Saturday, February 28, 2015

REVIEW: Love Him or Leave Him by Sara Daniel

***This book was originally reviewed for GraveTells.***
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Summary:

Sometimes dreams are where you least expect them

Connor O’Malley and Becca Sanders were once high school sweethearts, ripped apart by rumors in the small town of Kortville, Illinois. Connor left to join the military, and Becca stayed, waiting for her younger brother to graduate so she could live her dreams of traveling the world. But now that Connor's back as the town sheriff, Becca finds herself struggling to resist the too-handsome man who once broke her heart.

Connor loves Kortville—its quaintness keeps at bay the painful memories of Afghanistan he’s sure make him unworthy of any woman, particularly the beautiful brunette he’s always secretly dreamed of a future with. But when a scandal rocks the town, suddenly Connor and Becca must trust in each other if they want to weather this storm…and come out on the other side of it together.

Thoughts:

I enjoyed this book plenty, but beware that this book starts off kind of sad. The history of the characters and between them is enough to make a girl cry a little. However, I enjoyed the town and its people, especially as they related to our couple. Connor is so sweet, and Becca is so dedicated and the people around them can’t help but be supportive.

You can tell there was a story before this one, but not in such a way that you feel like you’re missing anything, so this makes a fine standalone read. It’s well-written with good mystery, even if it’s a little predictable, good personal conflicts and character depth, and great chemistry even with closed door love scenes (which is disappointing, but I maybe I’m just a smut addict). The ending was very sweet and just gives you a warm fuzzy feeling of love, family, and community.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Winging It by Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James


Thanks to Enchantress of Books Blog Tours for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing my review of Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James's Winging It. Happy reading!

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Summary:

Gabe Martin has a simple life plan: get into the NHL and win the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t include being the first out hockey player or, worse, getting involved with one of his teammates. But things change.

Dante Baltierra is Gabe’s polar opposite—careless, reckless… shameless. But his dedication to the sport is impressive, and Gabe can overlook a lot of young-and-stupid in the name of great hockey. And Dante has a superlative ass in a sport filled with superlative asses.

Before Gabe can figure out how to deal, a tabloid throws him out of his comfortable closet into a brand-new world. Amid the emotional turmoil of invasive questions, nasty speculation, and on- and off-ice homophobia, his game suffers.

Surprisingly, it’s Dante who drags him out of it—and then drags him into something else. Nothing good can come of secretly sleeping with a teammate, especially one Gabe has feelings for. But with their captain out with an injury, a rookie in perpetual need of a hug, and the race to make the playoffs for the first time since 1995, Gabe has a lot on his plate.

He can’t be blamed for forgetting that nothing stays secret forever.

Title:  Winging It
Series:  N/A
Book #: N/A
Author:  Ashlyn Kane & Morgan James
Approximate Book Length:  280 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

This was a pretty cute story. Gabe is cute in a funky, shy kind of way and Dante is a fun, wild character. Together they seemed a little counterintuitive to me, but they just work and balance each other out – it was sweet. The romance was good, but the overall storyline involved a LOT of hockey, which I don’t know much about or get into really, so there being so much about the hockey itself made for a bit of a slow read for me. The love scenes were a mixture of open door and implied and were well done all around. I LOVED the supporting characters – they were a hoot!

A couple random notes: The book is told in third person, but all from Gabe’s point of view. The book is deceptively long! It looks like only a few chapters, making me think it was around 120 pages long or something, but no – it’s 280!

Bottom Line:

Winging It is a fun, sweet read – especially if you like hockey! Don’t miss out on this MM romance!

Rating:



Links:



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About the Authors
Ashlyn Kane is a Canadian former expat who is now happy to be reunited with televised hockey at acceptable waking hours. She has reached the age of “twentysomething,” which she will be for at least the next fifteen years.

She has a bad habit of staying up too late, a husband who likes to go to bed early, and a baby brother called Miracle Whip. She is allergic to cleaning, unless you mean cleaning up manuscripts, in which case she gets a little obsessive. Feel free to drop her a line—she’s probably in front of her computer right now, since she’s attached to it at the eyeballs.

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Morgan James started writing fiction before she could spell it. It was in high school that she started writing her first novel about a gay character, and she thanks the Internet for helping her realize that didn't make her crazy. Coincidentally, she also thanks the Internet for the role it plays in her long distance friendship with Ashlyn Kane. Geek, artist, archer, and fangirl, Morgan tends to while away free hours with imaginary worlds and people on pages and screens—it's an addiction. She lives in Ontario with her family and is the personal slave of three cats and a poodle (who isn't named Ringo, but who does like to poke).

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Saturday, February 21, 2015

REVIEW: Bar Mate by Rebecca Royce

***This book was originally reviewed for GraveTells.***
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Summary:

Wolf-shifter Yvette Nelson is incredibly bored with her job as a waitress at Gunther’s Bar. Until one night, when a man she’s never met enters the place. He makes her wolf want to come out and play—she has to have him.

