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Tour: No Promises by N. Raines *Review and Giveaway*

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No Promises
by N. Raines

A New Adult Romance
Released January 2016

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In high school, Sam Pennywell had a massive crush on Rick Russo. But he was her cousin’s boyfriend and strictly off-limits. Meeting Rick again years, later she can hardly recognize the man he’s become.

As a paramedic, Rick’s career is all about helping others. But in the line of duty, he’s become one of the injured. He’s caught in a dark place he can’t escape on his own. He can’t make Sam any promises of love. Promises are too easily broken.

Sam spends her life taking care of sick and homeless animals. She’s never met a stray she didn’t love, and Rick is the most important rescue she’ll ever make.

 

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Review

4 stars

No Promises was a pretty straight-forward romance that was fun and sweet with enough emotions to add to depth but not overwhelm.

Sam has put her life on hold in order to take care of her father after he suffered a number of heart attacks. She has done so willingly, but she can’t help but think that she’s missing out on living her life to the fullest. Thankfully, her father is appreciative and she has her cousin to lean on. It is while at a party at her cousin’s that she runs into Rick.

Events in recent months have left Rick in a dark place, so he decides to go back to a place where everything made sense. But to his surprise, nothing is quite as it once was. His girlfriend is not who he thought she was and he ends up befriending Sam. Rick is not in a good place and can’t afford to get involved with anyone. But his attraction to Sam doesn’t let up and soon enough emotions come into play.

I liked the concept behind this story and found it was well executed. Both Rick and Sam wee interesting characters to get to know, which made it a treat to see them connect on the page as the story moved along. I enjoyed their bickering and honest interactions and appreciated the effort the author made in making sure I was a witness to their connection growing as the story progressed.

Rick and Sam both had issues they needed to deal with and I found that their grow throughout the story matched accordingly. I enjoyed how Rick opened up to Sam. At first he was closed off and emotionally unavailable due to the circumstances of his return, which I came to understand easily. Sam helped to draw him out of his mind set offering her friendship, giving as good as she got and ultimately sharing her heart with him. Sam’s main issue was more of her own doing. She was a caretaker at heart and taking care of her father was something she took upon herself without regards to her own life. But when Rick came along, she realized there could be more to life than how she was living. Rick also helped her realize that she was worth more than she thought had given herself credit for. I loved that I got to witness their growth as individuals on the page.

All in all, a fresh sweet romance without the angst I’ve come to expect in the genre.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.
 

About the Author

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N. Raines (who also writes as Nona Raines) is a former librarian who lives in upstate New York with her many pets. She’s currently working on her next novel between walking the dog and shooing the cats off the laptop. Her erotic romances are published with The Wild Rose Press and Loose Id. Her transgender romance His Kind of Woman was nominated for the 2014 DABWAHA sponsored by the Dear Author and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review blogs. Her most recent work is the romance novella Write to Me and the transgender romance Her Kind of Man.

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Fantastic New Release! Full Domain (Nice Guys #3) by Kindle Alexander *Review, Trailer and Giveaway*

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Full Domain (Nice Guys #3)
by Kindle Alexander

An M/M Romance
Released January 12th 2016

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Honor, integrity, and loyalty are how Deputy US Marshal Kreed Sinacola lives his life. A former SEAL now employed by the Special Operations Group of the US Marshal Service, Kreed spent most of his life working covert operations and avoiding relationships. Never one to mix business with pleasure, his boundaries blur and his convictions are put to the test when he finally comes face-to-face with the hot computer geek he’s been partnered with. Hell-bent on closing the ongoing case for his longtime friend, he pushes past his own limits and uncovers more than he expects.

Aaron Stuart strives for one thing: justice. Young and full of idealism, his highly sought after computer skills land him a position with the National Security Agency. Aaron’s biggest hazard at his job is cramped fingers, but all that changes when he is drawn into the middle of a dangerous federal investigation. Aaron gets more than he bargained for when the FBI partners him with a handsome and tempting deputy US marshal. His attraction to the inked up, dark-haired man provides another kind of threat altogether. Aaron tries desperately to place a firewall around his heart and fight his developing feelings, knowing one misstep on his part could ultimately destroy him.

The solution isn’t as easy as solving the case, which is treacherous enough as it is. But the growing sexual attraction between them threatens to derail more than just Kreed’s personal convictions as he quickly learns temptation and matters of the heart rarely fit easily into the rules he’s lived by. Will Kreed be able to convince Aaron to open his heart and face the fact that sometimes the answers aren’t always hidden in code?

 

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Review

4 stars
4.25 stars

We met Kreed in Full Disclosure when he helped Mitch in his investigation of a series of murders linked to Colt’s accident and I loved him from the get-go! Not only was he funny and extremely competent at getting the job done, he was also particularly loyal to those close to him. Needless to say that I was eagerly awaiting his story! We also met Aaron, an experienced hacker working for the NSA, who was also part of the investigative team Mitch was leading. As with Kreed, I became intrigued by him. I imagined his story was one full of secrets, particularly in reference to his past.

Full Domain is Kreed and Aaron’s story and picks up right where Full Disclosure ended with Aaron traveling to DC to follow up on the investigation after he found new evidence on the case. Aaron, like most hackers, is not a team player and prefers to be in his cave working on his computer–especially if it means he avoids the sexy temptation that is Kreed Sinacola.

Kreed can’t deny that Aaron caught his attention since the moment he laid eyes on him on a computer screen. What he wasn’t expecting was the powerful effect the young man would have on him in person. Kreed knows that work and pleasure don’t mix, but try as he might he can’t seem to stay away and after just one kiss he knows resistance is futile.

In the last year, I’ve become a fan of Kindle Alexander’s writing. I especially enjoy the mix of elements that are brought to the page. Humor, romance, intrigue, emotions and chemistry all work together seamlessly on the page. I appreciate the complexity of the and the deep connection they share. But mostly I love that these men are flawed and that their romance developed in spite of their efforts to avoid it. Both men are trying to fight their attraction to one another. Both men are determined to solve this case. Both issues are constantly at war in the men’s mind. Kreed can’t afford to get attached to Aaron and risk both the man and the case. While Aaron can’t get attached to Kreed and risk his heart nor his secret coming out. While on the other hand is a romance that seems inevitable whichever way you look at it.

Kreed and Aaron’s journey in accepting their attraction and love for one another wasn’t an easy one, but it was a hell of a ride. And do I even have to tell you how amazing the chemistry between these two truly was? That first kiss alone was well worth the wait and anticipation. And everything after that moment was epic HOT. The hard and rough, the sweet and tender and everything in between–fantastic!

All in all, a hot intriguing read and a fantastic conclusion to the series!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

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Book Trailer

Full Domain by Kindle Alexander from Becca the Bibliophile on Vimeo.

 

Excerpt

“You’re so fucking sexy with those fuck-me-I’m-so-smart glasses on and that intense look on your face.”

Aaron glanced up and narrowed his eyes as he shoved the glasses off to the top of his head and stretched out his back. There was just something about the big, gorgeous deputy marshal growling those words at him that made his dick want to come out and play. A tired yawn from hours of sitting behind his laptop slipped free as he rubbed his eyes.

“And those noises you make are a complete turn-on.”

“I have a feeling it doesn’t take much to turn you on. A slight gust of wind would probably have you at full mast,” Aaron teased, lowering the lid to his laptop.

 

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Nice Guys Series

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Double Full (Nice Guys #1)
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Full Disclosure (Nice Guys, #2)
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About the Author

Best Selling Author Kindle Alexander is an innovative writer, and a genre-crosser who writes classic fantasy, romance, suspense, and erotica in both the male/male and male/female genres. It’s always a surprise to see what’s coming next!

I live in the suburbs of Dallas where it’s true, the only thing bigger than an over active imagination, may be women’s hair!

