Friday, November 17, 2017

Blog Tour: The Outliers (The Outskirts Duet #2) by T.M. Frazier


Now available on

Synopsis:

Sensual. Heartbreaking. Passionate. Overwhelming. Maddening.

That’s the love Finn and I share.

It's the kind you can never recover from.

The kind you never WANT to recover from.

That's why we'll do everything and anything to protect it.

When my past chases me all the way to Outskirts, we have to make a choice.

Let the lies destroy our chance at future together or...bury them deep in the swamp where they belong.

Got a shovel?

Review:

Note: This is the second part of the story that started in The Outskirts. If you haven't read book one yet you should or you may be a bit lost. Slight spoilers for book one ahead

The Outliers was another sweet read. Oh, Sawyer and Finn are perfect for each other! If you have read the first book you know some things will go down in this one, some things Sawyer never saw coming, and I was so glad that she has someone like Finn to be there for her and help support her. To give her that love and compassion in the hard times. They are great together.

At the end of the last book some ghosts came back into Sawyers life. People she never thought she would see again. I was really curious how this all would play out. How these people came to be back where Sawyer is and how it all worked. I was still expecting more of an intense, terrible situations plotline like the author's other books, but again this was a nice, sweet story. Not that there are not the bad part, bad people, bad things that happen, but it is not the same level. And I loved it.

Sawyer has a lot to work through. A lot of things she is thinking about. Now that she can do whatever she wants, now that she can learn and experience and explore she is a bit overwhelmed. But Finn is there for her every step of the way. He is there to talk things through and see where she may want to go from here. He was amazing. I loved Finn. Considering his past I did think he may get a bit too overprotective when some bad people come to town and Sawyer may be in trouble, but while he did do what he could to keep her safe he also let her be her. 

Sawyer is one of the strongest people. When she runs into a girl from her old church, a girl who lived as she did before she escaped, she does what she can to help her. Not that she necessarily wants the help, but she doesn't shy away from doing what is right even if it is a bit scary. She is amazing. I was so happy to see her get her happily ever after. To watch her work her way through everything obstacle life put in her way and see her come out the other side better for it. This book was a great read, but then again I always love this authors books. 

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

 
Excerpt:

My eyes went to her throat. I saw her pulse quicken beneath her smooth skin. She
twisted her pouty pink lips. Her hesitation only lasted a second before she wrapped her arms around my neck and pulled me down closer so that the tips of our noses touched.

Her lips feathered against mine. "Fuck me, Finn."

"Yes," I growled.

I may have been the one who told her to say those words but hearing them out of
her mouth caused the raging inferno of lust within me to explode beyond control. I had a feeling I'd be hearing those words on repeat in my head for the rest of my life.

Fuck me, Finn.

I lifted her up onto the nearest table and pushed her onto her back. I tore her
panties off in one tug and while I devoured her with my eyes, I somehow managed to
concentrate enough to unbuckle my belt and push my jeans down over my ass, freeing my throbbing cock.

Sawyer moaned when I parted her legs, stepping between them. The sound was
pure fucking heaven. Our tongues danced while we drank each other in. I savored the
way her body felt against mine. Hard against soft. I dug my fingers into the flesh of her perfectly round ass before moving them to her pussy where I parted her warm wet folds and strummed her swollen clit because Sawyer was my instrument of choice and only I knew how to play her to perfection.

The look on Sawyer's face when I inserted a finger inside of her was as if I'd just
given her a drug. She was high on the pleasure. Her lids were heavy. Her pupils large
and dark. I was dead set on making sure I wrung every bit of pleasure from her
gorgeous body and I gave her exactly what she’d asked me for.


Haven't read the first book yet? What are you waiting for?

