Second Best by Noelle Adams-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

SECOND BEST by Noelle Adams-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway

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SECOND BEST

by Noelle Adams

Release Date: November 14, 2017

Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Second Best

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About the book: Release Date November 14, 2017

We meet every other Wednesday night in a downtown hotel. No dates. No commitments. No hearts or flowers. Just his body and mine.

Maybe I’m his second best. He’s definitely mine. But second best has never felt so good.

•••••••••••••

REVIEW: SECOND BEST by Noelle Adams is a contemporary, adult, stand alone erotic, romance story line focusing on the contracted, sexual relationship between real estate developer Sean Doyle, and attorney Ashley Simon.

Told from first person point of view (Ashley Simon) SECOND BEST follows the building relationship between thirty-eight year old real estate developer Sean Doyle, and twenty-eight year old property attorney Ashley Simon. Having met at a business get-together Sean Doyle will offer Ashley Simon the deal that would forever change her life-a sexual relationship, no strings attached, no business, no questions-every other Wednesday at a local, expensive hotel. Throughout their months long affair, we get up close and personal with a man whose previous relationship and love was destroyed by a bullet that came close to ending his life; and a woman who believes she is in love with another man –fellow attorney John Cooper-a man who is barely aware of our heroine’s existence. What ensues is the every-other Wednesday sexual encounters between Ashley and Sean, and the potential fall out as Ashley continues to focus her attentions upon someone else.

SECOND BEST is a quick read originally released as a serialized newsletter novella focusing on a mutual ‘arrangement’ between two people looking for sex, companionship, and nothing else. What started out as a potentially, cold and calculating business-like arrangement soon heats up as our hero begins to want something more, and our heroine learns that no other man compares to the reality of what she already has.

For an educated and informed woman Ashley Simon is a bit of a fool as it pertains to her attraction and love for a man she claims is her happily ever after. Her attraction to a co-worker is purely physical yet she continues to act as though ‘he’ is the one regardless of their, yet to be established, friendship or introduction. In this, Ashley’s actions are immature, adolescent and questionable.

The relationship between Sean and Ashley begins as a contracted agreement; a physical and sexual affair never intended to go beyond the sex but an affair that begins to show signs of emotional involvement, jealousy and love. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense.

There secondary and supporting characters are limited to Ashley’s ‘crush’ and fellow attorney John Cooper, as well as Sean’s grandmother, a woman who sees more than her grandson realizes.

SECOND BEST is a story of one man’s heartbreak and inability to let go of the past; and one woman’s obsession with another man. The premise is entertaining and engaging; the romance is seductive and edgy; the characters are colorful, charismatic and dynamic although I have to question the stupidity of our heroine’s ‘obsession’ for another man.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Second Best Teaser 1

excerpt

After I turned the water on to get hot, I pulled my hair back into a messy bun and dropped my clothes onto the floor, feeling almost decadent—like I wasn’t just a normal girl with a normal job living a normal life. I loved the specialty bath wash the hotel provided—deliciously scented with lavender and honey—and I scrubbed up and rinsed off at a leisurely pace.
I wondered what Sean was doing.

He probably had a meeting run late or else something urgent came up at work.

I was going to be very disappointed if the front desk called up to tell me he wasn’t going to be able to make it after all.

I’d been waiting for two weeks for tonight. I didn’t want to miss out.

When I felt an unexpected blast of cool air, I turned to see what caused it. I squealed loudly when I saw a man getting into the shower with me. I raised my hands instinctively to beat him off.

You understand I wasn’t thinking through any of this. All I’d processed was the sudden appearance of a man where I hadn’t been expecting one.

“Hey,” Sean said, laughing as he grabbed at my flailing wrists. He was as naked as I was. “I expected a warmer welcome than this.”

I relaxed immediately, flushing with embarrassment and the aftermath of my shock. “You scared the crap out of me!”

He was still laughing. “I can see that. Who did you think was getting into the shower with you?”

“I don’t know. I thought you were running late.”

He moved so he was completely under the shower spray, the water soaking his short brown hair and streaming down his high cheekbones, strong chin, and sexy mouth. “I was. But I rushed over so you wouldn’t start without me.”

“Start… without…?”

I didn’t finish the stilted question because he’d pulled me into a kiss.

I had no objections to kissing him. In fact, it was one of my favorite activities. No one kissed like Sean Doyle did—with those clever lips, agile tongue, and dedicated skill. But I’d put my hair into the bun on purpose, and I didn’t want him to pull my head under the water, so I backed away, saving my hair from getting soaked like his.

He frowned when I broke the kiss and reached for me again. “Why are you all standoffish?”

“I’m not.” I giggled as I evaded his hands. “I just don’t want my hair to get wet.”

“Why not?”

I stared at him through the steam-thickened air. “Why not? Do you have any idea what it’s like to go around with wet hair as long as mine? It takes forever to dry and it gets everything wet.”

He frowned and stepped forward, pushing me back against the shower wall. “Fine. If you insist on focusing on practicalities, how’s this then?” He kissed me again, and this time I didn’t have any desire to pull away. My head was safely away from the fall of water.

“Not bad,” I murmured against his lips.

“Not bad? That’s all you can say after two weeks without kissing me?”

“What did you expect me to say? That your kiss is the most incredible thing I’ve ever experienced in the universe.”

He nuzzled the side of my face, his tongue darting out to taste my skin in little, unexpected licks, each one causing a quick jolt of pleasure. “That wouldn’t be a bad start.”

About the Author

Noelle handwrote her first romance novel in a spiral-bound notebook when she was twelve, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. She has lived in eight different states and currently resides in Virginia, where she teaches English, reads any book she can get her hands on, and offers tribute to a very spoiled cocker spaniel.

She loves travel, art, history, and ice cream. After spending far too many years of her life in graduate school, she has decided to reorient her priorities and focus on writing contemporary romances.

Connect with Noelle:
Website: http://noelle-adams.com/Home_Page.html
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NoelleAdamsAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NoelleAdams3
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6572847.Noelle_Adams

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Eversong (The Kindred #1) by Donna Grant -Review Tour

Eversong (The Kindred #1) by Donna Grant-Review Tour

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EVERSONG
The Kindred #1
By Donna Grant
Release Date: November 20 ,2017
Genre: adult, paranormal, romance

Eversong

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Goodreads Link – https://dgrant.co/2lTiEhg

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 20, 2017

To live in the light, they hunt in the dark…

Unparalleled in beauty and daring, Leoma has been raised with a single-minded focus—to wipe out corrupt witches. But when her new target leads her to a discovery that unveils a graver plan from the Coven, she doesn’t hesitate to follow. Yet, she’s not the only one on the hunt. And the sexy, infuriating man who crosses her path could prove to be a distraction—something she’s never encountered before.

Honor and family mean everything to Braith. When his life is turned upside down by the murder of his ward and heir without cause or reason, he has no choice but to turn to vengeance. Until a stunning, dangerous woman continues to thwart his efforts at every turn. Now, he must battle not only his need for revenge but his desire for the female, as well.

••••••••••

REVIEW: While I love steamy romances that leave me fanning myself or full on swooning, one book element that I’m addicted to is the good triumphing over evil. It’s one of the elements that leave me constantly coming back for more when it comes to reading. When it comes to good triumphing over evil, this book did not disappoint. With a coven of evil witches after more power, they are going about it in not so “kosher” ways to get that power. Both Leoma and Braith are bent on revenge for the wrongful deaths of ones dear to them caused by a witch in the coven. Who knew going after a common enemy would lead you to your best team mate along with your love for life?

