When I Need You (Need You #4) by Lorelei James-Review & Giveaway

When I Need You (Need You #4) by Lorelei James-Review & Giveaway

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WHEN I NEED YOU
Need You #4
by Lorelei James
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic,romance

When I Need You

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 25, 2017

Rules are tossed aside when a pro football player join forces with a spitfire cheerleading coach in New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James’s brand-new romance…

Heir to Lund Enterprises and ladies’ man Jensen “The Rocket” Lund has three conditions when it comes to dating:
1) No single mothers
2) No cheerleaders
3) No medical personnel
So it makes no sense that he’s wildly attracted to Rowan Michaels, who breaks all three.

Rowan Michaels didn’t pass the rigorous requirements to become an athletic trainer and Vikings cheerleader in the hopes of landing a pro athlete: been there, done that, and she has a young son as proof that football players and fidelity don’t go hand in hand. When Rowan learns her new neighbor is Jensen Lund, the smoking-hot tight end who takes being neighborly to a whole new level, she’s grateful for the team’s strict “no fraternization” policy because the sexy man defines temptation.

But Jensen is intent on rushing straight to the goal line to prove to Rowan he’s much more than just a player…on and off the field.

••••••••

REVIEW: When I Need You begins with Jensen Lund’s chance encounter with a little boy running a little wild in the hallway of his apartment building. Unknown to Jensen, his best buddy, who lives across the hall, has sub-leased his apartment to his sister, Rowan. A couple of things come to mind: why didn’t Jensen know about said sister AND why didn’t he know about said sister being hot. Although their initial meeting was a bit awkward, it doesn’t take long for Jensen and Rowan to develop a friendship. And, friendship is all either of them have time for. Jensen has been rehabbing for the last year, hoping and praying that he will get medical clearance to return to his team, and has made this is sole focus. Rowan, being a single mother to her son, Calder, as well as a full time job (and a part time job as well!) has a full plate too.

What follows is a beautifully written story of friendship, acceptance and a truly believable love story. Jensen is a character with depth, who not only loves his family, but has a big heart that’s ready to settle down, even though he didn’t quite know that until his chance encounter with Rowan. Now, about Rowan. I LOVED everything about her. She is not a whiny, oh poor me, single mother. She is not so stand-offish that she comes across as a man hater. She DOES, however, put her son, and (SURPRISE!), herself before anything else. Yes, her son is her main focus, and she does lose her way a bit when it comes to letting her hair down, but when she finally figures out that it’s okay, she hits her stride. When these two finally trust in their feelings for each other, you feel that anything is possible. I also loved that their romance was slow to build. Yes, they were attracted to each other, but it took a bit for their true romance to build.

The secondary characters are well written and definitely leave you wanting more. The Lund family this series is written around is a triple threat: loving, forgiving and funny at times. Yes, they’re mega-wealthy, but if there is such a thing as being grounded billionaires, it would be the Lunds. I have loved everything I’ve ready by Lorelei James, and this series is no exception. If you’re a romance fan, you’ll love this series too. It pulls you in at the very beginning and leaves you wanting more. Well done, Lorelei James! Very, very well done!

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Vickie M.

Reading Order and previous reviews
What You Need
Just What I Needed
All You Need
When I Need You

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M.

giveaway

Lorelei James Publisher and The Reading Cafe are offering a paper copy of WHEN I NEED YOU to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Please follow Lorelei James on Facebook.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from July 27 to 31, 2017

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Fly Away With Me (Blue Moon Harbor #1) by Susan Fox-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Fly Away with Me (Blue Moon Harbor #1) by Susan Fox-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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FLY WAY WITH ME
Blue Moon Harbor #1
by Susan Fox
Release Date:July 25, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

Fly Away with Me

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Dat July 25, 2017

Known for its rugged beauty and eccentric residents, tiny Blue Moon Harbor is big on love . . .

For busy lawyer Eden Blaine, a trip to a Pacific Northwest island she’s never even heard of is far from a vacation. Eden’s ailing mother has tasked her with finding her long-lost aunt, who once had ties to a commune on the island. Still reeling from a breakup with her longtime boyfriend, romance is the last thing Eden is looking for. But her gorgeous seaplane pilot has her wondering if a carefree rebound fling is exactly what she needs. . .

Aaron Gabriel has no illusions about happily ever after. His troubled childhood made sure of that. But he does appreciate a pretty woman’s company, and Eden is the exact combination of smart and sexy that turns him on. Still, as he helps her search for her missing aunt, the casual relationship he imagined quickly becomes something much more passionate–and much harder to give up. Can two people determined to ignore romance recognize that their heated connection is the kind of love destined to last?

••••••••••

REVIEW: Fly Away with Me begins with Eden Blaine embarking on a trip to try and find her mother’s long,-lost sister. Through a series of very unfortunate events, Eden’s mother has no idea if her sister is dead or alive. The only piece of information they have as to her whereabouts is the name of an island, Destiny, where the aunt headed to long years ago. Eden is bound and determined to find what happened to her aunt, even though she really has no idea where to start. Two things she does know: a little time away may do her some good and failure is not an option. Eden’s mother has been battling cancer, so, Eden being Eden, sets out to make everything okay.

Aaron Gabriel meets his passengers at the port where he will pick them up and fly them to various spots, including his home base of Destiny. Once he’s dropped off everyone except for Eden, he strikes up a conversation with her and offers his help in finding her aunt. The one thing Eden has to promise for his help? Have a little fun while she’s here.

As Eden and Aaron get to know each other a little, Eden immediately realizes that she will indeed need his help. Seems folks on the island have a little bit of a hard time warming up to outsiders. While they set out to question long-time residents of the island, they do start to have a little fun. Their attraction to each other grows and they both find themselves thinking things that they never thought they would. However, as the mystery deepens surrounding Eden’s aunt, neither know what is in store for their very near future.

Fly Away with Me is a nicely written story, and a first for me from author Susan Fox. I loved the character development of the main characters, as well as the eclectic secondary characters. This is not a story with an immediate HEA. They both have to work on themselves individually, as well as trying to be a couple and what comes with that. Fly Away with Me is ultimately a story that teaches you nothing is written in stone, and with hard work, you might carve out a whole lot of happiness for yourself. The first half was a bit slow, but the last half was worth the wait. This one touched me in ways that a romance hasn’t in a very long time. Like I said, this was my first story by Susan Fox, but it definitely won’t be my last. If you’re a romance fan that loves stories with a slow simmer and a real life storyline, you won’t go wrong with Fly Away with Me. Well done, Susan Fox!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Vickie M

Interview-Blue

TRC:Hi Susan and welcome to The Reading Café.