Stark just wanted a beer. But Yvette brings out yearnings in him he didn’t even know he had. Together, they’ll find that letting go of inhibitions can open up all kinds of fun times, like a chance at forever.

Thoughts:

This was a good and hot little story, but I felt like I was missing something like little scenes here and there. It also feels incredibly short, which I know is the point, but this one feels too short like it was cut off too abruptly instead of ending smoothly.

That being said, the relationship itself is hot. Both parties seem to be the dominating type, but they have no problem giving and taking with each other. Yvette as a shifter is particularly unafraid of taking charge, but Stark can stand right up to her and understands her. Endearing and intriguing, leaving you wanting more.


Friday, February 20, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Christmas with the Black Sheep by Natalie-Nicole Bates


Thanks to Heart Felt Promos for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing a little about Natalie-Nicole Bates's Christmas with the Black Sheep today. Happy reading!

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It’s Christmas time, and Eriah Jameson has returned home to restart his family’s business. Due to his wild child past, no one is friendly or welcoming to Barrow Haven’s black sheep.

Aylin Myers lost her job when Eriah’s father took ill. She knows Eriah needs her help getting his business up and running again, but she doesn’t trust him. If he fails, she knows it will dishonor his father’s memory. And Aylin knows that at Christmas, it’s the right thing to help your fellow man—no matter how wretched he might be.

As Aylin gets to know Eriah, she sees a side of him Barrow Haven never saw. That perhaps the black sheep has changed for the better. Still, can she be sure this side of Eriah is real, and not just a facade he’s perfected over time to get his own way?


Buy at Amazon


~EXCERPT~

He took her hand firmly into his, and looked down into her eyes, his own blue eyes almost transparent in the light of the streetlamp above them.

“I want to walk you home,” he insisted.

“Okay, let’s walk then.”

As they trudged through the newly fallen snow, Aylin held tight to his hand. The ice beneath her feet was absolutely treacherous. She’d never thought to put on winter boots before she left home that afternoon.

Most of the houses on both sides of her street were gaily decorated with multicolored strands of blinking lights. In the windows were wreaths or other festive decorations. It was truly a beautiful sight.

There were so many things she wanted to ask him as they walked, but she wasn’t sure she wanted to know the answers, so she kept silent until they reached her front door.

She pushed the key into the lock, and turned it until it snapped open. As she turned the doorknob, there was a sudden bang, almost like a gunshot, and everything went dark around them.

The shock was so acute, she grabbed on to Eriah in the darkness, and felt his arms close around her. Her heart beat double time in her chest.

“Power’s out,” he said.

Of course. It was just a power outage. Probably from the winter storm that besieged them. Her heart began to slow to a more normal rhythm, her face still pressed against his shoulder.

After a moment, she stepped away, stomped her sneakers clean of snow, and stepped inside the warm house. Eriah remained on the doorstep. She couldn’t allow him to try to find his way home in complete blackness, and she did agree to talk with him. “Come on in.”

“Thanks, that’s nice of you.” She could hear the gratefulness in his voice, as she closed the door behind them.

“I guess this is one time I’m glad I’m in the candle business.”

She groped in the darkness until she felt the edge of her worktop and felt around the various objects until she came upon a lighter. She flicked it on, and her eyes adjusted to the dim light. A medium-sized snowball candle sat nearby. Quickly, she lit the wick before the lighter had a chance to burn her fingers, and a soft glow grew from the candle.

When she turned around, his lips came down upon hers. Soft, searching, her hand went to his cold cheek. Almost instantly, she reminded herself of what transpired between them the day before. But her heart her heart…overrode her mind’s stern warnings, until her mind won out and broke the kiss, and turned away from him. “I’m not starting this all over with you. I won’t get hurt again.”

He gently turned her face back to him. “We started something really good, and I screwed it up. I know that. I just want a chance to explain.”

For a few moments, her mind whipped back and forth, trying to decide what to do, what was right for her, what was right for him.

With no answer in sight, she finally conceded. “Let’s go upstairs. I’ll hear you out, but I won’t promise you anything.”

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About the Author
Natalie-Nicole Bates is a book reviewer and author.

Her passions in life include books and hockey along with Victorian and Edwardian era photography. Natalie contributes her uncharacteristic love of hockey to being born in Russia.

She currently resides in the UK where she is working on her next book and adding to her collection of 19th century post-mortem photos.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

REVIEW: Below the Belt by Sidney Halston

Summary:

Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?

Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.

Title:  Below the Belt
Series:  Worth the Fight
Book #: 3
Author:  Sidney Halston
Approximate Book Length:  262 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

I liked this book and all, but I do have a few mixed feelings about it. I like Tony by the end, but never particularly fell in love with him. He was frequently pretty asinine. Frances, however, I loved. She gave in to Tony a little more than I would’ve liked, but their romance wouldn’t have progressed if she hadn’t, and they ended in a good place. She’s pretty much a badass and I loved all the scenes where she got to showcase that! Her history of “survival” really resonated with me and I appreciated that part of her past and how it shaped her.

