Tempt Me (A Stark International Novella) by J. Kenner-Review and Excerpt Tour

TEMPT ME: A Stark International Novella by J. Kenner-Review and Excerpt Tour

Tempt Me Banner

Stark International Novella
by J. Kenner
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
Release Date: February 14, 2017

Tempt Me

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 14, 2017

Sometimes passion has a price …

When sexy Stark Security Chief Ryan Hunter whisks his girlfriend Jamie Archer away for a passionate, romance-filled weekend so he can finally pop the question, he’s certain that the answer will be an enthusiastic yes. So when Jamie tries to avoid the conversation, hiding her fears of commitment and change under a blanket of wild sensuality and decadent playtime in bed, Ryan is more determined than ever to convince Jamie that they belong together.

Knowing there’s no halfway with this woman, Ryan gives her an ultimatum – marry him or walk away. Now Jamie is forced to face her deepest insecurities or risk destroying the best thing in her life. And it will take all of her strength, and all of Ryan’s love, to keep her right where she belongs…


REVIEW: TEMPT ME by J. Kenner is a novella that revisits Stark Security Chief Ryan Hunter, and Nikki Fairchild-Stark’s best friend / actress Jamie Archer. A couple of years have passed since Ryan and Jamie first fell in love and Ryan Hunter is hoping to make their relationship more permanent but our heroine Jamie struggles with the idea of marriage and a happily ever after so much so that when Ryan, once again, asks Jamie to marry him, Jamie is blindsided when her own parent’s marriage begins to implode.

TEMPT ME is an erotic story of romance; of one couple’s struggle to take the next step in their relationship. As per J. Kenner’s style of writing, the author’s use of some sexually graphic language is less than desirable and cringe worthy for this reader-I have a difficult time with a certain four letter word no matter the circumstance or usage.

TEMPT ME is a passionate and emotional story line. The premise is provocative; the romance is sexy and hot; the characters are familiar and engaging.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Tempt Me Teaser



“I adore all of the women in my life,” he says. “I’d do anything for them.” He’s looking at me as he says it, and my heart flutters in my chest. But I’m not sure if he’s including me in that group, or if the hint of meaning I hear in his voice is nothing more than my imagination.
I shake my head as I frown, trying to clear my thoughts.
“You okay?”
“Fine,” I say, though it’s not true. Our rhythm is off, and it’s scaring me. We’ve always been in sync, even before we were dating. And now—well, now it almost feels like he’s deliberately keeping me off balance.
I want to get back to normal, and I don’t know the path, and my lack of confidence is frustrating me.
“Are you heading home?” Ryan asks.
I shake my head. “Oh, I don’t know. I haven’t decided. You?”
“Moira and I are taking Mom back to the hotel.”
I wait for him to invite me along, and when he doesn’t, I say, “It’ll be nice for you guys to have time to chat in the car. But she usually crashes early, doesn’t she?”
“Usually. Why?”
“Oh. Um.” I lick my lips. “Because I was wondering if you wanted to meet me somewhere. We could get a drink. We could talk.”
“Talk,” he repeats. He meets my eyes, and I see the question in them—have I changed my mind? Am I going to say yes?
I glance down at the floor.
“Talk,” he repeats. “No, I’m sorry. I can’t do that.”
I look up, frustrated. “But, Ryan, I just—”
“I have plans. I’m going to Westerfield’s.”
“Oh.” Westerfield’s is one of the hottest clubs in town. It’s also a Stark property, which means when Ryan goes he gets the full VIP treatment. Something that never fails to snag the attention of the female patrons. Most of whom are usually drunk. And wearing outfits that are barely big enough to keep a Barbie doll modest.
“Oh,” I repeat.
I wait for him to suggest I join him there, but all he says is, “It really was great that you came.” Then the bastard leans in and kisses my cheek. He kisses my f*cking cheek.



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.


