Genre: Contemporary

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Hard Time – Cara McKenna – 4.5 Stars

April 21, 2014 Uncategorized 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hard Time – Cara McKenna – 4.5 StarsHard Time by Cara McKenna
Published by Penguin on 2014-04-15
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 191
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

In this all-new novel from the author of After Hours and Unbound, a woman with a rocky past finds romance in the last place she’d ever expect... Annie Goodhouse doesn’t need to be warned about bad boys; good sense and an abusive ex have given her plenty of reasons to play it safe. But when she steps into her new role as outreach librarian for Cousins Correctional Facility, no amount of good sense can keep her mind—or eyes—off inmate Eric Collier. Eric doesn’t claim to be innocent of the crime that landed him in prison. In fact, he’d do it again if that’s what it took to keep his family safe. Loyalty and force are what he knows. But meeting Annie makes him want to know more. When Eric begins courting Annie through letters, they embark on a reckless, secret romance—a forbidden fantasy that neither imagines could ever be real...until early parole for Eric changes everything, and forces them both to face a past they can’t forget, and a desire they can’t deny. Praise for Cara McKenna and her novels “Cara McKenna is my go-to author for gritty, hot love stories full of honest emotion.”—Victoria Dahl, USA Today bestselling author “McKenna writes dark, lush, erotic romance.”—Heroes and Heartbreakers “Sweet, smoking hot, standout erotic romance.”—Beth Kery, New York Times bestselling author Before becoming a purveyor of smart erotic romance, Cara McKenna worked as a lousy barista, a decent designer, and an over-enthusiastic penguin handler. She loves writing sexy, character-driven stories about strong-willed men and women who keep each other on their toes...and bring one another to their knees. Cara now writes full-time and lives north of Boston with her bearded husband. When she’s not trapped in her own head, she can usually be found in the kitchen, the coffee shop, or jogging around the nearest duck-filled pond.

This book was not 100% comfortable and it isn’t meant to be.  It was raw, thought provoking and sensual as hell.  I found myself torn about how to rate this but I found that while I wasn’t completely comfortable with everything in the story I found it to be honest and made me think about my own prejudices about felons even as I know I personally would gladly commit a felony should I ever meet up with someone from my past that still has an impact on my life more than 20 years later.  I’m going to make this review fairly short and try to keep things as general as possible because I think if one spills to much about the story it ruins some of what made me think hard not only as I read this story but after I read it.

Annie is in many ways a truly naive, innocent woman.  Sure she’s had a relationship or two but even with the abusive last boyfriend she’s still incredibly sheltered.  As she starts to work around inmates once a week the blinders begin to come off but she still falls in to a secretive relationship with an inmate that pushes her boundaries and makes her want something that she isn’t completely prepared for.  I liked her strength but also found her to be a bit too wet behind the ears for me.  I understood her motivation but at the same time there is a part of me that was screaming “WAKE UP GIRLIE!!!!  Grow up and live outside your head!”  Luckily for her she ends up with someone that has good intentions and really does feel something for her.  I think her strongest point in this story is her belief in him and need to see him safe.

Eric was an intriguing character that weaves a masterful spell with his words as raw as they are.  I found myself incredibly drawn to him as we find out more about him but finding out why he was in prison and the details surrounding his crime definitely cemented my understanding of this strong yet sensitive soul.  He’s raw, dirty and at the same time has such a strong sense of duty to people that he really sacrifices everything for.  I appreciated his ownership of what he did but I also wanted to scream at him for putting himself in jeopardy out of a sense of duty to someone who really didn’t comprehend the cost he would endure.  He’s very compelling and you will find yourself drawn to learn more about this complicated man from not only his writings but his choices after he gets out for parole.

