Tag Archives: Contemporary romance

Tour: Zack (Cold Fury Hockey #3) by Sawyer Bennett *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*


Zack (Cold Fury Hockey #3)
by Sawyer Bennett

Contemporary Romance
From LoveSwept (Random House)
Released June 9th 2015



New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett goes for a hat trick with the latest romance in a sexy series about cool-as-ice hockey players and the women heating up their lives.

Warning: The following contains spoilers from a cliffhanger in Garrett.

Rising star Zack Grantham has been stuck in a downward spiral of grief that has put his career on hold. Back on the road with the Carolina Cold Fury, still crippled by emotional baggage, and now a single dad, he’s in need of some serious help with his son. But while the nerdy new nanny wins his son’s heart, Zack isn’t sure he’s ready for a woman’s touch—even after getting a glimpse of the killer curves she’s hiding under those baggy clothes.

Kate Francis usually keeps men like Zack at a distance. Though his athlete’s body is honed to perfection, he refuses to move on with his life—and besides, he’s her boss. Still, the sparks between them are undeniable, tempting Kate to turn their professional relationship into a personal one. But before she makes a power play for Zack’s wounded heart, Kate will have to open him up again and show him that love is worth the fight.



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“GAH! Zack’s story!” This was my first reaction when I noticed this book on NetGalley.

As a follower of the series, I have come to love these hockey players and the women that tame them. This time around I knew a little bit more about Zack’s backstory and had an idea of what he would be confronting in this new chapter of his life. However, I was not prepared for how truly enjoyable Kate turned out to be.

While Zack was your typical brooding male, Kate was lively yet shy with a caring nature and a huge heart. She was also funny and protective of Zack and his son–a trait I came to admire about her.

Of course, Zack was also a great character. He was more complex than I had anticipated, which only added to my interest in him finding someone who inspired him to commit further down the road. It helped that he was a fantastic father and an amazing lover. Oh yes, that man had it going on in every aspect–if you disregard his fear of commitment. 😉

As expected, the writing was superb with the right mixture of emotions, humor and romance. I loved that the emotions were spot-on with whatever the situation called for and that the they ranged from the most subtle to the more intense. Of course, it only added to my enjoyment that all those emotions were well-balanced with Sawyer Bennett’s trademark humor–a bit sarcastic, a little witty and a load of fun!

However, what truly made this a five-star read for me was the romance element itself. I especially enjoyed the pace and how the romance developed. It was great to see Zack and Kate’s initial interactions and watching them transition into friends and later lovers. I loved watching as what started as a tentative friendship between employee and employer soon developed into something more intimate. It gave me a chance to get to know them as individuals before their emotions came into play.

It helped tremendously that Zack and Kate’s interactions were very entertaining. They ranged from the most candid–where their connection made itself known–to the most heated where the sizzling chemistry they shared had me anticipating their every move. But then there were also my favorite moments. Those honest, emotional ones where they allowed the other into their lives, which ultimately brought them even closer together.

And this why I’ve come to consider Sawyer Bennett one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. Her characters are easy to relate to yet complex and intriguing. Plus she always goes out of her way to show the couple’s connection in a way that allows the reader to believe that the relationship is viable and lasting. And I won’t lie, she rocks when it comes to sex scenes! Especially in her ability to infuse the physical attraction of her characters with true emotions. This in a nutshell is what keeps me coming back to her books and why I loved this Zack and Kate’s story so much.

Keep in mind that although this is the third book in the series, it can be read as a stand alone. Although I must insist that those who have not read the previous books get them as soon as you can. Especially if you enjoy watching a rugged, sexy man unravel at the hands of the woman he loves. Y-U-M-M-Y!

All in all, a fantastic addition to the series and an amazing second chance story in its own right. It’s a fact, I want more Cold Fury men!

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



My heart feels like it’s going to leap out of my chest as I stand at the sink and wash the griddle clean. It’s actually kind of a pleasure to clean up in a kitchen like this. I’ve never been in a home this nice, and it’s hard not to stare around in wonder at all the shiny. His kitchen is übermodern, with sleek blond-oak cabinets and stainless-steel handles. The counters are done in black granite with flecks of gray throughout and the sink is a massive single bin made of some type of stone.

Zack sits at the table on the opposite side of the L-shaped kitchen counter with Ben as they eat their breakfast. His eyes remain pinned on me, a mixture of anger and confusion.

He clearly doesn’t like me and I have no clue why. I expect him at any moment to just fire me. I can see it in his eyes…That’s what he wants.

There was a moment when Ben hurtled his little body at me that I cut a glance at Zack, and I saw fury wash over him. It scared me so bad, I almost ran out of the house right then. But I didn’t because I really, really, really need this job. Without it, I’m just one bus ticket away from being forced to return home to live with Daddy in our dingy tin can of a trailer in the backwoods of eastern North Carolina. And I promised myself when I left home five years ago, as much as I adore my daddy, I would never let that happen.

So I pulled on all of my available confidence that I’ve built up over the years along with my sheer will to survive and promptly ignored Zack and his dirty looks and started to clean his kitchen. He didn’t say a word, just watched me as I worked and sometimes would make conversation with Ben.

I’m just wiping down the counters when Zack picks up the empty plates and walks over to put them in the dishwasher. When he’s finished, he turns to Ben and says, “Why don’t you go upstairs and play in your room a bit? I need to talk to Kate about a few things.”

“Can I watch TV?” Ben asks.

“Sure,” Zack says, and Ben jets from the table and pounds his way upstairs.

I rinse out the dishcloth in my hand, wring it, and then fold it over the faucet. Turning to Zack, I find him leaning a hip against the counter with his arms crossed defensively over his chest. His gaze is frosty when he says, “What exactly did Delaney tell you the job would consist of?”

Man, he intimidates the hell out of me. He towers over me, and even though he has the face of an angel with dark brown hair and whiskey-colored eyes perfectly supported by a strong jaw, so much animosity is radiating off him that I think he may be the devil.

I know all about Zack Grantham. That’s because I love sports. All kinds of sports, but in particular, Cold Fury hockey. When North Carolina got its first professional ice hockey team, I had just started sixth grade. But I remember sitting on the ratty green corduroy-covered couch in our trailer, and Daddy and I rooting for the Cold Fury. Of course, often he’d be drunk and passed out by the third period, but at least for two periods we’d have a good time bonding over our mutual love of the sport.

I’ve followed the team closely ever since. Of course, I’ve never been to a live game, that being an absolute luxury I could have never afforded, but because every game is broadcast locally, I rarely miss one unless I’m studying for an important test or something. And because I follow the team so well, I know exactly who Zack Grantham is.

He’s an amazing player and, truth be told, if I could afford a jersey, I’d probably get one with his name on it. Or maybe Alex Crossman’s. Or even Garrett Samuelson’s. About four months ago, Zack was in a terrible car accident that killed Ben’s mom, Gina, and caused him to be kept out of the first half of the season with a fractured wrist. That has apparently healed enough that he’s ready to return to the team, and thus the need for a nanny for Ben.

I was utterly stunned when I got a call from his sister, Delaney, for an interview. I had posted my résumé and qualifications on a website for nanny services, knowing it would be a long shot because most of my experience came from helping my sister, Kelly, with her three kids, and other various babysitting jobs. But at this point, I needed work, so I was applying to every place I could think of.

“Now you seem to have nothing to say,” Zack growls, and my body jerks over the derision in his voice.

“Sorry,” I mutter. “Um…Delaney said you needed a live-in nanny for Ben. That the position would be full-time until he started school in the fall, and then part-time after that. She said I’d be responsible for his care when you weren’t here and that I’d have to do basic household chores and stuff.”

Zack nods at me, unfurls his arms from across his chest, and rubs his chin thoughtfully. “Delaney thinks you’re right for this job. I’m going to have to trust her on that.”

“I am,” I tell him earnestly. “I’ll take very good care of Ben.”

“You’d better,” he growls at me so menacingly, I take an involuntary step backward. “If you harm one hair on my child’s head, I will make you regret it. Do you understand?”

The scared country girl inside me wants to curl into the fetal position and just shrink away from the threat in his voice. But I’m not that young girl anymore. I’ve pulled myself out of crappy circumstances and made a new life for myself. I’ve worked hard over the years to build up my self-esteem, and I’m not about to let this man tear it down.

Squaring my shoulders at him, I give him a stern look. “I appreciate your protectiveness of Ben, and I’d feel the same way about my own child. I can assure you, you have nothing to worry about. But I have to insist that you treat me with some type of respect for the position I hold. At the very least, you don’t want to teach your son it’s okay to threaten and intimidate women, do you?”

Zack stares at me, his amber-colored eyes turning almost a dark brown. He blinks a few times and shakes his head. “Are you always this blunt?”

“I’m always this honest,” I clarify for him.

Cold Fury Series

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Ebook Cover

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About the Author


USA Today and New York Times Best-Selling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series. She will be releasing her third book in the Cold Fury Hockey Series with Random House Loveswept, June 2015.

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Tragic Desires (Tragic #2) by A.M. Hargrove *Review*


Welcome to the book tour for Tragic Desires, the latest release by A.M. Hargrove. Below you will find all relevant information regarding this title.


