Rusty Nailed by Alice Clayton

ORDER A COPY: Rusty Nailed (The Cocktail Series)

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 5 stars

In this sequel to Wallbanger, the second book in the Cocktail series, fan favorites Caroline and Simon negotiate the rollercoaster of their new relationship while house-sitting in San Francisco.

Playing house was never so much fun—or so confusing. With her boss on her honeymoon, Caroline’s working crazy long hours to keep the interior design company running—especially since she’s also the lead designer for the renovation of a gorgeous old hotel on Sausalito. So with her hotshot photographer boyfriend gallivanting all over the world for his job, she and Simon are heavy-duty into “absence makes the heart grow fonder” mode. Neither has any complaints about the great reunion sex, though! Then Simon decides he’s tired of so much travelling, and he’s suddenly home more. A lot more. And wanting Caroline home more, too. Though their friends’ romantic lives provide plenty of welcome distraction, eventually Caroline and Simon have to sort their relationship out. Neither wants “out of sight, out of mind,” but can they create their own happy mid-ground cliché?

Simon “Wallbanger” Parker is still keeping Caroline “Pink Nightie Girl” Reynolds up all night banging on her walls, only now he’s banging on that wall with her. Simon is still traveling around the world and Caroline is still decorating San Francisco, and the relationship is working out well for them. Unlike the women Simon has dated in the past, Caroline enjoys some quiet me time, and reunions make the Simon and Caroline time all that much sweeter.

But as they countdown the days to the wedding of Caroline’s boss Jillian to everyone’s hot fantasy older man, Benjamin, and Mimi and Ryan are planning a wedding of their own, not everybody is happy in Wallbangerland. Caroline and Simon’s friends Neil and Sophia are on the outs and its making wedding planning rather rough going whenever they both arrive and the fights begin dragging their friends into the mix.

Caroline also gets quite the surprise. She gets a new office…so she can to do both her and Jillian’s jobs while Jillian is away on her open-ended-ticket honeymoon. Interior Design is one thing, but office manager on top of that is a job Caroline is not sure she will be able to handle. As if Caroline isn’t under enough pressure, she can’t help notice that Simon is leaving on less and less assignments, and even cancelling a few he had scheduled. Now that Caroline is around less and less, Simon is around more and more. And no time to bake is making Caroline a little cranky (and Simon a little hungry).

Caroline’s life is in chaos, with less and less wallbanging going around. Can Caroline and Simon try to adjust to their new relationship dynamic or is too much time together going to drive a wedge between them?

I just love Alice Clayton and her quirky, fun humor. At first, everything is smooth sailing for Simon and Caroline. They are developing their own unique relationship. But when Jillian dumps all the responsibility for the design company on Caroline, she is meeting the task but she is also slowing cracking under the pressure. She sees Simon’s cancelling his travel plans and something to be concerned over and she is afraid of why he is doing that, but she’s also afraid to just ask him.

Simon has had no reason to put down roots anywhere since he lost his parents as a teen. So we, who are not going crazy along with Caroline, can see that Simon finally has a reason not to spend all his time away from home, but Caroline is in panic over what’s going on in his head.

I thought this story was filled with as many sweet moments as funny ones. One complaint I heard was that there was not enough tension in the story, but I thought just their adjusting to their relationship along with the increasing stresses being put upon them and Caroline’s mental breakdown, created an enjoyable story of these two people trying to become a couple while life is trying to pull them apart.

Oh, and how can I forget, Clive is back for more fun.  Meow!

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

I hung up the phone. Because in my driveway was a white Mercedes convertible. With a red bow on it. What the actual fuck?

I parked the van, hurried up the walkway, opened the door, hurdled over a sawhorse like an Olympian, and dashed into the kitchen. Where I found Simon, on a ladder. Faded jeans. No shirt. Tool belt.

“Um, what’s that in our driveway?” I asked. He turned in slow motion, it seemed, and I noticed for the millionth time just how stunning he was. Sculpted arms, broad shoulders, skipping down to that sweet spot just above his bum. And a six-pack that, when he was really worked up, gave up a seven and eight as well. And then that V on either side that just seemed to slip into those jeans.

“Well, it was the funniest thing,” he started, climbing down off the ladder and setting down his belt sander. He gave great sander. “I was watching you drive off today in that ridiculous van and I though, my girl needs some wheels.”

“So you bought me a car?” I asked, confused. Brain was not liking some of these words, but every other part of me was liking the walking sex coming right at me.

I couldn’t let him just buy me a car, could I?  Oooh, he’s walking.

He crossed to me, slowly, and I walked backward as he advanced. Before I knew it, I was up against the wall. With a shirtless Wallbanger inches from me.

Now, for the record, when I went vaulting into the house, I was pretty sure what was going on. And what he’d obviously done. And I was pretty sure I was pissed.

Remember that.

Now think about how good he must have looked to make me forget how pissed I was.

“If you don’t like the color, we can go down and pick out another one,” he said, now only one inch from me. I could feel the heat from his body began to penetrate mine. Penetrate? Yes, please.

But wait, he can’t just buy me a car!

“Yeah, you can’t just, just buy me a, ummm,” I breathed, my words getting fuzzy as he leaned into me. There was so much tension in my body I was starting to vibrate like a tuning fork.

“Yes, I can just buy you a car. It’s a gift—get over it,” he replied, his brow furrowing as if he couldn’t understand why I was giving him shit about this. And at the very moment, I couldn’t tell you why either.

I’d never gone this long without having sex with Simon, not when he was in town. It was starting to get to me. And he smelled so good!

“But a car, Simone? I…uh…what is that cologne?”

“It’s polyurethane.”

“They should bottle that shit,” I breathed, my voice going husky.

“It comes in a can.”

“It’s really working for you,” I moaned as he dipped his head down and dragged his tongue right up my neck.

“I’ll keep that in mind,” he murmured, burying one hand in my hair.

“Did you do this on purpose? This whole handyman fantasy? The tool belt? The abs? The—holy fuck.” I gasped when he took my hand and pressed it against his …drill bit.

“You came home early,” he explained, thrusting into his hand. “I like early.”

“Lucky me.” I sighed and dropped my head back against the wall. He took this to be a green light, because within seconds my shirt was ripped, my skirt was pushed up, and he’d wrapped my legs around his tool belt. “I liked that shirt,” I protested.

“You really care?” he asked, slipping his fingers underneath the lace of my panties. Slippery already, and he moaned at the first touch.

“Not really,” I marveled at his strength; I always had. The idea of being actually wall banged always seemed impossible to me. Until Simon. He was strong without being beefcake. And he could carry my body around like I weighted next to nothing, when that wasn’t the case at all.

“How much do you care about these?” he asked, tugging on the waistband.

