Book Review – Here Comes the Best Man

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What happens when a southern gentleman meets a British lady … love, of course.

*****

Here Comes the Best Man

Nashville Connections

by Angela Britnell

Blurb:

Being the best man is a lot to live up to …

When troubled army veteran and musician Josh Robertson returns home to Nashville to be the best man at his younger brother Chad’s wedding he’s just sure that he’s going to mess it all up somehow.

But when it becomes clear that the wedding might not be going to plan, it’s up to Josh and fellow guest Louise Giles to make sure that Chad and his wife-to-be Maggie get their perfect day.

Can Josh be the best man his brother needs? And is there somebody else who is beginning to realise that Josh could be her ‘best man’ too?

Amazon UKAmazon US

*****

Review:

This is one of those fast & quirky reads, with insta-love and humorous drama.  Pretty typical for a British novella romance, I think.

We follow Josh & Louise as they are in Nashville for Chad & Maggie’s wedding and are roped into helping the bride make sure that things go smoothly.  Louise has a history (with a guy and her childhood) that has made trusting a bit difficult.  And thanks to Josh’s time in the military, as well as some left over bad feelings from his own childhood, he’s not so comfortable coming back home but he’ll do it for his brother.  Time together has them thinking that they might be able to let the other in … if they can let go of their pasts.

While it is pretty low on angst, there is still wedding disasters to avert, family issues to address, and falling in love to do.  It’s a fast read, and a fast romance, but because of the maturity of the couple and the straightforward way they handle their attraction it isn’t unbelievable.  There’s humor, heart, and hijinks all rolled together to make for a fun summer read.

(This book does follow The Wedding Reject Table, butI found that it can completely stand on its own.)

Author Info:

Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s published over 20 novels and several short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.

www.angelabritnellromance.com

www.facebook.com/angelabritnell

www.twitter.com/angelabritnell

https://www.instagram.com/angelagolleybritnell/

*****

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Book Review – Whiskey Sharp: Torn

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A sexy red-head who knows his way around a kitchen … I’ve found my new book boyfriend!

*****

Whiskey Sharp: Torn

by Lauren Dane

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: HQN (June 26, 2018)

Blurb:

Sometimes what you find isn’t what you were searching for

Beau Petty has been searching his whole life. Searching for a place that fills all the empty spaces in him. Searching for a way to tame the restlessness. Searching for answers to the secret he’s never stopped trying to solve. What he wasn’t searching for was a woman to claim all of him, but when Cora Silvera walks back into his life, he’s ready to search out all the ways he can make her his.

Cora has spent her life as the family nurturer, taking care of others. But now she’s ready to pass that job on to someone else. It’s time to make some changes and live for herself. It’s in that moment that her former teenage crush reappears and the draw and the heat of their instant connection is like nothing either of them has experienced. He craves being around her. She accepts him, dark corners and all.

Beau thinks Cora’s had enough drama in her life. He wants to protect her from the secrets of his past, even if it means holding back the last pieces of himself. But Cora is no pushover and she means to claim all those pieces.

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

*****

Review:

(minor spoilers ahead, maybe, I don’t know – details aren’t in the blurb but I think they are told pretty early on)

I started this series here (no surprise!) so I came into it with no preconceived notion of the characters.  And I really enjoyed myself.  Beau and Cora together are cute and sexy and pretty much melodrama free.  But that doesn’t apply to the rest of their lives.

Cora has spent the last who-knows-how-many years being at her mom’s beck & call and she’s done.  She’s ready to stay in one place and create a life for herself, something that fulfills her and isn’t just being minder to her diva mother.  And the timing is perfect as it brings her back in time to connect with Beau again.

Beau was raised in cult as the son of its leader.  He got out when his dad started doing things that Beau didn’t agree with and worked with the authorities … which sent the others on the run.  He’s managed to make a good life for himself and was a very successful model before becoming a chef.  He’s in Seattle spending time with friends and is surprised to see Cora again.

The connection between the two is instantaneous and works for me.  They get along very well and make for a believable (and steamy) couple.  I also like the bond between the two of them and their friends.  They have created a support group from themselves that is quite awesome and those interactions are fabulous to see.

There are some weaker moments – mainly Cora & her mom and Beau & his past.  While Beau’s does have a bit more resolution by the end, there is still a little bit of an open-ended feel to it.  Maybe Dane plans on it being a tie-in to a future book?  It definitely feels like it could lead to more.  And Cora & her mom definitely didn’t have the resolution that some will feel they need.  Cora does stand up for herself and works to make the situation the best it can be, but her mom is just not very likable.  Reading it you’re not sure why everyone is OK with her attitude and the way she treats people, especially family.  They maneuver her well and there is a subtle addressing of things, but I think that it isn’t going to be enough for some readers.

Overall, as my first book by Dane, I found it to be a good read – enjoyable characters all around and a hot romance.  I couldn’t ask for more in a summer read.