This book stands alone just as well, maybe even better than the last. The couples from the first two books are there and everything, but this really was very much about Tony and Frances alone. The story is good, though a little slow at times. I will say that one thing bothered me: there’s a no-protection love scene and they make kind of a big deal about it, but then protection is never mentioned again.

Overall, I think they compliment each other pretty well and they’re very sweet and sexy, but Tony himself is just a little too rough around the edges for me to really adore them, but I think that’s just me.

Bottom Line:

Below the Belt is a story about two people from opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to romantic histories who learn a lot about themselves and love. You don’t want to miss this latest installment from Sidney Halston!

Rating:



Links:



Monday, February 16, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Rough Rider by Victoria Vane


Two wary hearts …

Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect—until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.

Different Dreams…

Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good—roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there's a void he can't seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts…but there’s a certain cowgirl he can’t forget.

When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he's determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?


Buy at Amazon          Buy at Barnes & Noble


~EXCERPT~

He looked abashed. “We didn’t just have to leave the party, we got kicked out of the hotel too.”

“Evicted from your room?”

“Yup. And there aren’t any others available in all of Casper.”

“I know,” she said. “It’s why I’m camped out here.” She paused to digest what he’d left unsaid. “So you and Rachel?”

He shook his head with a scowl “We’re done now. Quits.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Nope. History. Case closed.”

“It’ll blow over.”

“Don’t think so. It was her idea to boot us. Said she didn’t give a shit if I had a room tonight or not. Then I couldn’t even try finding anything outside of town because my asshole brother took my keys so I wouldn’t drive. My next move was to pilfer a blanket and pillow and camp out under the stars in my truck bed, but then it started pouring on me.”

“So you came here. How’d you do that with no wheels?”

“Walked.”

“Three miles in the pouring rain? No wonder you look like something the cat dragged in.”

“Can I crash for a coupla hours? Maybe just camp out in the back seat of your dually? All I need is to get warm and dry again.”

Janice’s mouth went dry as sawdust. Dirk Knowlton. Cold. Wet. Here. Now. Wanting a bed? She’d give her right arm to warm him up. Heck yeah.

Misreading her silence he mumbled a curse. “Sorry, Janice. It’s my damned head. I’m not thinkin’ right. It’s still throbbing like hell. Haven’t been myself all night. M’pologies for being such a dumb-ass and imposing on you—” He turned to the door.

“No! Wait. It’s not that.” She grabbed his sleeve. “I was just thinking of your injuries. You don’t need to make matters worse by sleeping all cramped up in the truck.” She gnawed her lower lip and then blurted. “Y-you wanna just stay here instead?”

“Here? That’s mighty generous but there isn’t a whole lot of room for both of us.” He glanced up at the gooseneck with a frown. “If you’ll just gimme a blanket, I’ll take the floor.”

“You don’t need to do that,” she said. “The bench here flips down over the table and converts into a single. It’s really narrow and not very comfortable, but still better than the truck. Warmer anyway. Besides you need to get dry.”

“You sure about this?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She smiled. “What are friends for? I’m sure I’ve got a shirt for you too.”

“Thanks, Red. That would be great.”

Red? The single syllable rippled warm and tingly, all the way to her toes. He followed up with a lopsided grin that stopped her in her tracks. She turned to the small cabinet that served a dual function as dresser and closet and shut her eyes on a sigh—but the same air stuck in her throat the minute she turned back around.

He’d shed the denim jacket. And the black tee. His bare torso with well-developed pecs and a mouthwatering six pack greeted her. He was drying his face with his discarded shirt. Janice tore her gaze away and cleared her throat. “Here.” She thrust an extra-large Dixie Chicks T-shirt into his hands, a souvenir from their Top of the World Tour. “I—I can get you a towel too.”

He eyed the shirt skeptically. “No thanks.”

“What? You don’t like female musicians?”

“Don’t like their politics. Natalie should just shut up and sing.”

“Ah.” She nodded slowly. The shirt was from the tour that caused the “incident.” A lot of her friends had since thrown out their Dixie Chicks CDs, but Janice still loved their music. “I Can Love You Better” was her favorite. The lyrics, she’s got you wrapped up in her satin and lace. Tied around her little finger…but I can love you better, perfectly summed up all the heartbreak and frustrations of unrequited love; all her secret feelings for Dirk. She only wished she could show him now that he was here. In the flesh. A big strong, blue-lipped and teeth-chattering fantasy come true.

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About the Author
Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

REVIEW: Primal Law by JD Tyler

***This book was originally reviewed for GraveTells.***
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Summary:

Meet the Alpha Pack, a top-secret military team of wolf-shifters fighting the most dangerous predators in the world, human and nonhuman. After a massacre leaves Jaxon Law crippled, he must relearn how to fight-and battle the anger and guilt threatening to overwhelm him. But when Jax rescues a beautiful woman who awakens his primal instincts, he is unprepared for the dangers that lie ahead. Soon he must decide if the deep connection he feels with Kira is worth defying the ultimate shifter law...