Inkslinger 2


A Millionaire at Midnight (Bachelor Auction #4) by Naima Simone-a review

A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT (Bachelor Auction #4) by Naima Simone-a review

A Millionaire at Midnight

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2017

Boston socialite Morgan Lett is having a run of bad luck. Her fiancé just dumped her for her stepsister, the charity foundation she’s given her life to is in danger of folding, and now, the gorgeous man she bid on and won at a masquerade bachelor auction turns out to be a cold-hearted jerk…and her new employer.

Millionaire Alexander Bishop needs the best wife money can buy. In order to inherit his family business, he must get engaged—fast. And Morgan, with her beauty and pedigree, is the perfect candidate. Her sharp tongue may drive him crazy, but she needs money to save the foundation she loves, and he needs a fiancée. It’s a flawless arrangement—no strings, no love. But soon she has him craving more, and cursing the platonic terms of their agreement.

Still, he won’t allow need—no matter how hot it burns—to threaten everything he’s built.


REVIEW: A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT is the fourth installment in Naima Simone’s contemporary, adult BACHELOR AUCTION erotic, romance series. This is Boston socialite and PA Morgan Lett, and millionaire businessman Alexander Bishop’s story line. A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Morgan and Alexander) A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT follows a fake fiancé trope that finds millionaire Alexander Bishop in desperate need of a wife-to-be. Alexander has only weeks to announce his engagement in order to take over as CEO of Bishop Enterprises-a business he saved from the proverbial toilet. Enter Morgan Lett, a socialite and former PA who also is desperate for a helping hand. But Morgan and Alexander’s first meeting is met with preconceived notions and a quick call to judgment by the man desperate enough to push aside all of his rules to keep control of the company. What ensues is the building relationship between two people whose relationship experience has been less than stellar. Morgan recently discovered her fiancée was in love with her step-sister; and Alexander’s marriage ended because he wife was unable to honor her vows. With Morgan’s return to work she will soon discover that Alexander Bishop is now the man in charge but a man who wants nothing to do with a gold-digging attitude.

The relationship between Alexander and Morgan begins acrimoniously after Alex overhears Morgan spouting about finding a rich man to support the life in which she has grown accustomed but unbeknownst to Alex, Morgan’s proclamations came at a time when her emotions and feelings were destroyed following several accusations by women she cares not to have known. When Morgan offers up a plan that will satisfy them both, Alex will lose his heart to a woman whose own earlier years were fraught with rejection and hurt. The $ex scenes are intimate, intense and seductive.

We are introduced to Alexander’s half- sister Kim, as well as his father Malcolm Bishop ; Morgan’s former fiancée Troy, and her half-sister Cynthia, as well as Morgan’s sister Merri. I am hoping for a happily ever after for Kim as she struggles to regain control of her life.

The world building reveals a little bit of the past; of the pain Alexander and Morgan experience throughout their lives; of Alex’s need to get lost in the books of his childhood fantasies.

A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT is a story of romance; a fake fiancée tale that finds two people opposed to another happily ever after but find themselves falling in love against the odds. The premise is energetic; the characters are heartbreaking and passionate; the romance is sensual and sexy. A MILLIONAIRE AT MIDNIGHT will captivate your imagination.

Reading Order and previous reviews
Beauty and the Bachelor
The Millionaire Makeover
The Bachelor’s Promise
A Millionaire at Midnight

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Going for the Goal (The Perfect Play #3) by Sara Rider-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

GOING FOR THE GOAL (The Perfect Play #3) by Sara Rider-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Going for the Goal Banner

Perfect Play #3
by Sara Rider
Release Date: February 13, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance, hockey

going for the Goal

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / B&N / KOBO / BAM /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 13, 2017

Sara Rider returns with the third book in the Perfect Play series—a fast-paced, icy hot romance featuring a sports agent fighting an attraction to the NHL’s bad boy…and his ability to melt her heart.

In this perfect book for romance and sports fans, professional sports agent Jillian Nichols knows how to play the game to get what she wants. But admitting to what she needs has always been a challenge. Will she ever let her guard down long enough to let someone in? Or will the bad boy hockey player Nick “the Punisher” Salinger have to fight harder than ever for a chance to win her heart?