Again this isn’t an easy read but I’m glad I took the chance on it.  I was pushed a bit with some of the themes in the story but ultimately it made me think and perhaps look at some things a bit differently.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Intermix for giving me the chance to read this one in exchange for my honest review.  I now have a new author to glom so….  😉

four-half-stars

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Play – Kylie Scott – 5 Stars

April 8, 2014 Purchased 0

Play – Kylie Scott – 5 StarsPlay by Kylie Scott
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 2014-03-25
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Erotica, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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five-stars

Kylie Scott returns with the highly anticipated follow-up to international bestseller Lick.Mal Ericson, drummer for the world famous rock band Stage Dive, needs to clean up his image fast—at least for a little while. Having a good girl on his arm should do the job just fine. Mal doesn’t plan on this temporary fix becoming permanent, but he didn’t count on finding the one right girl. Anne Rollins never thought she’d ever meet the rock god who plastered her teenage bedroom walls—especially not under these circumstances. Anne has money problems. Big ones. But being paid to play the pretend girlfriend to a wild life-of-the-party drummer couldn’t end well. No matter how hot he is. Or could it?

Be prepared to laugh when you read this story as Mal has some of the funniest lines and most outrageous thoughts that just spill forth from his lips at the most inappropriate moments.  All is not rosy on his path to love but he lucks out and finds the perfect woman for his insanity which in turn leads to the most stable relationship his unexpected lover has ever had.

We meet Anne in a really bad place with a roommate that has taken off with not only furniture but without bothering to pay back past due rent or providing any sort of notice.  As Anne lives paycheck to paycheck it hits her rather hard and this is a woman who is used to everything being difficult but she always soldiers on to make the best of a bad situation.  Her only constant is her love for her sister and her male friend who she wouldn’t mind having as something more if he wasn’t such a man whore.  She’s basically allowed herself to become a doormat because of her innate need to please and help people but a chance encounter at a party she’s persuaded to go to puts her in the path of Mal.  He pushes her buttons and she ends up not only finding her inner strength she also finds her sense of self again. As she gets pulled in to his orbit she discovers the man behind the image and finds out that they are a lot alike in their tendency to push people away to handle things on their own.  I loved how she didn’t put up with his crap and while she didn’t have a backbone before they met she found one rather quickly where he was concerned.  She is a great counter to his manic personality but he pushes her to expand her horizons and not take being second best.  He pushes her to finally believe in herself and her own worth which was painful but needed.

Mal… sweet adorably inappropriate Mal… I loved him in the last book but seeing him on his own made me laugh but also made me cry for him.  He meets Anne and decides without telling her that he’s moving in.  He’s overheard her troubles and he needs help from her to show that he’s in a relationship.  The reasons he needs this aren’t explained until later in the book and he’s pretty adamant that this is to be a surface thing only but as he spends more time with Anne things don’t work out the way he thought.  He’s pushed to be more open with her but even as he fights her we see that he really does want her but his secret is eating him alive.  I won’t reveal the secret but as you see more of his interactions with Anne and the band you get to see a man that really is hurting but covers everything with jokes and antics.  His moments with Anne in both the bedroom and outside of it were not only humorous but heartwarming as his inner sweetness is exposed.  He’s vulnerable with her as neither expected to find love or home in this faux relationship but when push comes to shove the heart speaks volumes.  My heart broke with him as things began to unravel and come out but where he ends up was worth the journey.

I can’t wait to see more of this series and hope that Ben’s HEA is who I think it is… (not saying but would be awesome in a lot of respects).  Jimmy is next and dude he and Lena should definitely spark!!

five-stars

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Dangerous Angel – Stacy Gail – 4.5 stars

March 31, 2014 Carina Press, Read in 2014, Sent 1

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Dangerous Angel – Stacy Gail – 4.5 starsDangerous Angel by Stacy Gail
Series: Earth Angels #4
Published by Carina Press on 2014-03-31
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 196
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
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four-half-stars

Book four of the Earth Angels series

Miami's best bounty hunter, Nikita Tesoro will do anything to collar a fugitive. Including stepping into a stripper's stilettos for the night. Outsmarting her rival Kyle Beaudecker is just a bonus. Despite the sexual tension sparking between them, Nikita keeps a professional distance from "Hurricane" Kyle. After all, she can't get hurt if she doesn't care.

