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Love is the last thing on Jack Harrington’s mind when he sets out to meet Andi Walsh’s flight. Recently back to work after spending more than a year tending to his comatose wife, Jack is focused on getting through each day and caring for his three daughters. However, the moment he sets eyes on Andrea Walsh, the interior designer who has come to decorate the hotel his company is building in Newport, Rhode Island, Jack begins to wonder if Andi might be his second chance. After a disastrous marriage, Andi, single mom to a hearing-impaired son, isn’t exactly looking for love, either, but that’s what she finds with Jack. The two embark on a long-distance relationship fraught with challenges as they balance the needs of their children and dueling careers while Jack continues to care for his wife, Clare. Just when Jack thinks his life is once again settled, he is confronted with a new challenge that tests him in ways he never could’ve imagined, leaving him to wonder if “happily ever after” is in the cards for him.
After several decades of looking for true love and never finding it, aging model and lingerie designer, Alexa Ranger, has finally given up the search. A couple years ago, she got tired of the game completely and just stopped dating. Now friends and family keep her mostly content, so it’s shocking at 50 yrs old to find herself suddenly wanting a sex life again. It’s even more shocking to be attracted to a much younger man this time. She definitely thinks Casey Carter is sexy, but not handling her own age well, Alexa just can’t get passed their twelve year age difference to even consider a fling. Not that it matters anyway, anything resembling a normal dating relationship is totally out of the question because Casey is related to and living with her daughter’s boyfriend. The very last thing Alexa needs is yet another talk-show worthy drama in her already complicated life, no matter how amazing Casey’s kisses make her feel.
For a couple of years, 38 yr old, medically retired Marine, Casey Carter, believed his military injury had made him impotent. Having lost his wife to cancer, he hadn’t exactly been worried about the problem. Most days walking with cane was enough challenge for him. But now that he was ready to move on with his life, he had become more worried when none of the females his cousin brought around held any interest for him. So the last woman in the world he expected to start his engine revving again was the mother of his cousin’s girlfriend. Even at fifty, Alexa is drop-dead gorgeous, and his libido certainly keeps reminding him she is the first woman he has wanted in a long, long time. Ironically, the more Casey gets to know and like Alexa, he finds out desiring the older woman is the easiest part. Jaded and cynical about love, Alexa is a difficult woman to convince of anything, but her kisses are all the proof he needs that they belong together. The former Marine decides his next mission is figuring out how to fit himself into her life.
Even though his sons tease him about not dating, and his ex-wife thinks he is still hung up on her, 53 yr old retired principal and stone sculptor, William Everett Larson, is glad he waited to date until he found 47 yr old high school art teacher, Jessica Anderson. He admires Jessica for her courageous art and for how she has dealt with her life. As far as Will can tell, the only part of Jessica damaged by her past is her heart. Jessica assures Will she is incapable of lasting love, but Will refuses to believe it’s true. Yes, it is a problem that the baggage from Jessica’s past makes her see dating as merely recreational and men as interchangeable, but when she offers him temporary sexual fidelity, Will decides to take what he can get until he can find a way to convince Jessica she is still capable of love.
Jessica Daniels is mostly happy with her life. Her daughter is graduating college. She is a few years away from retirement. Life is good even though lately she has stopped being interested in both her art and men. Since Jessica has never been the kind of woman looking for that one special man to settle down with, she normally dates and enjoys all the men she wants. What’s the harm with doing so suits her? Will is certainly good-looking and charming, but she’s not sure he’s worth the trouble of an exclusive relationship. She likes riding his motorcycle, seriously admires his art, and thinks he’s mostly a great guy. But after thirty years of being single, Jessica knows that most relationships just don’t work out for a woman with a past like hers. When Will keeps insisting on sleeping with her, she finally gives in, but Jessica knows in her heart it will never last.
The island of Maui is turquoise ocean, stunning vistas, and whalesong—but organized crime has a hidden hold, and Detective Lei Texeira tracks evil that hides behind a beautiful face.
Lei and Stevens find a haven on Maui—until their new life as a couple is interrupted by murder. When a nameless teenage girl dies in an apparent vehicular suicide, Lei can’t rest until she finds out what really happened. She blazes through all the wealth and poverty of island society in her quest for justice, rousing a deadly foe—even as she faces the personal demons of commitment and revenge that threaten the only real love she’s ever known.
ORDER A COPY: Undertaking Love
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publishing Date: April 26, 2013
eBook: (no page numbers – approx. 275)
Rating: 3 stars
The moment love-phobic Marla Jacobs discovers that the shop next to her Little White Wedding Chapel is to become a funeral parlour, she declares all-out war.
Marla’s chapel in the sleepy Shropshire countryside has become a nation-wide sensation, but the arrival of Funeral Director Gabriel Ryan threatens everything Marla has worked for. She can picture the scene: wedding limos fighting for space in the street with hearses; brides bumping into widows; bouquets being swapped for wreaths
Marla’s not going down without a fight. She enlists a motley crew of weird and wonderful local supporters, and the battle lines are drawn. But, as soon as Marla meets her nemesis, she realises just how much trouble she’s really in. His gypsy curls and Irish lilt make her stomach fizz – how is she supposed to concentrate on destroying him, when half the time she’s struggling not to rip the shirt off his back?
Gabe Ryan thought he found the perfect place to set up shop. His family has been in the funeral business for decades, but he has moved away from his family in Ireland, and it was time to open his own business. When his friend had to wait several hours for an undertaker to arrive from a neighboring town when his grandmother died, Gabe knew that this tiny secluded village needed him. He found the perfect location in the middle of town and was finally ready to open. He hadn’t thought to take a closer look at his neighbors before a beautiful but very angry redhead shows up to tell him that he needs to pack up and move out.
Marla Jacobs has worked long and hard to make a name for The Little White Wedding Chapel. It is a novelty to have a Las Vegas type wedding chapel that will provide whatever theme you desire for your special day. After all her hard work, she is not about to lose everything because what bride wants to have her wedding pictures in front of a hearse or dash out of the chapel, rice flying, right into the arms of a crying widow. The Undertaker next door will ruin her business and she is determined to get rid of him first.
Marla’s Chapel brings in a lot of tourists for the Village which means a lot of tourist dollars for the local businesses. So she decides she will get the whole Village behind her in getting Gabe to leave Town. With the help of a local paper, it quickly turns into a media circus and Marla is getting more attention than she bargained for.
This is one of those books that calls to you and says “you want to read me.” I was very interested in reading this book, and I will confess that I was enjoying the Marla and Gabe connection and there was a lot of potential for fun and fighting between the Chapel and the Funeral Home, as well as more side stories on quirky chapel weddings.
