Posts Categorized: Read in 2013

Gamble in Gold – Natalie Anderson – 3 stars

August 26, 2013 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2013, Sent 0

Gamble in Gold – Natalie Anderson – 3 starsGamble in Gold Published by Entangled Publishing, Indulgence on August 26, 2013
Pages: 97
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
three-stars

Seven years have passed since shy Lexie Peterson had her heart trampled by her teenage crush. And Luke Marchetti walks into his flat to find Lexie in a negligee, all he can think of is having a little flirt and fling. But Lexie’s determination to keep him at a distance makes him realize she deserves more than he can offer. Is one kiss enough to entice the two to take a gamble on love?

My Thoughts:

This is an extremely quick read but I enjoyed both the main characters and seeing how an attraction formed years ago ends up being a match that neither was really looking for.

Lexie is a woman who is and was incredibly shy around people but has forced herself to live outside her comfort zone as much as she can.  When she falls victim to a bad investment she’s just looking to get back on her feet doing what she loves, tell and help people travel all over the globe.  She’s excited to have a place to stay in London while she finds a job and some place to live but when the owner of the place comes back in town unexpectedly she’s confronted with a major ghost from her past.  I liked how she wanted to stand on her own two feet but couldn’t completely keep herself guarded from the temptation and need she has for Luke.  She’s not willing to settle for second best so does what she can to keep herself protected from the heartbreak she is certain he will give her.

Luke is not having a good day until he gets home and sees an incredible sight of a woman in skimpy attire in his place.  Add to that it being a grown-up version of the girl he wanted all those years ago but couldn’t have and maybe just maybe things aren’t so bad.  As much as he just wants a fling he knows this isn’t the person to have a fling with but he just can’t help but be drawn to her just like he was when they were both younger.  He’s changed a lot from the boy she knew but he isn’t certain if he’s the right man for her.  He’s kept a major secret from her all these years and when they spend time together he finds that he doesn’t want to let her go again.  He’s got the chance of a lifetime if only he can make her see who he is now and not what he was then.  I liked that he’s not exactly what the world thinks of him and that he does small things to make others happy.  He’s an incredible catch and she’s the lucky woman who holds his heart.

This was a sweet story for such a short format but I would have liked a longer platform for these two.  They were nice to see together and I would’ve loved a chance to see more.

Special thanks to Entangled Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

three-stars

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Apple Polisher – Heidi Belleau – 4 stars

August 24, 2013 NetGalley, Read in 2013, Riptide Publishing 0

Apple Polisher – Heidi Belleau – 4 starsApple Polisher Published by Riptide Publishing on July 27, 2013
Pages: 230
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

This straight-A student has a dirty little secret.

Christian Blake dreams of being a kindergarten teacher, but making the grade means maintaining a squeaky clean image: no drinking, no drugs, no swearing, no sex. And definitely no falling for his new roommate—tattooed bad-boy Max, who may or may not be a drug dealer.

Most of all, it means no working at a porn store. But Christian’s aunt has cancer, and her beloved Rear Entrance Video will go bankrupt if Christian doesn’t take over managerial duties. Soon enough, Christian finds himself juggling sticky twenty-five cent peepshow booths, a blackmailing employee, and a demanding professor who likes to make an example of him.

And then there’s Max, who doesn’t know anything about the store, but hates Christian’s preppy sweater vests and the closet Christian forces him into when they’re together. Max just wants Christian to be himself—even though Max is keeping secrets of his own. Christian struggles to find the impossible balance between his real life and the ideal one he thinks a teacher needs to live . . . all while trying to keep his aunt’s dream alive without losing his own.

My Thoughts:

I found myself truly enjoying this book and the ways it brought up how the public perception of a gay man’s behavior colors the choices that they may have for employment.  The images that Ms Belleau brings forth as Christian tries desperately to deny his identity in favor of becoming a kindergarten teacher were heartbreaking as none deserves to have to suppress their inherent nature in hopes of a job.  Unfortunately I do know many instances of having to hide the fact that you are homosexual for a career even today and for me that is fundamentally sad.