*****

Author Info:

The story goes like this – While on pregnancy bed rest, Lauren Dane had plenty of down time so her husband took her comments about “giving that writing thing a serious go” to heart and brought home a secondhand laptop. She wrote her first book on it before it gave up the ghost. Even better, she sold that book and never looked back.

Today Lauren is a New York Times bestselling author of over fifty novels and novellas across several genres.

Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

*****

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Book Review – The Last Rodeo

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Sexy, stubborn, looks good in a hat & boots …

*****

The Last Rodeo

A Wrangler’s Creek Novel (Book 9)

by Delores Fossen

Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: HQN (June 26, 2018)

Blurb:

The most important two words for this Wrangler’s Creek rodeo cowboy? I do…

Lucian Granger isn’t winning any Mr. Cowboy Congeniality awards. Known in his small Texas town as “Lucifer” thanks to his surly nature and knack for scaring people away from getting too close, the handsome rancher has no trouble ignoring the gossip. But when he’s in danger of losing the land he’s put his blood, sweat and tears into maintaining, Lucian sets out to prove he’s a changed man—by claiming he’s about to settle down with his invaluable assistant, Karlee O’Malley.

Their pending nuptials may be just for show, but from the moment they kiss, the proverbial fireworks start going off in his head—and in his heart. Before long, the man who’s usually as emotional as a brick wall is tired of pretending and wants to share a real future with Karlee. With his world suddenly turned upside down, Lucian will risk losing the business and the ranch if it means holding on to the one woman worth becoming a better man for…

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

*****

Review:

As a new Fossen reader, I have no idea what her particular style is but I feel like I should give a few warnings for other newbies.  There isn’t a TON of romance here, so if that’s your main focus you may be disappointed (I’ve seen a few of those on Goodreads).  Instead, Fossen delivers an interesting mix of a couple coming to terms with their feelings, a oh-so-dysfunctional family, and some business shenanigans.  It melded together really well for me, but may not work for others.

Lucian is the one that stepped in when his dad stepped out and he’s done amazing things to make the family business a success.  Unfortunately, his dad is now back in the picture and threatening everything that Lucian has worked so hard for.  The big question is why and that plays out through a decent part of the book.  It also leads Lucian to making a few realizations – about himself, his life, and his heart.

Karlee has been there by Lucian’s side for years, loving him silently, but she’s finally reached the point where her heart can’t take any more.  She’s starting to move on when the bad dad drama hits and her feelings means that she can’t abandon Lucian or his family.  But being in a fake relationship with him means that some things come to light that she hadn’t planned on.

Fossen has a fun, quirky style – filling her story with humor, hijinxs, and hilarious secondary characters.  And because she writes with dual POV, we are there with Lucian while his blinders are taken away and he has to face not only Karlee’s feelings but his own.  We also get to see the toll that everything has on her.  And my heart went out to her all the way to the end.

While I found the love story to be satisfying, it also doesn’t play center stage.  Those looking for a pure romance may be a little thrown by the family and business drama.  It’s important for the characters and does help lead to the HEA, leading to growth and helping to put some old ghosts to bed, but it does make up a decent part of the plot causing the relationship portion to be downplayed a little.  Not a bad thing, in my opinion as I enjoyed seeing how everything worked out, but also not everyone’s cup of tea 🙂

*****

Author Info:

USA Today bestselling author, Delores Fossen, has sold over 70 novels with millions of copies of her books in print worldwide. She’s received the Booksellers’ Best Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award and was a finalist for the prestigious Rita ®. In addition, she’s had nearly a hundred short stories and articles published in national magazines.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

*****

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Spotlight – I Think I Love You

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This series has been getting great reviews and the next book, releasing tomorrow, is already proving to be just as good!

*****

I Think I Love You

Oxford Book 5

by Lauren Layne

Releasing July 10, 2018

Loveswept

Blurb:

A game of seduction between two best friends goes deliciously wrong in an irresistible Oxford Novel that brims with wit and sexual tension. Library Journal hails Layne’s work as “exemplary contemporary romance.”

Brit Robbins knows that dating in New York City is hard—she just hoped to have it mastered by age thirty. But after yet another promising suitor says they have no sparks, Brit decides it’s time to torch her dating game and try a new plan. And who better to coach Brit through the art of seduction than the guy who first gave her the “let’s be friends” card?

Hunter Cross has always figured there’s nothing his best friend Brit can do to surprise him. But Brit’s request is a surprise he doesn’t see coming—and one he’s definitely not prepared for. Hunter and Brit have always been careful to keep things perfectly platonic, but the fake dates and faux flirting are starting to feel like the real deal. And soon Hunter realizes he has taught Brit too well. Not only has she become an expert at seduction, the man becoming thoroughly seduced is him.

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36500151-i-think-i-love-you

Buy Links: AMAZON | B&N | iBOOKS | GPLAY | KOBO

*****

Author Info:

Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of more than two dozen romantic comedies. Her books have sold over a million copies, in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers WeeklyGlamourThe Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.

