Second Chances by T.A. Webb

Second ChancesRating: 5 stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (October 17, 2012)

Synopsis: Mark Jennings is at a crossroads. His finance job in the Atlanta nonprofit scene stresses him out, his mother is dying, and his relationship with Brian Jacobs has crashed and burned. He needs a distraction, some way to relax, and a massage seems like just the thing. He never expected his massage therapist, Antonio Roberto, to become his best friend.

Despite their differences—Antonio is a divorced single father—the two men forge a firm friendship that weathers Mark’s reconciliation with Brian and Antonio’s questionable taste in women. Over the years, Antonio remains constant in his support, though others in Mark’s life come and go through a revolving door.

When a young boy runs away from the group home where he works, Mark finds another door opening. Through it all he holds on to the things his loved ones taught him—about family, about friends and lovers, about life and death. Most importantly, he realizes that sometimes the greatest gift of all is a second chance.

Review: ** Now, bear with me, because I’ve been trying to write this review for a couple of days now and all I came up with was “AWESOME”. This time I tried to expand my vocabulary, hopefully my opinion came across fully. **

Mark’s life is a mess. His lover cheated on him, his job is stressing him out and his mother is on her death bed. He needs to wind down so he decides to get a massage to at least manage to make it through this time with less stress. To his surprise the man that opens the door is gorgeous. Although instantly attracted to Antonio, it doesn’t matter because Antonio is straight. What does  matter, however, is the friendship that develop between Antonio and Mark. A friendship based on mutual affection and acceptance that would withstand loss, confusion and ultimately bring them to love.

When I first started to read M/M Romance, T.A. Webb was my go-to man for my next read. His reviews were on-point, honest and exceptionally written, so it came as no surprise when I found out that he had written Second Chances. His way of bringing the complexity of Mark and Antonio’s characters to the page along with the emotional impact of the story made Second Chances an excellent read for me.

With a story that spanned years and a cast of characters that added beautifully to the story, Webb’s writing flowed through the page seamlessly. Every event that took place, every line of dialogue exchanged and every emotion expressed was perfectly placed to elicit the most impact. I cried along with Mark, I was as conflicted as Antonio and I was rejoicing with them as they found their second chance with each other.

There are not enough words for me to express how much I enjoyed this story. From the characters and the conflict all through the sexy as hell love scenes to the tenderness and loyalty displayed by Antonio and Mark, T.A. Webb’s writing was engaging, touching and enjoyable. I loved it form start to finish, but it is a story that you have to experience for yourself to truly understand all that entails. If you appreciate a great M/M story with humor, angst and hot man love, this is the book to read.

Thank you Tom for your insightful reviews that pulled me into this genre and for a wonderful, heart-wrenching story that had all the elements I love.

Hot Summer Hogs by Patricia Logan

Hot Summer HogsRating: 3 stars

Synopsis: It’s a sticky August week in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Every year, bikers from across the country gather in the town of Sturgis for the world’s largest motorcycle rally. Partying and fun along with men and women determined to have a good time, are a hotter than hot combination. Hook-ups and unadulterated excitement are everywhere. Cade Littlebear, famous custom bike builder and his husband Jake Maxfield join the sexy crowd for their first ever, bike rally.

When Cade is issued a challenge by an old flame, Jake is there to support his lover and keep his spirits up. How he chooses to keep Cade’s head in the game, will leave you breathless and wanting more. When the rubber meets the road, the fun really begins. The heat of the day is cool in comparison to the scorching hot nightly activities of the sweaty, leather-clad lovers. Come and join the sexy heroes and a town bursting with hot summer hogs.

Review: Now that the kids have grown a bit and the family in functioning without problems, Cade and Jake from  Leather Nights decide to take a trip to Sturgis for the annual bike rally. Knowing that a bar full of macho bikers is not the safest place for public displays of affection and trying to stay away from trouble all together Cade and Jake head off to another place. Once there Cade is approached by his former Dom, Zach, the man that introduced him to the BDSM lifestyle. Although twenty years have past since they were together, Cade is still affected by his voice and the challenge he issues Cade is something Jake can’t help but want to see.