Usually, I try for funny. Humor is a major part of my life – I love to laugh, and it seems to be the thing I do in most situations – regardless of the situation, but jokes are a tricky deal… I don’t want to offend anyone and jokes tend to offend. So instead I’m going to tell you about Kindle.

I tragically lost my sixteen year old daughter to a drunk driver. She had just been at home, it was early in the night and I heard the accident happen. I’ll never forget that moment. The sirens were immediate and something inside me just knew. I left my house, drove straight to the accident on nothing more than instinct. I got to be there when my little girl died – weirdly, I consider that a true gift from above. She didn’t have to be alone.

That time in my life was terrible. It’s everything you think it would be times about a billion. I love that kid. I loved being her mother and I loved watching her grow into this incredibly beautiful person, both inside and out. She was such a gift to me. To have it all ripped away so suddenly broke me.

Her name was Kindle. Honest to goodness – it was her name and she died a few weeks before Amazon released their brand new Kindle ereader. She had no idea it was coming out and she would have finally gotten her name on something! Try finding a ruler with the name Kindle on it.. It never happened.

Through the course of that crippling event I was lucky enough to begin to write with a dear friend in the fan fiction world of Facebook. She got me through those dark days with her unwavering support and friendship. There wasn’t a time she wasn’t there for me. Sometimes together and sometimes by myself, we built a world where Kindle lives and stands for peace, love and harmony. It’s its own kind of support group. I know without question I wouldn’t be here today without her.

Find out more by visiting www.kindlealexander.com or email me at kindle@kindlealexander.com

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New Release Tour! Hallowed Ground (Flight & Glory #4) by Rebecca Yarros *Review, Excerpt, Trailer and Giveaway*

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Hallowed Ground (Flight & Glory #4)
by Rebecca Yarros

A New Adult Contemporary Romance
Released January 25th 2016
From Entangled Publishing–Embrace

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There are some debts you can’t repay.

Josh Walker is loyal, reckless, and every girl’s dream. But he only has eyes for December Howard, the girl he’s craved since his high school hockey days. Together they have survived grief, the military, distance, and time as they’ve fought for stolen weekends between his post at Ft. Rucker and her college at Vanderbilt. Now that Josh is a medevac pilot and Ember is headed toward graduation, they’re moving on—and in—together.

Ember never wanted the Army life, but loving Josh means accepting whatever the army dictates—even when that means saying goodbye as Josh heads to Afghanistan, a country that nearly killed him once before and that took her father. But filling their last days together with love, passion, and plans for their future doesn’t temper Ember’s fear, and if there’s one thing she’s learned from her father’s death, it’s that there are some obstacles even love can’t conquer.

Flight school is over.
This is war.

 

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Review

4 stars

3.75 stars

Hallowed Ground, the last book in the Flight & Glory series, centers on Josh and Ember from Full Measures. As a follower of the series, I was ecstatic to learn that there was one more book and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. And while this story was a great follow-up book to Josh and Ember’s romance, it wasn’t everything I had expected.

Josh and Ember have gone through a lot in the past two years while Ember went to college and Josh went to flight school. They made every sacrifice and crossed every hurdle thrown their way and are now finally moved in together and looking forward to their new beginning. Of course, fate has other plans which will test the strength of their love and commitment to each other.

I’ve enjoyed my fair share of angsty reads and usually seek them out, but I will admit that this story had a lot more angst that I anticipated. Which was not an entirely bad thing, but for me it took away some of my enjoyment of the story. Mainly because it seemed to drag on quite a bit and I found myself skimming through those parts more often than not.

Other than that, I found that the overall story served as a great conclusion to the series. I enjoyed visiting with the other couples and seeing how they’ve grown. I laughed, I cried and I even cursed the characters a time or three. Hallowed Ground managed to bring out a varied set of emotions from me, which makes it a winner for me.

Keep in mind that this is the fourth book in the series. It is my recommendation that you read ALL previous books in the series before starting Hallowed Ground so you can get the full scope behind the series, these courageous men and the women who love them.

All in all, an emotional rollercoaster of a ride!

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

 

Excerpt

I pushed my chair out and reached for her, lifting her tiny, curved frame into my lap. Her head tucked beneath my chin, and she curled into me, fitting right where she was always meant to be. My arms closed around her. “We have a month.”

“It’s not long enough.” Her fingers gripped my shirt like she could keep me here if she just held on tight enough. God, what I wouldn’t have given to stay with her.

“Forever isn’t long enough for us, December, but that’s what we’re going to have. You and I have never chosen the easy path. This is just another hurdle.” I rubbed my chin over her soft hair and tried to soak in every detail of holding her—the sweet way she smelled, the smooth texture of her skin beneath my hands.

She leaned back in my arms and cupped my face. “I can’t lose you.” Her voice broke, and tears pooled in her eyes.

I’d never hated myself more than I did in that moment. She’d made it through a nightmare no one should have to face, and I was about to ask her to chance that fire again. My breath hitched, barely passing the lump in my throat. “You won’t. It would take something a hell of a lot stronger than a war to keep me from you.”

I sealed that promise with a kiss, tasting her fear and desperation as she responded. She opened underneath me, and I fused my mouth to hers, surrendering to the heat between us to pull us through this moment. There was nothing hotter or sweeter in this world than kissing December, feeling her go soft and pliant.

We’d fought so fucking hard to get here, to be together. This wasn’t fair, and we both knew it. But we also both knew it didn’t matter. Fair wasn’t exactly in the U.S. Army vocabulary.

I retreated just enough to whisper against her lips, “I’ll come home. I swear it.”

 

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Flight & Glory series

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Full Measures (Flight & Glory, #1)
Ember & Josh’s story
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Eyes Turned Skyward (Flight & Glory, #2)
Jagger and Paisley’s story
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Beyond What is Given (Flight & Glory, #3)
Grayson and Samantha’s story
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About the Author

rebecca yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

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New Release Tour! Earning a Ring (More Than A Game #4) by Kristina Mathews *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Earning a Ring (More Than A Game #4)
by Kristina Mathews

A Contemporary Sports Romance
From Lyrical Shine
Released January 19th 2016

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For Rachel Parker, covering the San Francisco Goliaths is the perfect opportunity to launch her career as a serious reporter. But she didn’t bargain on Bryce Baxter, the team’s star shortstop, tempting her more non-professional aspirations. After tearing up the base paths with him, she finds herself with a little problem, and Bryce might be the only man who can save the game.

Bryce Baxter should be living the dream. His team just won the World Series and he just signed the multi-year contract of his career. But his field of dreams has been overtaken by a fiery redheaded reporter, who’s bearing a news flash that will change both of their lives forever…

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Review

3-5 stars

Bryce Baxter has it all–a career as a professional baseball player, a new contract, endorsements, women at every corner. But after a terrible night when he cost his team the game, he can’t help but think everything is hanging in the balance. He needs to get his head on straight and finding out the news the woman he has been hooking up with throughout the year will not help matters none.

Rachel Parker is happy in her life with a career she loves and her dream job in the horizon. Finding out that she’s carrying last year’s MVP’s baby has her questioning everything. She knew what they had was casual, so she’s not certain how he will react and how this will affect her career.

I liked this story very much, especially since it delivered a common trope in a new and fresh way. I think it helped tremendously that Bryce was an overall good guy who stepped up to the plate immediately. I admit, Bryce struggled with some issues and kept himself closed off, but it ultimately helped to make his journey that much more enjoyable. He was funny, charming and caring and it showed throughout–especially when the author upped the drama and brought his past to the surface.

Rachel wasn’t my favorite simply because she had a tendency of assuming and coming to conclusions regarding Bryce without actually taking the time to find out the truth for herself. She complained Bryce was closed-off but she wasn’t any better either. Thankfully, the author did give me the opportunity to get to know her better and understand her struggles so I could understand where she was coming from.

