Tag Archives: Kensington Books

Review: Her Winning Formula (Hot & Nerdy #3) by Shannyn Schroeder

Her Winning Formula Book Cover Her Winning Formula
Hot & Nerdy #3
Shannyn Schroeder
New Adult Romance
eKensington
November 24th 2014
eGalley
98
NetGalley

 

Spring break was supposed to be a last blast of fun for three friends before the reality of adulthood set in. But for the trio’s science whiz, it’s an education in instant attraction…

Chemistry major Felicity Stone can tell you everything about the way chemicals interact, but when it comes to social interaction, she needs schooling. Abandoned by her friends, Felicity is faced with spending spring break alone—unless she accepts a gorgeous stranger’s invitation to pose as his girlfriend at a family wedding. Not one to turn down a research opportunity, Felicity never expected it to produce such breathtaking results…

Teacher and baseball coach Lucas Tanner is fascinated by Felicity’s potent mix of spirit and scientist, not to mention her delicious curves. When Felicity asks him to return the favor by teaching her how to pick up guys, he can’t refuse—but he’s not at all happy with the idea of her using a formula for flirting on anyone but him. Can he convince her that together they have the perfect chemistry?

 

 

Review

While in route to her spring break destination Felicity meets Lucas. Since her plans have been changed and she’s no longer meeting her best friends Charlie and Layla, Felicity decides to go along with Lucas’ plan to have her play his girlfriend while he attends his brother’s wedding. Not much of a hardship since he’s gorgeous, she just has to remember that’s she’s just laying a part and keep her distance.

Lucas is drawn to Felicity’s smarts and understated beauty. So having her playing his girlfriend for a few days sounds like a win-win situation for him. He gets to keep his ex-girlfriend at bay while spending time with a sexy, intriguing woman. But what he wasn’t counting on were the emotions that would arise with spending time with Felicity.

I liked the premise behind the story and thought that the author did a great job in bringing something different to this popular trope. But what I couldn’t get over was the insta-love scenario coupled with the lack of connection between the characters.

Usually I can overlook the insta-love in a story if the connection between the two individuals is firmly established on the page. However, that was not the case with Her Winning Formula. Yes, there was a connection between Felicity and Lucas, but it wasn’t expanded upon. Although I enjoyed their interactions, I felt there was something missing–that essential ‘thing’–needed to take their relationship to the next level.

Having said that, I did enjoyed getting to know the characters, the chemistry they shared and how the author went about bringing it all together in the end.

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

View all my reviews

Review: Her Perfect Game (Hot & Nerdy #2) by Shannyn Schroeder

Her Perfect Game Book Cover Her Perfect Game
Hot & Nerdy #2
Shannyn Schroeder
New Adult Romance
eKensington
October 27th 2014
eGalley
124
NetGalley

 

Spring break is supposed to be a week of fun in the sun for three childhood friends about to graduate from college. But one of them is ready to get her game on somewhere else…

Charlie Castle is an expert archer and a fierce warrior—in her favorite video game, anyway. But college life was a program she couldn't quite master. To land a cybertech job without a degree, she's entering a "hackfest" over spring break—where she also hopes to meet the sweet gamer who's been flirting with her online. Instead, she runs into the hot guy who walked away years ago, and can't fight the desire that comes rushing back.

Jonah Best has never gotten over Charlie, whose kisses were always as deliciously creative as her coding. But now that they're face to face again, he doesn't know how to admit that her online admirer is really him—or how to convince her that he's offering her a job for her incredible skills, not her sex appeal. Can Jonah cut through their communication glitches and persuade Charlie that the next level up for them should be forever?

 

 

Review

Although I enjoyed this story, I did find a couple of faults within it.

Charlie is a gamer and a college dropout who spent money she couldn’t spare to attend a convention in the hopes of not only networking herself into acquiring a job, but also to meet her fellow gamer and the man she can’t stop thinking about.

Jonah never did get over Charlie and has regretted leaving her ever since. Thankfully, he was able to connect with her through their shared love of gaming, but it wasn’t enough. So when the chance to connect with her in person falls into his lap, he jumps at the chance without even knowing how his presence would be received.

As you could imagine there was bound to be some drama in this story since Charlie wasn’t expecting to run into Joshua at the convention. Thankfully, the drama was kept to a minimum in that regards.

I got the chance to experience first hand how sorry Jonah was for walking away and cheered him on even when it looked like he didn’t have a chance. However, he was charming, funny and as sexy as Charlie remembered so soon sparks where flying.

I liked Jonah and Charlie together but I felt like I never really got to see the connection they shared on the page. It was touched upon briefly, but not nearly enough for me. I understood they had a past, but I would have loved to see that connection reflected in the present too.

Add to that the added conflict the author introduced and the romance sort of fazed out of the picture. Don’t get me wrong, there were some moments that played a key role in their relationship, but for me the romance got lost in the shuffle. That’s not to say that it wasn’t intriguing to read about that kind of thing happening, it just didn’t seem important in the scheme of things.

Having said that, I did enjoy the time Jonah and Charlie spent together, their easy manner and the chemistry they shared. I just wish I could have gotten more of the romance and less of the gaming world.

All in all, a great tie-in book in the series that told the story about a second chance at love.