REVIEW: GOING FOR THE GOAL is the third installment in Sara Rider’s adult, contemporary THE PERFECT PLAY erotic, romance series. This is professional hockey play/enforcer Nick ‘The Punisher’ Salinger, and sports agent Jillian Nichols’s story line. GOING FOR THE GOAL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story line is revealed where necessary. The reader was first introduced to our heroine in book two-Keeping Score.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Jillian and Nick) GOING FOR THE GOAL follows the personal and professional relationship between NHL enforcer Nick Salinger, and sports agent Jillian Nichols. Eight year earlier both Nick and Jillian were newbies in the world of sports: she an intern with an agent whose reputation as a misogynistic pig pushed Jillian to hand in her resignation; and he a rookie hockey player who spoke more with his fists than anything else. Fast forward to present day wherein Nick Salinger needs a new agent but Jillian Nichols refuses to accept any clients whose attitudes match the infamous Nick Salinger. When a disastrous fight with a teammate almost destroys Nick’s career, Jillian remains steadfast in her refusal to accept Nick as a client until the truth about what happened is finally revealed. What ensues is a campaign to rival all others as Jillian struggles to clean up Nick’s reputation while her own slowly begins to unravel and fall apart.

The relationship between our couple begins acrimoniously. Nick’s reputation as a fighter pushes all of Jillian’s buttons but neither Jillian or Nick has ever forgotten about their first meeting and the possibility of what never was. Jillian struggles to be accepted into a career dominated by the male of the species and with it comes the sexist attitudes of those who think themselves better than everyone else. The sex scenes are seductive, intimate and intense.

We are introduced to several members of the NHL’s New York Vipers including rookie Sebastian Liakos and his fiancée Alexa Whittaker , captain and goalie Mike Lambert, left wing Luke Anderson, and an assortment of coaches, trainers and team owner John Whittaker ; Nick’s younger brother Ben-a high school teacher and struggling actor; as well as Jillian’s former mentor Lou Parsons who sets out to destroy Jillian’s career. Soccer player Jaime Chen (Keeping Score) has a couple of cameo appearances throughout the story.

GOING FOR THE GOAL is a story of betrayal and revenge; romance and love; second chances and happily ever afters. The premise is lively and inspiring; the characters are dynamic and heartwarming; the romance is captivating and passionate. GOING FOR THE GOAL is a fascinating story line with a few twists and turns to the conflict resolution.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

Guest Post-Black and Blue

Researching and developing the story line content —Sara Rider

When I first started writing the Perfect Play series, I didn’t intend to write about Jillian Nichols, the heroine of Going for the Goal. But after she made her appearance in Keeping Score as the agent fighting tirelessly for her underdog client Jaime Chen, it became clear to me that she had her own story to tell. I just wasn’t entirely sure what that story was.

To date, Going for the Goal is the book that required by far the most research. For the other novels in the series, I was able to draw on a lot of different real-life inspirations for storylines and character development. Writing about a female sports agent, however, didn’t come with a clear set of instructions. With the exception of Amelia Slater on the TV show Pitch, which didn’t air until after I’d written the book, there hasn’t been a lot of female sports agents featured in the media. For most people, Jerry Maguire remains the quintessential, and likely only, touchstone of sports agents. But Jerry Maguire’s brash personality and riches-to-rags story didn’t resonate with Jillian’s ambitious but earnest character.

Instead of starting with a plot idea like I usually do, I started with a fundamental piece of characterization. When Jillian first popped into my head, she came with a very clear and strict set of rules for herself, much like many other women who’ve had to work twice as hard to prove themselves in male-dominated industries:
1. Never work with arrogant jerks; 2. Never work with people you don’t trust; and, 3. Never, ever work with someone you’ve pictured naked. So naturally, when I was coming up with a love interest, it had to be someone who broke every single one of these rules. That’s where Nick Salinger comes in. The bad boy enforcer of the New York Vipers walks into her office on the heels of a scandal and demands she take him on as a client. The big question, of course, was why. Any agent could negotiate a trade deal or a salary increase, so why did this big, troublesome star want an agent with an unconventional practice to represent him?

