad for the business he wanted to open. It could hurt his chances of accomplishing a whole laundry list of things he wanted to tackle in town, starting with a fundraiser he needed the town council to approve.

But he owed her, didn’t he?

“That’s where you’re wrong.” A plan came together in his mind—a way to make up to her the wrong that he’d done all those years ago. “I’m a local sports hero these days.” He wasn’t bragging. People placed a whole lot of emphasis on sports. “I’ve got some standing in town.”

“I don’t think that’s going to help me. I might just tarnish your Olympic halo.” She rubbed a knuckle along the passenger window, as if she could clear the icy layer on the outside.

They sat in the cold truck while he waited for the defroster to kick in enough to clear the windows.

He knew she had a valid point.

“I kept my mouth shut eight years ago when I should have defended you to everyone. At the time, I thought maybe you hadn’t been honest with me, and that maybe you really were still with Luke.” Gavin had felt like he’d betrayed his friend, and the guilt had made him say things he later regretted. “I know better now, thanks to making amends with Luke. And I’d like to help you feel welcome in Yuletide again.”

“You don’t have to do any such thing.” She turned toward him, a hand on his arm. “I’m not going to stay in town long anyhow.”

He could see the hint of vulnerability in her pretty eyes. Was she leaving because things were uncomfortable for her here? He couldn’t abide that. Not when he’d been a part of the reason she’d felt ostracized. He knew exactly how to fix it.

Besides, he realized he was in no hurry for her to leave. It’d been too long since he had seen her.

“I happen to know Kiersten Garrett really wants you at her wedding.” He’d been over to dinner at Luke’s and Kiersten had shared as much.

Rachel’s jaw dropped. “I— Well. Just because Kiersten wants me there doesn’t mean I need to put up with grief from everyone in town.”

He jumped into trouble with both feet. It came with the territory on the mountain every day, and he wasn’t going to shy away from a risk now, with someone who used to be important to him.

“Consider the town quieted when you go to the bridal welcome dinner as my date.”

*

 

Review:

A Chance This Christmas is a cute, fluffy holiday read. There are some questions raised by the premise (ie the heroine hasn’t been home in eight years–where does an 18-year-old with no obvious means of support other than her now-single mother go during college and semester breaks? How and when did she reconcile with the friend whose wedding she’s back in town to attend? Why hasn’t her father been caught in all that time? Is he really that much of a criminal mastermind??) and more than a touch of insta-love by the story’s end (yeah, they were high school friends–but one kiss and then no contact for the aforementioned eight years?) but if you’re willing to let go of logic and just go with the feel-good holiday flow, then this Road to Romance series book 3 could be the story for you. At the very least, it’ll have you looking forward to hot cocoa and ugly Christmas sweater weather.

Rating: 3 stars / C+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 

About Joanne Rock:

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over eighty books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

Social Media links:
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Amazon
Bookbub 
Newsletter

US Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

International Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release and Giveaway! HIS ACCIDENTAL HEIR by Joanne Rock (Billionaires and Babies)

Can she resist his brand of trouble in paradise?
 
HIS ACCIDENTAL HEIR
Billionaires and Babies 
Joanne Rock
Releasing June 6, 2017
Harlequin Desire
The Boss’s Baby Bargain
 
When resort developer Cameron McNeill goes undercover to root out problems at his prized island property, his first discovery is the irresistible concierge, Maresa Delphine. Her business smarts are vital to his mission. But the struggling single mom could help with his personal mission, too: fulfilling the marriage terms of his grandfather’s will.
Maresa is overwhelmed caring for her infant niece and tending to the demands of the resort’s sexy mystery guest. When he reveals himself as the owner, she’s thrown for a loop. But when he proposes…can she resist his brand of trouble in paradise?
 

She appreciated the cooler breeze on her overheated skin, and the light mist of rain blowing in with it. Only now did she realize the strap of her sundress had fallen off one shoulder, the bodice slipping precariously down on one side. Before she could reach for it, however, Cameron slid a finger under the errant strap and lifted it into place.

Her skin hummed with pleasure where he touched her.

“Sorry.” He slid his hand away fast. “The bare shoulder was…” He shook his head. “I get distracted around you, Maresa. More than I should when I know you want to keep things professional.”

The room was mostly dark, except for a glow from the last light of day combined with a golden halo around a wall sconce near the bathroom. He must have turned that on when he’d entered the master suite and found her sleeping.

