Sweet Surprises by Shirlee McCoy – a Review

Sweet Surprises by Shirlee McCoy – a Review


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In Benevolence, Washington, the Lamont family’s delectable handmade chocolates are a precious tradition–and always a reason to return home. And for the most rebellious of the three Lamont sisters, they provide a chance to create a tempting new future, complete with delicious happiness…

Neighbors always ready to help, a laid-back pace–former model Brenna Lamont needs everything that once made her leave her hometown. To help her pregnant sister Addie, Brenna is back to run the family store, Chocolate Haven, and figure out how to start over. But she just can’t make the one-of-a-kind Lamont fudge…or make herself really fit in. And with handsome restaurateur River Maynard causing her troubles to boil over big time, can Brenna risk going after what she really wants?

River already has his hands full helping his ailing foster mother save her ranch for troubled children. He’s got no time for anything but reality and hard choices. But somehow, a daily dose of Lamont chocolates is helping his mom feel better. And Brenna’s kindness and warmth is making him hungry for an unexpected new dream only she and Benevolence’s magical sweetness can make come true . . .




Sweet Surprises by Shirlee McCoy is the 2nd book in her Home Sweet Home series. Brenna Lamont is returning home to Benevolence, a small town in Washington.  Brenna is coming home to help her grandfather run Chocolate Haven.  What no one knows is that Brenna is in dire straits, with her fiancée running off with another woman, and taking every penny of her money.  Forced to close her successful business and lifestyle, and unable to pay bills, Brenna heads home determined not to let her family know the truth.  All they know is she was dumped by her fiancée.

River Maynard, our hero, is now home helping his foster mother recover from a stroke and help keep her ranch running.  River, who has a successful restaurant business in another state, wants to convince Belinda to sell the ranch and come live with him.  There are a number of others who live with Belinda, helping her, whom River is not really happy about.  They all are either homeless or wayward teenagers who have major issues, which Belinda overlooks, as she gives them a home.  However, River sees them as more trouble than help.

Brenna will find working at Chocolate Haven more difficult then she imagined, especially in creating the famous fudge, which she cannot recreate much to her frustration.  She meets River, whom she remembers from her school days, and a friendship begins.  River will help Brenna with the chocolate (not the fudge, since it’s a secret recipe) preparation on many evenings, utilizing his expertise as a chef.  The attraction between them builds slowly, and they made a great couple.  River begins to suspect that Brenna is in a more dire situation then she has let on to others, and he will eventually learn the truth about her ex fiancee.  Will Brenna be able to overcome her fears of loving someone, and trust River?  Will River, who is falling hard for Brenna, be willing to stay in Benevolence? 

In the midst of their budding romance, is a mystery of vandalism against Brenna and the Chocolate Haven.   Sweet Surprises was a nice story, with a very likable couple.  It was nice to see some of those from the first book, and we met a lot of interesting new characters. The ending left things open for the next book, which is another mystery surrounding Brenna’s sister Willow.  I would have liked more closure on some things left partially open.  I suspect Willow will be the lead in the next book. If you enjoy small town romances, family atmosphere, sweet likeable couple, as well a nice story line; I suggest you read Sweet Surprises.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher




Repressed (Deadly Secrets #1) by Elisabeth Naughton-a review

REPRESSED (Deadly Secrets #1) by Elisabeth Naughton-a review


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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 26, 2016

Hidden Falls is exactly as Samantha Parker left it—small, insular, and prone to gossip. Eighteen years have passed since she witnessed her brother’s murder, but she’s still the talk of the town. Until a handsome child psychologist with haunting memories of his own arrives.

Dr. Ethan McClane isn’t exactly a newcomer. If it weren’t for his latest case, he’d never set foot back in Hidden Falls. Thankfully, no one seems to recognize him as the troubled teen from years past. Not even Sam, the delightfully sharp and sexy high school chemistry teacher he can’t stop thinking about.

When Sam and Ethan work together to help one of her students, sparks ignite. But Sam’s hazy memories of a long-ago night concern Ethan, and unlocking the repressed images reveals a dark connection between them. As the horrors of the past finally come to light, their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger. A killer will strike again to keep an ugly secret hidden, and this time no one will be safe.