“One guess.” I smirked.

Fall from India Place by Samantha Young

ORDER A COPY: Fall From India Place

Publisher: NAL
Publishing Date: June 3, 2014
Paperback: 294 pages

Rating: 4 stars

When Hannah Nichols last saw Marco D’Alessandro, five long years ago, he broke her heart. The bad boy with a hidden sweet side was the only guy Hannah ever loved—and the only man she’s ever been with. After one intense night of giving into temptation, Marco took off, leaving Scotland and Hannah behind. Shattered by the consequences of their night together, Hannah has never truly moved on.

Leaving Hannah was the biggest mistake of Marco’s life, something he has deeply regretted for years. So when fate reunites them, he refuses to let her go without a fight. Determined to make her his, Marco pursues Hannah, reminding her of all the reasons they’re meant to be together.…

But just when Marco thinks they’re committed to a future together, Hannah makes a discovery that unearths the secret pain she’s been hiding from him, a secret that could tear them apart before they have a real chance to start over again.

It has been seven years since Nate won the heart of Olivia in Before Jamaica Lane and we find Hannah Nichols all grown up and finishing her first year as a probationary teacher. Sunday dinner at her parents house has gotten even more crowded over the years with all her friends and family now bringing their children with them.

When Mum needs Hannah to clean out her old room so they have room for a crib, Hannah stumbles over her old diaries and a picture of the only boy she has ever loved, Marco D’Alessandro, and it sends her on a painful trip down memory lane. They first met when she was 13 and he was 15. The upperclassman protected her from some bullies after she missed her bus and afterwards he took it upon himself to walk her home each time she missed the bus. As they walked and talked, their friendship grew and Hannah’s schoolgirl crush deepened into a young woman’s first love. But it was the night that Hannah gave her virginity to Marco that tore her world apart. Marco walked away from her that night and returned to America taking her heart and all her girlhood dreams with him.

Hannah spends most of her free time with her new best friend, Cole Walker. After Marco left town, Hannah and Cole grew closer. Hannah only wishes that there were the kind of sparks between her and Cole as she felt with Marco. In fact, Hannah hasn’t found anyone who makes her feel even half of what she felt for Marco.

Morning over the loss of an old love is depressing enough, but to run into him once again after reliving the hurt knocks the wind out of Hannah. She never expected to ever see Marco again in Scotland, but when she finds out he returned more than four years ago, it shatters what is left of her heart. She felt abandoned before but now she can add betrayed to that list as well.

Marco has grown up during his time away from Hannah. The young man who felt unworthy of the beautiful, smart and too young Hannah is gone and the man before her hasn’t forgotten his own feelings and how much Hannah meant to him. He never planned to walk back into her life, but now that he has seen her again, Marco can’t stop his desire for a second chance to win the heart of the only woman he has ever loved. Both the boy he was and the man he is now, know there is no other love for him like Hannah and this time he won’t walk away from her.

But Hannah and Marco are both hiding secrets from their past that could destroy any future they can have together.

I always have a hard time with a series when we have a young characters now grown like Hannah and Marco. It takes me a while to get with the program since part of my brain is still looking at the little kid they were. Seeing them as grown ups who have sex takes me a while. (Yes, my kids are in trouble.)  Just like in Until Fountain Bridge, Hannah uses her diary entries to fill us in on our past with Marco from before and after we left her in Nate and Liv’s story.

For the most part, I liked young Hannah and Marco better.   Being friends with Marco made Hannah more confident but she was always outspoken with the quiet and reserved Marco.   To Marco, Hannah’s friendship  and dedication gave him a comfort he couldn’t get from his own family.

Grown up Hannah was holding on too much to her feelings of anger and betrayal.  Marco had definitely matured and apologized and no matter that her family and friends all told her how good they were together and how she should give Marco a second chance, she kept jerking him around.  Marco would jump through hoops and Hannah wouldn’t stop her bitchy behavior.

Young Hannah was a very likeable character throughout the series and you can understand that her heartbreak could change her, but she needed to either decide to give the guy a chance or walk away.  I didn’t like that they kept having sex and she would toss him out, over and over again.   Take him back or lock your door.   Marco was a responsible and caring kid, who had self-esteem issues and he grew to became a responsible and caring man who finally thought that maybe he was worthy of Hannah.   Hannah continuing to jerk Marco around just knocked Hannah’s character down several pegs to the point that I almost had no more pity for her pain.

Cole Walker has grown up into an impressive man, and I am looking forward to his book which is next.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

My gaze snapped back to Marco.

A double date.

I was going to be sick. Or I was going to kill him. We were only a few feet from the table when we drew Marco’s gaze. His expression softening at the sight of me until his eyes dropped to my hand in Cole’s and that expression instantly hardened.


He was on a double date and I was with a friend and he was pissed?

“Marco.” Cole greeted him pleasantly. “Just wanted to come over and apologize for…well, you know…” My best friend looked at the pretty blonde at Marco’s side. “I hope I’m not interrupting your date.”

Marco’s eyes clashed with mine and I knew he was definitely irritated with Cole. “It’s not—“

“We shouldn’t have interrupted.” I was studiously avoiding Leah’s burning gaze as I tugged on Cole’s hand. “We’ll let you enjoy your dinner. Cole.”

Cole gave Marco a tight grin before sliding his hand around my waist and leading us to the waiting hostess. As soon as she delivered us to our table, Cole sighed and said, “You’re shaking like a leaf.”

“I’m trying not to kill somebody,” I said through clenched teeth. “Let’s just go home.”

“Fuck that.” Cole let the anger shine from his eyes. “He can’t do this to you.”

“He’s not. I am. I’m doing this to me,” I muttered angrily. “I’m sending him mixed signals, he’s sending me mixed signals. It’s a whole bunch of fucked-up mixed signals. And I really just want to go home before I end up doing hard time.”

Cole leaned into me, pressing his forehead against mine so I had nowhere to look but in his eyes or at my feet. I chose his eyes. “I’m sorry for taking you over there. But he knows that no matter how mixed up you are, underneath it all you love him. And he’s here on a bloody date? I wanted to shake him up, not you.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine. You’re trembling.”

“I’m trembling with anger. Cole—“

He cut me off by cupping my face in his hands and pressing a soft, sweet kiss to my lips. When he finally pulled back, I stared at him wide-eyed and more than slightly alarmed. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Reminding him he hasn’t won you yet and unless he fights harder he’ll lose you to someone else. He doesn’t need to know that someone will never be me, sweetheart.” He grinned unrepentantly.

I loved my best friend. Totally. I leaned up and pressed another soft kiss to his cheek. “You’re the best, but part of the reason I’m so messed up is because I don’t want him to fight harder. I want us to be over. I just don’t know how to let go.”