Christian is wound up so tight it is even funny but if he wants to be a kindergarten teacher he has to fulfill a certain public image of straight, conservative male even though he is not truly like that.  When he takes a room at an unconventional house he ends up being forced to face up to his life and the choices he is making that deny everything core to his psyche other than his need to teach.  He gets some horrible news about the only person who loved who he truly is and ends up having to take risks to save what she built, Rear Entrance Video… a porn store that also sells some fun extras.  He knows if anyone finds out about him working there it means the loss of his dream but when confronted with his aunt losing her livelihood and passion he just has to do the right thing.  Along the way he ends up having a hidden affair with Max but finds that he isn’t sure if his dream of teaching is worth the damage he is doing to his relationship.  Does he really want to hide who he is (other than the store) or does he want to be accepted as a gay man who wants to teach?

Max is a wild child with many hidden depths.  He ends up with money but no one knows what he does for a living and Christian first guesses drug dealer.  He is open with his sexuality and forces Christian to not only confront the insanity of his suppressing their attraction but also forces him to open his eyes and realize that sometimes taking a risk to help the ones you love is worth it.  Not taking the risk would be more damaging that anything that could come out of helping and the guilt you would have would choke any joy you possibly could have from teaching.  He’s very willing to be open with Christian and gets fed up with being a hidden secret as their relationship heats up.  I liked how he was willing to be patient with Christian initially but then pushed him out of his shell to become the man we loved at the end.  He’s something else and I can’t wait to see more of them as the stories come out.

This is a very good read with some hard moments when you are witness to how much some people are willing to sacrifice just in order to conform.  This makes me sad as I believe people should not be judged by if they love the same-sex or opposite sex but by their actions to the world at large.  I have to thank NetGalley.com and the wonderful people at Riptide Publishing that gave me access to this title with no restrictions on how I chose to review it or if I did.  I really enjoyed the title and am looking forward to more.

four-stars

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Beyond Pain – Kit Rocha – 5 stars

August 23, 2013 Read in 2013, Sent 0

Beyond Pain – Kit Rocha – 5 starsBeyond Pain on August 26, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

A woman with no future…

Live fast, die young–anything else is a fantasy for Six. She’s endured the worst the sectors had to throw at her, but falling in with Dallas O’Kane’s Sector Four gang lands her in a whole new world of danger. They’re completely open about everything, including their sexuality–but she hasn’t survived this long by making herself vulnerable. Especially not to men as dominant as Brendan Donnelly.

A man without a past…

Bren is a killer, trained in Eden and thrown to the sectors. His one outlet is pain, in the cage and in the bedroom, and emotion is a luxury he can’t afford–until he meets Six. Protecting her soothes him, but it isn’t enough. Her hunger for touch sparks a journey of erotic discovery where anything goes–voyeurism, flogging, rough sex. He has only one rule: he won’t share her.

In Bren’s arms, Six is finally free to let go. But his obsession with the man who made him a monster could destroy the fragile connection they’ve forged, and cost him the one thing that makes him feel human–her love.

My Thoughts:

I’m going to feel a bit traitorous when I state this but Bren just pushed himself to the top of my O’Kane yummy men list.  I know I feel guilty because Ace has been my number one man so far but Bren is just something else as we get to follow him and his wonder at finding the woman who is his perfect match.

There was something amazing about watching these two extremely damaged souls find one another and help each other realize they were worth love and trust.  I adored how Six became more self-aware that things didn’t have to just be about power and abuse but that power could be wielded in such a way that all parties benefited.  She had and still has so much to learn about life outside of being an object and I’m going to love to see more of her as the series goes on.  I think that the fact she’s been to hell and back will help the O’Kanes survive the changes that are coming to the Sectors and will become an asset to Dallas/Lex as they continue to fight to keep the family safe.  She gets to heal in a lot of ways with a man that always seems to understand what she needs even at a time when she wasn’t certain.  Watching her gain confidence under his loving attention and assistance made me smile but man did I cry a bit when he was an idiot and almost cost them both everything.  She’s strong with major issues but with her past I could understand them and like the others I wished that we could kill Trent many more times over.