REVIEW: REPRESSED is the first installment in Elisabeth Naughton’s adult, contemporary DEADLY SECRETS romantic, suspense series. This is psychologist Dr. Ethan McClane, and high school chemistry teacher Samantha Parker’s story line.

Told from several third person perspectives REPRESSED follows Samantha Parker on her return to her childhood home in Hidden Falls where her mother has died following an lengthy illness. Eighteen years earlier, Samantha had witnessed the murder of her older brother Seth but a recurring nightmare reveals something more sinister was witnessed that night-something Samantha no longer remembers about the ‘cabin in the woods’. Enter Dr. Ethan McClane, a child psychologist and advocate hired to check into a local student, and a man who knows more about Samantha’s past than our heroine is able to remember. What ensues is the building relationship between Ethan and Samantha, and the threats and attacks against our heroine by an unknown source. Samantha begins to believe that the man with whom she is falling in love, may be responsible for a number of the current attacks.

The relationship between Ethan and Samantha is quick to build. Ethan is on assignment in the town he never thought to return. Samantha is the woman who steals his heart and his love but Ethan and Samantha’s paths crossed years before and Samantha is unaware of their past connection. As Ethan prepares for the inevitable fall out of his secreted past, Samantha begins to doubt the man that she loves. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense.

There is a large ensemble cast of characters all centered in and around Hidden Falls. Eighteen years of secrets involving everyone from the sheriff’s department to the local newspaper editor, and someone running for political office adds a series of twist and turns to a story about one woman and her struggle to move forward following the death of her beloved brother.

The world building focuses on secrets and lies, and a past that comes full circle with the return of Samantha Parker and Ethan McClane. The premise is suspenseful with several easily deduced twists and turns; the characters are animated, colorful and an eclectic mix of small town gossips, bullies and power hungry thugs; the romance is captivating and passionate. Elisabeth Naughton’s REPRESSED is an entertaining story of mystery and romance with a little bit of small town mentality thrown into the mix.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne – Review, Tour & Giveaway

To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne – Review, Tour & Giveaway


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Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning… is theirs?





To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne is the 1st book in her new Wedding Belles series.   When I had read the prequel novella leading to this series, I knew I had to read this book.  I am happy to say I wasn’t wrong, as I loved To Have and To Hold.

We meet Brooke Baldwin, our heroine, as she arrives in New York to begin her new job as a wedding planner for The Wedding Belles.  Brooke is also running away from the her Los Angeles life, where her fiancée was arrested at the altar of her own wedding.   It seems he wasn’t the man she thought he was, as he was a con man involved in a ponzi scheme.  Though she is will happily help women plan their weddings, Brooke will not allow herself to trust or fall for any man.

Enter Seth Tyler, a wealthy hotel magnate, who decides to join his sister and her fiancée when they meet with Brooke to begin to plan the wedding.   Seth does not trust Maya’s  (his sister) fiancée, and plans to be there every step of the way, as he feels she is his responsibility after the loss of their father months ago.   Seth was early for the meeting, and Brooke at first thinks he is the groom, and is somewhat mortified that she has an immediate attraction to him.  Of course, by the time the meeting is over, both Seth and Brooke do not like each other, as they constantly trade barbs.

What follows is a romance between two people who ignore their chemistry, and have no intentions of every getting into any serious relationships.   Brooke is independent, strong, and vulnerable; Seth is used to being totally in control and doing things his way.  They clashed early on, but neither one of them can stop thinking about each other.   Seth will get Brooke to help him keep an eye on things with his sister  and report back to him, and in doing so, will try to win her over.  They were really great together, lots of fun with their bantering, and in time, their sexual chemistry was hot.  There was also the concern if Seth be able to discover if Maya’s fiancée was true blue, and if Brooke can come to terms with the man who left her at the altar. 

I loved meeting the ladies of The Wedding Belles, and how quickly Brooke fit in.  They were also very supportive to her, making her life easier in her move to New York.  It is always fun to watch the prospective brides make decisions of gown, hall, etc.  I also loved the other secondary characters of this story, especially Maya and Grant. 