A descendant of the archangel Barakiel with the power to harness electricity, Kyle should be focusing his energy on tracking down a demon that may be hiding in the human realm. But he's a lover, not a fighter, and he'd much rather use his special talents for pleasure: specifically Nikita's. And teaming up to find a bail jumper means spending lots of time together...

But when their case takes a turn for the demonic, Kyle can no longer hide his true nature from Nikita. He'll do whatever it takes to win her heart--even stop the apocalypse. But he can't do it alone.

As sad as I am to see this series end, I truly loved this last installment.  Honestly the pairing of Kyle and Nikita made me laugh but also had a lot of heart behind the heat that arcs between the two of them.

Nikita doesn’t do relationships.  She’s all for a quick turn between the sheets to scratch an itch but when it comes to any other kind of entanglement she’s the type to run away.  She cares for people but her past makes her wary of believing in love in any way shape or form.  You see her past makes it where she believes everyone will leave her and it is best to not let yourself be weak enough to love someone else.  She does care for her one relative but that is the exception to the rule and even then she’ll tell you she really doesn’t care but does things out of a sense of obligation.  She’s always been attracted to Kyle but as much as she finds herself attracted to him she also finds herself wanting to kill him.  They compete for the same bounties and while he’s definitely someone that would be fun to play with she also senses that he might be someone that could get to her more than she wants.  As things play out during this story we get to see this strong woman finally come to terms with her childhood and open her mind/heart to love.

Kyle is something else.  He plays the fun loving playboy with the best of them but behind this is a man who desperately wants to find someone as much as he also doesn’t want to subject them to his secret.  He’s a lot more complex than people give him credit for but when he finally opens up to Nikita we get to see a man who would do anything to protect those he loves even if it means giving up himself.  I loved how protective he was of her but also enjoyed that when push came to shove he trusted in her abilities and brains even as he wanted to kill her for putting herself in danger.  He’s hot as hell when he gets what he wants but there is always a sense of humor in his interactions that helps cut thru the tension that permeates this book.  I felt for him as he navigates thru his family’s history and finally comes to terms with his unique abilities.

I enjoyed the heart, humor and heat that winds thru this entire series but this installment had the best chemistry in the main pair.  Trust me there will be many times when you can’t help but laugh at Kyle’s antics and the banter between the pair.  They really are a fun read even with the harder moments.

Thanks to Stacy Gail for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I’ve enjoyed reading all of the series and while sad to see this one go I’m glad we got a fun one to end on.

four-half-stars

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Taken With You – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 Stars

March 24, 2014 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2014 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Taken With You – Shannon Stacey – 4.5 StarsTaken with You by Shannon Stacey
Published by Carina Press on 2014-03-25
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 185
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Hailey Genest has seen most of her friends marry and have babies, and she's happy for them, but it was a lot easier before she hit forty. She's spent her entire life in Whitford, Maine, and if she hasn't found her Prince Charming by now, she has to accept she's probably not going to. When a new friend suggests they go on an adventure and embrace being single, Hailey agrees.Surviving in the woods is game warden Matt Barnett's idea of a relaxing vacation. But when he meets two women in need of help, he leads them back to safety—a task that proves more fun than expected, thanks to a certain hot blonde. He can't resist pushing her buttons, even though she's made it clear that the rugged, outdoorsy type just isn't for her.Hailey is glad to see the back of her tempting-tour-guide-slash-pain-in-the-ass. When he shows up in her life again, she's determined to avoid him, no matter how good he looks in his uniform. But that's easier said than done in Whitford, especially when he's renting the house right next door….74,000 words

What if what you needed in a partner wasn’t what you thought you needed?  This is what both Hailey and Matt find out in this heartwarming story.

Hailey is really starting to feel left out as her friends all seem to be finding the men of their dreams and while she still gets to see them it just reminds her of what she doesn’t have.  She’s agreed to go on an outing with another single lady but she’s not in her element in the great outdoors and when they get rescued by a man with all the qualities she doesn’t want but damn is he hot, other than the beard, old clothes and sloppy presentation, she starts to wonder if she’ll need to move away to find the professional, yuppie man she thinks she needs.  I liked her spirit and spunk but did get frustrated with her inability to see what was right in front of her until it was almost too late.  She’s so set in her attitudes that I wanted to slap her a few times because he was trying except for one instance where he did the same thing to her that she did to him.