Watching our resident strong silent man Bren show his soft side was amazing.  He still has all these rough edges but with Six they bleed out and show how much he truly cares for the woman he sees under the scars.  He does so many things to show her that she’s worthy of all the good that is coming her way and provides a needed level of faith in her abilities that gives her the boost she needs to grasp at a new life with both hands.  Unfortunately he doesn’t see himself in the same light and almost lets his own past bring them both down.  Thankfully Mad helps out at a crucial moment but I think the thing that made it work for me is Bren took a step back at a crucial moment to let Six be her own person even though as a reader it killed me.

Once again Kit gives us amazing sexual tension and scenes that will make you need an ice bath but with a story that keeps you engrossed from moment to moment.  Sex is in the books but the story is more than that.  We have a world that is incredibly complex and seeing glimpses of what is to come keeps us on our toes.  I must admit I wouldn’t be upset at all if the next one magically appeared on my Kindle today…  *Hint Hint*

 

Thanks to Kit Rocha for being generous enough to give me a chance to get my greedy hands on it before it went live in hopes of a review.  Note- She didn’t tell me what to write or think on this review but I think knows I am a major fan of this series.  🙂

five-stars

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Diamond Dust – Vivian Arend – 5 stars

August 21, 2013 Read in 2013, Samhain, Sent 0

Diamond Dust – Vivian Arend – 5 starsDiamond Dust Published by Samhain on August 20, 2013
Pages: 273
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
five-stars

She can’t shift, but she can shake their world.

Caroline Bradley is having one hell of a week. Her wolf lover has sniffed out his mate, making her an instant free agent. Not only that, Takhini territory has been overrun with aggressive bear-shifters electing a clan leader, and the wolf pack is feeling the effects—pushing her diplomatic skills to the limit.

Tyler Harrison is a grizzly on a mission. If he’s going to win the majority of the bears’ votes, he needs one final thing: a female companion. The only woman in town with influence over wolves, humans, and more bears than he’d like to admit, is Caroline.

Despite the sexual pull between them, though, Tyler’s not seeking a permanent relationship. And Caroline isn’t looking to be anyone else’s political pawn. But she should have remembered that when shifters are involved, changes happen in the blink of an eye.

Warning: Billionaire bear hero plus kick-ass human heroine equals a sexually volatile power struggle. Get ready for what might be the naughtiest game of tag that’s ever been played in the great outdoors.

My Thoughts:

Ok my fan-girl crush on Vivian Arend continues with this latest installment in the Takhini Wolves series.  I mean seriously I can’t wait until the RT convention in New Orleans to get a chance to see her in person again.  I have to say there was a part of me to see Evan and Caroline part ways even though I knew it was coming I was happy to see her get what she truly deserved.  Now when are we getting Evan???  Huh?  Huh?  I mean come on…  LOL  I also have to mention that I’m glad Lillie pushed Viv to write a book with BEARS!!!  Cranky, grumbly BEARS!!!!  Did I mention BEARS??  Oh sorry lost my train of thought there…

When Evan scents his true mate Caroline knows things are going to change but she isn’t aware yet how big the changes are.  She finds out about Evan after she gets caught in an embarrassing situation and is helped out by a man who she is definitely instantly attracted to.  She thinks it can’t go anywhere because of her arrangement with Evan but when circumstances change she decides to roll with it and maybe have a bit of fun with this stranger.  She’s disappointed when the shifter in question marginalizes their attraction and claims that she is there as a political ally and this is going to be a business only arrangement.  Maybe it is time for her to take the time off away from things once this week is up and re-group to figure out what path she should take now.  She’s so used to either doing things for someone else she loves/cares about or being used by others to improve the situation for themselves that she just wants someone or something just for her.  I liked getting to see behind the facade she presents in order to survive being a full-human in the company of shifters and really appreciated how she tried to draw the lines with her grumpy bear at the beginning.  She isn’t being heartless but trying to protect herself from wanting to have something more than what is being presented to her.  She’s strong with a huge heart that has been hidden from everyone for years out of self-preservation.