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

View all my reviews

Review: Her Best Shot (Hot & Nerdy #1) by Shannyn Schroeder

Her Best Shot Book Cover Her Best Shot
Hot & Nerdy #1
Shannyn Schroeder
New Adult Romance
eKensington
September 29th 2014
eGalley
130
NetGalley

 

With college graduation looming, three childhood friends vow to make spring break their last blast of pure fun. But at least one of them didn’t count on such incredible heat…

Layla Sharpe is definitely more math ninja than bikini babe, and her future has been calculated with razor precision. Convinced to let loose over spring break, Layla is finally ready to party—until her car breaks down halfway to her destination, leaving her stranded in Georgia with a mouthwateringly hot pool shark. She knows more than enough about angles to learn the game, but this week she wants him to appreciate her curves…

Phin Marks has never met a girl like Layla. She’s more Star Wars geek than seductress, and when he offers her a place to stay while her car is in the shop, he’s counting on the attraction between them to set the nights ablaze, no strings attached. But every moment he spends with Layla makes it harder to let her go. Can he persuade her to gamble in the most dangerous way possible…on forever?

 

 

 

Review

Short and sweet with some added spice!

What I enjoyed the most about this story was the fact that it felt complete. Often times with books of this length you are left wanting, confused or a combination of the two. However, although short with a insta-love scenario Her Best Shot delivered a little bit of everything.

There was character development, some emotions, plenty of sizzling chemistry and a connection between the characters.

I loved Phin! Not only did he have a mysterious air about him, once he set loose he was H.O.T! I enjoyed him plenty and wouldn’t have minded a bit more of him throughout.

Layla wasn’t a bad character to know, but she had her moments where her immaturity (or should I say naiveté?) showed, which irritated me to no end. Quick to assume and eager to experience life, she made some rash decisions but ultimately learned from her mistakes.

I did enjoy her moments with Phin and thought she was a good match for him. She changed Phin’s life when she got involved with him, unknowingly helping him see what path to follow next in his life. So you can see why I came to like her in the end.

All in all, a great start to a series and a sexy, fun romance between an unlikely pair.

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

View all my reviews

New Release! His Work Of Art (Hot & Nerdy #4) by Shannyn Schroeder *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

HisWorkOfArtBlitzBanner

His Work Of Art (Hot & Nerdy, #4)
by Shannyn Schroeder

A New Adult Romance
From Lyrical Press
Released October 27th 2015

add-to-goodreads-button31

 

Reese Carter is definitely not your average college girl. She’d prefer to spend Saturday nights playing Hero’s Crusade than attending a wild frat party on campus. When she bands together with Adam, fellow comic enthusiast and illustrator, it appears that Reese has formed a dream team sure to propel her writing into the comic hall of fame.

Adam Hayes has never met a girl like Reese. She’s sassy, smart, and loves talking comics, although he can’t see why she’d choose DC over Marvel. He’s thrilled to finally put his artistic chops to use in their upcoming comic project. But this relationship is strictly professional. Or so he tells himself. When the two combine forces, they churn out magic in more ways than they had planned; they never expected to develop a steamy romantic sub-plot of their own…

 

hisworkofart

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

 

Review

4 stars

Reese has come up with a fantastic female superhero comic book as final project to one of her classes. She not only has to write it, she also has to have it sketched, marketed and published. Reese knows the perfect artist to use, but she’s hesitant to approach him. She has a crush on Adam, but their interactions have been few and not that impressionable. However, she needs to hand in a kick-ass comic and she knows Adam can deliver on that front.

Adam is working at her mother’s comic book store where Reese is a regular customer. He has admired her good looks quite a few times, but being the product of an interracial relationship that ended in divorce, Adam is reluctant to get involved with Reese. He’s experienced first-hand how hurtful people can be and prefers to spare himself and Reese that type of hardship.

With all the time spent together working on the comic, Reese and Adam find it difficult to keep their attraction for each other at bay. But when emotions start coming into play, things start to get more complicated. Can Reese help Adam get over his issues or will Adam walk away before they could explore the connection that’s grown between them?

As a follower of the series, I couldn’t wait to get into this story. Especially since I’ve come to enjoy Shannyn Schroeder’s way of bringing the different stories to the page. In the previous books, the stories revolved around three ‘nerdy’ friends who found love with ‘hot’ men when they least expected it. Three women, three different stories all happening simultaneously. With these new set of stories we get a similar concept but this time it revolves around three male friends. How could I not read it?!

What I most enjoyed about this story was the way the author showcased Reese and Adam’s connection. Although there was an inkling of chemistry between these two, what stood out for me immediately was the easy way they related to one another. Their friendly bickering over their comics preference and their easy banter had me grinning and cheering them on. Of course, as their connection grew the chemistry between them became more apparent. Stolen touches, heated looks and one hell of a first kiss had me sold on them getting together.

Of course, there had to be obstacles in their paths which brought about a whole set of rampant emotions. The characters expressed these accordingly and the author made them clear on the page. However the story never felt overwhelming in any sense.

Don’t let the fact that this is the fourth book in the series keep you from giving it a try. It can be read as a stand alone, focusing mainly on Reese and Adam’s relationship. It also served to introduce Hunter and Free, Adam’s friends, who will have their stories told in the near future.

All in all, a sweet yet hot little romance.

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

 

Excerpt

She reached for a slice as Adam walked in the back. He returned with some napkins, which was good because she now had sauce dripping on her chin. “Thanks,” she mumbled around a mouthful of hot cheese. Just as she wiped at her chin, a blob of sauce landed on her cargo pants. She rubbed at it, resigned to another stain.