But there were so many other things going on which distracted us from the main story, such as Marla’s friend and co-worker, Emily, who was trying to have a baby and her husband and her marriage was breaking up from the pressure of not conceiving. That added some interest. But then we also add in Marla’s jealous boyfriend who wants Gabe away from Marla and Gabe’s receptionist with a crush on Gabe who wants Marla away from Gabe. Both of those significant others realizing the pull between Gabe and Marla and are doing their best to keep the fighting going between the two businesses. Added further were some additional side characters of the overly gay friend Jonny at the Chapel, the old couple who help out around both businesses and Gabe’s best friend Dan who has an affair with Marla’s friend Emily. It was just too busy with characters it reminded me of those old movies where you look down a hallway of doors and someone is walking into one door and popping out a different one.
It was just too many extra characters and there was not enough confrontation between the two businesses, and not enough Marla and Gabe to make you understand why Gabe was declaring his love for Marla so soon. In fact most of the issues had to do with Marla trying to get support to make Gabe move. If she wasn’t fighting to send him away, they were pretty good neighbors.
I liked the elderly couple that worked for both business and who have been together for 65 years. They were a nice addition, but I think the jealous boyfriend and receptionist were too much, and the author could have chosen one over the other.
She also made Marla commitment phobic since both her parents were married over a dozen times each, and then she is surrounded by as many distressed relationships as good ones. If I was Marla, I wouldn’t be seeing anything making me want to jump into a relationship either.
It was a good story premises and good writing, but too many side characters. Someone should have told her to cut down the additional characters and focus more attention to the supposed conflicts between the businesses and/or more Marla/Gabe.
Received ARC from netgalley.com courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife,” Jonny declared, then threw back his hood and hurled his fake scythe to the floor to join in the thunderous applause.
The ghoulish congregation were packing the chapel almost to its spooky rafters, and from her standpoint at the side of the room, Marla had a clear view of the pure love in Alaric’s heavily kohled eyes as he pulled his new wife into his arms. The Herald photographer whizzed from position to position in the background, keen to capture the wedding from every angle. She could see why: it would certainly make an eye-catching splash. The whole production had been like Gone with the Wind crossed with The Addams Family — it throbbed with a vein of true love that challenged Marla’s mistrust of marriage in a way that few of the more conventional weddings she had organized ever had.
Outside on the chapel lawns, ghoul-faced guests posed by the fake rusty railings and blood-splattered mock headstones that Jonny had organized to create the perfect “fright night” backdrop for the photos.
“You haven’t got a coffin, have you?”
Marla shook her head at the guy who lay on top of on the fake graves. “Sorry, no.”
“I bet they would,” Alaric said, eyeing the funeral parlour.
A whoop went up around the crowd.
“I’ll ask them! They can’t turn a bride down on her wedding day.” Gelvira hitched up her scarlet velvet skirts and ran out across the pavement, hotly followed by her new husband and a motley trail of ghouls and ghosts.
Marla watched in horror, well aware that she didn’t stand a hope in hell of halting the stampede. She could only cross her fingers and pray that Gabe wouldn’t be there at this hour on a Saturday afternoon. He shouldn’t be. She knew that much, because she’d surreptitiously checked the sign on the door earlier. It was well after four, so God willing he’d be off in the pub with his jack-the-lad mate. Or sleeping in one of his coffins to avoid the sunlight. Or whatever else it was he did for kicks in his spare time.
The small flicker of hope died as Gelvira and Alaric disappeared through the black and silver doorway. Damn it! Why was he still open? Marla leaned back against the porch and groaned. Just when it had all been going so well.
Several minutes later the wedding party spilled back out onto the pavement. Gelvira’s boobs frothed over the top of her corset as she laughed and led her gothic troupe back over to the chapel.
“Man, this is the best day of my life!” Gelvira flung her arms around Marla in delight.
“He’s bringing over a couple of coffins in a minute. Can you fetch loads of those black rose petals, please? I want to lie down inside one in my wedding dress.”
Inside the chapel, Marla could have screamed with frustration as she grabbed one of Emily’s huge rose displays from the altar. She took her temper out on the flowers as she yanked the petals off, managing to prick her finger on a thorn in the process.
Bloody Gabriel Ryan. Why couldn’t he have just said no?
She sucked the blood from her finger and watched through the window as Gabe, assisted by one of the bridal party, deposited the first coffin onto the grass and strode back over to his lair to fetch a second one. He’d fit right in with this crowd, she thought, not quite able to take her eyes off the sight of his retreating demin-clad backside.
Once they’d set the second coffin on the grass, Gabe shook Alaric’s hand. His eyes flicked over the groom’s shoulder to Marla as she struggled through the doorway with a huge cardboard box in her arms. Even amongst the impressive display of gothic cleavage that surrounded him, her relatively demure back lace dress clung to her curves in a way that rendered it indecent. Gelvira giggled up and down with excitement next to him and waved her arms at Marla.
Gabe clocked Marla’s gritted teeth through her smile as she headed their way. He grinned, happy in the knowledge of how much it would grieve her that her guests had chosen to call on his help.
“Marla. This is an unexpected pleasure.”
Here eyes flashed with ill-concealed fury. “Thank you, Gabriel. For your help, I mean.”
He could see that the outwardly cordial words cost her dearly. He leaned over to lift the box from her arms and took the opportunity to whisper in her ear.
“See? I told you. Good things can happen when we work together.”
Her heard her sharp intake of breath and winked imperceptibly as he pulled back and upended the petals over the laughing Gelvira, who had climbed into the coffin.
“Bluey, no!” Emily’s frantic shout rang out across the grass as the over-enthusiastic Great Dane bounded past her out of the side doorway of the chapel to join in the festivities. He made a beeline for the coffins and jumped straight into the empty one next to Gelvira on the grass.
“Here, boy!” Marla called out, aware that the sheer size of her fur boy was enough to spook most people. Even spooks. But Alaric, thankfully, fell instantly for the big hound with his droopy jaws and comic sense of timing. He stole a top hat from one of the guests and placed it on Bluey’s huge head, as someone else unwound their black tie and place it around the dog’s neck. To everyone’s amusement, Bluey posed solemnly between the happy couple in their coffins.
“One for the album,” Gabe murmured to Jonny.
ORDER A COPY: Forget Me Not (Escape Contemporary Romance)
Publisher: Harlequin Escape
Publishing Date: May 1, 2013
eBook: approx. 166 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars
Claire and Stefan’s marriage was over. They’d been estranged for six months, living in separate apartments, leading separate lives. Until an unknown accident leaves Stefan with no memory of who he is, what he wants, and the wife he left behind.