Susan FoxSusan: Thank you so much for having me here!

TRC: Congratulations on the recent release of FLY AWAY WITH ME

Susan: Thanks again! I’m thrilled to be launching a new series (Blue Moon Harbor) set in my own part of the world.

TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?

Follow Susan: Facebook / Goodreads / Website / Pinterest / Amazon / BookBub

Susan: I’ve lived in Victoria and Vancouver, British Columbia, all my life, and I love the great outdoors as well as great restaurants and theatre. I have degrees in psychology and law, but rather than choose a sensible profession with a secure income, I drifted from job to job, looking for the right fit. I found it, with writing.

I’m fascinated by people, personality, character growth, relationships – and writing romance and women’s fiction is the perfect place to indulge that fascination. My world is a diverse, multicultural one, and that’s the kind of world I write about. I believe a writer has a responsibility, and so my stories always have messages, sometimes pretty blatant and sometimes more subtle. Equality and appreciation of differences are strong values for me. You’ll find some issues in my books, such as dealing with major illnesses or injuries (e.g., Eden’s mother’s cancer in Fly Away With Me) and dysfunctional families (such as Aaron’s), and so on. The stories aren’t heavy, dark ones, but they do involve some emotional stuff. As well as love and laughter, good friends, and some steamy sex. I love romance because the reader (and author!) always knows that no matter how much angst the characters go through, they will emerge stronger, and they’ll find love.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Susan: It took me forever to figure out that I didn’t just love reading fiction, I wanted to write it. That happened when a friend gave me Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. When I started to write my first book (which will never be published), I knew I’d found my passion.

TRC: What challenges or difficulties have you encountered writing and publishing your stories?

Susan: The biggest challenge was in getting my work published. I’m smart, organized and efficient, and I’m a good writer. And yet it took me 10 years to sell my first book. That was back in the days when self-publishing wasn’t an option. What I learned is that it’s easier to be a lawyer than to sell a book to a publisher. Becoming a lawyer is mostly within your own control: work hard and get good marks, work hard and finance your education, work hard and learn the law, hang out your shingle, and work hard to bring in clients then devote your best efforts to serving them well. But all the hard work and best efforts can’t make a publisher buy your work. I came close, so many times. When I did sell that first book to Kensington in 2005, it wasn’t that that particular book (Champagne Rules) was any better than the previous ones, it was a matter of luck and timing. I’d written a book that happened to fit with the new Aphrodisia line that Kensington planned to launch.

Trying to make decent money as an author is an ongoing challenge. I’ve written for Berkley and Harlequin as well as Kensington, and I’ve also done some self-publishing. Right now, Kensington is the best home for me. I’m certainly not getting rich, but I’m writing the kind of stories I want to write, with a supportive editor and publishing team.

Fly Away with MeTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of FLY AWAY WITH ME and the Blue Moon Harbor series?

Susan: The idea for the series setting came from my boating in the Gulf Islands near Victoria, British Columbia (something my partner and I do every summer). I love the ocean and the islands, which have a diverse and quirky population. So I’m writing about a small community setting, as with my Caribou Crossing books which are set in ranching country in B.C.’s interior. But an island has the added quality of only being accessible by water or air – it’s isolated and weather-dependent.

I created a fictional island and named it Destiny, because I thought that would lead to some interesting book titles. I named the village Blue Moon Harbor because who doesn’t love the romantic notion of a blue moon? My publisher, Kensington, decided to use Blue Moon Harbor as the series name.

I love seaplanes, and they’re an intrinsic part of island life, so making my first hero a seaplane pilot was a “well, duh!” kind of thing. To make for contrast and conflict, I thought Aaron needed an off-island heroine, and who could be more different from him than a big city lawyer? Eden’s not there on holiday, but on a mission for her ailing mom, to find her mother’s long-lost sister who ran away from home in 1969. A newly-discovered letter indicates she joined the island commune way back then.

Eden is responsible and driven. Aaron is easygoing (at least that’s the image he presents to the world) and he’s determined to teach Eden how to have fun.

Coming off a breakup, Eden’s not interested in a serious relationship, but a rebound fling sounds good to her. And Aaron, whose dysfunctional childhood made him cynical about finding love, only ever seeks casual relationships. So they’re on the same page – at least until their heartstrings start getting tugged!

But how could long-term be possible for them? She’s devoted to her family and career in Ottawa. He’s equally devoted to his career on Destiny, and to his single-parent younger sister and her little girl.

All the same, when you find your love on Destiny, life will never be the same!

I had originally titled the book Destiny Calls, but my publisher wasn’t keen on using “destiny” because they thought it might have religious connotations for some people. Fly Away With Me was my agent’s suggestion. It’s perfect, because of course Aaron flies away with Eden’s heart.

TRC: What kind of research/plotting do you do, and how long do you spend researching /plotting before beginning a book?

Susan: I’m not a big plotter, but I do need to feel fairly confident that I have enough of a story to make a 100,000 word book. I don’t need to know many plot details, but I need to know that I have characters who can carry a romance story. They need to be interesting, complex, relatable, and they need to have issues.

I don’t tend to do a lot of research ahead of time, just enough to get me into the story. For Fly Away With Me, for example, I already knew the setting because I’ve visited the Gulf Islands all my life, and as I said earlier, I go boating there a lot. (We have a 1960s vintage old wooden boat, a 36’ Shepherd.) I did do a bit of historical and factual research on the islands, to draw on in creating my fictional Destiny Island. I wanted to use a fictional island rather than a real one so I’d have more creative freedom.

The hero Aaron is a seaplane pilot. I’ve flown in seaplanes – and even flown one – so I didn’t have to do initial research on that. I did some as I was writing, to fine-tune the details. Eden’s a lawyer with a foundation that funds charities, and I had a pretty good idea of her job. But with some books, if I don’t know much about the heroine’s or hero’s occupations, I may need to do up-front research.

Or if a heroine or hero has an illness or injury (e.g., my hero’s leg amputation and PTSD in Ring of Fire), I’ll need to research that in order to get a clear idea of the issues that character deals with on a practical and emotional level. Those things are key to the character’s personality – and personality is key to how the story will develop.

So, basically, I do enough research up front to understand my setting and my two main characters, and then I let the story develop as I write, and do additional research as needed. I’ll often skip some of the nitpicky details while I’m writing and then fill them in later.

TRC: How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Susan: It made me write faster and be more focused. I no longer had the luxury of messing around with a manuscript for as long as I wanted. I also felt the pressure to make each book the absolute best I could, because real people would be reading it. But I’m a disciplined, organized person, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch. And I was so thrilled to finally have publishing contracts and to know that my characters and stories would be reaching readers, I was happy to put in the extra hours and effort.