In Hot Summer Hogs we get to travel by motorcycle with Cade and Jake and get a glimpse into how the relationship between them has developed and established during the past two years. Packed-full with lust, yearning and need Patricia Logan’s writing was entertaining and very, very hot. I enjoyed watching how the bond between the guys had strengthened since I last saw them on Leather Nights, especially how Cade lets Jake dominate him from time to time.

Patricia Logan is fast becoming a favorite author of mine because of her realistic approach to developing a relationship and the emotions she brings to the page. Although Hot Summer Hogs is only 53 pages long it does gives you a clear view of the love and chemistry between Cade and Jake.

I received this title through Manic Readers in exchange of my honest opinion.

Gold Digger (Special Forces spinoff) by Aleksandr Voinov

Gold Digger by Aleksandr VoinovRating: 5 stars

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (September 17, 2012)

Synopsis: Not all that glitters is gold.

Nikolai Krasnorada leads the life of a corporate nomad. Working for a gold explorations company, he’s never put down roots, and he likes it that way. Roots can be dangerous, as everyone from his “man-hating” sister to his manipulative mother to his war-traumatized father has proven.

But when his CEO sends him to Toronto to strike a deal with LeBeau Mining, Nikolai meets Henri LeBeau, crown prince to the resources conglomerate and inveterate flirt. Sparks fly immediately, despite the business deal that threatens to go sour and Nikolai’s own reluctance to give Henri false hope about him being Mr. Right. He’s barely come to terms with his bisexuality, and getting involved with Henri would get messy.

When LeBeau Mining launches a hostile takeover bid, Nikolai and Henri find themselves on opposite sides of the negotiating table. But fortunately—or perhaps unfortunately—for Nikolai, Henri’s not nearly as interested in his company as he is in his heart.

Review: Nikolai is a nomad, going from place to place wherever his work takes him never settling in one place for long. A determined young man who considers himself normal and introverted by nature, Nikolai, has a great heart and is well adjusted, especially if you consider the family he comes from. While in Toronto making his offer to LeBeau Mining’s owner he meets Henri LeBeau.

Henri pulls no punches when he sees something he wants. And he wants Nikolai Krasnorada and everything he can give him. A handsome rich man who’s had many lovers and lives his life to the fullest, LeBeau is instantly attracted to Nikolai. He offers to take him out for dinner while in Toronto, but dinner is not the only offer on the table.

And so it begins – the exploration of new found attraction for a man, the need, the passion, the conflicting emotions. This book had it all and then some. Although Voinov’s writing was everything I have come to expect from him, this story had a lighter quality to it than anything I have previously read from him. I have to say that I wouldn’t have it any other way because it suited the story and its characters seamlessly.

Aleksandr Voinov brings to the page an engaging story who’s main character is strong yet vulnerable and who possesses the perfect combination of passion, need and dominating personality to keep the reader enraptured in the story just to find out what he does next. From his conflicting emotions regarding his family and the turn of events after his encounter with Henri to his determination in establishing a bond with Vadim all through his analysis of his and Henri’s relationship, Nikolai was an exceptional characters to read.

Nikolai considered and questioned every aspect of his attraction to Henri and his hesitation was realistic and in character with who he was. I loved that he never wavered in his honesty to Henri, expressing his intentions and his doubts to Henri regardless of how it would make him look. But what I admired the most about him was his loyalty to his boss and to Vadim.

Vadim, Vadim, Vadim!

Now that was one character I enjoyed visiting. Color me enthralled, that man still does it for me at 60 years old. His quiet manner and his unquestionable acceptance of the man he considers his son only made me fall in love with him all over again. It was such a treat to get a glimpse of his present life. Thank you Aleks for providing the Vadim fix I needed!

Like my friend Lisa stated in her review, Gold Digger is “A very fine stand-alone as well as a must-read for established Special Forces fans”.

The Wanderer (Thunder Point #1) by Robyn Carr

The Wanderer (Thunder Point, #1)Rating: 5 stars

Publisher: Harlequin – MIRA (March 26, 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land’s unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he’s been left an old friend’s entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community’s destiny in his hands.

Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.

With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

Review: I am a fan of Robyn Carr‘s Virgin River series, so when I saw that she was started a series similar to that one I had to give it a go.

Cooper has been a nomad most of his life. Having never felt the need to stay at one place long enough or commit to someone fully, he has lived his life as a wanderer – going from job to job and from town to town. After his friend dies unexpectedly, he decides to head to Thunder Point where he soon makes friends with the townsfolk, falls for a woman and learns the meaning of commitment.

Sarah has given up on love. Legal guardian of her 16-year brother for ten years and after being betrayed by her husband and best friend, the Coast Guard helicopter pilot moves to the town to nurse her wounds, attempt a new start and give her brother the stability he needs. She is lonely but is not looking for a commitment, so when the handsome wanderer makes his move she accepts to his friendship with benefits.

As expected, Robyn Carr delivers an amazing start to the Thunder Point series with The Wanderer. This book has all the elements I have come to expect from this author – small town charm, great camaraderie between the neighbors, a couple of engaging storylines, great characters and a wonderful romance.

Robyn Carr introduces you to the small town of Thunder Point where you get to meet an interesting set of characters that brings to the front this author’s amazing ability of establishing a successful series. Cooper, Sarah and her brother Landon are just a few of the characters that make this story great. In addition to Cooper and Sarah’s relationship, Carr gives us a sweet side story about Mac and Gina’s relationship, a couple of parents who have been unlucky in love and go from friends to lovers after being best friends for years. There is also the revelation of Lou and Joe’s relationship, a unusual coupling between older characters. All these characters plus a few more that were introduced, added to the story nicely and made The Wanderer a entertaining read.

I can’t wait to discover more about these characters in upcoming books. I am looking forward to reading more books from this series.

I received this title from Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

The Demon’s Daughter (Demon Outlaws #1) by Paula Altenburg

The Demon's Daughter (Demon Outlaws, #1)Rating: 3.5 stars

Publisher: Entangled Publishing – Select (March 26th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Hunter is the only man capable of killing the demons that left the world in ruins. But when he’s hired by a notorious priestess to bring a thief to justice, the Demon Slayer gets more than he bargains for.

Airie was raised in an abandoned temple as a priestess’s daughter, having no idea of her true origins. In a time when any half-breed spawn of a demon is despised by mortal and immortal alike, not knowing the truth is the only thing keeping her safe.

Forced to flee her home in the wake of disaster and discovery of who she is, Airie must place her trust in a man who believes she should never have been born. And when a demon uprising threatens lives he has sworn to protect, Hunter has to make a choice: abandon Airie to an uncertain fate, or overcome his own personal demons and love her for who she truly is.

Review: First, how hot is that cover?

Meet Hunter, the Demon Slayer, who is hired to bring back a demon spawn that has been living in the goddesses’ mountain. My, my, my but he was a lovely character to read. Hunter sets out to catch this spawn only to find a beautiful, black haired woman in his path. Airie descends from a goddess and the Demon Lord. She doesn’t know about her heritage and has lived a sheltered life with Desire up in the mountain. She is stronger than she looks and has a mind of her own. I liked her from the moment she appeared on the page.

Paula Altenburg did a wonderful job setting the story and the world it takes places on. The battle between demons and goddesses was an interesting concept to read, especially how the demons were locked in time and how Airie came to be. The way that the author went about introducing the reader to this new world was easy to understand. Although there were a lot of facts, characters and history written over the course of the book I never felt overwhelmed. In fact, I came to understand the position of everyone involved and the role they played in the story.

The conflict kept me riveted to the story. I couldn’t put the book down until I knew how it all worked out in the end. Although the pace dragged in places, I felt that the resolution to the plot obliterated any misgiving I had in that regards. All the events that took place as the conflict was resolved were put in place to garner the most impact out of the reader.

Packed-full with facts, revealing dialogue and fast-paced battle scenes, Paula Altenburg’s writing was captivating and enjoyable. The characters were interesting and their chemistry was hot, but what I liked most about them was the way they related and cared for one another during the time they spent together before becoming romantically involved.