Lauren Layne has written a fabulous story, with a wonderful couple, great secondary characters and a romance that had us rooting hard for.  I loved the premise of Wedding Belles, and look forward to the other ladies finding the man of their dreams.   Lauren Layne is now being added to my list of authors that are automatic reads.  I suggest you read To Have and to Hold.  You won’t be sorry, as  I enjoyed it so much, I read it in one day, since I could not put it down.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

about the author

Lauren Layne
Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of the Sex, Love, and Stiletto contemporary romances and the all-new Pocket Books series The Wedding Belles. She lives in New York with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. Visit laurenlayne.com, meet the author on Facebook at LaurenLayneAuthor, or follow her on Twitter @_LaurenLayne.




We are excited to do a Wedding Belles Bouquet Giveaway to celebrate the publication of the first in the series, TO HAVE AND TO HOLD. The Wedding Belles Bouquet will include To Have and to Hold (7/26), For Better or Worse (8/30), and To Love and to Cherish (10/18). You can visit all sites on the blog tour to enter to win the Wedding Belles Bouquets – but keep in mind you can only win once! U.S. only. Each winner will receive one copy of each book during the week of its publication date.

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3. LIKE Lauren Layne  on Facebook

4. Giveaway open US only

5. Giveaway runs from July 26 to July 30, 2016


Blog Tour Schedule

Sunday, July 24th

Romance Junkies


Monday, July 25th

Fresh Fiction

Authors in the Air

Pam Stack

Authors in the Air Global Radio Network

Book Review Crew

The Librarian


Tuesday, July 26th

Book Reader Chronicles

Dirty and Thirty

The Reading Café

Wednesday, July 27th

Reviews by Crystal

Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers

Abigail Books Addiction

Thursday, July 28th

Book Reviews by Tima

Live to Read

Books & Boys Book Blog

Friday, July 29th

Four Chicks Flipping Pages

Stuck in Books

Mrs. Leif’s Two Fangs About It









Don’t Let Go by Jaci Burton – Review & Giveaway

Don’t Let Go by Jaci Burton – Review & Giveaway


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Don’t Let Go
Hope series – Book #6
by Jaci Burton
Release Date: July 26, 2016

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Brady Conners is hardly the settling type, but when tragedy strikes in his family, he has no choice but to return home to Hope, Oklahoma. Setting up shop to work on custom motorcycles and pass the time, Brady has no intention of letting anyone get close—until he meets Megan.

Pastry shop owner Megan Lee is drawn to quiet, brooding Brady. Their connection is undeniable, and it quickly develops from physical attraction into something much stronger. But with Brady putting up barriers, Megan is afraid to truly open her heart—unless she can convince him to let go of the past…



Don’t Let Go by Jaci Burton is the 6th book in her wonderful Hope series.  The Hope series is another of those wonderful small town romances that revolve around families; not to mention you can never go wrong reading any of Jaci Burton’s romances. 

Brady Conners, our hero, is a loner. He gets along with everyone in town, but tends to shy away from any attention.  Brady lost his brother awhile ago, and though his brother died of a drug overdose, he still feels responsible.  Slowly, despite his determination to not get involved, Brady does begin to enjoy the company of Megan Lee, our heroine, who owns the local bakery.  Megan is a wonderful heroine, always bubbly, friendly and determined to get Brady to open up.  She has always found him to be attractive, but she does have her work cut out for her.

What follows is a slow build romance that with Megan’s persistence to push Brady’s buttons, and the little dog that Brady is forced to adopt, he will slowly melt his hardened heart.  Brady has to overcome his issue of blaming himself for his brother’s death, and allowing him not to shy away from the best thing that has ever happened to him….Megan.   I loved seeing all the people from the previous books, which included all the McCormacks, and getting updates on them, as a few of them are now pregnant.  It was nice to see Megan be able to rely on their friendship to  help her through some of the difficult times ahead for her and Brady.

