Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cover Reveal: Paper Fools (Hearts and Arrows #1) by Staci Hart





In the game of love, she never loses.
Paper Fools by Staci Hart is coming April 17th!!

Add to to-read list on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Aphrodite knows love — just don’t ask her to figure out her own mess.

Rather than deal with her sticky love life, she toys with the hearts of unwitting humans. It’s a little game she plays, and the stakes are high. Lucky for her, she’s just found the perfect match.

Lex is everything Dean needs, but he can’t have her.

It doesn’t matter that her eyes speak to a long forgotten part of him, or that her art and poetry touch his shredded heart. She’s off limits — crossing that line would implode his band and everything he’s ever cared about. There’s only one option: stay away from her, no matter the cost. Even if the price is his heart.

Dean is everything Lex wants, but she can’t take the risk.

The second she meets him, she knows her heart is in danger. She’s convinced it’s only attraction that has her hung up on the dark, quiet lead singer, but with every day that passes, she knows it’s more. It’s just that she can’t put her heart on the line. She won’t — love has never been worth the sacrifice.

If only they knew they were just pawns in a much bigger game. And in the game of love, Aphrodite never loses.

*Formerly titled Deer in Headlights, Paper Fools has been rewritten and reedited just for you.*


About the Author:



Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life -- a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can't forget that. She's also been a mom, with three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She's been a wife, though she's certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She's also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she's been drinking whiskey. From roots in Houston to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she's not writing, she's reading, sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Release Day: 24 Roses by Elena M. Reyes


Now available on

Synopsis:

24 roses.
24 days filled with declarations of love.
24 moments where life will mark her as mine.

I’ve loved Anahi Pratt since she moved in next door at the age of twelve. With her knobby knees and a mouthful of braces, she made my heart thump harshly inside my prepubescent chest. One look into the greenest eyes I’d ever seen, and I was hooked for life. Owned.

However, I was tongue-tied and confused and did the only thing I could: offer my friendship.

Over the years, those feelings never changed. Instead, they grew—morphed into something deep and profound. But never once did she see me as more than a friend. Never did she see the man that worshipped the ground she walked on. The man that needed to be what she wanted. Needed.

I stayed on the sidelines until that day:

A crash.

Her life on the line and my world came to a screeching halt.

Life is short and changes in the blink of an eye, a lesson I suddenly understood. There wasn’t a second to wait. No more hiding behind the guise of friendship.

She was mine, and it was time I claimed her.


Excerpt:

“How can you say that with this hideous scar on my thigh?” Fuck, she could be as stubborn as a mule.

“That scar…” I hissed out, my eyes searching the floor around her feet for the broken glass I’d heard fall through the door. It was nothing big. A small figurine broken in two pieces. Taking the remaining steps between us, I paused in front of her. “This is proof that what could have been tragic…wasn’t.” Taking her face in my hands, I tipped it up and lowered my forehead to hers. “It means that you are okay and here with me. That a drunken asshole crying over his divorce didn’t take the most important thing in my life away.”

“Stop.” Prying my hands from her face, she brought them between us and squeezed. “It isn’t your job to fix this. I was the one that left the jerk I’d agreed to have dinner with mid-meal and drove off in a rush. I was the one that didn’t notice the car not stopping as his light turned red. I was the one that put herself in this position time and time again.”

“Fuck are you talking about, Anahi?” Every muscle within me tensed as I waited for her to explain herself.

“That I should’ve listened to you when it came to the men I dated.”

Staring into her sad green eyes, my heart clenched. Her pain was mine. “Shit happens, and it was not your fault.”

“Had I been paying attention and not thinking about the ‘what ifs I…” Anahi’s face bloomed with a sudden rush of embarrassment.

“Tell me.” She shook her head. “Please.”

“You want to know? Because trust me, I remember everything about that night.” Letting out a bitter chuckle, she stepped back and released my hands. I missed her warmth immediately. “Fuck!” Ani yelled out while turning around. Placing her hands on the top of her dresser, she hung her head. A sob was caught in her throat, and I rushed forward to wrap her in my arms.

The pain medication she’d been on tended to make her emotions fluctuate a bit.

“Talk to me, babe.” With my arms secured around her waist, I pulled her in closer. Ignored what the feel of her warm skin against my own created. “Let me in.”

“I’m sorry.” Wiping at her eyes, Anahi took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Didn’t mean to pull the crazy chick card on you.” This was said with a laugh, but there was real hurt behind the action. “There’s too much going on upstairs, and I don’t know how to handle it. Between nightmares and anger, it’s a constant roller coaster.”

“Start from the beginning,” I hummed against the top of her head. “You’ve never wanted to give me details about that night. Always vague and avoiding—something about what happened is hurting you. Let me in, dollface.”

“Why do you always call me pet names?” Diversion tactic if I ever heard one; that, and she needed her ego stroked. Not that I minded in the least. For some unknown reason, Ani felt as if the small scar over her sculpted brow was this heinous thing that offended the world.

“Because I can.”

A huff, and then a smack to my arm. “That’s not an answer.”

“And neither is yours. Tell me what’s eating you up inside, Ani.”

“Every time I close my eyes, I see those high-beam lights coming at me followed close by the sound of screeching tires.” A shiver so hard ran through her that it rocked me to my core. All I could do was hold her tighter, with my presence show her that I was here for her. “Next came the sound of metal bending—caving in on itself—as a searing pain shot up the side of my body. It burned. The intense jolt caused me to almost black out, but even as everything intensified around me, I had only one thought in my head.”

“Say it,” I whispered low into the crown on her head.

Running her fingers over my hand, she shook her head. “Doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, Bryson, but it’s those what ifs that eat me alive. I’ve lost time I don’t know if I could ever get back.”

“You want to know what tortures me about that night?” Turning her around so my blue eyes could meet her green ones, I placed my hands at her hips and squeezed them lightly before holding her in place. No more hiding. Anahi wasn’t running away from the damn truth that was currently smacking us in the face.

Bringing a shaking hand up, she cupped my jaw. “What?”

“The fact that I almost lost you when I’d just realized that I’ve always owned you.”

About the Author:

Elena M. Reyes was born and raised in Miami Florida. She is the epitome of a Floridian and if she could live in her beloved flip-flops, she would.

As a small child, she was always intrigued with all forms of art—whether it was dancing to island rhythms, or painting with any medium she could get her hands on. Her first taste of writing came to her during her fifth grade year when her class was prompted to participate in the D. A. R. E. Program and write an essay on what they’d learned.

Her passion for reading over the years has amassed her with hours of pleasure. It wasn't until she stumbled upon fanfiction that her thirst to write overtook her world. She now resides in Central Florida with her husband and son, spending all her down time letting her creativity flow and letting her characters grow.


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Cover Reveal: The Gravity of Us (Elements #4) by Brittainy C. Cherry





The next Brittainy C. Cherry book is coming April 13th!! Book Four in The Elements Series! I cannot wait to read this! Add it to your to-read list on Goodreads

Synopsis:

Graham Russell and I weren’t made for one another.