The romance part of the book was well written too. I was delighted to see how the characters developed throughout the story, especially how Airie learned to accept who she was while still maintaining the humanity Desire stilled in her. Hunter’s growth as a person was a treat to read too. I got a kick out of watching how Hunter questioned and analyzed the way he felt about Airie’s nature as a demon and how in the end he could put that aside and just see the woman she had developed into.

The Demon’s Daughter is the first book in the Demon Outlaws series and it did a great job of introducing the reader to this world. The next book in the series tells the story of Hunter’s friend Blade, who left Freetown in search of adventure. I am looking forward to reading his story.

I received this title from Entangled Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Undressed (The Manhattanites #1) by Avery Aster

Undressed (The Manhattanites, #1)Rating: 2.75 stars

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Publishing (February 15th 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Milan’s notorious playboy, Massimo Tittoni, seems to have everything–Lamborghinis, exotic women, palaces throughout Europe and business success. Ramping up his fabric company to go global with a new apparel brand, he ruthlessly stops supplying fabrics to the American client who inspired the collection. But once they meet, what’s he willing to give to get her in his bed?

Upper East Side designer Lex Easton will be damned if she’ll let an Italian stud muffin knock her down. So what if she named her favorite vibrator after him. With Fashion Week approaching, she’ll do whatever it takes to secure the fabrics she needs to become the next Diane von Furstenburg– even sleep with her rival. But when she arrives in Europe the paparazzi chronicles her every move and she finds herself in a situation never imagined. Lex’s Louboutins stilettos are dug in deep to win this war. All’s fair in love and fashion!

Avery Aster’s super-glossy debut novel is loaded with passionate escapism, pitting American ambition against Italian tradition. Erotic romance fans who appreciate extended sex scenes, witty banter and glamour mustn’t miss Undressed.

Inside Scoop: Though the hero and heroine remain monogamous, their Prada-wearing friends indulge in a ménage a trois and other fashionable sexual fun and games.

Content Warning: due to graphic sex scenes, strong language, suggestive themes, mature humor, and just about everything your mother ever told you not to do–including wearing a see-through dress, this novel is for adults only.

Review: After reading this book (and yes, I’ll admit I did skim over some parts) I am going to approach this review differently than I usually do.

What I liked:

1. I loved Massimo. A handsome Italian who is hung like a horse but is afraid of getting his heart broken, I fell for him as soon as he confessed his story to Lex. Before that I liked his dominating personality and his business smarts.

2. The author, Avery Aster, developed the characters well. I enjoyed how Lex was finally able to let go of her issues and how Massimo risked it all because he loved her.

3. The chemistry between Massimo and Lex was off the charts hot. Although it was good when they got together I actually enjoyed their dialogue and honest exchanges from their past. It showed a different side of them than what they displayed to the public. I’m glad I got to see this side, because it helped me to connect to them and understand where they were coming from.

4. The humor throughout the book was enjoyable as well as the fashion references. Through the humor I understood better the world each was a part of, their friendships and ultimately their behavior.

5. The sex scenes were okay, especially the threesome.

What I didn’t like:

1. Lex’s voice was annoying at times. At first, I didn’t like her at all and then her narration became repetitive or her mind would wonder endlessly from one thing to another. This is the main reason I had to skim on some parts.

2. Although their chemistry was hot, I didn’t care one bit for the scene when they were first intimate. I wanted to gag Lex and smack the hell out of Massimo. It felt unrealistic, which wasn’t acceptable to me.

3. The way the “Manhattanites” talked was over the top. Maybe because my first language is Spanish and I don’t know anybody who speaks that way is the reason why I found it childish and annoying. I don’t know, but I just couldn’t get past it.

4. Is it really necessary to include the “Woof, woof, woof” of the barking dogs or the “He, he, he” of laughter? WTH?

What redeemed the story for me:

1. The concept behind the story was interesting and kept me reading just to see how it would all play out.

2. Massimo’s growth as a character and his vulnerability at finding himself in love with Lex.

3. The emotions expressed by Lex and Massimo towards the end of the book were well written. Although there were other moments were emotions were expressed I felt that it was in this moment that they truly matched what the characters were feeling.