As with other books on the series, the author made a great effort in bringing forth Bryce and Rachel’s connection and chemistry to the page. Although a bit tame in the heat department it was easy for me to see how attracted each was to the other. My only regret was that I didn’t get a chance to see more of their connection make it to the page. I would appreciated a hell of a lot less time inside their heads and a lot more time connecting as a couple.

All in all, a sweet little read and a great addition to the series.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

Bryce Baxter sat alone in the San Francisco Goliaths’ clubhouse. He didn’t want to go home and watch the replays of tonight’s game. There was enough of that going on in his head. He’d blown the game. How many times had he made that play since he first picked up a baseball at the age of five? A thousand? Ten thousand? Probably more. Not tonight. Tonight it was as if he’d forgotten everything he knew about the game. What should have been an easy double play ended up being the game-winning run.

The loss put his team even farther behind in their division going into the second month of the season and had reporters questioning the Goliaths’ chances of repeating a World Series run. Some were even questioning the team’s decision to re-sign Baxter to the big contract extension. The biggest one he’d ever inked. So naturally, he was having his worst start to the season ever. He couldn’t hit. Couldn’t draw a walk to save his life. And when he struck out, he did it in spectacular fashion.

Last November he’d been king of the world. San Francisco’s biggest hero since Willie Mays. As World Series MVP, he’d been awarded a brand new Corvette. His face had been on the cover of magazines. He’d made the talk show rounds. Met the President. Women had lined up outside his door. And he’d had his choice of endorsement deals, including a line of men’s hair care products. Now, if his game didn’t improve, his agent would be lucky to get him a spot peddling adult diapers.

Reluctantly, he headed toward the parking lot.

“Hey, Bryce, you got a minute?” He recognized the voice of the woman standing beside his car. A month ago, he would have been happy to see her. Professionally, personally, a little bit of both. But not now.

“Look, Rachel, I’m not giving any more interviews tonight.” He was so down, all he wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed. Alone.

“I’m not here for an interview.” She would have waited in the clubhouse if she were. He knew that. Rachel Parker was a professional, the in-game reporter for Bay Area Sports Network. “Can we go somewhere? Somewhere private?”

“I’m not giving that tonight either.” He waited for his body to protest, recalling the dozen or so encounters with the sexy journalist. She’d been hot. Real hot. Hot enough for him to forget his rule of one and done. They’d been hooking up off the record since before spring training of last season.

“Look, I really do need to talk to you.” She seemed a little nervous, not her usual confident, perky, and always upbeat self who was part bubbly cheerleader, part hard-hitting reporter. She was still hot. But instead of smoking, she was…smoldering. His body stirred. Enough for him to think that maybe spending the next several hours in bed might not be such a bad idea.

But it probably wasn’t a good idea either.

The last time they’d hooked up had been intense. Almost too intense. Too real. But maybe he’d just been riding the high of signing his ridiculous contract. Or maybe he’d felt the pressure of the deal and had transferred it to his personal life. Something he could control.

“You know, I think maybe we should take a step back.” He raked a hand through his hair, still damp from his long shower after the game. “I’m not good for anyone right now.”

Rachel gave him a weird look, almost as if her eyes slipped out of focus. Her face drained of color. She turned and stumbled toward his car, bracing herself against the front fender. Then she threw up on the hood of his Corvette.

“Are you okay?” He took a step toward her.

“No, I’m not okay.” She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “I’m pregnant.”

 

About The Author

Kristina

Kristina Mathews doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t have a book in her hand. Or in her head. But it wasn’t until she turned forty that she confessed the reason the laundry never made it out of the dryer was because she was busy writing.
While she resigned from teaching with the arrival of her second son, she’s remained an educator in some form. As a volunteer, parent club member or para educator, she finds the most satisfaction working with emergent and developing readers, helping foster confidence and a lifelong love of books.

Kristina lives in Northern California with her husband of more than twenty years, two sons and a black lab. A veteran road tripper, amateur renovator and sports fanatic. She hopes to one day travel all 3,073 miles of Highway 50 from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD, replace her carpet with hardwood floors and serve as a “Ball Dudette” for the San Francisco Giants.

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New Release Tour! Kill Without Mercy (ARES Security #1) by Alexandra Ivy *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Kill Without Mercy (ARES Security #1)
by Alexandra Ivy

A Romantic Suspense Thriller
From Zebra
Released December 29, 2015

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From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.

Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he’s eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can’t just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…

There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.

 

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Review

4 stars

4.25

Rafe Vargas is getting ready to open ARES Security firm when he’s required to travel to Ohio to pack up his grandfather’s house now that it found a buyer. He’s not thrilled to take care of it, but the sooner he gets it done the sooner he’ll be back to Texas and his friends. What he wasn’t expecting was to be thrown into a missing person’s case and find love along the way.

Haunted by visions of women running for their lives, Annie White decides to return to the town she left behind as a child when her father was arrested and murdered in jail. Her foster parents have been wonderful in taking care of her and is torn between leaving them behind and finding the meaning behind the visions. But once she arrives in town, she’s surprised to find that the women are starting to go missing again which leads her to believe her visions and the missing women are somehow related to the past she left behind. Having Rafe determined to protect her and falling for him is not something she was counting on, but it’s also something she can’t help but be drawn to.

When I first read the blurb I was drawn to the characters. Both Rafe and Annie had a rough past they were coming to terms with and I wanted to see how the author would work around their issues to bring them together. Although I was a bit disappointed that this was more of an insta-love scenario, I have to hand it to the author because she managed to bring a viable romance to the page while still keeping the reader intrigued when it came to the conflict that arises when Annie arrives in Ohio.

This is my first book by this author and I’m glad I gave her a chance. The writing was precise and not over-embellished, with all the elements working together well. I enjoyed the intrigue, the action and the twists and turns as they appeared just as much as the range of emotions and the cast of characters. Criminal Minds in ebook form! I enjoyed it thoroughly.

While the chemistry between Rafe and Annie was slow in coming it was always present and ready to be brought to the surface. I wished I would have gotten more of a chance to see their connection grow. But taking into consideration the circumstances they found themselves in, I could understand how the emotional connection would develop but not be as fully explored until later in the story, which it was.

Thankfully, Alexandra Ivy delivered in other fronts, which kept my interest constant throughout. I enjoyed getting to know the men of ARES Security and find myself curious to find more about them. I enjoyed wondering who was behind the missing women and watching as the clues fell into place.

As the first in a series, Kill Without Mercy served its purpose well and left me wanting more. All in all, an intriguing romance that paved the way for more stories in the series.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

Her thought was interrupted as she kicked a small object that had been left in the middle of the floor.

Automatically glancing down she came to a sharp halt, her breath locked in her chest as she leaned over to pick up the small doll with the mass of tangled blond hair.

Britney Spears.

It was covered in dust, and the clothes were rumpled, but Annie had a vivid memory of dancing through the house with the doll clutched in her hand.

The sun had been shining and her father was laughing as he watched her silly antics.

“Annie?”

The sound of Rafe’s deep voice broke her out of the past, although the precious feelings of childish joy refused to be completely dismissed.

“This house should be a place of horror, but I had such good memories,” she muttered, her attention locked on the doll that looked as lost and broken as she felt since returning to Newton.

He moved to stand next to her, his hands clenching as if he was battling the urge to reach out and touch her. “You loved your father?”

“Very much,” she admitted without hesitation, lifting her head to meet his searching gaze. “I know you must think it’s twisted, but he was always kind and patient and funny when we were together.”

“I don’t think it’s twisted at all,” he protested. “Tell me about him.” He held up a hand when she frowned. “I mean, tell me about him as your father.”

Expecting the usual condemnation, Annie was caught off guard by his gentle question.

No one had ever asked her about Don White as something other than the psycho serial killer.