The answer is that he wanted someone who could pull off the impossible: negotiate a deal to stay with a team who desperately wants him gone. Unfortunately, this meant I needed a crash course in NHL trade regulations and negotiation tactics. I’ve always been a casual hockey fan, but this required a heck of a lot more effort than putting on my Jets jersey and cheering on my team from my living room couch. I ended up spending endless hours talking to family and friends who self-identify as hockey fanatics, and scouring the Internet for resources. Anonymous agent blogs detailing the dark underside of the profession, profiles of the difficulties faced by female agents, and course listings for sports management programs were invaluable in developing the story and the various sub-plots in the book.

Ultimately, it was the forceful personalities of Jillian and Nick that helped me piece together the plot. Both are intensely stubborn people who are so used to taking care of others that they struggle with the idea of falling in love with someone equally bull-headed and devoted. In the end, flipping from a plot-first to a character-first approach to writing was a fun challenge that still allowed me explore a unique storyline. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


About The Author Black and Blue

Sara RiderYou can follow Sara at : Website / Goodreads/ Twitter/

Sara Rider writes contemporary romances full of heart and heat about strong heroines and the men who can’t resist them. Growing up, Sara dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. When that dream was squashed by her extreme dislike of running, she decided to do the next best thing: write about professional soccer players. By day, Sara spends her time working in the field of research ethics and daydreams about plotlines and character arcs. She spends far too much time at public libraries and never leaves the house without a paperback or an e-reader stuffed into her purse.

Giveaway-Black and Deep Blue

Sara’s publisher is graciously offering an ebook copy of GOING FOR THE GOAL to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

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

3. Please follow Sara Rider on Twitter.

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

5. LIKE us on Twitter for an additional entry.

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

7. Please follow The Reading Cafe on Tumblr

8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from February 12-15, 2017

Simon and Schuster


Hooked (Viking Bastards #1) by Christina Phillips-a review

HOOKED (Viking Bastards #1) by Christina Phillips-a review


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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 6, 2017


I like my sex dirty and disposable. I’m not into commitment or chicks who want more than one night. My brothers and club come first, second and last.

Until she walks into my life. Classy, rich and so out of my league it’s crazy. A week together should get her out of my system, but this good girl is so bad when we’re all alone and I can’t get enough of her.

I don’t do forever, but she’s hooked me so bad I don’t ever want to let her go. Except there’s no way a princess can live in my world and I sure as hell won’t live in hers..


REVIEW: HOOKED is the first installment in Christina Phillips’s contemporary, adult VIKING BASTARDS erotic, romance series focusing on the members of the Viking Bastards MC. This is MC member Zach Reynolds, and HR specialist Grace Mulholland’s story line.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Zach and Grace) HOOKED focuses on the unlikely relationship between mechanic Zach Reynolds- a member of the Vikings Bastards MC, and HR specialist Grace Mulholland. Grace finds herself in a predicament when her car breaks down and her cell phone is dead. Walking into Odin’s – a seedy, rundown biker bar- finds our heroine going outside of her comfort zone and offering whatever it takes to the man in charge. Enter third generation MC member Zach Reynolds-a tattooed biker who demands everything from Grace and more. What ensues is the quick building relationship between two people from opposite sides of the track.

HOOKED is a story of erotica; a sexually, uninhibited look at one woman’s journey into the dark and dangerous world of the MC, and one man’s struggle to keep from falling for the ‘princess’ that calls to his heart. Like most MC story lines there is plenty of $ex and sexual situations but there is very little known about the Club and its members- the Club and everything it represents is secondary to the story line premise.

We are introduced to Zach’s sister Kat, and their brother Gage; tattooist and MC member Cade, as well as Grace’s sister Charity. The premise is entertaining and intoxicating; the characters are spirited and dynamic; the romance is passionate and erotic. The conflict is limited to Zach’s inability to accept anything beyond a one-night stand; any angst is brought about by demons from Zach’s past. I was hoping for a little more grit , danger and conflict but as an introductory story line HOOKED had me hooked from the very start.