4. Their happily ever after came about in a realistic way. I enjoyed how Massimo finally accepted that he had to move on in order to enjoy his future and that Lex accepted that Massimo was it for her, regardless of their different lifestyles.

This book was hard to get through but Massimo and Lex’s story made for an interesting read. I am always looking forward to reading how two complex characters put their differences aside and grow throughout the story to be able to make a relationship work. Massimo and Lex did this. Maybe the way the author went about the other stuff – the outrageous sex, the over the top language – was not for me, but the story that ran within that was enjoyable.

Undressed is the first novel in The Manhattanites series.

I received this book from Avery Aster in exchange of my honest opinion.

________________________________________________________

About the author:

Avery Aster pens erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave. As a resident of New York’s Upper East Side and a graduate from New York University, Avery gives readers an inside look at the city’s glitzy nightlife, socialite sexcapades and tall tales of the über-rich and ultra-famous. “I write about what I see in my metropolis that never sleeps—Manhattanites on the quest for a passionate thrill,” Avery says. “By and large, my characters are drop-dead gorgeous, ripped straight from the headlines and on the hunt for their next conquest.”

Undressed launched The Manhattanites series, exploring people’s forbidden desires of lust and longing. When Avery’s star-studded cast unites it always feels like forever and everyone has a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

You can connect with Avery Aster at: Goodreads

Wolf with Benefits (Pride #8) by Shelly Laurenston

Wolf with Benefits (Pride, #8)Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Kensington Books – Brava (March 26, 2013)

Available at: Amazon, B&N, Kobo

Synopsis:  Shelly Laurenston, New York Times bestselling author and a star in the paranormal romance genre, comes the eighth book is the successful Pride series, that blends outrageous humor and sexy shapeshifters to create irresistible heroes that readers fall in love with.

Ricky Lee has no plans of getting serious about anyone, but he will protect Toni Jean-Louis Parker. Not just because he’s been hired to do so, but because it’s the right thing to do. And if that means traveling around the country with one complicated She-jackal, dealing with chocolate-eating wild dogs, instigating trouble between his brothers, and having the most amazing sex he’s ever had…well, who said his job didn’t have perks?

Toni doesn’t know how she keeps getting herself into these situations. But even she has to admit there’s something about Ricky Lee Reed that she finds kind of interesting…and downright sexy. Now they just have to survive long enough to figure out if what they have is worth fighting for…

Review: Another winner by Shelly Laurenston!

In Wolf with Benefits, the eighth book in the Pride series, we get to read Ricky Lee’s story. Ricky Lee Reed moved to New York to work in security with his brothers. A sexy, laid-back wolf he has had his share of women, shifters and full humans both, and believes that if you wait long enough entertainment will find you. His entertainment shows up in the form of a sexy She-jackal that captures his attention from the moment they met. Toni, the eldest of her family, is used to taking care of her gifted brothers and sisters. Her life is led by schedules for rehearsals, classes and meetings and trying to keep her siblings from killing each other. At first glance she notices the handsome wolf but dismisses him easily, but with each and every time they encounter each other she keeps getting drawn to the handsome, laid-back wolf.

With her distinct flirtatious banter, sarcastic and smart-ass comments and one-liners, Shelly Laurenston’s writing is everything I have come to expect from her. Add to that a couple of sexy encounters and an interesting and engaging storyline and you got yourselves a keeper. It made for a great read!

I enjoyed getting to know both Rickey Lee and Toni. I liked that they began as friends and that they each were independent and stubborn. He was determined to get her and she was determined to stay away. Once again the secondary characters were a treat to read. I especially enjoyed seeing Blayne and Bo again and how Bo related to Toni’s siblings. I had a great time reading their antics, especially since it helped me to see another side of Toni and why she was like who she was.  It made her more relatable to me in the sense that she struggled with everyday things like schedules and children attitudes while still wanting to make a life for herself even if she believed at times that she would never have one.