Tentatively she allowed herself to return to the past, the doll unconsciously pressed to her chest. “He always had two Oreo cookies and a glass of milk waiting for me on that table when I came home from school.” She nodded toward the shrouded piece of furniture situated near the door. She hadn’t eaten an Oreo cookie since she’d left Newton. “And he went with me to the movies on Saturday afternoon just because I said I wanted to be an actress when I grew up. And every Sunday morning he took me to the restaurant for pancakes.” Bittersweet pain sliced through her heart. “I don’t understand how the same man could be so evil.”

“He was sick, Annie, not evil,” Rafe murmured.

She hunched a shoulder. “Is there a difference?”

“Yes. I’ve seen men in battle,” he said, a hard edge in his voice hinting at memories that were as dark and painful as her own. “Some are just naturally cruel. They enjoy causing pain because it’s a basic part of their nature.” His jaw clenched. “And there are others who’ve been ruined. By life. By war. By . . . fate. They do what they do because they can’t help themselves.”

Annie studied the lean, fiercely handsome face. How did he do it? How did he always know exactly what to say?

It was freaky.

“Thank you,” she breathed.

He cocked a brow. “For what?”

“Most people don’t want to think the Newton Slayer could have any redeeming qualities,” she said, having learned from the second she’d been rescued that her father was public enemy number one. “I usually feel guilty for not hating him.

He destroyed so many lives.”

He brushed a hand over her tangled curls, careful to keep

his touch light. “He was your father.”

“Yes.” He’d been more than that. He’d been her entire family. She gave another shiver. “We should go.” He dropped his hand and nodded, keeping a small distance between them as she headed out the door and across the

rickety porch.

“My truck is at the end of the drive,” he murmured as they reached the overgrown yard. “I’ll tell Teagan to join us at the motel.”

She had a vague impression of a large man who appeared from the shadows to speak with Rafe before he was jogging toward her Jeep, but her concentration centered on keeping her feet moving forward.

Christ, she was tired.

Rafe was back at her side by the time she reached the edge of the road, opening the door to his truck and helping her to climb into the seat before he was rounding the hood and taking his place behind the steering wheel.

In silence he started the engine, flipping the heater on high before performing a U-turn. There was a brief stop as he waited for his friend to approach the truck holding her purse that he’d obviously retrieved from her Jeep. Then, placing the bag in her lap, he shoved the truck in gear and headed back to town at a pace far slower than the one she’d used to get to the house.

Annie clutched her purse, only vaguely aware of her surroundings. She had the impression of genuine leather and a dashboard that had all the bells and whistles. The sort of truck that would be functional for work around a ranch but no doubt cost more than she made in a year. But her gaze remained glued to the dark, chiseled profile of her companion.

Safely tucked in his car with the warm air beginning to ease her shivers, there was nothing to distract her from Rafe’s sheer male beauty.

It was . . . nice.

Almost as if she was a normal girl being driven home by a man who she found intensely attractive.

A damned shame her brief daydream didn’t last for long.

All too soon they were back in town and he was turning into the drive of the motel. Rafe pulled to a halt in the center of the parking lot and glanced in her direction.

“Do you remember where you lived before coming to Newton?”

She froze at the abrupt question, too startled to tell him it was none of his damned business.

“Most of my memories from my early childhood are fuzzy. I think my dad said that we lived overseas, but it’s really just a blur,” she admitted.

It was weird. She had such a clear recollection of her time in Newton. Time with her father. Her friends at the school she’d attended. Climbing on top of the house so she could see her father in the distant fields.

But she never could capture any memories of her days before coming to Newton or the days after she’d been found tied and blindfolded in the bomb shelter.

“Why do you ask?”

“I thought you might have some family who could come to give you support,” he smoothly explained.

Her gaze narrowed. She sensed there was more to his question than he was admitting, but she was too tired to try and search for any hidden meanings.

“There are just my foster parents, and I don’t want to worry them,” she said.

He reached into his rear pocket, pulling out his wallet.

“Then I want your promise you’ll call me if you need anything,” he commanded, handing her a small business card.

She took the card with a frown, asking the question that had been bothering her from the moment their paths had crossed.

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you so determined to help me?” she demanded. “I’m a stranger.”

He held her wary gaze. “It’s what I do.”

“A hero?”

“Something like that.” He pointed toward the business card. “My private cell number is printed on the back. Call me . . . any time, for any reason.”

Tucking the card in her purse, she crawled out of the truck and hurried to her motel room.

 

About the Author

AlexandraIvy

Alexandra Ivy graduated from Truman University with a degree in theatre before deciding she preferred to bring her characters to life on paper rather than stage. She currently lives in Missouri with her extraordinarily patient husband and teenage sons. To stay updated on Alexandra’s Guardian series or to chat with other readers, please visit her website at www.alexandraivy.com.

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Spotlight: Worth the Fight Series by Sidney Halston *Series Review*

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Worth the Fight Series
by Sidney Halston

A Contemporary Romance Series
From Loveswept

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Love gets way more than a fighting chance in USA Today bestselling author Sidney Halston’s seductive MMA romances! Beginning with Against the Cage and continuing with Full Contact, Below the Belt, Laid Out and the upcoming  Fighting Dirty, the Worth the Fight series features loyal, hard-edged mixed martial arts fighters and the women who fall for them.

 

againstthecageAgainst the Cage (Worth the Fight, #1)

In her Loveswept debut, Sidney Halston turns up the heat as a sexy cage fighter shows a former bookworm how delicious a few rounds between the sheets can be.

For Chrissy Martin, returning to her Florida hometown always seems to bring bad luck. The day starts with a breakup text, followed by a jailhouse phone call from her troublemaker brother. Now a routine traffic stop has ended with her accidentally punching an officer . . . in a delicate place. Then Chrissy realizes that the hot cop on the receiving end of her right hook is none other than the man from her teenage fantasies.

Jack Daniels knows how to take a hit. After all, when he’s not chasing reckless drivers, he’s kicking ass in a mixed martial arts ring. So what takes his breath away isn’t the low blow, but the woman who dealt it: a gorgeous knockout with legs Jack wouldn’t mind being pinned under—who just so happens to be his best friend’s nerdy little sister, all grown up. Soon their instant chemistry leads to a sizzling affair, but Jack and Chrissy are fighting an uphill battle if they want to make love last beyond the final bell.

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fullcontactFull Contact (Worth the Fight, #2)

Sidney Halston returns to steamy Tarpon Springs, Florida, where a hell-raising bad boy prepares to get down and dirty for the woman he loves.

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.

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belowthebeltBelow the Belt (Worth the Fight, #3)

In Sidney Halston’s latest sizzling MMA romance, a former title contender turns the tables on his knockout trainer with a lesson in seduction.

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.

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laidoutLaid Out (Worth the Fight, #4)

Perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and Cecy Robson, Sidney Halston’s scorching new MMA romance proves there are no holds barred when it comes to seduction.

Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.

Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.

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Fighting Dirty_coverFighting Dirty (Worth the Fight, #5)

If you love the MMA romances of Vi Kreeland and Kendall Ryan, Sidney Halston’s Worth the Fight series will knock your socks off! In Fighting Dirty, a geek-chic cage fighter proves that appearances can be deceiving . . . and oh-so-tempting.

With his preppy clothes and horn-rimmed glasses, Enzo Silva is the last dude anyone expects to find in a mixed martial arts gym. A wealthy Brazilian banker who never had to fight for anything, Enzo’s stuck in the amateur circuit—but he burns to make the pros. Maybe that explains the heat he feels whenever he’s around Jamie Lynn Calhoun. The pint-size, magenta-haired bartender with the Texas drawl is everything he’s not . . . and everything he craves.

Tough as nails and independent to a fault, Jamie Lynn—JL to her friends—works hard to pay her bills and keep life simple. Enzo is doing his best to complicate that. Even though she likes to bust his balls, he’s got some kind of a nerdy-hot vibe that makes JL wonder if she might finally be able to let her guard down. It might do the boy some good to spend some time in her world, where blood, sweat, and victory are as sweet as the first taste of real love.