Author Links:   WEBSITE |GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM | BOOKBUB | AMAZON

*****

Giveaway:

Gifted Amazon e-copy of I KNEW YOU WERE TROUBLE (2 winners)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81380/

*****

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Book Review – Taking Chase

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Taking Chase

Chase Brothers series

by Lauren Dane

Previously published; newly refreshed by author

The Chase boys. Ridiculously hot and notoriously single.

Sheriff Shane Chase is drawn to the new girl in town from the moment he lays eyes on her. Not only is she gorgeous, but years on the job have taught him to know when someone is hiding something. And Cassie Gambol is hiding something big. He’s willing to take it slow to find out her secrets, no matter how much he burns to make her his.

Cassie Gambol needs a fresh start, and she gets it by reinventing herself in the small town of Petal, Georgia—a far cry from her life as a surgeon back in LA. A new romance is the last thing on Cassie’s mind, but the impossibly hot town sheriff has her reconsidering her priorities.

But when Cassie and Shane come face-to-face with the reason Cassie’s on the run, only her determination and his instincts can keep her safe from the past—and keep their future from ending before it can even begin. 

The Chase is on. One small town. Four hot brothers. And enough heat to burn up anyone who dares to get close. Don’t miss the other books: Giving Chase, Chased and Making Chase.

We met Shane in Giving Chase and I knew that Dane was going to have to give him a bit of an attitude adjustment to make him appealing as a hero … I just didn’t expect it to be an immediate about face.  In the first book he was pretty much an ass – a jerk to women & completely commitment-phobic, thanks to a previous relationship gone bad.  So I expected that Cassie would have to work some kind of magic and slowly get him to change.  Nope, pretty much from the beginning he’s over himself and ready to get involved.  It would have been great, if it wasn’t for his portrayal in the first story.  And I will give Dane credit that she does have his baggage still there, but it is on simmer and not out in front like when we first met him.  That aside, though, Shane as a character was great (as long as you forgot that he ever had more jerk-ish moments).  He’s caring and, although he stumbles a couple of times, does his best to be sensitive to Cassie’s feelings.

And Cassie definitely has her own baggage!  Pretty fresh out of a horrifically abusive relationship, she’s trying to have a fresh start.  What she isn’t looking for is attracting the interest of a cop.  Luckily for Shane, he’s pretty hard to resist.  But it is going to take a lot of patience to work through the scars Cassie past left her with.  She’s got a lot of triggers and it might get a bit old for some readers.  She’s pretty set on doing things herself and has a hard time separating someone offering help from people trying to manage her.  Her ex did a number on her so it’s understandable but it happens a lot.  Good thing new Shane is willing to go all in and help her find a balance that can work for them both.

This is a slow burn romance as the two work their way around Cassie’s issues and having to deal with the fact that her ex is still out there in the world.  There are a lot of emotional ups and downs as she struggles to figure out what a healthy relationship looks like and Shane tries his best to help without taking over.  It’s not easy for him to ignore the cop in him that wants to do everything he can to protect her.  Instead he needs to support her as she stands on her own two feet.  There is a bit of excitement at the end but overall this is all about the feels, with just a bit of suspense thrown in.

Spotlight – The Highlander’s Promise

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How about a sexy Scott for a scorching July day ….

*****

The Highlander’s Promise

by Lynsay Sands

The Highlander Series

Genre:  Adult Historical Romance

Publisher:  Avon Books

Publication Date:  June 26, 2018

Blurb:

In a spellbinding new Highlands story from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands, the laird of the Buchanans finds the one woman who is his equal in passion and courage.

Aulay Buchanan has retreated to his clan’s hunting lodge for a few days of relaxation. But the raven-haired beauty he pulls from the ocean puts an end to any chance of rest. Though he christens her Jetta, she knows nothing of her real identity, save that someone is trying to kill her. As she recovers, it will not be easy for Aulay to protect her and keep her honor intact when she mistakenly believes they are man and wife…

Jetta sees beyond Aulay’s scars to the brave, loyal warrior she’s proud to call her own. But as the attempts on her life grow more brazen, Jetta realizes that not all is as she believes. And if Aulay is not her husband, can she trust the desire flaring in his eyes, or his promise to defend her with his life?

Amazon  https://amzn.to/2sPYEMT

Avon Romance http://bit.ly/2Jlqzz7

Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2sQr5dq

Google Play http://bit.ly/2M9PQKx

iBooks https://apple.co/2LCmp2O

*****

Excerpt:

“Did I do something to anger you?” Jetta asked with a frown.

His eyebrows rose at the question. “Nay. What would make ye think that?”

“Because you have not kissed nor touched me again since then. I thought either you thought I did not want you to, or that I had somehow angered you, or that you simply tired of me and did not want me anymore because of my shorn head and my being too thin.”