Matt is hot hot hot.  He’s always loved being outdoors and in nature so having a job that requires him to be outside and protect the nature he loves is just perfection.  Now if he could find a woman that would be able to tolerate his odd work schedule, smelly clothes and  love of being one with nature he’d be all set.  He’s been burned by a city girl before so he does things to test all of his girlfriends that have driven them all away but he’s drawn to Hailey.  There is something about her that calls to him even though he’s convinced she’ll be like all the rest and want him to change.  When he pulls his stunt with her I wanted to kill him for not being willing to compromise but instead he has his head so messed up from past experiences that he ruins the evening for both of them.  Once he wakes up and finally realizes what he might lose if he doesn’t grow up…. well then we get a sigh-worthy hero.  He’s sigh-worthy during most of the book so the one moment didn’t ruin it for me but when he realizes it he does own his mistake.

They both do a little compromising in this book which is what makes it work.  She opens her eyes to the fact that her heart may know best and he opens up to not every female is the same.  While we all like our men to clean up nice to go out every once in a while most of us just want a partner to share our lives with.  I think the best thing about this story is that both grew up and compromised to make something that was special work.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-half-stars

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The Billion Dollar Bad Boy – Jackie Ashenden – 4 stars

March 17, 2014 NetGalley, Read in 2014, St. Martin's Press 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Billion Dollar Bad Boy – Jackie Ashenden – 4 starsThe Billion Dollar Bad Boy by Jackie Ashenden
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on 2014-03-11
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Women, Erotica, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 100
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-stars

The Billionaire’s Club: a fabulously sexy contemporary series about some of the world’s wealthiest, most powerful men and the women they claim…and keep. The face of the Morrow company, Donovan Morrow is the ultimate Trojan. But despite his entrepreneurial gifts—in the boardroom and the bedroom—he always comes in second to his big brother, Jax. Until Victoria de Winter, a beautiful and brilliant corporate rival, enters the picture…Victoria has enjoyed great success in her family’s business—and now that she’s engaged, she seems to have her future all figured out. But as soon as she meets Donovan, she is tormented by their mutual desire…and soon she is his to possess. But what is the price of surrendering to the Billion Dollar Bad Boy?Don’t miss Jax’s story in The Billion Dollar Bachelor, available now! And Sean’s story in The Billionaire Biker coming in April 2014.

While overall this was an enjoyable story I can see where there might be some issues for readers.  The heroine is actually engaged at the start of the story and while you know upfront that the relationship is not one of love but convenience please don’t read this if any sort of infidelity bothers you.  In this case I didn’t get too fixated on the engagement but I know many see this as unequivocal cheating and won’t look beyond that to the “arrangement” the two of them have.

Victoria has always wanted one single thing – her father to treat and consider her his own daughter not just the kid he adopted to make his wife happy.  She’s lived most of her life (mom died at 8) wanting to matter to her father but knows that he just sees her as a burden.  She’s desperate to get the land that Morrow is selling in order to maybe just maybe finally be seen as a de Winter and get a bit of her father’s attention/affection.  As she works to get the deal she is forced to deal with Donovan Morrow who is adamant he will not sell the property but plays games with her and causes her to maybe want something real….  She’s so locked up and used to living behind a mask that the fire unleashed by her chemistry with Donovan throws her for a loop.  I liked how she was honest with herself once the walls started to come down and that she stood up for herself in the end.

Donovan just wants to be a real Morrow.  Sure he is related by blood to his family but his father never considered him worth anything, even when he did things that made him deeply ashamed in order to get information for his dad.  He’s so good at putting on the mask everyone expects to see and when Victoria manages to get under his skin he just keeps lying and saying there is nothing there.  I liked how he was so able to see behind the mask with Victoria but hated how he wasn’t willing to give her the chance to show him that her feelings were real.  He needed to have a major wakeup call but I did get that his actions were a direct result of years of damage from his prior lifestyle and not a direct attack on Victoria.