TRC: What was your hardest scene –ever-to write?

Susan: The hardest were probably a couple of sex scenes in Bound to be Dirty, one of my Dirty Girls Book Club erotic romances for Berkley Heat. The premise of the series was that each time the book club read a “dirty book,” one of the members would have a sexy romance that in some ways paralleled that story. In Bound to be Dirty (which came out after Fifty Shades of Grey), the club decided they had to read a BDSM book, since everyone else was doing it. Book club member Lily (a family practice doctor) was married to Dax (a helicopter bush pilot), their marriage was in serious trouble, and they started trying out some very mild BDSM stuff. It was more about exploring their relationship and developing communication, trust, and intimacy than about actual BDSM sex, but I did have to figure out how to write all aspects of the sex scenes.

And there lay my problem, because I personally can’t relate to BDSM. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with it, for two equal partners who both want it and consent and have a safe word, but for me the concept of one person being dominant and the other submissive makes me squirmy – and not in a nice way! But it was good for me to have to push myself – and of course the story wasn’t about me, it was about Lily and Dax and how they felt about themselves and each other. I also had an interesting time with the book club as they discussed the novel they were reading. Four young, intelligent, self-sufficient women, sharing their viewpoints!

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. Many authors are re-issuing their previously erotic story lines with ‘cleaner’ versions without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text. What do you believe has precipitated this move or change in direction?

Susan: The publishing world goes through phases. My first book (Champagne Rules) came out in February 2006, and all the traditional publishers were jumping on the erotic romance bandwagon, after seeing how successful e-publishers had been with those books. My Awesome Foursome series with Kensington Aphrodisia and my destination wedding series with Berkley Heat were branded as erotic romance. They were spicier than the books I’m writing now, but not hot or kinky enough for a lot of erotic romance readers, so they didn’t do terribly well.

The next trend was for many contemporary romances to become steamier, and at that point many of the erotic romance lines faded away. But then came Fifty Shades of Grey and the world “discovered” erotic romance. LOL. That seemed ridiculous to the authors who’d already been writing erotic romance for many years, but what that one book did was break through to the truly mainstream audience. It also spearheaded another surge in the popularity of erotic romance – especially the kind that featured BDSM.

But now that trend seems to have faded again, and we’re back to just having a nice range of romance. Everything from super-hot and kinky through to barely even a hint of sexual tension. It’s terrific that readers can find just the level of heat that works for them.

Why are authors turning their previously issued erotic stories into cleaner ones for reissue? For many, I’d guess that they figured those books had their opportunity to reach erotic romance readers. Now the authors have their rights back and are self-publishing the books, and they hope to reach a different audience.

Also, authors get tired of writing the same thing. Writing hot sex that’s believable, original, and steamy is really difficult. And you can, if you’ll pardon the pun, burn out on it. So if an author who once wrote erotic romance has turned to writing less erotic, as I have, then she may want all her current releases to appeal to her current readers rather than shocking or disgusting them with too much or too explicit or too kinky sex.

It’ll be interesting to see how some of those reissues work. With erotic romance, I always figured the premise of the story needed to be a sexy one. You had to find some reason for the characters to have sex early in the story. And then you needed not just a lot of sexual tension but also a fair number of sex scenes, because that’s something the readers were looking for. So, how do you take a book that’s as “erotic” as it is “romantic,” and take out the eroticism? Seems to me it would be like trying to take the suspense out of a romantic suspense novel, or taking the religious aspect out of an inspirational romance. But if authors can do it, and readers enjoy the result, then more power to all of them!

TRC: Do you believe the cover image plays a deciding factor for many readers in the process of selecting a book or new series to read?

Susan: It sure does for me, and I know I’m not the only one. The cover conveys so much about the book. For example, I usually won’t choose a book with a “hot, semi-naked guy” cover, because to me that suggests the book’s going to be more about the sexuality of the relationship than the emotionality. Nothing against sex – I write explicit sex scenes myself – but I want the emotions to be the most important part of the book. If I’ve read a blurb or review that really appeals to me, I won’t let the cover put me off getting the book, but if I’m just scanning a page full of covers, I pretty quickly narrow my focus to the books I’m most likely to be interested in.

Kensington asked me for cover ideas for Fly Away With Me and I said I wanted to convey the setting, and the fact that the story is a romance. I thought the seaplane aspect of the book was interesting, so suggested a couple on a dock with a seaplane. Kensington did a cover shoot and gave me everything I asked for! My only complaint is that the male model isn’t as rugged and masculine as Aaron.

TRC: When writing a story line, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?

Susan: A bit of both. It’s a joint effort, and we kind of trade off. In the beginning, I put a fair bit of thought into figuring out who they are. My goal is to create characters who are so multi-dimensional and genuine that they can then more or less take over and I just transcribe as they direct me. But usually I’ll stall at one or more points as I’m writing, which basically means they’ve stopped telling me what to type. Then I have to step away from the keyboard and do some more reflecting. I need to talk to the characters in my head, do more analysis, get to know them even better. And then they pretty much decide what they’re going to do next, and I get back to taking direction from them.

TRC: How do you select the names of your characters?

Susan: In all sorts of ways. Sometimes names just pop into my mind or I see interesting names in TV credits or magazines. I have lists of names that interest me and I review them when I’m naming new characters. I’ll check popular baby names for the year the character was born. Ethnic background is a factor. I’ve also asked for suggestions on my Facebook page.
Here’s how I came up with the names in Fly Away With Me. Eden: A friend gave her baby that name, and I loved it. Blaine: I wanted a simple surname, one syllable after the two-syllable first name, something that sounded good with Eden, so I just hunted through names until one felt right. Aaron: He was originally Adam, a name I like and have never used for a hero, but someone pointed out that Adam and Eden was too Biblical – something I’d never actually realized myself, even though it seems obvious – so I looked for something similar and hit on Aaron. Gabriel: It’s a name I just love, one I’ve used as a hero’s first name (in Finding Isadora), so I indulged and let myself use it again, this time as a surname. I also loved naming Di and Seal SkySong, but if I told you any more about that, it would be a spoiler!

TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the story line so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?