I was driven by emotion; he was apathetic. I dreamed while he lived in nightmares. I cried when he had no tears to shed.

Despite his frozen heart and my readiness to run, we sometimes shared seconds. Seconds when our eyes locked and we saw each other’s secrets. Seconds when his lips tasted my fears, and I breathed in his pains. Seconds when we both imagined what it would be like to love one another.

Those seconds left us floating, but when reality knocked us sideways, gravity forced us to descend.

Graham Russell wasn’t a man who knew how to love, and I wasn’t a woman who knew how to either. Yet if I had the chance to fall again, I’d fall with him forever.

Even if we were destined to crash against solid ground.



Prior books in the series (they are all standalone - click the title to go to my review)

 
Available now on
Amazon * Amazon.de * Goodreads


The Fire Between High and Lo Ebook Cover 
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads


Now available on

About the Author:

Hi! I'm Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I'm learning, things I'm re-learning, things I'm forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.
Connect with the Author:


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Angel Falling (Falling #1) by Audrey Carlan

Available on

Synopsis:

Aspen Reynolds has it all. Wealth, beauty, and a spot on the Forbes Top Ten Most Successful Women list. From the outside, she is perfect. Looks and status can be deceiving. All her life she has fought being the socialite her family has raised her to be. Now at twenty-eight she’s at the top of her game, lacking the one thing she didn’t know she’d ever want.

Accidents happen and lives are changed when Aspen is almost killed. Hank Jensen, the man who saves her, is a hard-working country boy from Texas. Hank is the polar opposite of the rich city boys she’s used to. He’s rugged, gritty, devastatingly handsome, and makes it clear that he wants her in his life and his bed.

Can two people from different worlds find a happily ever after?

Warning: This book is designed for audiences 18+ due to language and graphic sexual content. This novel will be part of a three part series but is written as a standalone between this particular couple. The other two books in the series will focus on different characters with snippets of past couples as the stories move along.

Review:

Angel Falling was a really cute read. Yes, it is an instant super attraction turns to love story, but I really enjoyed it. Angel/Pen and Hank are so cute together. It was a really fun read. 

Hank has always found Aspen attractive. He is a small town Texas cowboy but is in New York City working on a project his construction company won the bid on. He is working on an addition to a fancy building downtown and every day he sees Aspen walking into work, all prim and proper and put together. He would love to have her for a night, but doesn't think it would be possible to get someone like her. He doesn't really know who she is or anything, just that he is attracted to her. 

Aspen is the daughter of some wealthy socialites, but she never really fit in there. She has worked hard for everything she has, and it has paid off handsomely. She is very, very rich. She doesn't have many people in her life that she trusts or cares about, only her sister London and her bff/assistant Ollie. Really without Ollie she would be lost. She counts on him for a lot. He is always there for her, but they are just friends. Ollie is gay and happily living with his boyfriend who he is madly in love with. He was an odd one as I can't picture him in my head. I don't know why, but he kept slipping through my grasp. He was still fun. 

One morning when Aspen is heading to work Hank sees that some pipes are about to fall. If they do they will surely kill Aspen so he jumps into action and saves her life. He is hurt in the ordeal, but it is worth it to save his angel in white. And that is where the story start. When Hank gets injured and Aspen feels so thankful to him. She wants to help him and make sure everything he needs to fully recover is taken care of. For Hank he doesn't much care about all that, he just wants a chance to get to know Aspen and spend some time with her. 

The two of them have this instant, intense attraction. Pen is usually not one to be so spontaneous or so attracted to someone so quickly or so strongly, but she is. And Hank has had his eye on her for a while so when this opportunity arises he wants to take advantage of it. He wants to get to know his Angel. Oh, they were cute! I am glad it wasn't they were instantly in love. Instead it was they instantly had an attraction, couldn't keep their hands off each other, and that turned into more. Phew, it was hot. Hank, even with a bum shoulder, was on fire. Oh, I loved it. 

Now the main problem between the two of them is that Pen keeps thinking how he will go back to Texas and she will be left all alone again. She tries not to fall for Hank, but it is hard. He is just so wonderful and perfect for her. The two of them don't talk a lot about their feelings or what will happen when he is all better and finished with his job there. They don't talk about the future which causes some problems. Hank early on realizes he is all in and wants to be with Aspen, but he is trying to wait until she gets a chance to catch up. He wants to make sure she is on the same page before he reveals his feelings. He doesn't realize she is already there. 

There are a few bumps in the road to happiness for these two, but it is worth it in the end. Oh, that last part of the story was heartbreaking. I just wanted these two to work everything out and live happily ever after. I will say one small thing that I didn't understand - the epilogue. I didn't understand why Aspen hesitated on one thing, or why she thought something she found out would be a potential deal breaker. I mean with everything that happened in the story it was obvious that Hank wouldn't care, would be happy with everything, so I didn't quite understand Aspen's worries. It wasn't a big deal, but just one small thing. Overall this was a wonderful read and I look forward to reading more from this author. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Blog Tour: Beauty of the Beast (Fairy Tale Retellings #1) by Rachel L. Demeter


Now available on

Synopsis:

Experience the world’s most enchanting and timeless love story—retold with a dark and realistic twist.

A BEAST LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF HIS PAST

Reclusive and severely scarred Prince Adam Delacroix has remained hidden inside a secluded, decrepit castle ever since he witnessed his family’s brutal massacre. Cloaked in shadow, with only the lamentations of past ghosts for company, he has abandoned all hope, allowing the world to believe he died on that tragic eve twenty-five years ago.

A BEAUTY IN PURSUIT OF A BETTER FUTURE

Caught in a fierce snowstorm, beautiful and strong-willed Isabelle Rose seeks shelter at a castle—unaware that its beastly and disfigured master is much more than he appears to be. When he imprisons her gravely ill and blind father, she bravely offers herself in his place.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Stripped of his emotional defenses, Adam’s humanity reawakens as he encounters a kindred soul in Isabelle. Together they will wade through darkness and discover beauty and passion in the most unlikely of places. But when a monster from Isabelle’s former life threatens their new love, Demrov’s forgotten prince must emerge from his shadows and face the world once more…

Perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast and The Phantom of the Opera, Beauty of the Beast brings a familiar and well-loved fairy tale to life with a rich setting in the kingdom of Demrov and a captivating, Gothic voice.

Beauty of the Beast is the first standalone installment in a series of classic fairy tales reimagined with a dark and realistic twist.

Disclaimer: This is an edgy retelling of the classic fairy tale. Due to strong sexual content, profanity, and dark subject matter, including an instance of sexual assault committed by the villain, Beauty of the Beast is not intended for readers under the age of 18.