Tyler is intrigued by a woman who he found in the hot tub of his hotel suite.  He can’t afford to get distracted right now as he needs to win the bear conclave’s leadership vote but something about her calls to him.  When he finds out who she is and exactly how good she is at shifter politics he has to have her on his side.  He also wants to engage in some healthy side activities but is positive it will just be for the week of the conclave and nothing more.  He isn’t looking for anything permanent but as he spends more time around Caroline he finds himself getting thoughts that he never expected.  This is compounded by the fact that his bear is incredibly drawn to this feisty woman and others at the conclave have doubts about him being a good leader since he isn’t attached.  As we get to know him we see him struggle with what is considered acceptable in bear society as he is confronted by a woman who demands to know why bears love to claim instinct versus humanity.  As he looks at bear culture from this new vantage point he is ashamed of what he sees and is willing to stand up finally to this old pattern.  I loved how he struggled initially with what to do to make Caroline happy but he did truly listen to what she was saying it just didn’t always sink in quickly.  He has so much growth from the initial man who honestly wanted to do nothing more than look at life as a business to a man who lets himself love and live life outside of work hours.  I adored his cranky attitude at the beginning and how Caroline wouldn’t accept this from him.

This is a pair that is truly well-matched and I cannot wait to get glimpses of them in the future but…  ahem…  now when do we get Evan’s story again?  Oh…  and when can we have more BEARS!!!!!!  😉

Special thanks to Fatin who contacted me on behalf of Viv to see if I wanted an ARC of this title..  I really appreciated it and ummmmm just assume yes to anything by Viv you ever get in your hands again.  I’ll take em…  🙂

 

 

 

five-stars

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YA Review – Out of Play – Nyrae Dawn/Jolene Perry – 4 Stars

August 20, 2013 Entangled Publishing, M Reads, Read in 2013, Sent, Young Adult 0

YA Review – Out of Play – Nyrae Dawn/Jolene Perry – 4 StarsOut Of Play Published by Entangled Publishing, Teen on August 6, 2013
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Rock star drummer Bishop Riley doesn't have a drug problem. Celebrities—especially ones suffering from anxiety—just need a little help taking the edge off sometimes. After downing a few too many pills, Bishop wakes up in the hospital facing an intervention. If he wants to stay in the band, he’ll have to detox while under house arrest in Seldon, Alaska.

Hockey player Penny Jones can't imagine a life outside of Seldon. Though she has tons of scholarship offers to all the best schools, the last thing she wants is to leave. Who'll take care of her absentminded gramps? Not her mother, who can’t even be bothered to come home from work, let alone deal with their new tenants next door.

Penny’s not interested in dealing with Bishop’s crappy attitude, and Bishop’s too busy sneaking pills to care. Until he starts hanging out with Gramps and begins to see what he’s been missing. If Bishop wants a chance with the fiery girl next door, he’ll have to admit he has a problem and kick it. Too bad addiction is hard to kick…and Bishop’s about to run out of time.

My Opinion:

This book really brings into light the stained sides of people and how much they will strive to deny it. It does have some things to be taken into consideration if you want your children to read it, but it is a very inspiring work. When I read it I couldn’t help but feel a sense if pity and sympathy for Bishop, and nothing but respect for Penny. The book is written alternating between both their views, which can be quite interesting when certain major events come up.

Bishop hates everything about being in Alaska, from the “babysitter” there with him, to the nonexistent pizza delivery service. That is, until he meets Penny, who makes him feel he no longer needs drugs to live.

Penny, however, could really care less for Bishop until her own love fantasies start dissolving before her very eyes. To her, he is someone who accepts her as she is and understands what those close to her won’t. She is the tough girl hockey player that doesn’t like to lose. That is probably why one of the most interesting pieces of the story is watching her fall for Bishop.

I couldn’t give the book a perfect score mostly because of the ending, which I felt at the time was a bit unfair and parts unrealistic. But I can look back and see they were predictable based on story development. Whatever my own personal qualms, this really was quite a good book that I wouldn’t put down for the second half. I think it is a great read not just for adults, but especially teens to young adults that, in particular, could have similar feelings or situations. The best advice I can give is to read it and enjoy it yourselves.

four-stars

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Talking Dirty With the Player – Jackie Ashenden – 5 stars

August 19, 2013 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2013, Sent 0

Talking Dirty With the Player – Jackie Ashenden – 5 starsTalking Dirty With the Player Published by Entangled Publishing, Indulgence on August 12, 2013
Pages: 219
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Up-and-coming photographer Judith Ashton is pretty sure she has everything in her life under control. That is, until a blast from the past comes back to taunt her, in the shape of Caleb Steele, her older brother's best friend...and the man who broke her heart eight years ago. Their chemistry is combustible, but she's been fooled once by this player, and she's not going there again. To pro rugby player Caleb, Judith has always been his Kryptonite. But his former playboy lifestyle is the last thing she wants to be involved in. In the midst of her brother's threats to back off, and the deal of his career sending him far away from her, he knows he's playing with fire. And this is one game he's going to lose.

My Thoughts:

What do you get when you have two damaged souls that have amazing chemistry?  You get the story of Judith and Caleb with all the pain that goes along with opening your heart up when you really don’t want to trust it to anyone at all.

Judith is over Caleb.  No, really she is…  I mean sure they had one amazing night together when she gave him everything she was and then dealt with the fact that he basically threw it back in her face days later.  Yeah there is no reason that seeing him should be difficult and you know that pesky little thing called her hormones should be immune to Mr. “Abs of Steele” cause they just should be dammit.  She’s needs to be in charge so badly in order to protect herself from ever being let down again that she’s basically living in a shell and doesn’t realize that she’s missing out on anything until her brother finds his HEA.  While she wants this for herself she doesn’t believe that it will ever happen for her as everyone important to her leaves her.  It isn’t that her brother isn’t there for her but he has his own issues with life and dad was always busy working so she couldn’t rely on him but the one person she could rely on until that horrible night was Caleb.  He’s the only person she ever truly let in and look how that turned out.  I liked her even when she was pushing him away out of a need for self-preservation.  She’s a very sensitive person behind the facade and his abandonment truly cut her to the core.  When their chemistry boils over she is always waiting for the other shoe to fall and when it does she doesn’t know if she can let anyone in again.  I liked her strength and ability to really see him even when he shut her out.  I think that is what made it more painful..  She really does know him even if he doesn’t know himself.

Caleb has prided himself on living his life without any attachments as his past has shown him you don’t always get what you want and you just need to not let people become something you care about.  He has always had a soft spot for Judith but in his gut knows he can never give her what she deserves.  He has to have her talents for a charity calendar he is doing but he’s shocked by how hot their chemistry still is.  As he spends more time around her he struggles with what he wants to have with her and what he believes is all he can give.  He makes many mistakes along the way but you do get the feeling that it is because he’s trying so hard to avoid admitting what is happening every time they are together is happening.  I enjoyed his need to just make her happy even when he wasn’t sure exactly what he did wrong.  He cares deeply even though he doesn’t want to admit it and seeing him open up with her to be the real person hidden behind the playboy was at times heartbreaking.  I never really disliked him even when he was being an ass but hey I have a soft spot for a hero who hides his heart because of his past.  He’s just a big softie.   🙂

Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I truly enjoyed this latest installment from Jackie and can’t wait for more.

 

five-stars

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Something’s Cooking – Meg Lacey – 4 stars

August 15, 2013 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2013, Sent 2

Something’s Cooking – Meg Lacey – 4 starsSomething's Cooking Published by Entangled Publishing, Indulgence on August 12, 2013
Pages: 182
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Tess Banyon has turned her brilliant recipe and crafting ideas into a multimedia empire. Landing her own TV show throws her into a panic. If she's not careful, the public will discover she isn't the domestic diva everyone thinks she is. Investigative reporter Josh Faraday smells something smoking in Tess's world. His goal to expose the real Tess goes into overdrive when she lands a television show deal. He secures an assignment to shadow her, reporting on her program, but what he's really doing is getting dirt for his expose. Things get even stickier when Tess's family play matchmaker. There's no shortage of fire between them, and after an impulsive night together, Josh discovers a story he never expected--or bargained for.

My Thoughts:

This was a fun read with some pretty hilarious moments as Tess is a bit of a walking disaster.

Tess knows she is living a lie as a domestic diva but she really does have her heart in the right place and everything just has spiraled out of control.  She may present this cool, calm, collected individual when she does the crafts and cooking segments for morning TV but what the public doesn’t know is her family is the workforce behind this orchestrated front woman.  Sure she has the creative ideas and marketing brains but trust me you don’t really want her to cook for you or even be near you with a glue gun unless she’s had a ton of practice runs.  When her agent tells her the Boston paper is sending a reporter to do a story on her upcoming TV series she panics as another Boston area reporter hiding behind the initials JR has been taking not so subtle jabs at her via his column.  She is immediately attracted to the reporter who shows up and we get some fun watching her family do everything possible to hook them up.  I liked how she wanted to tell him the truth but is also so driven to give the public what she loves so much she just can’t see a way out of it.  She’s brave as well when some truths come out and she’s forced to own her own part in deceiving the public and making a very public acknowledgment of her own shortcomings.  I was happy to see that people really loved her and not just the facade she’s presented.  She’s someone I would like to know in real life.

Josh is also tired of living a lie hiding behind his JR pseudonym at the newspaper.  Something about Tess has bothered him since he first saw a report on her so he’s been digging to find out is she really as perfect as the public image portrays?  When he first meets her he realizes there is something hinky going on but he is drawn to the woman he sees when she lets her guard down and finds himself wanting to share all his own secrets with her.  He knows that when she finds out the truth about who he is it will ruin something that he didn’t think was ever in the cards for him but misses many chances to come clean until it is too late.  I adored seeing him let his walls down and realize that what he was faulting her for he was doing himself and that he didn’t like what he’d let himself become.  His work to get back in her life was something sweet to watch as he knows how badly he messed things up but he just needs her to listen to him.  He’s not trying to justify his actions but instead owns them and knows how bad they were even though some of what happened was truly beyond his control.

This is a couple I think any of us would like to know in real life as they both own up to their shortcomings after a bit of prodding and have some wonderfully funny mishaps as they wind down the path to HEA.  Thanks to Entangled Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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The Best Man’s Baby – Victoria James – 4 stars

August 12, 2013 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2013, Sent 0

The Best Man’s Baby – Victoria James – 4 starsThe Best Man's Baby Published by Entangled Publishing, Indulgence on August 12, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Florist Claire Holbrook has always played by the rules her entire life, but breaks them to spend one night with sexy lone wolf Jake Manning, a man she's adored since she was a teenager. Six weeks later things get complicated when she discovers they created a bond that will last a lifetime...Jake has never played by the rules. Getting Minister Holbrook's daughter pregnant wasn't part of any life plan, but he won't run from his responsibilities. He'll step up and be the best man he can, even if he doesn't have a clue where to begin. The more time he spends with Claire, though, the more he wants her, and the harder it is to get close because that would mean sharing the one thing he hasn't with anyone--the truth and his heart.

My Thoughts:

Claire has always been the resident good girl.  You know the ones who never do wrong and always fit the perfect mold?  She’s making it on her own with a very successful floral business but has always had a soft spot for resident bad boy Jake.  When Jake actually makes a move on her at her friend’s wedding she can’t help but give in and take something for herself this one time.  Unfortunately this one time ends up being something that will change her life forever and also provide her with something that is more than she could have ever dreamed possible.  She’s strong, sassy and at the same time extremely vulnerable but I loved the undercurrent of steel she has to have dealt with some of the things she has.  Sure to everyone else she’s always perfectly put together but man does she have some demons of her own that get put to rest in this book.  I loved how much she tried to keep herself guarded against what seemed too good to be true but she also did let him in when the moment was right even though he hurt her to the core.

Jake…. sigh… Jake!  Man he has some explaining to do and groveling to accomplish.  Not only did he have sex with the minister’s daughter, ya know the man who saved him from himself, but he also left without saying much of anything then was gone for 6 weeks working without so much as a it was fun speech.  He’s always played outside the lines but when you find out what has driven him all these years your heart will break for the kid who should have never had to deal with what he did and the man that kid has become.  When he finds out the repercussions of that single night with Claire he is floored and wants to truly do the right thing.  He works extremely hard to prove to Claire that he is going to do right by her but she wants more than he believes himself worthy of.  I admit to shedding a tear when his past comes out but I also loved how her father and his family truly stepped up to do right by him when the truth finally came out.  This is a man who deserves every bit of happiness he and Claire will have in the future and I hope we get to see more glimpses of them from Ms. James.

Thanks to Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I definitely will keep my eye out for more by Ms. James.

four-stars

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Knowing the Score – Kat Latham – 4 stars

August 8, 2013 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Knowing the Score – Kat Latham – 4 starsKnowing the Score Published by Carina Press on July 29, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

Rugby player Spencer Bailey is determined to win a spot on England's World Cup team. But with a month break before the selectors start watching him, he's eager to have fun with a woman who knows the score: the relationship will end when rugby season begins. The lovely American Caitlyn Sweeney seems perfect for the role of temporary lover, since her visa will run out soon anyway.

Caitlyn works for an international disaster relief organization and can handle the world's worst crises, but she flinches from her own. Her past has left her with a fear of intimacy so deep that she has trouble getting close to anyone—until she meets sexy Spencer. His hot body and easygoing nature are too much for even her to resist.

Neither Caitlyn nor Spencer expects to fall hard for each other. But with their relationship deadline approaching, the old rules of the game seem less important than before…until past secrets surface, challenging everything they thought they knew about each other.

My Thoughts:

Caitlyn is minding her own business but in a life-changing moment ends up saving a man’s life.  She doesn’t know it at the time but this one moment is going to bring her something she never imagined and a life better than she dreamed possible.  She’s got some major issues in her past with a father that  was extremely abusive and an ex male friend who was grooming her to be his possession.  I liked how even with all this she still was willing to let Spencer in but was not happy with her lack of trust for someone who worked his ass off to make her comfortable.  I understood it but it did get me a bit frustrated.  She’s strong and the fact that she was willing to put herself in harm’s way to help people made her worthy of anything she ever desired but was afraid to hope for.

Spencer is almost back to the top of his game in rugby but his past keeps haunting him.  He was at the pinnacle in his youth but a stupid mistake almost cost him everything and has kept him from being willing to have anything more than off-season flings.  When his grandfather almost dies but is saved by a beautiful woman he is thankful and of course attracted to her.  He decides to pursue her even though once he finds out her secret he wonders can he really do this.  They come to an agreement that this is no-strings and has a definite end date as she is leaving plus his rugby season will start soon.  Of course as they spend more time together he finds himself craving her for more than just sex but for the conversations they have and the way she makes him feel.  He thinks he is finally away from the horror of his past until at the worst possible moment it comes back to haunt him.  I adored his patience and his caring nature hidden behind the rugby player.

I hope that Kat tells us more stories about his teammates as I really enjoyed seeing the interactions between them and the support (hard time) they gave Spencer at key moments.  Thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-stars

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Masked Cowboy – Sarah M Anderson – 4 stars

August 5, 2013 Read in 2013, Samhain, Sent 2

Masked Cowboy – Sarah M Anderson – 4 starsMasked Cowboy Published by Samhain on August 6, 2013
Format: eBook
Source: the Author
Buy on Amazon
four-stars

He hides from the world…but he can’t hide from her.

Men of the White Sandy, Book 2

Moving her veterinary practice out west is a chance for Mary-Beth to start over. But her resolve to learn to hold her tongue goes out the window when she meets Jacob, a Lakota cowboy who says next to nothing—especially about the black leather mask covering half his face.

Sometimes he seems to be almost flirting. Other times, it’s as if he’s angry she exists. But there’s no mistaking the heat that flares between them.

Jacob still isn’t sure who—or what—carved up his face and killed his best friend three years ago. All he knows is the thing was after a child he now hides with his silence. A medicine woman’s granddaughter he would die to protect.

Outspoken, sexy Mary Beth reminds him of how lonely his life has become. But he can’t forget how much he stands to lose if any distraction allows a monster to rise again and destroy the last hope of his people.

Warning: This book contains a masked cowboy with a lot to hide, a woman who shoots her mouth off at all the wrong times, and the wanton destruction of a certain pair of panties during explosive sex.

My Thoughts:

Just like Mystic Cowboy Sarah takes us back to the White Sandy in Masked Cowboy.  We get to see Rebel and Madeline again but this is about Jacob and his lady-love Mary-Beth with a side visit to the reservation.  We get to see who has been behind the poisonings and find out more about the town that surrounds the reservation.

Mary-Beth has always kept moving away from things that seem too much like relationships.  She always leaves her romantic entanglements and isn’t looking for anything other than the chance to get her new veterinary practice off the ground away from everyone she knows.  When she gets to see the show that a masked cowboy puts on she’s incredibly drawn to this mysterious sexy man but is more intrigued by the little girl she sees him pick up.  Who is this little girl and how can she help with her?  As she gets drawn in to the mystery of poisoned animals and the little girl she also finds herself spending more time with a man who gets under her skin in a way she never has experienced.  I liked how outspoken she was and especially appreciated how much she was unwilling to let Jacob treat her as if she didn’t matter.  She pushed him to open up to her but in a way that you were rooting for and not one that turned you off.  My heart broke for her at the end but man Jacob knew what to do even if it didn’t seem like it at first.

Jacob is obviously hiding something as he wears a mask but he also keeps to himself and doesn’t let many people close to him since the incident that left him scarred.  He’s got a child no one knew about and is working for a man no one likes but there has to be more to the story than people understand.  What we find out is a man who is stuck in a holding pattern protecting everything he holds dear from a man bent on destroying the reservation.  He hides behind the mask because of the damage he sustained when he lost his first and only love but also uses it as a crutch to keep others at bay.  He’s determined to keep Mary-Beth at a distance because he doesn’t believe himself worthy of love but after a stormy interlude in a remote cabin he just can’t do it.  When the worst thing imaginable almost happens to Mary-Beth he reacts in such a heart-warming way that you can’t help but want him for yourself.  The level of trust he puts in her very early on was amazing and seeing her return his trust with equal abandon was wonderful even as they both kept a bit distant.  Your heart will break for the hell he has been through at the hands of an insane individual but will sing when you see him let Mary-Beth in.

This is a couple who don’t have an easy path to love but it is a love you know will last as it is built on mutual respect and need plus a good dose of friendship.  I cannot thank Sarah enough for sharing a copy of this with me early for review as I really enjoyed it.  I’m ready for more in the series especially…  Nobody!!!

four-stars

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