Available on



About the Author:

T.M.Frazier is a USA TODAY bestselling author. She resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and her young daughter. When she’s not writing she loves talking to her readers, country music, reading and traveling. Her debut novel, The Dark Light of Day was published in September of 2013 and when she started writing it she intended for it to be a light beachy romance. Well…it has a beach in it!
Connect with T.M. Frazier: 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Keep Me Close (The Brothers Salem #1) by Elizabeth Cole

Available on

Synopsis:

Hunt demons for thrills, then Netflix and chill.

Dominic Salem is many things: professional ghost hunter, curse breaker, and demon slayer to name a few. If there's one thing he's learned, it's never pick up hitchhikers. Something odd about this one made him stop. No doubt he'll regret it.

Lavinia "Vinny" Wake doesn't exactly trust her smoking hot ride, but her nightmares have her all messed up. The only thing she has faith in is her art. Life on her own is lonely, but at least no one can break her heart.

Dom can tell Vinny's nightmares aren't just dreams--they're way worse. Something or someone is drawing her into its trap. Turns out, though, Vinny's life isn't the only thing at stake. Her soul is on the line, too. No pressure.

The debut novel in The Brother Salem, a new contemporary paranormal romance series where a trio of demon hunters--armed with spells and snark--are on a mission to slay some demons, break some curses, and get their girls. Unless the girls get them first.

Review:

I was really excited to read Keep Me Close. I loved the prequel novella, One Touch of Silver. In fact that was what turned me on to this author. So I was excited to see where the story went. Only...it was a good read, but not as great as I was expecting. 

Dom is a paranormal investigator. He travels the country getting rid of ghosts and demons and curses and anything else you might need. He lives with his brothers and they need to money. It is hard work, but he would do anything for his family. 

Vinny used to have nightmares when she was younger, but then they went away. Only they started back up recently and her bff is in trouble. Her bff who lives on the other side of the country. Her bff who she had a fight with and is now super worried about. So she has to go check on her and make sure she is okay. Only Vinny doesn't really have any spare money so she is hitchhiking her way across the country. Yes, it can be a bit...dangerous. You can get picked up by some real creeps, but what else is she supposed to do? 

When Vinny gets kicked out of the car by a super creep in the middle of nowhere she doesn't have much hope of getting another ride. Or to a town before she dies of thirst. When Dom drives by on his motorcycle she is not sure she wants to accept his ride, but what other choice does she have? 

These two were cute together right from the start. Dom doesn't want anything from Vinny, he normally doesn't pick up people on the side of the road, but there was something about Vinny that made him stop for her. And Vinny is very skeptical, especially since her last ride didn't work out so well. She doesn't want to like Dom even if she starts to. They did have some chemistry between them, but they both have walls securely in place when they meet so it takes a while for them to get over those initial hurdles. 

Dom and Vinny were sweet together, though when they start trying to figure out what is going on with her friend and how Vinny may be involved the story went downhill for me. I didn't understand Vinny and why she would lash out all the time. Really the both of them were quite ridiculous. I swear I read the last parts *spoiler alert* where they kind of break up because Dom says he needs to head home like a billion times. I still don't understand why Vinny was so upset and took that as Dom doesn't like her/doesn't want to be with her. It was odd. And didn't make a lot of sense to me. Really her behavior when she was at her friends house made no sense to me. So that dragged the story down a bit. Dom had his head scratching moments as well, but he was more okay overall. 

So yeah, this book was a good read, but I found Vinny a bit confusing at times and as it went on her character made less sense to me. Oh well.

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

Rating: ★ ★1/2

Monday, November 13, 2017

Tap Left by A. Zavarelli

Available on

Synopsis:

Former hot mess seeking dysfunctional relationship single, well-together male. Sanity preferable.

From now on, I’m going to do everything right. I’m going to make good choices. Say goodbye to the bad boys, narcissists, and emotionally unavailable men. Because starting today, I’m a girl on a mission.

Find a man to walk me down that aisle.

It’s a good solid plan, but there’s only one tiny hiccup.

Adrian Daire.