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Singe (Guardian Protection #1) by Aly Martinez-Review & Book tour

SINGE (Guardian Protection #1) by Aly Martinez-Review and Book Tour

Singe Banner

Guardian Protection #1
by Aly Martinez
Release Date: February 6,2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance


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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 6 , 2017

She was my nightmare. Every time I closed my eyes, I watched her fall into that inferno. Over and over, I failed to save her.

I hadn’t been able to reach her, and the guilt only burned hotter over time. Four years later, I was the unreachable one.

Heroes aren’t always saints. Sometimes, we’re nothing more than jaded sinners driven by sleepless nights and hearts full of darkness.

And then I met her. She was a dreamer who managed to soothe my scars and heal my wounds.

But, as the flames closed in around us, I feared I wasn’t the right man to save her. That is until I realized she was the one woman I’d burn the world down to protect.


REVIEW: SINGE is the first installment in Aly Martinez’s contemporary, adult GUARDIAN PROTECTION erotic, romance series focusing on the men and women of the Guardian Protection Security Agency. This is former police officer/security specialist Jude Levitt, and heiress Rhion Park’s story line.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Rhion and Jude) SINGE focuses on healing, rebirth, second chances and betrayal. Four years earlier police officer Jude Levitt was called to a disturbance at the Park Estate only to discover the house engulfed in flames and Rhion Park struggling for her life. A series of questionable decisions befalls our would-be hero landing both him and Rhion in the hospital with too many questions, and painful burns. Fast forward to present day wherein Jude Levitt will come face to face with the woman whose life he thought he destroyed but the woman who has been the focus of his nightmares and dreams for several years. What ensues is the quick building romantic relationship between Rhion and Jude, and Jude’s struggle to protect the woman which whom he is falling in love.

Rhion Park has kept herself hidden from her past in the hopes of protecting her heart and her life. Someone close has made Rhion’s life difficult but the Guardian Protection Agency keeps a watchful eye out on the woman they consider a friend and family. Enter new security specialist, and former police officer Jude Levitt who takes more than a professional interest in the Agency’s reclusive client. For four years Rhion has dreamt and written about the man who saved her life but said man believes he is anything but her hero.

The relationship between Rhion and Jude is very quick to develop as the couple has never stopped thinking about the other since the fateful day that Jude saved Rhion’s life. Jude struggles to accept that he wasn’t responsible for the pain and suffering of the woman with whom he is falling in love; and Rhion battles more than one demon from her past. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and captivating.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including several security specialists at Guardian Protection: Leo and Sarah James, Devon Grant, Jeremy Lark, Braydon Hughes, Alex Pearson, and Aidan Johnson,: Rhion’s best friend Brianna Turner, and step sister Katie Spencer, as well as Rhion’s younger brother Apollo Park whose back story is heartbreaking. We are introduced Rhion’s guardian and her father’s best friend Peter Higgins controls all of Rhion’s financial holdings; as well as Rhion’s former wicked step-mother Margaret Spencer, who is all about the money and more-our heroine has a difficult time saying no to her father’s ex-wife.

The world building looks at the relationship between Rhion and Jude, and Rhion’s struggle to move on with her life. Not all is as it seems especially as it pertains to Rhion’s family and friends; trust is easily broken; betrayal is but a heartbeat away.

SINGE is sexy, intriguing and emotional story line of family, friendship, heartbreak and love. The premise is exciting but somewhat chaotic; the romance is erotic and tender; the characters are colorful and numerous. SINGE is a tense and intoxicating story about second chances at life and love.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Singe Teaser