I always enjoy revisiting Hope, as the characters Jaci Burton has created are fun, romantic, and sexy.  I love the family dynamics and the friendships that make this a special series.  I will say that I did think this book had more sex scenes then the previous books, but Brady and Megan were a great sexy couple.  If you enjoy small town romances,  great couples, friendships, family, cute dogs, then you should be reading this series. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

Jaci’s publisher is offering a paper copy of DON’T LET GO to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Waking Up With a Billionaire (Overnight Billionaires #3) by Katie Lane-a review

WAKING UP WITH A BILLIONAIRE (The Overnight Billionaires #3) by Katie Lane-a review

Waking Up With a Billionaire

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About the book: Release Date July 26, 2016

He can have anything he wants…except her

Famed artist Grayson Beaumont is the most elusive of the billionaire Beaumont brothers. He has a reputation for seducing any woman with only a look, word, or sensual stroke of his brush. But now Grayson has lost all his desire to paint . . . unless he can find a muse to unlock his creative-and erotic-imagination.

Chloe knew she might have to shed her clothes when she agreed to pose for the celebrated artist, but she wasn’t expecting to shed all her inhibitions as well. Under his intense scrutiny, there’s nothing she can hide…including a secret from her past that, once exposed, will change how he looks at her forever.


REVIEW: WAKING UP WITH A BILLIONAIRE is the third and final (?) installment in Katie Lane’s adult, contemporary THE OVERNIGHT BILLIONAIRES erotic, romance series focusing on the Beaumont siblings–Deacon, Nash and Grayson Beaumont; three brothers from the Louisiana Bayou who inherited controlling stocks in their uncle’s dying business-French Kiss Lingerie. This is French Kiss Lingerie co-owner and artist Grayson ‘Romeo’ Beaumont, and Chloe McAlister’s story line. We were first introduced to Chloe in the previous story line wherein our heroine finds herself on the run from more than an abusive ex. WAKING UP WITH A BILLIONAIRE can be read as a stand alone but for cohesion and backstory, I recommend reading the series in order.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Grayson and Chloe) WAKING UP WITH A BILLIONAIRE focuses on the building relationship between artist and painter Grayson Beaumont-one of the co-owners of French Kiss Lingerie, and Chloe McAlister- a young woman running from her past. For six months Grayson has been in an artistic slump. He has lost his ‘muse’, and is suffering from ‘painter’s block’ but when his brother Deacon needs time off with the arrival of his first born, and his other brother Nash is honeymooning on a tropical island, Grayson finds himself the man in control of French Kiss Lingerie when Chloe McAlister walks back into his life. Chloe is in desperate need of a quick influx of cash, and has reconsidered Grayson’s request to pose for a nude painting by our story line hero. What ensues is the push and pull, back and forth of attraction and sexual energy between two people whose lives connected six months earlier. Chloe is on the run; her past has caught up; and our heroine finds herself Grayson’s prisoner as he steps in to protect her from her past and herself.

WAKING UP WITH A BILLIONAIRE is a story line fraught with betrayal, secrets, lies and misunderstanding. The relationship between Chloe and Grayson struggles as Grayson is unable to move forward but Chloe is a woman determined to help save the man with whom she is falling in love. Grayson is a man unable to let go of the past-a past whose memories are no longer in reach. The $ex scenes are erotic, intense and seductive.

All of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles including Deacon and Olivia (A Billionaire Between the Sheets), and Nash and Eden (A Billionaire After Dark), as well as the Beaumont patriarch Donny John: PA Kelly and her new husband/lawyer Jason struggle with their attempts at starting a family; and Eden’s hippie grandparents whose love of ‘magical brownies’ is humorous and fun. The reader is witness to Deacon and Nash’s continuing stories as they begin the next step on their journey of life.

WAKING UP WITH A BILLIONAIRE is an intriguing story; an emotional and heartbreaking tale about one woman whose life was destroyed six years earlier; and about one man who is desperate to reclaim what was lost. There are moments of pain and loss; drama and revenge; falling in love and letting go of the past. The premise is engaging and enjoyable; the characters are passionate, refreshing and animated; the romance is fated and challenging. The epilogue fast forwards several years where we get a glimpse into the expanding Beaumont family and the sibling dynamics.