“Oh, lass,” Aulay said softly, cupping her cheek with his hand. “Ye’ve no’ angered me, and I am definitely no’ tired o’ ye. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Every minute I am with ye I have to fight no’ to kiss and touch ye,” he admitted, his eyes dropping to her mouth and his face moving closer.

“Truly?” Jetta whispered uncertainly. “Aye, truly.”

*****

Author Info:

LYNSAY SANDS is the nationally bestselling author of the Argeneau/Rogue Hunter vampire series, as well as numerous historicals and anthologies. She’s been writing stories since grade school and considers herself incredibly lucky to be able to make a career out of it. Her hope is that readers can get away from their everyday stress through her stories, and if there’s occasional uncontrollable fits of laughter, that’s just a big bonus. Please visit her on the web at www.lynsaysands.net.

Website http://www.lynsaysands.net/news.html
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lynsay-Sands/125138040836322
Twitter https://twitter.com/lynsay_sands
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17059.Lynsay_Sands
Amazon http://amzn.to/2CYW63A

*****

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of THE HIGHLANDER’S PROMISE by Lynsay Sands, we’re giving away one paperback set (6 books in total) of THE HIGHLANDER SERIES!

https://www.subscribepage.com/HighlandersPromise

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback set of the Highlander series by Lynsay Sands.  This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 7/6/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address.  Duplicates will be deleted.

*****

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Spotlight – Margo & George Forever?

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I don’t know that I could do a big society wedding … how about you?

*****

Margo & George Forever?

by Stephanie Queen

Genre: Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

There was no question in Margo’s heart of hearts that she loved George. She really did want to marry him–scratch that–she really did want to be married to him.

There was a difference.

She hoped to heaven that the teeny-tiny distinction wouldn’t be their undoing…

The stage is set for the wedding of the year in New York City featuring poor sweet beautiful Margo marrying the most eligible (read that: handsome and wealthy) bachelor, Regal Stores heir and CEO, George Regal, III. The Regal family has long presided over the social and fashion scene in Manhattan and they have embraced the marriage with enough enthusiasm to create a circus.

That could be why Margo feels like she’s in the center ring and about to be swallowed by a lion.

But the best things about George, the strong powerful CEO, are the ones he’s not known for, like his small thoughtful gifts, the crystal angel Christmas tree ornament he’d given her, the way he holds her hand at odd moments, the way he bear-hugs his grandma whenever he sees her and the way he speaks with misty eyes about his late mother.

Of course Margo wants to spend the rest of her life with him… if she could just get past the family’s ‘enthusiasm’ and THE WEDDING.

Warning: Once you open this book you’ll get heart-warming romance, smiles, laughs & fun, but also an adult-sized portion of steamy love scenes. And of course, most important of all, a very satisfying Happily-Ever-After.

Goodreads * Amazon

*****

Excerpt:

Margo didn’t mind waiting until she’d had a swig of her drink before trying to explain herself. She wasn’t sure what to say—or what she thought, if truth be told. But it was time she unbottled whatever mess was inside her.
“I’m scared witless about this wedding circus.” She paused. Her friends stared.
“I tremble at the thought of the outrageous pageantry as if I’m the queen of a minor Nordic country. I’m horrified that there will be a thousand freaking guests and I don’t know any of them—none but a handful. I have no idea what I’m supposed to say or do.”

*****

Author Info:

Stephanie Queen is the USA Today bestselling author of the romantic detective series, Beachcomber Investigations. She lives in the stunning state of New Hampshire with her family, her cat, Kitty and her fun-loving friends. Besides going to the gym sporadically, Stephanie cooks and crochets and loves chocolate covered potato chips (yes, she should go to the gym more often).

She used to be a 9 to fiver working in downtown Boston, but has thrown her stylish suits and fancy heels in a closet and now hangs out in UConn t-shirts, jeans and sneakers. “If I could come back in another life as anything I wanted, I’d be a regency era heroine.” (Not surprisingly) Regency romances are her favorite secret reads.

Website * Facebook * Facebook * Twitter

Pinterest * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

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*****

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Spotlight – Once Upon a Summer

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I think summer is the perfect time for anthologies – beaches, pools, and time outside are perfect opportunities to grab little bite-size reads!

*****

Once Upon A Summer

A Contemporary Romance Anthology

With Stories By: Brooke Moss, Liz Ashlee, Clara Winter, Tammy Mannersly, Sarah Vance Tompkins, Kitsy Clare, Mark Love, Melissa Kay Clarke

Beaches, boyfriends and danger…summer is certainly hot! Grab a hold tight as these eight authors wow you with stories from sweet to sizzling! After all, every day can have some summer fun!

Breaking Girl Code by Brooke Moss

Aubrey is having the perfect evening out, with the perfect guy, on a perfect summer night. The problem is… Preston’s not her date. His real date is her B.F.F., and she’s passed out in the backseat.

Wishing on Water by Liz Ashlee

After watching everyone’s else’s lives hit huge milestones, all Hope wants is to escape to her boring, unchanging, single life. So, where’s the one logical place to escape to? A retirement home.