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Series Review

4 stars

I’ve read my share of MMA Romances and what it comes down to for me to enjoy them is that perfect balance between the sport, the romance and the characters. Not too much drama but enough emotion to make me invested in the characters. Not too much fighting but enough sports talk to fell like a team member. And finally, an intense chemistry that while potent doesn’t overwhelm the other aspects of the relationship–mainly the connection between the hero and heroine.

This is what Sidney Halston has brought to the page in every single one of the books in the Worth The Fight series thus far.

With humor, sexual tension and subtle emotions Against the Cage paved the way for other books in the series. I loved Jack and Chrissy! Jack is a cop by day and an amateur MMA fighter in his spare time. He enjoys the rush of stepping into the cage and the camaraderie of being a part of a team. He has known Chrissy since childhood and although he never acknowledge it, he always felt protective of her. Was it brotherly love or attraction? He never gave it much thought–at least not until Chrissy came back to town to bail her brother out of jail.

Chrissy has always been straight-laced and has harbored an unrequited crush on his brother’s best friend. And although distance has kept her from being near, years later she still gets all tingly in his presence. He also infuriates her to no end, which only makes the sparks between them that much more intense. The fact that they meet again when she’s having one hell of a day doesn’t help their first meeting none, but it sure made for some entertaining reading.

What I loved the most about this story was the fact that I got to see Jack and Chrissy reconnecting on the page. It was great to see how Jack’s perception of Chrissy shifts from annoying little sister to potential lover. I also enjoyed their bickering, flirty banter and candid moments spent together. These moments served to make their intimate encounters that much more real and intense. That first kiss alone was worth all the anticipation! Of course, the addition of interesting characters, subtle emotions and a vicious little dog just amped my experience that much more.

It came as no surprise that by the end of Against the Cage I was excited to get to the next book. Full Contact tells Jessica and Slade’s story. I knew of Jessica and Slade from the previous book where Slade went to jail because he got into a fight because of Jessica. Acquaintances who shared a mutual attraction, Jessica and Slade were nothing more than strangers but after Jessica left her abusive boyfriend after a bad beating, it was Slade who took care of her while she recovered.

Although I also enjoyed this story, I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to see Jessica and Slade’s connection growing from the very beginning. The story picks up several weeks after Jessica got out of the hospital, so the reader doesn’t get a first-hand look of that time spent together. However, the author does a great job of bringing their connection to the page. Enough to satisfy my need to see it on the page.

It helped a lot that the story centered around them and their time spent together afterwards. What began as a friendship soon became something more, where their mutual attraction was explored while emotions were kept under the surface. Soon enough the emotions came into play right along with Jessica’s ex bringing forth a whole set of problems.

Unlike Against the Cage, I didn’t feel that light-hearted vibe from this story but I came to enjoy it nonetheless. The humor was present, if understated, but thankfully the chemistry, candid moments and the growth of Jessica and Slade’s connection made up for it.

Since the stories in the series overlap in places, I thought I knew what to expect from Below the Belt. In Full Contact Slade became a partner in WtF with Francesca Silva, the owner’s daughter, who is now running the gym. With the new partnership in place, Francesca decided to bring in Antonio “Scarface” Marino. Below the Belt tells their story. And what a story it was!

Francesca and Tony’s interactions stole the show for me in this story. I loved their bickering and heated exchanges–both the vocal and the physical. Francesca was strong-headed and completely unfazed by the eye candy in the gym–until Tony came into the picture. The man pushed her very button and try as she might she couldn’t help but give in to the attraction that simmered between them. Both stubborn and both with a hell of a temper, these two coming together made for an entertaining read.

Of course, it helped tremendously that their chemistry was as intense as their bickering. They butted heads just as much as they kissed, which only made the unraveling of their emotions that much more intense. And I have to say that their candid moments did it for me too. The unrelenting ‘cubanito’ with the ‘tough as nails’ Brazilian beauty hid their vulnerabilities well, but when they let their guard down it was worth all the posturing I endured from them.

Below the Belt definitively made it to my favorites’ shelf, so I was hesitant to start Laid Out because I didn’t know what to expect from Cain’s story. In the previous stories, Cain seemed so closed-off that I thought his story would be overwhelming angsty. Thankfully, although there were plenty of intense emotional moments, Sidney Halston managed to bring in some of the humor, camaraderie and care-free vibe I’ve come to expect.

Cain is troubled and uses fighting to ‘deal’ when he feels weighted down by his emotions. His friendship with Violet goes back to their childhood and now that she has moved to town, he can’t seem to get a handle on himself. He’s rude, short-tempered and downright unbearable to be near. Violet, however, takes it all in stride. She’s determined to make a new start for herself now that she’s not under her father’s watchful eye. But having Cain near only brings to the surface the attraction she tried to put behind her when she decided to marry their best friend. Soon Cain and Violet find themselves fighting rampant emotions, troublesome libidos, their pasts and a their present.

What I enjoyed the most about this story was the way the author went about bringing the friends to lovers concept to the page. Yes, the concept has been done before, especially the part of having the friends coming together to ‘prepare’ the other to undertake the ‘dating world’. But what made this story different was the way the author didn’t wrap it up all pretty-like and called it happily ever after. Sidney Halston didn’t make it easy on these two, which was what ultimately upped my enjoyment of this story.

Cain and Violet both dealt with different emotions and issues that in the end allowed them to come together as a couple, and it was their journey what truly kept me engaged throughout. There were the fierce moments that showcased how stubborn they were, the tender moments when their guards were down and the intimate moments when their lust overtook them and their chemistry shined through. It also helped that I got a chance to glimpse how deeply connected they were as teenagers and that the author developed their connection as the story progressed.

Although not as upbeat a story as I’ve come to expect, Laid Out had a mix of well-balanced elements that made Cain and Violet’s story worthwhile throughout.

I admit that Fighting Dirty was a surprise for me, since I was expecting Travis’ story. I didn’t really know much about Enzo Silva–other than he was Francesca’s cousin–but thankfully, I had come to know a bit more about Jamie Lynn Calhoun. In the end, I decided to give it a shot, because after reading the blurb I became curious about how these two would come together.

Jamie Lynn is Travis’ twin sister and Violet’s best friend. She leads a simple life centered on her friends, her job at the bar and her art. However, her art is a secret she has kept from her friends and family. So of course it comes as a surprise to her when she attends her art class and finds her brother and his team members there. More surprising, however, was seeing clean-cut rich boy Enzo as the nude model for the class.

Enzo is finally free of his wife and mostly leading the life he wants since moving to the US. He’s an amateur MMA fighter trying his best to fit in his love for the sport with his work responsibilities while attempting to land a date with the ever-elusive Jamie Lynn. Who knew it would only take a lost bet for him to have his chance at her?

Initially disappointed that I wasn’t getting Travis’ story next, I was glad I came across Fighting Dirty because in the end it was a pleasant surprise. I especially enjoyed how the author played out a ‘first date’ for a couple of days and allowed me the chance to get to know Enzo and Jamie Lynn along the way as well. I enjoyed how Enzo and Jamie Lynn connected over the simplest of things and the undercurrent of attraction they shared throughout their time together.

Of course, once that ‘first date’ was over and they returned to the real world was when the story truly picked up. With Jamie Lynn pursuing her passion for urban art and Enzo’s role in its success coupled with both of them dealing with issues from their personal lives, it was bound for emotions to make their appearance.

Enzo’s struggles with his dad’s expectations showed a whole different side to his personality. His caring protective side came to the surface, which added to the conflicting emotions he was experiencing. Jamie Lynn also showed another side to her through her struggles with dealing with her Mom. There was more to her flighty persona and she didn’t allow a lot of people to see it. It was a treat to learn that she was a strong independent woman hiding many vulnerabilities.