The corners of his mouth lifted, but he said nothing. He leaned against the counter in front of the register. They ate in silence through their first pieces. They’d worked a long time to figure out how to approach this partnership.

No matter what, collaboration was rough.

Adam wiped his hands on a napkin. “Do you think this is going to work?”

“What? Us?” Probably not the best wording.

He nodded.

“As long as you give up your boob fixation, yeah.” She blew out a heavy breath that puffed her bangs away from her forehead. “It’s harder than I thought. It’d be cool if we could just do a Vulcan mind meld, and you could see inside my head and know what I’m picturing. If I had any artistic skill, I’d attempt to draw it myself. But I find stick figures challenging.”

“So Lyrid can’t have big tits. I get it. You can stop telling me. But I’m not going to draw her like a guy either.”

The jab hit home. More times than she cared to think about, people had commented on her appearance. “I don’t want her to be a guy. But real women don’t have a two-inch waist to go with their ginormous boobs.”

“Lyrid isn’t real. She’s a character. A fantasy.”

But why did the fantasy always have to be sex goddess? “Can we settle on a happy medium?” She squinted at him and searched for the right words. “Curvy, but not voluptuous?” She pointed at him. “And no spillage.”

“Spillage?”

She cupped her hands in front of her own small chest. “Spillage. Popping out of a ridiculous outfit.”

Adam dropped his pizza back in the box and went to the drawing table. He flipped up his sketch pad. An intense expression took over his face and Reese stared. She couldn’t look away. His long fingers moved quickly with a pencil in his left hand. She knew that when he was finished, smudges would be smeared on the edge of his palm as well as on his fingertips.

It was like she was no longer in the room.

 

Hot & Nerdy Series

Her Best Shot (Hot & Nerdy, #1)
Her Best Shot (Hot & Nerdy #1)
Amazon | Kobo | B&N

Her Perfect Game (Hot & Nerdy, #2)
Her Perfect Game (Hot & Nerdy #2)
Amazon | Kobo | B&N

Her Winning Formula (Hot & Nerdy, #3)
Her Winning Formula (Hot & Nerdy #3)
Amazon | Kobo | B&N

 

About the Author

Shannyn

Shannyn is a former English teacher, who now works as a part-time editor while raising her three kids.

Even though she wrote from high school through college (mostly poetry), she’d never considered a career as an author. Writing fell by the wayside as she focused her energy on creating lesson plans and new and fabulous ways to torment her teen students. One group in particular dubbed her “The Torture Master,” a title she carried into motherhood.

After the birth of baby number two, Shannyn resigned from teaching and fell in love with reading romance novels. She read so many books so quickly that her husband teased, “If you’re going to read so many damn books, why don’t you just write one?”

So she did. And she hasn’t looked back since.

She is recovering from her Diet Coke addiction, fears putting her foot in her mouth on social media, and has a renewed appreciation for the bad girls of the world.

She is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

My Reviews:

New Release: Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony #1) by Annabeth Albert *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

treble_banner

Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony #1)
by Annabeth Albert

An M/M Romance
From Kensington–Lyrical Shine
Released August 4th 2015

add-to-goodreads-button31

On Perfect Harmony, the ambitious competitors heat things up on stage and off…

Cody Rivers is determined to be a rock star, but couch-surfing between bar shows gets old fast. Joining an a cappella group for a new singing competition show could be his last chance at real fame—unless the college boy from the heart of the country messes it up for him. Lucas Norwood is everything gothy, glittery Cody is not—conservative, clean-cut, and virginal. But when a twist in the show forces them together, even the sweetest songs get steamy as the attraction between them lights up the stage. Lucas wants to take it slow, but Cody’s singing a different tune—and this time it maybe a love song…

 

TrebleMaker_6 (1)

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

 

Review

4 stars

4.25 stars

Lucas Norwood is a gay college student participating with his a cappella group. He’s shy, uncoordinated and harbors some mighty lustful thoughts. He has pledge to save himself for marriage, has a fairly good relationship with his parents and is used to resisting temptation. He knows his limits and abides by his rules. Until he notices Cody.

Cody Rivers is ready to make it big. He’s tired of living out of his van and so agrees to participate in the Perfect Harmony reality show. Cody is no fool–he knows the game and he plays it well. His only focus is to win regardless of who or what stands in his way. He’s flamboyant, in your face and doesn’t have any qualms about it. He’s the very man Lucas should be weary of, but the very man who ignites all his fantasies.

Annabeth Albert is fast becoming a favorite author for me. There’s just something about the way she manages to bring two completely different individuals together and make it look effortless. I loved that Lucas was the quiet, stumbling giant with a sexy fetish. He was the perfect compliment to Cody’s out-there-in-your-face personality.

Now I admit that at first I thought getting these two together would be kind of messy. What with Lucas’ virginity pledge and Cody’s no-holds-barred sexiness I didn’t think they had a chance of coming together AND make it believable in my eyes. Well, color me a fool because Annabeth Albert sure proved me wrong. With the use of witty banter, flirty bickering and some hot-as-hell nightly encounters I was soon a believer!

And that’s not to say that there weren’t other elements brought to the page that added to my enjoyment. The cast of characters were all intriguing and added something in their own right to the story. I’m especially curious about Trevor, Lucas’ friend. He struggled with some stuff in this story and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for him. (hint, hint!)

