Publisher: Indulgence

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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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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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Into the Fire – Amanda Usen – 4.5 stars

July 5, 2013 Entangled Publishing, NetGalley, Read in 2013 0

Into the Fire – Amanda Usen – 4.5 starsInto the Fire Published by Entangled Publishing, Indulgence on June 10, 2013
Pages: 201
Format: eBook
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
four-half-stars

Jackson Calabrese has a lot of nerve. He beat Lila Grant in the Culinary Academy competition using her recipes. Now, he’s opening a restaurant and wants her help? Fine, she'll fix his menu, but it's going to cost him.

Heir to the Calabrese restaurant empire, Jackson can buy anything he wants, except creativity, so he buys Lila's instead. He can craft perfect paella, but to take New York by storm he needs her innovative spark.

Skillets aren't the only things hot in the kitchen, and an uneasy truce ignites into passion. They’re great in bed, but Jackson doesn't trust her, and Lila is contemplating revenge. The restaurant opening approaches, the menu is completed, and the tables are set for one final act of betrayal. How can love bloom in the midst of such a hot mess?

My Thoughts:

I have to say this was a steamy quick read with a main pair that sizzle when they are near one another and a hero that really needs to learn his own true value.

Lila just wants to win this last competition in culinary school so she can pay off some student loans and have a better starting point post-graduation.  The night before the final round she’s at a party and ends up spending time with the school’s resident golden boy who she’s secretly crushed on for years.  They’ve been jockeying back and forth for supremacy of their class but the sparks that are flying tonight are of a sexual nature and not a competitive one.  They have a hot interlude in which they share their plans for the competition tomorrow but Lila ducks out in the morning before he’s even woken up and then falls apart the next day as they compete.  She’s angry at him for stealing her idea but she struggles on as a caterer and still works to pursue her dream of making it as a chef one day.  She’s strong but doubts her own worth at times just because of the money struggle and I liked how once she realized what was going on between her and the hero she really did fight for what was right even at what seemed to be the expense of her happiness.  She’s a bit hard on him at first but you can understand why and when the truth really comes out about why he took her idea and ran with it I wanted to cheer because this is a couple who really do balance one another and dear lord the chemistry was off the charts.

Jackson has always seemed to live a charmed life.  I mean he is the heir apparent to a restaurant family that seems to have the golden touch.  He’s shocked when he runs in to Lila at a party and ends up spending a rather steamy night with her.  In the morning when she disappears before he even wakes up he’s shocked but when she shows up for the competition and doesn’t prepare what he expected her to he gets angry.  He tries to find her again but she doesn’t show up for graduation and he has to do a bit of sleuthing to find the woman that intrigues him more than she should.  When he finally finds her at a catering company he talks his buddy in to hiring the firm just so he can try to see what happened but what he doesn’t count on is the incredible spark that flies between them.  He does a lot of stupid things to push this connection away and not fully explore it but as he comes up with a deal that will help him maybe finally find something for his father to be proud of he has to give in.  He’s a very misunderstood person who reacts out of hurt and lets his past experiences with his father and others cloud his judgement of Lila but she does the same at every turn as well.  They both have such mountains of hurt to overcome and learn to trust one another but when push comes to shove at the climactic scene near the end  you wonder has he truly learned anything at all or will he let his own self-doubts and past hurts drive away the one person who really understands him?

Very hot read with some incredible descriptions of food that will make you want to run to the nearest restaurant to have some incredible food.  I found myself wanting to indulge many times as I was reading this so make sure to read it on a full stomach.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

four-half-stars

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