I really enjoyed that Leoma and Braith are both fighters/warriors. Braith being a knight his whole life. Leoma taken off the streets and vigorously trained by Edra and Radnar. Their fights and battles side by side was quite impressive. Their first battle in the grove against the same witch they were after was awesome beyond belief. It was great reading about them taking Brigitta down. I love how Leoma can hold her own in a fight whether it is against powerful witches or knights twice her size. Braith came with his own surprises up his sleeves too. How he killed the elder witch Eleanor with the power of the skull was dark, morbid, and utterly vivid. So cool. I love my fighter/warrior couples.

Like all couples, they had their love scenes. The first love scene was very nicely written. While I enjoy some hardcore, steamy raunchy-ness; this one was very tastefully done. While Braith had his fair share of one night stands, this was Leoma’s first time. Despite his experience, he showed Leoma not only love but a tremendous amount of gentleness and patience. It was a treat to admire and read some background about Leoma’s tattoos through Braith’s eyes before he proceeded to take her virginity.

While it was great admiring the scoreboard of several deaths against the coven, Braith and Leoma realize they still have a bigger battle ahead of them with the coven. Another cherry on top, best ending ever. Tired and after cleaning up after the big showdown with elder witches, they finally put it all on the table of their feelings for each other and then the implied love scene that followed.

One awesome fighter/warrior couple, awesome battle scenes, tastefully written love scenes and the best ever of good triumphing over evil. This is my first book by Donna Grant and as far as first impressions go, why the heck did I not hear about her sooner?! The world of witches, warlocks, knights and magic was awesome and I world I would love to get lost in. In short the word of this book is AWESOME! I highly recommend this book and I anxiously await the next book in the series.

Reviewed by Xtina

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Xtina

Eversong Teaser -Vegvisir

About the Author red

donna_grant_newDonna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.

She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.

Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.

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Wicked Torture (Stark World #3) by J. Kenner-Review & Excerpt Tour

WICKED TORTURE (Stark World #3) by J. Kenner-Review & Excerpt Tour

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WICKED TORTURE
Stark World #3
by J. Kenner
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Wicked Torture

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Add to GoodReads: http://bit.ly/2tfuFjN
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Sometimes, it feels so damn good to be bad …

Outwardly, Noah Carter is riding high as the tech world’s hottest new genius. Inside, he’s still reeling from the abduction of his wife and baby daughter eight years ago, and then the devastating discovery of his child’s body. For years, he kept up hope that his wife was alive, but now that she’s been declared legally dead, he’s thrown himself even more deeply into his work, cutting himself off from emotional ties because they just hurt too damn much.

Then he meets Kiki Porter, an eternal optimist with a killer work ethic and dreams of fronting a band. And everything changes. Even though he tries his damnedest to fight it…

Sexually, they are combustible together. But their true fire is emotional, though it is a slow to burn. But once it lights, it is all consuming. The relationship grows emotionally, the sex is hot, things are good.

But just when it’s looking like they might have a real future together, the past comes back to haunt them. And Noah’s going to have to decide what he’s willing to give up for love

••••••••••••

REVIEW: WICKED TORTURE is the third instalment in J. Kenner’s contemporary adult STARK WORLD erotic romance series focusing on the men and women of Stark International-a spin off from the author’s Stark Trilogy. This is IT genius Noah Carter, and singer/program designer Kimberly ‘Kiki’ Porter’s story line. WICKED TORTURE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from first person point of view (Kiki), and third person perspective (Noah) WICKED TORTURE follows the second chance romance between two people whose relationship was destroyed ten years earlier when Noah walked out of Kiki’s life leaving her heartbroken and shattered. Fast forward to present day wherein Kiki is the new consultant at Stark Applied Technology Austin, and her contract position has her working side by side with the man she once loved. What ensues is the rebuilding relationship between Kiki and Noah, and the potential fall out when Noah’s past resurfaces for a second chance.

Kiki barely survived the destruction and aftermath, ten years earlier, of her breakup with Noah Carter- the man to whom she promised her life but a man who felt obligated to someone else. Noah Carter has never stopped loving the woman he left behind but will his love be strong enough to overcome the painful memories of heartbreak and betrayal? Noah has a bit of a martyr complex that could have proven destructive if he followed the same pattern he chosen in the past.

The relationship between Noah and Kiki is one of second chances; a rekindling romance where trust must be rebuilt upon a broken foundation. The sexual attraction is palpable; the energy is electric. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense, without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Kiki’s hlalf-brother Cam: Ares and the band Seven Percent; as well as some of the members of Kiki’s original group Pink Chameleon. We are reintroduced to Lyle Tarpin and Sugar Laine (Wicked Dirty #2), Wyatt Royce and Kelsey Draper (Wicked Grind #1), Dallas Sykes (S.I.N trilogy), as well as the requisite cameo appearance of Damien Stark.

The world building takes the reader to the sights and sounds of Austin; the nightlife, the music, and the world of IT technology.

WICKED TORTURE is a sexy read; a second chance for two people whose lives when in opposite directions; where one man’s guilt barely escapes his day to day life and memories. The premise is edgy and engaging; the characters are charismatic and colorful; the romance is sexy and hot. There is a bit of a twist to the storyline that was easily deduced early on but a twist that barely made a difference to the story line conflict. I did struggle with one particular aspect in regards to eye color and hereditary significance that would have been proven false if scientific research were actually involved. WICKED TORTURE and the Stark World series is a decadent escape into the passionate lives of the rich and famous.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Wicked Grind
Wicked Dirty
Wicked Torture

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Wicked Torture teaser

excerpt

Time to heal.
Somehow, though, he never found the enthusiasm. Or maybe that was just an excuse. Another way of punishing himself for walking away from the woman he loved in favor of the woman he’d owed.
And since he’d never have either of them again, he needed to kick his own ass, pick up the pieces of his life, and start building something real. After all, there wasn’t a tech gadget he couldn’t design, build, or repair. So why was he so clueless when it came to his own damn life?
It was time, and it would be easy. Painless even, because God knew Evie embodied everything he admired in a woman. Strength. Intelligence. Ambition. Humor. Beauty. She was as desirable as Lyle had promised and obviously enthusiastic.
In other words, he was all out of excuses.
He stood up, intending to tell her to lead the way. But the words that came out of his mouth shocked them both. “I’m sorry, Evie,” he said. “You’ve been wonderful, but I have an early meeting, and I should probably get home.”
“Oh.” He’d surprised her as she was rising, and now she teetered awkwardly on her heels, as if his unexpected words would physically topple her.
He reached out a hand to steady her, and for the briefest moment, he considered pulling her close and fighting his way past his hesitation. She was everything he should want in a woman—with the unfortunately insurmountable problem that she wasn’t what he wanted at all. Or, rather, she wasn’t who he wanted.
Goddamn him.
Goddamn his stupid, unrealistic fantasies.
And while he was at it, goddamn Kiki, too.
He was being an idiot and unfair, and he knew it. An idiot, because he’d made his choice to walk away from Kiki long ago, and he knew damn well that he’d shattered her in the process. Even if he could have seen his way clear to look her up after all these years, he’d forfeited his right to come crawling back.
Unfair, because not ten minutes ago he’d been ready to take the plunge with Evie, and yet here he was, dodging and shifting like a damn coward, trying to swim up out of the deep black ocean of loss and pain. A familiar pain that wrapped him like a blanket, so cloying it was almost comfortable. And he knew damn well that there was only one way to fight it—he needed to take the girl to her room and try to fuck the darkness out of him.
The way he’d done with countless other women.
The way that never worked like it should. That only dulled the sharp edges of his pain, but added no light to the darkness.
That wasn’t what he wanted. Not anymore. One of the reasons he’d moved to Austin was to heal, after all. To heal, and to break bad habits.
Still, it was tempting, and it took more strength than he expected to shake his head again and say very gently, “I really am sorry. I’m not … ready.” She’d been polite enough not to mention the tragedy in his past, but he was certain that Lyle must have at least told her that he’d lost his wife and daughter. Hopefully, that softened the blow of rejection.
She’d regained her footing, and now she stepped back, her forehead creased as her eyes flicked over him, expertly assessing him as she would a witness. “It’s been almost nine years, I’m told.” The sharp edge of her voice sliced his heart. So much for softening the blow. “If you don’t get ready soon, I can’t help but think you’re going to end up sad and alone.”
With a thin, sympathetic smile, she turned and walked away, leaving him to watch her go and wonder at her perceptiveness. Because she was right.
He was going to end up sad and alone.
Hell, he already was.