There was also the range of emotions both Cody and Lucas portrayed. From Cody’s frustration over his attraction to Lucas to Lucas’ overwhelming desire to explore things with Cody, every little emotion was there present and accounted for. The humor, the passion and the camaraderie (or lack of it!) made this story a treat to read.

And I won’t even get too deeply into Lucas and Cody’s chemistry. It was intense. My anticipation for that first kiss was driving me insane. The hot/cold vibe these two kept on before hooking up sure had me frustrated. Ohhh but it was so worth the wait! Lucas sure surprised the hell out of me. Add to that the stolen touches and hidden looks that they kept exchanging and you can be sure that my grin was firmly in place throughout.

It sure helped that the connection they shared was always at the forefront of their every exchange. Sure, they were different in many ways, but they shared a deep connection based on their love of music and their desire for something more–be it a meaningful relationship or a chance at stardom. Lucas and Cody learned to appreciate their differences and accept each other warts and all. What more can you ask of them than that.

As the first book in the series, Treble Maker works in many ways. It not only brought about Lucas and Cody’s romance but also managed to establish some key players and a nice set-up for the next installment in the series. All in all, a fantastic sexy read where a sweet yet intense romance took the lead with music serving as a background.

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

 

Excerpt

The bass singer was gay. Cody wiggled his hips in an exaggerated move that always got him company on dance floors, waited a beat, and … there. Right on cue, the curly-haired singer gave him another sidelong glance.

A straight dude might grant Cody the occasional double take because, yeah, it was damn hard to ignore Cody’s style of fabulousness. Today, for example, the style gods had smiled on him—his hair was the perfect combination of deliberate spikes and casual falls, the silver specks in his eyeliner complemented his studded leather belt, and his red skinny jeans showed off his ass. So when the bass’s double take had turned into something more like a quintuple take, Cody knew what those lingering glances meant. Knew it despite the fact that the bass looked fresh off the farm, all wholesome and rosy-cheeked and wearing a tie/sweater vest combo perfect for performing in a church choir.

Crash. The bass missed a step, sending a speaker skidding across the stage. One of the camera guys groaned. On second thought, maybe the bass hadn’t been checking out Cody. Maybe he had trouble controlling his big blue eyes the same way he had trouble controlling his big-assed feet.

Whatever the dude was, he was screwing up Cody’s big break. Twitchy farmer boy and the rest of his all-boy group had screwed up multiple run-throughs of the opening number for the new season of Perfect Harmony. No one would notice Cody’s singing if the other groups kept crashing into one another and losing the chorus. He’d worked damn hard to earn this solo, and he didn’t need farmer boy messing it up with his clodhopper feet that kept tripping over thin air.

 

About the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Represented by Saritza Hernandez of the Corvisiero Literary Agency

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour: Hold Me Close (The O’Learys #6) by Shannyn Schroeder *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

TVTHoldMeClose-ShannynSchroeder

Hold Me Close (The O’Learys #6)
by Shannyn Schroeder

A Contemporary Romance
From Kensington
Releasing July 21, 2015

add-to-goodreads-button31

Leave it to the O’Learys to make romance a family affair…

 Maggie O’Leary is finally coming home to Chicago. After more than a year in Ireland, she’s ready to make a plan for her future. But first, she’ll have to confront the tragedy that scarred her so deeply. Asking for a job in the family bar is the first step, and it’s one her family isn’t entirely happy about. At least Shane Callahan, her best friend in the world, is behind her a hundred percent. He’s also a hundred percent more lovable than she remembered…

Shane is determined to keep Maggie safe, even if it means working three jobs and giving up sleep to be around during her shifts at the bar. But when Maggie boldly tells him she needs more than a loyal friend now, Shane knows a single night together won’t be possible. The idea of spirited Maggie in his bed is electrifying, but will she believe he wants to give her his heart, too?

 

Hold Me Close_Cover

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo

 

Review

4 stars

3.75 stars

Maggie returns to the US after spending some time in Ireland. Although she has made great strides in moving forward after the event that changed her life, she still has ways to go. So, determined to move on and get it over with, she comes up with a plan for her new life. But as stubborn as she is, she refuses to see that she has people who are willing to help her through it. Shane being of them.

Shane has been in love with Maggie for a while now, but there has always been something preventing him from making his move. First and foremost, the fear of losing his best friend in the world. But putting his feelings and dreams aside is second nature to him by now, so when Maggie returns with her mind made up to make a new life for herself, he doesn’t hesitate in putting her safety and comfort first.

I’ve read all the previous installments and have been looking forward to reading Maggie’s story for a while now. But I admit that after her behavior in the last installment in regards to Liam’s girlfriend Carmen, I just didn’t see her the same way. Maybe that’s why I found her story to be so frustratingly hard to get through.

I truly gave her the benefit of the doubt and went into her story with no expectations. But as the story progressed and her behavior started to border onto being selfish, I could not help myself. That Shane was a saint when it came to her and I just COULD NOT believe that she would be so blind as to not recognize that there was something more behind his feelings for her.

Regardless of the fact that she got on my nerves more than I cared about, I still enjoyed her story. Mostly because I wanted to see how she would react when Shane finally made his feelings known. Granted, it took a hell of a lot more time for him to do it but once he did I did revel in the confusion and frustration Maggie suffered through. I don’t want to seem mean, but she really needed the wake up call.