Claire’s compassion leads her to caring for Stefan. Though he is back to being the thoughtful, affectionate man she fell in love with, she can’t let herself get too involved. The instant Stefan’s memory comes back, he’ll remember who he was and what he really wants– and it’s not Claire.
Or is it?
When Claire received a phone call from the hospital that Stefan was in trouble, she couldn’t ignore the fact that he needed her. Stefan had been found wandering the streets with no memory. It is not his fault that his family is back in the United States and can’t get here quick enough, or at least can’t inconvenience themselves enough to drop their social events for their son. If he has no memory, he doesn’t remember that they are separated. He doesn’t remember that he said he hated Claire, that he no longer wanted to be married to her.
Claire doesn’t understand why she was suddenly not good enough for Stefen nor why he left, and she tries not to love him anymore, but regardless of how much it will hurt her, she’ll help him try to remember his life.
She just has to remember that no matter how sweet and kind he is acting toward her, once he remembers his hate, he will leave her once again. Claire has to remember not to fall in love with Stefan again because this time if he leaves her, she just might never recover from the pain.
This was a very good, well written short story with an interesting theme. For the most part, I enjoyed the storytelling and characters.
It was interesting to watch the new Stefan meet Claire for the first time and he starts to like the woman in front of him. He is unaware of their past and he doesn’t understand why he would have walked out on Claire and he wants to stay with her and try again.
Although Claire fantasized about Stefan returning to her, she is afraid to trust new Stefan no matter what he says because she fears he will regain his memory and remember why he left to begin with and then Stefen will end up leaving Claire and breaking her heart all over again.
What started bothering me is there were things about old Stefan that made me wonder why Claire loved him so much. He was more than a little bit arrogant and selfish and not just before he walked out on her.
Worse is although new Stefan was a much more likeable character, Claire tells him that he was always a man who kept going until he got whatever he wanted. So when Claire tells new Stefan that he needs to go back to his new apartment after two weeks trying to re-acclimate him, new Stefan disagrees with Claire that they need to go back to their separate lives. New Stefan wants to stay with Claire and restart their marriage and he is determined that that is exactly what she will agree to. So even thought new Stefan is nicer and more thoughtful, underneath it all he doesn’t care that Claire is afraid he will remember why he left and leave again. He is determined that they will be together again. So deep down even new Stefan is a selfish bastard.
Another thing is that Stefan has a shaky relationship with his rich parents. They are unhappy he moved to Australia to be with Claire to begin with and they hate, hate, hate Claire with a passion because she grew up poor, the daughter of an alcoholic father. They believe Stefan married way beneath him and were so happy when Stefan walked out on Claire. Yet when Stefan needed someone, the only one who would step forward was Claire, but they feel this is just her excuse to wheedle her way back to Stefan and get her greedy claws into him again.
Although new Stefan stands up for Claire, his parents are steadfast that they will do everything to separate them once and for all. I felt this was left unfinished and I was unsatisfied that there was no final “battle” where Stefan tells his parents to F-off.
It was a good short story, but I started loosing my new found love for Stefan once I got to know him. I saw that there was some improvement but deep down he was still the same selfish guy.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
She nodded, spinning her fork into her fettuccini. “My clients are thrilled. The other family has dropped the charges.” Frowning, she added, “I told you about them, didn’t I?”
“Wayne and his mother. Yes, you did.”
He’d remembered the boy’s name, something he’d never have done in the past. He’d always remember the cases and their legal intricacies, but the clients had meant nothing to him.
“This is excellent, by the way.” Claire pointed to the bowl in front of her, then smiled, thinking of the way the case had been resolved. “Today, I did something I’ve never done before. I took my clients to the café downstairs to celebrate with coffee and cake.”
“I don’t normally get that personal with clients but I was so pleased with the outcome of the case, and I had the time.” Also, being with Stefan had put her in a good mood. “It was nice. A good way to finish the case.”
Stefan nodded as he chewed. “I’m pleased.”
She raised her eyebrows, knowing he had something to tell her. “And you?”
“I discovered a fantastic band today.”
She flipped her thumb towards the stereo. “Nirvana?”
“They’re good, aren’t they? No, I meant a different band.”
She blinked in disbelief. “You discovered The Beatles?”
Giggling, Claire covered her mouth. If she wasn’t careful, she was going to burst into peals of laughter.
“You’ve hear of them?” Stefan asked, his voice all innocence.
“Everyone’s heard of them. They’re probably the biggest band in the history of rock and roll.”
He waited, then raised his eyebrows. “Bigger than Elvis?”
She wondered if Stefan was teasing her, if he’d got his memory back and was making up this story about ‘discovering’ The Beatles.
Resting her fork in the bowl, she asked. “How do you know about Elvis?”
“I found a heap of books on rock and roll in the spare room. Actually, I already figured The Beatles were a huge phenomenon. I could work that out from the number of books we had on them.”
He had been teasing her, but not the way Claire had imagined.
EBookObsessed is pleased to support Penguin Group (USA)’s Read Humane® 2013 campaign to fight animal cruelty. We would like to welcome spokesperson and bestselling author Jill Shalvis to our blog today, where she is sharing with us her family’s animal rescue story and discusses her Animal Magnetism series with a piece entitled “Why Dogs Make Great Sidekicks!”
Read Humane® is an initiative created by Penguin Group (USA) in 2012 to support our furry friends in honor of National Pet Month (May). As part of the Read Humane® 2013 campaign, six special edition, animal-themed mass market paperbacks have been reissued featuring the official Read Humane® seal. Penguin supports the fight against animal cruelty with a $25,000 donation, regardless of sales, to The Humane Society of the United States’ Animal Rescue Team.
And remember to join the conversation on Twitter with @BerkleyRomance and @HSUS throughout May by using the hashtag #readHumane. Followers are encouraged to Tweet about Penguin’s animal friendly books, share their own rescue stories, and join in other pet themed conversations.
Jill Shalvis is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over four dozen romance novels, including her fun contemporary Animal Magnetism series, which promotes animal rescue dogs. Jill is a 3-time National Readers Choice winner, and lover of animals! More information about Jill and her collection of fabulous romance titles can be found at www.JillShalvis.com.
My Rescue Story, by Jill Shalvis…
At any point, on any day in the Shalvis abode, there are animals. All of them rescued, always. It’s become somewhat of a family tradition, rescuing animals in need, and we’ve found that not only is it a nice thing to do, we get a really great pet out of the deal.
A couple of years ago, our house was fairly full. Okay, so it was straining at the wall joints. We had Ashes — our rescue Border Collie/Australian Blue Heeler. Sadie – our cat who thinks she’s a dog. Micky – a field mouse rescued from the high school science lab. And four teenage girls.