Art with a Pulse by Clara Winter

Artist Alice finds herself rescuing a seal on the sands of Laguna Beach with screenwriter Elijah. Can Alice put her past behind her and give Elijah the chance he deserves?

A Natural Passion by Tammy Mannersly

How will marine biologist, Dylan O’Day, solve the illegal poaching problem threatening the ecosystem he loves and protects when the gorgeous, new intern, Kyra Shine, is occupying his every thought?

You Had Me at Aloha by Sarah Vance Tompkins

Social media guru Vivienne Parker’s dream trip to Hawaii turns into a nightmare when her roommate in the luxurious surf shack is the hot Olympic athlete who just got her fired.

More Than Puppy Love by Kitsy Clare

Fireworks spark when Arianna, a city girl with an elite pet portrait business is in a wreck and asks Dave a country auto mechanic for help, but can these two beagle owners from different worlds see eye to eye?

Stealing Haven by Mark Love

Sand, sun, romance and a mystery to solve. Sounds like a perfect vacation for Jamie.

Harmony in the Key of Murder by Melissa Kay Clarke

Summer in the South can mean a different type of heat when a newly appointed investigator and a mechanical genius cross paths leading to murder and love.

Goodreads * Amazon

Video Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=By_e9rrt14E&feature=youtu.be

******

Excerpts:

Harmony in the Key of Murder

“Thank you for tonight. I had a great time.” Her smile was like flipping on a thousand watt bulb.

He ran a finger along the side of her jaw. “So did I. Maybe the next time we can go to my place and you’ll let me make you dinner. I happen to make one of the best omelets in town.”

She shivered slightly from his tender touch but didn’t draw back. In fact, she leaned toward him slightly.

“Omelets? Isn’t that for breakfast?”

He chuckled softly. Cupping her jaw in his fingers, he held her as his lips searched out hers, feathering a tender kiss on their plump softness. Her breath stopped, and her eyes widened as he whispered to her, “It can be. The when of that will always be up to you, Pix.”

“Oh.”

Hunter loved the flustered look on her face and the way her eyes told every emotion she was feeling. He knew without a shadow of a doubt, her heart rate was going a hundred miles an hour. The old Hunter would have found her reaction to him as a stroke to his overly inflated ego. Now, however, he found it endearing. The fact he could affect her so profoundly made him want to be worthy of her adoration and damned, if he wouldn’t do anything in his power to make it happen. He had dated, a lot, but with Harmony he was a different man, a better man.

Taking a step back, Hunter tapped on the roof of her car. “Be safe; I’ll call you tomorrow, yeah?”

“Yeah okay, Hunter. Talk to you tomorrow.”

He smiled as he watched her leave. With a toss of his keys into the air, he hurried to his car with a light step and grin on his face. Harmony Tailor may not know it yet, but she would be his. Tonight he realized something important. Somewhere along the way, she had captured more than just his attention.

She would be his because he already was hers.

~

Stealing Haven

“You like my smile? I always thought it was kind of lopsided.”

I took his face in both hands and turned it toward me. “Maybe a little crooked. But that’s part of the appeal.” Now I initiated a kiss. His hands slid through my hair, then softly ran his fingers down my neck. Shivers of excitement coursed through me. A horn sounded nearby. He broke the kiss and turned to check the water. Another boat passed in the opposite direction. A man and woman were at the helm, mirroring our positions caught in the moment and sensuality of being on the water. I bit down on my bottom lip in frustration. I longed for more than kisses but safety came first.

“We don’t want to run into some sailboat out here,” Randy said with a grin.

I scooted back onto the bench. Maybe a little distance was in order? It might help my racing hormones. “How fast are we going?”

“About thirty. Want to go faster?”

Was he talking about the boat, or the two of us? Randy shifted. His right hand had dropped to the controls, his left lightly holding the steering wheel. He watched me, his lopsided grin worked its magic.

~

More than Puppy Love

“Could you ever see yourself living in a rural area? Fitting in?” Dave’s eyes are still fixed on me as he sips his daiquiri.

“I don’t know. It’s beautiful with all of the trees, nature. Bart sure likes it. But…”

“But what?”

“I’m not sure I’d be able to sustain a pet portrait business in the country. You heard Gail. She was wary of the prices I’d charge without even hearing what they were. Would enough people be able to afford my photos? If they had extra cash wouldn’t they prefer to spend hard-earned dollars on family photos, and not pet photos?”

“Hard to make a blanket statement.”

I pause to drink my daiquiri and to check out Dave’s reaction. He’s handsome inside and out with his dark curls framing his kind face and his patient way of just letting the words sink in before he says a definitive yes or no. “What about you?” I ask him. “Could you see yourself living in Philadelphia? In any big city?” Now it’s my turn to study him. It’s not an inquisition, but it seems inevitable if we are going to admit we like each other, and visualize being a couple.