Other than that, everything else worked well. I liked how Shannyn Schroeder went about having Maggie deal with her past. I appreciated the challenges she put in Maggie’s path and how she made sure that Maggie gained some growth as the story progressed. I also enjoyed Shane and Maggie’s interactions. Some were fun and truly showcased how deeply connected they truly were. While others were honest and candid and had me tearing up for poor old Shane. Then again, sometimes I just ended up screaming at him to ‘JUST TELL HER!!! Arrrrrhhhhggg’. Yep. *facepalm* I know.

I still count Maggie’s story as a success and consider this series one of my favorite family sagas. In the end Maggie redeemed herself in my eyes and all was well. She gave Shane a chance, accepted that she could not go back to who she was before the rape and even apologized for her behavior towards Carmen, which earned her a lot of points in my book.

All in all, a frustrating yet enjoyable read. Yes, I am that weird and easy to please.

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

 

Excerpt

This was what life was supposed to be. Shane settled back into the couch with Maggie curled up next to him to watch TV like they had hundreds of times over the years. For the past few days, he’d been torn up knowing she was angry. Knowing they were in the same city without talking every day felt weird. They’d talked almost every day when she was halfway around the world.

He probably should’ve felt bad for throwing Ryan under the bus, but he didn’t. If Maggie knew this was all Shane’s idea, she might figure out how to stay mad. He needed to be in her corner, and she wouldn’t believe that if she knew the truth.

Maggie finished a second piece of pizza and stood. “You want something? Moira brought beer.”

He twitched. Although he drank, he never did with Maggie. He always figured that if she wasn’t drinking, it made her uncomfortable. “You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m sure she brought it. I put it in the fridge myself.” She looked at him like he was crazy.

“No. Are you sure it won’t bother you?”

“Why would it?”

He shifted forward and put the laptop back on the table. “Because you don’t drink.”

She continued to stare at him and her head tilted. “I choose not to drink because I don’t like to feel out of control.” She bit down on her bottom lip. “The last time I lost control like that, it didn’t end well. But it doesn’t bother me to be around people who drink. Shit. My whole family drinks. I work at a bar.”

Her eyes popped wide and she sank back to the couch. “You never drink around me. Why did I not realize that before?”

“Because it’s not important.”

“Yeah, it is.” She reached out and stroked his jaw. “You gave up drinking so I wouldn’t get upset. You’re the best kind of friend.”

With her hand on his face like that, he had a hard time keeping his thoughts friendly. “Don’t go overboard. I didn’t give up drinking altogether, just in front of you.”

“It’s still sweet.” She rose and went to the kitchen. When she came back, she held out a bottle of beer.

He accepted and said, “Thanks,” as he twisted the cap off.

Maggie sat and watched as he drank from the bottle.

“Ready for another show?”

She nodded and snuggled beside him again. If this was all he’d get out of life, he’d be happy. Maggie was safe and with him. At some point he might even be able to make a move to change their relationship. Every time he considered it, something stood in his way. At first, it was other guys. As a teen, she was rarely without a boyfriend. Then she’d been raped, and his greatest fear was that he would lose her, that she wouldn’t want to be near him because he hadn’t stopped it from happening. And then just as they seemed to be moving in that direction, she took off to Europe.

Part of him wanted to grab her and kiss her and tell her she’d always be safe with him.

But it would freak her out. She was still battling her demons. So he would wait until she was ready. He would have only one shot and he couldn’t afford to blow it.

Maggie was shoving at his shoulder, and he squinted at her. Damn. He’d fallen asleep.

“I would let you stay asleep, but this is my bed.”

He pushed forward. “What?” He rubbed his eyes.

“I don’t have a bed yet. I’m going shopping tomorrow. Until then, this is my bed.” She pointed at the couch.

“Why did you move if you don’t have furniture?”

She lifted a shoulder. “Anxious, I guess.”

He stood and stretched. “Sorry I fell asleep. Guess I was more tired than I thought.” He took his empty beer bottle to the kitchen. “Trash can?”

“On the shopping list for tomorrow.”

He shook his head. The girl hadn’t planned for anything. “I have a queen-sized bed. You’re welcome to share it with me.”

She chewed her lip again. “No, that’s okay. I’ll be fine here.”

He rolled his shoulders. They’d often crashed together, always fully clothed, a safe distance between them. The first time, they’d still been in high school, and he’d thought for sure the O’Learys were going to skin him. He and Maggie had studied late for finals and fell asleep. After that, it had been normal.

In fact, the one thing that told him they were okay after the rape was that she’d asked him to stay with her one night.

“You know where to find me if you change your mind.” He let himself out of her apartment and walked next door.

About the Author

Shannyn

Shannyn Schroeder is the author of the O’Leary series, contemporary romances centered around a large Irish-American family in Chicago and the new Hot & Nerdy series about 3 nerdy friends and their last spring break. When she’s not wrangling her three kids or writing, she watches a ton of TV and loves to bake cookies.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Related Articles:

TBR Review: Just A Taste (The O’Learys #5) by Shannyn Schroeder

Just A Taste Book Cover Just A Taste
The O'Learys #5
Shannyn Schroeder
Contemporary Romance
Kensington
January 19th 2014
eGalley
270
NetGalley

 

Grief has brought them together again—will love open the door to their future? When it’s an O’Leary in the picture, finding out is just part of the adventure…

Carmen Delgado is left reeling when her father dies. Taking care of him has been her sole purpose for so long, she’s forgotten what it’s like to have dreams of her own. And with steady, sexy Liam O’Leary inheriting a share in her dad’s successful food truck, Carmen is suddenly free to explore her life’s possibilities. She never expected Liam to provide the kind of temptation she’s not sure she can resist…

A talented chef, Liam O’Leary has been itching to open his own restaurant for years—and the death of his mentor is a reminder that time passes too quickly. Gus’s Taco Taxi isn’t exactly what he dreamed of, but he can’t desert Gus’s daughter. Working side by side is an unexpected pleasure—and grownup Carmen is alluring in all new ways. Is love on the menu—or will old fears and insecurities drive them apart?