Title: Tragic Desires (Tragic #2)

Author: A.M. Hargrove

Release Date: February 18th 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Source: eARC provided by author



My name is Gemini Sheridan. At least that’s what I thought it was for 23 years. Then one day a slight adjustment on the wheel of my mountain bike set into motion a series of catastrophic events that changed my life forever. Now I’m running from the headaches that threaten to destroy me… from the assassins that threaten to kill me… from the truth that exposes who I really am… and from the man that wants to save me. Because he now owns my heart and I fear him above all others.

My name is Drexel Wolfe and I’m a private investigator. Nothing ever stands in the way of what I want because when I see something I just take it. All of that changed the night my life collided with Gemini Sheridan’s and now everything is one hot damn mess. And the worst part of it all is that I’m trying to save her ass and I don’t know why the hell I’m even bothering. Well, that’s not exactly true. Fact is, I can’t stop thinking about her. She’s crawled into every thought I own, asleep or awake. I have serious plans for her that include making her mine. What she doesn’t know is that when I play, I play for keeps. Nothing and no one will get in my way or stop me… not even Gemini Sheridan herself.

**This book is NOT part of a series, but Drexel Wolfe, the main character, was first introduced in Tragically Flawed

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After a a biking accident left her with post-concussion syndrome, Gemini became a shell of the woman she used to be. Plagued by intense migraines that leave her unable to function and reaching for alcohol and harder drugs to alleviate the pain, Gemini rolls with the motions of her life, but she’s not truly living. Until a one-night encounter with a stranger. Once Drake is in her life, Gemini’s life turns on its axis leaving her to question everything she thought she knew and wanted.

Drake owns his own security firm. When an acquaintance asks for help on a case, Drake jumps in never imagining how his decision would impact his life in the long run. Drawn to the woman he’s keeping an eye out for, Drake is torn between his job and the emotions Gemini brings out of him.

Hell yeah, this is what I’m talking about – Suspense. Lust. Mystery. Romance – all there for the taking and I devoured it all!

Rare is the story that captivates me from the very start without the author divulging much. Instantly, I was intrigued by Gemini’s ailment, her struggles to deal with it and its aftermath. I liked that the author didn’t pull any punches when bringing Gemini’s emotions to the page when it came to her struggle to keep a tight rein on her situation. She had dark thoughts, she pushed people away, she wasn’t an easy person to connect to. Not while she was suffering through her migraines nor by the way she went about dealing with them.

Drake wasn’t a walk in the park either, but he was easier to understand. He was as broody as he was sexy. I wanted to throttle him more than a few times, but man he could melt me with just a few words. *swoon* He didn’t want to be attracted to Gemini and although he fought it, he was too drawn to her to help himself. He had his own demons to fight and it was a treat to see how his walls came crumbling down as the story progressed and how much his character grew as his relationship with Gemini cemented.


You would be right in guessing that their chemistry was HOT. It was and I enjoyed it very, very much. But mostly, I enjoyed how they opened themselves to the feelings that were developing between them. They doubted their situation, questioned their desires, gave in to their attraction, retreated from their emotions and came together again when the fight got to be too much. Loved it!

tragic desires

Kudos to A.M. Hargrove for bringing the romance, the mystery and the suspense in a way that flowed seamlessly through the page without taking away from any of the elements of the story. I was kept at the edge of my seat, tapping the hell out of my table because I wanted to know what would happen next between Gemini and Drake and what new clues they would discover next. The pace of the story was perfect with every event placed to bring the most impact in the reader. I enjoyed how the story moved along shifting its focus from the romance to the mystery always keeping that edge of intrigue where the reader starts to make assumptions to try to solve the ‘case’. Little bit and pieces were revealed, bringing answers to questions and developing some new ones. So that by the time the story came to an end, every loose end was tied up regarding Gemini and Drake’s relationship and the situation they were involved in.

Although this is the second book in the Tragic series, it can certainly be read as a stand alone. This is the first book by AM Hargrove I’ve read and I’ll surely be picking up Tragically Flawed since I enjoyed this one so much.

All in all, an exciting, sexy read about second chances in life and new beginnings in love.

*I received an ARC from the author in exchange of my honest opinion as part of my participation in this event.

About the Author

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn’t do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life. So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase. Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodge ball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head. Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what laptop out the window. She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone, called her boss and quit her job. Grinning, she made another call to her hubs and told him of her new adventure (after making sure his heart was beating properly again).

So began A. M. Hargrove’s career as a YA/NA and Adult Romance writer. Her books include the following: Edge of Disaster, Shattered Edge and Kissing Fire (The Edge Series); The Guardians of Vesturon series (Survival, Resurrection, Determinant, reEmergent and Beginnings); Dark Waltz and Tragically Flawed.

Other than being in love with writing about being in love, she loves chocolate, ice cream and coffee and is positive they should be added as part of the USDA food groups.

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On the Rocks (Last Call #1) by Sawyer Bennett *Review*


Title: On the Rocks (Last Call #1)

Author: Sawyer Bennett

Release Date: February 17, 2014

Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance

Source: ARC provided by author



He spurned Gabby Ward once, crushing her young heart, and then left to travel the world for fame and glory. Now Hunter Markham has come back home to the sand and salty breeze of the North Carolina Outer Banks so he can open up Last Call, a beach bar nestled among the dunes of the Atlantic.

Gabby Ward is not happy that Hunter has returned. Bitter over his rebuff years before, she’s content to stay far away from him and his dangerously charming ways.

Gabby’s well-schemed plans to ignore Hunter go up in flames when he presents an offer to her that she simply can’t refuse, throwing them together in a common quest to each reach their goals. Working together day in and day out proves to be problematic for Gabby, who soon realizes that the feelings she had for him are still very much alive. Hunter struggles to reach through to Gabby’s cold heart, all while starting a new career away from his life as a top ranked, professional surfer.

What starts out as a mutual business arrangement soon turns into a passion that neither of them can continue to deny.

Hard choices lay ahead for both of them when Hunter is offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to return to the pro surfing tour.

Choices that could destroy what they have built or take them further than they ever had dared to hope.

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4 stars

The blurb goes straight to the heart of the story so I’ll skip a recap and go directly to what I love about this book.

It’s rare for me to connect to a heroine from the beginning of the story and not falter in my decision as the story progresses. Sawyer Bennett didn’t give me a chance to question myself about Gabby. From the first scene I could tell that she was a strong young woman with deep emotions who gave of herself to those she cared for. She put herself on the line and it backfired on her, but she held her head high and dealt with it. Mind you, it was through barbs and personal jabs, but I couldn’t blame her for it. Hell, it made for some great moments every time she went toe to toe with Hunter.

Hunter. *sigh* Not only was he sexy and handsome but he had feelings that ran deep too. Although he flirted with Gabby and gave her a hard time about every little thing just to get a rise out of her, he was torn about his previous actions. And once he accepted what was happening and truly let go? Man, he was adorable!

I liked that the author didn’t make this an easy relationship. There were doubts in the beginning, during and right up to the end of Gabby and Hunter’s story. Each one questioned their emotions for the other, hesitated and finally let their walls down to accept that maybe they did have something solid to work on.

Through flirtatious banter, snarky comebacks and honest confessions Sawyer Bennett made Hunter and Gabby’s initial connection grow as the story progressed. Yes, they had chemistry and the sexual tension between them jumped off the page, but I mostly enjoyed the moments when their emotions came into play. Slowly but surely they went from friends with benefits to committed lovers. Neither one of them was ready for what developed between them but when the time came to fight for their relationship they each analyzed, pondered and accepted it.  Mistakes were made along the way and at times I wanted to throttle both of them, but in the end I was cheering them on.

The introduction of the secondary characters added a lot to the story. I especially enjoyed watching Gabby interact with her friends since it showed her easy going side where she was able to let go and be herself. I also enjoyed Hunter’s interactions with his family, it showed that he wasn’t just a pretty face, but a loyal man who took care  for those he cared for deeply.

As a first book in a series, On the Rocks was a success. It introduced an intriguing cast of characters while still bringing the romance in a fun and entertaining way. I can’t wait to read Brody’s story. I think his will be a more emotional tale and that is saying something since this story was packed-full of them.

All in all, a wonderful friends to lovers story about second chances and new beginnings.

*I received an eARC of this title from the author in exchange of my honest opinion.

About the Author

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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Spotlight: The Baby Arrangement by Samantha Chase

The Baby Arrangement

Title: The Baby Arrangement

Author: Samantha Chase

Release Date: February 9th 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance



What do you do when a baby is dropped on your doorstep and you’re not sure if the father is you or your wayward brother? If you’re Derek Sloan you freak out as your perfectly organized world suddenly becomes filled with chaos. With his brother nowhere to be found and fatherhood is suddenly thrust upon him, Derek is desperate for any help he can get.

What do you do when the man you’ve been crushing on suddenly has a need and you are the only one he wants to fill it? You do a little happy dance and pinch yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming! For five years Kayleigh Mitchell has longed for her boss to notice her and now that he has, she can only hope that he’ll come to see her as more than a temporary solution to his problem, but someone that he wants around for the long haul.

This is a Valentine’s Day SHORT STORY of approximately 27,000 words.