Susan: I totally agree with you. For me, reading is all about the emotions. That’s why I write stories that are character-driven more than plot-driven. I think the key, for the author, is to “go deep.” Deep into who the character is, how her (or his) life up to now has shaped her, what she hopes for and fears, what she cares about and values, all of that stuff. Who she is when the story starts, and how she reacts emotionally to everything that happens during the story. How she makes decisions (e.g., mostly with her heart or with her mind?) and how she evaluates those decisions. And so on, and so on. I have a psychology degree and I’m fascinated by everything that goes into making us who we are and shaping our behavior and emotions. So, for me, I spend a lot of time getting to know my characters and then I try to put myself into their shoes. I talk to them in my head, like I’m having a conversation with someone I care about, whom I want to know even better.

As for other writers, well, I hate to judge. And reading is so subjective. Different things appeal to each of us. But if a reader is looking to be pulled into the emotional journey and finds that isn’t happening, then maybe the author didn’t actually want it to happen. Maybe the author wanted a story that was more plot-driven – perhaps thrilling or humorous – so that the reader cares more about events and actions than emotions. I find that some mysteries and police procedurals are like this.

In other cases, I think authors just don’t take the time to “sit with” their characters and stories for very long. They may be driven to turn out X number of books per year, and while some authors are capable of producing brilliant and emotional stories in a short time-frame, others just aren’t.

Or, of course, some authors simply don’t want to “go deep” on some emotional issues. For example, it was hard for me to write about Eden’s mom’s cancer, because my mother had cancer too. Ovarian cancer, in her case, and she did survive. But it was of course very hard on her, and on my stepdad and me. I used lessons from that time in writing Fly Away With Me, and I shed some tears. If an issue hits particularly close to home, an author just may not want to “go there” on a deep emotional level. And so they don’t take the reader there.

TRC: Do you listen to music while writing? If so, does the style of music influence the story line direction? Characters?

Susan: I don’t listen when I’m actually writing. I find music too distracting. But occasionally, if a certain song is relevant to a story I’m working on, I’ll listen to it before I start writing, or during a writing break. With the Caribou Crossing Romances, I listened to a lot of country music and developed a real appreciation for it. It was fun finding songs to match the stories, and then seeing that those songs influenced the direction of the story.

For the book I’m writing now (Sail Away With Me), one of the songs I’ve listened to is Ricky Nelson’s “I Will Follow You.” My heroine’s grandmother said it was the story of her romance with her hubby – and let’s just say, the song plays a role in my heroine’s love story, too!

TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception people have about authors?

Susan: That we’re rich! Or that we write just because we love it, not as an actual job. They therefore think it’s okay to download free books that have been pirated (i.e., stolen) from us. I don’t expect my doctor or car mechanic or hairdresser to work for free, so why should some readers think they shouldn’t have to pay for books? For most authors, if we can’t earn an income from our writing, then we have to do it from some other job – which means we have less, or even no, writing time. Which means fewer books out there for readers.

TRC: What is something that few, if anybody, knows about you?

Susan: My parents split up when I was in my early teens and didn’t tell me. Supposedly, my father was away on a business trip. How did I find out? When someone phoned for him, I said he was out of town, and they said they’d seen him in town the previous day. This was at Christmas. Let’s just say, it wasn’t the happiest Christmas of my life. Within a few months, they were divorced.

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Susan: I’m continuing the Blue Moon Harbor series. The next story is “Blue Moon Harbor Christmas” in Winter Wishes, a holiday anthology (October 2017) that also contains novellas by Fern Michaels, Jules Bennett, and Leah Marie Brown. Then Come Home With Me will be out in late December, and Sail Away With Me in the fall of 2018. I’m just finishing the manuscript of Sail Away with Me now. And pitching another book in the series: Come Dance With Me.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Susan: I’d love to hear readers’ thoughts on my new series, my writing process, and my new release. I’m also happy to answer any questions.

I hope readers will visit my Website (where they can subscribe to my newsletter, find all sorts of info about all my books, and get in touch with me) and my Facebook page. I’m also on Amazon , Pinterest, Goodreads and BookBub.

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food: Depends totally on my mood.

Favorite Dessert: The Grand Marnier soufflé I was served at a French restaurant on the island of St. Martin. Other than that, I’d go with a rich dark chocolate cupcake with almond icing.

Favorite TV Show: Heartland. It’s a Canadian production, set on the prairies, about family, relationships, and horses.

Last Movie You Saw: Dirty Dancing. I watched the TV version and was so disappointed, I had to go back and watch the original Patrick Swayze, Jennifer Grey original. Which I just happen to own.

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Dark. Only ever dark.

Secret Celebrity Crush: Richard Gere, at any age. Love, love, love his eyes and expressive face.

Last Vacation Destination: That’s actually a tough question! Boating in the Gulf Islands – does that count? Last winter’s motor home trip to southern California. Or, if you mean an actual real big trip, then St. Martin, a few years ago.

Do you have any pets?: No. Our lifestyle doesn’t really allow for it. I just enjoy the wildlife around me.

Last book you read: Sycamore by Bryn Chancellor.

TRC: Thank you Susan for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on your new release.

Susan: Thanks again for this opportunity!

giveaway

Susan Fox is graciously offering a signed, paper copy of FLY AWAY WITH ME to ONE (1) commenter at The Reading Cafe. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

1. If you have not previously registered at The Reading Cafe, please register by using the log-in at the top of the page (side bar) or by using one of the social log-ins.

NOTE: If you are having difficulty commenting after logging onto the site, please refresh the page (at the top of your computer).

2. If you are using a social log-in, please post your email address with your comment.

3. Follow Susan Lyons Fox on Facebook.

4. LIKE us on FACEBOOK and then click GET NOTIFICATION under ‘liked’ for an additional entry.

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

6. Please FOLLOW us on GOODREADS for an additional entry.

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY

9. Giveaway runs from July 26-30, 2017

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Kiss My Boots (Coming Home #2) by Harper Sloan: Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

KISS MY BOOTS (Coming Home #2) by Harper Sloan-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

Kiss My Boots Banner

KISS MY BOOTS
Coming Home #2
by Harper Sloan
Release Date: July 18,2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Kiss My Boots

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date July 18, 2017

In this second of the sultry, Western-set Coming Home series from New York Times bestselling author Harper Sloan, Quinn Davis might finally have a shot at her own happily-ever-after—but will she let love in, or will she tell it to go ahead and kiss her boots?

Quinn Davis prefers to live her life quietly. She’s the stereotypical tomboy with two overprotective big brothers who have always been there to protect her, especially from devilishly handsome cowboys with silver tongues. That is, until Tate Montgomery comes riding into town. Their first meeting, however, is far from something out of a fairy tale and only further convinces Quinn that men aren’t worth her time.