Thoughts:

There are some books that you have expectations of and then as you read, they both meet those expectations and excel right past them. This was one of those books for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not amazing and perfect, but I just bonded with it. Right from page one JD Tyler gets you engaged in the story and invested in the characters and from that point on you are taken on a wild emotional ride through a world that seems both familiar and foreign all at once.

There’s mystery and conspiracy both from the paranormal aspect and the governmental involvement aspect. As a member of a government special ops team made up of people with special abilities that go beyond shifting, you can guess it’s going to be a fun exploration of the “woo-woo” world of the wild and freaky, not to mention complicated because of all the bureaucratic BS that usually accompanies such things.

The romance was sweet and realistic. They had their lusty moments, but they also hit some rocky points and faced very valid fears. I wanted to reach in and smack them both at times, but naturally witnessing them gather their courage and own their own mistakes makes it all the better.

The characters have such depth that you can’t help but feel for them. Kira is overwhelmed by where she’s found herself simply by trying to do something good and Jaxon has been through a LOT, so watching them overcome obstacles from getting used to weirdness and learning to trust is incredibly endearing. Even the secondary characters, such as Sariel and Chupchup whom I came to adore, show such personality and development that just draws you in to make you feel a part of the very world about which you’re reading.

The ending leads us to the next book, and does so in such a way as to not necessarily be a cliffhanger, but have you clamoring for book two none the less. It was so heartbreaking I cried…a lot. I can’t wait to read more of this series!

A diverse Urban Fantasy with action, heat, and lovable characters, Primal Law is a compelling read that landed itself among my favorites. I wasn’t able to put it down once I got started and was so emotionally connected to the characters that I felt like I was a part of their story. Pick this one up and you won’t be disappointed.


Friday, February 13, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Trouble Times Two by Calinda B

Thanks to Wickedly Innocent Promotions for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing a little about Calinda B's Trouble Times Two today. Happy reading!

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Sinfully sexy yacht builder and photographer Jace Savage has lived an explosive, reckless life, playing by his own high-voltage rules. When he met Zoé Dubois, his life came to a scorching stop – until trouble re-surfaced. How much trouble can a "life on the edge" and all around bad boy take?

He's about to find out. Trouble comes knocking when the well-being of the child in his care hangs in the balance, thanks to sudden interest from her grandparents, her once disinterested father and Jace's obsessive ex-girlfriend, Kate.

Determined to give Zoé the passionately intimate life she deserves, as well as sexy exploration on a daily basis, choices have to be made. Will Jace be man enough to make them? Couple his desire to change with his constant urge to run, and you have the gut-wrenching Trouble Times Two.


Buy at Amazon          Buy at Barnes & Noble


~EXCERPT~

“Jace, stop it,” Zoé said, racing after his long legged stride. “Tell me where you’re going.”

“I don’t have time to explain,” he said, yanking a t-shirt over his head, and socks on his feet. “I’ll be back soon, we’ll get this party thing together, don’t worry.”

“Come on, stud, quit with the secrecy! You said you’d be up front with me! It’s one step forward and two steps back with you!”

Marni stood between her and Jace, her arms lifted high, her chin trembling.

Jace scooped down and picked her up. “You be good with my baby, baby-girl. Don’t give her any grief. And you,” he said to Zoé. “You’ve got to trust me. I’ve got something to take care of and I’ll be back in time for party preparation. We’ve got a wedding to prepare for.”

Zoé threw back her head. “I told you—we’re not getting married today. We’ve only known each other a little over a month.”

“That’s enough time to know how you feel, yeah? It is for me.” He gave her a heart-melting, good sense out the window kind of gaze. “You’re not getting away from me, ever, baby.”

“Who says I want to get away?” she said, exasperated.

“Exactly.” He sat Marni on the washer, positioning his body so she wouldn’t fall, and inclined his lips toward Zoé’s mouth. “We’re getting married. Done deal.” He connected with her mouth in a full on, tongue sliding, tangled, searing kiss.

Zoé barely remembered his words as her body responded. She reached up and circled his neck with her hands, opening wide to him, their tongues colliding in a slippery embrace, Jace pressing his ever-present, only for her hard-on into her belly.

Marni squirmed and squealed, making them break apart.

“There’s more of this coming your way when I return.” His green gaze bore into her and he tapped his fingertip on her nose. “But now I’ve got to jet.” He turned and raced toward the garage, heading, no doubt, for his beloved motorcycle, the Deus Grievous Angel.

Zoé opened the front door and watched him zip away. When the dust died down on the dirt driveway, she and Marni wandered back inside, clouds of irritation mixed with desire swamping her mind. A few minutes later, she heard a key in the front door. She and the toddler made their way to the foyer. “Forget something?” she said as the doorknob turned. She stopped cold, her mouth agape as the gorgeous blond stepped through the front door, key in hand. “Kate Bethlehem?” she asked, shocked. “Why is it you have a key to our house?”

“Who are you?” the woman responded icily. “Child care? And what are you doing in my boyfriend’s house?”