I’ve asked for his help because if anyone can make me marketable, it’s him.

Only problem?

He’s also one of the aforementioned emotionally unavailable bad boys/ narcissists. Oh, yeah and he slightly crushed my soul once before. But no biggie. I’ve got three whole weeks to exorcise him from my head and my heart… for good.


Review:

I loved Tap Left. It was the perfect book for me. It had everything I love in a story. All that angst and drama and hate, but not hate. Oh, I loved this story. I enjoyed the author's other books, but this is now my new favorite. 

Lola is super sweet, but she makes the worst decisions when it comes to men. She just wants to find someone to love her. Someone she can marry. She was going to marry her latest, boring guy because hey, why not? They have been together for a while and that is what you do right? So what if she is not madly in love with him. She just wants the stability and everything that comes with it. So she is going to change. She is going to figure out how to get better men and find one to marry. Easy peasy. 

Only it is not so easy. Lola already has everything you could want in a partner, she just doesn't know it. But Adrian Daire does. He has known Lola for a long time, but these two don't get along very well. Daire is a huge jerk to her, but she still has this little thing for him. Maybe he is why she is not making good choices. She doesn't want to get hurt again like she did once upon a time. 

Daire and Lola share a past. Something happened and when you start reading you don't really know what. All you know is someone died. Someone that links these two together even now. That is the only reason they still see each other - because of their past. I loved figuring out what actually happened and how these two were together. There is so much anger and hurt and feelings between them that it is not easy. Daire is always kind of a jerk, but a bossy, take charge jerk that Lola can't seem to stop thinking about. Can't seem to actually stay away from especially once she asks him to teach her how to get the guys. 

Oh this story I couldn't put down. I felt so bad for Daire at times Yes he is a jerk, but he also has a huge heart. I loved him so much. There were a lot of ups and down in this story. People needing to find the truth and fight their demons. People needing to grow into the person they can be so things might have a chance of working out. Lola and Daire were amazing together. Sure they started out as enemies, but were they really? Or were they meant to be right from the start and things just kept getting in the way of that? 

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Stolen Memories by Alyson Reynolds

Available on

Synopsis:

When Megan Douglas finds herself about to marry a man she hates, she calls her best friend to save her. Hunter Abbott would move mountains to make sure that Megan gets the happy ending she deserves, but when he finds out her father is trying to blackmail her into a loveless marriage, he decides that there is only one option to keep her safe -- to marry her first. The fringe benefits of a marriage of convenience to a billionaire can’t be that bad can they?

Megan can’t remember how she ended up where she is, but now all she wants to do is find her sister and figure out how she fell head over heels for her best friend. Everything is falling apart around her, and now she has to figure out to handle the future. Is being Mrs. Hunter Abbott really such a hardship? Having a sexy, billionaire husband can’t be all that bad, especially if he can help save her sister from a fate worse than death.

Can Megan and Hunter manage turning from friends to lovers and actually live happily ever after? Or will their marriage be over before it even gets started?

Review:

Stolen Memories is a novella and once again one that maybe would have been better as a full length story. As it was everything happened super quickly, Megan was really annoying, and it was all a bit of a mess for me.

Megan is going to be forced to marry a guy she hates so her bff Hunter steps in to marry her instead. Only she loses her memories and then has to figure everything out again. She has fallen for her bff, but when her memories start come back there are some issues. She was...whiny and I didn't like her. At all. So it was not such a good read. Oh well, it was a quick one so I didn't waste a lot of time with it.

Rating: ★ ★

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Misadventures on the Night Shift by Lauren Rowe


Now available on

Synopsis:

Hotel clerk Abby Medford has always enjoyed the quiet solitude of the night shift. The long, boring hours allow her time to study her law books. But when bad-boy- rocker Lucas Ford checks into the penthouse suite one night and demands Abby personally deliver his room service request, her formerly quiet nights are quickly filled with Lucas’s erotic games. But as Abby soon learns, if she thinks she can indulge her innermost desires with Lucas without giving him her heart, she’s dead wrong.