Dreaming.

“What about you?” Her voice carried the sultriness of sleep. Or maybe it was the sound of desire from her sexy imaginings. Even now, she could swear she remembered the feel of his strong thigh between hers, his chest pressed to aching breasts. “I can’t be the only one who wants to keep some professional objectivity.”

She slid her feet to the floor, needing to restore some equilibrium with him. Some distance. They sat on opposite sides of the chaise longue, the gathering storm stirring electricity in the air.

“Honestly?” A flash of lightning illuminated his face in full color for a moment before returning them to black-and-white. “I would rather abdicate my role as boss where you’re concerned, Maresa. Let my brother Quinn make any decisions that involve you or Rafe. My professional judgment is already seriously compromised.”

She breathed in the salty, charged air. Her hair blew silky caresses along her cheek. The gathering damp sat on her skin and she knew he must feel it, too. She was seized with the urge to lean across the chaise and lick him to find out for sure. If she could choose her spot, she’d pick the place just below his steely jaw.

“I don’t understand.” She shook her head, not following what he was saying. She was still half in dreamland, her whole body conspiring against logic and reason. Rebelling against all her workplace ethics. “We haven’t done anything wrong.”

Much. They’d talked about a kiss. But there hadn’t been one.

His eyes swept her body with unmistakable want.

“Not yet. But I think you know how much I want to.” He didn’t touch her. He didn’t need to.

Her skin was on fire just thinking about it.

“What would your brother think of me if he knew we…” Images of her body twined together with this incredibly sexy man threatened to steal the last of her defenses. “How could he be impartial?”

Another flash of lightning revealed Cam in all his masculine deliciousness. His shirt was open at the collar, just the way it had been in her dream. Except now, his shirt was damp with raindrops, making the pale cotton cling like a second skin.

Cameron watched her steadily, his intense gaze as stirring as any caress. “You know the way you have faith in your brother’s good heart and good intentions? No matter what?”

She nodded. “Without question.”

“That’s how I feel about Quinn’s ability to be fair. He can tick me off sometimes, but he is the most levelheaded, just person I know.”

She weighed what he was saying. Thought about what it meant. “And you’re suggesting that if we acted on this attraction…you’d step out of the picture. Your brother becomes my boss, not you.”

“Exactly.” Cameron’s assurance came along with a roll of ominous thunder that rumbled right through the villa.

Right through her feet where they touched the floor.

Maresa felt as if she were standing at the edge of a giant cliff, deciding whether or not to jump. Making that leap would be terrifying. But turning away from the tantalizing possibilities—the lure of the moment—was no longer an option. Even before she’d fallen asleep, she’d known that her window for selfish pleasures was closing fast if Isla proved to be Rafe’s daughter and Maresa’s responsibility.

How could she deny herself this night?

“Yes.” She hurled herself into the unknown and hoped for the best. “I know that you’re leaving soon, and I’m okay with that. But for tonight, if we could be just a man and a woman…” The simple words sent a shiver of longing through her.

Even in the dim light, she could see his blue eyes flare hotter, like the gas fireplace in the Antilles Suite when you turned up the thermostat.

“You have no idea how much I was hoping you’d say that.” His words took on a ragged edge as his hands slid around her waist. He drew her closer.

Crushed her lips to his.

Want more of the McNeill Brothers?

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories,
most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Day Review and Giveaway! THE MAGNATE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE by Joanne Rock (The McNeill Magnates #1)

A mix-and-match mock engagement? 
THE MAGNATE’S MAIL-ORDER BRIDE
The McNeill Magnates #1
Joanne Rock
Releasing April 4th, 2017
Harlequin Desire
mix-and-match mock engagement? 

Ballerina Sofia Koslov’s career is on the line when she’s accosted at the airport by a rich, reckless playboy who thinks she’s his mail-order bride! But the playboy’s levelheaded brother, Quinn McNeill, solves the media snafu with a switcheroo. He’ll pretend to be her legitimate fiancé to protect her reputation—and to protect his family’s business deals from her father’s wrath.

Sofia’s one condition: they’ll share the spotlight as a loving couple but won’t share a bed. But soon Quinn’s gentlemanly ways strike a chord, and Sofia’s dying to renege on that condition and have a real fling…


“I never would have guessed your brother would spend a small fortune on a ring for a woman he never met.” She edged out of his grip. “I thought he was a romantic, not completely certifiable.”