“Tomorrow, it’s on me,” I said, standing up off the barstool.
Behind the bar, Carmen waggled her eyebrows, seductively calling out, “Funny, I could be on you tonight if you stayed awhile longer.”
I laughed at her innuendo and tossed her a wink. “I gotta get home, babe. Seven a.m. comes way too early.”
“Well, offer’s on the table,” she purred.
It always was with her. And, if I wasn’t careful, I’d eventually take her up on it.
Not that sleeping with Carmen wouldn’t have been good. But, when you find a cheap bar only five minutes from your house, you don’t fuck that up by dipping your cock into the bartender.
“Later, Carmen,” I called, pushing the door open and heading to my car.
I wasn’t out of the parking lot before I heard, “Officer Levitt? We’ve got an alarm going off in Park Hill. You mind taking a look on your way home?”
Banging my head back against the headrest, I groaned to myself. Park Hill was about as “on my way home” as swinging past California on the way to Maine.
Switching my radio to my other hand, I complained, “I’m off the clock, Jocelyn.” I had been for several hours, even if I hadn’t made it home yet.
She laughed. “I’m sorry, but you’re the only one remotely close. I had to send two cars out to the Laslows’ to break up another argument between Cam and his old man.”
“They at it again?” I asked.
“Apparently, Cam told Lindsey he didn’t want the baby. Lindsey told his dad. Old Man Laslow lost his mind.”
I chuckled, putting my blinker on and then doing a U-turn in the middle of the empty road. “Christ. I bet he did. I know the man’s seventy-five, but I sure as hell wouldn’t want to go toe-to-toe with him.”
“I’m with you on that. So…you gonna head out to Park Hill?” she asked in a sugary-sweet tone.
I grumbled deep in my chest. “You’re gonna owe me some of that banana bread for this. I missed it the other day when you brought it up to the station.”
“I don’t owe you anything.” She giggled. “However, as a personal thank-you from the state of Illinois, Park County, and the owners of Park Hill, I’ll bring you in a loaf on Friday. Deal?”
“Deal. I’m en route now.”
“Stay safe, and radio in with your report.”
“Yes, ma’am,” I replied, knowing exactly how much thirty-year-old Jocelyn loved being called ma’am by a twenty-five-year-old man.
“Don’t you—”
“Gotta go.” I turned the volume down to mute her, grinning to myself as I flipped my lights and siren on.
I’d been a cop for two years. And, in that time, I’d been out to the privately owned Park Hill estate at least a dozen times. It wasn’t unusual for the alarm on the mansion to get triggered. It never amounted to anything. The expansive estate was on the very edge of the county, and trouble didn’t usually travel that far out. More often than not, a bird at a window or a bumbling new member of the grounds crew would accidentally trip the alarm. Truth was, no one actually lived in Park Hill. The owners visited sporadically. But, for the majority of the time, it remained empty.
Some minutes later, I cut my siren as I pulled up to the entrance. The cold air assaulted me as I stepped out of my patrol car with my flashlight in hand and aimed at the keypad on the massive security gate that blocked the driveway off. That damn thing alone had to have cost more than I’d make in a lifetime. Forget about the house inside.
The smell of wood burning in a fireplace wafted through the night air. I guessed someone was home for a visit.
I typed in the emergency code on the gate panel and then climbed back in my car and made my way down the tree-lined driveway. I’d spent the day on patrol, and, with the exception of some minor vandalism across town, it had been a slow one.
Though, in the blink of an eye, that would change.
Along with my entire life.
“Oh fuck,” I breathed as the main house came into view on the top of the hill.
After throwing my car in park, I jumped on the radio at my shoulder. I could barely get the words out as I slung my door open and took off at a dead sprint.
“This is Officer Levitt! I need fire support at Park Hill immediately!”
And then I froze as a wave of adrenaline crashed into me like a tsunami.
An inferno roared in the night sky, but it was the small silhouette of a woman perched outside a third-floor window, smoke pouring out all around her, that knocked the breath out of me. My heart stopped, but my feet continued to pound against the pavement.
Jocelyn’s voice caught me. “What’s going on?”
“I need medical too!” I barked as I got closer. “The whole damn place is in flames and there’s a woman trapped!”
The woman’s long, black hair blew out behind her like a battered flag whipping in a storm. I couldn’t make out her face or her skin color or even guess at her age for the black soot covering her, but her fear was unmistakable.
And unforgettable.
“Hang on!” I yelled up to her.
“Oh my God!” she screamed before it turned into a fit of coughing. “Help me!”
“Hang on! Don’t let go!”
Frantically, I searched the perimeter for a way in, but it wasn’t only her house that was on fire. Flames were encompassing her. The yard and all the surrounding flowerbeds. Top to bottom. The first and second floors were completely engulfed, and if the sound of shattering windows was any indication, it was quickly making its way up to the third floor—to her.
“No! Don’t leave me!” she screamed, panic thick in her garbled voice, as I started around the side of the house.
A wall of heat stopped me in my tracks. Throwing an arm up, I did my best to block my face while scanning the building for any possible entry—or, in her case, exit.
But there wasn’t a surface of that house that wasn’t ablaze.
Except the roof.
Son of a bitch.
I spoke into the radio. “I need an ETA on fire.”
Jocelyn replied, “They’re on their way. Five minutes out.”
I didn’t have one minute, much less five.
My pulse quickened, sending blood thundering in my ears. I was a cop. I’d trained for chaos. I should have been able to come up with a solution for a situation like this, but they didn’t teach you how to conquer the impossible at the Academy.
And, as I took inventory of the flames dancing beneath her, I knew that was exactly what I was up against.