Review

4 stars

Liam has been ready to open his own restaurant for a while now. He has proven he has what it takes to make it in the business, but it’s his mentor’s death that truly forces him to see it’s time to set things in motion. Finding out he has s share of his mentor’s successful business helps him to make the transition, but he wasn’t expecting to feel so drawn to Carmen that he second guessed his future plans.

Carmen is feeling a little lost now that she doesn’t have her father to take care of. She knows that the time has come for her to focus on her life, but she can’t seem to find her place. And now that she shares half the business with Liam, she feels like she’s needed again. But working in close quarters with him has her a little overwhelmed. And having her big extended family nosing around her business doesn’t help lessen the stress she’s under.

I loved Liam! I admired his work ethic, his loyalty and his creative recipes. Of course, the fact that he was caring, considerate AND handsome helped his case too! I loved watching come into himself, standing up to his mother and sister. I especially loved how he didn’t hesitate to make his feelings for Carmen known to her and to every one that asked.

Carmen was a great character too. I could truly relate to her in many ways–the overwhelming extended family, the body issues, the uncertain future ahead. I admired her tenacity in dealing with everything that was thrown at her and her determination to make decision for herself. She was smart and showed great strength of character at times when things could have easily gotten out of hand.

But what I truly liked about this story was how the author brought Liam and Carmen together. I enjoyed the concept of the food truck. The different moments that took place while Liam and Carmen worked on said truck were fun ans showcased the connection that was growing between the two. Their coming together was slow in coming but seen a mile away. I enjoyed their banter and flirty exchanges just as much as their bickering over aspects of the business. Their connection felt real and having it grow and strengthen as the story progressed only served to convince me that they had something worth fighting for.

I admit, this time around I was not happy with the interfering of the O’Leary clan. And don’t even get me started on Rosa, Carmen’s cousin. Pffft! I especially wanted to throttle Liam’s mother for her behavior. Double Pffft! The nerve of that woman. At least it helped in cementing my belief that Carmen and Liam were right for each other. It was awesome to see Liam stand up for Carmen when it truly counted.

If you are a follower of the series, you won’t want to miss this installment. It was fun with many heartfelt moments and sexy in an understated way. All in all, a great addition to the series. Team Carmen all the way. Ahhh and Liam was so very yummy!

TBR Review: Catch Your Breath (The O’Learys #4) by Shannyn Schroeder

Catch Your Breath Book Cover Catch Your Breath
The O'Learys #4
Shannyn Schroeder
Contemporary Romance
eKensington
July 3rd 2014
eGalley
292
NetGalley

 

As kids they steered clear of one another--but now a beautiful, well-connected reporter and a sexy, driven detective are all grown-up and on the job. . .

Moira O'Leary's work as a reporter gives her access to some of Chicago's swankiest soirées. She knows how to navigate the jet-set crowd, and her style and confidence help her blend right in. But when her childhood crush starts popping up at posh events, her poise begins to falter--until she realizes she has the upper hand in a high-stakes game of secrets and seduction. . .

Jimmy O'Malley has always tried to avoid his friend Liam's little sister. Something about Moira spelled trouble. But he's out of his element working undercover in Chicago's high society, and Moira is his ticket to the inner circle. As sparks begin to fly--and their chemistry heats up--Moira gets dangerously close to his investigation. Will Jimmy be forced to push her away to keep her safe--or will they surrender to a desire that could leave them breathless?

Review

4 stars

Moira O’Leary’s work as a reporter gives her access to some of Chicago’s swankiest soirées. She knows how to navigate the jet-set crowd, and her style and confidence help her blend right in. But when her childhood crush starts popping up at posh events, her poise begins to falter–until she realizes she has the upper hand in a high-stakes game of secrets and seduction. . .

Jimmy O’Malley has been assigned to work undercover befriending a close-knit group of Chicago’s high society. On his first try he runs into Moira O’Leary, his friend Liam’s little sister– a woman he tries his best to avoid.

But Moira doesn’t let him get away so easily. As a reporter, her instincts hone in on Jimmy’s reasons for being at the event. Sure, she likes her job reporting high society’s happenings but she will not miss the opportunity for some investigative work to further her career.

The opportunity shows itself when Jimmy, feeling out of his element, seeks Moira out to help him navigate and blend into his role. But soon sparks start flying and emotions start getting in the way of both their jobs. Will these two give in or go their separate ways when all’s said and done?

Oh Jimmy! Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy! I lost count of how many times I wanted to smack him upside the head with my tablet! Stubborn man, but how I cheered for him too. Pffft!