Cole leaned into me again, lips almost touching mine as he said quietly, “You need to stop lying to yourself, Hannah Nichols. You love him. You know you do. Otherwise you wouldn’t be in such a state.”

Before I could respond in the negative, a shadow fell over us and we pulled slightly apart to look at our right and into Marco’s furious face. Anger danced in his exceptional eyes and it was all directed at Cole. “You’ve got two seconds to move away from her before I fuck you up a million times worse than I did at the site.”

Death’s White Horses by Marc Rainer

ORDER A COPY: Death’s White Horses: A Jeff Trask Crime Drama

Publisher: Createspace
Publishing Date: March 18, 2014
Paperback: 312 pages

Rating: 4 stars

In “Capital Kill,” he went after a ruthless local serial killer. In “Horns of the Devil,” he faced some of the deadliest gangs in the western hemisphere. Now federal prosecutor Jeff Trask is back on the case, after a series of drug overdoses places investigators face to face with Los Zetas-the most dangerous of the Mexican drug cartels.

What begins as an investigation of local heroin trafficking soon turns into something far more serious. The cartel will do anything to protect its cash flow-including a series of attacks against Trask’s team that cement Los Zetas’ status as one of the most ruthless criminal organizations of the century.

Inspired by actual events from Mexico’s cartel wars, “Death’s White Horses” is Marc Rainer’s third book featuring federal prosecutor Jeff Trask. While showcasing the challenges faced by law enforcement on both sides of the border, it also highlights the deadly consequences seen on either end of the US-Mexico drug trade.

With more than three decades of experience as a federal prosecutor, Rainer combines the excitement of a high-stakes thriller with the pinpoint accuracy and realism that has earned him a widespread audience in the field of law enforcement.

The death of a powerful Senator’s daughter is only the beginning of a line of victims in this newest novel by Marc Rainer. We soon find several dead prostitutes from overdoses of a new, stronger brand of heroin which is now being manufactured in Mexico. While Jeff and his team try and locate who is distributing this newest drug to the City of Washington D.C., we also are brought directly into the battle in Mexico between their Marines and the various cartels who are fighting for dominance of the drug trade.

Major Luis Aquilar and his team are trying their hardest to save the innocent people who are getting caught up in the fights between the cartels. They also need the fight against their own police and prison officials who have been bribed or threatened into the pockets of the local drug lords.

This is a fight being fought on each side of the border, in Mexico with guns and in the United States with laws, as both try to win a war against the drug dealers as well as the suppliers.

In this latest novel, Marc Rainer proves to us that there are no victimless crimes. Every cellophane baggie of drugs purchased in the United States is covered with innocent blood. Maybe you can’t see it, but it certainly is there. The cartels in Mexico (and certainly elsewhere) are only concerned with production, distribution and profits. That can mean fighting for routes and clientele in gun battles between the various groups for control of a region, and innocent bystanders be damned.

While this was a intriguing story, where this story lacks in my opinion is that Marc pulls some punches in his story telling this time. What I love/hate about this author is that he puts his characters directly in the line of fire and not everyone walks away. So we end up with a personal stake in each case where we might lose an important member of our team. In this case, while Jeff and his team are investigating the overdose death of a Senator’s daughter and several prostitutes due to a very strong new batch of heroine coming out of Mexico, there is no real direct threat to them for most of the investigation. Half of this book takes place in Mexico with Jeff’s counterpart, Major Luis Aquilar, the leader of the Mexico’s Marines in his fight against the cartels. The strongest point to be made in this story is the daily danger to the poor people living among the drug cartels. Unfortunately, what is happening in Mexico is mostly told in third person reports to Aquilar as he arrives at the various town and sites of carnage. Marc would have made more of an impact in this part of his story in tossing in a stronger first person view of more of the attacks.

Case in point, there is a scene which is described that the cartel abducted three busloads of people trying to get to the U.S. border and diverted them to a town. The cartel then separated the young men from the older men and made the young men fight gladiator-style with machetes and hammers. The winners were then given a choice to join the cartel or be killed. The older men were made to lay down in the road and were crushed to death by one of the buses. The younger and prettier women were taken to the surrounding buildings to be raped and then murdered. This would be had far more impact to the reader if told in a first person by, for example, the one surviving female who was being kept by one of the cartel members, and by making one of the young men made to fight her husband. By telling most of these incidents in a third party report, or through the eyes of the perpetrators, we lost the fear, pain and personal attachment to the crime being inflicted and we could separate ourselves from the horror of what was happening.

By narrating these attacks in a third person narrative, Marc has taken away the usual aspect of danger which keeps the excitement level high in his previous stories. More often than not, I hear people talk of international incidents and there is always someone who suddenly doesn’t care when they find the devastation is not here in their own backyard. I believe a little shock value which would have gone a long way in hammering home the point in this story that what we are doing here in the United States (buying the illegal drugs) has far reaching detrimental effect on some innocent person who has lost their home, their family or their life for your victimless crime and just because they are not a face you see every day, doesn’t make their death any less horrific.

It was an interesting story and although I generally don’t want horrific details shoved into my brain, this story kept us back a little too far from the reality of the violence which is happening to truly make the impact that I think Marc Rainer was going for in his narration.

Received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

“There were two survivors. One younger man, one woman. Their stories were consistent, both with each other and with the three Zetas who were willing to talk after we arrested them and applied some persuasion. The victims were on buses headed for Reynoso. The buses were diverted from the main road by Zetas who blocked the highway with SUVs. They were holding automatic weapons, probably assault rifles. They boarded the buses and forced the drivers to drive to the ranch here. The men were split into two groups. Those that appeared to be able-bodied were paired up and forced to fight to the death, gladiator style, using sledge hammers and machetes. The survivors were invited to join the Zetas. Those that agreed to do so were spared. Those that refused were shot.”

“What about the others?”

“The older men and those who appeared to be sickly were bound and forced to lie on the roadway. A Zeta then held a gun to the bus driver’s head and forced him to drive the bus over them. After he did so, he was shot as well. Some of the women suffered the same fate. The prettier ones were taken to some of the buildings where they were raped first. Then they were shot as well. One of the survivors was being kept by a Zeta for more abuse, but we found her before she was killed. The dead were pushed into these pits and covered up.”

Aquilar shook his head. The smell of decomposing flesh still hung in the air even though the last of the bodies were removed. “How many Zetas have you rounded up?”

“More than eighty.” Torres looked at the ground before returning his gaze to Aquilar. “I have to confess something, Major. After first speaking to the witnesses, we were able to arrest about forty Zetas. They were spread throughout San Fernando, sleeping drunken thugs occupying deserted homes. I had our men form a circle, and I told the Zetas to pair up inside the circle. I had them strip naked, and told them that they were going to fight to the death with their bare hands, and that only the winners would be allowed to survive. I told them that the survivors would then have to rape each other, and that any who refused would be shot.”