Needless to say that these two shared a great deal of chemistry. How could a first date last as long if there wasn’t a spark between them? Although I enjoyed those moments thoroughly, it was the unguarded moments that defined the relationship for me. I loved their flirty banter and good-natured bickering just as much as their honest confessions and candid moments of conversation. I also loved watching Enzo come fully into himself and fight for what he wanted and I was glad that Jamie Lynn got some closure with her relationship with her mother in the end.

As you can see, this series has a varied collection of stories that range from the fun and flirty to the more emotion-driven. But what these stories all have in common and what I’ve come to love about the series is the great cast of characters, the fantastic sense of camaraderie between the characters and the perfect balance of romance and heat.

*I received copies of these titles in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

About The Author

Sidney_Halston
Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “Just do it.” And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.

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Sales Blitz! Full Measures (Flight & Glory #1) by Rebecca Yarros *Review, Excerpt and Trailer*

In anticipation of the January 25th release of Hallowed Ground, the newest stand alone to the Flight and Glory Series, Rebecca Yarros has placed Full Measures (Book One) ON SALE.
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Full Measures (Flight & Glory #1)
by Rebecca Yarros

A New Adult Contemporary Romance
Released February 10th 2014
From Entangled Publishing

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Three knocks can change everything…

“She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead.”

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

 

Do not miss out on the opportunity to grab this beautifully written, emotional military romance about love, loss and survival for ONLY $0.99!

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ON SALE NOW!

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Review

4 stars

Ember’s world came crashing down early one morning. One day she had it all – a loving boyfriend, college and a supportive family – and the other she’s facing an uncertain future, feeling alone and like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders.

It is during this time that she connects with Josh, the guy she once had a crush on. Romance is the last thing on her mind, but Josh’s supportive arms and his caring ways are too much for her to resist. However, just as Ember starts to think that her life has settled on solid ground, the rug is pulled right from under her feet.

This is the type of story that pulls you in from the very beginning and doesn’t let up until the very end of it.

Rebecca Yarros did a wonderful job in bringing Ember’s emotions to the page. This was not a light read by any means, but the emotions and the character’s reactions felt real and not over the top. My heart went out to Ember immediately and I was happy to see her trying to move on with Josh and finding some kind of semblance of normalcy in her life. But this only made me a sniffling mess when Josh’s secret came out. Yep, I shed a tear or three — I was that invested!

I loved Josh and Ember together. I think they found each other at the best time of their life. She needed someone to lean on and he needed someone to give him purpose. I thoroughly enjoyed their moments together and loved watching as their connection grew and strengthened as the story progressed. Of course they had great chemistry too, which only made it that much more enjoyable!

All in all, an emotional story about loss, hope and taking chances.

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

 

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Excerpt

The tile floor was cold under my bare feet as I leaned back against the kitchen counter, eating even colder ice cream. Muffled voices came from the entry hall, which probably meant Jagger had another girl over. Not that I cared, but it was a harsh reminder that the only girl I wanted was literally a wall away and wanted nothing to do with me.

Then again, after watching her set that shirt on fire yesterday, I was beginning to think it was less me she was angry at and more the entire world. I got it, really. She’d lost her dad, her mom wasn’t functioning, and she couldn’t get a moment peaceful enough to get her feet under her. She was frustrating as hell, and I couldn’t even blame her for it. Stronger women would have crumbled under what she’d been handed. So I flipped Jagger off when he’d asked me if we needed to call Oprah about my “manpain,” ate ice cream like a heartbroken girl, and tried not to fantasize about licking it off Ember. Looks like I failed that one, too.

“Barbies?” Ember’s voice came through clear as a bell, and I nearly dropped my spoon. Chills ran down my arms, and it wasn’t because of the ice cream currently melting on my tongue. Nope, just my skin reacting to her nearness. I licked off the back of the spoon, abandoned the bowl on the counter, and moved to straighten my shirt, but I wasn’t wearing one. I didn’t give it a second thought before I quietly rounded the corner, leaning back against the wall to get a better look at her.

“Walker! You got company!” Jagger called out, not realizing I was right behind him. Then again, neither did Ember, which gave me a coveted minute to soak her in, adorable bare feet and all. “Just in case he isn’t what you’re looking for… My name’s Jagger.”

“It’s nice to meet you, Jagger.”

“Oh, it’s my pleasure.”

Oh, hell no. I knew that voice on Jagger, the one that sought any good-looking woman in a five-mile radius, and couldn’t stay quiet. “Jagger, back the fuck up off Ember.”

His head dropped a fraction of an inch, just enough to let me know he’d heard me stake the claim. I’d pulled some kindergarten shit and basically licked her like a snack I didn’t want to share — I didn’t give a fuck if it was immature.

“And another one bites the dust,” Jagger said as he passed by me. He shot up his eyebrows in question, and I answered with an almost indistinguishable nod. Yes, this is the girl I’ve been talking about.

He laughed so quietly I almost missed it. Almost. Laugh it up. One day it will be you.

I locked my gaze on Ember and waited to see what she would do. She was like a wounded animal, and every time I reached my hand out, she’d bite, so this time I’d let her move first. It took every ounce of willpower I had not to move toward her.

She walked inside the entry hall, stopping close enough for me to kiss. Damn, she was beautiful. I would have killed for even a hint of what was going on behind those blue eyes. She blinked, but stayed silent.

I reached out before I could stop myself and palmed her cheek. “December?” Damn if she didn’t lean into my touch. It was there, the crackle of energy, the invisible tie that kept me tethered to her no matter how hard or far she pushed me away.

Her breath hitched as she turned into my hand, her lips parting as she skimmed over my skin, inhaling. Want slammed through me, and I forced it back on the bench. I wasn’t sure why she was here, or what she needed, but it wasn’t me pouncing on her.

Or maybe it is. I barely finished the thought before her mouth was on mine, hard and insistent. I was all too willing.

This wasn’t a gentle kiss, or even an apologetic one. It was open, carnal, and I sank into her, desperate to give her what we both craved. A growl ripped from my throat when she sucked my tongue into her mouth. God, she was warm.

I took control, stroking down her curves until her perfect ass filled my hands. With a squeeze, I brought her with me as I flipped to press her against the wall. Then I kissed her like I needed to, stroking her mouth with my tongue the way I’d used my fingers on her body back in Breckenridge—relentlessly and to every advantage.

Her fingers sank into my hair, and she moaned into my mouth, pushing me one step closer to losing what little control I had left. But when she rocked her hips against me, all thoughts of restraint fled. I licked down her neck, savoring her pulse against my tongue and the way she gasped when I gently kissed the patch of skin at the base.

Zip! Holy shit. She unzipped her hoodie, exposing miles of soft skin above her tank top. I picked her up, using the wall as leverage as I set my mouth to the delicate lines of her collarbone. Her taste, her scent, all of her surrounded me, blurring the outside world until there was only Ember.

I met her gaze, her eyes soft and hazed with the same lust streaking through my veins. “Josh,” she whispered, holding my face like I was something precious. I’d been a lot of things to a lot of different girls, but precious wasn’t really one of them, and she was infinitely more precious to me for it.

I set her down but didn’t back away, feeling every curve and hollow against my bare skin, and barely biting back a groan. I wish I’d had a shirt on. Oh, who the fuck was I kidding? Ten shirts couldn’t have protected me from Ember.

I kissed her again, using every ounce of skill I had to make her lose herself in the same way I had. I kept her guessing, never allowing her to settle into the kiss, changing the tempo, the pressure, anything to keep her as off-balance as she had me. She skimmed her fingers down my chest, along the lines of my stomach, and tensed. She dipped her fingers under the band of my flannel pants, and I was ready to rip every piece of clothing off her body so I could get to her skin. Another inch and she’d feel exactly how badly I wanted her.

Damn it. This was way too much, and not anything of what she actually needed. I’d be her whatever, but I had to draw the line when she was doing more harm than good. “December,” I whispered against her mouth, her lips swollen from mine, and pulled back just far enough to rest my forehead against hers. I closed my eyes until I had my body back under control. “I’m fucking desperate to carry you to my bedroom, but I don’t think this is what you want.”