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About the Author

New York Times and USA Today Bestseller/contemporary romance writer Samantha Chase released her debut novel, Jordan’s Return, in November 2011. Although she waited until she was in her 40’s to publish for the first time, writing has been a lifelong passion. Her motivation to take that step was her students: teaching creative writing to elementary age students all the way up through high school and encouraging those students to follow their writing dreams gave Samantha the confidence to take that step as well.

Her second book, a holiday novella titled “The Christmas Cottage” hit #10 on Amazon’s Overall Best Seller List on Christmas Eve. It was a great Christmas gift! Watching the numbers rise and fall is a daily roller coaster ride but definitely an exciting one! And on February 25th, she released the follow up novella – “Ever After”.

In March 2013, “The Christmas Cottage” was nominated for two Indie Romance Convention Award – Best Indie Romance Novella and Best Indie Contemporary Romance while Samantha was nominated for Indie Author of the Year! In August 2013, the video trailer for “Wait for Me” won an Oscar for Indie Author Book Trailer!

More titles quickly followed: “Catering to the CEO”, “Wait for Me” (Montgomery Brothers book 1), “Trust in Me” (Montgomery Brothers book 2), “In the Eye of the Storm”, and “Stay With Me” (Montgomery Brothers book 3) which hit the USA Today bestseller list upon it’s debut. “Catering to the CEO” was included in the romance bundle “Loving the CEO” – a five-book package – that made the New York Times and the USA Today Bestseller list.

When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading contemporary romances, blogging, playing way too many games of Scrabble on Facebook and spending time with her husband of 24 years and their two sons in North Carolina.


Natural Harmony (Confession Records #1) by Kate Roth *Review and Excerpt*


Welcome to the Natural Harmony Blog Tour. Below you will find all relevant information regarding Kate Roth’s latest release. I hope you enjoy my review and the excerpt and teasers provided.


Title: Natural Harmony (Confession Records #1)

Author: Kate Roth

Release Date: December 30, 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance



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Suddenly named the acting president of her uncle’s record label, former pop princess Sabrina Walker is finally ready to grow up. While her professional life moves forward, she still clings to the last fragment of her past life in the form of an uncertain relationship with her manager, Beau.

When Sabrina hires handsome, young assistant, Wade Lawson, he awakens in her the hidden confidence she’s always desired. What starts as a casual affair quickly intensifies to something much more.

Sabrina must decide—return to the familiar life of an insecure one-hit-wonder, or embrace Wade and the woman his passion has helped reveal.

Natural Harmony is a stand-alone, adult contemporary romance and the first in the Confession Records collection.





4 stars

3.75 stars

After being promoted to President of her uncle’s record label, Sabrina needs an assistant ASAP. In comes Wade. A resourceful, smart and handsome man, Wade ignites in Sabrina feelings she never experienced before. Although she has been in a ‘relationship’ with Beau, she knows that nothing is going to come from it other than to keep living on past expectations and desires.

Neither of them pursue each other straight out, but Wade and Sabrina’s attraction to each other gets the best of them. Wade gets Sabrina in every way – emotionally and physically. Something no one has ever done for Sabrina before.

Although Beau is in the background actively reaching for Sabrina for one more hook-up and Sabrina is torn between what she’s used to and starting something new with Wade, I wouldn’t say this was a love triangle type of situation. I didn’t believe Sabrina had any deep feelings for Beau, I think she was just used to the familiarity of what they shared. Her conflicted feelings stemmed mainly from her insecurities and her fear of giving of herself to Wade.

This was a fun story to read. Although it would involve more of a music scene, I was pleasantly surprised by the content of the story regardless. It was cute and cheesy and everything in between with interesting characters (including Beau which I’m still intrigued by!), little angst and great chemistry.



His ears perked at the sound of clicking high heels coming down the hall and it wasn’t too long before she was in view. Wade wanted to breathe normally, he really did, but it was impossible looking at her. Her strut was enough to give him a stroke. She had a perfect hourglass shape and she wore the right clothes for it. Her curves were like the deliberate paint strokes of an artist. Beautiful. Her gentle brunette waves of hair gleamed auburn under lights and seemed to bounce with her steps just as her ample chest did. When she saw him at the desk a smile overtook her heart-shaped face. Her lips could’ve been drawn by Disney they were so damn perfect. And the sweetest smattering of freckles across her nose and cheeks was enough to do him in. She’s your boss, he told himself.

He’d been telling himself that since the minute he walked into the interview on Friday. He spent the weekend psyching himself up for seeing her again. She’s just pretty, he’d said to the bathroom mirror, you’ve known plenty of pretty women. But she wasn’t just pretty. She wasn’t just anything. She was stunning. And not to mention … she was Sabra.

“Good morning!” Sabrina said cheerily as she came up to the front of his desk. She had two paper cups in her hands and she sat one in front of him. “I didn’t know your drink order so I just got you what I like—Americano.”

He opened his mouth but no words came out. He touched the warm cup and smiled. “Shouldn’t I be the one getting you coffee?” he asked.

“Eh, someday.” She smiled before popping into her office.

Someday, he thought.




About the Author


Inspired by music, film, art and the wealth of stories she has heard through her career as a professional hair stylist, Kate Roth has been dreaming up love stories since junior high. 
Kate’s first two novels, new adult romance The Low Notes and new adult paranormal romance Reckless Radiance were released by Rebel Ink Press in May of 2012 and September of 2013. Natural Harmony is her third novel and her first venture into independent publishing. She is hard at work on the next two novels in the Confession Records collection, as well as her first erotic romance, Last Resort. She is a small business owner and lives in Indiana with her husband, Adam and their dog, Sampson.

You can find more about Kate and her work on her website www.katerothwrites.com and stay up to date with all her news by following her on Facebook www.facebook.com/authorkateroth



Spotlight Tour: Talking Dirty with the Boss by Jackie Ashenden *Excerpt*


Welcome to Author Jackie Ashenden Spotlight Tour. Below you will find all relevant information regarding Talking Dirty With the Boss, the third book in the Talking Dirty series.

Talking Dirty with the Boss Cover

Title: Talking Dirty With the Boss (Talking Dirty #3)

Author:  Jackie Ashenden

Published: December 9th 2013

Publisher: Entangled ~ Indulgence

Genre: Contemporary Romance




Marisa Clair wants to get her artist dreams back on track after a life detour. That means no partying, no shopping…and definitely no men to distract her. Should be easy, but there’s something about her hot and exceedingly uptight boss and she can’t seem to stop herself from ruffling Mr. Tall, Dark and Irritating.

Financial consultant Luke McNamara lives his life strictly by schedule – his OCD simply won’t allow him to do anything else. And the very last thing he needs is a sassy blonde putting lipstick on his collar and messing with his routine. She annoys the hell out of him so why can’t he stop thinking about the color of her panties…and how free he feels when he’s with her?

Marisa and Luke’s plans to steer clear of one another are shot to hell after a hot office encounter. Now the two of them will have to learn to get along as they face a much more permanent reminder of their lack of self-control – a pregnancy.


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Chapter One

“So. Would you like to dance?”

Marisa, leaning up against a pillar in the hotel ballroom, didn’t turn around. She knew exactly who that deep, dark masculine voice belonged to. The man Caleb had just dumped on her before he walked off not ten minutes earlier. The man she’d been trying to avoid for the past few hectic days leading up to Christie and Joseph’s wedding.

The man with the biggest stick up his butt she’d ever seen.

Luke McNamara, owner of the media company that had bought Total Tech, the magazine where she worked, only last month.

She’d tried to make nice after Caleb had abandoned her because (1) since Compass Media had boughtTotal Tech, that made Luke the big boss and she couldn’t ignore him, and (2) he was Caleb Steele and Joseph Ashton’s friend and since this was Joseph’s wedding, she couldn’t blow him off, no matter how awful the conversation.

But after five minutes of feeling as if she were playing a one-way tennis match, where she kept serving conversational balls without any answering volley, she’d given up and turned around to watch the dance floor instead.

The guy might have been sexy as all hell, but quite frankly there was only so long a girl could stand there admiring him.

The waterfront hotel where her best friend, Christie, and her tech billionaire husband were having their reception was beautiful. The lights of Auckland’s harbor were visible through the big windows that lined one side of it, small twinkles of color that echoed the fairy lights strung around the interior of the ballroom.

Not far away from where she stood was the head table where Christie was sitting, currently sending meaningful glances her way.

Probably wanting her to dance with Luke. Bah. She didn’t want to dance with Mr. Smiling-Will-Kill-Me. He’d given a very stiff and not particularly engaging speech the day his company had taken over Total Tech. A speech that mainly seemed to be concerned with all the new rules he was going to institute. Such as crackdowns on e-mail and Internet usage. On punctuality. Some completely stupid restriction on workplace relationships. She hadn’t paid much attention initially—at least until the tersely worded e-mail from HR had arrived telling her to cease and desist the mild flirtation she’d been having with one of the seriously hot IT guys. Then to make matters worse, a couple of days earlier he’d instituted regulations about skirt length and “revealing attire.” And sure enough, another tersely worded HR e-mail had found its way into her in-box, detailing her “breach” of the new regulations with the cute dress she’d bought only last week. Sure, maybe it was a little short and maybe the neckline was a bit low, but it could hardly be termed “revealing.”