About the Author

J. KennerJ. Kenner (aka Julie Kenner) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, Wall Street Journal and #1 International bestselling author of over seventy novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Though known primarily for her award-winning and international bestselling erotic romances (including the Stark and Most Wanted series) that have reached as high as #2 on the New York Times bestseller list, JK has been writing full time for over a decade in a variety of genres including paranormal and contemporary romance, “chicklit” suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal mommy lit.

JK has been praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations” and by RT Bookclub for having “cornered the market on sinfully attractive, dominant antiheroes and the women who swoon for them.” A five time finalist for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award, JK took home the first RITA trophy awarded in the category of erotic romance in 2014 for her novel, Claim Me (book 2 of her Stark Trilogy). Her Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series (as Julie Kenner) is currently in development with AwesomenessTV/Awestruck.

Her books have sold over three million copies and are published in over twenty languages.

In her previous career as an attorney, JK worked as a clerk on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and practiced primarily civil, entertainment and First Amendment litigation in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, as well as in Austin, Texas. She currently lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and two rather spastic cats.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | YouTube | Amazon Author Page

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Cherish Hard (Hard Play #1) by Nalini Singh-Review & Excerpt Tour

Cherish Hard (Hard Play #1) by Nalini Singh-Review & Excerpt Tour

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CHERISH HARD
Hard Play #1
by Nalini Singh
Genre: Adult,contemporary, sports, romance
Release Date: November 14, 2017

Cherish Hard

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.

Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.

And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.

As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.

•••••••••••••

Sandy’s Review

CHERISH HARD is the first instalment in Nalini Singh’s contemporary, adult HARD PLAY erotic, romance series-a spin off from the author’s ROCK KISS series. This is twenty three year old landscaper Sailor Bishop, and thirty year old teacher/businesswoman Isalind ‘Isa’ Rain’s story line. CHERISH HARD can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty-you do not have to have read the Rock Kiss series to understand or follow the premise. The timeline of CHERISH HARD takes place several months ( or years) prior to the events of Rock Hard (Rock Kiss #2) where in we were first introduced to Sailor’s older brother Gabriel Bishop.

Told from dual third person point of view (Isa and Sailor) CHERISH HARD follows the building romance between teacher and businesswoman Isa Rain, and professional landscaper Sailor Bishop. Seven years earlier Sailor and Isa’s paths would cross when Isa’s boyfriend publicly humiliated our story line heroine in front of a group of high school and college aged friends. In the ensuing years Sailor has never forgotten the beautiful and heartbroken redheaded young woman that called to his heart-a woman who barely acknowledged his existence or presence. Fast forward to present day wherein Sailor will be hired by the burgeoning and billion dollar ‘Crafty Corners ‘ to redesign and update several properties. Enter Isa Rain, Crafty Corners new VP, shareholder and owner’s daughter, and the woman with whom Sailor will fall in love. What ensues in the building relationship and growing love between Sailor and Isa, and the potential fall-out as Sailor’s plans for the future never took into consideration the desire for family and love.

CHERISH HARD is a story of family and friendship. Isa’s mother and father have been married and divorced so many times she is unable to keep track of the growing numbers but our heroine’s lack of success in the love department is predicated on one man’s tirade that left Isa a shell of her former self. Sailor Bishop has known struggle from an early age including the abandonment by his father, and the battle his mother endured to keep the family fed, and off of the streets. Meeting Isa Rain finds our hero thinking about a future-a future that is in direct conflict with his business outline and plans to expand, but plans that are meant to be redirected when he falls for the woman he met years before. Growing up the privileged daughter of a wealthy businesswoman whose less than stellar track record of unsuccessful marriages meant Isa martyred herself to care for her younger siblings, and a step brother that has all but been ignored by both sides of the family.

The relationship between Isa and Sailor begins when they reconnect with one another in the school parking lot where Isa currently works. Barely recognizing once another their paths will cross several times before either one realizes the who and what of their previous encounter. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense.

We are reintroduced to Sailor’s brother Gabriel (Rock Hard), a professional rugby player; their younger half-brothers Jake and Danny, and parents Alison and Joseph Esera; Isa’s domineering mother and billionaire businesswoman Jacqueline Rain; her half-sister Catie, and step brothers Trevor and Harlow, as well as Isa’s best friend Nayna- a woman who is battling her parents in regards to her future.

CHERISH HARD is a sweet story of romance where the conflict level is low; the angst is limited to dysfunctional family fallout; and memories of the past that remained burned in the mind but never to be forgotten. The premise is engaging and inspiring; the characters are dynamic and intelligent; the romance is provocative and impassioned. CHERISH HARD is a charming and wonderful start to a new series by an amazing author.

 

Barb’s Review

Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh is the first book in her new contemporary romance Hard Play series.  Cherish Hard was a sweet fun and sexy romance that is not my normal Nalini Singh read.  I really did enjoy this romance, mainly because the couple and all the supporting characters in the story were simply great.   Sailor Bishop is our hero, and from the start you fall in love with him.  He is hot, sexy, swoon worthy, and the perfect man for any woman to want. 

Isa Rain was also a great heroine, though it will take awhile before she allows herself to fully fall in love with the wonderful sweet Sailor.  Isa remembers Sailor from her teenage days, when one of his friends embarrassed her in public, and she has never forgotten.  When she realizes he had nothing to do with that awful memory, she allows herself to befriend and slowly open her heart to Sailor.

Isa, who would prefer to teach and write poetry, is forced to work during the summer for her mom, who is determined to bring Isa fully into the business.  She must take over a new project for the company, which will turn out to be working with Sailor, and his landscaping business.  Isa is also the one who keeps her family together, as she is the glue who keeps the peace, both in happiness and financially.

What follows is a fun, lighthearted romance, with the background of two wonderful families, and a couple that was simply great together.   Sailor is determined to make his business grow, but has financial issues.  Isa just wants to do what she likes, which isn’t working for her mom.  It is Sailor’s hard work and determination that keeps Isa fighting her feelings for him, since she wants a life of children and a husband to love, who will always be there for her.  Sailor knows that Isa is the woman for him, and he has to find a way to convince her that he is the man for her.

Again, all the characters created by Singh made this a wonderful story.  I loved Sailor’s family, and Isa’s sister and brother.  It was so much fun to see both families together.  Eventually even Isa’s mother gets better, and Isa’s best friend was fun.   Cherish Hard was a fun, cute story that was such a pleasure to read; not to mention a couple that had so much chemistry together, it burned the pages. If you want a pure romance, with a sexy couple, family, and a fun read look no further then Cherish Hard. It goes without saying, anything written by the wonderful Nalini Singh is not to be missed.