LEARN MORE ➜ www.Misadventures.com

Review:

I'll be honest here. When I first started reading Misadventures on the Night Shift I thought this might not be the book for me. I was on a long plane ride super early in the morning and still half asleep, but it wasn't what I wanted to read right then. So I put it aside hoping when I was in the right mood I would enjoy it more. And I am so glad I did that! Because once I was in the mood for some super sexy fun this book was great. Even with a rock star lead character (I normally don't like famous people in my stories). 

This is the story of Abby and how she meets her biggest crush, Lucas Ford. Rock star extraordinaire. The guy she has crushed on since she was a teen. And phew - when these two got together it was hot hot hot! As I said at first I was a little bit iffy on this story, but by the end I was loving it. I loved that Abby wasn't the typical female lead (though she was trying to subvert her natural inclinations when this story opens). And Lucas, while being a bit rockstar, wasn't what I expected either. Or maybe he was, but in a way that was better than normal. I don't know. It was interesting. He still has that big personality, that he is the best kind of thing, but he was also kind and sexy and fun. I really loved these two and together. Part of it is that you don't really know what Lucas is thinking the whole time. They have a deal, an agreement, an understanding. But just because you agree to something doesn't mean that pesky feelings won't get in the way. 

Now I don't want to spoil anything so I am not going to say much more except you should really check out this book. It was fun and sexy with a bit of sweetness thrown in for good measure. Not at all what I was expecting, but a wonderful read. 

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★


About the Author:

USA Today and internationally bestselling author Lauren Rowe lives in San Diego, California, where, in addition to writing books, she performs with her dance/party band at events all over Southern California, writes songs, takes embarrassing snapshots of her ever-patient Boston terrier, Buster, spends time with her wonderful family, and narrates audiobooks. Much to Lauren’s thrill, her books have been translated all over the world in multiple languages and hit multiple domestic and international bestseller lists. With enticing characters, enthralling situations and a general love of romantic fiction, Lauren has created a world of her own, full of wit and sensual desire.

Click here to enter to win a $20 Amazon gift card!


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Bad (Bad. Dirty. Power. #1) by Stevie J. Cole & L.P. Lovell


Now available on

Synopsis:

True power is never held by good men, only the most perfect of villains. And she and I are both villains…

Two very bad people who want very bad things are never safe together.

Some love stories have no heroes.


Review:

Bad was an interesting read for me. I haven't read a lot of the authors other works so I went into it not knowing much about it. I knew it would be a dark read, but that was about it. And oh, it was fun. Definitely dark and twisted in a way I am not used to seeing.

Ronan is a Russian crime lord and really great at setting up what he wants to have all the power. People fear him for good reason. He doesn't care who he has to take out or what he has to do to get what he wants. He is a master at pretending to be a good person when he needs to be.

Camilla is a Cartel boss, but she has been kidnapped by Ronan when she gets caught up in what he wants. These two. They both are used to getting what they want and both love fire and blood. While I never really got that these two really liked each other, never mind loved each other, they are drawn to each other. They are the perfect compliment and together they could destroy anyone and anything in their way even if they would never trust the other. And it would be glorious.

Now this book does end on a big cliffhanger! I can't wait to see what will happen next. I really think anything could. I love how diabolical Ronan is. How he plans out everything and makes everything work. I can't wait to see what he does next, and what will happen with Camilla. It should be fun.

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

Rating: ★★★1/2


About the Authors:

LP Lovell

Lauren Lovell is an indie author from England.

She suffers from a total lack of brain to mouth filter and is the friend you have to explain before you introduce her to anyone, and apologise for afterwards.

Lauren is a self-confessed shameless pervert, who may be suffering from slight peen envy.

LP loves to hear from readers so please get in touch.