Aquilar stared at his subordinate. “Did that happen? Did you force them to kill and rape each other, Capitan Torres?”

Torres shook his head. “No, sir. I fired one shot to command them to start fighting, but fired another and stopped it after a few seconds. I’m sorry, Major. I was blinded by anger, and just wanted those degenerates to experience some of the same terror they’d caused.”

Aquilar nodded. “At least you stopped it before you completely lowered yourself to their level.” He looked around the pits, smelling the stench. “If I had been here a few days earlier, I might not have stopped it myself.”

Friday Giveaway – Capital Kill by Marc Rainer

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Our winner is…bn100.

Happy 4th of July and a Happy Friday to all!  As I just started reading Book 3 of the Jeff Trask novels, Death’s White Horses, I thought it would be a great idea to give away a digital copy of Book 1, Capital Kill, which introduces you to all the various investigators that make up this ensemble cast. It was a chilling thriller and definitely worth checking out. (Amazon even quoted me in their reviews. Woo Hoo!)

Capital Kill is only available on Kindle, so sorry Nook owners you’ll have to read it on your phones.

Giveaway ends Thursday, July 10th.  Open to anyone I can get an Amazon copy to, so if you know you can download Amazon where you are, we’ll do what we can to work it out. :) 18 years and older please.

EXTRA NOTE: For anyone interest, Book 2 Horns of the Devil: A Jeff Trask Legal Thriller is on sale for only a few more days for only $.99.

You can check out our reviews of Capital Kill and Horns of the Devil.

A few short blocks from the safety of the museums and monuments on the National Mall, a ruthless killer prowls the streets of Washington DC. Federal prosecutor Jeff Trask joins a team of FBI agents and police detectives as they try and solve the series of brutal murders. As the body count rises, the investigation leads to a chilling confrontation with the leader of an international drug smuggling ring, and no one is safe, not even the police.

Written by former Washington prosecutor Marc Rainer, Capital Kill is a swirling thrill ride through the labyrinth of a major federal investigation and trial, with a gripping conclusion that no one will see coming.

Free eBook and Audible Giveaway News from Jessie Lane

Hi, everyone! I’m hard at work on the next Big Bad Bite book, The Demon Who Loved Me, but until that’s finished I’m giving away a set of audiobooks and have made The Burning Star ebook free almost everywhere.  I hope you all have a great holiday weekend! ;D Check out the details below:

The Big Bad Bite Audiobook is NOW AVAILABLE

& the Walk On The Striped Side Audiobook releases July 10th

BUT I’m giving away one set of both audiobooks RIGHT NOW! YAY! I’m so incredibly excited about the Big Bad Bite Series releasing through Tantor Audio that I want to celebrate this new venture by giving a copy of Big Bad Bite & Walk On The Striped Side away to one lucky winner! Giveaway runs from now until 7/06/14!


Rafflecopter link:

♦ AllRomanceEbooks
♦ Kobo
♦ Smashwords YA / NA Paranormal Romance & Fantasy recommended for ages 16 & up due to explicit language, graphic violence, and mild sexual situations.

Better Homes and Haunting by Molly Harper

ORDER A COPY: Better Homes and Hauntings

Publisher: Pocket Books
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Paperback: 318 pages

Rating: 4 stars

When Nina Linden is hired to landscape a private island off the New England coast, she sees it as her chance to rebuild her failing business after being cheated by her unscrupulous ex. She never expects that her new client, software mogul Deacon Whitney, would see more in her than just a talented gardener. Deacon has paid top dollar to the crews he’s hired to renovate the desolate Whitney estate—he had to, because the bumps, thumps, and unexplained sightings of ghostly figures in nineteenth-century dress are driving workers away faster than he can say “Boo.”

But Nina shows no signs of being scared away, even as she experiences some unnerving apparitions herself. And as the two of them work closely together to restore the mansion’s faded glory, Deacon realizes that he’s found someone who doesn’t seem to like his fortune more than himself—while Nina may have finally found the one man she can trust with her bruised and battered heart.

But something on the island doesn’t believe in true love…and if Nina and Deacon can’t figure out how to put these angry spirits to rest, their own love doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance.

As a self-made billionaire, software genius and only successful Whitney in the last 100 years, Deacon Whitney wants to prove once and for all that there is no family curse against the Whitneys. What better way than to reclaim the family estate which he just inherited out on Whitney island. But anyone within 100 miles has heard the rumors that the mansion is haunted, and so in order to keep his key people working, he needs to keep them with him on the island, before the houses creaks and moans scare them from the job for good.

He has chosen his friend Jake Rumson, to be his architect, Cindy Ellis to help with the clean up and restoration, and Nina Linden to design the landscaping. Deacon hired Nina for her talent, but he will admit that there is more to his interest in the lovely gardener than just her choice of plants.

Everything is going well once everyone arrives and the work begins. Is that because the “ghosts” are quiet or because no one wants to be the first to admit that they’re the crazy one who is seeing ghosts?

The real question is whether there really is the ghost of Catherine Whitney, supposedly murdered by her jealous husband Gerald, haunting the island or are the things going bump in the night made of flesh and bone? There are several family members and overlooked competitors who have various reasons why they don’t want this job to be completed.

Whether the ghost is real or not may be the least of their problems since the attacks are getting more and more violent as the days go on. These meddling kids better hurry up and solve this mystery quickly before they become the next victims of the Whitney curse.

There are no werewolves and vampires this time, but Molly Harper has definitely written a ghost story which is a grown-ups version of a Scooby Doo mystery. Although I miss her beloved characters, her writing is still as entertaining in this stand alone novel as in her Nice Girl and Naked Werewolf series. But unusual in a Molly Harper novel is the various POVs. It jumps between Deacon, Nina, Jake, Cindy and Deacon’s cousin, Dotty. Her novels are mainly 1st person narratives with a few exceptions.

Deacon Whitney may be a billionaire software genius, but he is still deep down a geek and Geeks in Love are always adorable as he tries to awkwardly flirt with Nina and gets excited when told that Nina likes him. Nina is just as much a geek as Deacon and she gets all his SciFi and fantasy references which just makes more cartoon hearts float around Deacon’s head.
hearts giphy

Cousin Dotty just shows up in the middle of the renovation determined to document the renovation for her book while she searches for Catherine’s missing diaries. Dotty wants to prove that Catherine’s husband, Gerald, didn’t kill her.  Dotty is quirky and flaky and hasn’t finished one project yet, but you can’t help but love her.