 

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

______________

 

Cherish Hard teaser

Excerpt

ÍSA WONDERED WHAT THE HELL she was doing.
Being a devil woman, she reminded herself. Having fun for a change. Not being a grandma at twenty-eight years of age.
Still, she couldn’t stop second-guessing herself as Sailor led her out of the house through a side entrance that opened out into a small, manicured garden. “I’ll have to take off my heels,” she whispered when she saw the pebbled path snaking through the garden.“Want a piggyback ride?” A playful grin. “I promise not to molest your thighs.”
Goose bumps broke out over Ísa’s skin, her nipples tight. Reckless as she was feeling tonight, she might just have taken him up on his offer if she hadn’t been worried her damn dress would split in two. “Maybe when we’re naked,” she said instead, Devil Ísa in full flower.
Groaning, he doubled over as if she’d punched him.
Her lips twitching despite the melting sexual heat liquefying her bones, she leaned down to slip off her heels.
Sailor waited, his hand firm around hers, until she was done. Taking the heels from her, he carried them in his other hand as Ísa padded beside him on the grass that lay on this side of the pebbled path. The path ended at a weathered wooden gate, which, when opened, put them at the top of a narrow walkway that led down onto a beach Ísa couldn’t yet see but could hear.
Her heart crashed in time with the waves as they made their way down to the beach while the mansion behind them pulsed with light and music. But she didn’t turn and run away, she didn’t stop and talk herself out of it, she didn’t attempt to be a sensible adult. She followed a gorgeous, blue-eyed man down a dirt pathway to an effectively private beach.
The sand that had been tracked onto the path was gritty under her feet, the air coming off the sea cool but not cold.
“The water’s going to be icy, isn’t it?” she whispered to his broad back.
“Don’t worry, spitfire. I’ll keep you warm,” was the deep-voiced response. “Stop here.” Jumping down to the beach, he reached up to grab her by the waist, swinging her down as if she were a featherweight.
Something fluffy and mushy came to life inside Ísa. “Here?”
Shaking his head, he said, “Raj told me there’s like a little cove area—not a proper cove, but caused by— There.”
Ísa saw it at once. A huge tree had fallen into the water at some point and smashed up against some rocks where it appeared to be stuck. Between the jutting rocks on either side and the fallen trunk was a naturally created pool. The water within it was pretty calm, and it looked as if they could get to it by clambering over some rocks that didn’t appear too sharp or slippery.
Of course, she’d be walking over those rocks naked.
Ísa looked up at the moon. Imagined it shining on the stark white of her body. Gulped. “Will you close your eyes while I go in the water?” Even Devil Ísa wasn’t up for blinding him with her glow-in-the-dark form.
A glance back. “What’re you going to bribe me with?”
Ísa scowled. “Not pushing you into the water right now.” It was a toothless threat given his muscles and her lack of them.
Rubbing his jaw, he said, “Three tongue kisses. That’s my price, and I’m not budging.”
Ísa wanted to pounce on him all over again. “Two,” she countered.
“Nuh-uh. Three. Or I’m keeping both eyes wide open.” Leaning in, he pressed his nose to hers. “I really want to keep my eyes wide open.”
And Ísa really wanted to kiss him and run her hands all over that sculpted chest. “Three,” she whispered.Copyright © 2017 by Nalini Singh


 

about the author

Nalini SinghNalini Singh is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Psy-Changeling, Guild Hunter, and Rock Kiss series. She lives and works in beautiful New Zealand, and is passionate about writing.

If you’d like to explore her other books, you can find lots of excerpts and free short stories on her website. Slave to Sensation is the first book in the Psy-Changeling series, while Angels’ Blood is the first book in the Guild Hunter series. The Rock Kiss books are all stand alone and can be read in any order.

STALK HER:  Website | Facebook |  Instagram  |  Twitter | Goodreads

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At Your Service (Topped 4: Masters and Mercenaries 14.5) by Lexi Blake-Review & Excerpt Tour

AT YOUR SERVICE (Masters and Mercenaries 14.5: Topped 4) by Lexi Blake-Review & Excerpt Tour

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AT YOUR SERVICE
Topper #4/ Masters and Mercenaries 14.5
by Lexi Blake
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre:adult, contemporary, erotic,romance

At Your Service

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / iBooks / Google Play /Smashwords

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Juliana O’Neil’s promising future was burned away in the heat of battle. She had been an officer with a bright future in the military, but now she is struggling to survive. Her husband gone and her career in shambles, she finds a job at Top as a hostess and tries to put together the pieces of her life. The last thing she needs is any kind of male attention, but she can’t help but be amused at her neighbor and coworker’s lothario antics. Not that she would have anything to do with him, at least not for more than one night.

Javier Leones doesn’t understand monogamy. No woman could ever be enough for his endless libido, but he has to admit Juliana has his attention. For reasons he doesn’t fully understand, he can’t seem to get the gorgeous redhead with the sad eyes out of his head. After one scorching night together, he realizes he’ll never be able to get her out of his system. But with his reputation, he fears she’ll never see him as more than a one-night stand.

When their passions collide, these new lovers will be forced to confront Juliana’s past and come to terms with Javier’s present. Will they find their way or will this reservation be cancelled at the last minute?

••••••••••

REVIEW: AT YOUR SERVICE by Lexi Blake is the latest novella in the author’s contemporary adult MASTERS AND MERCENARIES: Topped BDSM romance series. This is naval officer and amputee Juliana O’Neil, and chef Javier Leones’ story line. AT YOUR SERVICE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Juliana and Javier) AT YOUR SERVICE follows several paths including the building romance and relationship between co-workers and neighbors Juliana O’Neil, and Javier Leones, as well as the destructive nature of loss and war. Juliana is a naval veteran who lost her dominant hand while on deployment over seas, and has found a bit of a kindred spirit in her neighbour Javier Leones, whose older brother continues to struggle with the loss of his legs. What ensues is the back and forth between Javier and Juliana as our heroine battles between her head and her heart, and the loss of a future she longed to explore; and the potential destruction of Javier’s brother when the demons come knocking on Javier’s door.

Javier Leones, a former military man, is a manwhore whose doesn’t do relationships; whose reputation with the ladies precedes his introduction to our story line heroine. A Master at the BDSM Club Sanctum, as well as a chef at Sean Taggart’s TOP restaurant, Javier also faces an uphill battle with his older brother who has struggled since the loss of his legs while on deployment over seas. A series of unexplained break-ins, and threats to his brother’s life find Javier stepping back to protect the woman he loves.

A one-time chef, Juliana now works as a hostess at TOP due to the difficulty using the tools required for the job but Javier is determined to push our heroine to take the steps to further a career long thought lost. Juliana is a woman afraid of losing her heart, and accepts that a relationship with Javier means there is always someone else waiting in the wings.

The relationship between Juliana and Javier is one of friends/co-workers to lovers; a relationship that struggles on preconceived notions, a past riddled with too many one-night stands, and a woman who battles some ghosts of her own. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive; the D/s and BDSM scenarios are limited and light involving some spanking, and show and tell. Juliana’s constant back and forth, yes and no, up and down was a little disconcerting; her jealousy, anger and indecisiveness juxtaposed with her easy going concern for Javier’s brother. The author’s need to constantly remind the reader about Javier’s past indiscretions is bothersome and annoying.I struggled with the numerous mentions from family, friends and the woman he loved.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including several previous story line couples as well as a number of TOP employees, and SANCTUM members, Javier’s ex Kristy, and his brother Rafe Leones; and nosy neighbors Mrs. Gleeson and Mr. Cassidy.

The world building continues to look at the friendships and relationship at TOP and SANCTUM, as well as the ongoing struggles for the military personnel who continue to do battle upon returning home.