Reading Order and previous reviews
A Billionaire Between the Sheets
A Billionaire After Dark
Waking Up With a Billionaire

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward – Dual Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward – Dual Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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The Angels’ Share
Bourbon Kings series – Book #2
by J.R. Ward
Release Date: July 26, 2016

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In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…

No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.

Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?



Barb’s Review

Warning: If you have not read the first book in this series, there may be spoilers.

Angels’ Share by J.R. Ward is the 2nd book in her Bourbon Kings series. Angels’ Share begins where The Bourbon Kings left off; William Baldwine, the Bradford/Baldwine family patriarch, is dead, having committed suicide.  As the family prepares for the funeral, there is no sadness, nor mourning, since he  was an evil man, whom just about everyone hated.  Lane and Lizzie continue to be the center focus point of this story.

Lane is out of his element, with the family and their Bourbon business facing financial ruin due to their father’s staggering hidden dealings.  Lizzie will step up and take control of the house, the staff and do what she can to give Lane the support he needs.  I really do love them together. 

Lane will bring in his college roommate to help in trying to decipher the financial mess, as well as helping him take control of the business.  Angels’ Share continues to be an intense family saga, with the return of most of the main characters we have come to know from the first book.  There are a few twists, and everything changes early on when murder is suspected, which will add the element of mystery to the story.

What makes Angels’ Share so good is the complex characters Ward has created, not to mention all the secrets, lies, deceit, as well as romance throughout the book.  As much as I love Lane and Lizzie, I also love Edward, who has suffered so much because of his despicable father.  Edward is damaged both physically and mentally, but he remains loyal to his family, even if he wants nothing to do with the business or family affairs.  He continues to keep his distance from the mansion, as he lives on a ranch.  But we cannot help see how he is hurting, especially in his love of Sutton; but Edward feels that he is not the man he used to be and is not worthy of her.  I so want them to find a way to make it together and Edward to somehow get strong again.  Will this happen?  At this time, the chances are very slim, especially after the ending.

Again, Ward has created a fabulous cast of characters: Gin, the snobbish sister, who slowly might be changing for the better; Samuel, the lawyer, who loves Gin, but thinks she is too spoiled to trust her with his heart; Miss Aurora, the woman who brought them up, whom they all look at as their true mother; Sutton, she is the strong successful independent woman, who I pray will save Edward; Chantal, the ex-wife, good riddance; Max, the missing brother who returns home, and I cannot wait to find out more; Amelia, Gin’s daughter also returns home, and I would love to know about her too.

Angels’ Share is a wonderful continuation to this family saga of a wealthy successful family facing ruin, in more ways than one.  The story is well written, with many surprises, intrigue and the romance between Lane and Lizzie has gotten even better.  We watch as the family members grow as their lives change, and a bond begins to bring them closer as disaster threatens.   I cannot wait for the next book to come out.  If you enjoy family saga stories, you need to read this, as J.R. Ward is writing an addicting series.


Sandy’s Review

THE ANGEL’S SHARE is the second installment in J.R. Ward’s adult, contemporary, dramatic series focusing on the uber rich Bradford/Baldwine family of Charlemont, Kentucky- a bourbon dynasty family whose beautiful façade hides many dark and dangerous secrets. Although no one particular couple is the star THE ANGEL’S SHARE is an ensemble story line that looks at the aftermath from the apparent suicide of the Baldwine patriarch, and the investigation into millions of dollars in missing money.

Told from several third person points of view including Baldwine/Bradford siblings Lane, Edward and Gin, THE ANGEL’S SHARE focuses on the search for the truth behind the apparent suicide of William Wyatt Baldwine-the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company. The resulting death slowly reveals the dark secrets, lies, betrayals and illegitimate heirs of a man beloved by no one, despised by all. Edward, as the eldest son has been broken by his father-destroyed in body and soul by a man with a black heart and a darker soul; Lane is the man who will struggle to keep the family heritage up and running; Gin is a woman who has given up and is willing to risk her life to save her family. Deals will be made, secrets will be revealed, lives will be destroyed in the process. THE ANGEL’S SHARE is not a story of romance but of a family, passionate in their beliefs, who are struggling to gain some semblance of control over their business and their lives.