The first e-mail had been annoying. The second had been more personal and that in itself was enough to make her dislike him.

Then they’d been formally introduced at Christie’s little pre-wedding get-together and her initial dislike had cemented into disdain. He’d been so formal and unfriendly. And now she couldn’t really be bothered with making an effort. She was only a tiny cog in the vast wheel of his company anyway, and life was too short to spend time with a guy you didn’t like, right?

Then again, you didn’t say no to the bride.

Behind her, Luke McNamara let out an impatient breath. “I said, would you like to dance?”

Christie’s expression was pleading. Clearly all the “the guy’s a tool” comments Marisa had made to her friend didn’t count.

She rolled her eyes and Christie mouthed, “Do it. For me.”

Dammit. Christie was the only real friend she’d ever had. And sometimes you just had to suck it up and deal for your friends.

Even do something she didn’t want to do, such as dance with Luke McNamara.

Marisa braced herself. Pasted on her trademark sweet-with-a-touch-of-sauce smile and turned around.

Luke was standing behind her, looking as if he’d been born in a three-piece suit. The tux he wore was pristine, not a speck on it. Every lock of his ink-black hair in place. His bow tie straight, immaculately placed.

He was as perfect as a doll just taken out of its box and not yet played with.

Her fingers itched. For all his stiffness, he was damn sexy. All broad shoulders and lean hips, with a dark, brooding kind of vibe going on. It made her want to play with him just a little bit. Because she did like men in suits. Especially tall, powerful, buttoned-up type of men. Men just begging to have their ties tweaked, their hair ruffled. Lipstick on their collar…

Dear God, girl. You don’t like him, so quit it with the ruffling fantasies. And anyway, he’s your boss.

Good point.

Luke’s attention was on the phone he held, long fingers working the screen. Each time she’d seen him, he’d had that thing in his hands. Maybe it was surgically attached.

“Perhaps you’d like to dance with your phone instead?” Marisa observed sweetly.

Black brows twitched and he lifted his gaze from the phone. His eyes were gray. Cool and crystalline. He gave her a glance that took in every inch of her, from the top of her blond head to the green silk high-heeled sandals that matched her bridesmaid’s dress. Normally when men looked at her like that it meant something like “you’re hot.” Or “I want to take you home.” Or “I want to see you naked.”

Luke’s was more like, “What is this…thing?”

It made her feel ten inches tall.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Luke said flatly. “Why would I want to dance with my phone?”

“Sarcasm. I presume you’ve heard of it?”

“Oh, was that what it was?” With a quick movement, he put the phone away in his pocket, then twitched the cuffs of his jacket. “Do you want to dance or not?”

“A please would be nice.”

Irritation crossed his—it had to be said—rather ridiculously handsome face. Marisa tried not to scowl at the awareness that lingered in the back of her mind.

Handsome. Sure. If you liked perfect cheekbones. And straight noses. And beautifully carved mouths. Which she did. Just not on her anally retentive, rule-loving new über-boss.


“Way to go. You remembered my name.”

“Of course I remembered your name. I remember everything.”

“Yeah. Right.”

“Why would I lie?”

“I dunno. To get me into bed?”

He frowned. “I don’t want to sleep with you. You’re with Total Tech. Which makes you an employee of mine. And I don’t sleep with my employees, especially junior ones.”

That he’d somehow remembered just how minor her role was in his organization didn’t make her any more inclined to be nice to him. “Well, that’s good. Because I don’t sleep with people I work with, either.”

His brows descended. “I have to dance with you.”

Marisa folded her arms. “Have to?”

“The groomsmen and the bridesmaids have to dance together at least once.”

Damn. She’d managed to avoid it so far—couldn’t she just keep on doing so?

Christie was getting up from the table, her arm around her new husband. She glanced over at Marisa and gave her a discreet thumbs-up. Marisa could also see Caleb and Judith, Joseph’s sister and Christie’s other “best woman,” already dancing together, too, Judith scowling at Caleb.

Bugger this. Why couldn’t they have swapped partners? Judith probably wouldn’t have minded, and Marisa would have much preferred to dance with Cal. He was fun to be with. Gorgeous, too. But oh no. She had to get stuck with Luke.

Lucky her.

“Come on. The music’s starting.” His fingers wrapped around her wrist. A gentle but irresistible force tugging her toward the ballroom’s dance floor.

“Hey,” she began.

But before she could really protest, she found herself swept in among the dancers, his arm around her waist, his hand at her hip, her fingers laced with his.

It all happened so fast. One minute she was standing there wishing she could dance with just about anyone else. The next she was in his arms.

She glared up at him. “What. The. Hell. McNamara?”

His attention wasn’t on her—as per usual—his gaze fixed on some point over her shoulder. Frowning in fierce concentration.

“Hello?” Marisa persisted. “This is your partner speaking. What the bloody hell are you doing?”

Luke gave his head a minute shake and said nothing. His movements were a touch wooden, the expression on his face becoming fiercer.

Jesus, what was wrong with him? He didn’t seem like the type of guy who danced, anyway. Come to think of it, given the jerky way they were moving, he wasn’t the type of guy who danced at all.

“Hey,” Marisa said. “What are you—ow!” A large foot knocked her ankle and she stumbled.

The arm around her waist tightened to stop her from falling and she was suddenly pressed hard up against six foot three inches of solid male. One of her hands was trapped between them, her palm against his chest.

“Be quiet,” Luke said. “If you talk, I can’t count.”

“You can’t count? What—”

“If I can’t count, I can’t dance. And if I can’t dance, I’ll stand on your foot again. So be quiet and let me count.”

Marisa opened her mouth to argue. Then thought better of it. What was the point? Better just to be quiet and yeah, suck it up. A dance was only a few minutes and then it would be over.

She let out a breath, stared at the pristine whiteness of his shirt. Beneath her palm, squashed against his chest, she could feel hard muscle.

Wow, the guy was seriously built. He almost felt…good. And he smelled quite nice, too. Not at all like the guys she normally dated, the ones who drenched themselves in expensive aftershave. Luke smelled clean and fresh. A hint of soap. The lightest of aftershaves. Like water, or the ocean. Or rain.

She became suddenly aware of his hand sitting in the small of her back. The heat of it. The pressure of it through the silk. The sensation of his body against her front. So tall.

Muscular through the wool and cotton of his groomsman’s tux.

A flush swept over her skin.

Oh no. No way. This could not be attraction. Not to him. Not to Mr. Controlling Über-Boss. No effing way.

She glanced up, hoping a glimpse of the guy’s too-handsome face would annoy her so much she’d forget about it.

He was still frowning and he looked sort of like an angel. The really stern kind that usually sat on the top of tombs. The ones with swords in their hands that seemed like they’d cut you down without a thought.

Why is that hot?

Yeah. Seriously. Why?

Luke happened to glance down right at that moment, meeting her gaze.

His eyes were an amazing color. A pure, clear gray, darkening toward the center, becoming charcoal. There was an intentness to them, a focus that sharpened the longer he stared at her. His frown deepened.

And she realized two things. One: they’d stopped moving. And two: she was staring at him like a moron. Which she mostly never did. And she’d been with a lot of guys.

Nothing much flustered Marisa, especially men. But hell, she was all blushing and breathless now.

Luke’s expression had become ferocious. As if he’d felt this heat between them, too, and liked it as little as she did.

“Why have you stopped?” he asked.

“Because this dance is over.” She tried to push him away but it was like pushing against a wall. A brick wall.

“No it’s not. The music’s still playing.”


“We can’t stop in the middle of a dance,” he said with finality. Then he moved again, pulling her closer.

Struggling would be undignified. As would letting physical attraction get the better of her. Weird. Just weird. Why was it this guy, out of all the dates she’d had over the course of the last couple of years, who had to be the one to make her break out in a sweat? Not only was he her boss, but according to office gossip, he was a bit of a womanizer, too. Two weeks, that’s all his girlfriends lasted, and if the uptightness of the man wasn’t red flag enough already, that certainly was. The whole thing just pissed her off.

“You don’t want to dance with me, just like I really don’t want to dance with you,” she muttered. “Why not call it quits now?”

“Because the dance isn’t over,” he said with maddening logic. “We can’t stop till it’s finished.”

“That’s stupid.”

He glared over her shoulder. “I don’t care whether it’s stupid or not, we don’t stop until the dance is over.”

“You don’t like me.”

“No, I don’t. But that’s got nothing to do with it. Joseph wanted us all to dance together so that’s what we’re doing.”

Marisa set her jaw. She didn’t care whether he liked her not, of course she didn’t. “Why not? Oh, wait a second, I know. It’s my clothes, isn’t it?”

“Your clothes?”

“Apparently they’re ‘not appropriate for a workplace environment.’ And I suppose I get another black mark for flirting with Leonard in IT, right? Since the ‘interaction’ doesn’t ‘promote collegial relationships.’”

Luke scowled. “Workplace rules haven’t got anything to do with me liking you or otherwise. Can we have this discussion at another time? I have to—”

“Count. Yeah, I get you have to count. Why don’t you let me lead and I’ll do the freaking counting.”

He glanced down at her again, his expression all intense glare and stern mouth. And she had the insane urge to pull his bow tie. Mess him up. Rumple him in some way.