Jimmy moved back home and has been acting as head of the household and taking care of his father ever since is return. He has many things going on and no time to deal with a hard-headed talkative woman who pushes all his buttons. His struggle to come to terms with the emotions Moira brought out in him sure made for an entertaining read. Especially when said emotions started to interfere with his assignment.

Jimmy was a proud, loyal man. And having his loyalties tested in such a way really mess him up. He became even more withdrawn, more stubborn and even a little bit mean. Yep, that tablet o’ mine was ready to do some damage! Thankfully, Shannyn Schroeder made it harder for me to go along with my plan by having me learn more about his history and how everything in his life had shaped him to be the man he was.

Moira helped a lot too. She was a great character to get to know. She had a crush on Jimmy since she could remember and working so closely with him brought all those emotions to the surface. I admired her determination to make their “partnership” work even when she felt like he was behaving like an @ss.

As you can well imagine, all this head-butting between two stubborn people only served to bring a great amount of tension to the story. Awesome, lusty tension that had me anticipating that first moment when either Jimmy or Moira finally succumbed to their attraction to each other. Ohhh yes, it was well worth the wait, my friends. Jimmy sure surprised the hell out of me! Oh Jimmy!
*sigh*

And of course, as with every book in the series, we get to visit with the O’Leary’s clan. I was glad to see them happy and interfering in their family’s lives. 😉

All in all, a sexy tantalizing read that will certainly have you catching your breath a time or three.

TBR Review: Something to Prove (The O’Learys, #3) by Shannyn Schroeder

Something to Prove Book Cover Something to Prove
The O'Learys, #3
Shannyn Schroeder
Contemporary Romance
Kensington
January 16th 2014
ebook
178
NetGalley

 

Two ambitious people team up to prove themselves to their families—and find there may be more to their partnership than just business. . .

Elizabeth Brannigan is determined to show her father she's capable of running the family business. Saving his struggling Chicago bar seems like the perfect project. But she'll need a little help dealing with the rough crowd. Who better to assist her than the handsome co-owner of a thriving Irish pub? Of course, with so much work to do, there are bound to be a few late nights. . .

Colin O'Leary's father passed away before he could prove to him that he wasn't a screw-up. Now he wants to show his brother he's responsible enough to own a bar of his own—and Elizabeth may be able to help him. But when their professional aspirations clash, tempers—and passions—flare. Are they mature enough to mix business with pleasure—or will they have to choose between the two?

Review

5-stars

Elizabeth has always been trying to one-up her brother and gain her father’s approval. She has worked her @ss off trying to make him see she’s just as capable as her brother when it comes to taking over the business, but she still feels like she needs to do more. So when the opportunity arises for her to ‘save’ his father’s bar in Chicago, she’s determined to do it on her own. But determination can only take her so far, so she seeks someone experienced to help her through it.

In comes Colin O’ Leary. Colin returned to town after spending years away from the family business. He spends his days and nights working at the bar now that his brother is busy starting a family. But still, he feels he needs to prove to his family that he’s ready to take the reins of the business without constant supervision. Tired of being shut down and eager to prove he’s not a screw-up, he jumps at the chance at a partnership with Elizabeth and is determined to make their new business a success.

But can these two stubborn, hard-working individuals slow down and recognize what’s right in front of them?

I admit, I had my doubts with this one simply because I could not see Colin and Elizabeth together. Both were strong-headed, independent and too focused on their goals to dedicate any time to a relationship. So how was the author going to work though it to make this pairing believable?

Kudos to Shanny Shroeder for making it happen! Through flirty banter, good-natured (and not so good-natured) bickering and honest interactions, she managed to bring to the forefront Elizabeth and Colin’s connection every chance she could. I loved watching them together. Be it fighting over the duties each was going to take over or just sharing a meal at the end of a hard day at work, Elizabeth and Colin’s connection always shined through.

Of course, it helped tremendously that they had an awesome chemistry that never failed to make it through the page. Stolen glances, barely there touches and heated arguments always served to showcase it. Which I loved! And when the emotions started to make their appearance it made for even a more enjoyable read. All those conflicting emotions mixed with the undercurrent of sexual tension between these two had me completely sold that Elizabeth and Colin had a chance at something more.

Something to Prove is the third book in the series and can be read as a stand alone. I’ve read the previous two books and enjoyed them too, but I have to say this is my favorite so far.

All in all, a sexy romance between two very stubborn individuals that finally allowed themselves a chance to truly live their lives for themselves.

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

 

Series Spotlight: Portland Heat by Annabeth Albert *Review, Excerpt and Giveaway*

PortlandHeat_banner

Portland Heat Series
by Annabeth Albert

An M/M Romance Series
From Kensington Books

add-to-goodreads-button31

 

In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

 

servedhotServed Hot (Portland Heat #1)

Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?

BakedFreshBaked Fresh (Portland Heat #2)

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

 

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | ARe

 

Review

4 stars

These are the first book I’ve read from this author and I’m glad I took a chance with them.

In Served Hot we get Robbie and David’s story. Both men have been burned in romance before one way or the other and having them take a chance at love was a treat.

Robbie is a barista who own his own coffee street car. He also has a major crush on David, one of his regular customers. The problem is that not only is Robbie shy he also doesn’t know if David is even gay. Lucky him that he runs into David at the local Pride Festival–that at least answers that question. Still Robbie is apprenhensive in making a move. But with every chance encounter his attraction for David grows until he decides to take a chance.