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About the Author
The Fun Part: Calinda B was told early on that she should be a writer. She heard frequent praise for her writing, as well as her sense of humor. Scoffing at such admonitions and praise, she went on to pursue her life of adventure, chock full of the things that make up a well-rounded adventurous life: music (yup, she was a singer in a rock and roll band), dance (even performed hip hop in Russia), rock climbing (ever hung from a rock wall a few stories up? Yikes!), fire walking (taught high-ranking Moscow fire officials how to walk the coals), kayaking, scuba diving (she's in love with sharks), travel, and falling in love again and again.

Many of her books have been nominated and placed in the top for several reader's choice awards, including Best Urban Fiction and Best Erotic Paranormal. Living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with the love of her life and her two cats, she has now chosen to put fingers to keyboard and write - when she's not in pursuit of another adventure!

The Daily Grind: College educated and life-experienced, Calinda B has worked in the world of computers and technology for a long time. Before that she worked in the world of health and fitness, as well as art. Throughout her career she has relied on her writing abilities to write articles, ad copy and web content.

Join the Calinda B mailing list to find out about giveaways, new releases and more.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

REVIEW: Full Contact by Sidney Halston

Summary:

How could she have been so stupid? When Jessica Cross decides to give her violently jealous boyfriend—the otherwise influential and charming Dennis Stavros—a second chance, she very nearly becomes a statistic. After weeks of healing from a broken rib and collapsed lung, and with Dennis behind bars, Jessica finally feels ready to come out of hiding. But will she ever be able to take a chance on love again with someone new?

Mixed martial arts fighter Slade Martin knows he has a bad reputation. Hell, he's probably earned it. So it won’t be easy to convince beautiful, vulnerable Jessica that she can trust him—that from the moment she walked into his life, she’s been the only one he’s wanted. Powerful and confident, Slade knows he can honor his vow to protect Jessica body and soul. Winning her heart will be another matter . . . but a woman like Jessica is worth the fight.

Title:  Full Contact
Series:  Worth the Fight
Book #: 2
Author:  Sidney Halston
Approximate Book Length:  262 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Moderate

Thoughts:

Jessica and Slade are awesome together. That’s just all there is to it. They have a comfortable relationship with each other and their chemistry is hot, yet sweet. Their progression around the bases so to speak was just plain cute. Slade’s past is both funny and obnoxious in that Jessica has to face a lot of his “exes” and that would wear on me were I in her shoes.

Now it’s better if you read book one first, but this actually stands pretty well all on its own. Pretty much everything you need in terms of references to book one are provided for you in a smooth recap when necessary. The story was emotional and exciting and well-paced. The ending itself was so freaking sweet it was almost nauseating! I couldn’t be happier with their ending and I look forward to the next book as we were introduced to a few new key players with romantic potential in this one.

Bottom Line:

Full Contact is a page turner with a lot of sizzle that will take you on a heck of an emotional ride. I definitely recommend this awesome read!

Rating:



Links:



Monday, February 9, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Rough Rider by Victoria Vane

In Victoria Vane’s second Hot Cowboy Nights book, ROUGH RIDER, readers’ hearts may in fact soften to the rough and bitter Dirk Knowlton they met in Hot Cowboy Nights #1, Slow Hand.

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A big thanks to Buffy’s Ramblings for sharing an excerpt with their readers so y’all can get to know a little bit more about the rough and tough hero of ROUGH RIDER. Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win one of three copies of Slow Hand by Victoria Vane!

Enjoy!


Two wary hearts …

Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect—until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.

Different Dreams…

Dirk Knowlton is living the cowboy dream. Life should be good—roping, branding, backing broncs, riding bulls, but there's a void he can't seem to fill. After getting hung up by a bull, he wonders if this is really the life he wants. Restless and rebellious, he bolts…but there’s a certain cowgirl he can’t forget.

When a battle-scarred Dirk returns to his Montana ranch he's determined to hang on at any cost. Janice has come back home to lick her own wounds. When old dreams turn to dust, can two wary hearts take another chance on love?


Buy at Amazon          Buy at Barnes & Noble


~EXCERPT~

Janice grimaced. “Look, Dirk, I’ve been around long enough to recognize his type. Grady blows about as much hot air as a Chinook.”

His gazed narrowed. “Don’t be fooled. He does blow a lot of smoke, but his bad boy act isn’t an act, and he doesn’t know how to keep his mouth shut either.”

Her temper flared. If Dirk didn’t want her, why shouldn’t she go out with Grady? A drink or two was no big deal. “You didn’t take my advice about the bull, why should I take yours?”

“Because you’re a nice girl, Janice,” he replied. “I’d hate for him to change that.”

On those parting words, Dirk tipped his hat and limped away to join some teammates, leaving a dull ache in Janice’s chest. “That may be,” she whispered to his back, “but it seems nice girls always finish last.”