The only place Tate Montgomery ever truly felt at home growing up was during the long, sweltering summer months he spent at his Gram and Paw’s farm in Pine Oak, Texas. Now, Tate has returned to his childhood sanctuary seeking a fresh start—but if he’s being entirely honest, he’s not just back for the wranglers and Stetsons. During those summers, Quinn was a friend-turned-young-love who Tate lost when life threw him a curveball and he cut all ties to his past; but all it takes is one glance at the raven-haired beauty he did his best to forget for him to realize just how much he’s been missing…

•••••••••

REVIEW: KISS MY BOOTS is the second installment in Harper Sloan’s contemporary, adult COMING HOME erotic, romance series focusing on the Davis siblings: Maverick, Quinn and Clayton Davis. This is auto mechanic Quinn Davis, and physician Tate Montgomery’s story line. KISS MY BOOTS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual first person points of view (Quinn and Tate) including some memories of the past, KISS MY BOOTS is a second chance romance between auto mechanic Quinn Davis, and ob-gyn Tate Montgomery. Nine years earlier Tate Montgomery walked out of Quinn’s life leaving a heartbroken woman to struggle with the how and whys. Tate and Quinn were childhood friends, summer lovers and in love; planning a future together as Tate prepared for medical school but within days all traces of Tate disappeared while Quinn struggled to move on with her life. Fast forward to present day wherein Quinn is now the successful owner of the family run garage, and Tate Montgomery has returned to Pine Oak Texas, looking for a new start and a second chance with the woman he has always loved. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Tate and Quinn as our couple come face to face with demons from their past.

Nine years ago Tate Montgomery left Quinn Davis for Atlanta, Georgia on his way to a promising medical career but in doing so left behind his heart and his soul destroying the woman with whom he promised a happily ever after. Tate was not a hometown boy but a young man who spent his summers in Pine Oak, Texas at his grandparents home, where falling in love with Quinn was immediate and fated. Quinn Davis’s life was never the same when the man that she loved refused to acknowledge her existence; refusing to move forward Quinn would never find love knowing that her heart belonged to a man who no longer cared. With issues of abandonment, the fall out of Tate’s disappearance sent Quinn into a darkness that continues to present day.

The relationship between Quinn and Tate is one of second chances; a love that never waivered in spite of the circumstances and disappearance of Tate from Quinn’s life. Their rekindling romance is met with very little resistance as Tate explains the who, what and why of his years of silence. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Maverick and Leigh (Lost Rider #1 ), eldest brother Clayton Davis, Tate’s friend Mark Blake; an assortment of office staff and nosey townsfolk. The Davis sibling’s relationship is very close; a tight knit family of brothers and sister whose lives were destroyed by secrets, lies and betrayal, and a father who struggled with his own personal demons.

KISS MY BOOTS is a story of romance and love; of second chances; of one man’s need to atone for sins of the past. The premise is engaging and heartwarming; the romance is edgy and emotional; the characters are animated and passionate. KISS MY BOOTS is a wonderful and energetic addition to Harper Sloan’s romantic, cowboy series COMING HOME.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book 1-LOST RIDER.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Kiss My Boots Teaser

About The Author beige

Harper SloanHarper Sloan is a NEW YORK TIMES, WALL STREET JOURNAL and USA TODAY bestselling author residing in Georgia with her husband and three daughters. She has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books, hibachi, tattoos and Game of Thrones. When she isn’t writing you can almost always find her with a book in hand.

Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Amazon Author Page

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Harper’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of LOST RIDER (Book 1 in the Coming Home series) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe:

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The Way You Bite by Zoe Forward – Review & Giveaway

The Way You Bite by Zoe Forward – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
When King Werewolf shows up in veterinarian Vee Scarpa’s ER, she’s livid.

Her father, North American head honcho vampire, has threatened a chilling or else if she “accidentally” helped a wolf again, especially since they’re at war. But she’s tempted by the sexy wolf. And his deadly blood calls to her in a way that should set off warning bells…

A promise to his brother in arms obliges Lexan Dimitrov to rescue the aristocrat vampire before her family discovers her secret—a secret Vee herself isn’t even aware of. What he didn’t expect was to find her sexy-as-hell. He’s not into vamps, yet the inescapable heat building between them is a delicious temptation guaranteed to end in total disaster.

 

 

Review:

The Way You Bite by Zoe Forward is the 1st book in her new paranormal series.  The Way You Bite is a fantastic start, and I can’t wait to find out what Zoe Forward has in store for us in this series. 

Vee Scarpa, our heroine, is a veterinarian and a vampire.  Vee is independent and even though her father is a master vampire, she is determined to live how she wants.  When at her emergency clinic, a man brings in a wolf, which is really a werewolf, Vee is not happy.  Since there are bad feelings between the vampires and werewolves, she does not want to be in the middle.  She does not like the werewolves, since one killed her mother.   But since the wolf is injured, the doctor in her treats him. What she discovers is that the injured wolf is Lexan, our hero and the King of the werewolves.

When Vee gives in to help him, Lexan feels an immediate attraction to her. Lexan knows the truth about Vee, which would change her life forever.  However, he does know that she may not take well to the news he eventually will have to tell her. 

Vee leaves to attend a family wedding, and to her disgust her father is forcing her to marry her arranged fiancée, a wealthy Euro vampire.    When she finds a way to escape, she finds herself saved by Lexan and his men; and in a short time Vee will also find herself attracted to the gorgeous and sexy Lexan.  What follows is an exciting, fun storyline that will bring both sides to war, with Vee the prize. Lexan and Vee’s romance will heat up, with him determined to win her, and she knowing she is falling for him, but knowing there can be no future.  At least not until she learns that she is a mix of vampire and wolf; making her a rare commodity.  Lexan knows that she will have her first shift soon, and tries to stay with her at all times to help her through it. 

The Way You Bite was a very good story, with two warring species, and a couple that are meant for each other.  Lexan and Vee were simply a great couple, and sizzling hot.  I loved how Vee did her first shift, and was able to quickly accept this and use her new powers to help save them all; including revenge against those who truly killed her mother. 

The Way You Bite was a fun, exciting & captivating story, with a wonderful couple, great secondary characters, and nonstop action throughout.   I hope Zoe Forward will give us more of Lexan and Vee, as well as more from those sexy werewolves. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

about the author

Zoe Forward

Zoe Forward is a hopeless romantic who can’t decide between paranormal and contemporary romance. So, she writes both. When she’s not typing at her laptop, she’s tying on a karate belt for her son or cleaning up the newest pet mess from the menagerie that occupies her house. She’s a small animal veterinarian caring for a wide range of furry creatures, although there has been the occasional hermit crab.
She’s madly in love with her globe trotting conservation ecologist husband who plans to save all the big cats on the planet, and happiest when he returns to their home base.