We also have a secondary love interest story going on between Cindy and Jake which was interesting. Jake keeps trying to get close to Cindy, but all she does is growl at him. What Jake doesn’t remember is that he dated Cindy years ago, and never called her again after their second date. Now he’s looking at Cindy with interest and Cindy refuses to tell him why she’s so pissed of at him.

This is all part of the POV changes throughout the story, which includes the different romances and the various ghost sightings by the various characters.

As always Molly Harper gives us fun story with great dialog and this time with a little spooky added in.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

As the newcomer gushed over how thrilled she was to be involved and that she just couldn’t wait to get started, which was why she’d shown up weeks ahead of schedule to present Deacon with her design ideas for the interior, Cindy rolled her eyes. Typical.  Now that this barracuda with the telltale red-soled shoes was in the picture, he’d dropped Cindy and moved on.

Cindy pursed her lips, steadied herself against the banister for a moment. It sucked to be right all the time.

Resolving to forget the entire “tripping” episode, Cindy made her way to the opposite site of the room, where Dotty and Nina were whispering quietly.

“The insecure preadolescent girl inside of me is curled up in the fetal position,” Nina grumbled, noting with inexplicable irritation the way the new arrival was practically standing on Deacon’s feet, murmuring to him in low, familiar tones; until the moment Jake had walked in, anyway, which was the moment she launched herself at him. Poor Anthony had been standing off to the side, intently staring at the blueprints of the house so he could look anywhere besides at his boss getting kitten-whispered. And Deacon looked…

Well, maybe Nina didn’t know Deacon well enough to gauge his facial expressions. He seemed impassive, even bored. He hadn’t exactly been leaning into the lady’s aural assault, but his face didn’t give of a Get thee away from me, you fashion-forward she-beast! vibe, either.

In Nina’s mind, Indignant Deacon spoke like a character from Game of Thrones.

“Oh, honey, she doesn’t deserve your head space.” Dotty sighed. “That’s just Regina Van Hauten. We’ve know her since, oh, two or three noses ago.” When Cindy lifted an eyebrow, Dotty clarified, “Since high school Her family is close to Deacon’s and Jake’s parents.”

“And why is she here?” Cindy asked.

Dotty’s facial expression wasn’t hard to decipher at all, with her mouth pinched into a derisive frown. “Regina’s supposedly an interior designer, but judging by the hatchet job she did on Deacon’s corporate offices, I’m betting she got her training from one of those videos you can order from an infomercial.”

“Uncomfortable seating and abstract art?” Nina guessed.

“There’s an ‘installation’ of discarded Starbucks cups in the lobby by some artist from Hoboken. It’s called ‘The Globalization of Mediocrity.’ The janitor kept trying to throw it away, so Regina’s idea was to put up a sign that says, “Please don’t recycle the art.”

Cindy bit her lip before a snicker could escape. Dotty grinned at her, even as Regina sent the pair a scathing look. Nina noted that Regina hadn’t bothered introducing herself to Nina or Cindy.

Dotty muttered, “I told Deacon not to hire her, but he said he ‘has his reasons’ for letting her ruin both is offices and his home. And when I press him, he refuses to answer, which is saying something, because I can always get Deacon to fess up. Just for your information, he is very ticklish.”

“How will that information ever be of use to me?” Nina asked.

Dotty wriggled her eyebrows. “I can think of a few ways.” Nina stared at her, adopting Deacon’s “impassive” expression. “Oh, come on, I’ve seen the two of you together. It’s like watching a nature documentary on scientists trying to get the two most socially awkward people in the world to mate.”

“Not true!” Nina whispered back. “We talk about work-related subjects, that’s all.”

Just then, Deacon looked up from Regina’s papers and gave Nina a lingering look, as if she were the only thing giving him the strength to continue his conversation with his decorator. Nina’s face flushed bright red, and Dotty fanned her cheeks with Cindy’s clipboard.

“Oh, hush the both of you,” Nina muttered.

“You made my cousin smoulder,” Dotty whispered in awe. “Until two years ago, he didn’t wear matching socks half the time. He actually pays someone to match his clothes for him. So for him to throw any sort of swagger at you, that’s sort of a miracle.”

“He probably just had something in his eye,” Nina protested softly. “Now, be quiet before someone hears you. This is a foyer, not a cone of silence.”

“You’re right, he did have something in his eye,” Cindy singsonged. “You.”

Nina groaned.

“Sweetheart, I’m going to insist that you ride that man like a pony,” Cindy added. “For the good of mankind, technological advancement, and America’s place in the world economy. Think of the gadgetry he could come up with if he had a little stress relief.”

Nina poked at Cindy’s arm. “You are all class, my friend.”

Pleasure Satellite by Danielle Monsch

ORDER A COPY: Pleasure Satellite

Publisher: Romantic Geek
Publishing Date: May 4, 2014
eBook: 73 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Nevan’s life is nothing but duty and honor. The eldest son of a prestigious House, he has a life mapped out ahead of him, including mating a woman for whom he feels nothing but brotherly affection. But then one night he discovers a woman who makes his blood boil and his body hard. Seena has known nothing but blood and pain in her life. A fighter for the BloodRing, she is nothing more than spectacle, her life and death meaningless except as entertainment for the masses. Then one night a male comes to her in secret with a bargain the likes of which she has never been confronted with. The ultimate fight, which will lead her either to freedom…or to his bed. Nevan will allow nothing to stop him from possessing the human. On the Pleasure Satellite anything is permissible, and to the strongest goes everything.

Seena was acquired by Samos as a child. As a human child, Seena was a novelty and Samos would find some use for her. She showed an ability for fighting and weapons, and she has become his undefeated champion. The crowd is there to see bloodshed, especially since the fights are to the death. The novelty of a female fighter, let alone a human female, draws them in.

In Nevan’s world, the men are strong warriors but the women are their exact opposite. They are demure, quiet and  submissive. They never speak against a man, never voice an opinion and most won’t look a man in the eye. So when Seena looks up to his box and stares him in the eye, he is immediately intrigued, and after watching her defeat her opponent in the BloodRing, he knows he will not leave the Pleasure Satellite until he has had a taste of her. He knows that once he returns home, it is his family’s wishes that he mate with Farana, a woman like all the others on his world, who will fear sex and only participate often enough to bear children. Before he accepts his fate, he plans to have Seena in his bed.

He could have her forcibly brought to him, but that’s not what he wants. He wants this warrior as a willing participant so he offers her a challenge that she won’t be able to refuse. Fight him in a fair challenge. If she wins, he will help her escape. If she loses, she comes to his bed for the remainder of the celebrations.

Seena would do anything to be free, but with a male like Nevan, maybe losing won’t be such a hardship.