AT YOUR SERVICE is a story of family and friendship, and the daily struggle for American veterans whose lives have been destroyed or forever altered. Both the H/h have issues and vulnerability that need to be addressed, hopefully their happily ever after isn’t compromised by ghosts from the past. The premise is captivating and inviting; the characters are energetic and lively; the romance is provocative and intense.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

At Your Service teaser

Excerpt

All alone with the storm. Maybe she should call Kai. And ask him to get out in the middle of this? That seemed pretty selfish especially since she knew exactly how poorly driving in storms could go.
A hard flash of white light made her jump back.
Nope. She wasn’t going there. She was going to stay in the here and now, and that meant finding a flashlight and trying to get some candles lit. Someone was out there working on getting the power back on, and then she would ride out the storm watching rom coms and falling asleep on the couch. It was going to be okay. Deep breath. It was going to be okay.
A few moments later she’d found her one flashlight and had a nice set of candles out, and she was faced with the problem of lighting the suckers. Oh, she had a big box of matches, but she’d never struck a match without her left hand.
A lighter would be easier. She could figure out a lighter maybe. Jules tried holding the box against the table with her stump while she struck the match with her right hand. She fumbled, the action so unnatural it made her slip up and break the match.
And the second one.
And the third one.
Tears pierced her eyes, but she wasn’t going to shed them. She was going to figure this out or she would make due with the flashlight. It was all about adapting. That was what she had to do. Adapt.
She wasn’t going to let this beat her. Normally she was tough. It had happened and she dealt with it, but between the storm and the conversation with Suzanne the day before about her mother and the sweetness of flirting with a handsome man she couldn’t have, she was feeling awfully vulnerable. She wasn’t going to sit here in the dark and cry.
A knock on the door made her gasp and jump.
Fuck. She wasn’t like this. She hated this…this anxiety she got when it rained. It was weakness and she couldn’t abide it.
If you walk away from this you’ll ruin your life, Juliana. Don’t think I’ll watch you do it. You go through with this and you do it on your own. Am I understood?
Sometimes she felt like she was still seven years old, and if she could just get her mom’s attention everything would be okay.
Jules gripped the flashlight and walked across her apartment to the door. It was likely one of the neighbors coming to check on her. Actually, that was an excellent idea. She could go down and see if Mrs. Gleeson needed some company. There were some elderly residents she could check on and a single mom she’d met at the end of the hall. She could see if she could be of any assistance and that would get her through the night.
She opened the door expecting to see anyone but the man she saw standing there.
Javier Leones. He had a flashlight in one hand and a bottle of wine in the other. He was wearing jeans and a button down that he’d left undone enough she could see a nice swath of golden brown skin. His hair was deliciously mussed, as though he’d taken a shower and simply rubbed a towel over it to get it dry.
He was big and male and so sexy it hurt to look at him, and Jules realized she could do something else to take her mind off things.
Those plump, sensual lips of his broke into a bright smile. “I thought you might like some company. I know I would. I actually don’t have any candles, so I was sitting in my living room with this sad one flashlight. You look like a woman who likes some candles.”
But she couldn’t light them. She hadn’t figured that part out.
His face fell and he walked into her place, closing and locking the door behind him. “Hey, what’s wrong? It’s okay if you don’t have any candles. It’s cool. Two flashlights are better than one.”
He set the flashlight and wine bottle down and moved into her space, his hands coming up to cup her shoulders. “Jules, what’s wrong?”
She had to be stronger than this. She shook her head. “Nothing. I’m fine.”
His jaw tightened. “Don’t. Please don’t. I live with a stubborn asshole who won’t let me help him in any way. I get that we’ve only known each other for a few weeks, but I thought we were friends. You help me out all the time. You’re kind to me. Fucking let me be kind to you. I spend every day trying to help someone who won’t let me. Please let me feel like I’m worth something.”
If he’d said anything else, joked about the weather or told her to suck it up, she could have, but he’d opened a door. He’d been vulnerable and honest, and she found she couldn’t pay that back with stubbornness.
“I have candles and I can’t figure out how to light them.” Tears rolled down her face. She was vulnerable. All the time. Even when she pretended like she wasn’t.
“You can’t…” he began and then he looked down. Instead of stepping back and giving her space, he drew his hand down her arm, warming her skin where he touched her. It was dark but the moon was full and gave enough light to see the outline of his face. There was no look of horror there. He caressed her arm until he got to the place where she’d been split apart and sewn back together unwhole. He brought it up and wrapped it against his palm, his fingers closing around it until the whole thing was surrounded with his warmth. “You haven’t figured out how to do it yet. Probably hasn’t come up or you would know what to do. How long since you lost your hand?”
“A year and a half,” she said. He was touching her there. No one had touched her there except her doctors and therapists.
Come to think of it, no one had touched her at all since before the accident. Had it really been so long since she’d felt warm flesh against her own? He was so close, close enough that all she would have to do was go up on her toes to brush her lips against his.
Would that be wrong? As long as she remembered who she was dealing with, why couldn’t she take a few moments of respite for herself? If he wanted her.

About the author

Lexi BlakeNY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

FACEBOOK / TWITTER / WEBSITE / AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

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Twisted Truths (Blood Brothers #3) by Rebecca Zanetti-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

TWISTED TRUTHS (Blood Brothers #3) by Rebecca Zanetti-Review,Excerpt and Giveaway Tour

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TWISTED TRUTHS
Blood Brothers #3
by Rebecca Zanetti
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense

Twisted Truths

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

You can’t escape the past . . .

Noni is desperate. Her infant niece has been kidnapped, and the only person who can save her is a private detective with too many secrets to count–and more enemies than he can name. A man who walked away from Noni without any warning a year ago, a man who broke her heart. But with Talia’s life on the line, Noni needs his help now more than ever–and this time, she won’t take no for an answer . . .

The moment Denver Jones sees Noni, the memories come rushing back. The fire in her eyes. The determination in her voice. The danger of having her in his life. Denver had to push her away once, but now with vicious criminals threatening Noni and her niece, he’ll do whatever it takes to protect them. But enemies from his past are circling, and they’ll use anything–and anyone–to get to Denver.

••••••••••••

REVIEW: TWISTED TRUTHS is the third and final instalment in Rebecca Zanetti’s contemporary, adult BLOOD BROTHERS slightly paranormal, romantic suspense trilogy focusing on three blood brothers-Heath, Ryker and Denver Jones- who own and operate The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency. This is Denver Jones, and Noni Yuka’s story line. TWISTED TRUTHS can be read as a stand alone but I recommend reading the series, in order, for cohesion and backstory as there is an on going and connected premise throughout. The BLOOD BROTHERS is a spin off from the author’s SIN BROTHERS SERIES. Several character cross-over for familiarity.

SOME BACKGROUND: Years earlier Dr. Isobel Madison aka Sylvia Daniels, and a covert government agency used experimental DNA to make the perfect super soldier-a genetically enhanced warrior. The continuing trope ventures into another direction as another ‘family of brothers’ is brought into the fold. All of the brothers are ‘created’ in one way or another; they are experiments of Dr. Isobel Madison-a woman who is determined to destroy that which she made by making a stronger, more viable soldier. On the run, these super soldiers and their blood brothers, stay one step ahead of Dr. Madison, and Sheriff Elton Cobb, Madison’s lover and the man seeking revenge for the death of his brother.

Told from several third person perspectives including Noni and Denver, TWISTED TRUTHS focuses on the rekindling romance between super solider and private investigator Denver Jones, and home-business entrepreneur Noni Yuka. One-year earlier Denver was working in Alaska where he met our story line heroine but when his assignment was over Denver walked away in the middle of the night, never saying good-bye to the woman he loved. Fast forward to present day wherein Noni’s three month old god-daughter has been abducted by a drug running MC, in the hopes of selling the child to the highest bidder. Desperate and no where to turn Noni begins an internet search for the man she once loved only to unintentionally reveal his whereabouts to the people back home. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Noni and Denver as they begin a search for Noni’s missing three-month old godchild while trying to stay one step ahead of Dr. Madison and Sheriff Elton Cobb.