Quinn’s smile faded. “I assure you, Cameron is neither.” He set the ring on the steamer trunk beside her. “I’ll let you decide whether or not to wear it in the morning. And in the meantime, I’d better let you get some rest.”

He rose to his feet, leaving a priceless piece of jewelry balanced on last month’s Vogue.

“Quinn.” She stood to follow him to the door then reached back to grab the ring so she could return it. “Please. I don’t feel right keeping this here.”

He turned to face her as he reached the door, but made no move to take the glittering ring.

“If you were my bride-to-be, I would spare no expense to show the world you were mine.” His blue eyes glowed with a warmth that had her remembering his kiss. Her breath caught in her chest and she wondered what it might be like for him to call her that for real.

Mine.

“I’m—” At a total loss for words. “That is—” She folded the diamond into her hand, squeezing it tightly so the stones pressed into her soft skin, distracting her from her hypnotic awareness of this man. “If you insist.”

“It’s a matter of believability, Sofia.”

“It’s only for one month.” She wasn’t sure if she said it to remind him or herself.

“We’ll work out the details tomorrow.” He reached to smooth a strand of hair from her forehead, barely touching her and still sending shimmers of pleasure along her temple and all the way down the back of her neck. “Sleep well.”

She didn’t even manage to get her voice working before he was out the door again, leaving her alone in a suddenly too empty apartment.

Squeezing the ring tighter in her fist, she waited for the pinch of pain from the sharp edges of the stones. She needed to remember that this wasn’t real. Quinn McNeill had only agreed to this mad scheme to clean up his brother’s mess. Any hint of attraction she felt needed to be squashed immediately, especially since Quinn was cut from the same mold as her father—focused on business and the accumulation of wealth. Her world was about art, emotions and human connections.

Her mother had taught her that people did not fall into both camps. In Sofia’s experience it was true. And since she wanted her own relationships to be meaningful bonds rooted in shared creativity and ideals, she was willing to wait until she had more time in her life to find the right partner. Romance could not be rushed.

“It’s only for a month,” she said aloud again, forcing herself to set the engagement ring on the hallway table.

Surely she could keep up her end of a fake engagement for the sake of appearances? She’d made countless sacrifices for her career, from dancing on broken toes to living away from her family on the other side of the globe to train with Russian ballet masters.

Ignoring the sensual draw of Quinn McNeill couldn’t possibly be more difficult than those challenges.

Yet, even as she marched herself off to bed, she feared she was lying to herself that she could keep her hands off the man anywhere near as easily as she’d set down the ring.

The Magnate’s Mail-Order Bride is one of the more believable fake engagement stories I’ve read. There is more than a little insta-love, but it doesn’t seem totally outside the realm of believablity overall. Sofia and Quinn make a great couple, and watching them fall for each other while talking on the phone every night is very sweet.

Quinn has two more brothers (The McNeill Magnates) so we’ve got two more books to look forward to seeing Sofia and Quinn together, which is awesome because this book ended much too soon 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.

 
Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy books enjoys writing a wide range of stories, most recently focusing on sexy contemporaries and small town family sagas. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance fits her life outlook perfectly–love is worth fighting for. A frequent speaker at regional and national writing conferences she enjoys giving back to the writing community that nurtured and inspired her early career. She has a Masters degree in Literature from the University of Louisville but credits her fiction writing skills to her intensive study with friend and fellow author Catherine Mann. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Release Day Review and Giveaway! SECRET BABY SCANDAL by Joanne Rock (Bayou Billionaires #4)

 Two Fabulous Prizes…Enter Below!
SECRET BABY SCANDAL
Bayou Billionaires #4
Joanne Rock
Releasing May 1st (Digital)
Releasing May 10th (Print)
Harlequin Desire
His proposition: pretend they’re a couple to end a scandal. But she has secrets of her own…

Tatiana Doucet has dealt with sexy, arrogant athletes most of her life. But Jean-Pierre Reynaud is a whole different animal—in bed and on the field. Unbeknownst to him, their one amazing night produced a son. Now her family’s biggest football rival is back, offering a seductive wager she can’t refuse.
Jean-Pierre despises the media. When rumors fly, he knows a fake relationship is the perfect diversion for the tabloids—and Tatiana’s unbridled passion is the
perfect diversion for Jean-Pierre. But when she drops a baby bombshell, the scandal will rock them both!