Although Wolf with Benefits is the eighth book in the Pride series it can be read as a stand alone since there is enough back story about the recurring characters and it’s focus is mainly on Toni’s family and her relationship with Ricky Lee. Of course, once you get to meet some of the characters you’ll want to get to know them and their stories.

I received this title from Kensington Books through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs #4) by L.A. Witt

Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs, #4)Rating: 4 stars

Publisher: Riptide Publishing (March 25, 2013)

Available: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smokescreen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

Review: Seth Wheeler has been an atheist and has kept clear of anything or anyone religious since his family disowned him and his church excommunicated him. He has settled his life in Tucker Springs where he owns his own business, counts his friends as his family and hooks up hen the mood strikes him. His world is turn upside down as soon as he meets and befriends Darren Romero. Especially since his attraction to the minister is instant and his conviction that all Christians are against his sexuality and his beliefs is put to the test as soon as they start getting to know each other.

Darren moved to Tucker Spring to make a new life for himself. Although he finds Seth extremely attractive and their chemistry is explosive, he isn’t a one-night stand kind of guy and he won’t settle for anything less than Seth’s honesty regarding their relationship. Friends or lovers, he wants Seth in his life without secrets, hang-ups or awkwardness standing between them.

I have been waiting for Seth’s story ever since I met him in Where Nerves End where he caught my attention, tempting me to want to know more about him. As I started reading this title I was so happy to see that what I assumed about Seth was mostly true. Although he stays away from establishing long-lasting romantic relationships, Seth has a good heart with an adorable, vulnerable side to him that tugged at my heart strings.

L.A. Witt delivered a heart-felt romantic story where emotions ranged from frustration, disbelief and pain all through acceptance, lust and ultimately love. Mostly I appreciated the doubts and hesitations each character displayed regarding the relationship that was developing between them. If those were not to in place, my rating would have been completely different because it was while Seth analyzed and questioned that his true-self came to light and for me that was the highlight of my reading experience. Seth’s developing throughout the story was a treat to read, especially how he came to accept a lot of things that he once would have never considered before meeting Darren.

I enjoyed how Seth and Darren finally came together and how their chemistry felt palpable from the start. Through their banter and flirtatious dialogue I could see how their connection could lead to more than a sexual relationship. Their honesty about their beliefs and their easy acceptance of each other was the first step in revealing how great Seth and Darren were for each other. The author did a great job of developing that bond between them throughout the story by having them share their past, their doubts and their lust.

Although Covet Thy Neighbor is the fourth book in the Tucker Springs series it can be read as a stand alone. I am looking forward to Never a Hero, the next book in the series, scheduled for a May release.

I received this title from Riptide Publishing through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

Edges by Darien Cox

EdgesRating: 3.25 stars

Publisher: Phaze Books (January 22nd 2013)

Synopsis: When Shanti attempts to ski an icy black diamond trail beyond his ability, he suffers a major wipe out, shooting off into the woods and injuring himself. But when a stranger who’s been watching him scrambles off the trail to help, he meets Mick Paulson, native Vermonter and the most gorgeous man Shanti has ever seen. Smitten with the alluring stranger, Shanti asks him for date, but quickly learns his brawny rescuer isn’t exactly the dating type. But then Mick offers him a compromise. He’s willing to give a full scale, romantic dinner a try, if Shanti agrees to venture into Mick’s world for a night – a place where lust runs high and inhibitions run low. Through this bargain, they both learn where their edges lie, and what happens when they step beyond them.

Review: Shanti is feeling depressed after his parent’s death. He is guilty about the way he went about their relationship and regrets how he acted towards them. Now he finds himself the owner of a little gift shop in a tourist area in Vermont lonely and dejected. His parent’s friends try to snap him out of his funk by taking him skiing but this time it doesn’t work out that well. It is after that fateful wipeout that he meets Mick. A handsome homebuilder and lumberjack, Mick is a player. He has no qualms about hooking up with strangers he picks up at the bar as log as they leave after everything is said and done. However, as soon as he sees Shanti he feels strangely drawn to the man. Can their connection survive Mick commitment issues and Shanti’s emotional state?