The relationship between Noni and Denver is one of second chances but we know very little about, and are given limited access to their prior affair. I struggled with Noni’s demands to be ever-present when danger is near-there are a few ‘too stupid to live’ (TSTL) moments that are cringe worthy and questionable. Noni needs closure but reconnecting with Denver opens old wounds for our leading couple including Denver’s belief he is incapable of love. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

TWISTED TRUTHS is a story of adventure; a journey of suspense, action, friendship and family. No man is left behind; the brothers, related or not, stand behind and together in an effort to take down the man and the woman who destroyed all of their lives. The premise is engaging but faltered with a presentation and story line that felt repetitious-almost déjà vu in a sense that we have read it several times before. The romance is hot and seductive; the characters familiar and energetic. TWISTED TRUTHS is the final instalment in this particular trope of the author’s BLOOD BROTHERS and SIN BROTHERS series. We had previously been introduced to other genetically modified children, potential brothers and young soldiers-I am hoping the author is prepared to reveal their stories as well.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Deadly Silence
Lethal Lies
Twisted Truths

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Excerpt

 

Slowly, numbly, she shrugged. “I knew you were dangerous and relentless in pursuing somebody,” she whispered. But a killer? Her search for him had held a romantic element, and she knew it. This guy was all edge—no romance. “Am I in danger?” Her voice quivered, but she had to know.
“Yes.” He didn’t move. Didn’t even seem to breathe.
She blinked. Rapidly. “From you?”
His eyes darkened. “No. The only thing I’m capable of breaking is your heart.”
Cold swam through her. The arrogance. “You think you broke my heart?”
His lip twisted. “I know I did.” His tone was low with what seemed like self-hatred. Dark and raw. “I’m sorry.”
Those words. She’d needed those words and hadn’t realized how badly. “Thank you,” she said, going on instinct. “Then how am I in danger?”
“I’m in danger, and anybody close to me is free game for an enemy who will keep coming until I’m dead. Until everything I care about, everything I dream about, is taken away and I want death.” He looked back down at the computer, intensity pouring from him.
Whoa. Okay. Denver didn’t have one bit of hysteria in him. His words scared her, but curiosity still rose up. “Who?”
“Irrelevant. As soon as we get Talia back, you have to forget me. Now. Back to Richie.”
She could live forever, and she’d never forget him. Not for one second had she been able to pretend he didn’t exist. But he was right. They had to find Talia, but he still needed to explain more. She had a right to know everything. “I have files on everything.” She threw her pack at Denver, and he easily caught it before it smashed him in the face.
He didn’t so much as frown. “Thank you.”
She swallowed. They were in the same room. After a year of hurting for him, he was right there in solid form. More than solid. She hadn’t imagined his hard body or intense charisma. He owned every room he walked into with no effort. She’d never met anybody like him, and here he was. Her body tingled, her heart ached, and her mind spun. Yeah. Denver was definitely there. “What now?” she asked, her eyes gritty and her throat scratchy.
“I’ll do some research.” Slowly, numbly, she shrugged. “I knew you were dangerous and relentless in pursuing somebody,” she whispered. But a killer? Her search for him had held a romantic element, and she knew it. This guy was all edge—no romance. “Am I in danger?” Her voice quivered, but she had to know.
“Yes.” He didn’t move. Didn’t even seem to breathe.
She blinked. Rapidly. “From you?”
His eyes darkened. “No. The only thing I’m capable of breaking is your heart.”
Cold swam through her. The arrogance. “You think you broke my heart?”
His lip twisted. “I know I did.” His tone was low with what seemed like self-hatred. Dark and raw. “I’m sorry.”
Those words. She’d needed those words and hadn’t realized how badly. “Thank you,” she said, going on instinct. “Then how am I in danger?”
“I’m in danger, and anybody close to me is free game for an enemy who will keep coming until I’m dead. Until everything I care about, everything I dream about, is taken away and I want death.” He looked back down at the computer, intensity pouring from him.
Whoa. Okay. Denver didn’t have one bit of hysteria in him. His words scared her, but curiosity still rose up. “Who?”
“Irrelevant. As soon as we get Talia back, you have to forget me. Now. Back to Richie.”
She could live forever, and she’d never forget him. Not for one second had she been able to pretend he didn’t exist. But he was right. They had to find Talia, but he still needed to explain more. She had a right to know everything. “I have files on everything.” She threw her pack at Denver, and he easily caught it before it smashed him in the face.
He didn’t so much as frown. “Thank you.”
She swallowed. They were in the same room. After a year of hurting for him, he was right there in solid form. More than solid. She hadn’t imagined his hard body or intense charisma. He owned every room he walked into with no effort. She’d never met anybody like him, and here he was. Her body tingled, her heart ached, and her mind spun. Yeah. Denver was definitely there. “What now?” she asked, her eyes gritty and her throat scratchy.
“I’ll do some research.”


 

 

About The author

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Find Rebecca at: www.rebeccazanetti.com

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The Negotiator (Games People Play 2.5) by HelenKay Dimon-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway Tour

THE NEGOTIATOR (Games People Play 2.5) by HelenKay Dimon-Review ,Excerpt and Giveaway Tour

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THE NEGOTIATOR
Games People Play 2.5
by HelenKay Dimon
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: adult,contemporary, romantic, suspense

The Negotiator

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo / Google Play / iBooks / Avon Digital

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Lauren Gallagher’s life changed almost three years ago. After her husband disappeared at sea, she was left with a failing pleasure boat company and more than a few secrets. Now, after years spent rebuilding the business and paying off the pile of debts, she finally feels in control. But when she finds her husband, actually dead, on the floor, she becomes the leading suspect in his murder investigation.

Garrett McGrath wants Lauren in his bed, not his heart. He doesn’t do emotions, but every time he sees her, holding himself back gets harder and harder. When Lauren comes under suspicion for killing her previously presumed-dead husband, he knows he has to help her, any way he can.

But as the danger becomes more intense and Garret and Lauren grow closer than either planned, they’re in danger of losing everything…including their hearts.

••••••

REVIEW: THE NEGOTIATOR is instalment 2.5 in HelenKay Dimon’s contemporary, adult GAMES PEOPLE PLAY romantic, suspense series. This is former government Black Ops and professional negotiator Garrett McGrath, and pleasure boat operator Lauren Gallagher’s story line. THE NEGOTIATOR can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Lauren and Garrett) THE NEGOTIATOR follows in the aftermath of Lauren’s discovery that her husband Carl, a man declared missing and dead, has returned to the living claiming he wants a second chance with our story line heroine. Knowing that the man before has never been capable of telling the truth Lauren contacts the only person she knows who might be able to get the answers she so desperately needs. Enter professional negotiator and investigator Garrett McGrath, and the man with whom Lauren will fall in love. What ensues is the building relationship between our leading couple, and the fall out when Carl is found dead in our heroine’s home, and she becomes the prime suspect in her ex-husband’s murder.