 
BUY NOW
Amazon | B & N | Google | iTunes | Kobo
Excerpt-Banner

Son?

Jean-Pierre had taken hits from the toughest, strongest, meanest players in the NFL. Afterward, as he lay in the grass with his ears ringing and his vision blurred, he would struggle to snap out of the slow-motion fog that felt kind of like being underwater.

That was exactly how he felt walking into Tatiana’s apartment, her words slowly permeating his consciousness along with the cry of an infant. Dazed, confused and trying to stand up straight despite the floor shifting under his feet, Jean-Pierre stood in her foyer and waited for her to return from wherever she’d disappeared.

“Mr. Reynaud?” An older woman in a simple gray dress stepped into the living area to his right. “Miss Doucet asked if you wouldn’t mind joining her in the family room. It’s just past the staircase on the left.” She pointed the way and then went about her business, picking up a few things in the living room.

A bright blue blanket. A baby bottle.

Seeing that bottle was like the second hit when you were already down.

At the same time, it was enough to make the mental fog evaporate and get his feet moving.

Fast.

He needed answers now. Hell, he needed answers months ago. Tatiana had done a whole lot more than throw his career into a tailspin tonight with her unguarded remark to a member of the press. She’d been hiding the biggest possible secret that was going to bind their lives together forever.

“Tatiana?” Her name was a sharp bark on his lips as he entered the spacious suite overlooking Central Park.

Framed playbills lined the walls along with photos of Tatiana and her family. Tatiana with her father at her graduation from Columbia. The Doucets outside of a downtown skyscraper with the brass name plaque of her prestigious law firm. Every picture was a reminder of the life he might have had with her if her family hadn’t turned her against him.

A blaze crackled in a fireplace on the far side of the living area. And beside it, in that warm glow of flickering light, he spotted her on the dark leather love seat, cradling a tiny bundle of blankets to her breast. Tatiana’s dark brown curls shielded her body as much as the blanket, the firelight making the skin of one shoulder glow where she’d unfastened her dress to feed the baby.

Her baby.

His…son.

Something shifted inside Jean-Pierre, his whole world tipping on its axis as everything changed irreversibly.

Review-Banner

My favorite of the series! I’d been looking forward to Jean-Pierre’s story all series long–as the brother who left Louisiana to play football in New York (since NFL teams only need one starting quarterback each, and his brother Henri already played for the team one brother owned and another one coached) we saw him the least out of the four in the other books, and I was definitely anticipating getting to know him better.

Fortunately, he did not disappoint 🙂

Jean-Pierre and Tatiana grew up together–until high school, when his grandfather fired her father from his football team and Tatiana’s family moved to New York. She was forbidden to see Jean-Pierre again, and didn’t…until their paths crossed years later in a courtroom, where Tatiana defended a woman who accused one of Jean-Pierre’s good friends of a despicable act.

He had to testify. She won her case. Things got…heated later on. And then Jean-Pierre walked out the next morning, saying it was a mistake he’d never make again. (Jean-Pierre, Jean-Pierre, Jean-Pierre. What were you thinking? Sigh.)

Ten months later, Tatiana’s back in his life again…and she’s not alone. Well, you’ve probably read the blurb. I’m sure you’re aware. Jean-Pierre’s all about taking responsibility, but Tatiana wants a real relationship with him or just joint custody–she’s not willing to settle for anything in between. Jean-Pierre, though, is sure that his career is the only relationship he can truly commit to right now. What will they do?

Though they could have been a *little* better on the communication front, really Jean-Pierre and Tatiana made a great couple all the way through. There was a definite element of “if only” to their story–if only they hadn’t been separated as high school sweethearts, if only their families hadn’t been feuding for years…but that made everything sweeter when they did finally come back together. I cheered for her desire to stick up for herself and for her son, and really liked the way everything was resolved in the end.

There’s apparently a whole lot of Texas Reynaud cousins…so, a new spin-off series, I hope? 🙂

Rating: 4 stars / B+

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

SBS_04

Four-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy novels enjoys writing contemporary romance and medieval historicals alike, recently exploring Young Adult romance under a pseudonym. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance–in all its forms– fits her life outlook perfectly. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.