Actually, it wasn’t a house. It was a zoo.
But a year before we’d lost Izzie, our beloved brown lab. And we missed having two dogs. Yes, we’re crazy. Anyway, on that fated day I’m about to tell you about, Alpha Man (my husband) had heard about a yellow lab puppy who needed rescue.
No. No way. I was adamant. I had enough on my plate. But Alpha Man just wanted to go make sure the lab was okay.
So we left the mountain…
We were following the sketch directions from a guy who knew a guy who had told us about a woman who lived out in the middle of nowhere, and I mean NOWHERE, and she rescues animals.
The landscape was like something out of a Criminal Minds episode, so we were wary at first. We had no idea what we were going to find. A box of puppies, or a meth lab … nothing would have surprised me. I was a little worried because the kids were with us, but it turned out the place was fifty acres of love.
Any animal in need is welcome.
Even the funny looking ones…
The woman had goats, horses, turtles, geese, snakes, angry chickens … you name it and she had it. She was rehabbing it, doctoring it, loving it … whatever the animal needed.
We’d gone because of the rumor of the puppies, the yellow labs. And she did have two puppies. She’d rescued them out of a horrible situation.
But the yellow lab wasn’t the one who stole our hearts. Nope, it was her little baby brother. The runt.
He was filthy and living in a hovel. And the minute he saw us, he came alive. Wriggling, happy, loving. All you had to do was touch him and he writhed in joy and dropped to the floor for a belly rub.
And once he was picked up by the teenagers and loved up by them, he didn’t want to get down. I tried. I tried hard. But the thing had wriggled his way right into my heart. I remember looking at Alpha Man, laughing and crying at the same time.
“You didn’t want another dog,” he reminded me.
I told him to zip it. We were taking this dog and that was that. Besides, there was the little matter of him being in my arms and refusing to be put down.
So we never put him down again. Meet Frat Boy…
Why Dogs Make Great Sidekicks, by Jill Shalvis…
Now that you know a little bit about my rescue story, I want to share with you some of the inspiration for my Animal Magnetism series. One of the fun things about writing this series is developing complex and lovable characters… that just happen to be adorable dogs! Here’s why dogs make great sidekicks…
1. Because when you’re on the mountain trail and you come across an angry mama bear and her baby cubs, your dog will run like hell. This will warn you to run like hell as well. Just be careful because if your dog is like my dog, he will throw you under the bus (or in this case bear) to get home before you do.
2. Because when all the cookies are gone you can totally blame your cookie loving dog. No one has to know that you ate all the cookies yourself. And your dog can give you dirty looks for blaming him but he can’t actually talk and dispute your story. Solid alibi.
3. Because if you’ve eaten in a way that disagrees with your stomach, there are never any worries. Your dog will always, ALWAYS, out stink you. And if he doesn’t, you can still point the finger at him. Again, he can’t talk and dispute your story.
4. Dogs are not just great sidekicks but they also make great a really great wingman. If you’re single, you can totally put your dog to work at charming the person you’re interested in. Just make sure that person likes dog drool and dog hair all over everything first.
5. There is never a need for a pillow or extra blanket because your dog will always be willing to get into bed with you and share body heat. Always. Just be forewarned. Being a great sidekick is not the same thing as a good bed partner. They have a habit of being a total bed hog.
Thank you so much, Jill for sharing your stories with us! If you have enjoyed Jill’s stories please feel free to show your support in our comments section below and by visiting the other participating websites/blogs…
Read Humane® Blog Tour 2013!
For more information on Read Humane® please visit Penguin Group (USA). To view more special features from spokesperson Jill Shalvis, please visit the following websites/blogs; each website/blog will feature a unique perspective on Read Humane, so be sure to stop by each for a new and exciting experience!
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Winners have been contacted and will be posted upon confirmation.
Blush Spotlight Giveaway
From the author of Surrender to Temptation comes a provocative story of overwhelming passion set free with one exquisite touch.…
Madeline Stone is determined to heal from her tragic past, one difficult step at a time…and she doesn’t need any distractions. Then she meets a mysterious and captivating stranger—and over a glass of outrageously expensive wine, her world turns upside down. Try as she might to banish the wealthy business mogul from her thoughts, Madeline can’t fight Alex’s staggering appeal or his enticing offer of intimate discovery.
Alex doesn’t date—at least, not in the traditional sense. Still, he wants Madeline…and his sexual intensity provides her with a much-needed escape. They embark on a tumultuous erotic affair, one that takes them to the pinnacle of obsession and desire. But underneath each explosive encounter lie dangerous secrets waiting to consume them both.…
Lauren Jameson is a writer who lives in the shadows of the great Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. She also writes erotic romance as Lauren Hawkeye. Visit her online at www.laurenjameson.com and twitter.com/LaurenHJameson.
Leave a comment. Three lucky winners (US/CAN only) will receive one copy of Lauren Jameson’s sizzling new novel BLUSH. Giveaway ends Monday, May 13th. 18 years and older please!
ORDER A COPY: Undone (The Amoveo Legend)
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 288 pages
Rating: 5 stars
Party girl Marianna Coltari is an unmated pureblood Amoveo who wants nothing to do with the ongoing war that took her father’s life and continues to consume her brother, Dante’s. But when she is targeted by one of the clans, she has little choice but to run and hide in a cabin with Pete Castro, a retired cop from her brother’s security firm. There, Pete and Marianna explore an intensifying attraction between them until danger is at the door and there’s no escape.
Pete Castro has been assigned by his boss and his friend, Dante Coltari, to act as chauffer and more importantly as bodyguard, to his twin sister, Marianna. As an Amoveo shifter of the bear clan, Marianna should be more then able to protect herself, but many unmated females have been disappearing lately, and Dante wants to be sure that his sister doesn’t wind up among the missing women.
Pete hasn’t told Marianna that he knows what she is. As far as he is concerned, she can go on thinking him an ignorant human. With her unpredictable bear temperament, if she didn’t fear discovery by him, he is afraid she’ll do a disappearing act on him next time she is in a snit. As far as Pete is aware, Marianna doesn’t think of him at all. If only he could say the same thing. All Pete can think about are those long legs and how he wants to grab a fist full of those gorgeous brown curls and kiss her until they’re both breathless. But Marianna is looking for her mate—her Amoveo mate, not a plain old human like Pete.
Human or not, Pete will take care of that sleezyball Hayden. Hayden might be full-blooded bear clan, but there is no way that pompous ass is her mate, so why is he after Marianna so desperately? Pete isn’t planning on sitting around waiting to find out. Dante hired him to protect Marianna, and that is what he is going to do even if he has to fight her to succeed.