*****************************

About the Author
Victoria Vane is a multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance. Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Find the author:
Website
Facebook
Twitter


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Saturday, February 7, 2015

NEW RELEASE: The Ex-Files by Alexis D. Craig



The Ex File - Book 1
( Behind the Blue Line Series)
By Alexis D. Craig

Blurb:
Second Chances Can Be Lethal

Narcotics Officer, Sean O’Leary is bitter after a messy divorce that has reinforced his solitary nature, leaving him only with his dog and a sword collection. He could never imagine that  his former best friend may be the only woman to bring happiness into his lonely life.

Ellie Gardner knows loss; especially after she was banished from her best friend/crush's life by his jealous wife. Although the regret of walking away from the love of her life still stung, a chance encounter with Sean may change everything.

When Ellie and Sean reconnect, they could never expect it'd be in such an explosive way, leaving them both to gain the fulfillment of their 'what if's.

Finding love is hard enough without the past breathing down their necks, especially when said past has no intention of letting go. When Sean's ex, Pia Mastriani returns, Ellie must face her nemesis' relentless tactics to get Sean back, including eliminating Ellie if necessary.

Sean and Ellie’s relationship is put to the test but will they fare well while they go rummaging through The Ex File?


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Book Trailer







Excerpt


Retirement parties and funerals have several things in common, the largest of which is they
both resemble family reunions, only with infinitely more baggage. Ellie Gardner didn’t
particularly enjoy heading to either, but did so out of duty and respect. It was the least she could
do.

The party at the police union hall was in full swing by the time she snuck in the back door.
Her plan was simple, drop her gift, hug her friends, pay her respects, and bolt. Thirty minutes,
tops, at least in her mind. These kinds of things depressed her, even with the cash bar she was
leaning against currently.

She’d changed out of her front desk aide clothes as soon as her shift had ended and was now
comfortably ensconced in her ‘off-duty’ attire of a Clash t-shirt and jeans, both holdovers from
her college days, and a new pair of black Chuck Taylors. If she was going to be emotionally
uncomfortable, at least she didn’t have to worry about her appearance.

“Sweet tea vodka, two shots.” She smiled at the bartender and pushed a ten across the
counter. She figured fortification was going to get her through the night, though not too much
lest the pendulum swing wildly in the opposite direction. It wasn’t often that one of her former
lovers was retiring, and was there with his new wife. Though they’d remained friends, the level
of impending awkward had surpassed ‘thermonuclear’ the moment she’d opened the car door.

“Make that four,” a gruff and familiar voice behind her told the bartender as he laid a hand
on her shoulder. “Hey stranger.”

Fuck. Make that one ex-lover and one unrequited crush. “Hey, Sean.” She smiled over her
shoulder and found herself immediately ensnared in the topaz blue eyes that still showed up in
her dreams occasionally. Sean O’Leary was six feet, one inch of Irish devilry, in addition to the
badge and gun. Black hair that he’d let grow down to his broad shoulders and a smile that
inspired in her a desire to fling her panties at him. The old Jack Daniel’s t-shirt and the well-
worn jeans were doing nothing to disabuse her of that notion, either. His hand trailed fire from
her shoulder and down her arm before he sidled up to the bar on the stool next to her. Being his
friend was hard, and being his best friend, for the short while she had been, had been damn near
impossible.

He lightly tangled his fingers in her raven curls, sending an involuntary shiver down her
spine. Anyone else would have gotten cut for that level of familiarity. “I almost didn’t recognize
you with your hair long.”

‘Long’ was a relative term. She’d let her hair grow a couple inches beyond her normal pixie
cut for the hell of it, and was still getting reacquainted with the ringlets. “Just trying something
different.” Though the last time he’d seen it, she’d been damn near a dead ringer for Halle Berry.
This time he just touched one curl, rubbing it between his fingers. “Well I like it, it suits
you.”

Ellie was grateful for the darkness of the bar as she felt her cheeks heat in pleasure at the
compliment. God, she was pathetic… and damn, how long did it take to fill a shot glass?
“Thanks. I’m liking the longer look on you, too.”

His laugh couldn’t be heard over the music as he ran his fingers through his hair. “Yeah, it’s
been for work, and I just haven’t felt like getting it cut.” He surveyed the room, filled with
uniforms and casual clothes pretty evenly, before turning back to her with a curious look. “I
don’t know why it didn’t occur to me, but I didn’t expect to see you here tonight.” It had only
been three years since she and Sean had last spoken; since he’d been married and his wife was…
not fond of Ellie was the politest way to say it. He slid twenty to the bartender and handed her
back her ten.

Ellie gave her ten back to the bartender, “A donation,” she said with a small grin. She then
took both her shots in quick succession before turning to face Sean fully. “Of course I’m here.
Sarge is one of my favorite people on the planet, and besides,” she patted the expertly wrapped
gift on the stool next to her, “his wife commissioned a piece from me.”

In her spare time, Ellie sometimes made shadow boxes for people, because she believed in
keeping memories special, even if she wasn’t particularly prepared to revisit them herself.
Sean toasted her before tossing back his first shot, “And I’m sure it’s beautiful.”