Her eyes flew wide, and her skin stained pink before she hid behind her hands. “What am I doing?”

I got my shit under control, taking two deep breaths before I pulled her hands away. “What are you doing?”

“I came to say I’m sorry for the way I’ve been treating you. Sorry for the mixed signals.” She laughed. “But apparently I jumped you instead, and now I’m sorry for that, too.”

“Sorry for jumping me?” Hell no. I smiled. She could be sorry for pushing me away, for going from hot to cold faster than the kitchen faucet she used to put that fire out yesterday. But I wouldn’t let her apologize for giving me a few minutes to glimpse heaven.

“No. I’m not sorry for jumping you. I’m sorry about my god-awful timing.”

My smile slipped as I ran my thumb across the lips I was becoming obsessed with. “I told you I’m here for whatever you need, Ember. Jumping, apologies, whatever.”

“I’d better get back to studying.”

Boom. She may as well have slammed the door on me, and I retreated a step. “I’d better get in the shower.”

“Didn’t you just…?”

I let my mind wander to the shower, to what I could do to her body, pressed up against mine, water making her slick under my hands – how easy it would be to slide inside her. Stop. “Yeah, but I think I need another one at a different temperature.”

She flushed brighter pink. “Oh. I’m sorry about that, too.”

I couldn’t stop a grin from overtaking me. “I’m not.” I stepped forward until her back hit the wall, then bent down, a breath away from her lips, from what I knew we both wanted but wouldn’t push for. “If you apologize like that, feel free to treat me like shit any time you want. I will be your personal doormat.”

 

full measures teaser

 

New Military Romance from Rebecca Yarros in Hallowed Ground (Book Four) of the Flight & Glory Series releases January 25th!

hallowed ground cover
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About the Author

rebecca yarros

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.

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New Release! The Heat Is On (The Boys of Summer, #4) by Katie Rose *Review*

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The Heat Is On (The Boys of Summer #4)
by Katie Rose

A Contemporary Romance
From Loveswept
Released January 5th 2016

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Perfect for readers of Joanna Blake and Sawyer Bennett, hailed as “charming, sexy, and smart” by Lauren Layne, the Boys of Summer series from award-winning author Katie Rose heats up as a homegrown baseball star returns to snag the one that got away.

When veteran catcher Connor Jackson gets traded to the New Jersey Sonics, he welcomes the opportunity to possibly cap his career with a World Series ring in his home state. But there’s another reason Connor is glad things have come full circle. In pursuit of hardball glory, he left behind his college sweetheart, the one girl he could never forget. Seeing her again stirs up long-lost desires . . . and this time, he’s determined not to strike out.

A divorced mother of four, Tracy Coleman no longer aspires to gossip-mag glam—but she’ll make an exception for a date with Connor. Their chemistry is hotter than ever, and being alone with him is more seductive than she anticipated. Who could blame her for leaving out a little detail like the kids? Now all she has to do is come clean and convince the man of her dreams that they—Connor, Tracy, and her children—have a future together.

 

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Review

4 stars

Connor Jackson is at a stage in life where he feels he’s ready for more thank just baseball, so returning to his home state after being traded to the New Jersey Sonics give him a change at just that. And he knows just where to start–getting back the girl he left behind. But although the easy camaraderie that existed between them hasn’t faded, Tracy’s life is not as carefree as it once was.

Tracy Coleman is trying to make the best out of an awful situation. A divorced mother of four working from home, she has plenty of her plate already and having Connor back in her life, although wonderful, it comes with plenty of complications.

As a fan of the series, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance to read this title. The concept has been done plenty before, but I thought the added complication of a professional baseball player and four kids would be an intriguing addition. And I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least.

One of the elements I enjoyed the most in this story was the connection between Tracy and Connor. Although I would have loved to see that initial connection brought to the page, I appreciated Katie Rose’s efforts to not only make a mention of that initial connection but to to enhance it and showcase it as the story progressed. I enjoyed Connor and Tracy’s flirty banter, their bickering and their easy rapport. Of course, it helped that their chemistry was ever-present and intense. But it was the candid moments over a shared meal and their moments together surrounded by the kind of chaos having four children brings about that truly sold me on their connection and forced me to invest myself in their relationship.

As with every book in the series, The Heat Is On was infused with humor, camaraderie and heated moments. The emotions were present as well, but never overwhelming which I appreciated as well.

Keep in mind that although this is the fourth book in The Boys of Summer Series, it can be read as a stand alone.

Overall, I enjoyed watching Connor and Tracy reconnecting and rekindling their romance just as much as I enjoyed being a part of the team dynamic and visiting with some of the other characters. A win-win all around!

 

The Boys of Summer series

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Bring on the Heat (The Boys of Summer, #1)
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Too Hot to Handle (The Boys of Summer, #2)
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The Heat of the Moment (The Boys of Summer, #3)
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About the Author

Katie-Rose
Award-winning historical author Katie Rose makes her contemporary debut with the Boys of Summer novels, Bring on the Heat and Too Hot to Handle, which combine Katie’s true loves: baseball and romance! When not watching baseball, Katie is at her lake house in New Jersey, hard at work on her next book.

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New Release! Hold Me Until Forever (Grayson Brothers #3) by Christina Phillips *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Hold Me Until Forever (Grayson Brothers #3)
by Christina Phillips

A Contemporary Romance
From Entangled–Brazen
Released January 4th 2016

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She’s the only one he wants…and the one he can never have…

Ella Clark has been in love with Alex Grayson forever. She’s tired of being invisible—or worse, being treated like his kid sister. If she can just get him to drop his iron-fisted control for two seconds, she’ll prove she knows exactly how to blow his mind.

Alex has been fighting his attraction to Ella since her should-have-been-innocent sweet sixteen kiss burned down his world. He’s damaged, and there’s no way he’ll ever drag her into his screwed up life. Until she offers him something he’s always craved—steamy, no-strings sex inside his exclusive BDSM club. Where she’ll be safe from the darkness that haunts him.

Except there’s nothing safe about being with Ella, and the more she gives, the harder it is to let her go. If he stays, he risks everything, but how can he walk away from the only woman he’s ever needed?

 

Hold Me Until Forever

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Review

4 stars

After reading Hold Me Until Morning, the previous book in the series, I was expectantly anticipating Alex’s story. With his broodiness and quiet intensity, I thought it would be awesome to see him unraveling over a woman. Thankfully, Christina Phillips delivered in that front much as I expected. Alex’s story was packed-full of intense emotions–these mostly coming from Alex and his determination to stay away from Ella.

I found Ella to be a great character to get to know. She was fun and quirky and gave as good as she got even at times when her vulnerability came unto the surface. She cared a great deal for Alex and his family, yet I admired her determination to step away from the family business and follow her dream. Of course, it was her decision to leave Grayson’s that ultimately brought her and Alex together so it was a win-win in all counts.

I enjoyed the way the author went about bringing Alex and Ella’s connection to the page while still allowing me to get to know the characters as individuals. I loved getting to see Alex fight his feelings and attractions to Ella just as much as I enjoyed Ella goading Alex along the way. Needless to say that their chemistry was intense. I enjoyed the back and forth, the lustful glances and the exploration of their attraction. It sure made for a more interesting read to see how Alex, slowly but surely, gave in completely to his attraction–especially after he spent so many years trying to keep it at bay.

Keep in mind that although this is the third book in the series and the characters from the previous books make appearances in this book, Alex and Ella’s story can be read as a stand alone.