The Bourbon Kings is a modern day story akin to the 1980s Dallas and Dynasty-the uber rich families, their friends and the hidden secrets locked behind closed doors, addiction and lies. Death is an escape from the mayhem; to love is a struggle met with misunderstanding and betrayal. Once again, romance took a back seat to the family drama and investigation, and to the impending collapse of the bourbon dynasty. J.R. Ward writes an amazing tale of betrayal, struggle and loss for one family whose lives have imploded beneath a mountain of secrets and lies.




Toyota trucks were not supposed to go seventy-five miles an hour. Especially when they were ten years old.

At least the driver was wide awake, even though it was four a.m.

Lizzie King had a death grip on the steering wheel, and her foot on the accelerator was actually catching floor as she headed for a rise in the highway.

She had woken up in her bed at her farmhouse alone. Ordinarily, that would have been the status quo, but not anymore, not now that Lane was back in her life. The wealthy playboy and the estate’s gardener had finally gotten their act together, love bonding two unlikelies closer and stronger than the molecules of a diamond.

And she was going to stand by him, no matter what the future held.

After all, it was so much easier to give up extraordinary wealth when you had never known it, never aspired to it—and especially when you had seen behind its glittering curtain to the sad, desolate desert on the far side of the glamour and prestige.

God, the stress Lane was under.

And so out of bed she had gotten. Down the creaking stairs she had gone. And all around her little house’s first floor she had wandered.

When Lizzie had looked outside, she’d discovered his car was missing, the Porsche he drove and parked beside the maple by her front porch nowhere to be seen. And as she had wondered why he had left without telling her, she had begun to worry.

Just a matter of nights since his father had killed himself, only a matter of days since William Baldwine’s body had been found on the far side of the Falls of the Ohio. And ever since then Lane’s face had had a faraway look, his mind churning always with the missing money, the divorce papers he had served on the rapacious Chantal, the status of the household bills, the precarious situation at the Bradford Bourbon Company, his brother Edward’s terrible physical condition, Miss Aurora’s illness.

But he hadn’t said a thing about any of it. His insomnia had been the only sign of the pressure, and that was what scared her. Lane always made an effort to be composed around her, asking her about her work in Easterly’s gardens, rubbing her bad shoulder, making her dinner, usually badly, but who cared. Ever since they had gotten the air cleared between them and had fully recommitted to their relationship, he had all but moved into her farmhouse—and as much as she loved having him with her, she had been waiting for the implosion to occur.

It would almost have been easier if he had been ranting and raving.

And now she feared that time had come—and some sixth sense made her terrified about where he had gone. Easterly, the Bradford Family Estate, was the first place she thought of. Or maybe the Old Site, where his family’s bourbon was still made and stored. Or perhaps Miss Aurora’s Baptist church?

Yes, Lizzie had tried him on his phone. And when the thing had rung on the table on his side of the bed, she hadn’t waited any longer after that. Clothes on. Keys in hand. Out to the truck.

No one else was on I-64 as she headed for the bridge to get across the river, and she kept the gas on even as she crested the hill and hit the decline to the river’s edge on the Indiana side. In response, her old truck picked up even more speed along with a death rattle that shook the wheel and the seat, but the damn Toyota was going to hold it together because she needed it to.

“Lane . . . where are you?”

God, all the times she had asked him how he was and he’d said, “Fine.” All those opportunities to talk that he hadn’t taken her up on. All the glances she’d shot him when he hadn’t been looking her way, all the time her monitoring for signs of cracking or strain. And yet there had been little to no emotion after that one moment they’d had together in the garden, that private, sacred moment when she had sought him out under the blooms of the fruit trees and told him that she’d gotten it wrong about him, that she had misjudged him, that she was prepared to make a pledge to him with the only thing she had: the deed to her farmhouse—which was exactly the kind of asset that could be sold to help pay for the lawyers’ fees as he fought to save his family.

Lane had held her, and told her he loved her—and refused her gift, explaining he was going to fix everything himself, that he was going to somehow find the stolen money, pay back the enormous debt, right the company, resurrect his family’s fortunes.

And she had believed him.

She still did.

But ever since then? He had been both as warm and closed off as a space heater, physically present and completely disengaged at the same time.