The two of them have a chemistry that burns up the pages but there is a definite amount of heart and angst that play factors in the story.  Donovan just needed someone to show him he was worth everything and Victoria needed someone to show her she belonged.  They find this in one another and I am happy to have read the story.

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley.com for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I really did enjoy it!

four-stars

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Perfect Catch – Sierra Dean – 4 stars – Contest!

March 16, 2014 Read in 2014, Samhain, Sent 4

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Perfect Catch – Sierra Dean – 4 stars – Contest!Perfect Catch by Sierra Dean
Published by Samhain Publishing on 2014-03-11
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 274
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
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four-stars

Is their love a home run, or merely a pop fly? Boys of Summer, Book 2Minor league umpire Alice Darling loves everything about baseball. That means hunky ball players are strictly off limits—dating one would be professional suicide. With a young daughter and a brother to care for, she can’t afford to slip up. Truth is, as a young, stupid, nineteen-year-old townie, she did once date a player. That’s how she wound up with her precious, nine-year-old daughter...and a determination to never make that mistake again. Alex Ross’s arrival in Florida for spring training, though, shakes her resolve in a big way. Alex, a catcher for the Major League’s San Francisco Felons, has never let much get in the way of his game. One look at Alice changes everything, and he finds himself pursuing her with a single-minded purpose that plays hell with his concentration. Booted back to the minors, he returns to Florida with his tail between his legs to work on his swing...and heat things up with Alice. But when rumors of their affair hit the sports blogosphere, Alice’s career is put in jeopardy, and their love starts to look more like a strikeout than a home run. Warning: When a catcher struggling with his swing meets a stubborn single-mom umpire, his bat won’t be the only thing that heats up. Contains car sex, bed sex, sex sex, and a little angst for good measure.

If you didn’t know from following Sierra Dean on Twitter that she’s a baseball fan then you would definitely figure it out from reading this series.  Baseball players, support staff and fans are lovingly brought to life by her with an eye for not only the good things that come from being in the lifestyle but the harsh realities players and staff live thru in order to be a part of this sport play out over the year.

We got to see Alex in the prior book in the series and I know I looked forward to getting to know this catcher a bit better.  As we get to know him better we find that while he has had the typical love ’em and leave ’em lifestyle of the young, handsome, well-off player he really has a great heart that wants to find his match.  He’s got sisters that serve to keep him in line when it comes to the treatment of women but when he meets Alice he has no clue how to handle a woman that runs so hot and cold to him.  He shows how much he wants to be a part of her life in so many ways in this book but I have to say the way he tries to include her daughter in things melted my heart.  He really does try to treat both of them like princesses and treasures so you will adore this soft side.  He’s also extremely patient as he deals with Alice’s issues that at times I just didn’t see why he didn’t give up but I loved that he was willing to tolerate so much from her as in the end they make a great pair.

Alice is not my favorite heroine in many ways but I liked her and understood most of why she behaved the way she did.  I didn’t always like her treatment of Alex but was happy that she owned her mistakes once she realized what she stood to lose if she didn’t open her eyes.  She loves her job as an ump and being a single mother but finds herself struggling with keeping her home together while fighting an attraction to a ball player.  This attraction could ruin her career as an ump but can’t seem to avoid wanting a man who fits all the things she thinks is horrible.  She’s been burned by a ball player before and paints every single one of them with the same brush.  This of course creates conflict with Alex as she isn’t open with him about her issues and it almost drives a permanent wedge between them as she always jumps to the worst conclusions with him.  My frustration with her revolves around her willingness to forgive her brother for his actions but a man who has treated her with nothing but respect doesn’t get any chances because of his career?  I was happy when she finally wakes up to what she stands to lose if she doesn’t change but jeez it took a while to get there.