“I’m leading,” he said in a tone that suggested the conversation was over. “So unless you want your foot to be stepped on again, I suggest you keep quiet and let me count. At least until this is over.” A pause. “Please.”

The please did nothing for her temper. She didn’t want to stay dancing with him, pressed up against him. His hand on her back. Hers on his chest. Touching.

This attraction was already making her breathless, and the longer she stayed like this, the more uncomfortable it was going to get. When it came to men, she preferred to be the one in control because there was only one end to chemistry like this. She’d been there before and it was bad. Very bad. Attractive, womanizing men were right at the top of her list of things to avoid like the plague. Especially attractive, womanizing men who were also her uptight boss.

Marisa stared at his shirt, contemplating her options. The cotton was very white. Snowy, it could be said. Her gaze followed the line of buttons to his throat, where his bow tie rested, straight and begging to be tweaked.

She slid her hand up his chest. Took one end of the tie in her fingers. Pulled.

Luke instantly looked down. “What are you doing?”

Maris ignored the demand in his tone. Slowly she flicked open the buttons of his shirt, one by one, exposing smooth, brown skin.

Oh yeah. Hot. So hot.

He’d come to a dead stop. “Marisa? What are you—”

She rose up on her tiptoes, leaned forward, and pressed a kiss onto the lapel of his shirt. Her signature deep red contrasted beautifully with the white cotton.

Abruptly, Luke let her go, and she wasn’t slightly disappointed at the loss. Oh no, she wasn’t.

“What the hell?” He was staring down at the mark her mouth had left, growing horror on his face.

Ah, finally, signs of life. “I’m making sure you look like someone’s been playing with you.”

Anger flashed in his eyes. “You put lipstick on my goddamn shirt.”

“It’s just a little lipstick.”

“Just a little—”

“Hey, I told you I didn’t want to dance, okay? So when I’m done dancing, I’m done dancing.”

Luke opened his mouth, probably to argue, but she’d made her point. She was over it.

And the quicker she got away from him the better.

Marisa smiled, blew him a kiss, then turned on her heel and walked off the dance floor.

There was lipstick on his collar. Lipstick. On his collar.

For a minute Luke just stared at Marisa Clair’s retreating green figure, too angry to do anything.

He hadn’t paid much attention to her since they’d been introduced at the pre-wedding party, although he already knew who she was since Compass, his media company, had taken over Total Tech and he didn’t forget a name. He hadn’t seen any real need to get to know her. She was the PA to the Total Tech editor in chief, far down in the pecking order, and besides, she seemed to be the pretty blond type who sometimes threw themselves at him. The kind who got off on his money or the fact that he was CEO of one of Auckland’s biggest financial companies. He didn’t pay those kind of women much attention.

He preferred serious, intellectual women, and Marisa struck him as neither serious nor particularly intellectual. She’d already been caught breaking several of his new rules, including the one against workplace relationships, which showed him exactly how seriously she took her job. Which was not at all.

She was irritating.

Irritating. Yes. But you weren’t thinking irritating just a moment ago.

No, just a moment ago she’d felt soft in his arms. The curves of her body fitting his in a way…

Luke forced the thoughts out of his head.

Attraction to Marisa Clair was not only highly inappropriate, it was also extremely unwelcome. He’d been dancing with her only because Joseph had asked him to. Because it was expected at a wedding.

Dancing was the very last thing he wanted to do, anyway. He loathed it. The only way he could manage was to count the beat so he wouldn’t stand on her feet. The problem was that once he started, he had to finish.

Not finishing offended every single one of his compulsions.

Luke started after her, following her lush green-clad figure as she dodged the other couples, heading back toward the head table to sit with the rest of the wedding party.

She’d gotten there by the time he caught up, and was picking up a glass of champagne and taking a good, healthy sip.

He stopped right behind her. “Why did you do that?” he demanded.

She muttered a curse, paused, then turned around. Wide, lapis-blue eyes framed by thick, dark lashes stared up into his. Those lashes fluttered. Her full red mouth turned up in a smile that could only be termed seductive. “Do what?”

Luke didn’t respond to blatant sexual overtures from women. Flirting was, in his opinion, a pointless exercise. If you wanted sex you found someone who wanted it, too, and then you went to bed. You didn’t spend hours circling around the subject or talking about it endlessly.

He frowned. “Do what? You put lipstick on my collar.” He didn’t look down. He could almost feel the stain ruining the clean whiteness of his shirt. It was slightly off-center too, which made the whole thing immeasurably worse. Looking down would make him have to go home and change it. And then he’d have an even tougher dilemma—complete the dance first or change?

“Oh yeah.” She leaned back in the chair. “So I did.”

The music was winding down and soon the song would be at an end. The dance would be unfinished.

Dammit, he couldn’t leave anything unfinished. He stepped forward, reached for her, tugged her back into his arms.

Marisa’s hands pushed against his chest, her body stiff. “Hey, stop it.”

People were beginning to cast glances in their direction. Joseph, whirling around with Christie, raised an eyebrow at him from the dance floor. God, now they were attracting attention, exactly what he didn’t want. “We have to finish the dance,” he growled. “For Christie and Joseph’s sake, at least.”

She flashed a quick look toward the dance floor, her mouth tightening at the sight of the happy couple staring pointedly back, then she muttered another curse. Her seductive manner had dropped. Now she looked as pissed off as he was. “You promise you’ll leave me alone?”

“Gladly.” Yes, he wouldn’t be able to get away fast enough.

For the next minute, they danced grimly and silently beside the table, while he tried not to notice that the silk of her back had warmed up underneath his palm. And that she smelled like…musk and spices. An earthy scent. One that he shouldn’t like, but did all the same.

She also had a way of moving that he couldn’t ignore. Liquid and graceful, especially in comparison to him.

He didn’t want to look at her, not with that red stain on his collar, but he couldn’t help himself. Her hair wasn’t plain old gold, it was a mixture of tawny and gilt, with darker undertones of caramel and toffee. She had one hand on his chest, her fingers curled into her palm. She was a lot shorter than he was.

It made him feel…odd.

“Stop looking at me,” she said, her gaze fixed on his chest.

Irritation wound through him. How aggravating to be caught staring like a teenage boy. Especially at a woman he had no interest in.

“How do you know I’m looking at you?”

“Because I can feel it. It’s annoying. Just get on with your damn counting.” She lifted her lashes, a flash of blue peeping from underneath them. “Or do you want another lipstick mark on your collar?”

The weirdest urge gripped him to lean down and kiss her. Silence that smart red mouth of hers. Disturb her the way she’d disturbed him.

He wasn’t a man who gave in to random impulses. Control was of paramount importance—especially control over the demands of his OCD. Yet this urge was almost as irresistible as the ones that had him living life by a strict schedule.

Marisa’s eyes widened, as if she knew exactly what he was thinking.

“Hey, you’re not—”

He didn’t know what possessed him. She was an employee and that should have rendered her immediately off-limits. His rules against workplace relationships were there for a reason. Rules maintained order and order was important.

Perhaps it was the one beer he’d allowed himself. Perhaps it was the red stain burning a hole in his shirt. Perhaps it was because he was angry with her.

Or maybe it was because he wanted to see what would happen.

But for an instant, his precious control slipped and he bent his head, brushing her mouth with his.

Lightning. Sparks like a match being struck. The leap of static electricity. Intense and sudden and burning. Desire, sharp as the snap of a whip, flickered through him.

He’d never experienced anything like it.

He dropped her, the pair of them springing apart like repelling magnets.

“Holy shit,” Marisa whispered. She stared at him, one hand to her mouth. A hand that was trembling.

He knew the feeling. The effects of the kiss resounded through him, bouncing off the walls like sonar, mapping the interior of him. Spreading the vibrations of it through his whole body, tuning him.

“Marisa—” he began, knowing he had to say something.

“Don’t you ever do that again.” Her eyes were intent, a furious light in them.

Dammit. What the hell had he done that for? What the hell had come over him? “Don’t worry,” he said, stiffly. “I won’t.”

“You’re damn right you won’t.” Her creamy skin had flushed and she turned her head to check out the dance floor. He noticed the blush extending all the way down her neck. “Oh, thank God, I don’t think anyone saw. Which means you’re not going to say anything to anyone about it either, okay?”

“Of course not.” He cleared his throat, his hands automatically moving to do up the buttons of his shirt. Then he realized. His shirt. The lipstick. He was going to have to change. “We won’t speak of it again.”

Her hand dropped from her mouth as if she’d only just become conscious of what she was doing. The blush on her cheeks deepened further. “We really need not to be around each other. So after this wedding stuff is done, we stay away, right?”

“Agreed.” He wouldn’t argue. She was right. Completely apart from the fact that they didn’t like each other, he couldn’t be kissing an employee. Especially one in a junior role. No matter that the kiss was a minor aberration. A moment of insanity.

One that he would make damn sure he forgot.

Her gaze had fixed on something. His mouth.

“You’ve got…” She stopped, touching her lips again.

Lipstick. He had lipstick. On his goddamned mouth.

Luke growled. Then, without a word, he turned and made his way out of the ballroom. He had to get home. Get this bloody shirt off. Wipe his damn mouth.