This erotic novel is Pornacus–um, I mean, Spartacus in space. You have to keep in mind that this is an erotica rather than a romance so some sections are simply one sexual position to the next. But we get enough conversation between Nevan and Seena to see that they are great characters and they truly deserved more of a story plot.   It’s not really a spoiler alert – but Nevan wins. Surprise!  It wouldn’t be much of a story if Seena wins, but it would have been funny.

Seena is very laid back. She accepts that she lost the fight so she won’t be freed, but as a BloodRing fighter, a few days off from fighting to have incredible sex with a hot male who is treating her very well is a vacation from being a slave. Since she has nothing to lose, she doesn’t sugarcoat anything she says to Nevan. He talks about the stresses of running the family since his father is just a figurehead and what is expected of him, and Seena tells him straight out what he needs to do and where he needs to stop whining. She’s certainly not a submissive female and she has nothing to lose so she doesn’t pull any punches to spare his feelings.

She also figures out pretty quickly what gets him worked up and uses that to her advantage so she can enjoy her sexcation.

It was an enjoyable novella for what it was given. I really hate when a short story contains really good characters since they don’t get much time in the spotlight.  It always seems like such a waste to me because I don’t want to let them go.   There was certainly room to build more of the plot points that drove the story when they weren’t having sex, and there certainly could have been more BloodRing matches to fill out the story.

It was intended to be a sexy short story, and it certainly was, but it also included some good basic characters and story plot to hold one’s interest beyond the sex.

Received an review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

His eyes held all her attention as he spoke, just as they had from the first moment she had seen him from the ring. They were a black-green, and yet it was as if a light was directly behind each one, illuminating them in a way no human eyes could ever match.

Seena had noticed him. She always looked toward the top tiers to see Samos, and the slimy little shit never disappointed her, always ingratiating himself with the most powerful to be found.

This time, though, she felt something beyond her usual hatred of Samos as she stared at the box, her heart pounding faster as she noticed the Tevarian half rise from his seat.

“If you truly believe you can kill me, then I have a proposition for you that you would be foolish to turn down,” the Tevarian said, his voice breaking into her musings. Seena hoped her body didn’t betray the surprise she felt at those words, the jerk that brought her so very aware.

He could be an agent of Samos. It wouldn’t be the first time. Samos was always playing his little mind games on her.

He could be, but it didn’t feel like that. If anything, Seena felt nothing but contempt coming from the Tevarian, as if the Rilion disgusted him as much as he disgusted her.

Of course, if he truly felt that way, why was he at the games?

“A proposition?”

“A proposition,” he repeated, and then nothing, simply watching her, waiting for her to decide.

She looked around, more out of habit than any true fear. She had already made her choice when she spoke her first words to him after all, revealing she could indeed speak. Seena did not quite understand why, just there was something about him that made her want to trust, to connect. So stupid a feeling, but there it was.

She moved toward him, wanting to look as closely at him as the cage would allow. “What is this proposition?”

“I buy you for the duration of these games, giving Samos enough that you will not have to fight while here.”

Of course he would. She was no fool, had seen the way his eyes took over her while she was on display in Samos’ chambers. If they were meeting, both free, she would have openly returned that interest, but–as this cage forcibly reminded her–she was not, and since she was not a whore she lied. “That hardly tempts me.”

His lips lifted at the corners, and she was hard-pressed not to swallow. “I did not say I was finished. Once you are brought to me…we fight.”

Not that truly confused her. He was looking over her because he wanted a warrior to test his skills on? Perhaps she did not understand his motivations as she thought. “Fight?”

“Yes, fight. A sword in your hand and a sword in mine,” he answered, his voice that low rumble that should not sound so sexual when he was talking about bloodsport.

A proposition, he said. Something for something. “And what would we be fighting for?”

“You, little human, would be fighting for your freedom.”

One thing for the Tevarian, he did not play with small stakes. Bloodsport or not, her interest was suddenly very high in this conversation, though she kept her voice even and her words measured. “Freedom? That is truly a great prize. What would you be fighting for to rival it?”

“I’ll be fighting for the right to fuck you.”

His eyes were on her, holding fast as if they were physical force. She could not look away, could barely breathe, as desire swept through her, making her knees weak, making her feel as if she would fall. “I am not…”

“No, you are not a whore.” So slowly, he put his hand through the cage bars. She could have stepped back at any time, but she did not, and his hand landed on her, his fingers around her neck, the thumb pressing against the pulse point at the base of her throat. Warms hands, strong and calloused, promising everything if she would just give in. “Let me speak plainly, little human. After the celebration, I will returning to my lands. At that time, I will announce that I will take a woman as a mate, a woman who I feel nothing for, not love, not lust, nothing. Bedding her will be nothing except duty, but out of honor, once I mate her I will never betray her.”

His hand traveled slowly up, skimming her throat until this thumb caressed her bottom lip. “Your eyes met mine before your fight, and I became hard. During the fight I felt pride in your strength, and after you had won…” His eyes narrowed as they focused on her mouth and his thumb pulled her lower lip down, surrounding itself in the moisture of her mouth. “Afterward, if I could have gotten you away from that bastard, you would have been mine.

Seena stepped back. She had to get away from his touch, the physical touch of his hand as well as the caress of his voice. She had to regain some footing to continue this conversation without giving him everything before even the chance of gaining anything. “How does this concern your proposition?”

He dropped his arm and brought it back to his side but did not step back. “I want you, but I want you as a willing participant, not in my bed because of force. Maybe I am blinded by my attraction to you, but when I look at you I see character and I see honor. I believe if we make a bargain you will stick to it, as I would.”

Vampire Trouble by Sara Humphreys

ORDER A COPY: Vampire Trouble (Dead in the City)

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publishing Date: July 1, 2014
Paperback: 320 pages

Rating: 4 stars

Shane Quesada, a four-century old vampire sentry, is known for cold, unemotional precision when hunting rogue vampires.

Maya Robertson is a youngling vampire who will not be controlled—and to prove it, she rejects Shane’s protection—only to find herself in over her head with an alpha werewolf.

Soon, a war between the coven and the werewolf clan ignites, and Maya and Shane flee to Louisiana, where their passion for each other grows—as does Maya’s power. When she finds herself at the center of the conflict, will she finally trust Shane with her life—and her heart?

Maya Robertson has been a vampire of only five years. She is a young vamp by immortal standards and like any other youngster, she has a problem keeping herself out of trouble. She does exactly what she is told not to do, she gets angry when she is told to behave by her maker and she likes to play with her food.

On the night of her turning, she was raped, beaten and left for dead in an alley. Since Olivia turned her, she has been plagued with nightmares of the night of her death. The constant feeling of powerlessness makes her seek out some control of her life. She often feeds from the type of men who would take advantage of a weaker female and then she toys with them. She is not happy when Olivia gives an order that they are not to hunt for awhile. Werewolves have come to town unannounced and uninvited and that can only mean trouble.