Excerpt:

~ The East Tower ~ 

Arms sprang out from the darkness. They spun her full circle and slammed her body against the king’s portrait. Isabelle gasped, more in shock than from pain, as she stared into Adam’s deformed face. The lantern flickered behind his massive form, casting his cloaked body in silhouette. But she saw enough to know he was far from pleased. Rage and frustration radiated from his body like a palpable force.

“I warned you to stay out of here,” he said, his voice dangerously cold and deep. Those rugged vocals vibrated against her body and seeped into her marrow. “What part of forbidden didn’t you comprehend?” His voice lashed out from the darkness like a hurtled knife, and the word “forbidden” seemed to whisper another meaning altogether. Isabelle tried to answer but failed to find her voice. Indeed, her vocal cords had turned to solid ice, as numb and cold as the blood rushing through her veins. She couldn’t breathe; she felt like she was suffocating.

“My mother gave me that musical box on my fourth birthday,” he said, the sensual lull of his voice causing the fine hairs on her nape to stand erect. “And now your recklessness has destroyed it. Have you nothing to say?”

“I—I’m sorry.” He offered no reply; only the ragged sound of his breathing and the hammering blizzard broke the silence. “Please—I didn’t mean any harm.”

She struggled under the weight of Adam’s colossal body and battled to free herself. He merely gave a low chuckle and pressed her firmly against the portrait. He looked otherworldly at that moment, like an angel of death seeking vengeance. Both beautiful and monstrous, his cool, sapphire eyes overflowed with warring emotions. In spite of his harsh and ruthless exterior, she detected a quaver in his voice and saw that his large, cloaked shoulders trembled. The darkness in his soul cast a shadow that embraced her; as she peered up at him, she knew he was drowning in the turbulent waters of a past time.

“What a disappointment,” he went on, his voice growing deeper still, mocking her words from so many days ago, “You’re like any other woman.”

“I—I’m sorry. Please, Adam. I—” Her gaze shot past his body and over the wreckage of a past life. She thought of her private chamber again—of the stale perfumes and outdated garments.

Her flight or fight instinct seized hold of her. She attempted to scramble free, but he merely grabbed her shoulder and whirled her back against the portrait. Gloves wrapped his hands; his long, silk-clad fingers grasped her shoulder and kept her firmly in place.

He stood intimately close.

Far too close.

As close as Raphael had been that night.

“Going somewhere, ma belle? After you’ve worked so hard to find my East Tower?”

Hands like two steel bands held her wrists in place. Hot breaths, which faintly smelled of wine, seared her cheeks and assaulted her senses. Her breasts flattened against the pressure of his strong chest, and she felt that same chest swell and deflate in perfect sync with her own. One large hand slipped down her elbow and glided across her extended arm. The lush material of his gloves drew a shudder from her heaving chest. His breathing grew more ragged, shallower, and the erratic beat of his heart banged against her own.

Anger and desire warred on his face, twisting his features into a mess of both monster and man. “Find anything of interest, aside from my musical box? Come, come. You went through such great trouble to get here,” he asked, his voice now threaded with both anger and something else.

Yes, Isabelle recognized that something else. It was the same note that had entered Raphael’s voice that night…

She attempted to duck under his arm, but he moved swiftly, capturing her in the crook of his elbow. Reeling her toward him, he emitted a low, haunting chuckle that swelled the eastern tower to its rafters. She was back where she’d started—pinned against the portrait, Adam’s body serving as a flesh-and-blood blockade.

Hunger radiated from him, enfolding her in a current of sizzling power. His silk-clad hand grazed the curve of her breast as it moved down her body in a painfully slow caress. Even more alarming was her reaction to him. Her treacherous body responded with a crush of hot and cold pulsating waves. Then he whispered a taunt in her ear, and his liquid baritone slid down her backbone like honey; it swirled inside her, finding its home in her most intimate area.

He leaned closer still. His face’s uneven skin brushed against her neck, the black waves of his hair tickled her chin... His thick arousal expanded against her, reminding her of what he was capable of—and of her sheer vulnerability.

His lips teased the base of her throat. Cursing her traitorous body, Isabelle gasped at the gentle scraping of his teeth. His tongue and lips tormented her throbbing pulse—just barely, stirring her skin in a mere ghost of a touch.


About the Author:
 
Rachel L. Demeter lives in the beautiful hills of Anaheim, California with Teddy, her goofy lowland sheepdog, and her high school sweetheart of fourteen years. She enjoys writing poignant romances that challenge the reader’s emotions and explore the redeeming power of love. 

Imagining dynamic worlds and characters has been Rachel’s passion for longer than she can remember. Before learning how to read or write, she would dictate stories while her mother would record them for her. She holds a special affinity for the tortured hero and unconventional romances. Whether crafting the protagonist or antagonist, she ensures every character is given a soul. 

Rachel endeavors to defy conventions by blending elements of romance, suspense, and horror. Some themes her stories never stray too far from: forbidden romance, soul mates, the power of love to redeem, mend all wounds, and triumph over darkness. 

Her dream is to move readers and leave an emotional impact through her words. 

Don’t be a stranger! Rachel loves to connect and interact with her readers:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Profile | Instagram


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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Edge of Disaster (Edge #1) by A.M. Hargrove

Available on

Synopsis:

Adult Contemporary Romance--Not appropriate for younger readers.

Alexia Hammond, broken and destroyed by a tragedy she can’t seem to recover from, is on a downward spiral toward destruction. A life of partying, alcohol, drugs and men has brought her near the edge of disaster. That is until one night while at work as a waitress in an upscale restaurant, she falls under the spell of one of her customers, Pearce Middleton. Once she gazes into his smoky gray eyes, her life takes on new meaning. But can she put her past behind her and allow herself to fall for the exciting and gorgeous Pearce, or will her lewd behavior come back to haunt her and ruin her chances of happiness forever?

Review:

Edge of Disaster was just a disaster for me. I struggled reading it as it was just not good. I skimmed the last half just to get figure out what would happen with one small thing that ended up being not much. Note spoilers ahead! Do not read if you don't want to know what happens in this story!!

When I started reading this story it was just okay, and I was hoping it would get better as it went along. Alexia is hurting, blaming herself for something that happened in the past and sleeping with lots of random guys, using lots of drugs and alcohol. The story opens when she wakes up after a night sleeping with 2 guys! Two guys! She slept with two, TWO guys!! At the same time! Two guys! At once! This gets brought up all the freaking time. How she is so dirty and horrible because she slept with two guys at once (though she is the one who thinks this, not everyone else). It was annoying as if all parties are consenting why not? What's the big deal? But obviously to Alexia it was a very big deal. She slut shames herself all the time. All the time. Everyone else doesn't seem to think she is a horrible person for what she is doing, or has done, but she thinks she is the worst. And yet she doesn't/can't stop. Until she gets kidnapped then all of a sudden she just stops cold turkey. Um...okay. So you were abusing drugs and alcohol for three years and you just stop suddenly and nothing happens? I didn't think that is how that worked. No withdrawals?