All in all, a friends to lovers story that was years in the making and ultimately inevitable. 😉

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

Excerpt

(Ella’s just told Alex that she’s leaving Grayson’s, and Alex has gone round to her apartment to try and talk her out of it…)

Guilt twisted through her again. Before he’d taken her into Grayson’s she’d been floundering, her self-confidence still in bad shape after her mom’s asshole boyfriend had cornered her when she’d been fourteen. Her succession of part-time and casual jobs was nothing to brag about, and the only constant in her life had been her volunteer work at the Wildlife Retreat.

“I’m not leaving you in the shit. There’s plenty of time to find a replacement for me.”

He gave her a smoldering look. Oh, for fuck’s sake… “No one could take your place.”

If only he were talking about her as a woman and not his indispensable work colleague.

“Hate to say it, but you’ll probably be surprised.”

He didn’t immediately deny it, which stung more than it should.

“You plan on staying in touch?”

She couldn’t tell by his tone of voice whether he gave a damn one way or the other. So much for no one being able to take her place. Looked like he was already over it.

Don’t you dare say it. Heat flooded through her, but the words spilled out anyhow. “I might come visit you in your club one night.”

At least it wiped that infuriating, unreadable expression from his face. He stared at her as though she’d just grown a pair of horns.

“I don’t think so.”

It was the note of finality in his voice that really pissed her off—as if he thought she was joking and he didn’t find it funny.

“Why not? I think I’d really get off on a night at your club.” Take that. If only she didn’t look so rough. It was hard trying to act like a sophisticated woman of the world when she was barefoot and Alex could’ve stepped off the cover of GQ.

“Didn’t know you were into that scene.”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me.” Including the fact I sleep in one of your old shirts. At least he hadn’t recognized it. Then again, it was about three years old. He’d left it here when the brothers had helped her move in, and somehow she kept forgetting to give it back to him.

Accidentally on purpose.

“I would’ve known about this.”

Was he laughing at her? He didn’t look as if he was, but it was hard to tell what he was thinking.

Whatever. She wasn’t backing down.

“I might not be hardcore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like to experiment now and then.”

“Define what you mean by ‘experimenting.’”

He damn well was laughing at her. What’s the kinkiest thing I’ve read lately? “Ménages.” That’d shut him up. Or turn him on.

“You enjoy having sex with two men at the same time?”

She glared at him. “You find it so hard to believe that two men would want me?”

“That’s not what I find hard to believe.”

His quick-fire response took her breath away. Trust Alex to compliment and insult her in one easy comment.

She cleared her throat, which kind of ruined the worldly aura she was going for, but it was better than choking on her own words. “So, does your club cater for that kind of thing?”

What was she saying? She’d die if he called her bluff.

He didn’t answer right away. His eyes were all dark and smoky and it was suddenly hard to breathe properly. He seemed to be considering her question, which sent prickles of alarmed excitement over her bare skin.

Excalibur caters for almost anything,” he said.

 

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About the Author

Christina Phillips

Christina Phillips is an ex-pat Brit who now lives in sunny Western Australia with her high school sweetheart and their family. She enjoys writing paranormal, historical and contemporary romance where the stories sizzle and the heroine brings her hero to his knees.

She’s addicted to good coffee, expensive chocolate and bad boy heroes. Christina is also owned by three gorgeous cats who are convinced the universe revolves around their needs. They are not wrong.

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MC Romance New Release! Rebel Love (Dirty Sinners MC #1) by Jodi Linton *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

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Revenge, passion and heart stopping action all come together in Jodi Linton’s scorchingly hot, REBEL LOVE, the first book in the Original Sinners Motorcycle Club series. Fans of Sarah Castille’s Sinner’s Tribe Motorcycle Club series and Katie Ashley’s Vicious Cycle will love this brand new series.

Rebel Love (Dirty Sinners MC #1)
by Jodi Linton

An MC Conteporary Romance
From Entagled–Ignite
Releasing January 4th 2016

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She wants revenge…

The Dirty Sinners Motorcycle Club is Em Connors’s only family, but she’s ready to risk everything–both her club and her life–for vengeance. Ten months ago, she was brutally attacked and her lover gunned down by a rival gang member. Now, she’s using her position as the Dirty Sinners president to track down the truth and exact her revenge.

He’ll risk it all…

With his partner murdered by a local motorcycle gang, Houston police officer Cade Jackson jumps at the chance to go back undercover and bring down the woman the department calls the Motorcycle Princess. But the sexy-as-hell leader awakens a hunger in Cade. Dark desires run deep–and he intends on teaching Em exactly how dirty he can be. But when his cover is blown, Cade must choose to uphold the law or protect the woman he’s grown to love…by going rogue.

 

 

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Review

3-stars

What interested me about this story was the concept. I’ve read my fair share of MC Romances and I thought having a female club president would make for a fascinating story.

However, within a couple of pages into the story I found my interest waning when it came to the heroine. Em tried too hard and failed to impressed me. I wanted to see a badass chick with a softer side, but it became clear it was all pretense on her part–at least in regards to her degree of badassness.

I do have to say that enjoyed the hell out of Cade though. He was rough, hard-edged and everything I expected him to be and more. He was authentic in his duplicity–badass biker/cop. It worried me at first, but ultimately I came to understand how he could compartmentalize those two sides of his personality.

In any case, the chemistry between these two was potent and the author didn’t miss a beat in bringing it to the page. Within the first chapter alone you could see the sparks that flared between Em and Cade–they were intense and all-encompassing. The connection between Em and Cade was slow in coming, but made itself known which I came to appreciate a lot. I just wished I could have connected with Em fully, simply because I think it would have increased my enjoyment of this story.

As the first in a series, Rebel Love worked well in regards to establishing the world of The Dirty Sinners Motorcycle Club. The author not only introduced its members, but also set the stage for other upcoming books in the series.

All in all, a good start to a series and a sexy hot little read to make it all worthwhile.

*I received a copy of this title in exchange of my honest opinion.

 

9

 

Excerpt

He patted the motorcycle seat. “Hop on.”

“I’m nobody’s bitch. Especially some outlaw arrogant biker I just hired,” she warned. “What makes you so special that you can skip out on work?”
He chuckled despite himself. “Between you and me, I think the boss lady is sort of sweet on me.”

She stared at the bike seat, not even attempting to make a move.

Waving his ignorance flag, Cade hunched over the handlebars. “You want me to say I’m sorry? That I shouldn’t have kissed you yesterday? Not going to happen, Em. I’m not that good of a man.” He smiled. “One ride, and then I might consider kissing you again.”

“Clingy much?” she ground out.

“Got a rebellious streak, babe.” He slowly slid a glance down her body, knowing his needy feelings to own the heartbreaker biker chick were entirely stupid. But, shit, they were so damn powerful. Risky, even. “When I see something I want, nothing stops me from getting it.”

“You’re awfully confident for a mechanic, aren’t you? Let me remind you about something. Mechanics are a dime a dozen, so if you want to hit the road, you’d be doing us both a favor.” She shifted her weight, hip cocked in a prissy stance. “Hell, I’ll even buy your gas if that means you’ll ride off into the sunset. Like right now.”

She knew exactly the right buttons to push to piss him off. That kiss yesterday had been anything but forced. Yet if he called her bluff, went all Hulk on her, Em would run. Turn her cute button-shaped nose up at him and haul her sexy ass back inside. It probably made sense to apologize and try to get in her good graces, but Cade had never taken the easy route. And gaining Em Connors’s trust would be no different, since he wasn’t about to burn the man code and turn into some Hallmark greeting card guy. Instead he winked and revved the throttle on his bike. “Princess, I can tell you’re dying to know if I can handle this horsepower between my legs.”

 

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About Jodi Linton

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Jodi Linton is the author of the Deputy Laney Briggs Series and the upcoming The Dirty Sinners Motorcycle Club with Entangled Publishing. She lives in Texas with her husband and two kids. When she is not writing about sassy females and dirty talking heroes, she enjoys long walks and family time down at the river. Join the Pink Pistol Readers! Jodi Linton’s official Street Team for insider scoops on all her upcoming books.

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