Now, they are hiding out together from the kidnappers. Pete couldn’t stop thinking about her…dreaming about her while he guarded her in the City. Now all alone, Pete’s desire for Marianna is only exceeded by his need for her to see him as more than just a human.
Loved it! I love when a story leaves our hero and heroine stranded together for a chance to really get to know each other, and yet there was still plenty of time for an exciting rescue, a set up for the next book in the series as well as a set up for her next series focusing on vampires.
It was a well written story with great characters which blended the love story and the excitement so we have plenty of both to enjoy.
We got to see William again who loosened up in his and Layla’s story, but he comes off cold and distant again. I loved him in his book Untamed, but he quickly returned to his unsympathetic self. I guess he will remain a character that unless you are in his head, he will always come off as unfeeling and hardhearted.
These stories have gotten better each time and I am sorry that we are nearing the end of the series.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
He tried to keep his mind on the job—and that she’s his buddy’s sister.
You don’t nail your buddy’s sister. It’s unbreakable guy code.
Her hip bumped enticingly into his as they climbed the last couple of steps at the top. Peter used every ounce of willpower to keep from looking at her legs or her spectacular cleavage. Sweat broke out on his forehead, and he tried to think of something else—anything else—except the woman on his arm.
“You know.” She sighed as she slid the key into the lock of her apartment door. “You’ve been driving me around town for the past two months, but I don’t think you’ve ever been inside my apartment.”
“Nope.” Pete stepped back, kept his hands in his pockets and both eyes on her. What was she up to? First she pretends to be wasted and bails out on that Hayden guy, and now, she’s hitting on him. What is her endgame with this?
Marianna flipped the lock and arched one eyebrow. “Care to break that streak tonight?”
He swallowed the urge to scream hell yes, and instead bit out, “I don’t think so.” Pete shook his head even though his body was screaming yes.
“Are you sure?” she asked as she grabbed his tie and twirled it playfully around one finger. Her large dark eyes clapped onto his. She tugged the annoying garment and pulled him closer.
“Yes,” he whispered. Pete willed his body not to move, to be strong and hold his ground, but it was no use.
The enticing scent of peaches wafted over Pete as she held him captive. His hands curled into fists in his pockets as he struggled to keep from touching her and resisted the urge to lace his fingers through that silky looking hair. His entire body hummed with arousal and awareness as the heat from her body radiated along his.
Her mouth hovered dangerously close, and her eyes glinted back with the unmistakable glaze of desire. It would be easy to dip lower and take just one taste. “Come inside.” She whispered.
Everything seemed to move in slow motion, and somewhere in that odd displacement of time and space, his mouth settled over hers. A rush of sweetness flooded him as her lush, gorgeous lips fused with his.
She tasted like peaches too…and champagne.
Marianna ran her tongue along his. He yanked his hands from his pockets and slipped his fingers into that long wavy hair that did indeed feel like silk. He moaned as she linked her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. Devouring her lips, Pete pinned her against the door and drank greedily from her soft, pliant mouth. Her full breast crushed against his chest, and all he could think about was getting closer.
His body, taut with desire, sensed every single spot where her heated skin touched his. However, amid the haze of lust he heard the voice of reason screaming at him to stop, listing all the reasons why he definitely shouldn’t be doing this.
She’s your friend’s sister.
She’s Amoveo and you’re human.
She’s got some predestined shapeshifter mate out there, and you’re not it.
She can’t ever be yours.
“I can’t to this,” he murmured against her lips.
ORDER A COPY: Whisper’s Edge: A Cricket Creek Novel
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 304 pages
Rating: 4 stars
Cricket Creek, Kentucky, is a sweet river town known for its theater, shopping, and cuisine. But tough times are affecting the residents of the local retirement community—until a handsome hero shows up Savannah Perry loves her job as social director of Whisper’s Edge, a retirement community on the picturesque waterfront of Cricket Creek. Raised in foster care, twenty-nine-year-old Savannah feels treasured and loved by the retired residents, who treat her as their adopted granddaughter and rotate having her over for dinner. But the community is struggling to stay afloat financially—until Tristan McMillan swoops into town, rescues a dog, and, well, saves the day Business-minded Tristan bought Whisper’s Edge from his estranged grandfather to prove his worth to the curmudgeon and to turn a quick profit. He never expected to fall for the charms of a village of crafty retirees—or to fall hard for a small town girl like Savannah. Suddenly the man who knows all about making money finds himself needing lessons in love and what really matters in life .
Hot shot lawyer Tristan McMillan is ready to show his grandfather who is the better man. He bought the run down retirement community from his financially bankrupt and emotionally bankrupt grandfather. The land is right in the middle of town, near the new baseball stadium, and right on the water, the perfect location for a new marina and fancy waterside restaurant. He has come to Town to find either an investor or someone willing to purchase the land outright for a tidy profit.
That last thing he wanted was for the residents of this little retirement community to consider him their hero. Nor did he count on the perky little redhead who runs the community center to think he’s her personal hero…actually he kinds of likes that since he can’t seemed to get Savannah Perry out of this thoughts.
This draw she has for him is not good for business. If he makes the hard decision to sell the property for profit, neither Savannah nor the residents of Whisper’s Edge will ever forgive him. He’ll need to choose between money and love, and with a lifetime of desire to show up his bitter grandfather, can love win out?
This was a nice, sweet romance. Cricket Creek gives off a quaint, small town charm that takes you back in time. We also see several of the other characters from prior books who have all been wooed by the small town charm and charming, small town girls and how they are helping the community grow strong.
You could quickly see that this was the type of book where our hero would eventually give in to the charm of the girl, the neighbors and the desire to do right by everyone and that he would find a way to save the retirement community and keep the girl.
Savannah had the usual orphan upbringing, bounced around from bad foster home to bad foster home, but nothing dark in her past, no abuse, etc. She runs out of money right when she gets to Whisper’s Edge and ends up being “adopted” by the woman in charge as well as the residents. She is perky and very appreciative of everything that has come to her since getting to Cricket Creek. She is so perky you want to hate her, but you can’t and just like Tristan you fall for her charm.
The only things that disappointed me was that I had chosen this book in hope that there would be some feisty senior citizens around with great stories or crazy antics, like a great Betty White type character. What’s the point of the senior community storyline if you don’t run with it? There were a few scenes with Miss Patty or the sexy George-Hamilton-like twins who had all the woman drooling, but these scenes were more on the mild side, but really not enough overall or with nearly enough liveliness.
If you like a sweet, simple romance, and we all do from time to time, this story and the rest of the Cricket Creek series is definitely worth looking into.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
“So you live and work her in Whisper’s Edge?” he asked as he followed her up a brickpaved sidewalk that led to matching steps.