For close to six months Garrett McGrath has desperately tried to convince Lauren to go with him but our heroine has steadfastly denied any attraction or feelings for the man in question preferring to rebuild the business that her husband’s disappearance singlehandedly destroyed. Garrett and Lauren’s attraction to one another is palpable; their sexual energy is seductive and provocative. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

Wren and Emery (The Fixer #1), and Matthias and Kayla (The Enforcer #2) return for some familiarity and cohesion. We are introduced to Carl’s brother Jake; his business partner Bob, and his latest girlfriend Maryanne

THE NEGOTIATOR is a quick read; a sexy friends to lovers romance that focuses on the search for the truth when a man once thought lost at sea, dies not once but twice with a long line of questionable business decisions, as well as series of long running affairs. The premise is edgy and energetic; the romance is spirited and captivating; the characters are animated and passionate.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
The Fixer
The Enforcer
The Negotiator
The Pretender (December 2017)

Copy supplied by Edelweiss

Reviewed by Sandy

Games People Play series

The Fixer

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The Enforcer

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The Pretender

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excerpt

He rose from the dead.
Lauren Gallagher couldn’t come up with any other explanation. Her once-dead husband was very much alive and standing on the other side of her front door…and she felt nothing but numbness spreading inside her.
For a man who supposedly washed overboard in the middle of a violent storm, he looked pretty healthy. Big smile. Bright white teeth. Khaki pants and deck shoes. She forgot how much she hated the deck shoes.
The wattage on his super smile dimmed a bit as he shifted his weight from foot-to-foot and rubbed his hands up and down his arms. “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
Her mind went blank. The world literally flipped sideways on her and her stomach rolled. The whole time she could hear him talking but the words didn’t make sense. None of this made sense. She opened her mouth but nothing came out but a tiny whirling gasping sound. That’s all she could muster as she blinked, trying to process what she was seeing.
“Lauren? Why are you just standing there? Open this door.”
An order. The sharp smack in his voice sounded far too familiar. That fast it brought her crashing back to reality.
She really wanted to say no to his command. Not that she hadn’t mourned him. Even with the dysfunctional state of their faltering marriage at the time he disappeared, she had. She’d grieved for what could have been and dreams that fizzled out early in their time together. She grieved for his loss as she would an old friend, not as a person she viewed as her soulmate, if there even was such a thing.
That was less than three years ago. The police arrived and she dropped to her knees feeling sick and hollow at the idea of Carl gasping for breath as the water he loved so much overtook him.
Months had passed slowly after that. She’d been locked in a perpetual state of shock, topped off with a wallop of guilt because she’d visited a divorce attorney for the first time just before he disappeared. With him gone she’d found about the lies. His hidden debts and how he’d taken their business to the brink of bankruptcy, all while showing her fake bank statements he’d manufactured. He’d gone to a lot of trouble to carry on the ruse of pretending their finances were fine.
And then things had gotten even worse. All those whispers about Maryanne, the girlfriend who seemed to be an open secret to everyone except Lauren. The one who, unlike Lauren, did not have any debts or an unpaid mortgage or a business and house on the verge of bankruptcy. Maryanne Lightwood, the same woman who mysteriously walked out on her rent and left town right as Carl’s boat disappeared.
Lauren prided herself on being practical. She was skeptical of coincidences and not stupid, so confusion had turned to fury in record time. As the cool December wind blew in the front door of the small cottage now she realized the fury still simmered inside her.
She lived far enough from the water that the breeze wasn’t frigid, but it carried a bite. For the past few years early winter in Annapolis, Maryland meant an unwelcome amount of snow. This year had been mild. As someone who ran a pleasure boat and fishing tour business and depended on tourists, she thought she might get lucky this year and only have to survive a short off-season.
Apparently her luck had just run out.
“Lauren, honey?” Carl pulled on the handle of the screen door. When it didn’t immediately open, he shook it, rattling it on the doorframe. Still, it didn’t move.
She’d never been so grateful for her lock-the-door paranoia. He should be happy, too, because the thin screen might be all that was saving his sorry lying ass right now.
Under the numbness and shock lurked a layer of bubbling resentment and rage. She’d kept up the outward farce of being fine for so long that she’d started to believe it. Now the mask slipped. She wanted to throw open the door and pound on his chest and make him apologize for every wrong.
But Carl had never taken responsibility for anything in his life. Even now he had the nerve to stand there with a stupid look on his stupid face, as if she were the unreasonable one in not welcoming him home with a big hug. So, yeah, the door stayed closed for his protection because she knew once she unleashed she would not stop.
“Hey, what is this?” Carl’s hand dropped to his side as he frowned at her through the mesh screen. “Honey, I’m back.”
Honey? What kind of man checked out of his life for almost three years and expected to step right back in it, no questions asked? It’s as if he were empty inside, without a conscience. And he was so close to getting a kick in his junk.
“Yeah, I can see that.” She tried to swallow but couldn’t choke down the lump of anger racing up her throat. “Tell me where have you’ve been.”
“Lauren, Jesus. It’s freezing out here. Let me in.” He pulled on the handle again as if he expected a different result than last time. The door made a thumping sound as it hit against the frame. “What’s wrong with you? Snap out of it.”
He kept up that tone. Short, dismissive, demanding. The only time he hadn’t been obnoxious was during the years when she thought he was dead. Even then…
That’s all it took. Something inside her snapped and wave after wave of uncontrolled, boiling hot rage raced through her. He wasn’t the only one filled with attitude who possessed an I’m-done tone. “Where the hell have you been, Carl? You don’t contact me at all and then you just stroll up to my door. You rip my life, my work – my everything – apart and now act as if you’ve only been gone for an afternoon. What is wrong with you? What happened?”
“I was left for dead.” His surfer boy good looks faded a bit as his eyes narrowed. “Thanks in part to you.” Wherever he was he must have forgotten how locks worked because he rattled the door one more time. “Now open this.”
He was blaming her. Of course he was. She likely was as fault for the fact his hair wasn’t the same sunny blond it once was and he now had a few wrinkles at the corners of his eyes. He was forty-one, having celebrated two birthdays while he was gone. She doubted he was taking the transition out of his thirties all that well.
She’d been thirty-three and inching very close to thirty-four when he went missing and already back then he’d mentioned “hip spread” to her more than once. Hers, of course. Not his. She’d expected him to battle aging as fiercely as he’d fought to be the only one in charge of handling the bills. Now she knew why…because he hadn’t bothered to actually pay any debt with her name on it.
“You disappeared.” Right there, in that moment, she kind of wished he’d do it again and had to push back a wave of guilt that came with that realization. She’d had no idea how much hate festered inside her until he popped up again. The frowning, his ridiculous summer shoes in winter, that voice – it all worked on her nerves and it had been less than ten minutes.
“A wave hit the boat. It tipped and I went overboard.” He shrugged. “Are you satisfied now?”
Not even close. A hundred questions filled her head. “Who could be satisfied with that? What’s the rest of the story?”
His body language and easy dismissal of how his terrible choices impacted her life only made her more determined to understand what his days looked like during the last few years. Then maybe she’d let him in, but probably no.
He waved her off. “None of that matters now.”
“It does to me.” His short non-answers ticked her off even more, and she wouldn’t have said that was possible. “I deserve an explanation. A real one. All of the facts, not just pieces.”
He leaned in closer as his jaw tightened. “I said later.”
Wariness surged through her. She wasn’t afraid. No, scared wasn’t the right word. Carl had never been violent, never raised a hand or threatened her. But near the end he’d been distant and that had turned into flashes of meanness. Snide comments about how he’d married a woman but got stuck with a fisherman. Sneak attacks of blaming her that they didn’t make more money in the boating business.
So much confusion swirled around him and his stories and all that deception. She’d convinced herself he ran off with his girlfriend. Not that she ever admitted that to anyone or said the words out loud. No, there had been too much at risk.
To save her house and business she’d needed the insurance and a final judgment from the court about Carl’s fate. A confirmation that he was legally dead. She had to pretend to believe it. It had taken her almost two years to persuade the court and wrestle the business and house away from the legal No Man’s Land it landed in when he disappeared. The insurance company still had refused to pay on the claim. That meant she’d had to salvage what she could with him gone.
Now he was back, and as much as she hated it, they needed to talk. She tried even though as her brain screamed for her to slam the door. “I think we should–”
“I can’t believe you’re being a pain in the ass.”
Her head snapped back at the fury lacing through his voice. “Me?”
“Jake warned me you’d gone from grieving to stone cold in a matter of months.” Carl shook his head. “I didn’t believe it. Not after everything we’d been through.”
She lost the thread of the conversation as soon as Carl mentioned his brother. “Jake?”
“That’s where I’ll be. At his house.” Carl started to shift away from the door. “But get your act together and do it fast, Lauren. I plan on being in this house and back at work by Christmas.”
“That’s two weeks away.”
“I’ll be back tomorrow.” He made a face that suggested he was sick of her again already. “Be over your shock and ready to talk by then.”
Lauren watched Carl walk back down the path to the car parked on the street. She recognized the dark sedan. It belonged to Carl’s brother, which meant Carl went there first.
Her mind spun with questions about where he’d been and why he was back. She had no idea how he planned to explain and argue his way out of this…or why he thought he could walk back into her life now without any real explanation or sign of remorse.
A gust of cold air got her moving. She slammed the front door closed and rested her palm on it. Tried to breathe in, to think.
Her usual calm detachment abandoned her. Jumbled thoughts crashed into her brain. Panic rose in her chest, threatening to swamp her. Finding a lost husband should be a good thing. For her, it amounted to a nightmare. Her world tilted and all she wanted was to tip it right again.
Help. She never asked anyone for help. Not ever. She’d learned long ago that needing someone, depending on them, lead to heartache and disappointment. But Garrett McGrath’s face kept flashing in her mind. Sarcastic, charming, sinfully handsome Garrett. They’d met in the summer and he’d been asking her out for two months. Hanging around, texting, insisting he’d wait for her to be ready to date again.
The guy honed his Tall, Dark and Smoldering look and for some reason he’d decided to aim it full force at her. Probably had something to do with the thrill of the chase. That was the only answer she could come up with. Because once he knew her, really knew her, he’d back off. Any sane person would.
But right now, as the walls closed in and she struggled to hold onto a coherent thought, all she could do was think of his face. The dark brown hair and those big green eyes. That firm chin…and his uncanny ability to solve complex problems while making a joke and without breaking a sweat.
She glanced around her cottage. It had a beachy vibe with weathered white beadboard walls overstuffed blue furniture. It consisted of two small bedrooms, a bathroom and a joint living and eating area. Her refuge. The place she rented when she lost everything else. The same place Carl for some reason thought he had a right to live in.
She grabbed her cell off the couch and dialed the number Garrett had put in there when they first met. The phone rang and his deep voice came on the line. Voicemail.
She waited a few minutes. Gave herself a bit of a pep talk and mentally insisted she could handle this, just like she handled everything else.
Instead of leaving a message she texted him. She tried to think of the right thing to say. She went with the only words that made sense to her… You were right. Carl is not dead.