 

 Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads   
 
Don’t Miss the rest of the Bayou Billionaires


 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

New Release Review and Giveaway! HIS SECRETARY’S SURPRISE FIANCE by Joanne Rock (Bayou Billionaires #2)

 Enter to Win a Joanne Rock Romance Gift Pack
HIS SECRETARY’S SURPRISE FIANCE
Bayou Billionaires #2
Joanne Rock
March 1st (Digital), March 8th (Print)
Harlequin Desire

 

Her boss wants her in his office—and as his bride!


Adelaide Thibodeaux grew up with Dempsey Reynaud, and she’s worked for him for years. But when the billionaire football coach springs a surprise engagement to keep her from resigning, it’s a low blow. Just as she’s ready to strike out on her own, she’s stuck in a fake relationship with her boss, biding her time…

But soon Adelaide faces a second blow: she’s actually falling for the man! Can a relationship founded on a lie become the real deal? Or will they fumble before the end zone—and stay in the friend zone?

BUY NOW
Excerpt-Banner

“You can’t leave now.” He didn’t have time to hash this out. And he would damn well have his way.

“I’m going after the press conference. I told you I would come back for the pre-season, and now it’s done.” Frowning, she twisted the bracelet round and round on her wrist. “I shouldn’t have returned this year at all, especially if this ends up causing hard feelings between us. But I can send your next assistant all my files.”

How kind. He clamped his mouth shut against the scathing responses that simmered, close to boiling over. He deserved better from her and she knew it.

But if she was going to see him through the press conference, he still had forty minutes to change her mind. Forty minutes to figure out a way to force her hand. A way to make her stay by his side through the season.

All he needed was the right play call.

“In that case, I appreciate the heads-up,” he said, planting his hands on her waist and shuffling her away from the door. “But I’d better get this press conference started now.”

Her eyes widened as he touched her, but she stepped aside, hectic color rising in her cheeks even though they’d always been just friends. He’d protected that friendship because it was special. She was special. He’d never wanted to sacrifice that relationship to something as fickle as attraction even though there’d definitely been moments over the years when he’d been tempted. But logic and reason—and respect for Adelaide—had always won out in the past. Then again, he’d never touched her the way he had today and it was messing with his head. Seeing that awareness on her face now, feeling the answering kick of it in his blood, made him wonder if—

“Of course we need to get to the conference.” She grabbed her earpiece and shoved it into place as she bit her lip. “Let’s go.”

He held the door for her, watching as she hurried up the hallway ahead of him, the subtle sway of her hips making his hands itch for a better feel of her. No doubt about it, she was going to be angry with him. In time, she would see he had her best interests at heart.

But he had the perfect plan to keep her close and the ideal venue—a captive audience full of media members—to execute it. As much as he regretted hurting a friend, he also knew she would understand at a gut level if she knew him half as well as he thought she did.

His game was on the line. And this was for the win.

Review-Banner

I really, really wanted to read Dempsey and Addy’s story after reading book one in the series, His Pregnant Princess Bride , so I was very excited to get my hands on this one. I won’t go as far as to say I was disappointed, but while I did like it, I didn’t love it.

On the one hand, it was a sweet best-childhood-friends-to-romance story. Addy and Dempsey have know each other since they were both in the single digits, and Addy’s been starry-eyed over him for nearly that long. They had some considerable chemistry going on, and clearly felt things for each other that they were reluctant to admit and/or give voice to. And ho boy, can Dempsey bring on the woo once he puts his mind to it.

On the other hand, it was hard to get a handle on Dempsey’s character. Even though we saw roughly half the book from his POV, I just never felt like I really knew him. I guess that’s probably my biggest issue with the story–a lack of connection with the hero. He had all kinds of things going for him, but something was missing.

Addy made things easier. Who can’t identify with the longtime crush who just never seems to really “see” you? I felt for her when she could no longer enjoy chocolate (for Dempsey-related reasons, gosh darn that man!) and cheered for her when she finally got her man in the end.

Two more brothers to go–bring them on!

Rating: 3.5 stars / B-

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

HSSF-Teaser4

Three-time RITA nominee Joanne Rock has never met a romance sub-genre she didn’t like. The author of over seventy novels enjoys writing contemporary romance and medieval historicals alike, recently exploring Young Adult romance under a pseudonym. An optimist by nature and perpetual seeker of silver linings, Joanne finds romance–in all its forms– fits her life outlook perfectly. When she’s not writing, Joanne enjoys travel, especially to see her favorite sports teams play with her former sports editor husband and three athletic-minded sons.
 

 

Don’t Miss the first in the 
Bayou Billionaires Series