“I’m allowed to bypass the fifty-five-and-up rule because I’m an employee. Plus, it makes my commute to work a piece of cake.” Savannah flashed a grin and then opened the front door. “A humble home, for sure, but it’s all mine and I like it.”
Tristan took a look around. “I can see why. It’s bigger inside than I would have guessed.”
“I know.” Her smile boasted pride in ownership. “But believe me, this place sure needed some tender loving care and a whole lot of elbow grease.”
“Well worth the effort, I’d say.” The neat-as-a-pin main interior consisted of one big room that abutted a breakfast bar in front of a galley kitchen. To the right, he noticed a small hallway that he guessed must lead to a bedroom or two and a bathroom. Shiny hardwood floors gleamed against ample sunshine streaming through the front bay window. The furnishings were a mix-and-match variety that felt cozy but without too much clutter.
“So you like it?”
“Yes, I do.” Tristan found the surroundings warm and inviting. “I appreciate your sense of style.”
“Garage-sale chic?” She tossed her wavy head to the side and gave him her throaty laugh, which he didn’t think he could ever get tired of hearing.
“Call it whatever you want. I think it’s pretty cool.”
“Well, thank you. I’m guessing it’s very different from your own place. You seem like a modern-furniture kind of guy.”
“Mmm…yeah, I suppose,” he answered but had to think for a minute. What was his style? An interior decorator furnished his high-rise condo overlooking the Ohio River in Cincinnati. “Flying pigs,” he finally stated, drawing raised eyebrows from Savannah.
Tristan chuckled. “My interior decorator decided that I needed a theme throughout my condo.”
“And she chose flying pigs?”
“I asked her the same thing. She got all snooty on me and explained the Cincinnati used to be called Porkopolis because of the river farmers who used to transport pigs through the city. It was the pig capital of the country or something, and evidently herds of pigs traveled through the streets.”
“Oh wow.” The expression on her face said that she was imaging pigs wander through town. “Interesting.”
Tristan chuckled. “The history of the river and pigs remains strong in the city to this day. They even have a yearly marathon that’s called The Flying Pig.”
“Oh.” Savannah shrugged. “Well, I guess she was trying to tie in local flavor.” She grinned and said, “Everything better with bacon. Don’t you agree?”
He laughed. “Totally. Now you’re making me hungry.”
“If you had more time I’d fix you some lunch. But go on…Why the flying pigs?”
“I guess the did it because my place looks out over the river and the city but every other day I would find a new flying pig somewhere..on towels, coffee mugs, salt and pepper shakers. People started thinking I liked flying pigs, and the collection that I didn’t want kept growing. It took on a life of its own.”
Savannah laughed. “So I guess birthdays and Christmases are full of flying pigs?”
“Come here.” Tristan held out a wet sock and winced. “Look closely.”
Savannah crossed the space between them and peered at the sock. “Oh my gosh, there are little winged pigs all of your socks!” She put a hand to her chest and chuckled in delight.
“It’s not funny. I have ties, a watch…you name it.”
“Did you ever tell anyone differently?” When she looked up at him he noticed flecks of gold in her green eyes.
Tristan hesitated. He had never divulged this to anyone and he had just met Savannah. But her sweet smile and inquiring eyes made him keep talking. “No, I didn’t because my mother made it her mission to find flying pigs to add to my crazy collection.”
“Ah…” Savannah glanced at his socks and then back at him. “And you couldn’t find it in your heart to disappoint her.”
“I’m wearing boxers riddled with flying pigs,” he answered dryly. “Does that answer your question?”
Baseball reporter Maddie Leclair has spent years chasing her dream job—covering the major league team, the Philadelphia Patriots. Now that she’s landed the assignment she intends to make it big, with feature articles on the front page of every sports section in the country. But to do that, she needs to score an interview with the most private and elusive athlete in baseball, Patriots’ superstar Jake Miller.
On the rebound from a devastating injury that knocked him out of play for a season, Jake has a lot to prove to the suits in the head office. He’s sure he still has what it takes to win, and he’ll be damned if he lets anything get in the way of his climb back to the top of the charts.
The last thing Jake needs is a pushy female reporter distracting him. But one look at Maddie and he knows he’s in trouble. He finds himself trying for a different kind of play, one that involves bedrooms and not baseball stats. Sleeping together could damage both their careers, and Maddie is all about saying no. But when it comes to the game of love, Jake is playing to win.
Desperate for work to avoid eviction from her Seattle apartment, photographer Chey Sinclair accepts a rare opportunity to travel abroad and photograph Latvala Royalty. Encountering the Royals for the first time, Chey experiences an instant attraction to Mattias, second in line to the throne. He’s charming, confident—and taken.
During a horseback ride to clear her head, Chey finds herself in a scuffle with Sander Fisk, head of security. Rugged, determined and sharp tongued, Sander is infuriating as well as intriguing.
Faced with conflicting emotions and a mystery unfolding in the castle, Chey must decide between men: a Prince of Latvala, or an arrogant rogue.
She discovers the hard way that this particular fairy tale was more than she ever bargained for.
ORDER A COPY: Hero of My Heart: A Loveswept Historical Romance
Publishing Date: April 8, 2013
eBook: 264 pages
Rating: 4 stars
When Mary Smith’s corrupt, debt-ridden brother drags her to a seedy pub to sell her virtue to the highest bidder, Alasdair Thornham leaps to the rescue. Of course the marquess is far from perfect husband material. Although he is exceedingly handsome, with a perfect, strong body, chiseled jaw, and piercing green eyes, Alasdair is also too fond of opium, preferring delirium to reality. Still, he has come to Mary’s aid, and now she intends to return the favor. She will show him that he is not evil, just troubled.
Mary was a damsel in need of a hero, but Alasdair’s plan is shortsighted. He never foresaw her desire to save him from himself. Alasdair is quite at home in his private torment, until this angel proves that a heart still beats in his broken soul. The devil may have kept her from hell, but will Mary’s good intentions lead them back to the brink—or to heaven in each other’s arms?
It didn’t take an addict of Alasdair’s caliber to recognize that the young lady on the table before him was drugged into an almost stupor, and he is not so far to gone to think that the young lady has any desire to have her virginity sold to the highest bidder in this seedy little tavern.
Alasdair is hoping that if he saves this young woman, maybe it will make up in some small way for all the ill he has wrought over the years. In fact, if he marries this unfortunate woman, make her a Lady and give her all his wealth, saving her from her situation, then he can disappear from the world and live peacefully in his own drug-induced stupor with no more cares, no more worries, and no more tormenting memories.