She blushed again and nodded her thanks as another friend came over. Sean met her eyes
with his in silent goodbye before pushing off the bar to evaporate into the crowd. Not that she
followed his perfectly jeans-clad ass as he departed or anything.


About the Author

Alexis is a writer with a couple of day jobs. Working for two different police agencies, it's a juggling act to find time to write.

She is also an aunt, godmother, avid cyclist, serial hobbyist, ghost hunter, and collector of stray animals. Her husband is a loving, patient man.

The author of Imminent Danger, Undercover Seduction, and Give Me Shelter with Lachesis Press, and she has three more novels coming out in 2015, The Ex File on February 7th, Dead and Disorderly on May 23rd, and Bulletproof Princess on August 8th from Hot Ink Press.







You can find Alexis at 

            


Giveaway






Presented By


REVIEW: Mate by the Music by Rebecca Royce

***This book was originally reviewed for GraveTells.***
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summary:

A mission to find his brother sends Scott Quaid to Gunther’s Bar, but a storm has emptied the place of everyone except a beautiful shifter hot enough to dry his damp leathers.

Nancy Elwood has faced the worst of humans and shifters alike and has no intention of ever letting her guard down again, until a handsome biker sweeps in with the rain.

As background music throbs around them, a different type of vibration urges two strong souls to mate with animalistic passion.

Thoughts:

This installment had a slightly different feel than the others did for me, and not at all in a bad way. Instead of a crowded bar where the two characters see each other and immediately seek a little privacy, we have an empty bar with a little spontaneity. Scott and Nancy have a hot, but softer chemistry (though still with that wolf shifter edge) and their story is sweet and oddly romantic. It’s just plain sexy as hell. As always, the book is too short, but this time it only leaves you wanting more in the best way.


Friday, February 6, 2015

BLOG TOUR: Two Howls by Sean Michael


Thanks to Bewitching Book Tours for hosting this blog tour. I'm sharing my review of Sean Michael's Two Howls today. Happy reading!

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Summary:

Max is on the run, but is he running from his past, or toward his future? Only Ulf knows…

Werewolf Max knows desiring males is wrong, but he can't help himself. When his pack nearly kills him in an attempt to cleanse him, Max runs. Jumping on his motorcycle, he heads north.

Ulf has lived on his own in the wilds of Northern Ontario for a long time. When he catches the scent of a stranger in his territory, he’s angry at first, until he realizes that Max is more than just another werewolf. They’re mates.

Ulf must make Max believe that two males can be mates, but just as he’s about to succeed, Max's past catches up with him. Will the home they've been hoping to build together be lost for good?

Title:  Two Howls
Series:  Alpha
Book #: N/A
Author:  Sean Michael
Approximate Book Length:  45 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  18+
Sexual Content:  Explicit

Thoughts:

So this was kind of a cute read, but short. There wasn’t much character development, though both men seemed nice enough. The storyline was predictable and almost non-existent. They went around in circles regarding their mating and it got a little repetitive so while I liked them together and all, that got a little tiresome. There weren’t any supportive characters or anything, so it felt a little empty to me.

Bottom Line:

Two Howls is a cute read, but lacked depth. Check it out if you want a quick sexy M/M read.

Rating:



Links:



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About the Author
Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago."

A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.

Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

REVIEW: Gilded Wings by Cameo Renae

Summary:

As the final battle draws near, Emma finds herself bound under an unbreakable oath. She must seal the bond with Ethon before her transformation, or risk her life and the lives of those she truly loves. Who she wants is no longer an option.

Lucian has unleashed troops of evil beasts from the Underworld, making it impossible for Emma to leave the protective barrier of Alaine's home. War is inevitable. The Guardians will need to stay and fight their ground, hoping Lucifer keeps his end of the deal and comes to their aid.

In this epic series conclusion, burning questions will be answered, lives will be lost, and sacrifices will be made.

But who will survive, and at what cost?

Title:  Gilded Wings
Series:  Hidden Wings
Book #: 4
Author:  Cameo Renae
Approximate Book Length:  264 Pages
Recommended Reader Age:  16+
Sexual Content:  Mild

Thoughts:

This book returned to the feel of the first one. It’s a little preachy about waiting until after marriage, but I’ll take it; it’s not like that’s a bad message to be conveying! The story included reunions, love, and loss taking me through the range of emotions. Yes, I cried. The height of the book is when I cried the most for the losses were heavy and just OMG. I can’t say more, because I don’t like giving spoilers, but the battle we’ve been waiting for throughout the series finally arrives and it is intense. I don’t think the outcome could have been any different and the ending was very happy despite the sacrifices made all around. I didn’t like an additional fight scene at the end, but it tied up a loose end and facilitated a reveal of sorts, so I digress.

On an additional note, there was one foreshadow element that made something (I know – terribly vague, but you’ll know what I’m talking about if/when you read the book!) terribly predictable. That was mildly disappointing, but I was still happy to see it happen none the less.

Bottom Line:

Gilded Wings is indeed an epic conclusion to an overall wonderful series. If you’ve been following the series, you won’t be disappointed in this awesome read!