Of course, the first thing Maya wants to do is get a closer look at these werewolves. When she is almost attacked by one, it is 400-year-old Sentry, Shane Quesada, who steps in to take Maya by the hand to help the baby vampire grow up.

He knows that Maya’s best defense against the dreams is to fight off her attacker in her dreamscape, and in reality, to be able to fight off the werewolves who are now seeking her out. He takes Maya away to train her in self-defense and weapons. He know that once Maya feels confident enough that she can take care of herself,  she will finally be able to move beyond the past which still haunts her.

This is an enjoyable series and a quick read for anyone who likes paranormal romance. Understandably, Maya has issues with men when the story begins. We know from the first book that Maya likes to glamour and play with the human men she feeds from. We learn in the beginning of this story exactly why she does it. Still you do want to shake Maya in the beginning because she makes emotionally motivated decisions without thought. She is told to stay away from the werewolves, so of course she takes a new job at a club where they are hanging out. She is told not to trust them and to stay away from them, so of course she agrees to go to their hotel suite alone with the pack. *shake, shake, shake*

I liked Shane a lot until he starts to have the “I’m getting too obsessed with Maya to do my job” talk with himself, just after Maya starts to trust him, and we see her start to mature. Then it is our turn to start shaking Shane for being stupid.

This is the second story of the series and brings the second pair of Bloodmates to the series.  The supernatural world is already having a summit to discuss Olivia and Doug who are the first Bloodmates in forever.  The supe world is concerned about the fact that they can walk in the daylight, and have also created a child. Tensions are high as they await the birth of Olivia’s child, and with the supernatural world up in arms about what their bond could mean to the future of the supernatural world, a second pair is going to ratchet that concern way up.

Overall it was an enjoyable story and a good addition to the Dead in the City series.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

“I knew you like to watch.” Her voice, quiet and edged with bitterness, cut into the silence of the night. Maya spun around and stormy, dark blue eyes latched onto his. “Do you get off on that?”

“You are the one who challenged me to follow you.” Perplexed by her obvious anger at his presence, Shane knit his brows together. He inched closer, his gaze wandering over her face, memorizing every curve. “Or did you forget?”

Maya’s eyes widened with every inch of personal space that he invaded, yet she didn’t retreat. “I remember telling you and everyone else that I’m tired of having my every move monitored.” She placed her hands on her hips and met his challenging stare. “You’re a sentry and supposedly some badass warrior, but you’re spending the last hours of your night spying on me? What’s your deal? Are you trying to get brownie points with Doug and Olivia? Do you get some kind of bonus for following me around and messing with my life?


“Then what’s your damage, dude?”

“Actually”—Shane tilted his head slightly to one side and folded his arms over his chest—“that was going to be my question for you.”

“What?” Maya blinked and took a step back. “Me? What are you talking about?”

“Yes, you.” Shane leaned closer and his voice dropped low. “Why do you insist on hunting but barely feed on your prey?” Maya said nothing and took another step backward, but Shane persisted. He dropped his hands and continued moving toward her, even though she moved farther away.

“You only hunt men, and from what I’ve observed over the past few months, your taste in human men is…Well, let’s just say it’s questionable. You don’t just hunt, Maya. You court, seduce and lure them in much the way one would with a lover, and yet you clearly don’t love them. In fact, I’d say it’s quite the opposite.”

“I like the hunt.” Maya tilted her chin defiantly but gasped when she backed right into the trunk of a massive oak. “What’s wrong with that?” she whispered through trembling lips. “Besides, what would a stodgy old vampire like you know about love?”

“Nothing.” Shane place his hands against the tree on either side of Maya, caging her in. He leaned in so his face was just inches from hers. “I know little of love but I’m well schooled in hunting, whether it’s to feed or in battle. It’s not what you’re doing that intrigues me, Maya, but why you’re doing it.”

“I-I’m hunting, like any other vampire does.” Her voice lowered to a whisper, but the anger and defiance had been replaced by fear and uncertainty. “For the blood.”

“No.” Shane shook his head slowly. Brushing a lock of blond hair off her face, he ran his thumb along her jaw. Her skin was warm and smooth beneath his. Although vampires felt cool to the touch to humans, they felt warm to other vampires because their body temperatures were the same. Although Maya’s flesh seemed hotter and more enticing than any Shane had encountered.

He tiled her chin, forcing her to look him in the eye, and to his surprise, she didn’t resist. “If it were only about blood, youngling, then you would simply glamour a human, feed, and release him. No.” Shane traced the line of her full lower lip with the edge of his thumb, and sadness tugged at whatever was left of his heart. “We both know there is much more at play here than the need for blood.”

“Then spill it.” Maya’s features hardened, and her hands balled into fists at her sides. Dark blue eyes glittered up at him with fierce determination. “What is it that you think I’m after?”

Memories of Maya being dragged into the alley and the look of pure terror and helplessness in her eyes came roaring back—and in that instant he knew. He felt like a fool for not realizing it the moment he’d woken from the dreamscape. When the realization dawned, something deep inside him shattered into a million tiny pieces.

“Power,” Shane whispered. His fangs burst free, and Maya let out a gasp of pleasure. “Control.” He placed a gentle kiss at the corner of her mouth. “Domination.”

Friday Giveaway – Branded by Laura Wright

Friday giphy
Happy Friday, everyone! This was certainly a quieter week for me than last week even with the end of the school year. We now have to get ready for camp. :( This week’s giveaway is a Uncorrected Proof ARC of Branded by Laura Wright. If you like shirtless cowboys with a…oh man, it’s taken me this long to notice the branding iron. Branded, get it. Ha. If you like cowboys, this book is for you.

My question for you this week is — How do you like the GIF file which I attached to this week’s post?

For the most part I find them funny when added to an article. Some of the people who post on Goodreads over use them and will post 5 or 6 and it is not even a review, it is all about how happy they are a book is coming out. That’s when they start to piss me off, because its not just your 5, then the next post has 3, and the next has 4, and so on. So does the occasional GIF file make you happy or sad?

Giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years and older please. Giveaway ends Thursday, (OMG it’s July) July 3rd.

In the small town of River Black, Texas, sits the Triple C—a working cattle ranch that sustains the town. But it also holds painful memories and shocking secrets for the Cavanaugh brothers…

When the Cavanaugh brothers return home for their father’s funeral, they discover unexpected evidence of the old man’s surprising double life—a son named Blue, who wants the Triple C Ranch as much as they do. The eldest son, Deacon, a wealthy businessman who couldn’t wait to leave the ranch and move on with his life, is looking to use his powerful connections to stop Blue at any cost. He never expected the ranch’s forewoman, Mackenzie Byrd, to get in his way.