My gut wrenched as I helplessly sped back around the house. She appeared almost childlike, hovering barefoot on that narrow brick ledge, but her long-sleeve top and her loose-fitting pants clung to the body of a woman.
Jesus Christ! Where was that fucking fire truck?
“Is anyone else in the house?” I yelled up to her.
Not that I could have helped them, either. Short of running into a burning building, on what would surely be a suicide mission, there was not one thing I could do. And didn’t that little reality feel like a wrecking ball to the chest.
“No!” she cried, a loud sob lodging in her throat. It turned into more coughing, her body shaking violently with every heave.
I fisted my hands at my sides as my anxiety spiraled higher.
“Please. Do something!” she begged.
I ground my teeth together and once again glanced around as if a water hose and a ladder were going to suddenly appear out of nowhere. “Hang tight, okay? Fire trucks are on their way.”
“I can’t hold on much longer!” she cried.
“Yes, you can,” I demanded.
“I…I think I need to jump,” she coughed out.
I assessed the massive fire below her. I’d never be able to reach her before it swallowed her. But there was no way I’d be able to stand by and watch her burn.
No. If she jumped off that ledge, she was going to get us both killed.
“Don’t you dare,” I barked. “Don’t even think about it. Two minutes. They’ll be here.”
“I…I can’t.”
“Two minutes,” I repeated. “Hold—”
Suddenly, a window to her left exploded, shooting glass and flames in all directions.
I covered my face as she screamed in a paralyzing mixture of fear and agony. It cut me so deep that I knew I’d bear the scars for the rest of my life, and that had nothing to do with the glass and everything to do with the heavy weight of my failure already lingering in the smoke-filled air.
When I opened my eyes again, I caught a glimpse of orange flickering in the window behind her. Panic built in my chest.
“You need to move!” I yelled.
She shook her head and continued to cough and cry.
But it wasn’t an option. I couldn’t help her. Though I damn sure refused to watch her die.
“Please. Just listen to me.” I swallowed hard. “You can’t stay there.” I looked to the roof.
Sending her higher seemed wrong and went against everything I’d learned in my limited fire training. But fuck, my options were having her jump into a conflagration or scale up the side of a building in hopes of buying us the precious minutes needed for the fire department to arrive.
Drawing in a smoke-filled breath, I made a decision that would haunt me for the rest of my life. “You need to climb up to the roof.”
“I can’t!” she shrieked.
My stomach twisted, but I gentled my voice. “Look, I know you’re scared. But I’m right here. I’ll help guide you up, but, sweetheart, it’s bearing down on you. You gotta move, and I mean now.”
She choked on a mouthful of smoke as she attempted to look over her shoulder.
“You’re going to be fine. I swear to you,” I lied. “But you have to move.”
“I’m not going to make it!” She had to have yelled it in order for me to hear her, but I felt her defeat slither over my skin like a whispered goodbye.
I took a long step forward, too focused on her to feel the heat singeing my skin. “Yes, you are!” I declared. “Move your ass up to the roof and we’ll both be out of here in time for breakfast.”
Her gaze landed on mine, tears forging paths down her soot-covered cheeks, her disbelief obvious even from yards away. “Are you sure?”
It was a ridiculous question. It wasn’t like I could make any guarantees. It was fire, for God’s sake. But that didn’t stop me from covering my heart with my palm and vowing, “I swear on my life you’re going to make it through this.”
Her hesitation was evident, but with one last sob, she inched her small body farther out onto the narrow ledge, reaching the tips of her shaking fingers out for the windowsill above her.
“Good girl,” I praised, a fraction of relief washing over me.
And then I sucked in a sharp breath as one of her shaking legs slipped out from under her.
“No!” I yelled.
On instinct, I rushed toward the flames, my arms stretched out in the air as though I could catch her.
A scalding heat blistered my face and forced me to stop, but the real pain was in my chest. I watched in horror for what felt like a lifetime as she fought to right herself, her dainty arms flailing like a wounded butterfly frantically trying to catch the wind.
But there was none to be found.
My heart lurched into my throat, and my breath seized in my lungs.
And then a deep, guttural sound tore through me, shredding me from the inside out, as I watched her fall.
I woke up in a cold sweat. It wasn’t exactly something new. I’d been dreaming of Butterfly for over four years. She always flew directly into the flames, screaming as I stood helpless to save her.
Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I cradled my head in my hands and tried to pretend I was okay. That wasn’t exactly something new, either. I could still feel the heat on the back of my neck. My lungs were still thick with smoke. The pressure in my chest never left me.
The distance while I was living in LA had helped. But, in the week since I’d been back in Illinois, I’d woken up every morning at that blazing house. I didn’t even have to be asleep for the memories to assault me.
I should have gone back to sleep. It was my first day at my new job, and the last thing I needed was to show up haggard and sleep-deprived. But, as I’d learned over the years, another fiery butterfly awaited me on the other side of REM. No way I was volunteering for that.
I pushed myself off the bed and tugged a T-shirt on, preparing to head down to the hotel gym with hopes that I could outrun the mental fog that had been hovering over me since I’d returned. There was a reason I’d thrown all of my shit in my car and driven as far as I could all those years ago.
Yet, somehow, I’d come full circle.
But I’d come back a different man.
At least that’s what I’d told myself as the deafening roar of doubt had overwhelmed me the moment I’d driven across the state line.
Regardless, it had been time to go home.
I’d been gone too long.
Or, as I’d decided as I’d passed the exit to Park County, not nearly long enough.