Rating:



Links:



Tuesday, February 3, 2015

NEW RELEASE: Windburn by Juliette Cross

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!


Nightwing Series - Book 2

In the Gladium Province, the boundaries between humans and Morgons, the dragon-hybrid race, continue to blur as a new generation surrenders to long-forbidden temptation…

Sorcha Linden does whatever she wants whenever she wants, and no one can stop her. Least of all a man. After all, they’re good for only one thing—warming her bed. But then she meets Lorian, brother of Lucius Nightwing. Seductive and iron-willed, Lorian is determined to melt her emotional defenses—and warm her rebellious heart.

The beast within Lorian longs to cage Sorcha and mark her as his own. Forever. Yet the man within also longs to protect her. When a stalker starts leaving Sorcha suggestive gifts with cryptic messages bearing an ancient blood cult symbol, Lorian’s dragon side takes over. With her life at stake, Sorcha can no longer deny the love they share. But when evil tracks her into the night, will she be too late to claim it?


Buy at Amazon


~EXCERPT~

Throughout our discussion, Lorian hadn’t said a word. He tapped his forefinger on the glass-top table, an agitated movement. There seemed to be a consensus of agreement, whether he liked it or not. Finally, he stood and spoke, but not about the name.

“Ground-breaking for the site is tomorrow at ten in the morning. I expect you all there as news teams will be covering it. I expect everyone on time.” A malicious glare at me. “Dismissed.”

Willow and Belka gave each other a questioning look, obviously wondering how our first meeting lasted all of ten minutes. Like soldiers, we fell out toward the door. Fast.

“Ms. Linden. I’d like a word with you.” Hard, grating words.

I swiveled, catching Fallon’s sympathetic smile as he passed. Marching back, I stood in front of Lorian. He said not a word, hard gaze meeting mine, towering above me. Knowing he wanted privacy, Willow closed the door behind her.

I waited, back straight, chin set at a defiant angle. I only came to the top of his chest, but it didn’t faze me in the least. I imagined what it would be like to be covered by all of that hard muscle. His biceps and forearms flexed from tension. Rather than frighten, I longed to trail my fingers up them to see if he would relax under my touch.

“Ms. Linden, you came highly recommended, but don’t think because your best friend is married to my brother I will be lenient with you. I expect my employees to be on time, every time. Not one minute late. Not two seconds late. Am I clear?”

I bristled. “Crystal. Am I dismissed, Mr. Nightwing?”

Sharp eyes narrowed.

Oh, yes. He caught the slight dip, the edge of sarcasm and defiance leaking into my voice. Big boy didn’t like that. A wonderful shiver rippled down my body.

“And another thing.”

“Yes?”

“Be sure you take a shower before you show up for work.”

“What?”

“I can smell a man on you.” He leaned forward, fury lining his face in hard edges. “And I can smell everything you did with him last night.” Steely, steely words. Oh, he was so pissed.

I’d forgotten about ultrasensitive Morgon senses. Oops. I opened my mouth to make a snarky remark, but what could I say? He was right. And though it was none of his business, I still didn’t want Lorian knowing I’d had sex last night. Oh, hell. Nor did I want the rest of the damn team knowing. No wonder the men were looking at me as if they knew a secret. I’d just broadcasted to the lot of them my extracurricular activities. Heat flared in my chest as embarrassment swept through me, a sensation I rarely experienced. My attempt to transform going-out Sorcha into professional Sorcha this morning did no good, because they still knew I’d recently stumbled from another man’s bed. A flush of heat crawled up my neck.

“My private life isn’t any of your damn business, but I’ll be more sensitive to your animal senses in the future.”

“My animal—?” he stammered. His eyes narrowed, jaw clamping shut.

“Why don’t you just stop sniffing around me?” He didn’t retreat when I edged into his personal space.

“Trust me. If I could toss you out the door, I would.”

“No, you wouldn’t.”

I tilted my chin higher, a clear challenge to Lorian. I tucked a loose curl behind my ear. His intense gaze followed my hand, lingering on my cheek before landing on my lips. I moistened them. Lorian’s whole body jerked as if he’d been slapped. Wild eyes captured mine.

“Be at the building site at ten sharp. Don’t be late or you’ll regret it.”

I leaned over to grab my portfolio and bag, my breasts nearly brushing his arm, but he moved just in time.

I whispered my response. “I’m shaking all over, Mr. Nightwing. Something makes me want to be late so I can see what kind of punishment you’d have in mind.” I shocked him into silence, then gave him my best bedroom smile. “But I’ll be a good girl.” I swished toward the door, feeling his eyes following every sway of my hips. “For now.”

About the Author
Juliette calls lush, moss-laden Louisiana home where the landscape curls into her imagination, creating mystical settings for her stories. She has a B.A. in creative writing from Louisiana State University, a M.Ed. in gifted education, and was privileged to study under the award-winning author Ernest J. Gaines in grad school. Her love of mythology, legends, and art serve as constant inspiration for her works. From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance--brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

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