I’ve got to thank Sierra for the chance to read this as I loved Alex and learned to love Alice.  I’m ready for more more more…

Now for the fun stuff…  For a chance to win a copy of Perfect Catch in either a Nook or Kindle format tell me…  What MLB team do you cheer for or what sport do you prefer to baseball?  I’ll choose one winner on 3/24/2014 so have your entries in by 3/23/2014 at 11:59 pm CDT in order to be considered.  Include your format preference in your comment.

four-stars

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My Summer With The Marine – Susan Meier – 5 stars

March 16, 2014 Entangled Publishing, Read in 2014, Sent 0

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My Summer With The Marine – Susan Meier – 5 starsHer Summer with the Marine by Susan Meier
Published by Macmillan on 2014-03-10
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 266
Format: eARC
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

Their competition has never been so irresistible

The last person Ellie McDermott wanted to run into after returning to her hometown is Finn Donovan, her high school nemesis and the guy she crossed the line from enemies to lovers with one night years ago. Now ex-military, tattooed, and still sexy as hell, Finn is a complication Ellie doesn’t need—she needs to concentrate on saving her family business.

Finn’s entire life, Ellie was there, going head-to-head with him in every class, bee, and test. So it’s no surprise she’d show up just as he was about to take over her father's struggling business. It is a surprise, though, that his attraction to her is even more explosive than it had been. Acting on their attraction is one thing, but Finn has to turn a profit to save his own family, and nothing—not even love—will get in his way.

This was a book that had moments where I wanted to slap sense in to both the hero and heroine but also one that made me laugh and cry.  The sparks that fly between Ellie and Finn are palpable but what makes the story work is the hearts behind the heat.

I don’t want to give away too much because the troubles they both have to go thru to get to their happy ever after is so worth being in the moment to discover that I don’t want to ruin it.  You’ve got a heroine in Ellie that is willing to go toe-to-toe with the town that she left as fast as she possibly can when she graduated high school.  The hero, Finn, has done time as a Marine but now is back to try to resolve some issues in his past and create a new life for his family.  We have to work thru misunderstandings from high school between them and the fact that there are so few reasons for Ellie to trust Finn but also so few reasons for Ellie not to trust Finn that you will have trouble staying mad at either of them during their ups and downs.

I will say the story lines that aren’t the main pair is what made this book a 5 star read.  I loved seeing more of both families and look forward to more of Finn’s brothers as they should prove to be interesting stories as they create their own lives after the nightmare they lived thru as children.  The strength that they show as they come together was wonderful to see and the fact that they were so very protective of each other plus their mother shows that once they find their matches sparks will fly!

Be prepared to have some tissues on hand as there are some sequences that will make you tear up but overall this was a wonderful story about two people who are so made for one another it is hard to see why they fought so long and so hard against it.

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

five-stars

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Down On Her Knees – Christine Bell – 4 stars

February 26, 2014 Entangled Publishing, Purchased, Read in 2014 0

Down On Her Knees – Christine Bell – 4 starsDown on Her Knees (A Dare Me Novel) by Christine Bell
Published by Brazen, Entangled Publishing on 2014-02-24
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
Pages: 250
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

Four lessons, no strings…Detective Rafe Davenport has always made Courtney DeLollis uneasy. While her instincts whisper, Touch him, her mind says, Run. But since she learned that he’s dominant in the bedroom, she hasn’t been able to forget about it. She should be appalled—she knows all too well what happens when a man has too much control—but a deeper, darker part of her is fascinated...And so is Rafe. The sexual tension between them is thick enough to touch, and damn, does he want to touch. So he suggests something that will benefit them both. Four scenes—because anything more is a relationship, and Rafe won’t go there ever again. Each scenario is designed to tease and torment. To show Courtney that with every submission comes the reward of scintillating pleasure. But once he has Courtney down on her knees, Rafe realizes that she might be the one woman capable of bringing him to his…

I have been looking forward to this story as we’ve seen the heat that the main pair throw off when they are in a room together for more than 30 seconds.

Courtney is a nurse who has no room in her life for a relationship.  She’s not looking for anything due to her ex but when she hears about what Rafe likes to do with women she’s on the outside horrified but on the inside intrigued.  She equates BDSM with abuse because of her past experience with a controlling boyfriend but when Rafe pushes her to try it for only four scenes she’s interested enough to jump at the chance.  Well…  maybe not jump but she does decide that she can trust him enough to try it before she loses her nerve.  She ends up getting more than just amazing sex out of the bargain, she gets her sense of self confidence and power back.  I liked seeing her emerge from her past to become someone that loves life.