 

 

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Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price – Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Grave witch Alex Craft is no stranger to the dead talking. She raises shades, works with ghosts, and is dating Death himself. But the dead walking? That’s not supposed to happen. And yet, reanimated corpses are committing crimes across Nekros City.

Alex’s investigation leads her deep into a web of sinister magic. When Briar Darque of the Magical Crimes Investigation Bureau gets involved, Alex finds herself with an unexpected ally of sorts. But as the dead continue to rise and wreak havoc on the living, can Alex get to the soul of the matter in time?

 

Review:

Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price is the 5th book in her Alex Craft series. Grave Ransom picks up a short time after Grave Visions leaves off.   Alex runs an investigation firm, mostly to do with magical issues, such as talking to the dead, which is her specialty.  When a young girl hires Alex to find her missing boyfriend, Alex has no idea how this simple case will turn out to be a wild crazy adventure of real life zombies.

 Alex will find the missing boyfriend robbing a bank; she uses her magic to be able to tell that the three robbers are actually dead, occupied by different souls.  Before Alex can do anything, the police arrive and the robbers, including the boyfriend are dead, and the souls are collected by the reapers.

The police are baffled, and Briar Darque, magical crimes investigator, returns to take over the case, and forcing Alex to work with her.  Falin, Alex’s ex boyfriend, and a Fae agent, will also play a big part in helping solve this complex case, which is suspected to be the work of a necromancer.   How can someone put souls into dead bodies?

Alex is still besieged with her eye problems, whenever she uses her magic.  Though they are not really friends, Briar began to see Alex and her magic in another light; at the same time having no problem putting Alex in the middle of danger as bait.  It was nice to see some of the other characters that have been part of this series; Falin, Death, Tamara, Rianna, etc. 

This is a complicated review, as it would require giving spoilers.  Grave Ransom was an exciting, interesting and wild adventure, as Alex tries to solve this mysterious case.   In this book, both Falin and Death played smaller parts, and there are a few twists along the way.   Not much was further revealed about which court Alex leans toward, as she has one year to decide. Currently she lives partially under the Winter Queen. We know nothing more about this or the other courts pursuing her.   This is a fun series written very well by Kalayna Price.  It is important to start with the first book to understand everything. 

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Excerpt

 

 

The first time I realized I could feel corpses, I had nightmares for a week. I was a child at the time, so that was understandable. These days I was accustomed to the clammy reach of the grave that lifted from dead bodies. To the eerie feeling of my own innate magic responding and filling me with the unrequested knowledge of how recently the person died, their gender, and the approximate age they were at death. When I anticipated encountering a corpse, I tightened my mental shields and worked at keeping my magic at bay. Usually that was only necessary at places like graveyards, the morgue, and funeral homes—places one might expect to find a body.
I never expected to feel a corpse walking across the street in the middle of the Magic Quarter.
“Alex? I’ve lost you, haven’t I?” Tamara, one of my best friends and my current lunchmate, asked. She sighed, twisting in her seat to scan the sidewalk beyond the small outdoor sitting area of the café where we were eating. “Huh. Which one is he? I may be married and knocked up, but I know a good-looking man when I see one, and girl, I don’t see one. Who are you staring at?”
“That guy,” I said, nodding my head at a man in a brown suit crossing the street.
Tamara glanced at the squat, middle-aged man who was more than a little soft in the middle and then cocked an eyebrow at me. “I’ve seen what you have at home, so I take it this is business. Did you bring one of your cases to our lunch?”
I ignored the “at home” comment, as that situation was more than a little complicated, and shook my head. “My case docket is clear,” I said absently, and let my senses stretch. When I concentrated, I could feel grave essence reaching from corpses in my vicinity. All corpses. There were decades of dead and decaying rats in the sewer below the streets, and smaller creatures like insects that barely made a blip on my radar, but like called to like, and my magic zeroed in on the man.
“He’s dead,” I said, and even to me my voice sounded unsure.
Tamara blinked at me, likely waiting for me to reveal the joke. Instead I pushed out of my seat as the man turned up the street. Tamara grabbed my arm.
“I’m the lead medical examiner for Nekros City, and I can tell you with ninety-nine point nine percent certainty that the man walking down the street is very much alive.” She put extra emphasis on the word “walking,” and on any other day, I would have agreed with her.
My own eyes agreed with her. But my magic, that part of me that touched the grave, that could piece together shades from the memories left in every cell of a body, disagreed. That man, walking or not, was a corpse. Granted, he was a fresh one—the way he felt to my magic told me he couldn’t have been dead more than an hour. But he was dead.
So how the hell had he just walked into the Museum of Magic and the Arcane?
I dropped enough crumpled dollars on the table to cover my portion of the bill and tip before weaving around tables and out of the café seating. Behind me, Tamara grumbled under her breath, but after a moment I heard her chair slide back as she pushed away from the table. I didn’t wait for her to follow me out as I all but sprinted across the street to catch up with the walking corpse.
The museum’s wards tingled along my skin as I stepped through the threshold. I’d been inside the museum a few times, and the collection of rare and unusual artifacts from both pre- and post-awakening was impressive, but I was a sensitive, capable of sensing magic, and between all the security wards and the artifacts themselves, the museum tended to be overwhelming. Definitely migraine-inducing in large doses. I noted that the magic in the air was particularly biting today, like one of the security wards had recently been triggered. I sucked in an almost pained breath, trying to adjust to the sudden crush of magic all around me. The extra sting of the deployed ward didn’t help.
I should have walked the extra few steps to clear the entrance wards.

 

 

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Boardwalk Summer by Kimberly Fisk – Review & Giveaway

Boardwalk Summer by Kimberly Fisk – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
In the town of Tranquility Bay, summer is the season of second chances…
Single mother Hope Thompson has built a happy life for herself and her twins in beautiful Tranquility Bay, Washington. She doesn t dwell on her painful past especially not on the man who broke her heart all those years ago. But when Hope s beloved son needs help, she takes a desperate chance and reaches out to her children s father.
Nick Fortune lives life in the spotlight as a champion race car driver. He s shocked to hear from Hope and even more surprised to learn that he s a father. He immediately heads to the Pacific Northwest to confront the past and the woman he once loved.
There, on the quiet lakeshore, Nick and Hope must work together to save their son even if it means facing their complicated past for a second chance as a family.”