Lizzie did not blame him in the slightest.

It was strangely terrifying, however.

Off in the distance, across the river, Charlemont’s business district glowed and twinkled, a false, earthbound galaxy that was a lovely lie, and the bridge that connected the two shores was still lit up in spring green and bright pink for Derby, a preppy rainbow to that promised land. The good news was that there was no traffic, so as soon as Lizzie was on the other side, she could take the River Road exit off the highway, shoot north to Easterly’s hill, and see if his car was parked in front of the mansion.
Then she didn’t know what she was going to do.

The newly constructed bridge had three lanes going in both directions, the concrete median separating east from west tall and broad for safety purposes. There were rows of white lights down the middle, and everything was shiny, not just from the illumination, but a lack of exposure to the elements. Construction had only finished in March, and the first lines of traffic had made the crossing in early April, cutting rush-hour delays down—

Up ahead, parked in what was actually the “slow” lane, was a vehicle that her brain recognized before her eyes properly focused on it.

Lane’s Porsche. It was Lane’s—

Lizzie nailed the brake pedal harder than she’d been pounding the accelerator, and the truck made the transition from full-force forward to full-on stop with the grace of a sofa falling out a second-story window: Everything shuddered and shook, on the verge of structural disintegration, and worse, there was barely any change in velocity, as if her Toyota had worked too hard to gain the speed and wasn’t going to let the momentum go without a fight—

There was a figure on the edge of the bridge. On the very farthest edge of the bridge. On the lip of the bridge over the deadly drop.

“Lane,” she screamed. “Lane!”

Her truck went into a spin, pirouetting such that she had to wrench her head around to keep him in her sights. And she jumped out before the Toyota came to a full stop, leaving the gearshift in neutral, the engine running, the door open in her wake.

“Lane! No! Lane!”

Lizzie pounded across the pavement and surmounted barriers that seemed flimsy, too flimsy, given the distance down to the river.

Lane jerked his head around—

And lost one hold of the rail behind him.

As his grip slipped, shock registered on his face, a flash of surprise . . . that was immediately replaced by horror.

When he fell off into nothing but air.

Lizzie’s mouth could not open wide enough to release her scream.


About the Author 2


JR Ward (dog)J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 15 million novels in print published in 25 different countries around the world. The books in her popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series have held the #1 spot on the New York Times hardcover, mass market, eBook, and combined print/eBook fiction bestseller lists and have debuted in the top 5 on the USA Today bestseller list. Prior to her writing career, Ward worked as a lawyer in Boston and spent many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard’s world-renowned academic medical centers. Ward currently lives with her family in Kentucky where she has learned to enjoy and appreciate all things Southern. Connect with her online at www.jrward.com, Facebook.com/JRWardBooks, and Twitter.com/JRWard1.



J.R. and her publisher are graciously offering a hardcover copy of THE ANGELS’ SHARE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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The Mud Dance by Neil Grimmett-a review

THE MUD DANCE by Neil Grimmett-a review

The Mud Dance

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / Amazon.uk/

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 20,2016

When drummer Kenny meets piano prodigy Larry at school, they form their first band, The Pretty Horses, which is later renamed Marine Light. From their early gigs in rural Somerset with a taste of regional recognition to international touring, the two friends blaze their way through the rock and roll scene of the 1970s. Propelled by the promise of fame, sex, and drugs, the lifestyle begins to take its toll on both of them. Ego trips, hangers on, groupies, and warring band members see Kenny and Larry stretch to breaking point.

As cracks start to show in their band and their relationship, Kenny is forced to question the character of the person he’s called his best friend and begins to wonder about their uncertain future. Larry has always had a dark side, but how deep does it go?

Set in the heyday of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath, The Mud Dance follows passionate musicians and friends from their well-intentioned beginnings, through to fame, and beyond.


REVIEW: THE MUD DANCE by the late Neil Grimmett is a stand alone story focusing on friendship, music, obsession and addiction. Told from first person point of view (Kenny) between the past and the present, THE MUD DANCE follows best friends Kenny and Larry who met at school in the 1970s, forming their first band leading the duo to a series of successes and failures with each incarnation of their British rock group. Kenny, as the drummer, stayed true to his calling but Larry was a man troubled in both mind and heart. What ensues is the back and forth, tumultuous relationship between two friends that does not end with a happily ever after.