He shrugs. “I like to visit big cities—Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia. I’ve had good times in Philly—seeing Independence Hall, hiking in Fairmount Park. Lunch in Reading Terminal Market at the Amish booth was cool, too.  I love their shoe-fly pie, sweet and sour cabbage and freshly made sausages.”

“Mm, yeah, eating lunch at Reading Terminal Market is a blast.”

“But my auto body business is up here.” He looks down at his drink and rubs his forehead. “I’m not sure I’d be able to afford the commercial rents in a place like Philly.”

“There’s always the suburbs.”

“True. Honestly though, I’d love to get out of the car biz and fully into dog breeding.”

“Like me and teaching. I love it, but I love photography even more. It’s time to follow my passion. You too.”

Dave looks up and nods. “I want to do it all, but I also want to be realistic. Kennel equipment isn’t cheap. Dogs need tons of space, to run, to board, to breed.”

With the word breed, he flushes and I feel my neck heat up. I take this moment to pour us one more round.

“Nothing’s impossible,” he says after he’s gotten his drink refreshed and taken another gulp.

“Yeah. Never say never.”

He puts his big hand back on mine. It’s warmer than before, and I really like having it there. “By the way, your car is all done,” he says, giving my hand an extra pat.

“Great! When should I come get it?”

“At some point tomorrow? I’ll let you know.”

“Okay, sounds good.”

He slides his hand further up, to my wrist and then along my arm. And then he leans even closer and brushes my hair back.

And then he kisses me.

~

Art with a Pulse

Stepping out of the jeep at the rescue, my flip-flop snagged on the gas pedal and I lost my grip on my scorching hot tea latte. The plastic top came loose, and the tea spilled down the front of my top. Leaping out of the car, I managed to knock most of the liquid off before it scalded my stomach. My flesh was saved, but my vintage tee was likely ruined. I stared, sadly, down at the four-dollar puddle on the floorboard. After grabbing some napkins out of the side pocket of the driver’s side door, I bent over to wipe up my mess. The London Fog was easily soaked up, thanks to the plastic floor mats.

“Having problems?” asked a familiar voice, behind me.

My stomach did a somersault, but I wasn’t ready to turn around. That is, until I realized my rear end was on prominent display. I stood bolt upright, adjusting my tee the best I could. Nothing was going to help this disaster, so I may as well own it.

“Actually, several. Flip flops, jeeps, and hot beverages do not make good bedfellows.” I met Elijah’s sparkling, emerald-green eyes.

He chuckled, producing a half grin. I hated to admit how good he looked. Elijah was probably the only person on the planet who could look pulled together in athletic gear. I wasn’t a fan of the trend, but he looked great in long running shorts and a close fitting, breathable shirt. Although these were the only types of clothes I had seen him in, I was sure he looked amazing in anything.

“Let me take that. I assume we’re here for the same thing.” He reached for my empty coffee cup and wet napkins. Was he the last gentleman on earth? Or was Jude right and I was just bitter?

I thanked him, and he jogged over to a trashcan, then back to where I stood. Now I felt more of a heel. I wasn’t willing to claim any miracles, but I did at least owe him an apology.

“I’m sorry for snapping at you, yesterday. You were trying to be nice, and I was…”

“I know what you were feeling, don’t worry about it,” he interrupted. “The morning was stressful, enough. Then to find out your stuff was stolen. I got it.”

Suspicious, my eyes narrowed, a little. I couldn’t help it; this guy was too good to be true.

“Are you from California?” I asked, thinking I had found the answer. Elijah must have hailed from a mid-western state; a place which produced corn, cows, and people who looked out for one another. Somewhere like the place my grandparents hailed from. This would also explain the milk-ad appeal of his handsome, good looks.

~

A Natural Passion

Dylan reached out, his hand going high on her shoulder, his thumb close enough to her neck to caress her lightly, calmingly. She leaned into his touch, enjoying the feel of his hand on her skin, savoring the comfort and serenity it offered her. Without thinking it through, she moved into his arms, her own wrapping around his waist as she hugged him close, relishing the human contact. He went rigid at her touch, the solid muscles of his torso locking before he relaxed into the embrace. His free arm slid around her back, while the hand at her shoulder slipped up behind her neck, gently pressing her head to rest against the warmth of his chest.

“You shouldn’t give him an extra thought if he makes you feel like this, Kyra,” Dylan all but purred soothingly into her ear. “I may not have Jake’s extensive experience in the dating scene, but I have enough of an understanding to know if the person you care for is making you feel this way, then they aren’t worthy of your affection.”

He rested his head softly atop hers and cuddled her tighter.

As she nestled in his arms, Kyra breathed in his scent, enjoying the earthiness of his skin, the slight tartness of his sunscreen and the hint of the fresh smell of soap left behind from his morning shower. She knew what Dylan had said was true, Jake’s actions and feelings were questionable, but she was still conflicted.

In Dylan’s embrace, she struggled to think of Jake and remember why she was upset.