Alexia also meets Pearce one night at the restaurant she works out. He is so hot and she is drawn to him, but someone like him, a doctor from a well known family in the area, would every be with someone like her. Only he must have her for some reason. She keeps pushing him away for his own good, and he keeps trying to break down her walls. Then she is kidnapped and he is really upset because she was stabbed and beat up pretty bad, and then afterwards she is really afraid of being out after dark. She has to be back in her house by the time the sun goes down. Only Pearce asks her out to dinner when she is in a good mood and says yes and she goes out with him presumably after dark with no issues. She did bring it up toward the end of the night like I don't want to talk about my problems. This is the first time I have been out after dark since my attack don't ruin it. Oh okay, so Pearce is the magical guy that makes everything better? Apparently. It was just odd that it wasn't even mentioned that she was doing this and overcoming her fears until it was just a side comment at the end of the night. 

Things move very quickly then. Alexia decides she has to tell Pearce her past and then suddenly they are in love, he wants to marry her or at the very least have her move in with him and yeah. No clue why or how this happened as I didn't see it. That is probably in part due to the fact that this story is all tell not show. It told me they were in love, it didn't show me that. It was not good.

The conversations were also painful to read (and most of the story is conversations). They were so cheesy/awful/didn't read as true. At the beginning Alexia also used a lot of odd slang or something. Like sometimes I didn't understand what she was saying as I didn't know what it was. Maybe it was common in the area the book is set, but it kept drawing me out of the story as it was so...odd to me. 

The other issue? Alexis is dumb as a box of nails. I swear that girl. I kept thinking how old is she? Like she comes off very young even though she is twenty eight. I just didn't understand it. Like Pearce is a doctor, a surgeon, and she sees a photo of someone he helped who had been in a car accident and then is just all omg! This is what you do?!? You save people! I am so in awe of you! I had no idea! "I thought you just sewed people up or something." Okay...so like what kind of things did you think he sewed up? Paper cuts? I don't understand how you don't know what a surgeon does. There were many more times when it was just like come on. How are you this naive/dumb/whatever? I had a hard time with it. 

There was just a lot of the story, the writing, that didn't make sense to me. So many scenes that left me scratching my head like why is this a big deal? Like when Alexia's bff first meets Pearce and Alexia asks if she approves. Her reply? Of course! He is so hot! And apparently that is insulting or something. Also, Alexia is supposedly all messed up, but because this is a tell not show I never felt she really was. And she seemed suddenly all better once she was in love with Pearce, but then her sleeping with two guys would come up again and again at random times. It was really not good. And just so you know, if anyone else is like me, I kept reading to see what would happen with the kidnappers/person who left her a note and not much. He leaves her another note then a DVD of *her* having sex with the two guys so then the cops track the two guys down and apparently they were really bad guys and gave themselves up or something the end. Lame. No even big showdown or anything. 

So there was a lot of this story that I didn't like. Almost everything to be honest. The characters, the writing, the slight religious undertones (God forgives you, God wouldn't want that, Maybe this is God's way of punishing me - no God is not like that, etc. I think that is why the sleeping with two people is such a big deal. At one point Pearce's brother is going down the same road Alexia went down, blaming himself for an accident, and she finds him in bed with two girls!!! TWO! At the same time! It is just as big a deal with a guy and two girls as it was for a girl and two guys...which I still don't get. But if the religious undertones are taken into account maybe that is why? I mean Alexia was only supposed to sleep with one guy her whole life but that didn't work out so...maybe? at least it would kind of make sense then, but it wasn't really obvious so...I don't know). There was one thing that I did actually like. One scene that I said good job, way to put that in there. Thank you. And that scene was one with Pearce and Alexia. She is down on herself for sleeping with so many guys, she is filthy and not a good person, etc and Pearce says you know I slept with a lot of girls before I met you. Her response was something like duh! Of course you did. I mean look at you. You are crazy hot and a doctor! You probably got all the ladies. She was just like it was not a big deal for him to sleep with lots of girls, he is not dirty because of it and whatnot so Pearce replies pointing out that discrepancy. Like why are you dirty for sleeping with a lot of guys, but it is fine that I slept with a lot of girls? That I liked. Because it should be true. If one gender can do something and not be looked down upon for doing it the other shouldn't either. So props to the author for that. There were a few other times where Pearce would call Alexia out on something, like judging his parents before she met them, that was alright. The author pointed out good things at times, I just wish the rest of the story would have been good to back it up. 

Overall this was not the book for me. It was all tell not show, I didn't like the main character, there were a lot of scenes that didn't make sense, and it was not good. Not the book for me. Oh, one last thing. Pearce wasn't that good either. He kept saying he would wait until Alexia is ready to get married, yet he brings it up every two seconds and makes her feel bad about it. He definitely pressured her and it was not cool. That is not waiting, that is not being a good boyfriend, that is being a jerk. Not cool. So yeah, I really didn't enjoy this story.

Rating:

Friday, March 17, 2017

At Any Price (Gaming the System #1) by Brenna Aubrey

Available on

Synopsis:

Achievement Unlocked: Geek Virgin

When Mia Strong, proud geek-girl and popular gaming blogger, auctions off her virginity online, she knows she'll make waves. But what she will not be making is a love connection. Her rules are set in stone: One night. No further contact.

It's a desperate step, but it's the only way she can go to medical school and pay her mother's mounting hospital bills.

Difficulty Level: Millionaire CEO

Adam Drake, the enigmatic auction winner, is a software prodigy who made his first million at seventeen. Now, in his mid-twenties, he's sexy, driven and--as CEO of his own gaming company--he's used to making the rules. Before Mia knows what's happening, he's found the loophole in the rules of her auction. Every stipulation she's made to protect her heart gets tossed by the wayside.

She can't tell if he's playing her...or if he's playing for keeps.

This New Adult book is intended for readers over the age of 18 due to adult language, sexual content and adult situations.

Review:

At Any Price was an okay read. I enjoyed it even though there were things that really bugged me about it. Overall a good read, not a great read.

Mia is a geek girl. She plays video games and has a popular gamer blog. When she needs some money she posts her Virgin Manifesto and decides to sell her virginity to the highest bidder to take back control or something. Her bff is against the idea, but helping her out with it. She is determined to do this, to sleep with someone for one night then never see them again. She just wants to get it over with and then she will have money for medical school and everything else she needs.

Adam is a millionaire who owns the company who makes Mia's favorite game. He is also the winner of her virginity auction and when they first meet there is a spark between them. Only he acts like a jerk and she is not sure she can go through with it. She is afraid as she has never responded like that to someone before. She had a jerk boyfriend in high school, one who sexually assaulted her, and she has not gotten over that. She went to therapy, but it is still there. She doesn't date, doesn't want to get close to someone, just wants to be left alone to her own devices. Now here is a bit of the the things that bug me. She was very much all guys are terrible and will hurt her, even though her bff is a guy. He is a guys guy so...I guess he doesn't count as a guy? I don't know. She has a lot of issues with men outside of her sexual assault. She was just all kinds of messed up and a coward most of the time. I don't like that. I like strong women. I like people who work to get over their issues and become stronger. I didn't really see Mia doing this. I saw her trying to hide for most of the book. I know it is difficult to deal with things and everyone does so differently, but this was just eh for me.