Neil Grimmett’s THE MUD DANCE looks at the turbulent 70s era of rock and roll-the drugs, the groupies, the pressure to be number one, and the people pushing behind the scenes. Although many survived the upheaval, others were unable to overcome their own demons and the encroaching darkness. THE MUD DANCE is a fated tale of friendship, betrayal, and the madness of perfection and the shattered mind. The premise is a slow build; a dramatic, intense and tragic story. The characters are ill-fated and passionate but in the end, life is fleeting if balancing on the proverbial edge.

Copy supplied by the publisher

Reviewed by Sandy


Going Down Easy (Billionaire Bad Boys #1) by Carly Phillips-a review

GOING DOWN EASY (Billionaire Bad Boys #1) by Carly Phillips-a review

Going Down Easy

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM / ibooks/ Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 19, 2016

Meet Kaden Barnes.

Alpha-licious in the most unexpected ways, Kaden Barnes always gets what he wants.

Enigmatic and exacting, he’s unable to keep an assistant for long. Until Lexie Parker arrives. She’s no-nonsense, efficient and all business… She’s also hot as sin and soon starring in Kaden’s dirtiest fantasies.

When their passion for each other reaches a boiling point, Kaden may think he’s calling the shots, but for this billionaire bad boy, going down easy has never felt so good.


REVIEW: GOING DOWN EASY is the first installment in Carly Phillips’ contemporary, adult BILLIONAIRE BAD BOYS erotic, romance series-a spin off from her DARE TO LOVE SERIES. This is billionaire app developer Kaden Barnes, and PA Lexie Parker’s story line.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Kade and Lexie) GOING DOWN EASY follows the building but forbidden office romance between billionaire businessman Kaden Barnes, and his new PA Lexie Parker. Lexie is in desperate need of a job following her sister’s latest spiral out of control, and the position of PA to Kaden Barnes is perfect for our story line heroine until the sexual attraction becomes too hot to handle. Giving into their desires, Kaden and Lexie begin an office romance but personal issues in both of their lives bring the romance to an early end. Kaden is being sued by a former business partner, and Lexie’s sister’s bipolar disorder is dangerously out of control.

The relationship between Lexie and Kaden begins professionally but Kaden soon discovers that his PA is a spitfire; a take charge woman he needs in both his professional and personal life.; and a woman who stands up to the man with whom she is falling in love. Lexie is a woman determined to keep her job and an office affair could mean a loss of income and respect. What ensues is a sexual relationship that is destroyed when a lack of trust and mistaken beliefs overpower feelings and emotions. The $ex scenes are erotic and provocative.

We are introduced to Kaden’s business partners Derek West and Luke Monroe, as well as former friend Julian Dane- a man determined to destroy both Kaden’s personal and professional life. Wade Parker, Lexie’s long suffering father needs to step up and take responsibility for his family; and Lexie’s twin sister Kendall is a woman desperately searching for direction in her life.

The world building focuses on the relationship between Lexie and Kade, business partnerships, as well as issues of mental illness, recovery and the affects on family and friends.

GOING DOWN EASY is a relatable story on so many levels. The reality of mental illness is woven into the story as part of every day life. The premise is intelligent and encouraging; the characters are intimate and inspiring; the romance is passionate, sexual and intense. GOING DOWN EASY is a well written, evenly paced love story between two people whose lives are more similar than not.

Copy supplied by the tour promoter.

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author

Carly PhillipsAfter a successful fifteen-year career with various New York publishing houses, and over 40 sexy contemporary romance novels published, N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Carly Phillips is now an Indie author who writes to her own expectations and that of her readers. She continues the tradition of hot men and strong women and plans to publish many more sizzling stories. Carly lives in Purchase, NY with her family, two nearly adult daughters and two crazy dogs who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. She’s a writer, a knitter of sorts, a wife, and a mom. In addition, she’s a Twitter and Internet junkie and is always around to interact with her readers. You can find out more about Carly at www.carlyphillips.com.

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