However, David is just recently out and not fully comfortable. His past relationship affected him deeply plus it left him with no sense whatsoever on how true relationships are supposed to work. Robbie is patient and supportive, but how long can he stand to be kept in the dark?

I enjoyed this story very much. It was sweet and light on the angst but with enough range in emotions to truly get a sense of how deeply affected Robbie and David were with what they were feeling. Sadly, I only got to experience Robbie POV. I think having dual POVs would have made my enjoyment of this story ever greater.

As it was I enjoyed it thoroughly. The build up was slow, the interactions funny, flirty and honest and the heat factor although tamed did its duty in showcasing their chemistry.

Now Baked Fresh is another story altogether in my opinion. In this stand alone book in the series we get Robin and Vic’s story.

In the last years Vic has made New Year’s resolutions to improve his life. He has stopped smoking, went to culinary school and dropped a whole lot of weight. This year he decided that he wants to be in a relationship. He’s tired of meaningless hook ups and wants to love and be loved. This resolution is one he wants to see through to the end, but his low self esteem makes him rethink it at every turn–until Robin, his ultimate crush, is single again! Vic is still doubtful of a happily ever after with Robin, but he’s determined to enjoy any shared time with him while he can.

Robin is a recovering alcoholic and has a sketchy past. He hasn’t always made the right decisions in the love department and he has the emotional scars to prove it. After his last break-up he vowed not to date again, but it seems he can’t help himself when it comes to Vic. And Vic can’t help but follow along. But the question remains…for how long?

I liked this story even better than the first one. Vic and Robin’s characters were a bit more complex plus their development as both individuals and as a couple was showcased throughout the story. Once again, I would have liked it better to have dual POVs. However, I came to connect with Robin easily and even without his POV I came to understand his situation and where he was coming from.

Vic and Robin had personal issues to get through before even considering a relationship and I appreciated the chance to experience their interactions. I enjoyed getting to know them and watching them accept themselves and taking a chance in love. I especially loved seeing how their connection grew and strengthened as the story progressed. And I have to say that their chemistry helped to further my enjoyment. While Served Hot was sweet and tame, Baked Fresh was a sweet indulgence with warm candid moments and toasty hot ones too! Ahh to be a fly on that wall…

All in all, an interesting series I can’t wait to get more of!

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

Baked Fresh Excerpt

“So, what’s your plan this year?” Cliff asked as we unloaded pallets of food for Victory Mission. The stinging December wind whipped through the loading dock, howling against the concrete walls. I had to strain to hear Cliff’s booming voice. “Sky diving? Marathon? How you gonna top last year, Vic?”

“Dunno.” I hefted a box of tomato sauce cans. That’s what everyone wanted to know—how I was going to top last year’s resolution to lose a hundred pounds. Truth was, I was pretty good at resolutions. Four years ago, I’d resolved to go to culinary school. Three years ago, I gave up smoking. And last year I lost 111 pounds. But this year I had a smaller, simpler goal in mind.

“Thought I might try dating.”

“Dating? As in a boyfriend?” Cliff snorted, a dry sound that echoed off the metal loading bay doors. “I’d go with a marathon.”

My stomach churned as I grabbed another box of rolls. I had my own doubts. I was hardly a prize catch. I hadn’t dated anyone in the four years I’d been working for Cliff. Never had a boyfriend beyond the rare three-peat hookup. ’Course, Cliff didn’t know about my hookups, but I hadn’t even had one of those in eight long months. Up until a few months ago, I hadn’t realized what I was missing. Ever since then, this weird, restless longing had plagued me. New Year’s was the perfect excuse to do something about it. Get out there.

“You guys done out here? Whole stack of boxes waiting inside. We don’t have all day.” Robin bustled out onto the dock, bringing a shit-ton of bad mood with him. A far cry from the sunny, talkative guy who made me think crazy thoughts, like that maybe dating wasn’t a terrible idea. He was gone before either Cliff or I could reply.

“What’s up with him?” I asked Cliff once I heard the pantry door shut inside.

“Melissa said Paul broke up with him.” Cliff always found the gossip. The food bank volunteers were like bored high schoolers, passing rumors around their shifts like joints at a party.

“Finally.” I didn’t realize I’d said the word aloud until Cliff laughed.

“Aha! On second thought, I highly approve of your resolution. I’m gonna have to get a bet going with Trish about whether or not you can land your man. Talk about aiming high though, kid.”

“Didn’t say anything about dating Robin,” I mumbled into a sack of rice. The last time Robin was single, I had spent months thinking about him. Wondering if he was out of my league. Knowing he was out of my league but trying to work up the courage to ask him out anyway. Coming to volunteer more often just to be around him. Then Paul swooped in like a star pitcher and sent me back to the minor leagues, where I belonged.

I readjusted my grip on the sack so I wouldn’t accidentally tear the darn thing in two. No, I wasn’t stupid enough to make a resolution to date Robin. I just wanted to get out there. Give myself a chance to maybe meet a nice guy who wouldn’t care about my food issues and my loose skin and my bald-by-choice look.

But now that Cliff had planted the dating-Robin idea in my brain, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Which irked the hell out of me. I’d worked hard to deep-six my crush on him. Finding out he was single was a stupid reason to unearth it. Robin was the nice guy of my fantasies. And fucking gorgeous. He was sex walking around in KEENs and hipster T-shirts. He was everything I wanted and everything I wasn’t ever going to have.

 

About the Author

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two toddlers.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Fan group

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway