The Highland Commander (Lords of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER (Lord of the Highlands #2) by Amy Jarecki-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

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THE HIGHLAND COMMANDER
(Lords of the Highlands #2)
by Amy Jarecki
Release Date: June 27 ,2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highland,romance

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The Highland Commander

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 27,2017

She cannot resist the man behind the mask…
As the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish earl, Lady Magdalen Keith is not one to partake in lavish balls or other frivolities. Yet at her father’s urging, she agrees to dance with the battle-weary officers at this year’s holiday masquerade. It’s practically her civic duty! But when one such officer-whose dashing good looks cannot be disguised by a mere mask-sweeps her off her feet and into his arms, the innocent lass can’t help herself. Her lips are his for the taking.But will he betray his country for a kiss?
Navy lieutenant Aiden Murray has spent too many months at sea to be immune to the charms of this lovely beauty. Even after he returns to his ship, she lives in his dreams. But when he discovers Maddie’s true identity-and learns that her father is accused of treason-will the brawny Scot risk his life to follow his heart?

Lords of the Highlands series: The Highland DukeThe Highland CommanderThe Highland Guardian

•••••••••••

REVIEW:

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

OH Amy I do love how you write an yummy Highland Romance! 🙂

The Highland Commander by Amy Jarecki is the second book of her “Lords of The Highlands” series. A historical romance that takes a fictional couple and weaves it into a very real part of history. I LOVE LOVE LOVE when an author knows their history and can make a story come alive by allowing the reader the “What If” aspect. My senses were alive with vivid descriptions of scenery and culture. A good ole highlander romance always puts a smile on my face and this book certainly did just that!

Lady Magdalen (Maddie) is introduced to us at a ball. We learn she is a bastard, but has taken her life in hand and decided to work in hospital aiding women who have been abused. Maddie is innocent, but realistic about her station in life. It would seem her step mother really has no wish to have her in the family so she is raised alongside a ladies maid. When her father is charged with treason, her step-mama sure finds use for her really quick .. go save daddy dearest! Off Maddie goes, not expecting all she comes to find.

Aiden is introduced to us at the same ball we meet Maddie. They share a moment but know their paths will never cross again. Aiden is the second son of an Earl and is serving in the Navy. Once time had past, Aiden can never really get this lady out of his mind and before we know it, their paths cross again. Then their lives become entwined and we are off to one heck of a story!

Ok, I have to swoon for a second here! Aiden! OH SWEET AIDEN. The man is a virgin, sweet without feeling like you are dunked in a tub of honey, heroic and the total opposite of a rake. How fricken refreshing. I love my rakes .. I love me a bad boy, but then Aiden comes and I am the girl blow away at this character who isn’t a pansy ass but all MAN! My heart ached for this man, as much as it ached for Maddie.

The one liners and jokes these two share had me laughing out loud. I loved how they figured “love” and “loving” out together. I loved that their relationship wasn’t clear cut, but they both really deserved to be with the other. Honestly when it comes to highlander historical romance, you tend to read big burly men with either the innocent lass or the spitfire .. and this felt a whole lot different to me! These two have quite a few obstacles to overcome for their HEA, but it’s a joy to go through it with them!

Sorry I don’t give away storyline (that is for your pleasure), but I do tell you that if you have any amount of history buff inside you, you will seriously appreciate Amy Jarecki’s writing. She is well researched. If I have to give a negative amongst all this praise, it was slow to start. Once it got going I was completely invested.

Absolutely could be a stand alone, but snag the first book too, it’s also very good!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy provided by Publisher

the Highland Commander Teaser

 

excerpt

 

 

As in the Highland custom, Aiden wore the plaid belted at his waist, the length pulled from the lower right opening of his doublet, around his back and pinned at his left shoulder with a silver brooch bearing the Atholl arms. The valet had put forth a good effort ensuring there was neither wrinkle nor hair out of place.
He regarded himself in the looking glass above the mantle in the drawing room, sliding one foot forward as he would do for a portrait. Not liking the image, he puffed out his chest and moved a hand to his lapel.
God’s bones, take me to sea where I can cast aside these frills.
Tuning his back to the looking glass, Aiden resorted to pacing and pulling out his pocket watch. The coach would arrive in five minutes, and Maddie hadn’t yet made an appearance.
At least a light glowed from beneath her door indicating she was within. It cast a hazy glow in the otherwise dark passageway. After pacing around the chamber half-dozen times, he again eyed his timepiece. Another minute had passed. Perhaps he should knock on the door—perhaps Maddie’s mantle clock had stopped and she was unaware of the time. Just as he started off, her door opened. A burst of light flooded the passageway, and with the tap of dainty footsteps, an angel emerged.
Aiden knew she’d purchased a new gown, but he hadn’t expected this. His mouth went dry and he suddenly needed to take in two stuttered breaths to steady the thumping of his heart.
Christ, men aren’t supposed to experience such heart hammering. Especially men bred for the sea. Damnation.
She smiled, and his goddamned knees wobbled. He should have taken a healthy tot whilst he was pacing in the drawing room.
Her golden gown rustled as she walked forward, with a matching fan in her hand. She moved the fan to her waist…just below her breasts. Creamy skin Aiden knew to be softer than spun silk swelled above a dangerously plunging neckline. His mouth went completely dry. If Maddie’s serving maid had been anywhere but behind her lady, Aiden would have taken the lassie into his arms, pushed through his bedchamber door and damned the recital.
“I hope I haven’t made us late.” Maddie batted her eyelashes as if she had no idea of the effect she had on his aching cods. “Miss Agnes spent ever so long curling my hair.”
Aiden’s tongue slipped over his bottom lip. “Your curls are exquisite. You are exquisite, m’lady.”
Agnes cleared her throat, coming up behind with a cloak over her arm. “You’d best say so, m’lord. It took the greater part of the afternoon to make those ringlets.”
Nay, there’d be no slipping into the bedchamber for a hasty sampling of those pearl-tipped bosoms.
Aiden glanced to his pocket watch—they still had a few minutes—and now that he knew Maddie was ready, there’d be no harm in making the coach wait for a minute or two. “Fine job, Miss Agnes,” he said with more sobriety than he felt. “I think you deserve a healthy tot of fine spirit for taking such fine care of her ladyship.”
“Have we time?” asked Maddie.
Aiden led them into the drawing room and gestured to the settee. “A stolen moment will not set us behind overmuch.”
Agnes gave a firm shake of her head. “You needn’t make a fuss for the likes of me.”
“It is no fuss. You take good care of your lady, and for that I want to thank you.” Aiden poured three tots of sherry and offered each of the ladies a glass. “Shall we drink to Miss Agnes?”
Blinking, the woman drew a hand over her mouth, dipping her head and smiling broadly. “Heavens.”
“Aye, we should.” Maddie patted her chambermaid’s knee and raised her glass. “To the woman who has seen me through one and twenty years of happiness. I have no idea what would have become of me if you hadn’t been by my side. Sometimes I’ve felt as if you’re the only person in all of Christendom who cares.”
Aiden’s gut twisted. He cared a great deal, but it was inconceivable that Maddie had been made to feel like an outcast from such a young age. He drank thoughtfully, watching the two women as they sipped. Even their mannerisms had become similar. “Miss Agnes, how long have you been serving Lady Magdalen?”
The woman’s eyes glistened with pride. “Since the day she was born. The moment I held her in my arms I knew my purpose.”
Aiden glanced to Maddie and knitted his brows. “Did your mother pass in childbirth?”
Shaking her head, the lass bit her bottom lip. “Nay. My mother knew I would have a better life if she gave me to my father. Only…” Maddie looked away, and took another sip.
“What?”
“The one caveat was that she could never set eyes on me again.”
Grumbling under her breath, Agnes guzzled the remainder of her sherry. “We shan’t discuss the countess any longer. It sets both of our hackles to standing on end.”
“Agreed.” Aiden set his glass on the mantel and offered Maddie his hand. “Shall we be off, m’lady? We do not want to miss the opening. I hear it will be most spectacular.”
Maddie tapped the chambermaid’s shoulder before they strolled toward the door. “I want you to take some time for yourself this night. Do something that will make you happy. You have nothing to worry about, my pet. I’ll be in Lord Aiden’s capable hands.”

 

 

About The Author Black and White

Amy JareckiAmy Jarecki is a descendant of an ancient Lowland clan and adores Scotland. Though she now resides in southwest Utah, she received her MBA from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh. Winning multiple writing awards, she found her niche in the genre of Scottish historical romance. Amy writes steamy edge-of-your-seat action adventures with rugged men and fascinating women who weave their paths through the brutal eras of centuries past.

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The Rancher and the City Girl by Joya Ryan -a Review

The Rancher and the City Girl by Joya Ryan -a Review

 

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Description:
Rancher and single father Tripp Montgomery is a master at French braiding and princess tea parties. He’s also the most eligible bachelor in Cheyenne, Wyoming. So when he stumbles upon a flashy, sexy city girl, he knows two things: 1) she’s a walking disaster, and 2) he needs to stay far, far away.

But she needs him more than he wants to admit…

Charlotte Gram knows what it’s like not to be wanted. She’s in Cheyenne for the summer to help her grandmother heal after surgery, but the farmhouse “chores” are proving much harder than she thought. If her day couldn’t get any worse, the sexiest man she’s ever seen strolls up to save the day…

…and he definitely doesn’t seem happy about it.

 

Review:

The origin of the Dedication Page was already swoon-worthy. Sounds like Joya Ryan wrangled up her very own cowboy, and that kind of firsthand experience is money for a fan. Tripp and Charlotte are strangers who indulge in a hot moment they desperately needed. When their paths collide anew, despite their mutual agreement to keep it to a singular spectacular event, does a second time automatically lead to Happily Ever After? Ms. Joya writes a bumpy love story in The Rancher and the City Girl that warms your heart and heats your senses.

Wyoming is a far cry from California, but Charlotte is in town to look after farm duties while her grandmother recovers from ankle surgery. Tripp is an overprotective, single dad who’s so focused on limiting his daughter’s outside influences, he negates his own happiness, thereby ignoring fulfillment of his own.

I understand Tripp’s reluctance to allow Charlotte into his life. Charlotte is in town for only a short while and he’s concerned that his daughter is already too attached; that she’ll be crushed when she goes. He’ll be damned if a temporary fling will cause upheaval in his stable home. But the truth is, Charlotte knows all about loss, and her influence is far from detrimental. Far be it from Charlotte, however, who has learned to fend for herself, her independence wrought fiercely, to share her demons. Could Charlotte give up Los Angeles, knowing it’s good for her career, just because Trip makes her feel whole again? Who will win this battle of wills? To lose would be a tremendous loss.

Joya Ryan writes about letting go and letting people in. There was so much heart behind what amounts to fear, you can’t help but forgive. This was a quick, fun read with genuine emotion. While steam will emanate from your device, the bedroom scene, in particular, was next level depth. *tingles*

Reviewed by Carmen

Copy provided by Publisher

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The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan – Review & Giveaway

The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan – Review & Giveaway

 

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The Legion of the Flame
The Draconis Memoria series – Book #2
by Anthony Ryan
Release Date: June 27th, 2017

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Description:
Empires clash and a fell power stakes its claim in the second in a new series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven’s Shadow Trilogy.

For centuries, the vast Ironship Trading Syndicate relied on drake blood—and the extraordinary powers it confers to those known as the Blood-blessed—to fuel and protect its empire. But now, a fearsome power has arisen—a drake so mighty that the world will tremble before it.

Rogue Blood-blessed Claydon Torcreek, Syndicate agent Lizanne Lethridge, and ironship captain Corrick Hilemore embark upon perilous quests to chase down clues that offer faint hopes of salvation. As the world burns around them, and the fires of revolution are ignited, these few are the last hope for the empire and for all of civilization.

 

 

Review:

The Legion of Flame by Anthony Ryan is the second book in his The Draconis Memoria series.  The Legion of Flame picks up after The Waking Fire left off.  Being an epic fantasy there is a lot of detailed information, as the story line progresses.  In this intense world, the humans and blood blessed (humans who drink the blood harvested from dead dragons), are in a fight for survival in a war against the onslaught of all dragons (blue, black, green, red and the new ultra powerful white).  It is also a world filled with magic, war, danger, destruction, ships, and dragons.

Lizanne and Clay, who are both blood blessed, continue as the main characters with POV’s  in this series.  Hilemore, the captain of one of the fleets, also has some POV;s, and Sirius, who has been captured by a white drake (dragon) now has his own POV, as he has been changed into a human-spoiled controlled by the White.   With the danger escalating, and the world very much in danger of being destroyed by the attacking Drakes;  Lizanne, Clay and Hiemore  take on various assignments to stop the enemy before it’s too late. 

Lizanne, after being successful in her last mission, will now go undercover to a city that is a prison for rough tough mean prisoners that survive in the city of undesirables.  Lizanne, who is an agent and assassin for the syndicate, is determined to find someone who has the ability to build items that could help fight the Drakes.   Clay follows a vision to also discover more about the Drakes, and someone who might be able to help them win this war.  Hilemore must push his men on the ship to fight the continued attacks by the Drakes.  Each of them faces terrible odds of survival, especially Lizanne and Clay.

What follows is an exciting, dangerous, intense storyline filled with non-stop action.  All three of our heroes are on their own, with no contact; and as the tension grows, we fear for their lives. The journey for each will take them to depths of hell.    To tell too much more is difficult, as in fantasies there are many details that need to be read to understand.  I loved Lizanne, as she was some tough heroine, who refused to ever give up.  I liked Clay too, but to me Lizanne stood out the most. 

Anthony Ryan does a masterful job in writing this complex story that intensifies the further we delve into the horrors we witness in a world that is falling apart.  As in most fantasies, this is a big book, just under 600 pages.  If you enjoy epic fantasies, in a sort of sci-fi dystopian world, with lots of action, then you should be reading this series.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

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Anthony Ryan’s publisher is offering a paper copy of the first book in this series, THE WAKING FIRE to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe

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Love, Sex, Music by Michelle A Valentine-Review and Release Blitz

Love, Sex, Music by Michelle A Valentine-Review and Release Blitz

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LOVE, SEX, MUSIC
by Michelle A Valentine
Release Date: June 21, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary,erotic, romance

Love Sex Music

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 21, 2017

Fame can disappear in an instant…

Fortune is a fleeting fantasy…

Laz Rawlings had them both, until he lost it all…

Laz, a former world-famous music producer screwed up everything thanks to his rock-n-roll lifestyle, but he’s been given an opportunity to prove his genius in the music industry wasn’t a fluke, and he’s hell-bent on not letting history repeat itself. But that’s proving difficult when the young singer he’s tasked with grooming has become the object of his every desire.

Life has been an uphill battle for Aundrea Newton, so when a sexy, tattooed stranger hand delivers her dream of a music career, she’s skeptical. Nothing ever comes easy, and she knows Laz has the power to crush both her career and her heart with his undeniable sex appeal and charismatic swagger.

When the line between mentor and student blurs, both begin to question what’s more important: Love, sex or the music.

**STANDALONE. No Cliffhanger**

•••••••••

REVIEW: LOVE, SEX, MUSIC by Michelle A Valentine is a stand alone, contemporary, adult, erotic romance story line focusing on former rock star, and music producer Lazarus ‘Laz’ Rawlings, and singer Aundrea ‘Drea’ Newton.

Told from dual first person points of view (Laz and Drea) LOVE, SEX, MUSIC focuses on the building but forbidden relationship between music producer Laz Rawlings, and singer Drea Newton. It has been five years since Laz Rawlings fell out of favor with his record company, his band and the rest of the world when addiction and the loss of someone close sent Laz Rawlings spiraling out of control. Fast forward to present day wherein Laz is desperate for a come back including the making of an all-girl band that will see our story line hero top the charts-once again. Enter eatery employee and singer Aundrea ‘Drea’ Newton, and her step-sister Candace-two sisters hoping to hit it big in the music industry. What ensues is the building romance between Drea and Laz, and the fall out when the competition for lead singer turns ugly, and Drea’s past comes looking for revenge.

The relationship between Drea and Laz is a forbidden romance in such that Laz’s come back is threatened if he becomes entangled with a member of the group. Throughout the story line, Drea and Laz keep their relationship a secret although everyone has their suspicions because Laz is unable to keep his eyes off of the woman that calls to his heart. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense, seduction and hot.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Laz’s best friend and former member of the rock band the Romeos Cam Owens; friend and part of the group’s artistic development team Laurie; Laz’s father Mr. Rawlings, and his personal assistant Robert, as well as the new CEO of Rawlings Records Peter Lawson. We are introduced to the members of the Vixens including Drea’s sister Candace Montag, Annamea and Laycee. There is definitely an attraction between Candace and Cam-I am hoping the author continues their story in the future. The requisite evil has many faces including Drea’s ex-boyfriend Carlos who wants revenge against our story line heroine.

The world building focuses on the try-outs for the group: the auditions, the training, the potential fall out of Drea’s romantic relationship with a man who is technically her boss. Laz’s history with Peter, and the breakdown of the rock band The Romeos is revealed, as well as Drea’s heartbreaking back story.

LOVE, SEX, MUSIC is an emotional story line; an easy read that looks at the making of a band (singing group), and the fall out of jealousy, revenge and too much, too soon. The premise is entertaining and spicy; the romance is provocative and passionate; the characters are spirited and dynamic.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

About The AuthorMichelle Valentine

FOLLOW: Goodreads / Website / Facebook/ Twitter

Michelle A. Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Rock the Heart. Wicked White is the first novel in her Wicked White romance series. She attended college as a drafting and design major, but her love of people soon persuaded her to join the nursing field. It wasn’t until after the birth of her son that she began her love affair with romance novels, and she hasn’t looked back since. When she’s not writing, she feeds her music addiction, dabbles in party planning, and expresses herself by working with arts and crafts. She currently lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, son, and two beloved dogs.

Join Michelle’s Reader Fan Group!

Be a little naughty – join Valentine’s Vixens (http://on.fb.me/1mh1uFqon Facebook for sneak peeks at Michelle’s upcoming works, as well as fun and chatting with her and other readers!

 

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Shattered King (Lawless Kings #1) by Sherilee Gray-Review, Excerpt & Interview

SHATTERED KING (Lawless Kings #1) by Sherilee Gray-Review, Excerpt & Interview

Shattered King

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About the book: Release Date June 27, 2017

What if the man you love hated you more with every breath he took?

SHATTERED KING is an intense, ultra-sexy standalone novel set in the world of the Lawless Kings. Sherilee Gray’s raw, hard, beautiful, deeply-emotional voice will leave readers breathless.

He’s out to get revenge for a crime he didn’t commit…

Hunter King just got out of prison. Incarcerated for three years though an innocent man, his rage against the people who put him there knows no bounds. First up on his list for vengeance: the woman who betrayed him years ago. The woman he loved fiercely, the one bright light in his otherwise hard, ruthless life. She has information he needs. And he’s going to kidnap her, hold her hostage, in order to get it. But one look into Lulu’s eyes unleashes the true beast within. Hunter’s never hated anyone this deeply, or wanted any woman this badly.

Lulu had no choice: Either help send Hunter to prison, or see him destroyed. She couldn’t do that to the man she loved. Couldn’t do it to the father of her child. But Hunter was locked away before he had a chance to learn about his son—and a hard layer of despair has formed around his heart that she’s desperate to crack. And if Hunter is to give himself and Lulu a second chance at love, he needs to find a way past his darkest demons.

••••••••••••••

REVIEW: SHATTERED KING is the first installment in Sherilee Gray’s contemporary, adult LAWLESS KINGS erotic, romantic suspense series focusing on the men and women who work for the King Agency doing personal protection and security, private investigation (corporate and domestic) and high-risk fugitive recovery and missing persons and kidnapping investigations. This is Hunter King, and Lucinda (Lulu) Frost’s story line.

NOTE: SHATTERED KING contains graphic scenarios that may be triggers for some readers including attempted rape, abuse and questionable consent.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Lulu and Hunter) SHATTERED KING is a story of second chances. Three years and four months earlier Hunter King found himself charged for a crime he did not commit. The one person who would have been able to clear his name refused to testify for the man that she loved. Enter Lulu Frost, the woman who destroyed Hunter King’s heart. What ensues is the rekindling relationship between Hunter and Lucinda, and the struggle to stay one step ahead of the man hoping to destroy them all.

Lulu Frost has been on the run since the day she walked out of Hunter King’s life. With her past hunting her whereabouts, Lulu must return to the town where everything went wrong but finds herself imprisoned by the very man she betrayed-at a cost. But Lulu keeps secret the truth from all those years ago and once revealed will place her on a path towards a future-with or without the man that she has always loved.

Hunter King is a changed man since the day he was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. Angry, determined and in desperate need of revenge, Hunter will make Lulu’ s life a living h*ll but for all intents and purposes, Hunter is a man still in love with the woman who betrayed his heart and soul. It is only when Lulu reveals the truth will Hunter’s change his path towards a happily ever after with the woman he loves

The relationship between Lulu and Hunter is one of second chances. There is a palpable sexual energy that is both heightened and damaged by Hunter’s behavior and actions towards our story line heroine. In the early stages of the book Hunter’s actions are reprehensible; his behavior and treatment of Lulu Frost is abusive, damaging and not without some questionable consent. The $ex scenes are angry, intense, seductive and promising.

We are introduced to Hunter’s older brother Van King, their guardian Raul Esposito, King Agency employees: former police officer Jude Wayland, PA Ruby Styles, ex-navy SEAL sniper Zeke Stanton, and tracker Neco Malik; Lulu’s ailing mother Elizabeth, and step-father Pierce, as well as Lulu’s Aunt Sara. Neco and Ruby’s story line is next in BROKEN REBEL.

The world building focuses on the rekindling romance between Lulu and Hunter, and the lengths Hunter will go to to protect the woman he has always loved. At times, Lulu Frost, is determined to push all of Hunter’s buttons, including placing herself in direct conflict to everything meant to protect her life.

SHATTERED KING is a dark, sexy, heartbreaking and emotional story of revenge, betrayal, and second chances. The premise is dramatic and intense; the characters are passionate, colorful and energetic; the romance is edgy and powerful. SHATTERED KING is an excellent start to a new series.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

excerpt

Excerpt provider by St. Martin’s Press

I blinked several times, working the heaviness from my eyes. Somehow I’d fallen asleep, locked in this room, surrounded by people that thought I was lower than dirt. God knows how I managed that, especially after what happened in that bathroom. I shivered. Every time I thought about it, my body heated. I was more screwed up than I thought.
The light in the room was diluted, gray. I guessed sometime late in the afternoon.
I froze. I wasn’t alone.
Hunter. His volatile energy filled the room, saturated it. My skin prickled and I sucked in a sharp breath. I didn’t move, stayed right where I was. I had no desire to find out what came next. I was still here for a reason. I didn’t know what that reason was, but considering the way he felt about me, things were not looking great.
“I know you’re awake.”
His voice was rough, low, but not angry for once. Something else, something I couldn’t name, set off little zaps of electricity in my lower belly. I’d decided before I fell asleep that I was done talking. Every time I opened my mouth, I pissed him off. And since he didn’t believe a word that came out of it, I was going to save my energy. With that in mind, I sat up, shoved my hair back from my face, and waited.
He was standing at the foot of the bed, arms crossed over his wide chest, chin dipped, head tilted, eyes locked on me. I couldn’t read his expression. But he was studying me in a way that made me want to squirm.
His jaw tightened, not much, but enough that I saw it. That gaze got more intense, so intense I couldn’t hold it any longer. I picked at the hem of my T-shirt, fidgeting.
“Why?” he said into the quiet room.
That’s it. That one word. I knew what he was asking. I’d heard that one word, Hunter’s voice, echoing in my head, for three years. The pain and anger distorting it as he was dragged away by prison guards.
I had nothing.
Nothing I was prepared to give, anyway. I made myself meet his gaze. It wasn’t easy. God, how I wanted to tell him everything, but I couldn’t and clamped my mouth shut instead. I refused to put Josh at risk just to appease my guilt. No good would come from telling him what happened, not now. Nothing would change. Nothing would make any of this all right. If I knew without doubt that Josh was Hunter’s, maybe I’d open my mouth. But I didn’t know that. Telling Hunter would only turn a spotlight on my little boy. It would make him a target, if he weren’t already. I’d die before I did that.
Hunter’s expression hardened. “You fucking owe me an explanation.”
I didn’t move, didn’t blink, just kept my eyes locked on his and my mouth shut.
He shook his head. “What did I ever do to you, Lulu? To make you hate me so damn much?”
I jolted, a full body spasm. Oh God. It was him. There he was. My Hunter. Just a glimpse of the man I loved beyond reason. It hurt to see him again. I wasn’t prepared for it. I looked down at my hands, tears stinging my nose, the back of my eyes. I swallowed down the lump threatening to choke me. My tattered heart couldn’t take much more of this.
I felt his gaze hot on me, waiting. Hoping I’d give him what he needed, give him the answers he wanted. I couldn’t do it.
Finally, after what felt like forever, he hissed through his teeth.
I looked up, couldn’t help it. His eyes were back to that cold, dead stare. He was gone again.
He tilted his head toward the door. “Time to go.”
I wanted to ask where, but since I’d just made a point of not talking, I had no choice but to keep my mouth shut. I stood as he opened the door and followed him back upstairs.

 

 

Interview seafoam:black

TRC: Hi Sherilee and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of SHATTERED KING

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

Sherilee GrayFollow: Website / Goodreads / Twitter /

Sherilee:  Thanks so much for having me here! Well, I live in a small town in rural New Zealand with my husband and two kids. I’ve had quite a few jobs over the years, office manager, bank teller, sales assistant, and after I had my children, I painted and sold my artwork. I even fancied myself a chief for a while and did some training before working in a restaurant. But nothing was ever the right fit, not until I started writing about eight years ago. I haven’t looked back since!

TRC:Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Sherilee: So many romance authors. So many amazing books! After years of devouring romance novels, I knew I wanted to try writing myself. I had all these ideas, all these stories in my head. One night I just sat down and started.

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

Sherilee: I struggled a lot in school, and when I started writing I had to go right back to basics. It was hard going, but writing and being published was what I wanted so I persevered. And of course, there are the rejections. Most of us them, and no matter what stage you are at in your writing journey, they never get any easier.

TRC: You write novels in several different genres. Which do you prefer? Which do you find more difficult?

Sherilee: I don’t really find one more difficult than the other, just different. I don’t think I can pick one I prefer! I love them all 🙂

Shattered KingTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of SHATTERED KING and the LAWLESS KINGS series?

Sherilee: I love an alpha hero. I also love anti-heroes, and both describe the men in this series. These guys may be P.I’s, but let’s just say they’re not exactly law-abiding citizens. They’re hard, and rough around the edges, products of the crap they’ve been through in their lives. They’re also loyal to a fault, and extremely protective. And the women that crash into their lives shove these big, bad, emotionally stunted alpha guys right out of their comfort zones. With Shattered King, I used two of my favorite tropes, second chances, and enemies to lovers, the result was some serious fireworks. I loved every moment of writing it.

TRC: How do you keep the plot(s) unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?

Sherilee: Honestly? My plots can be a little wacky, and I tend to just go with it. As far as believability goes? I can believe almost anything if it’s executed well, and that’s what I try very hard to do. It’s the characters that make each story unique or unpredictable no matter what trope/setting etc you use in your story.

TRC: There is a fine line between romance, erotic, and erotica in many of today’s popular contemporary fiction. What do you believe accounts for the differences between the sub-genres in today’s romantic stories?

Sherilee: Romance and erotic romance are all about the Happily Ever After, or at least a Happy For Now. In erotic romance, the developing sexual relationship between the H\h is hugely important for character growth and getting to that all important HEA/HFN. In erotica, Happily Ever Afters aren’t necessary.

TRC: Where should authors draw the line when writing romance vs erotic vs erotica story lines?

Sherilee: I think it’s up to the author.

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?

Sherilee: I think a great cover definitely helps!

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

Sherilee: I direct my characters…though, I do often end up where I hadn’t anticipated going. I’d love to be one of those authors that wake up to a story fully formed in their minds and characters yanking it up. Alas, that has never happened.

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 writer’s fail in this endeavor?

Sherilee: I don’t know about other writers, but there are several things I do. If I can, I draw from my own experiences, research if I can’t, and I also work really hard at putting myself in my character’s shoes while I’m writing. I want their reactions to be as believable as possible. Which is why writing those emotional scenes can be extremely draining.

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

Sherilee: I listen to music while I draft a book. The music doesn’t really influence the direction of a story, but it can inspire me. I always try and choose songs that fit the mood of the book I’m writing.

TRC: Many authors bounce ideas and information with other authors or friends and family. With whom do you bounce ideas?

Sherilee: My author friends. I have a small group of amazing ladies that are not only talented and knowledgeable, but extremely supportive as well. I couldn’t be without them. Also, my sister! I talk her ear off and she makes all the right noises when I’m freaking out about something.

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

Sherilee: That writing is easy because we’re doing what we love.

TRC: What is something that few, if any people, know about you?

Sherilee: If I could, I’d live somewhere remote, like an island with a tiny population. I’m a total introvert (Then again, maybe that’s not so secret!)

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Sherilee: A proposal for a new series 🙂

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite Food
Cheese

Favorite Dessert
Apple crumble

Favorite TV Show
Too hard to pick!

Last Movie You Saw
Can’t remember!

Dark or Milk Chocolate
Milk

Secret Celebrity Crush
Tom Hardy (also not so secret!)

Last Vacation Destination
The beach

Do you have any pets?
Two cats

Last book you read

Blood Vow by JR Ward

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

Sherilee:  Thank you!

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Up In The Pines by Katie Jennings – a Review

Up In The Pines by Katie Jennings – a Review

 

Up in the PinesAmazon / B&N

Description:
Deep in the mountains of Montana, Deputy Lark Galloway discovers a body. Despite being nothing more than bones, she connects the remains to a resident who disappeared twenty years earlier. As she unravels the dead man’s history to solve his murder, someone tries desperately to throw her off the scent. Meanwhile, famed Hollywood screenwriter Sawyer Matheson returns to town to escape his cheating fiancé, only to find himself at the heart of Lark’s investigation. Sparks fly as things heat up between Lark and Sawyer, but nothing can prepare her for the earth-shattering truth behind the body in the pines.

 

 

Review:

Up in the Pines by Katie Jennings is a standalone romance suspense thriller.  Up in the Pines takes place in a small town in Montana, where we meet Deputy Lark Galloway, our heroine.  A decaying body is discovered by a tourist, and when Lark surveys the scene, she knows it was murder.  The lab will confirm that the body has been buried approximately 20 years.   Lark will find herself, and the detective team researching missing persons back in that time period.

Sawyer Matheson, our hero, returns home to his deceased father’s house after having left years before.  Sawyer is now a successful and famous screenwriter, who comes home to get away from the media hounding him over his split with a famous actress, whom he found in bed with another man.  Sawyer will meet Lark, who lives in a cabin nearby, and thinks she looks familiar.   Lark, of course, knows who the famous Sawyer is, and remembers having a crush on him in high school.

What follows is a complex murder investigation that will become difficult to solve, especially with the element of time having passed.  Lark will work with the lead detective and learn the identity of the victim, which will bring out a few possible suspects.   When Lark’s partner is attacked and left for dead, she knows the danger is escalating, as the murderer is still alive and trying to stop the investigation.

Sawyer, whose mother ran away years before, will begin to help Lark in the investigation, in the hope he will learn why she left.  In a short time, their romance will begin to heat up, and they made a sweet couple.  Lark felt that there was no future, as he would go back to California; but Sawyer begins to see value in staying in his old home town.   But first they must survive, and a murderer must be caught.

This is a difficult review, because saying too much more would be spoilers.  Up in the Pines was an excellent “whodunit” with many twists and surprises.  Just when you thought you knew who it was, the next breath things turned another way.   Katie Jennings did a wonderful job keeping us glued to our seats, unable to put the book down.  The last third of the book was non-stop action, intense and very exciting.  If you love mysteries, thrillers, and a great couple, then you should read Up in the Pines.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for review

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Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon – a Review

 

Deadmen WalkingAmazon / B&N / Kobo / BAM / Book Depository

Description:
Hell hath no fury as a demon caged . . .

To catch evil, takes evil.

Enter Devyl Bane—an ancient warlord who has absolutely no love of humanity.  Yet to return to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the Spanish Main for the sake of vengeance, he makes a bitter bargain with Thorn—an immortal Hellchaser charged with battling the worst monsters the ancient gods ever released into our world. Monsters and demons Bane himself once commanded against Thorn and the humans.

For eons, those demons have been locked behind enchanted gates…which are starting to buckle. Now, Bane, with a vicious crew of Deadmen at his command, is humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their eternal prisons.

But things are never so simple. And one of his biggest vexations, aside from keeping his crew from killing each other before they have a chance to save humanity, is the very ship he sails upon. For Mara, the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient race Bane helped to destroy. And sister to the possessed creature who is one of the worst of those trying to break through to claim his soul, and retake the world.

Mara’s innate hatred of him makes the very fires of hell look like a sauna—not that he blames her. Centuries of war and betrayal divide them. But if Mara can’t find the humanity inside the Devyl and the Devyl can’t teach Mara to embrace her darker side for the good of their crew and the world, the two of them will go down in flames and take us all with them.

 


Review;

Deadmen Walking is a new trilogy by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  The events of this trilogy take place well before the Dark Hunters, Chronicles of Nick, and the Hellchasers.  However, there are some characters in this trilogy that we’ve already met in both of her other series.  We learn more about Thorn and how he became the leader of the Hellchasers/Deadmen, as well as some very interesting information about him that I prefer not to spoil for anyone who hasn’t read this one yet.  As well, there are some spoilers/hints in regards to the Chronicles of Nick to which I will not spill as well.  Sorry folks but I don’t like spoilers so therefore I refuse to spoil plotlines for all of you.  😉  Since Deadmen Walking is a new trilogy for Kenyon there is a lot of world building going on in this one, which for me I liked because it’s setting the stage for the other two books in this trilogy, but I found much of it confusing to me.  I spent a lot of time trying to keep everything straight from new characters, new pantheons, realms, mythologies, etc.  My head was hurting a few times from this information overload. 

Being a Kenyon fan I can safely say I enjoyed this new addition to her Dark-Hunter/CON/Hellchaser universe, but I didn’t love it.  I think that’s a first for me.  It’s not that I didn’t like the origin of this one because I love Pirates, Mer-people, demons, sprites, you name it, that creature was probably in this one.  Heck the heroine, Marcelina is of an acient race that can shift into trees, or become one with wood.  She is basically the ship Devyl and his crew of Deadmen are sailing on.  Actually, for a second there I thought I was re-visting Middle Earth in the The Lord of the Rings when they encounter the Ents(Tree People), lol!!  Actually, Marcelina’s race and backstory was pretty interesting for me to read about.  I wound up liking her in the end.  As for Devly and his crew of Deadmen, they are under Thorn’s watch/control.  The Deadmen as they are called in the book are actually earlier versions of his Hellchasers, at least that’s my opinion and am thinking he must  eventually rename them later on at some point, but don’t quote me on this.  Devly’s backstory and how he becomes the Captain and leader of Thorn’s Deadmen is interesting and we see how his life and Marcelina’s are twined together.  Their story at times felt rush to me, but eventually it did start to fall into place about halfway through the book.  It took awhile, but eventually I started to connect the dots and the information overload started to make sense, and the rest of the story just fell into place for me and carried me along to the end of the book.  To which like previous Kenyon books she leaves us hanging as to what’s in story for characters in the next installment. Particularly, a very intriguing Merman who has given himself up to save the life of a two important characters.  Again I won’t give away anything….(evil laughter rings throughout the rafters of The Reading Café)

Deadmen Walking is an interesting installment in the Kenyon paranormal universe.  You just need to have some patience and a large pad of paper beside you for note taking to help keep everything in perspective and in order.  LOL!!  I’m looking forward to the continuation of this one and hopefully seeing how it will eventually weave into her current storylines. 

Reviewed by Marcie

 

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The Red Lily (Vampire Blood #2) by Juliette Cross-Dual Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

THE RED LILY (Vampire Blood #2) by Juliette Cross-Dual Review, Book tour & Giveaway

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THE RED LILY
Vampire Blood #2
by Juliette Cross
Genre: adult, paranormal, fantasy, romance
Release Date: June 19, 2017

The Red Lily

Amazon | Amazon. ca | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled | Goodreads

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 19, 2017

When Red falls for the Big Bad Vampire…

The Black Lily resistance needs a larger army if they are to defeat the vampire monarchy. In order to do so, former lieutenant and traitor to the vampire Crown, Nikolai must seek help from the red-hooded temptress he needs to avoid at all costs. The secret he carries could prove dangerous for her if she gets too close…even though keeping her close—very close—is the only thing on his mind.

Sienna will do anything for the Black Lily, and when Nikolai asks for her assistance to gain the trust of the commonwealth, it’s the last thing she wants to do. The thought of leaving her woods and her wolves behind is terrifying…not to mention the danger being with Nikolai poses.

••••••••••

SANDY’S REVIEW:  THE RED LILY is the second installment in Juliette Cross’s adult VAMPIRE BLOOD paranormal/fantasy series (formerly known as The Tales of the Black Lily series). This is vampire and former lieutenant Nikolai, and Woman of the Wood Sienna. Sienna and Nikolai were first introduced in book one The Black Lily . Nikolai is Prince Marius’s best friend, and Sienna is the mysterious woman Arabelle befriended in the woods

Told from dual third person perspectives (Sienna and Nikolai) THE RED LILY continues the search for supporters of The Black Lily. The Black Lily is an underground movement that is attempting to take down the royal vampire family, and their army of Legionnaires who are obliterating village after village in a frenzied blood madness known as the sanguine furorem. A one-time member of the royal Legionnaires, Nikolai now sides with the Black Lily resistance, and is the current guardian of the Woman of the Wood. When a missive comes from the Black Lily herself, Sienna and Nikolai set off on a cross country trek to gather an army to fight against evil Queen Morgrid of the vampires, and her royal Legionnaires.

THE RED LILY takes the tale of Little Red Riding Hood to the next level-a fantasy of myth, magic, vampires and love. Not only has Sienna befriended a pack of magical hart-wolves in the Silvane Forest but our heroine has been imbued with magical powers of her own. Nikolai is the Big Bad Wolf who has fallen for the red-haired beauty and it is his love that will guide the couple on their journey towards a happily ever after.

THE RED LILY focuses on the trials and tribulations of amassing a system of support in the face of encroaching war. Queen Morgrid’s blood infused Legionnaires have outnumbered and overpowered every form of resistance, and the Black Lily supporters have yet to gain enough power or numbers to be of any threat against the vampire army.

Juliette Cross’s THE RED LILY is a story of romance and love; magic and evil; power and the supernatural world of the vampire lore. The premise is intriguing, imaginative and enchanting; the romance is spirited, emotional and intense; the characters are passionate and inspiring. THE RED LILY is an energetic tale with a vibrant cast of characters who will captivate your imagination when the fairy tale from your childhood takes on an aura of romance and breathless imagination.

 

_______________

Barb’s Review:
The Red Lily by Juliette Cross is the 2nd book in her Vampire Blood series.  I loved the first book in this series, and I must say that this was equally as good or even better.   Juliette Cross once again wows us with another fantastic story; which is no surprise, as she has wowed us in each and everyone one of her series.  

In The Red Lily, Sienna and Nikolai, are our heroes, whom we met in The Black Lily, and I could not wait for their story.  In The Black Lily, the themed fairy tale background was Cinderella; in The Red Lilly it is Red Riding Hood and in the next book, The White Lilly, it will be Snow White. 

Sienna lives in the Silvane Forest, protected by hart wolves, whom she loves with all her heart.  Many think of Sienna as the Red Witch, but she insists she is not a witch.  When she knows she must leave her beloved enchanted forest to visit other towns to alert them of the terrible Queen Morgrid, who has her blood lust vampire army killing locals. Sienna must make the local folks leave and join Arrabelle (the Black Lily) & Prince Marius, who are training and building their own army to fight the Queen.  To protect Sienna, Nikolai will arrive in the forest, and be her guide and protector during their journey.  Both Nikolai and Sienna have been having their own sexual dreams since they met previously during the saving of Arrabelle.  The chemistry between them was sizzling hot, and they were so awesome together.  I loved them both.  I also loved Dutchess and her hart wolves. 

When they embark on their journey, the danger will escalate leaving us holding our breath so many times, with Nikolai managing to save Sienna.  But the worse is yet to come that will bring them both close to the end.  We learn the depths that the evil Queen Morgrid will go to and her evil vampire army.  Just when you think it’s hopeless, a tiny shiver of light will open the way for hope.

Nikolai becomes the Big Bad Wolf as he unleashes his monster to find a way to save Sienna, and to destroy all those despicable enemies.  Sienna will need to let out her unknown magic to help save them all.

This was a heart stopping last half of the book, that kept you reading until you reached the end.  The Red Lily was an emotional, heart wrenching, intense, exciting, suspenseful and action-packed thriller.  The romance between Sienna and Nikolai was beautiful and Cross manages to make their scenes sexy & hot has hell, and at the same time keeping the sensational story in the forefront. 

As I have said before, if you have not read Juliette Cross, you are seriously missing a fantastic author.  She always captivates us with great stories, wonderful couples, great secondary characters and a romance that is sizzling.  You need to read this series, and start with The Black Lily

 

Copies supplied for review

 

The Red Lily Teaser

About The Author

Juliette CrossAbout Juliette Cross:

Juliette lives in lush, moss-laden Louisiana where she lives with her husband, four kids, and black lab, Kona.

Multi-published author of paranormal and urban fantasy romance, she loves reading and writing brooding characters, mysterious settings, persevering heroines, and dark, sexy heroes.

From the moment she read JANE EYRE as a teenager, she fell in love with the Gothic romance. Even then, she not only longed to read more novels set in Gothic worlds, she wanted to create her own.

Connect with Juliette:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Goodreads | Newsletter

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