 

 

Review:

Boardwalk Summer by Kimberly Fisk is an emotional second chance romance.   Hope Thompson, is a single mom, who lives with her two children, Susan and Joshua in Tranquility Bay, Washington.  Years before, Hope left her hometown to start a new life, after finding out she was pregnant, and her then boyfriend left town and never returned as promised.   Hope had tried to contact the father, but unsuccessfully.  She had no relationship with her mother, who pushed her away.  Content and happy with her wonderful twins, Hope’s life takes a dramatic turn when Joshua is diagnosed with Leukemia. 

When there is no bone marrow match, Hope gives in and contacts her mother whom she has not seen in 16 years. Her mother hasn’t changed, and Hope must try her last resort, contact the father of the children.

Nick Fortune, our hero, is a famous race car driver.  When Nick is told there is a message from Hope, he decides to visit her in Tranquility Bay.  Hope is shocked to see Nick after all these years, and in a short time to tell him that he is the father of her children.  Nick is upset and blames Hope; she tries to explain that she tried to find him; but he walks out threatening to come back and meet them.  The bitterness from Nick and the fear from Hope was very real, but they must put that aside to find a way to help Joshua. 

Hope was having mixed feelings, as their attraction to each other was beginning to rekindle; but she did not trust Nick, and only wanted to protect her children.  Her despair is evident, and Nick will do all he can to help.  When Nick turns out not to be a match, Hope falls apart, bringing them even closer. Money is no object for Nick, and he will get the best doctors for Joshua.

What follows is an emotional story line, where the family, including Joshua begins to lose hope.  Kimberly Fisk does a wonderful job allowing us to feel the emotional toll on each of them.  I really did like all the characters in this story.  I did feel that Hope, who was a wonderful mother, was a bit too hard and unbending with Nick.  She does warm up later, even if she continues to not want to take risks, especially with his racing career.

This is a beautiful & heartwarming story on life, heartbreak, taking risks and the different degrees of emotions throughout.   Once again, Kimberly Fisk gives us an emotional story with real life issues when faced with possible death of family; you can’t help be drawn to them in this trying time.  The romance between Nick and Hope was very nice, and Fisk did not let that overtake the real story.  Very well written.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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Kimberly’s publisher is offering a paper copy of BOARDWALK SUMMER to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis – Review & Giveaway

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis – Review & Giveaway

 

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Description:
They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earthshattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

 

Review:

Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis is the first book in her new Wildstone series.    As always with Jill Shalvis, I get a happy face when I know I am starting one of her books, and the glow remains all the way through.  I loved this story, which not only has a sweet romance, but covers life issues revolving around family, loss, healing and discovery.

Quinn Weller, our heroine, has been living her life on automatic, unable to feel much since the loss of her sister Beth two years ago.  Quinn is a sous-chef in a fancy restaurant. Stopping for coffee one day, she is approached by a stranger, who claims that she has inherited something.  Quinn will learn that she is adopted, and the inheritance was from her deceased real mother.  This will take Quinn by shock, and even though she knows her parents love her, she decides to find out more about her true mother and the inheritance, which is in Wildstone, California. 

When she arrives in Wildstone, Quinn learns she has inherited part of a house and the local diner.  Quinn also gets to meet her 15 year old half sister, Tilly, who will share the inheritance.  Things do not start off well between them, as Tilly was resentful, difficult and unwilling to accept Qunn. Tilly, at first was a bit unlikeable, but knowing that she lost the most important thing in her life, her mother, it was uncderstandable. 

Mick Hennessey, our heroine, has recently returned home to Wildstone to help his mother fix up her place, especially since the death of his father.   Mick was a great hero, as he was sweet, fun and definitely very sexy.  He also had the cutest dog, Coop.  Mick happens upon Quinn one day, when she was on the verge of a panic attack, and from there on a friendship built that would eventually become a sizzling romance.  Neither one of them were interested in a relationship, other than friends with benefits, but things will change; such as their feelings, Wildstone and its residents will have an effect on them both. 

Quinn begins to help out at the diner, giving her a chance to meet some of the wonderful secondary characters in Wildstone, as well as opening up her heart again to the different type of element in a small town like Wildstone.  Quinn still plans on returning to Los Angeles, her job & her family.  But she has a dilemma.   Tilly is living with the next door neighbor, which is not permanent and Quinn is now the only relative she has.  Will Quinn become Tilly’s Guardian?  Will Tilly allow Quinn into her life?  Will Quinn and Mick find a way to stay together?

Lost and Found Sisters was such a sweet, emotional, fun and sexy story.  I loved Quinn and Mick together, as they made a fabulous couple.  I also enjoyed all the wonderful secondary characters (so many wonderful ones) that Shalvis has created, and look forward to learning more about them in the future books of this series.  As the norm with Jill Shalvis, every book is a fun and happy read, and you can never go wrong reading her books.   Lost and Found was no different, as it was an enjoyable, emotional and romantic story line. I recommend that you read Lost and Found Sisters.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

About The Author
Jill Shalvis

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s sexy contemporary and award-winning books wherever romances are sold and click on the blog button above for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

 

giveawayJill’s publisher is offering a paper copy of LOST AND FOUND SISTERS to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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Keeping It Hot (Breakfast in Bed #1) by Sydney Landon-Review,Excerpt & Giveaway

KEEPING IT HOT (Breakfast in Bed #1) by Sydney Landon-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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KEEPING IT HOT
Breakfast in Bed #1
by Sydney Landon
Genre: adult,contemporary, erotic, romance
Release Date: July 4, 2017

Keeping It Hot

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About the book: Release Date July 4, 2017

Zoe Hart owns the coffee shop in one of the hottest upscale resorts in Florida, run by her childhood best friend, Dylan Jackson. Even though Dylan is a workaholic, he still finds time to enjoy the beautiful women who pass through his hotel all of them except Zoe. She has been in love with Dylan for years without him noticing. But with her thirtieth birthday fast approaching, she realizes she can’t keep pining away for a man who doesn’t show the merest sign of romantic interest in her.

When Zoe launches her plan to shed her tomboy image in Dylan’s eyes, she’s thrilled once he starts to notice her in a whole new way. But she’ll have to face the risk that seducing her best friend might come with lasting changes to their longtime friendship…”

•••••••••••

REVIEW: KEEPING IT HOT is the first installment in Sydney Landon’s contemporary, adult BREAKFAST IN BED erotic, romance series. This is thirty four year old Florida resort owner Dylan Jackson, and twenty nine year old coffee shop owner Zoe Hart’s story line. The BREAKFAST IN BED SERIES is a spin off from the author’s DANVER’S series but you do not have to have read the previous series to understand or follow KEEPING IT HOT.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Zoe and Dylan) KEEPING IT HOT focuses on the friends to lovers relationship between coffee shop owner Zoe Hart, and ‘Oceanix’ Resort, Florida owner Dylan Jackson. For most of their life Zoe and Dylan have been best friends but for Zoe their friendship has long passed the ‘best buddies’ stage to a woman who has fallen in love with a man who considers her one of the guys. Desperate to make Dylan see her as more than just ‘friends’ our heroine enlists her co-worker Dana Anders to bring her from frumpy to wow. Enter Dylan Jackson, the man who has no clue that his best friend has been in love with him for a number of years. What ensues is the building romantic relationship between Dylan and Zoe, and the potential fall out when Dylan’s workaholic lifestyle leaves little time for the woman he loves.