Adam was alright. I didn't mind him too much, and I usually don't like rich guys in my stories. He just came across as a normal dude who happened to be rich. He kept putting off sleeping with Mia to get to know her more as he obviously likes her. Really it was obvious from the start who he was even if Mia never once considered it. Really the whole story was very predictable. I saw everything coming a mile away so it was just okay. I don't know why Mia didn't see some of it, especially the one thing that happens at the end. It is just like why did you not even consider this? I don't get it. You are smarter than this. At least I thought you were.

So it was an alright read. Adam tries to slowly get to know Mia and get her to let him in. Only she is afraid to really be with him even if not being with him hurts her. I...she was frustrating to read. There was also a lot of generalizations which I generally don't like. Like you can't be a geek - you have muscles! Geeks don't have muscles! Stuff like that. Like as a girl you can't talk to geeks as they will just stare at your chest and whatnot. I just...I don't like things like that. Especially since I have plenty of geek gamer friends and they are not at all like the stereotype portrayed here. It bugs me. When you use a lot of all x's are y I don't like it. And that was this book. All guys are terrible, all geeks are scrawny dudes who will stare at your boobs, all x's are y. No.

Also a quick note - the girl says she is from Anza, CA whose only claim to fame is the PCT practically runs right through the town. I hiked the PCT with my husband and I read that and thought where in the world is Anza? I didn't remember it at all. So even though the trail does go by there (I looked it up and thought oh! It is by that one place. Okay), it is not someplace anyone ever talked about. At least when we were hiking. Strange. Then at the end Adam is trying to win Mia over and said he is going to do a "segment" of the PCT. How you could do the whole trail as a thru hiker, or parts as a "segment-hiker." He even had a book called the Segment Hikers Guide to the Pacific Crest Trail (which doesn't exist to the best of my knowledge). The author included a lot of nods to geek things, like Doctor Who and such which are real things, seemed accurate when she described them, but the PCT stuff? Not really. It is a little thing, but you wouldn't be a "segment-hiker." You would be a section hiker. You would hike a section. That is the vernacular in the hiking community. So at the end when she kept calling it a segment instead of section I kept cringing. You can have a section-hikers guide, be a section hiker, hike a section, not a segment. Sure you can use segment, but it is not what it is called in the hiking community. Plus why not include the name of an actual guidebook? If you are including so many other things, all of which are real, why make up stuff just for the PCT information? It bugged me. I am sure most people don't care or wouldn't know otherwise, but as I said I have hiked the trail. Just a bit more research and you could get it right. I have just never heard anyone refer to a section hike as a segment hike. It was something small, not a big deal in the story, but bugged me whenever it came up.

Overall this was an okay story. I didn't like all the generalizations, the wrong hiking terms being used, and Mia was just okay for me. I am on the fence whether I will read more or not. I may skip ahead and read about one of the other characters instead. We shall see. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love this story either.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Love Walks In (Shaughnessy Brothers #2) by Samantha Chase

love walks in
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:


Book #2 in New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Samantha Chase’s dazzling new series.

The Shaughnessy Brothers are back

He lives by a schedule. Aubrey Burke is on the run from an about-to-be-disastrous mistake when resort owner Hugh Shaughnessy catches her climbing through his office window. Until Aubrey tumbled into his life, Hugh had relied on work and discipline to safeguard a heart damaged by family tragedy. Now his careful world will never be the same.

She lives for the moment. Hugh’s approach to life and love is the opposite of Aubrey’s, but she soon finds herself falling hard for the handsome hotel mogul. There’s a darker reason behind her “live for today” attitude than Hugh could possibly know, but for the first time Aubrey dares to hope this man’s love might make it worth taking a chance on the future.

Review:

Love Walks In was a cute read. Hugh and Aubrey were so sweet together and I loved watching them fall in love. I really enjoy these Shaughnessy Brothers books. 

Hugh is not a spontaneous person. He used to get into a bit of trouble as a kid until everything changed. Now he is trying to have every moment of his life planned out so that there are no surprises. If he has control over everything then nothing bad can happen right? Only life doesn't work that way. He has always lived for his schedules and never liked to be spontaneous, but when he sees Aubrey sneaking into his office window he didn't expect her to change everything. 

Aubrey has done what others told her her whole life. She has always tried to live up to what her mom and dad want trying to win their approval. But she has finally had enough and she can't go through with the latest craziness. She just can't. It is time for her to start standing up for herself and stepping outside the box. She is finally ready to try new things and live for the moment! Only she meets Hugh who is not so big on that. Hugh who she can't seem to stay away from even though he is her boss. Hugh who makes her feel like she is home. 

I loved watching Huge really step outside himself and open up a little bit. It is baby steps, but oh that guy. He keeps so much bottled up, but luckily he has so many great people in his life who really care about him. I loved getting to see the rest of his family again and watching him figure out what he wants. Sure there are bumpy roads to travel, some hard times near the end, but it all works out in the end. This book was fun and sweet and everything expect from a book by this author. Another great read. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Monday, March 13, 2017

Endurance (Afraid #3) by Jack Kilborn

Available on

Synopsis:

WELCOME TO THE RUSHMORE INN

The bed and breakfast was hidden in the hills of West Virginia. Wary guests wondered how it could stay in business at such a creepy, remote location. Especially with its bizarre, presidential decor and eccentric proprietor.

ONCE YOU CHECK IN...

When the event hotel for the national Iron Woman triathlon accidentally overbooked, competitor Maria was forced to stay at the Rushmore. But after checking into her room, she quickly realized she wasn't alone. First her suitcase wasn't where she put it. Then her cell phone was moved. Finally, she heard an odd creaking under the bed. Confusion quickly turned to fear, and fear to hysteria when she discovered the front door was barred and the windows were bricked over. There was no way out.

...YOU'LL BE DYING TO LEAVE

One year later, four new female athletes have become guests of the Inn. Will they escape the horrors within its walls? Or will they join the many others who have died there, in ways too terrible to imagine?

Synopsis:

I am so glad I found Jack Kilborn/J.A. Koranth. His books are really fantastic. Super nightmare inducing. I love it. I love all of them I have read so far. My first was Trapped, my favorite, but they have all been great. The imagination this guy has for the horribly terrifyingly painfully disturbing images is top notch. Oh, if you don't like horror, if you don't like pain and suffering and torture, you should not read these books. They are wonderfully intense and I can't get enough of them. 

Endurance is about a little, creepy bed and breakfast in the middle of nowhere. Every year a bunch of female athletes come to compete in a triathlon, but not everyone makes it to the event. Seems the hotel they booked rooms for is magically booked up and the only place to stay is at the Rushmore Inn. 