And forget about kissing Marisa Clair.


About the Author

Author Picture - Jackie Ashenden

Jackie has been writing fiction since she was eleven years old. Mild mannered fantasy/SF/pseudo-literary writer by day, obsessive romance writer by night, she used to balance her writing with the more serious job of librarianship until a chance meeting with another romance writer prompted her to throw off the shackles of her day job and devote herself to the true love of her heart – writing romance. She particularly likes to write dark, emotional stories with alpha heroes who’ve just got the world to their liking only to have it blown wide apart by their kick-ass heroines.

She lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband, the inimitable Dr Jax, two kids, two cats and some guppies (possibly dead guppies by the time you read this). When she’s not torturing alpha males and their stroppy heroines, she can be found drinking chocolate martinis, reading anything she can lay her hands on, posting random crap on her blog, or being forced to go mountain biking with her husband.

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Review: The Billionaire Bundle by Nina Croft, Rachel Lyndhurst, Michele de Winton

Billionaire Bundle Box Set

Title: The Billionaire Bundle

Authors: Nina Croft, Rachel Lyndhurst, Michele de Winton

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: November 11th 2013

Publisher: Entangled – Indulgence


Buy Links
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | iTunes

The Boss & Her Billionaire Cover


The Boss and Her Billionaire


Investment billionaire Dylan Johns always gets what he wants. He is used to giving orders—not taking them—until he’s forced to go on hiatus from his investment company. To bide his time and carry out an old dream, he takes a job on a cruise ship—and ends up taking orders from his gorgeous, but frigid, new boss. He is determined to loosen her up with a fun onboard romance, but their no-strings fling turns serious and Dylan is forced to confess his lies. When the affair threatens to shatter Michaela’s own career dreams, she finds herself caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.



This story started with a LOT of promise but it lost some of its charm along the way. I think my major problem was with Michaela. Although it was attempted for her to be portrayed ad independent and strong, for me she was just too stubborn and flaky. Now don’t get me wrong i like my heroines to be strong-minded, but Michaela was causing me whiplash with her indecisiveness. One moment yes, another moment no. It was annoying to say the least. It completely messed up my attempt to connect and relate to her.

Other than that, I thought that the story was interesting and unique. I loved Dylan and his determination. I enjoyed how he pursued Michaela and even though I was annoyed by her thought process, I did believe that she was ideal for him. They complemented each other – both were driven, stubborn and independent.

All in all, a good romantic story even if at times it could picked up its pace a notch or two.


“In,” he commanded as he lowered her, then pointed to the shower. She meekly let him push her under the water.

When the water from the shower hit her body, Dylan groaned. “Not bad, Cruise Director.”

Michaela looked down to see the curls of her sex and the thrust of her nipples outlined beneath the translucent white lace, but her nipples were suddenly released as Dylan pulled the cups of the useless wet bra down and greedily sucked at each breast in turn. “Please,” she whimpered, and he chuckled low in his throat. His tongue twisted around her nipple. Oh!

No. Wait. She needed more control. The hot water, the steam, his wet hair under her fingers—it was too perfect for safety. Too close to the fantasy that had played out in her mind only yesterday.

About the Author

Author Picture - Michele DeWinton

Michele was born in the mid 1970’s amid a burgeoning sprawl of vineyards and new retirement homes. With two teachers as parents, her love of reading and books was cemented at an early age. Being a writer however, was not was she was supposed to do when she ‘grew up’. Despite training in law (or perhaps because of it) she has been a dancer, producer, writer, and all round arty type in various countries for most of her life.

Moving into writing full time in 2010 was like being a part of a contemporary romance – perfect! Creating new worlds for her characters, or rather letting those same characters show her their worlds is now a highlight of Michele’s daily life. And falling in love over and over as each hero and heroine allow their true feelings to surface is something very special. What a treat to do it every day! Now back home in New Zealand after travelling extensively, Michele writes from an office where the sound of the tapping keyboard is only rivalled by the whisper of wind in the trees.

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Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire Cover


Blackmailed by the Italian Billionaire


Olivia Brent is happy with her quiet life in the country, until the loss of her home forces her to search for her estranged father. When she meets the stunningly gorgeous and enigmatic billionaire Luc Severino, her world is turned upside down. Jimmy Brent’s daughter was the last person Luc ever wanted to be with, but she’s the key to finding her father, the man Luc has wanted revenge on for over ten years. He’s willing to use any methods available, including blackmail, to persuade Olivia to help him find Jimmy and put the past behind him. And if blackmail doesn’t gain her total cooperation, then perhaps a little seduction will…


4 stars

Now this story I enjoyed. I liked the different elements that were added to the romance between Olivia and Luc. I enjoyed the little bit of mystery that was added to it. Those made for a fantastic read along with the explosive chemistry between the main characters.

Luc was awesome. Intriguing and complex with secrets and a hard edge to him, I enjoyed thoroughly. I also liked Olivia and thought that she was right for him. She gave as good as she got but after all was said and done her sweet and considerate side shined through.

Although I attempted to guess how it would all play out, I enjoyed the feeling of not knowing if I was right or not. But most of all I enjoyed how the connection between Luc and Olivia was developed throughout the story and how when they came together their chemistry sizzled.

All in all, a hot little read with some intriguing moments and a couple of interesting characters that grew closer as the story progressed.


She got to her feet, impatient. “Why don’t you just tell me about your big plan? What do I need to do for you to destroy those pictures and let me go home?”

“There’s time for that later.”

“Why not now?”

He frowned at her. “Are you always this impatient?”

Lia thought for a moment. “Yes.”

“Well, sit down again, and I might tell you what’s going to happen. Can I get you a drink first?” he asked.

She cast him a snarky look. “Do I look like an absolute imbecile? Been there, done that, and it’s so not happening again.”

He laughed softly. “Don’t blame it all on the alcohol. You were amazingly easy to seduce.”

“Yeah, but only because I let you. And it won’t happen again.”

He relaxed back in his seat and studied her, his eyes half closed. “Is that a challenge, cara mia?”

She shivered at the sensual promise in his voice then made an effort to pull herself together. “No, it’s not,” she said, “and will you stop calling me that?”

“Calling you what?” he asked. “Cara mia?”

“I’m not your cara, I’m not your anything. I’m here because you threatened me and that’s the only reason.”

“Really?” He got to his feet, moving to stand in front of her. Lia stood up as well, not wanting to be at a disadvantage. A wave of apprehension passed through her, but she stood her ground. She was determined she wasn’t going to be intimidated, but he was just so big, and she’d always been better at dealing with horses than she was humans. Maybe she should treat him like a stallion she was training. Stand up to him, show him who was boss…and if all else failed—castrate him.

“What are you thinking?”


“You were smiling.”

“Really?” Tilting her head back, she stared him in the face. He was watching her through those half-closed eyes, the brilliant green almost hidden behind a thick fringe of black lashes. She dropped her gaze and again wished she hadn’t—his shirt was open, showing the strong, tanned column of his throat and the dark shadow of his body hair. She remembered the feel of it under her fingers, silky and amazingly soft.

Luc smiled, a slight curl of those stunning lips, and all of a sudden, she had a flashback to the feel of them moving on hers, moving on her body. She stared at them for a long, long moment until he laughed softly, breaking the silence.

He reached out and stroked the ball of his thumb across her lower lip, and that simple touch caused the heat to coil low down in her body.

“Don’t kid yourself, cara,” he said. “You want me as much as I want you.”

About the Author


I grew up in the north of England, and after training as an accountant, I spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left me with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. I then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but have now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds.

I share the farm with my husband, four dogs, three cats, a horse, two goats, a three-legged Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, and a handful of chickens. It’s a perfect place to indulge my two great passions, reading and writing.

I write lots of different things, but mainly paranormal and science-fiction, usually with a strong element of romance.

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The Spanish Billionaire's Hired Bride Cover


The Spanish Billionaire’s Hired Bride


Blackmailed to marry against his will, Ricardo Almanza needs a wife before he’s thirty, and time is running out. Helen Marshall can’t believe she’s considering Almanza’s outrageous proposal, but she must help clear her parents’ debts or they face financial ruin. The small print on the marriage contract changes to read three months as his wife in every way—including in the bedroom. Has she gotten in too deep, or will she need a new contract addendum, extending their marriage forever?



What can I tell you? I love a stubborn man. Especially if he has some Spanish in him. Lucky for me I got Ricardo and he was paired up with a strong-willed, independent heroine in Helen. I loved their interactions and their chemistry was off the charts HOT.

This was one story that grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn’t let go. So much so that I wouldn’t mind getting to know them more and seeing where their relationship leads them.

All in all, a wonderful story with a handsome and sexy-as-sin Spaniard and a woman who matched him toe for toe. Loved it!


Ricardo’s ears rang with the roar of the crowd as he took Helen in his arms and kissed her hard. She arched her body into his, running her hands through his hair and he felt a burst of shock as she raised her thigh to wrap it around his hip. The skirt of her wrap dress fell open and he hurriedly grasped her leg in an attempt to cover her bare flesh, but the way her tongue was behaving in his mouth told him modesty was not at the forefront of her mind. Her being crushed so wantonly against him exacerbated the involuntary stiffening below his belt. They were in danger of making a worldwide spectacle of themselves. He pulled his mouth away and eased her leg back down to the ground. “Easy,” he whispered harshly into her hair. “You’ve given them enough.”