Yet it might not be as simple as crossing the border into Scotland for a quick elopement. His cousin is hot on his trail, ready to declare the opiate-addicted Alasdair incompetent to hold the title of Marquis of Datchworth and a new bride will definitely hinder his plans. Especially when he can see that pretty little Mary is finally giving Alastair a reason to stay sober.
First Alastair and Mary have to make a mad dash for Scotland before they try to beat Hugh to London.
This was an enjoyable story. My only issue…and keep in mind that I do get all my drug knowledge from shows like the Sopranos, CSI, ER, etc…is that Alasdair’s drug addiction seemed awkward. What I mean is this — for a man at his level of his supposed opiate-addiction, someone who wanted to drift away from the world on an opium high, he could sometimes go pretty long periods without and he also got over his withdrawals really quickly. After taking the drugs, he would only be “out of it” for as long as the story needed him to be so whenever we needed to see Mary take charge. There were also times he would take the pills and be in a stupor and other where he would be lucid and making decisions rather quickly. The story does make a comment that the pill version of the opiates that Alasdair took wasn’t as bad as those guys who smoked the opiates, but I am not sure if this equates his pill opiates with a level of a valium vs. shooting heroin.
Poor Alastair just needed a hug and a shoulder to cry on from his war traumas rather than a pill.
I liked Alastair and Mary but the addiction seemed to very plot appropriate and not very realistic.
Received a review copy courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
She sat down on the edge of the bed beside him and stilled his hand with hers, sliding her finger onto his wrist to feel his pulse. It was beating rapidly, a steady, strong thump, thump, thump that was almost twice as fast as her own.
“Did the doctor treat you with anything, my Lord?”
His lips twisted into a grimace. “I thought we agreed you’d call me Alasdair.’ He harrumphed, rolling onto his side and almost knocking her off the bed. He slid his left arm around her waist and pulled her closer. “I’m so tired. Come lie down with me and sleep.” His voice was seductive and caressing. It tugged at Mary’s heart, making her want to do nothing more than settle into his arms and drift off to dream of a place where there were no relatives, no family worries, nothing but them and their—no, she couldn’t allow herself that kind of luxury.
She wiggled her hips further away from him. Someone had to stay in their right mind, and clearly it wasn’t going to be him. “Alasdair, now is not the time for sleep.” His eyes had closed, and she panicked, wondering if he had already nodded off.
“Such a nag. I am not certain I am up to other things,” he replied with a gently mocking tone. She heaved a sigh of relief that he was awake enough to respond to her. Even if he was mentioning what had nearly happened earlier.
She rose and glanced around the room. The far corner held the rest of his clothing. She walked over to it and gathered it up in her arms. She couldn’t resist lifting it to her nose and sniffing it—after all, he wouldn’t notice, not in the state he was in, and he smelled heavenly. Or devilish. Like warmth, and touch, and leather, and spice.
She returned to him and dumped the clothing on his body. “Get up. Get dressed.” She stepped back a few paces and crossed her arms over her chest.
He opened his eyes and then smiled as his eyes grazed her bosom. “You really have the most magnificent—“
Mary jumped back to him and put her hand over his mouth. She could feel her entire face turning pink. “That’s enough of that, my lord,” she said in a stern voice, one she hoped would quash his intended words. The warmth of his lips under her hand made her warm, also, although she told herself it was just the embarrassment.
He clamped his hand over hers and slid her fingers over his cheek, forcing her to tough the rough stubble of his beard, his sharp, elegant cheekbones.
Mary yanked her hand away and gestured toward the clothing. “We must get you out of here. Get dressed!” This time, she accompanied her words with a stamp of her foot, and she saw his eyes twinkle in lazy recognition.
“You are feisty, love,” he said softly. “Usually I despise feisty, but you”—he smiled; a slow, sensual lift of his lips that made her light-headed—“you are spectacular.”
“So you’ll get dressed?” she pleaded in desperation
“I’d rather get undressed,” he said, yanking her down to the bed.
ORDER A COPY: Down London Road (On Dublin Street)
Publishing Date: May 7, 2013
Paperback: 384 pages
Rating: 5 stars
It has always been up to Johanna to care for her family, particularly her younger brother, Cole. With an absent father and a useless mother, she’s been making decisions based on what’s best for Cole for as long as she can remember. She even determines what men to date by how much they can provide for her brother and her, not on whatever sparks may—or may not—fly.
But with Cameron MacCabe, the attraction is undeniable. The sexy new bartender at work gives her butterflies every time she looks at him. And for once, Jo is tempted to put her needs first. Cam is just as obsessed with getting to know Jo, but her walls are too solid to let him get close enough to even try.
Then Cam moves into the flat below Jo’s, and their blistering connection becomes impossible to ignore. Especially since Cam is determined to uncover all of Jo’s secrets even if it means taking apart her defenses piece by piece.
When we first met Johanna Walker in On Dublin Street, she comes off as a gold digger, going from one rich boyfriend to another, and even ready to jump in and grab up Bradon if Joss wasn’t interested.
In Down London Road, we learn that Johanna is the daughter of an abusive father, and an alcoholic mother, and everything she does is for the benefit of her little brother, Cole. Since her father long disappeared and her mother always in the bottle, Jo had to drop out of high school at 16 to get a job to pay the rent and buy food. Because Jo didn’t finish school, she works very hard at two part-time jobs. With her lack of education and through years of mental and physical abuse from her parents, she doesn’t believe she is worth much. She believes that the only thing going for her is her good looks, and the only way that she and Cole will do more than just survive in the poor end of Edinburg is for her to put her good looks to work and find a rich boyfriend who will bring them financial security.
Yet in always looking first at the pocket book of future dates, she is perceived in a bad light by those around her. Joss and Johanna have since become friends and Joss is aware that she misjudged Jo. When Cam MacCabe comes into Johanna’s life, he takes one look at her on the arm of her rich boyfriend, and immediately decides that she is out for all she can get. After getting a job at Club 39 working with Joss and Jo, Cam finally learns the real Johanna Walker and encourages her to believe in herself. He especially wants her to dump her rich boyfriend and give in the pull they have for each other.
With Cam in not only her life, but becoming a close friend to her brother, Cole, Jo can finally see a life worth more to her than just being arm candy to some rich guy, and she stops trying to be the perfect girlfriend, and begins to become someone she wants to be, but when you finally live the life you’ve always wanted, the risk of losing it all can be so frightening.
A brilliant follow up to On Dublin Street. Johanna doesn’t come off as a very likeable character in Book #1. We believe her to be a bimbo looking for a meal ticket, but like Joss, we get to know her better and begin to understand what her young life has been like and why she feels the need to seek out rich men. Just like us, Cam walks in to the story and misjudges Jo and is actually quite nasty to her for the first quarter of the book and we hate him for it, although when he finally apologizes for being such a jerk, it is eloquent and heartfelt. At this point, we start to root for Cam and Jo to be together.