Mac knows Deacon means to destroy the ranch and therefore destroy her livelihood. But as the two battle for control, their attraction builds. Now Deacon is faced with the choice of a lifetime: Take down the Triple C to feed his need for revenge, or embrace the love of the one person who has broken down every barrier to his heart.

When Day Breaks by Maya Banks

ORDER A COPY: When Day Breaks (A KGI Novel)

Publisher: Berkley
Publishing Date: June 24, 2014
Paperback: 304 pages

Rating: 5 stars

Eden is said to be one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her face has graced countless magazines and her body has sold millions of dollars of clothing. But her fame and beauty has earned her more than she ever imagined. Evil is stalking her, determined to extinguish the ethereal beauty forever.

Swanson or “Swanny” as his teammates call him is always up for the next mission. He came back from Afghanistan wounded and scarred. Hardly the kind of man who even belongs in the same room with Eden. And yet there’s something about the quiet beauty that stirs his blood and makes him dream of the impossible. Because Beauty loving the beast only happens in fairy tales and KGI doesn’t deal in fairy tales. Ever.

Daryl Swanson, known to everyone as Swanny, was captured with Nathan Kelly and held by insurgents in Afghanistan.  He was starved, beaten and tortured for information. It was the miracle of Nathan’s wife, Shea, that allowed Nathan and Swanny to escape their prison. They survived their ordeal, but they not not unscathed. Both suffer from nightmares and scars, but unlike Nathan, Swanny cannot hide all of his scars. Swanny bears a jagged scar down the side of his face.

In their latest mission, Nathan and Swanny have been asked to protect the sister of one of their former platoon mates. Ryder used to share his letters and photos of his sister, Eden, with the men. She wasn’t someone that Swanny could easily forget. She had an inner beauty to match her outer beauty.

Now someone from her father’s past wants to hurt her, and Swanny isn’t going to let anyone get close enough to try.

As a model, Eden is surrounded by people who  are mostly just beautiful on the outside. Eden is intrigued by the quiet, soft-spoken man who keeps trying to hide his scar from her, yet she is drawn to his strength and bravery and she connects with him on a far deeper level than she has ever connected with anyone. He has an inner beauty that draws her in and opens her heart.

I don’t know that I have read a story with two more likable characters. We see the inner Swanny who is battling with nightmares and the insecurity of scarred face. He admits that the women haven’t been flocking to him since he returned from Afghanistan. He also remembers seeing pictures of Eden that her brother shared with them and he remembers thoughts of the beautiful woman that kept his warm on the coldest nights.  There is something between them from their first moments but he only sees himself as the Beast to her Beauty.

Eden is as sweet as she is beautiful and she sees Swanny for his inner beauty and admires his outer beauty as well, which only makes us like her more.

Since most of KGI have met their spouses on a mission, there was no tension with his teammates when a relationship starts to develop between Eden and Swanny.   In fact, the team is so happy that Eden sees more to Swanny than his scar, they are all but high fiving Eden every time she gives Swanny a look or boldly pursues him.

high five giphy

One interesting plot point that Maya doesn’t discuss but has me wondering is that Swanny has such strong gut feelings when things aren’t going right, so much so that his whole team trusts him and if he says “pull back” they don’t question, they pull back. I was wondering if this was attributed to the healing that was done to Swanny by way of Shea and Grace while he and Nathan were escaping their prison. They used a psychic link for Grace to heal his internal injuries, and although nothing is mentioned in the book, his strong feelings made me wonder if this was an aftereffect of that slight paranormal twist that Maya gave Nathan’s story, Whispers in the Dark. Hmmm.

I was put off by Donovan’s story which came out back in January, but I am loving the Swanny/Eden connection and yeah, yeah, there was exciting running from bad guys stuff, yada, yada, guns, whatever, but the Swanny/Eden story was absolutely sweet and addicting.

Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Scene:

“It’s not ugly,” she said in a sincere voice. “It’s a mark of courage. Of survival. I think you’re beautiful.”

He reared back his head, surprise flaring in his eyes. He stared at her like she’d lost her mind.

“Beautiful?” he said hoarsely. “You’re beautiful. Not me.”

She leaned in, knowing she was being bold—too bold—but she simply couldn’t resist showing him with more than words that his scar didn’t put her off in the least. She cupped his face and slid her fingers down the puckered ridges.

He flinched and tried to withdraw but she leaned further, following him back as she continued her gentle exploration.

“I disagree,” she murmured. “I think you’re beautiful. Strong. A warrior. Your scar is a badge of honor. You forget, my father and brothers served in either the military or the police force. They have scars. They don’t bother me in the least.”

Swanny looked at a complete loss for words, but he remained frozen in place. Then he leaned slightly into the palm of her hand as if he enjoyed her touch.

“Can I kiss you?” she whispered.

Shock registered in his eyes She knew she was being forward. Practically forcing herself on this man. But she knew he felt it too. This inexplicable pull between them. She wasn’t imagining it.

“We shouldn’t,” he began. But she hushed him by fitting her mouth to his.

He let out a low groan and she licked over his lips, pushing gently so he’d open his mouth to her advance. And then, as she’d hoped, he took control of the kiss.

He pulled her into his lap, deepening the kiss, sliding his tongue across her in a gentle exploration. Her body molded to his perfectly. She leaned into him, enjoying the hard wall of muscle against her much softer body.

She was tall, nearly five-ten, but he was still a head taller than her. If they were standing her head would tuck perfectly underneath his chin and she’d only have to angle her mouth up a bit to kiss him.

She was the first to break the kiss but she wasn’t finished. Not yet. She started at the corner of his mouth where the scar began and she kissed a gentle line over the entire puckered slash that ended close to his eye.

“You are beautiful,” she whispered. “To me, you are.”

He framed her shoulders in his hands and pulled her away, regret simmering in his eyes. But there was also answering desire. He actually picked her up and deposited her back onto the sofa and then backed off, standing a distance away.

“That shouldn’t have happened,” he said hoarsely.

He dragged a hand raggedly through his hair and looked away.

“Besides the fact that my job is to protect you, you’re so far out of my league it’s not even funny. I don’t even exist on the same plane as you.”

Her eyes narrowed as she stared back at him, unwilling to give an inch.

“Don’t you think it’s me who gets to decide who’s in my league?”

“A woman like you doesn’t have to go slumming,” he said bluntly. “You could have any man you want.”

“Apparently not,” she murmured, looking pointedly at him.

He stared back at her in clear confusion. “Why me?”

She smiled ruefully. “Attraction doesn’t follow a set of rules, you know. But I know that I don’t look at the others like I look at you. I don’t feel any chemistry with them, or anyone else for that matter. Can you deny that you feel it too?”


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