“And I was having so much fun,” she whispered back.

His tone was stern. “Later.”

The crowd parted as Ricardo painted on a billionaire playboy smile, and his security team cleared their path to an exclusive restaurant entrance nearby. He didn’t enjoy having to be a performing seal, but sometimes it was unavoidable. However, the last thing he needed was a loose cannon for a wife for the next three months making things even worse. A performance like that would guarantee even more interest in them. He could see the rash of vulgar magazine covers already, with her smooth pale thigh taking centre stage. He suppressed a shiver and was relieved to reach the sanctuary of a private restaurant balcony overlooking Ibiza harbor.

Ricardo ordered champagne and then waited in silence until the restaurant owner left them alone with the menus. “You didn’t need to go quite so far out there.”

“No? It’s what they wanted, what you wanted. We should get some peace now. You said we would.”

“That performance has probably made matters worse. The pictures will go worldwide by morning, and the entire planet’s press will be drooling over what Senora Almanza is going to do next.” He picked up a knife and tapped the handle rhythmically on the table. “And what will your parents think?”

“They don’t buy newspapers or any magazine besides Farmers Weekly. I shouldn’t think they’ll notice.”

“It will be all over the Internet.”

Helen chuckled. “They don’t have a computer or watch anything other than local TV and that gets switched off after the local news.” She twirled her wine glass between her fingers and watched the bubbles dance for a few seconds. “Besides, they think we’re besotted newlyweds, for God’s sake. Where’s the problem?”

There was no problem. The problem was all inside him and the way he had felt when she had flaunted herself that way. The tension knotting his neck and shoulders was a strong as a trawler’s net. “Your bra is showing,” he murmured.

Helen glanced down at the tiny glimpse of black satin and lace that was peeking out underneath the red silk of her dress. “It’s supposed to show. It’s the fashion with this sort of neckline.”


“Oh come on, Ricardo, let’s cut out all the prudery. Playboy billionaires don’t date shrinking violets, do they? Let alone marry one.”

“You surprised me, that’s all. I didn’t think you were like that.”

“Like what?”


She bent to whisper across the table. “Of course you didn’t. You don’t know me at all. It’s a marriage of convenience, remember? A marriage to win a bet.”

“To settle a matter of honor.”

“Oh yes, of course, silly me.”

“A marriage for which you’ve been well paid. Please don’t forget that in all your excitement.”

About the Author

Author Picture - Rachel Lyndhurst

Rachel now writes full-time when her children are at school, but is still proud of her law degree and accountancy qualifications. She has worked in the space industry, pharmaceuticals, insurance, a supermarket, a bus station, a railway depot, and a lingerie department.

She lives with her daughter, son and The Exec in Fareham, Hampshire, on the south coast of England and can sometimes smell the sea from her back garden. When not working, her hobbies include rummaging through antique shops and she also has a fondness for wine and expensive lipstick.

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Review: Take a Chance: Series Bundle (Take a Chance #1-4) by Diane Alberts


Title: Take a Chance: Series Bundle (Take a Chance #1-4)

Author: Diane Alberts

Published: November 25th 2013

Publisher: Entangled – Flaunt

Genre: Contemporary Romance




What happens in Vegas…can lead to romance.

It took one wild night for Sergeant Jeremy Addison to realize that Vegas? Was a bad idea.Bloody. Bruised. Dehydrated. Abandoned in the desert, and left to stagger down the road. The only way this leave could get worse was if his savior was his ex-best friend’s sister…and the girl he’d loved since childhood.

The last person Erica expected to find on the roadside was her high school crush. She hadn’t seen Jeremy in seven years—ever since the night he said he loved her, and she ran away. Losing him then had been a mistake, but wanting him now could be catastrophic if he discovered the secret that chased every other man from her life.

But with a tall, tattooed Marine determined to prove he’s always been faithful, can Erica resist his advances…or will she surrender ground and give love a try?

Thomas Jones has come to Vegas to win yet another account for his marketing company. But when he sits across from beautiful and sensual Brianna Falk to deliver his pitch, his desire to leave Vegas as quickly as possible is replaced by the need to get closer to her. Yet she resists his charm.

Brianna knows a date with Thomas could jeopardize her job, but he’s so maddening and insistent, she has a hard time denying him just one date. But that’s all it can be: one date. Because she has to protect her job and her secrets, even if it means giving up a chance at a life she never thought she’d have again.

Even the best-laid plans can go awry.

Single-mom Kiersten Worth knows a bottle of champagne and night of hot, no-strings-attached sex is the perfect solution to her jilted bride blues…and Garrett Kelly, long-time friend and her teenaged son’s sexy basketball coach, is just the stud for the job.

Garrett wants more from the elusive temptress than a casual affair, but he never expects it to come in the form of an unexpected pregnancy.

When he proposes an unorthodox solution—move in and raise their baby together—Kiersten has to decide whether to let down her guard and open her heart to the man who secretly loved her for years, or risk losing his tender embrace for good.

Married in the morning…

Professional heartbreaker Mike Worth thrived on the chase—and dancer Morgan Collins represented the ultimate prize. But there was no way he was going to throw away his single-man status…not even for an elusive redhead with sparkling eyes and mile-long legs. So how did he let one drunken Vegas night end with I do instead of hell no?

Morgan’s life revolved around her career and she had no intention of letting a man interfere—even if Mike made her question all her rules about love. At his urging, she reluctantly agreed to give their spur-of–moment marriage a chance. But once their trial-honeymoon ended, would she choose to follow the dance and leave her unforgettable husband behind?


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4 stars

Try Me ~ 3.75 stars

Jeremy had a rough night and by the looks of his surroundings it seems he is bound to have even a rougher day. Taking a chance that a stranger might help him out, he tries to hitch a ride. Even in his dazed state he recognizes the voice of the woman who stopped to help — Erica, the woman he never forgot.

I enjoyed the emotions brought to the page by the Diane Alberts. Each emotion that was portrayed by both Jeremy and Erica felt real and revealed a lot about their personalities, struggles and hesitations. It was what truly helped me relate to the characters in a more personal level.

Jeremy and Erica’s interactions were honest and emotional and their chemistry was easily palpable throughout the book. This was what truly sold me the story. I appreciated the way the time the author spent bringing their stories to the front so that there couldn’t be any more misunderstandings between them so that they could move forward once and for all.

Try Me, the first story in the Take a Chance series is a touching story about second chances with great mix of drama and romance.

I look forward to reading more about Erica’s brother, Thomas, in Love Me . I want to get to the bottom of the conflict between Jeremy and Thomas and maybe see him moving on in his life now that he had the chance to make amends with Jeremy.

Love Me ~ 4.5 stars rounded up because of that HOT office sex scene!

Thomas is not looking for a relationship. In fact, he loves them and leaves them ever since he was betrayed by his wife years ago. So when he finds himself admiring the lovely lady who gives as good as she gets before a business meeting, he thinks nothing of it. That is until he finds that Brianna, the woman he was instantly attracted to, is the business associate he will be dealing with to land the account he needs to acquire the promotion he wants at work.

Thrown for a loop, fighting his attraction and working on the job he needs to complete, Thomas decides to have his cake and eat it too. The problem comes when Brianna fights him every step of the way. Never one to back down from a challenge, Thomas sets his sights on having an affair with Brianna for however long he is in town. The only problem — Brianna comes to mean more to him than he ever expected to. All of a sudden he finds himself entertaining notions of marriage and family. Now if only he could convince Brianna to take a chance on him and love him.

Holy cow, I was NOT expecting this!!! Emotions, sexual tension, sizzling-hot chemistry all wrapped up in an intense story of second chances and letting go, Love Me took me by surprise. After reading Try Me , where Thomas appears and makes amends with Jeremy after a huge misunderstanding that tore apart their friendship, I was curious to read Thomas’ story and see him find his happily-ever-after. However, I was not expecting him to be such a complex character.

I loved him! His intensity, his determination and his sexiness. Once he made up his mind he was not to be deterred, even when at times he struggled to come to grips with his new-found feelings of starting a family and remarrying. Especially since his view of marriage had forever been altered by his previous experience. Having been weary of commitment for years, he finally learns to let go so that he could pursue Brianna.

I enjoyed the way Brianna and Thomas were brought together and how they each put their emotions out there on the page for me to truly connect with them and cheer them on to come together. I liked Brianna right away. She was strong and independent and not easily persuaded by a handsome face. She was all proper and business-like but when she let go and opened up to Thomas their connection could not be denied. It was explosive! Damn, that scene in her office? Phew!!! HOT!

Play Me ~ 3.5 stars

Garrett has wanted Kiersten since high school. Although she’s his best friend’s sister, that hasn’t stopped his heart from developing deep feelings for her. He knows that Kiersten has had a couple of rough years and doesn’t want to add to her troubles by admitting his feelings for her. But when Kiersten, in a moment of weakness, offers herself to him he can’t help himself and gives in. Even after they engage in a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship, he still wants more but is scared of how to approach her with his plan. So he hold on and spends time with her hoping one day she may come to feel for him what he feels for her.