Stevie J. Cole

Stevie J. Cole lives deep in the woods of Alabama with her husband and two precious daughters. She studied Epidemiology concentrating on cancer research but has always had a passion for writing. Some of her stories will strip you bare, some will give you nightmares, but the one thing she can promise is that she will always give you stories that make you feel.

Raw. Gritty. Love.

Because sometimes characters need to be flawed.

P.S. Stevie's greatest fear is the impending zombie apocalypse. Think about it: swarming armies of decaying, oozing corpses stumbling around with clicking teeth, trying to eat your face. Nothing about that is good. NOTHING!

Release Day: The Outliers (The Outskirts Duet #2) by T.M. Frazier


Who else has been eagerly awaiting The Outliers, Book 2 in the Outskirts Duet? I know I have been and it is now live!!! So so excited to start reading!

Now available on

Synopsis:

Sensual. Heartbreaking. Passionate. Overwhelming. Maddening.

That’s the love Finn and I share.

It's the kind you can never recover from.

The kind you never WANT to recover from.

That's why we'll do everything and anything to protect it.

When my past chases me all the way to Outskirts, we have to make a choice.

Let the lies destroy our chance at future together or...bury them deep in the swamp where they belong.

Got a shovel?


Haven't read book 1 yet? What are you waiting for?

Available on



About the Author:


T.M.Frazier is a USA TODAY bestselling author. She resides in sunny Southwest Florida with her husband and her young daughter. When she’s not writing she loves talking to her readers, country music, reading and traveling. Her debut novel, The Dark Light of Day was published in September of 2013 and when she started writing it she intended for it to be a light beachy romance. Well…it has a beach in it!
Connect with T.M. Frazier: 

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos #1) by Scarlett Cole

Available on

Synopsis:

Harper Connelly never expected to find herself outside of a tattoo parlor at one in the morning, summoning the nerve to take back her past. She's determined to forget her old life and is looking for an artist who can tattoo over the scars on her back.

Trent Andrews, local legend and owner of the Second Circle tattoo studio, has his own reasons for specializing in inking over scars. And in spite of her mysterious past and the difficult road ahead, he quickly realizes that Harper is funny, smart, and--under her ridiculously oversized clothing and SPF 100 sunscreen--totally hot. He's happy to take on the challenge of designing a meaningful and deadly full-back tattoo for her.

But when cryptic messages start appearing on Harper's phone, strange deliveries arrive at her door, and Second Circle is vandalized, Harper is convinced that her ex-boyfriend has tracked her down, and worse, that he knows about Trent. Running was the only thing that saved her last time, but now that she's started to put down roots in Miami, she'll have to decide if she can finally fight back instead.

Review:

The Strongest Steel was exactly what I wanted to read when I picked it up. I didn't expect to enjoy it as much as I did. Harper and Trent were wonderful together.

Harper has a dark past. She has something that happened to her that left her with scars covering her back. A constant reminder of that terrible night she wishes never would have happened. She has a lot of fears, which is understandable after everything she went through, but at the same time she is determined to get her life back. To live. And step one is to get an awesome tattoo to cover her scars.

Trent is an awesome tattoo artist specializing in covering scars. When Harper comes into his shop there is something there, but when he sees everything she went through he knows he has to proceed gently. Even if nothing happens between them he wants to be there for her and help her through this. He has his own reason, but the more time he spends with her the more time he wants to. He was so incredibly sweet with Harper. I loved him so so much. He was kind and caring and understanding and just wonderful with everything she is going through. He really helps her whenever she needs it. Especially when it looks like her past is coming back to haunt her.

This was a great read. I loved Harper and Trent - they were so cute together!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Lover's Lament by K.L. Grayson & B.T. Urruela

Available on

Synopsis:

In a matter of seconds my entire world changed, and it was in that moment that I stopped living and simply began to exist.

In my grief, I sent a letter to the first boy I ever loved. I hoped in writing it I’d find some peace from the nightmare I was living, some solace in my anger.

I didn’t expect him to write back. I wasn’t prepared for his words, and I certainly wasn’t ready for the impact this soldier would have on my life. A deep-rooted hate transformed into friendship, and then molded into a love like I’d never known before.

Sergeant Devin Ulysses Clay did what I couldn’t: he put the shattered pieces of my heart back together, restoring my faith in humanity and teaching me how to live again.

But now that I’m whole, I have a decision to make. Do I return to my life as I knew it and the fiancĂ© I left behind, or do I walk away from it all for the only man to ever break my heart?

***

I’ve been living in hell, but you won’t hear me complain.

These men depend on me, as I do them, and this brotherhood is the only family I’ve ever known.

The Army saved me from a callous mother and a life on the wrong side of the tracks that was quickly spiraling out of control. So unlike most of the men in my platoon, going home wasn’t something I longed for.

I was content overseas, spending my days defending this country that gave me my life back. Fighting became my new normal … until her.

A letter from Katie Devora—a letter that I almost didn’t open. Her words put a fire back inside of me that I didn’t know I’d lost. She gave me hope during a time when I was fighting every day just to stay alive, and now it’s time I fight for her.

Review:

A Lover's Lament was a meh book for me. I didn't hate it, but there wasn't anything about it I really enjoyed either. The writing, the characters, the story it was all just meh.

Katie was heartbroken when Devin left her years ago. They were in love and then he left without looking back. She has moved on, or tried to, but when she is in an accident, one that kills her dad, and is having a hard time with things her therapist suggest she writes to a soldier. Tell them what she is thinking as a way to get it out of her head. Okay, I get it, Devin is a soldier and left her to be one, but to suggest she write an angry letter to a random soldier? Really? Why do they deserve that? Luckily Devin is on the list and so she writes to him, not some random guy, but still. Now...Katie is seeing someone, but she suddenly realizes she doesn't love this dude (poor guy) and yeah. Drama rama.

Devin always loved Katie, but kept away from her for her own good. But when he receives her letter things change. He realizes he can't stay away. So then suddenly he is home and they work things out and yey! Happily ever after. Until something happens to mess it up, but then again yey! Happily ever after. It was...way too quick. Katie goes from I am not going to think about this/I am not going to forgive Devin to happily ever after in two seconds. I didn't buy it. That and she acted like she was two for most of the story. Ugh.

The main problem with the book was I didn't connect to either of the characters, didn't see the connection between them, so it didn't work for me. I don't know why these two are together or why they love each other. It was just...not good. Some of the scenes didn't make much sense (why in the world would she be okay with giving Devin a blow job and having him drive recklessly when she is still not over the fact that a drunk driver killer her dad while she was in the car? Makes no sense!!), there were a lot of eye-roll moments, it just wasn't very good for me. Not the worst thing I have read, but definitely won't be reading more from these authors.

Rating: ★ ★

Friday, November 3, 2017

Need You for Always (Heroes of St. Helena #2) by Marina Adair

Available on

Synopsis:

Emerson “Emi” Blake dropped out of culinary school to care for her ailing mother, but she has bigger dreams than running St. Helena’s most popular pita cart. First on the menu: upgrade to a gourmet food truck. A new part-time job as a personal chef will definitely provide the funds, but it also forces her into close contact with her one and only one-night stand, Dax Baudouin, who’s daring her to try a second taste.

Former army Ranger Dax has a clear mission: come home, get healed, and get gone. Yet Emi’s tough-girl exterior and hidden soft side are even harder to resist than her mouthwatering baklava. After years of battles, he knows better than to try to rescue anyone—not that she’ll let him get close enough to try. Truth is, Dax is starting to think that Emi’s the one person who can save him…if he can just persuade her to give him another shot.

Review:

Need You for Always was a cute read. Dax and Emi are perfect together and it was just what I wanted to read. 

Emi has a lot on her plate. Since her mother passed away she has been taking care of her dad and little sister. She has big dreams, she is trying to start her culinary career, but she needs a bit more cash before she can really get started. She volunteers with her sisters Ladybug troop, she has her food cart, she is helping her dad find a job, she doesn't have time for much else. She is spread pretty thin. 

Dax is recently back in St. Helena after a war injury sidelined him. He fully intends to heal then move on, though the more time he spends around Emi the more he is realizing maybe this is home after all. They had spent one night together, Emi knew it would be just one night, but Dax wants more. He wants another night but she won't give him the time of day. So what is he to do? Hire her to make his meals for him. He is injured after all. And maybe help get him to and from physical therapy. Maybe spending a bit of time with her will get her to open up to the possibility of them. 

These two were so cute together. I loved their back and forth and it was a fun read. Dax helping with the Ladybugs was adorable! The way he was with Emi's sister was so sweet. He is a great guy and Emi deserves someone like him after all she has been through. With all the stress she handles on her own. It was fun watching these two figure everything out. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Blog Tour: A Little Too Late by Staci Hart


 
Now Available on

Synopsis:

I wasn't supposed to fall in love with the nanny.

When my wife left, she took the illusion of happiness with her, and I've been caught in a free fall ever since. For nine long months, I've been fighting to figure out how to be a single dad, how to be alone.

For nine long months, I've been failing.

When Hannah walked through the door, I took my first breath since I'd found myself on my own. She slipped into our lives effortlessly, showing me what I've been missing all these years. Because Hannah made me smile when I thought I'd packed the notion of happiness away with my wedding album.

She was only supposed to be the nanny, but she's so much more.

The day my wife left should have been the worst day of my life, but it wasn't. It was when Hannah walked away, taking my heart with her.


Review:

Gah! This story! I...I didn't want to put it down. When I first started reading this author I found her stories to be sweet and cute and wonderful. I loved them, but now? Oh my goodness. She really has a fantastic way of pulling at the heartstrings. Of making a story so sweet and wonderful, but emotional and ah I love it. I loved every minute of it.

A Little Too Late is the story of Hannah and Charlie. Hannah who is an au pair from the Netherlands. Her friend had been working in the US and finally convinced her to come over as well, but things didn't turn out the way she imagined. Hannah didn't have the best of times and she really was almost to the point of going home. She would have to if she didn't find a job. And she was very skeptical that things would work out. That she could trust someone again after everything she had been through. But then she met Charlie.

Charlie is a bit broken. Floundering in his life since his wife left. He has two small children and he doesn't know how to care for them. He wants to, but is afraid that he has messed up so much already he doesn't want to mess up more. Oh, Charlie was so sweet and kind and caring and if he would only believe in himself he would be able to see that he can do anything. But he is not there yet, at least not until Hannah comes into his life.

Charlie needed an au pair, Hannah needed a job. They both know nothing should happen between them. She is there to work and he is her employer, but these two. They both have some things in their past that are trying to catch up with them. I could see what would happen before it did, where the story was headed, but that didn't make it any less painful to watch. Hannah is so full of love. She is wonderful. Caring, kind, just one of the best people ever. But sometimes things don't work out the way you want to. Sometimes you don't have the time to fix everything before things fall apart. These two. I loved them. I loved this story. It was wonderful.

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


Excerpt:

CHARLIE

The next morning, I was up and in my office before anyone was awake, attacking my work with newfound enthusiasm and a plan in mind. Because I wanted to feel like I’d felt the night before in the kitchen again, and there was only one way to get that back.

Today, I would take a few breaks and be present. Today, I would change, work be damned. Today would mark the first real attempt. Because change wouldn’t happen on its own. I had to make it happen. And to make it happen, I would have to put boundaries in place, starting with my weekends. 

I checked the clock around eleven that morning and closed my laptop, pushing away from my desk and heading up the stairs in search of my children.

When I rounded the corner into the kitchen, I found them sitting at the table with their lunches. And when they saw me, their smiles validated my grand plans with unwavering certainty.

“Hey, guys,” I said, smiling back as I walked over to them, ruffling Sammy’s hair when I passed him.

“Hi, Daddy,” he said.

Maven’s mouth was full, so she just waved, and Hannah smiled at me from the island where she was setting up a spread for sandwiches.

I snagged a grape off Maven’s plate and popped it into my mouth. She handed me another, which I accepted.

“Thanks, pumpkin.”

“Are you done working?” Sammy asked hopefully.

“’Fraid not, bud. But I thought I’d come have lunch with you. Is that okay?”

“Yeah! Want a Nilla Wafer?”

“Psh, obviously. And I thought we could play for a little bit before I have to get back to work. What do you say?”

He nodded, grinning. “We can play trucks! You be the bulldozer and I’ll be the tractor and Maven can be the monster truck and Hannah can be the ambulance because she helps people.”

“Perfect,” I said on a chuckle.

A burst of color caught my eye. A vase on the windowsill behind the table held a spray of red and orange tulips.

“Those are beautiful,” I said, gesturing to them. “Where did they come from?”

“Oh, I picked them up this morning,” Hannah said with that ever-present smile.

“Feeling homesick?”

“Always a little. But I love having fresh flowers in the house, something bright and delicate and alive. Well, maybe not alive anymore, but it feels alive, doesn’t it?”

“It does,” I said as I moved to her side.

“Can I make you a sandwich?” Hannah asked.

“Nah, I think I can manage, thanks. How’s it going this morning?”

“It’s good. We went to the park this morning.”

“I rode my bike!” Sammy crowed.

“Did you? No bumps or scrapes?”

“Nope!”

“I’m impressed. Maybe next time I can come too,” I said, hoping it was something I could deliver as I reached into the bread bag for a stack.

Hannah turned to the cupboard, returning with a plate for me.

“Thank you.”

She was still smiling, standing at my side, assembling her sandwich. It was so mundane, something completely and utterly boring, but like the weirdo that I was, I found myself watching her hands as she folded cold cuts. We worked around each other—not that it was complicated, but there was a sort of rhythm between us, a natural pace wherein I used what she wasn’t and finished just as she needed what I had. I wasn’t sure why I noticed it, but I did, and I appreciated the simple synchronicity of the moment, a breath where things were easy.

I passed her the mustard as she handed me the ham. “So, I was thinking …” I paused.

“Oh, were you?” She glanced over at me with a hint of mirth at the corners of her lips.

“I know. I almost sprained something.”

Hannah laughed gently.

“If it’s okay, I think I’d like to try to handle bedtime tonight.”

“Of course it’s okay; they’re your children.” That time, her laughter was sweet.

“Do you … would you … do you think you could maybe …”

She shifted to face me, her eyes full of encouragement.

“Would you mind … helping me?”

Hannah nodded, her smile opening up. “That’s what I’m here for. Just let me know what you’d like me to do.”

I smiled back. “I’m sorry. I know it sounds stupid. I just … I haven’t done this much on my own, but I’d like to start.”

Her eyes softened, caught by slanting light, lighting up with sunshine. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” she said simply.

I didn’t speak.

“There’s no right or wrong, and they don’t care about anything other than you being there. It’s simple enough; you only have to try.”

“Is it really that easy?”

“It really is. You’ll see.” She reached for my arm and gave it a squeeze that wasn’t meant to be anything but friendly but held something more, something in the pressure in her fingertips and the depths of her eyes.

It was something I did my very best to ignore. But I felt the heat of those fingertips long after they were gone, even as we sat across the table from each other eating lunch, the tulips in the vase behind her bowing their long heads as the sunlight illuminated them, exposing what was hidden within their petals.

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.
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