The author, Darien Cox, did a good job in bringing together two guys who were very different in many way, but who felt that they needed more from life besides going through the motions. I liked how Mick and Shanti related to each other, their interactions and their sexual chemistry. With explosive and flirtatious dialog and sizzling hot chemistry, Darien Cox’s writing was entertaining, engaging and sensual.

I am not a fan of the insta-love scenario, so I appreciated the fact that the author made the characters hesitate and doubt what they were feeling before and after they got together. I liked that they communicated with each other honestly and that they each stood up for what they believed had to be done in order for the relationship to have a chance to succeed.

Edges is the first book I’ve read from Darien Cox but it certainly won’t be the last since I enjoyed this story from start to finish. Edges was a hot, enjoyable, light read. What more could I ask for?

I received this title from Phaze Books through Manic Readers in exchange of my honest opinion.

Bungalow Nights (Beach House No. 9 #2) by Christie Ridgway

Bungalow NightsRating: 4 stars

Publisher: Harlequin HQN (February 26, 2013)

Available at: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo

Synopsis: Combat medic Vance Smith made a promise to a fallen officer: to treat the man’s young daughter to an idyllic vacation at Beach House No. 9. One month, some sun and surf, a “helmet list” of activities to check off and Vance will move on. But the “little girl” he’s expecting turns out to be a full-grown woman. With silky hair, big brown eyes and smelling sweetly of the cupcakes she makes for her mobile bakery, Layla Parker is irresistible. And Vance shouldn’t lay a finger on her. Honor-and one heck of a scarred heart-says so.

To Layla, Vance is a hero who was injured trying to save her father’s life. She intends to spend their month of lazy days and warm nights taking very good care of the gorgeous soldier-inside and out….

Review: Vance has just returned to the States after being injured in Afghanistan. He’s a man of his word and his promises have never been broken. But when he meets the ‘girl’ he promised to spend the month of July with at Crescent Cove, he doesn’t think he could keep his promise. Suddenly feeling like the out of control guy he left behind after joining the Army, Vance doesn’t think he can survive sharing a house with Layla.

An easy going woman who manages her own business, Layla is not the 10 year old girl Vance is expecting. She’s still trying to accept her father’s death and believes that by fulfilling her dad’s last wish she could find some closure. What she is not expecting, however, is to find herself sharing space with a handsome soldier who pushes all her buttons and makes her heart skip a beat.

This story was enjoyable from beginning to end, especially the main characters. I found Layla to be relatable. Her feelings of loneliness and her pain over her father’s death felt real to me and I immediately connected to her and wanted her to find the closure she was seeking. Of course I loved Vance! I so enjoyed his surprise upon meeting Layla, the way he struggled with his attraction to her and his conflicted feelings over his family situation. I fell for his loyalty and his tenderness within just a few pages of the book.

Christie Ridgway’s writing was entertaining and touching. I enjoyed how Vance’s problems with his family and his struggles were presented. It helped me understand his emotions and where he was coming from.  I enjoyed how Vance’s attraction to Layla conflicted him to the point that he avoided contact with her. It showed what a thoughtful and considerate person he was regardless if it was hard for him to keep away. But most of all I liked Vance and Layla’s easy manner with each other, even when both were fighting their attraction to each other. Vance and Layla’s connection was believable to me. I enjoyed their flirtatious banter, emotional dialogue and explosive chemistry. I loved it when they lost their temper, the times they bonded over Layla’s father and the ever present sexual tension between them.

It was also a treat getting to know the secondary characters. Weaved within Vance and Layla’s story I found a lovely side story about Vance’s cousin Baxton. I truly enjoyed the addition of this side story for it also revealed the history on how the Crescent Cove came to be. Once again, Ridgway did a great job of telling Baxton’s story in a way that it never detracted from Vance and Layla’s story.

A sweet and sexy romantic read with interesting characters, an engaging side story and emotions galore, Bungalow Nights, is the second book in the Beach House No. 9 series.

I received this title from Harlequin through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

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