Rafe is a love-em and leave-em kind of man since his girlfriend died years ago.  He’s not looking for anything other than short-term, 4 scene maximum things so when he decides to act on his attraction to Courtney he fully expects this to be nothing different than getting her out of his system.  All romance readers will roll their eyes at that thought because as we all know this is not the way it works in these stories.  As they spend more time together and he scenes with her there are boundaries that are crossed and walls that start to come down.  He does the normal stupid hero BS but I loved his grovel (short but very honest) at the end.  He’s really not a bad guy at all but has a heart that has already suffered a horrific loss and fears that if he lets someone else in that he won’t survive another loss.  He’s growly and sexy but dear lord how much he craves Courtney’s happiness sparks off the page…  She’s a lucky woman for catching this sexy Dom.

Short hot and oh so good….  make sure you read it and the others in this series.  🙂

four-stars

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Before You Break – Christina Lee – 5 stars

February 26, 2014 Intermix, NetGalley, Read in 2014 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Before You Break – Christina Lee – 5 starsBefore You Break by Christina Lee
Published by Penguin on 2014-02-18
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Love & Romance, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley.com
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five-stars

A sexy, emotional New Adult romance about a bad boy on the edge and a good girl about to lose control... A college baseball star isn’t supposed to have skeletons in his closet. But Daniel Quinn is hiding a guilty past so dark he refuses to let anyone get close. Except there’s something about gorgeous, studious Ella Abrams that goes beyond the electric attraction between them—something that makes him want to open up. Ella has suffered enough heartache and guilt to fill one of her psychology textbooks, but she keeps that part of herself hidden behind a bubbly exterior. Until she receives an anonymous call while working a suicide helpline and the voice on the other end touches something inside of her that she can’t ignore. Soon Ella and Quinn’s physical connection heats up, even as their deep and revealing hotline talks intensify. But by the time Ella realizes that her seductive jock and her sensitive caller are the same guy, it might be too late to save him—or to stop herself from falling too far...

There was something beautiful about this story.  It might have been that both Quinn and Ella have so much pain in their short lives that is abated by the time they spend together or it might be due to the fact that Ms. Lee doesn’t shy away from a very tough topic.

Ella loves the fact that she is in school and around people that she cares about but her relationship with her boyfriend is falling apart which might not be such a bad thing.  She’s starting to notice his frat brother and isn’t quite certain what to think about the fact that he has shown her more kindness and attention than the man who is supposed to be there for her has in quite some time.  She works for a local suicide hotline and when she gets a call from someone needing help she finds herself more interested in the man on the phone than she knows she should be.  As she finally makes some decisions about her love-life she finds herself spending more and more time around Quinn but knows there is something he hasn’t told her but that it is something huge.  She opens up to him about her brother’s suicide and how that has impacted her life in so many ways including the boyfriend she stayed with because of his ties to her brother.  As she and Quinn start to get closer there is a secret that both of them hold which could split them apart or finally bring them the love and sense of being whole that they both crave.  I loved her journey in this and the strength she shows when the truth comes out is amazing to read.  She’s something else and seeing her find what she needed was beautiful.

Quinn…  where do I start with him.  He’s sexy..  well hell that’s a given..  but what you’ll love about him is his heart.  He’s such an amazingly sweet man with this need to belong.  He wants to have someone love him for him but the truth is he doesn’t feel he deserves it.  He made a mistake that cost him dearly and because of that one mistake he’s living a life he doesn’t really want to out of a sense of survivor’s guilt.  We get to see him work through his feelings for Ella and his belief that he doesn’t deserve her plus his sense of responsibility for a horrible accident.  I loved how strong he really is as he works through everything but I especially loved how he tried to take care of her first but was willing to show her his vulnerabilities when he needed to.  There was something special about watching him slowly start to rebuild himself and let people help him when they needed to.  He’s got an amazing soul and seeing it heal on his journey in this book was sigh-worthy.