Zoe has never considered herself ‘one of the boys’ but actions speak louder than words as our heroine begins to understand that her relationship with Dylan Jackson may remain in the friends zone if she doesn’t up the stakes, anytime soon. Dylan has never looked at Zoe as anything more than his best friend and confidant but seeing Zoe in a different light has Dylan throwing caution to the wind when a drunken Zoe reveals a secret she has kept for far too long.

The relationship between Zoe and Dylan is one of friends to lovers; a relationship that comes to fruition when Dylan offers Zoe one night of passion, no strings attached realizing that neither one will come away the same when all was said and done. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic, and intense.

We are introduced to Dylan’s brother Asher Jackson; his friend and buddy Josh; his PA Lisa Merck, Zoe’s bestie and co-worker Dana Anders, as well as Zoe’s mother Vivian and her significant other Marcus There is definite palpable sexual energy between Asher and Dana-their story is next in ROOM FOR TWO(February 2018). I am looking forward to any potential story line for all of Dylan’s brothers: Rhett at the Miami Oceanix, Luke in St. Croix Oceanix, and Asher in the Charleston Oceanix. The back and forth banter, and sexual innuendos is great especially between Zoe and Dana, as well as Dylan and his brother Ash.

KEEPING IT HOT is a fun and sexy read; a lighthearted and heartwarming story of $ex, romance and love between best friends who finally discovered what it is each has been missing all of their lives. The premise is energetic and engaging; the romance is passionate, inspiring and provocative; the characters are realistic and playful. KEEPING IT HOT is my first Sydney Landon book but it will not be my last.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt

Excerpt supplied by the Berkley Publishing Group

 

“Well, well,” Dana murmured as she noticed Zoe’s dejected expression. “The birthday girl doesn’t seem to be in the mood to celebrate this morning.” Her friend patted the counter and sat down on a stool behind it. “Park it right there and tell me all about it.”
Zoe shook her head in disgust. “I’m twenty-nine, still carrying around my big V-card, and I’ve been friend-zoned by the man I’ve secretly lusted after for years. So yeah, not exactly in the mood to celebrate another year of my love life going nowhere.”
“Finally! I can’t believe you’re admitting this. I’ve been waiting forever for you to ask me for help. Whenever I brought it up, you always acted like you had no idea what I was talking about. Oh, and by the way, friend-zoned would be easier to deal with. Some friends have sex together all the time. You’ve been sister-zoned and that’s the kiss of death if you’re hoping for a fling.”
Zoe planted her hands on the counter and shook her head vehemently. “I haven’t been sister-zoned. I’m still completely and totally in the friend area. Dylan and I are buddies. We talk about all kinds of things you wouldn’t discuss with your sibling.”
Dana clucked her tongue before taking a big drink of the coffee she had sitting nearby. Finally, as if she were talking to a toddler, she said, “Sweetie, when he hangs out with you, does he take calls and texts from other women?”
“Of course.” Zoe ground her teeth, thinking of how much she hated overhearing any time he employed his sexy laugh on some bimbo of the month.
Putting a hand under her chin, Dana studied her for a moment before asking, “Does he ever tell you anything about his dates? As in bedroom stuff or kink level?”
“Yes, all the time,” Zoe growled. “I guess that proves that he doesn’t see me as his sister, though, right?”
“It’s worse than I thought,” Dana said dramatically. “You’re officially one of the guys. You’ve ceased to have a vagina where he’s concerned.”
“What? No way!” Zoe sputtered. Pointing to her ample chest, she argued, “How could he miss these babies?”
Refusing to back down, Dana fired off, “Does he ever bump you on the shoulder with his fist? Or high five you?”
Zoe’s mouth went dry and she stared at Dana in growing horror before dropping her head onto the counter. “Oh God, I’m just like one of his guy friends,” Zoe mumbled in despair. “You’re absolutely right. I might as well have a penis.”
Dana patted the top of her head consolingly. “I don’t know about the whole having a dick thing. I’d say you’re more gender neutral where he’s concerned.”
“Wow, that’s so much better,” she snapped. Dana was silent for so long, Zoe finally lifted her head, thinking maybe they’d had a customer wander in before the shop officially opened. Instead, her friend was giving her a calculating look that immediately made her nervous. “What?” she asked warily, not even sure she wanted to know what was running through the other woman’s mind.
Dana folded her arms and leaned forward. “You can come back from this. As long as you haven’t entered the death zone where he looks at you like his little sister, there’s always hope. We can turn this around . . . if you’ll really apply yourself. Starting with that.” Dana pointed to Zoe’s white polo shirt as she spoke.
Zoe frowned, looking down in confusion. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”
“Sweetie, if you want Dylan to stop seeing you as a member of his dude squad, then you can’t continue to dress like one of the guys.” When Zoe opened her mouth to protest, Dana held her hand up. “What are they wearing when they come in here for coffee before hitting the golf course?”
“I’ve never noticed—” Zoe began before Dana interrupted her.
“Cut the crap,” Dana huffed. “You know they dress just like that. Polo shirts and khaki shorts. Dylan sees you as one of the guys because you blend in so well with them. It’s time for that to stop. You have so much going for you. Big tits, small waist, and plenty of butt. You need to dress to showcase your assets.” As Zoe gulped, Dana pointed to her hair. “And that spinster bun has got to go. Your hair is gorgeous, but I’ve only seen you wear it down a few times and that was when I hid those freaking bands that you seem to have a million of. Men go crazy over long, wavy hair, which you naturally possess. You don’t need a lot of makeup because you look great without it. Let’s just start with the things that I’ve mentioned and I guarantee that, in no time, Dylan will be tripping over his tongue. Let me give you a makeover for your birthday. Whether you realize it or not, it’ll help you with your self-confidence. And that is something that will benefit you in every aspect of your life. Getting the guy is just an added bonus.”

 

 

giveaway

The Reading Cafe and Sydney’s publisher are offering a paper copy of KEEPING IT HOT to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe:

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