I truly enjoyed the characters and the story in On Dublin Street, so I don’t know why like a teacher with her red pen, I started this book positive that it could not be as good as On Dublin Street, and I was ready to point out all the similarities to Book #1 or all the clichéd romance plot points. As I read, the discussion in my head was a bit like this…”This guy is an ass**le…ooo, nice apology.” “Oh, that’s the stupid mistake that’s going to ruin it all…oh, that was a smart way to deal with that.” “There is NO excuse for that…oh, yeah I see where that could be misconstrued.”
All I can say is, nicely done, Ms. Young. Nicely done. An A+ for you.
And it didn’t hurt that I could picture Jude Law bringing in an incredible Cam MacCabe performance.
I can’t wait to see who is next in this series.
Received an ARC from netgalley.com, courtesy of the publisher. Thank you.
The empty flat directly beneath my flat didn’t appear to be empty anymore.
The door to it had been thrown open, and I watched wide-eyed as two guys carried a coffee table up the last few steps and onto the landing.
“You hit the leg.” The extremely tall, dark-haired guy in a rugby shirt smirked at his companion as they leveled out on the landing.
The other guy was a little shorter, with broad shoulder and messy dark hair squashed under a beanie hat. When he turned to smile cheekily at his friend, I knew I was in the presence of a player. The guy was gorgeous and that smile told me he knew just what to do with it. “He’ll never notice.”
“There’s a bash in the wood.”
“Ach, it gives it character.”
I took another step down and my movement drew both of their gazes. I felt an uneasy squirm in my stomach as I glanced at the open door to the flat. We had a new neighbor. A new neighbor who would have to endure my mum’s wailing drunkenness.
The beanie hat guy grinned appreciatively at the sight of me, his eyes drinking me in from my boots to my head. I flicked a quick look at his friend and discovered I was under his smiling perusal too. My automatic flirt kicked in and I gave them a half smile back and a wave of my fingers. “Hey.”
Beanie Guy adjusted the weight of his side of the coffee table as he asked, ”You live here?”
“The flat above you.”
He made a huffing sound and shook his head as he stared at his friend. “Cam’s always been a lucky fucker.”
I instantly tensed at the name.
“What’s taking so long?” a deep and very familiar voice asked from inside the flat.
My mouth was already falling open when Cam stepped out of the flat to greet his friends.
“Cam?” I squeaked in disbelief.
Startled, Cam looked up at me, astonishment slackening his features. “Jo?”
“Eh…” The tall friend’s head turned form me and Cam to Beanie Guy. “The lucky fucker already knows her.”
I ignored them, my heart hammering in my chest now as my eyes pinned Cam to the landing. He stood before me in one of his worn T-shorts and jeans, his engineer boots on, his hair a mess and his eyes dark with lack of sleep. Despite his obvious tiredness, he seemed to hum with an energy that sucked me in. When he stepped into a room, you felt his vitality, his strength. There were few people in this world who had that kind of presence about them, Braden Carmichael was one. Cameron MacCabe was definitely another.
And he was moving in the flat beneath mine?
I couldn’t get my pulse to slow at the thought of Cam being so close to all my secrets and shame. “You’re moving in?”
His eyes flew past me to the floor above us. “You live here?”
The rocks settled heavily in my stomach. “The flat above you.”
“Jesus.” Cam sighed, seeming as unhappy about the revelation as I was. “Small world.”
More like small city. “Very,” I murmured. How had this happened? Did fate just hate me? Of all the coincidences in the world, why did I have to be landed with such a huge and very crap one?
“Eh, this is getting heavy,” Tall Guy complained, nodding at the coffee table.
I eyed the size of his biceps and doubted he found it at all heavy.
Cam gestured to the flat. “Take it in, guys. Thanks.”
“No, no.” Beanie Guy shook his head, smirking, his eyes still on me. “First introduce us to Miss Scotland.”
I felt my cheeks heat at the compliment, hating that it somehow added substance to Cam’s opinion of me.
Cam’s body tensed and he crossed his arms over his chest. “Just take it in the flat.”
My God, I was so unworthy that he couldn’t even introduce me to his friends. Ignoring the hurt that had gripped my chest, I smiled at Beanie Guy. “I’m Jo.”
Beanie Guy and Tall Guy’s mouths dropped open. “Jo?” they asked in surprised unison…as if they’d heard of me.
My brow puckered in confusion as I slid a questioning look at Cam. His whole body was rigid now as he gave his friends the tiniest shake of his head.
His friends didn’t take whatever hint Cam was sending them. “Jo from the bar, Jo?”
Cam had spoken about me? I shifted uneasily, not sure in what light I’d been painted. “That’s me.”
The two of them grinned and Beanie Guy gave me a nod of hello. “I’m Nate and that’s Peetie.”
I eyed the tall guy incredulously. “Peetie?” Not the kind of name you’d expect from someone of his size.
Peetie had a nice face, friendly and open. “Gregor. My surname’s Peterson.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Cam’s told us all about you, Jo.” Nate continued, avoiding Cam’s glower.
Feeling a little shaken that Cam had spoken about me to his friends and far too curious about how he’d spoken about me, I decided it was time to move along so I could wrap my head around the fact that Cam was my new neighbor.
Come to think of it, he had been speaking to Joss about finding a cheaper flat.
Again…of all places, why did it have to be in my building?
I decided to pretend like I didn’t care what Cam had said. “Well, don’t believe word of it.” I ignored Cam as I passed him, and smiled at his friends. “Cam has the unfortunate habit of forming an opinion before he really gets to know someone.”
Nate nodded, “Yeah, he told us what a remarkable dick he was to you.”
That stopped me in midstride, and I twisted around to stare at Cam.
He shrugged at me, his expression still deadpan. “I told you I was sorry.”
My eyes swung to his grinning friends and then back to him. “Well, then, I guess I might actually believe you now. Neighbor.” And with a nod of good-bye to them all, I started descending the stairs carefully.
“That’s Jo?” Nate asked loudly, as I disappeared from view, his voice carrying all the way down to me, and I couldn’t help but prick my ears up to listen.
“Shut up,” Cam hissed. “Let’s get the rest of the stuff in.”
“Christ almighty, you weren’t kidding, were you? How fucking long are those leg?”
“How can you stand it, mate? If you’re not having a crack at her, I am.”
Cam’s growl reverberated down to me. “Get in the fucking flat!”
His door slammed and I jumped, stalling on the last landing. What the hell had all that meant? What had Cam said about me?