Kiersten can’t deny that she’s attracted to Garrett but his reputation as a player precedes him and she’s not in no position to get her heart broken. But now that circumstances have changed for them both, how can she kept her heart out of the equation when the handsome man does everything in his power to win her over?

I liked this story very much but contrary to the previous one, I didn’t feel Kiersten and Garrett’s emotions or chemistry jump off the page as much. I did enjoy their interactions. Their flirtatious banter and honest dialogue lent itself to reveal a side of them they mostly kept hidden. Their emotions, although somewhat tame, still were in present, especially towards the end when everything came to a close.

Even though their chemistry was not as strong as I thought it would be it still was hot to see them together. Especially since Garrett added his emotions to the mix. It was hard to see how affected he was by their situation, but with his sense of humor and care-free attitude he kept the story light and entertaining.

Of course, the introduction of the secondary characters added to the story. I especially enjoyed Mike, although it was a treat to see Thomas and Brianna again.

Although this story might not have been everything I was expecting it still had that romantic quality I’ve enjoyed from the other stories. With interesting and complex characters, humor and some sexy scenes, Play Me was a great read.

Take Me ~ 4.25 stars

Mike doesn’t do relationships, so when he meets the gorgeous Morgan he wants to get with her. She has something that draws him in, especially the fact that she appears unaffected by his charming ways.

Morgan doesn’t have time for a relationship and is not in the lookout for one. She wants to get her career as a dancer on track while she’s young. Of course, she wasn’t planning on meeting the handsome Mike. With his sexy charm and his determination to pursue her, she is slowly but surely letting her walls down. But when she finds herself second guessing her plans, she decides to do what’s best for her, regardless of her feelings for Mike.

I loved this story! It’s not often that I enjoy a story based on the ‘waking up married after a drunken night’ concept. But Diane Alberts outdid herself on this one by portraying each and every one of both Morgan and Mike’s emotions as they made their journey from mistake to true love. I enjoyed watching them fight their feelings for each other and their reluctance to give into the other. Their banter was hilarious and their flirtatious dialogue entertaining as well. However, I mostly enjoyed the moments where they let their guard down enough to be honest with each other regardless of past mistakes.

Needless to say that their chemistry was amazing. The first kiss alone was scorching HOT and had me anticipating what was to come. Every touch, look and moan was perfectly placed. And when emotions came into play? The hotness factor of their sex sky-rocketed!

Once again, I enjoyed visiting with the secondary characters. I enjoyed how Brianna gave Mike a hard time and loved seeing Garrett and Kristen finally have their happily ever after.

All in all, a hot little read with emotional undertones, lots of flirting and off the charts HOT chemistry between two complex and interesting characters.

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

Review: Bells Will Be Ringing by Monica Tillery, Diana Jean, Carolynn Carey, Angelita Gill


Title: Bells Will Be Ringing

Authors: Monica Tillery, Diana Jean, Carolynn Carey, Angelita Gill

Published: December 23rd 2013

Publisher: Crimson Romance

Genre: Contemporary Romance



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‘Tis the season…to fall in love! In this quartet of holiday tales, mistletoe magic sweeps from a Philadelphia candy company to the ballrooms of Regency England, across the shores of a Hawaiian island to a snowstruck cabin in Colorado.

HER SECRET SANTA by Monica Tillery
Neighbors and co-workers at Morgan Confectioners, Rebecca Sinclair and Ben Redding have been best friends since grad school. When their feelings turn more than friendly, will they be able to get past their fear of ruining their friendship? A holiday gift exchange might just bring the best present of all—Christmas love.

The winter holidays used to be Miss Merry Damonson’s favorite time of year. Until her almost-fiancé Edward Everton abandoned her two days before Christmas. Now he’s returned to their country village, but is it too late to reignite old flames? A holiday ball might just offer these unlucky lovers a second chance.

Humbug in Hawaii? When Clara O’Fallen gets a promotion to paradise, she can’t help feeling homesick for her Wisconsin winters, complete with real snow, family traditions, and Christmas festivities. But smiling surfer Kai Schmitt might just show this scrooge how to hang loose and catch the spirit of the season—the aloha spirit!

GAVIN FEVER by Angelita Gill
A sudden snowstorm unexpectedly strands Julia Winthrop with her ex, reality TV star Gavin Beckett, at a cozy mountain cabin for the holidays. Trapped till the weather lets up, their attraction resurfaces. It’s not long before they realize their fling might’ve been the real thing, and this surprise reunion might just be a Christmas miracle.




All the stories were good in their own right. Some had a little of the spice, some were funny but all were sweet. Perfectly suitable if you’re in the mood for a quick, holiday romantic read.

I mostly enjoyed Her Secret Santa by Monica Tillery.  This was a sweet friends to lovers story with some emotional undertones. I enjoyed this one the best. Right after is Merry’s Wonderful Christmas Gift by Carolynn Carey. I don’t read Regency Romance and when I’ve done so I haven’t enjoyed it much but this story was so sweet and heartwarming that I found myself liking it very much. Next is His Hawaiian Christmas by Diana Jean. Now this one was fun. I enjoyed Kai’s personality and the way he related to Clara. Their story truly made for a fantastic read. Last but not least would be Gavin Fever by Angelita Gill. This was a hard one to get through but only because because I couldn’t feel the connection between the characters. They had some chemistry but it wasn’t enough for me to become invested in their relationship. 

One thing I found lacking in all of them was the fact that they were too short for me to form any kind of attachment to the couples. I wished I could have gotten to know more of the characters, maybe that would have improved my rating. Other than that, I enjoyed this set of holiday-themed stories.

All in all, a set of short, sweet and romantic stories.

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.

Review: Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett


Title: Christmas in Tahoe

Author: Elisabeth Barrett

Published: November 11th 2013

Genre: Contemporary Romance



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Silicon Valley actuary Ann Smith is an expert at calculating probabilities, but lately the odds haven’t been in her favor. Two years ago her fiancé died a week before their planned Christmas wedding, leaving Ann heartbroken and alone. When a friend suggests heading up to Lake Tahoe for a long Christmas weekend of skiing, wine, and relaxation, Ann thinks it might be just the thing to help get her life back on track. But Ann’s plans go awry when her friend cancels at the last minute, and Ann ends up driving to Tahoe with Chase Deckert, a sexy snowboarder who pushes all her buttons.

Chase Deckert is a man who lives by his own rules. A few years ago his business partner betrayed him by selling out their biomedical research for a quick profit. Chase left science far behind, and now spends his days snowboarding in Tahoe, wanting nothing to do with the dog-eat-dog world of Silicon Valley. Chase has closed his mind and his heart and only believes in one thing: fate. But fate seems to be in a giving mood, because joining him for Christmas is a brave, beautiful woman who shows him the true meaning of the season and helps him rediscover a part of himself he’d long forgotten.

Fueled by the mountain scenery, the season, and their unbelievable chemistry, Ann and Chase end up learning more about each other—and themselves—than they ever imagined possible. Can one long, steamy Christmas help them realize they’re meant to be together? Or when the holiday is over will they be right back where they started?




Ann just wants to spend her Christmas away from everything that she has been living with for the past two years. She needs a new start and this is the year she’s determined to achieve it. But when her plans start to fall through, starting with her ride to Tahoe she falters in her determination at first but pulls through in the end. She can’t help but be drawn to the handsome stranger who has come to pick her up. Hell, she can’t even resist his dog and she’s allergic!

Chase is doing a favor for a friend but the instant he enters the range of Silicon Valley he’s apprehensive of what he’s going to find. He knows how ‘these people’ behave and all they aspire too and he’s not looking forward to the long drive ahead with one of ‘them’. But he’s never been one to deny the truth. And the truth is that Ann intrigues him. He knows there’s a story there and so much more. He’s as eager as he’s uneasy about what he will find.

I loved, LOVED this story!!!

Not only did Elisabeth Barrett did a wonderful job in drawing me into the story with Ann’s voice and her story, she had me intrigued immediately with Chase’s story too. I loved watching them getting to know each other. Both had their walls up high and tight but as their time together increased I could see how affected each one was because of the other. They wanted so much more than what they had, but their fear kept them back from pursuing anything – at first.

I so enjoyed Chase and Ann’s interactions. Some where emotional, some were tender and all of them entertaining. Their easy camaraderie was one of the first things I loved about them and as their emotions came into play I loved watching them let go with each other. Of course, I also enjoyed their reluctance and their doubts about what they wanted. They were all well-founded and that just added to the appeal of them ending up together.

I have to congratulate the author because she managed to deliver a heart-felt story that was sweet, funny and HOT! I thought that Chase and Ann’s chemistry was fantastic and it only became greater as the story continued and their emotions came to the surface. I enjoyed watching them let go of their inhibitions with each other and just enjoy what was developing.

I’m not usually a fan of the insta-love concept and although this had the makings of one it felt completely different. There was the development of their connection, shared moments both intimate and emotional and lots of laughter. I could easily imagine them in the cabin lounging around, skiing the slopes and cuddling before the fireplace. I loved it!

All in all, a fabulous romantic read with emotional undertones, sizzling chemistry and two complex and interesting characters.

*I received this title from the publisher in exchange of my honest opinion.