This was a fairly deep story in that we have a character that is suicidal and one who harbors guilt about what they believe they could have done to stop a suicide.  It could have been a very dark story but instead by seeing their journey it showed that even in the darkest times there can be hope and hope should be what you reach for.

I’d like to thank Intermix and NetGalley.com for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

I’ll also close with this…  If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide or need help coming to terms with someone close to you who has chosen this option please please please get help…  Speak to someone you trust or reach out to your local suicide helpline.  You can also reach out to:

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five-stars

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Baby, Be Mine – Vivian Arend – 5 stars

February 24, 2014 Read in 2014, Sent 0

I received this book for free from the Author . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Baby, Be Mine – Vivian Arend – 5 starsBaby, Be Mine by Vivian Arend
Published by Samhain Publishing on 2014-02-25
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Pages: 177
Format: eARC
Source: the Author
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five-stars

What the mind forgets, the heart remembers. A Thompson & Sons StorySince the moment Katy Thompson transformed from annoying tagalong to desirable woman, Gage Jenick has awaited his chance. When she kicks her boyfriend to the curb, he doesn’t hold back—in spite of the next-day work assignment that will take him completely off the grid for two long months. After a head injury sustained on a storm-swept road, Katy can’t remember her own email password, much less how the little pink “positive” on the pregnancy stick got there. Barring an influx of midi-chlorians, she’s at a loss to explain what happened, or when...or with whom. Suddenly Gage is back in her life as if he has a right to be there. While she vividly remembers the crush she had on him, she’s no one’s charity case. But another thing she’d forgotten was just how stubborn Gage can be—especially when her domineering ex tries to stake a claim...Warning. An unforgettable night that gets forgotten. A crazy redneck ex, and a hero who’s ready to take on the world, and his past, for his heroine.

Once again Vivian gets me to *sigh* and adore her writing.  This one was just a wonderful story of love, understanding and trust that will make you happy sniffle while reading it.

Gage finally has his moment to get what he’s wanted for years.  Katy is finally single and he can now make the move he’s been wanting to make since the first time he realized she was more than just his friend’s little sister.  Of course the thing that really sucks is he is leaving the next day to head to the oil fields for 6 months but he has to take his chance now and hope that she feels the same way about him.  They have their moment and the next morning he leaves to work but doesn’t know what happens at home as that same day he’s offered a chance to take a 2 month remote job which means he can get home much earlier to live the life he never thought with the woman who has always mattered.

Katy has spent the past two months recuperating from an accident that left her with no memory of the night she shared with Gage but a pregnancy that she didn’t expect and because of the accident doesn’t know who the father is.  When Gage comes back in to her life she has no clue that they made plans to be together and isn’t seeing his interest in her as anything other than one of pity.  She puts Gage in his place and is determined to do it on her own and in her own fashion but her psycho ex is also trying to say that the child is his.  She’s strong but feels like such a failure that because of the accident she can’t remember anything nor can she complete tasks that to most people would be easy.

The relationship between Gage and Katy has some of the most steamy times but also there is so much pain and longing as they try to work on making something real while things conspire against them.  You see how much Gage wants to control everything and make it all easy for his love but really does temper his need for her by letting her set the pace.  He tries to barrel through everything in the beginning but really does learn from his mistakes and owns them.  He just wants her nothing more and seeing this strong man be so willing to put himself out there for her was just…  *sigh*  Katy also owns up to her mistakes and understands that he is working so hard to be what she needs but also let her be strong on her own two feet.  She’s there for Gage as things spiral out of their control and seeing her faith in him when he needs it most was sniffle-worthy.

This is a quick read and one that has me ready not only for more of this pair but to see what we have in store with the rest of the Thompsons.  Thanks to Vivian Arend for giving me the chance to read this early!!  Keep em coming cause you know I’ll read anything you throw my way….  and yes I adore her but she has no say in what I think of her writing nor did she have a say in this review.  🙂

five-stars

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