*****

Author Info:

“I write because if I don’t…my head will explode, and ruin the drapes.” ♥

Brooke Moss writes complex, character-driven stories about kismet, reunited lovers, first love, and the kind of romance that we should all have the chance at finding. She prefers her stories laced with some humor just for fun, and enough drama to keep her readers flipping the pages, and begging for more!

When Brooke isn’t spinning tales, she spends her time drawing/cartooning, reading, watching movies then comparing them to books, and, of course, wrangling five kids, mugging on her hubby she lovingly refers to as her “nerd”, and attempting to conquer the Mount Everest of laundry that is the bane of her existence.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

Liz Ashlee is a romance novelist who recently graduated from Northern Kentucky University her B.A. in English and B.S. in Library Informatics. She has been published in Loch Norse Magazine and The Pentangle, and has won the Miller Award for Outstanding Fiction Writing. She currently lives in Independence, Kentucky, with her family and dog-daughter, Hero

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

Clara Winter is the writing name of Amy Rugg.

Amy Rugg grew up reading Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, and Alice in Wonderland, while watching Buck Rogers, Star Trek, and Doctor Who. Writing her own stories naturally ensued. She is a wife, mother, and former school counselor, with a Master’s Degree in Counseling. Amy is from Colorado Springs, Co and currently resides in Mission Viejo, Ca.

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Tammy Mannersly is an Australian author based in Brisbane, Queensland. She loves writing romance, has a fondness for animals, is crazy about movies and enjoys a great Happily Ever After. Her passion for writing started from a very young age and led her to complete a Bachelor Degree in Creative Industries majoring in Creative Writing at Queensland University of Technology.

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Sarah Vance-Tompkins was born in a small town in northern Michigan. She spent every summer exploring the sugar sand beaches near Sleeping Bear National Park. She left her heart behind when she moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California. She received an MFA in Film Production and went on to work in feature film development in Hollywood. She has worked as a reporter for a weekly entertainment trade publication, and been paid to write obituaries, press releases, the directions for use on personal lubricant bottles, and breathless descriptions of engagement rings for an online jewelry store. She lives in a small town north of Los Angeles with her husband and three cats.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

Kitsy Clare hails from Philadelphia and lives in New York. A romantic at heart, she loves to write about the sexy intrigue of the city, and particularly of the art world. She knows it well, having shown her paintings here before turning to writing. Model Position, her new adult novella is about artist Sienna and her friends. Living in a Bookworld says: “Beautifully written! We get to learn things about art & painting, which is refreshing. A colorful story from a promising new adult author.” The next in her Art of Love series, Private Internship launches in September with Inkspell.

Kitsy loves to travel, draw, read romance, speculative fiction and teach writing workshops. She also writes YA as Catherine Stine. Her futuristic thriller, Ruby’s Fire was a YA finalist in the Next Generation Indie book awards. Fireseed One, its companion novel, was a finalist in YA and Sci-Fi in the USA News International Book Awards, and an Indie Reader notable. Her YA horror, Dorianna, launches fall 2014 with Evernight Teen. She’s a member of SFWA, RWA and SCBWI.

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Mark Love    I am a Michigan native, who up until recently lived in the Metro Detroit area, where crime and corruption always seem to be at the top of everyone’s news. So there’s always the chance to find something that can trigger a story idea and enough interesting characters to jump start your imagination.

While I have worked in many industries and career paths over the years, one of my passions has always been writing. I was even able to parlay that passion for a while, working as a freelance reporter for a couple of newspapers in the Detroit area. Writing features and hard news helped me hone my talents. But while newspaper work was interesting and paid a few bills, it was a far cry from the fiction writing that I enjoy the most.

I’ve always been drawn to mysteries and thrillers, the kind of stories that have a fast pace, that keep you moving and keep you guessing as to what’s going to take place next. Mix those in with some elements of crime, perhaps a glimpse of the seedier side and you’ve got me. So it’s always been one of my goals to write stories like that.

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Melissa Kay Clarke was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and raised in Houlka, a small rural town forty-five minutes southwest down the famous Natchez Trace. She found a love of reading very early and quickly devoured everything she could. Told repeatedly that she had a wonderful imagination, she turned to scribbling her musings and wrote her first novel while in college. It was never published and has since vanished. The death of a close friend who aspired to become an author reawakened her own desire resulting in penning her first book, Shattered Dreams, published in 2013.

Melissa now resides in Meridian, Mississippi with her supportive family – husband, Robert and daughter Rebecca, two cats, and two dogs. When she isn’t writing, she spends way too much time with her online friends and feeding her ravenous appetite for the written word.

Website * Blog Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Amazon * Goodreads

*****

Giveaway:

$50 Amazon

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*****

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Book Review – A Hot Montana Summer

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A Hot Montana Summer

A Glacier Creek Novel

by Karen Foley

Jamie Colter is a combat-hardened Marine who’s back in Glacier Creek recuperating from a mortar attack that left him with a busted leg and a serious case of cabin fever. He just wants to get back on his feet and rejoin his unit, until the one woman he’s never been able to forget walks back into his life. The last time she saw him, he was a scrawny teenager. Now he has just two weeks to make her see him as the only man who is perfect for her.