About The Author

HelenKay DimonGoodreads /Website /Twitter /Facebook /

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HelenKay Dimon spent the years before becoming a romance author as a…divorce attorney. Not the usual transition, she knows. Good news is she now writes full time and is much happier. She has sold over forty novels and novellas to numerous publishers, including HarperCollins, Kensington, Harlequin, Penguin Random House, Riptide and Carina Press. Her nationally bestselling and award-winning books have been showcased in numerous venues and her books have twice been named “Red-Hot Reads” and excerpted in Cosmopolitan magazine. She is on the Board of Directors of the Romance Writers of America and teaches fiction writing at UC San Diego and MiraCosta College. You can learn more at her website: www.HelenKaydimon.com

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Seducing the Defendant (Conflict of Interest #2) by Chantal Fernando-Review & Book Tour

SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT (Conflict of Interest #2) by Chantal Fernando-Review and Book Tour

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SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT
Conflict of Interest #2
by Chantal Fernando
Release Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance

Seducing The Defendant

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 14, 2017

Jaxon Bentley is a hardnosed criminal lawyer whose entire life revolves around his work. He’s been asked to represent Scarlett Reyes, a woman accused of murdering her police officer husband in cold blood. All the evidence points to Scarlett being guilty and Jaxon is sure it’s an open and shut case.

But when he meets his client, he can’t help but feel that she’s innocent and that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. With a bit of digging, he uncovers a connection to the notorious Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club and realizes that Scarlett’s case is a complicated and difficult one. It certainly doesn’t help that the two share an immediate and passionate attraction. Will Jaxon be able to prove Scarlett’s innocence or are the two doomed to fail both in court and as a couple?

••••••••••

REVIEW: SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT is the second instalment in Chantal Fernando’s contemporary, adult CONFLICT OF INTEREST erotic, romance legal series. This is attorney Jaxon Bentley, and heiress Scarlett Reyes’ story line. SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. There is a slight cross-over with the author’s Wind Dragon MC series.

Told from dual first person points of view (Jaxon and Scarlett) SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT follows the building relationship between high-powered defense attorney Jaxon Bentley, and heiress Scarlett Reyes, a woman wrongfully accused of killing her husband. Two years earlier Scarlett’s police officer husband Derrick Melvin disappeared without a trace but many suspected Scarlett knew something about his apparent demise. Fast forward to present day wherein Derrick’s bullet riddle body is discovered in the waterfront river, and our heroine is immediately arrested and charged with his murder. Enter defense attorney Jaxon Bentley, and the man with whom Scarlett will fall in love. What ensues is the building romance between Scarlett and Jaxon, and the potential fall out when Jaxon’s past comes looking for a second chance, and Derrick’s sins come looking for revenge.

All of the circumstantial evidence points towards our story line heroine but Jaxon begins to suspect something amiss as Derrick Melvin’s past begins to unravel. Hoping to prove his client is innocent Jaxon sets into motion a series of events involving the local Wind Dragon MC that reveals a much darker and sinister background to our heroine’s one-time husband.

The relationship between Jaxon and Scarlett begins as attorney and client but will slowly escalate once the charges against Scarlett have been dropped. The sexual tension is high but Jaxon bides his time under the circumstances, and in the face of potential professional misconduct he will wait until the media circus has cleared. The $ex scenes are erotic, seductive, provocative and intense.

We are re-introduced to Jaxon’s law firm partners Katerina Dawson and Tristan Channing: office intern and law student Callum Hopkins; Jaxon’s best friend Demon; and several members of the Wind Dragon MC including Irish, Valentina Sullivan, Faye Black and MC president Arrow.

SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT is an interesting and entertaining story with little conflict or building angst. The ‘defense’ aspect of the story line is quick to resolve by 28% ; the seduction and growing romance between Jaxon and Scarlett remains the focal point of the remainder of the story but saying that the story line felt disjointed as it jumped between the dual points of view; there was more telling than showing that results in the aimless feel of the building romance; the character development is rather one-dimensional- I had a difficult time relating to, and connecting with the story line couple. The conflict and resolution almost felt anti-climactic and separate from the original story. SEDUCING THE DEFENDANT was a bit of a struggle. I love the author’s WIND DRAGON MC series, and welcomed the one-on-one banter between Jaxon and Demon, as well as Demon and Scar.

Reading Order and Previous reviews
Breaching the Contract
Seducing the Defendant

Copy supplied by the publisher

Reviewed by Sandy

Seducing the Defendant teaser

About The Author

New York Times, Amazon & USA Today Bestselling Author Chantal Fernando is thirty years old and lives in Western Australia.

Lover of all things romance, Chantal is the author of the best selling books Dragon’s Lair, Maybe This Time and many more.

When not reading, writing or daydreaming she can be found enjoying life with her three sons and family.

Chantal loves to hear from readers.

Follow Chantal: Website/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Goodreads

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