The books starts off with one lady and a bit of what happens to her when she is forced to spend the night there. Then we cut to a year later when a new batch of athletes comes to town. You have a great group of people who have to deal with a whole host of terrifying situations. I mean really, I don't know how some of them made it, or made it as long as they did. One thing is for certain, you will check in but you might not check out. 

The proprietor of the Rushmore Inn is...she is something. Her and her family have royal blood and she is obsessed with the Presidents. The images the author creates? They are fantastically horrifying. I love this stuff. It is all about the pain and suffering and just worse than the worst case scenario you could come up with. I tell you what, this story is fantastic. I loved every minute of it. I loved how we got all the different point of views, the runners, the reporter guy, the family, glimpses of what happened to the girl from the beginning, all of it. This book is so great, but you really have to want this kind of read. If you are squeamish it might not be for you. Or it might give you nightmares. For real. It was so much fun!!!

Rating:  ★ ★ ★1/2

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Level Up (Fandom Hearts #1) by Cathy Yardley

level up
Available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:

Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can't do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?

Review:

Level Up started as a meh read for me, but slowly it turned into a really cute story. By the end I really loved Adam and Tessa and wanted them to figure everything out and live happily ever after. 

Tessa loves working at her video game company, but she wants to be promoted to video game engineer. When she finds out a position will be opening up on the team she knows she will do anything to get that spot. Only she has always kept to herself and has never made friends with anyone. She is a loner and she knows how hard it is to be a woman in the tech field. But she wants this job so much!

Adam is Tessa's roommate and coworker, but he has always seen her as one of the guys. She is a great roommate, she keeps to herself, he never really interacts with her all that much even though they live together. He has the guys over to play video games and she doesn't care. It works. Only when Tessa is told that if she wants the job on the other team maybe she should make an effort to get to know her coworkers and become friends with them and everything changes. Adam has decided he should start dating again and move on from his ex, and Tessa makes some new friends and is a bit more outgoing. 

Tessa's new friends own a bookshop in town, a small place that you might not even know what there as it is in the downstairs of their house. They are not doing to well and could definitely use the publicity that winning an award to have some famous people make an appearance would bring. When Tessa finds out they need help she decides to do whatever she can to make it happen. She comes up with a great video game idea, only they have to have it made and submitted in 2 weeks! So she will need a lot of help. It was cute watching Adam and Tessa slowly start to fall for each other when they are both working hard on completing the game. Now this is where I was a bit iffy on the story - why do they have to have a super amazing clean perfect video game for the contest? I mean you and a few people could put together a simple game in a day or so (I know my husband and his friends have) so why not just do something like that? I didn't quite understand why it had to be a super amazing thing. It seemed like a simple one would have worked as well, but then she wouldn't get to work with the other members of the team she wants to be a part of and show what she is made of. She has a lot of skill, but she never shows it off. She has been standing in her own way and finally she is trying not to. 

Overall it was a really cute read. I am glad things worked out the way they did. Adam and Tessa were so sweet together and I enjoyed reading their story. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blog Tour: The Cad and the Co-Ed (Rugby #3) by L.H. Cosway & Penny Reid


Now available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:

THE CAD

Bryan Leech is a cad.

Or, he *was* a cad.

No one is quite certain.

Once the quintessential playboy, Bryan claims he’s done with wild parties and weekend benders. No more one night stands leading to mornings he can’t remember; no more binges and blackouts; no more exploits plastered all over the tabloids and rag sheets. According to Bryan, he’s cleaning up his act.

The only problem is, no one believes him.

THE CO-ED

Eilish Cassidy never thought she’d be a mother at nineteen or still in college at twenty-four. Cut off from every member of her family except her favorite cousin, she’s finally managed to put her life back together. Stronger and wiser, Eilish enters her last semester of university determined to stand on her own. Now she just needs to find an internship.

The only problem is, her best option—by far—places her directly in the path of her son’s father, and he doesn’t remember her at all.

THE PLAN

Bryan is determined to prove he’s changed. Eager to settle down with the right woman, he’s got his sights set on the gorgeous redhead who seems terribly familiar.

Eilish is determined to hide her secret. She’ll do anything to keep her child safe, even if that means ignoring her own wishes and desires.

But what happens when Bryan starts to remember? And what will it take for Bryan to convince the girl he forgot that she’s unforgettable?


Review:

It's not a secret that I am a huge fan of Penny Reid and L.H. Cosway. They write some amazing books alone and as a dynamic duo. It is also not a secret that I am not a fan of secret baby stories (unless you have a really good reason for not telling the guy he will be a dad - i.e. he is an abusive jerk or something). So when I saw The Cad and the Co-Ed would be a secret baby story, but written by these two authors, I knew it would probably be better than I expected. And it was. Oh my was it. I loved Bryan and Eilish so hard! They are so freaking amazing together! 

When Eilish was younger she kind of had a crush on Bryan. Her cousin Sean plays Rugby with him (if you read the prior book you know and probably love Sean as much as I do!!) So when Eilish goes to a party one night and Bryan seems interested in her it is like a dream come true. He is so kind and sweet and caring and it is a wonderful night. She loved it. This is it. This is the start of something beautiful...until the morning when he doesn't even remember her. When she realizes he was drunk all night unbeknownst to her. When her dreams shatter just like that. 

Now, five years later, Eilish is raising her son by herself (with the help of Sean) and starting to work for his rugby team. She is not super excited to see Bryan again, but it is by far her best option to provide a good life for her son. Plus everyone keeps telling her Bryan as changed. But has he really?

My heart broke so much for Bryan. I loved him so so so much I can't even tell you. I...he was an alcoholic back when he first met Eilish. He doesn't deny this and he has worked very hard to try and change. To not be that guy he used to be. He wants to settle down. For the wife and kids and white picket fence. He is not the same guy he used to be. He would much rather hang at home then go to a raging party. And when he is forced to go to a party one night and sees this beautiful red head he can't help but want to get to know her. There is something familiar about her, but she seems to hate him for some reason. He doesn't know why, but since they will be working together soon he figures he can show her how he has changed (in case she hates him for all the stories people would tell about his old ways). He is still trying to stay sober and is not really sure he is ready for a relationship anyways. He is still a bit fragile, still not sure of himself, so slow and steady wins the race. 

Of course he has no idea he is a dad and oh these two. I understand why Eilish doesn't want to get close to him again. Why she doesn't want to set herself up to get hurt again, to have him forget about her again, but man. I...I loved them both. I especially loved how amazing Bryan was with everything. He makes mistakes, yes, but they both do. It was awesome. I loved watching the two of them figure everything out and see if they could make this work for real. Plus you got to see lots more of Sean and I heart him so so much so win win win. Another great read from these two amazing authors.


*Note: I received a free copy of this book for voluntary review consideration

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★



About Penny Reid:



Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.