With her marriage in ruins, Rachel McCafferty returns to Glacier Creek to nurse her wounds and make a fresh start—one that doesn’t involve someone who will eventually abandon her, the way her ex-husband did. When Rachel catches sight of Jamie, she’s dumbstruck by his good looks and brash confidence. He’s no longer a boy—he’s a man, and when he makes it clear he’s hers for the taking, she finds herself rethinking all her rules about younger guys.

I’m gonna have to agree with a few other reviewers – the prologue to this one is just about the cutest every.  It beats out a meet cute by far!

I’m a big fan of the friends to lovers, although this one is a bit of a stretch.  While Rachel & Jamie knew each other they weren’t really close – the age difference was a bit too much.  It’s still a good read, though, as they reconnect as adults and discover a very mature attraction.

Some might get a little tired of Rachel’s issues with the age difference between the two.  I get that it is probably a difficult thing to let go of, especially when you watched him grow up, but it is pretty hard to deny that Jamie is all man now 🙂  And there is that one scene (you gotta have at least one) where you just want to smack Rachel for doing something stupid.  But she did just end a pretty toxic relationship so she’s not quite got her mojo back.  It’s a lot to take on all at once.

I will admit that Jamie drove this book for me.  Rachel’s treatment of him was OK at best and awful at its worst (see above) but he was willing to wait it out and hope for good things to come – not sure why, but you gotta admire his stick-to-it-ness.

It was an enjoyable read as long as you don’t mind the push/pull from Rachel and a decent amount of angst throughout.  I think that the book would have benefited from more positive interactions between the two, just to emphasize his attraction to her, but overall definitely worth the time.

Spotlight – Anything For Love

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If you aren’t reading Melissa Foster’s books, you are SO missing out!

*****

Anything for Love

The Bradens and Montgomerys
(Pleasant Hill – Oak Falls) – Book 2

by Melissa Foster

Releasing June 27th, 2018

World Literary Press

Blurb:

After Charlotte Sterling loses her last family member, she moves to Sterling House, her family’s Colorado mountain inn, to live a solitary life. As an erotic romance writer, her days and nights are filled with passion and intrigue—even if only fictional. She loves her busy, quiet lifestyle, and she learned early on that real men can’t live up to the fictional heroes she creates—until ruggedly handsome Beau Braden arrives to do some work at the inn and, for the first time in forever, she’s intrigued by a real man.

Beau lost his first love years ago, and he’s never let go of his guilt over her death. As he nears the anniversary of his loss, he is on the cusp of becoming the star of a home-renovation reality show. Escaping the painful memories of his past to work at the defunct old inn is just the promise of solitude he needs to clear his head before diving in to the all-too-public career. But he didn’t count on being attracted to the whimsical, adorably sexy innkeeper.

Neither Charlotte nor Beau is looking for an attachment or a fling. But the more they learn about each other, the closer they become. Romantic evenings lead to intimate conversations, and neither can deny their deep connection or the passion it sparks. They’ve never fully healed on their own, but together maybe anything is possible.

**The Bradens at Pleasant Hill and the Montgomerys have become one magnificent series! In book three, Trails of Love, the Montgomerys and the Bradens are going to be deeply intertwined. For that reason, I have combined the series to make it easier for readers to keep track of characters, weddings, babies, etc. What this means is that after the first two books (Embracing Her Heart and Anything for Love) you will see both worlds in most of the books. Some stories might weigh more heavily in one location than the other, but they are all going to cross over. In book one, Embracing Her Heart you will met the Montgomerys, and in book two, Anything for Love, you will meet the Bradens. I hope you love them all as much as I do!

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25317309-anything-for-love

Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/151180-the-bradens-montgomerys-pleasant-hill—oak-falls

Buy Links:

➜KINDLE: http://smarturl.it/AFL_Kindle

➜iBOOKS: http://apple.co/2wkOgQ2

➜KOBO: http://smarturl.it/AFL_Kobo

➜NOOK: http://smarturl.it/AFL_Nook

➜GPLAY: http://bit.ly/2gr852M

➜PAPERBACK: http://smarturl.it/AFL_Pb

*****

Read the first chapter! – https://melissafoster.com/anything-love-sneak-peak/

*****

Author Info:

Melissa Foster is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling and award-winning author. She writes sexy and heartwarming contemporary romance and new adult romance with emotionally compelling characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page. Melissa’s emotional journeys are lovingly erotic and always family oriented–perfect beach reads for contemporary romance lovers who enjoy reading about wealthy heroes and smart, sassy heroines.

Author Links:   WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

*****

Giveaway:

Five winners will receive a digital copy of THRILL OF LOVE

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c81379/

*****

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