About L.H. Cosway:


L.H. Cosway has a BA in English Literature and Greek and Roman Civilisation, and an MA in Postcolonial Literature. She lives in Dublin city. Her inspiration to write comes from music. Her favorite things in life include writing stories, vintage clothing, dark cabaret music, food, musical comedy, and of course, books. She thinks that imperfect people are the most interesting kind. They tell the best stories.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Searching for Someday (Searching For #1) by Jennifer Probst

Available on

Synopsis:

Kate has given up on love—at least for herself. She is both blessed and cursed with the ability to sense a romantic connection between two people—a gift that her family passed down for generations. When Kate launches her own matchmaking company, Kinnection, with her two best friends in a cozy New York town, she has to put aside her own romantic disasters to make her business a success.

But when a furious man stalks into her office and accuses her business of being a scam, Kate is given the ultimate challenge to prove herself. Slade puts himself in her hands and asks Kate to find him love. Enraged at his arrogance but stubbornly eager to prove herself, Kate agrees, dedicating herself to the journey of finding him love... only to find herself falling for him along the way.

Review:

Searching for Someday was a really cute read. It was the first from this author I have read, but won't be the last. It was just a really cute, fun, entertaining story.

Kate has a super power. She can tell when two people have a romantic connection. With just a touch she will know if things will work out with them or not. So she and her two friends start a matchmaking company and she can almost guarantee good results.

Slade's sister has not had the easiest time with love. He is definitely the overbearing big brother because of some things that she has done in the past. He just wants to make sure she is safe and okay. He doesn't want her to get to that dark place again, and even though she is much better and wants to go out on her own, he doesn't want her to. He was really cute. I understand why he worried so, but at some point you have to let people go and find their own way. When he finds out his sister is moving to a small town and signed up with this matchmaking service he is not happy. He goes up there to give them a piece of his mind. I mean of course they are just trying to scam money from his sister. He knows it, so he wants them to leave her alone.

When he storms in it is Kate that he is dealing with. Kate who knows what she does is good and right and makes her happy. She of course offers to help him find love so that he can see they are not there to scam anyone. He has to be open to it though or it won't work. Of course Slade is the one for Kate, but she doesn't want to believe it. She keeps setting him up on dates with other ladies and oh these two. I loved them together! And when Kate loses her magic touch, when she can't tell if people are right for each other or not, things start to get interesting.

I really loved this story. Kate and Slade were so cute together. Even if they tried to fight it sometimes you can't fight fate. It was a really fun read that kept me smiling from beginning to end.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Friday, March 3, 2017

Blog Tour: Cheater (Curious Liaisons #1) by Rachel Van Dyken


Now available on
Amazon.com * Amazon.de * Goodreads

Synopsis:

Lucas Thorn wasn’t born a cheater. All it took was a single moment—say, a certain disastrous incident on the night before his wedding—and boom. Reputation destroyed forever and always. So now he owns it. He has a lady friend for every night of the week (except Sundays—God’s day and all), and his rules are simple: No commitments. No exceptions.

But a certain smart-mouthed, strawberry blonde vixen is about to blow that all to hell.

Avery Black has never forgiven Lucas for cheating on her sister. And suddenly being forced to work with him is pretty much a nightmare on steroids. Of course, it does afford her the opportunity to make his life as difficult as possible. But no good revenge scheme comes without payback. Because he didn’t become the Lucas Thorn without learning a few things about women.

Now Avery’s lust for vengeance has turned into, well, lust. And if Lucas stops cheating, it’s definitely not because he’s falling in love…


Review:

Cheater was a fun read. Lucas and Avery were so cute together! I loved how they had a past, a rocky past, and how they both tried to stay away now that they were thrown together again. It was fun!

Avery hates Lucas Thorn. Or she does now. She used to be good friends with him, looked up to him, had a crush on him, but that was all before he proposed to her sister then cheated on her the night before the wedding. It ruined their families and they are still not over it. When Avery shows up for her first day of her new job she is not expecting to be working for the same devil himself, Lucas Thorn. She wasn't expecting so much. Like how she is still attracted to him, not like she would ever do anything about that. Besides he has changed. And she hates him, right?

Lucas Thorn messed up. He knows it, he knew it that fateful night, but he couldn't help himself. He tried to make it right afterward, but no one would listen to him or want to have anything to do with him so now he embarrasses the bachelor life. He doesn't need or want a monogamous relationship. He can't trust himself to not mess it up like he did last time. What if he would just cheat again? He doesn't want to hurt anyone so he just keeps a woman for every day of the week (except Sunday). They all know the score, they know they get one day a week until they don't want to anymore then no hard feelings. They are fine with it as Lucas Thorn is pretty amazing. Sure sometimes they want more, but it is never in the cards.

When Lucas sees Avery again all those issues from so long ago come rushing back. He is still drawn to her, but he can't do anything about it. Their parents used to be good friends, but now they barely even wave hello to each other. He can't mess it up again. Only...he can't seem to stay away. And now he doesn't seem to want his usual ladies...but what are they to do? She hates him and is not afraid to tell him how she feels whenever he is around. These two were fun. I loved how much grief Avery would give him and how the way to her heart was great food. I loved how he would show up with Pad Thai and she couldn't help herself - she wanted to eat it even if it meant spending more time with the devil. These two were fun. Their back and forth was awesome. And watching them come together again was so entertaining. I loved them together.

Now overall I really enjoyed this story. One thing did bug me though - besides that first time years ago Lucas never cheated. Current day Lucas was not a cheater. He never stepped outside the agreed upon parameters of his relationships with the women he slept with. So he didn't cheat. And everyone besides him and his ladies kept harping on it which did get a tad frustrating. His best friend, Avery, everyone would mention again and again how he cheats all the time....but he doesn't. There was even a scene where two of his ladies came over to say hi to him while he was out with Avery and he kisses both of them and Avery thinks how can girl one stand to have him cheating on her right in front of her? I just thought because he is not cheating? If everyone is okay with the situation he is not cheating. He is just dating/sleeping with a lot of women on a set schedule. So it got brought up often enough that it was a bit annoying but didn't take away from the story overall. Overall it was a lot of fun.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for voluntary review consideration

Rating: ★ ★ ★1/2


Excerpt 

The office building loomed ahead of me. I squinted up at it, covering my face with part of my hand as the sun cast its glare against the glass.

“What are we looking at?” Lucas whispered in my ear.

I let out a little yelp and jumped away from him, and I would have run into a passing biker if Lucas hadn’t pulled me out of the way with his coffee-free hand.

“Must you be such a pain in the ass?”

“Must you try to kill me?” I fired back.

He rolled his eyes. “Let’s go.” He started walking, hauling me with him.

We weren’t walking in the direction of the office.

“Um, Thorn—”

“I will seriously shove this Starbucks up that skinny ass if you don’t stop talking and just listen for once in your life.”

I shut up and followed, but only because he’d said “Starbucks” and was very purposefully moving in the nearest outpost’s general direction. If I looked pathetic enough, would he buy me coffee?

That was what my life was coming to.

Pity coffee.

My shoulders slumped at the thought when we walked into the building. The smell of fresh baked goods hit me with full force, and my stomach growled loudly, saying to everyone, I’m a hungry bear and may eat my young. Out of the way, please!

I followed Lucas to the line, still tempted to speak, but I figured if he wanted noise from me, he’d say something like, “You may grace me with your voice now, Avery.”

Even though I wasn’t talking, every time I heard someone order pumpkin bread I sighed, loudly, so loudly that the barista eyed me cautiously. Chill, Starbucks, I’m not going to steal a piece of pumpkin bread.

My mouth watered.

I mean, I wasn’t that desperate.

But if I took two, maybe three, steps toward her, yelled “Fire!” and then screamed nonsense about a bee attacking me, the pumpkin bread she had in hand would probably fall to the ground, and it would be wasteful if I didn’t rescue it from the ants.

All creatures deserve food—but pumpkin bread was too good for ants, too rich, and they’d explode all over the floor from the richness and it would be my fault—for saving the barista’s life, right? From the bee?

I think I just confused myself.

“Why are you breathing so heavy?” Lucas asked from my right.

I snapped out of my pumpkin-bread daydream and shrugged. “Sorry, low on sleep.”

He gave a noncommittal nod and then it was his turn, greedy little bastard already had one coffee now he was getting two! “A venti macchiato and a large coffee with room for cream, two slices—”

I elbowed him hard in the ribs.

“Sorry, um, three slices of pumpkin bread, thanks.”

He handed the barista his card, while my greedy eyes locked on the pumpkin bread as the barista placed it into a bag and gave it to him.

With an exasperated sigh, he shoved the bag into my hands. “Just leave me one bite.”

“No promises.” I was already digging into the bag, my mouth watering as I followed him around the counter with a little pep in my step.

Lucas grabbed our drinks and motioned toward one of the tables. I sat, stuffed more pumpkin goodness into my mouth, and managed to chug some coffee almost all at once.

Lucas shook his head. “I always forget how seriously you take your pumpkin bread.”

I moaned and took another huge bite. “My theory is this.”

He leaned forward, a smile curving around his gorgeous mouth. “Alright, out with it.”

More pumpkin bread found its way into my mouth as I talked—I didn’t even care if I looked like a starved animal. “Pumpkin bread has the same addictive properties as cocaine.”

“That’s your theory? That it’s a drug?”

“Right.” I sighed and leaned back. “Except it doesn’t make you skinny, unfortunately.”

His smile widened, and he grabbed a small hunk of bread. “Want to know my theory?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking—I hope Lucas tells me his theory so I can eat his portion of bread.”

Lucas scooted the bag toward me and whispered, “Merry Christmas.”

“Oh, pumpkin gods.” I moaned again.

His eyes darted to my mouth.

“What?” I wiped my lips. “Is something on my face?”

“No.” He looked away. “So my theory is this . . . pumpkin flavoring is a conspiracy by the government to see how many ways we can market a flavor and make money off it.”

“Boo.” I gave him a thumbs-down. “Thanks, grinch. Oh, and stop ruining holidays.”

He smirked. “You’ve known forever that Santa isn’t real. Still doesn’t stop you from leaving him cookies every Christmas Eve, then sneaking downstairs and eating them all by yourself.”

“One”—I held up a finger—“it’s genius because nobody will touch them for fear that I’ll get mad. Two”—I held up a second finger—“when everyone else is sad about the Christmas cookies being gone, I know I’ll have them all to myself. It’s like . . .” I sighed, “. . . a Christmas present. To myself.”

“Except for that one time.” He smirked.

“Cruel man.” I glared at him. “How dare you eat my cookies?”

He shrugged. “They were sweet.”

Was it hot? In this little Starbucks? By the window where the sun was searing me alive like I was under a magnifying glass?

I tugged at my sleeveless blouse.

“About Saturday . . .”

Uncomfortable conversation, here we come! I strapped in and waited for the inevitable. And then realized, to my dismay, that he’d just bought me coffee and food without letting me go to the office.

My eyes filling with tears, I shook my head a few times. “Lucas, I may give you crap, but I really need this job.”

He frowned, like he was confused.

“Don’t say another word.” I held out my hands. “I’ll do anything, Lucas—and I mean anything—to keep this job. I wasn’t kidding when I said my parents were chomping at the bit to get me to move home, and I don’t want to. It’s not just about me being defiant; they want me to take over the family business.”

Lucas burst out laughing and then sobered. “Oh, you’re serious.”

“I can’t sell chicken, Thorn.”

“I mean, to be fair, Avery, your parents own a very lucrative organic meats company. I’m sure they could offer you at least five figures.” His smile was way too smug, but I still had to be nice to him rather than throw him off a cliff, because he could fire me.


About the Author:


Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!


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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Heartless Design (Secrets of the Zodiac #1) by Elizabeth Cole

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Synopsis:

An enigmatic woman, a determined spy, and a love that could shake the foundations of Europe...

"Heartless" Cordelia Bering refuses every marriage offer she receives. Yet men still try to win her, drawn by her sharp wit and intoxicating green eyes. But Cordelia knows a marriage could reveal her deepest secret and truly endanger her life. Besides, she hasn't met a man worth considering, until...

Sebastien Thorne, a spy in the service of Crown. One of the elite agents in the group known as the Zodiac, he comes to London determined to solve a mystery with roots on the Continent. He won't let anything distract him. But is Cordelia a distraction, or the key to the mystery? As he learns more about the "heartless" woman, he becomes embroiled in secrets, plots, and a design that could change the future...and Cordelia is at the center of it all.

Review:

A Heartless Design was a fun read. I love old timey romances and this one was a great one. Cordelia and Sebastian were wonderful together. All the hijinks, all the danger and intrigue, everything was so much fun.

Cordelia is not the usual lady. She doesn't want to marry, she doesn't hire the usual help, she doesn't provide for herself in the usual ways. She always helped her father with his designs, but since his passing she has had to find ways to provide for them herself. She is quite good at what she does, even if she has to hide it from everyone. No one can know her secrets so she has never gotten close to anyone.

Sebastian is a spy on a mission. He has to find out who Cordelia is and if she has what he is looking for. When someone breaks into her place and steals part of her most valuable secrets, Sebastian is there trying to figure it all out. Is she in on selling these top secret designs to the enemy? Or is she innocent in all of this?

As for Cordelia she doesn't know whether she can trust Sebastian or not. I mean it is quite curious that he starts showing up just when her designs are stolen. Showing up and asking questions. These two were so much fun! I loved watching them try and figure everything out. Sebastian has his own secrets, namely that he is a spy, and he doesn't trust easily. These two and their secret rendezvous and running around trying to unravel this mystery of who took the plans and why was so much fun to read. I loved it. I loved these two and I loved watching them try and figure everything out. They were great. Definitely give this one a try.

Rating: ★★★★