About The Author Black and Red

Aly MartinezBorn and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aly Martinez is a stay-at-home mom to four crazy kids under the age of five, including a set of twins. Currently living in South Carolina, she passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a glass of wine at her side.

After some encouragement from her friends, Aly decided to add “Author” to her ever-growing list of job titles. Five books later, she shows no signs of slowing. So grab a glass of Chardonnay, or a bottle if you’re hanging out with Aly, and join her aboard the crazy train she calls life.

STALK HER: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Ruthless (Playboys in Love #2) by Gina L. Maxwell- Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

Ruthless (Playboys in Love #2) by Gina L.Maxwell-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

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Playboys in Love #2
by Gina Maxwell
Release Date: January 30, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance


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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 30, 2017

People call me Ruthless for a reason.

Whether I’m in the court room or in the bedroom, my reputation is well-earned. I’m either working hard, working out, or working my way into some woman’s panties. But none of them share my particular kink, and I walk away feeling unsatisfied.

Until I met her.

She’s a friend of a friend, which makes her off-limits in my book. But then temptation had me by the balls and I had her up against a wall. She literally fucked my world off its axis, but it can’t happen again.

My plan was avoidance, but that got blown to shit when my firm hired her as a new junior attorney. Now I’m her boss, and I’m supposed to act like I don’t want to bend her over my desk every five minutes.

But I’ve never held myself back with anything before, so consequences be damned, it’s time to show her how damn good it feels…to be ruthless.


REVIEW:  RUTHLESS is the second installment in Gina L. Maxwell’s contemporary, adult PLAYBOYS IN LOVE erotic, romance series focusing a tight knit group of male friends who have formed ‘Playboys 4 Hire’-an after hours all-male strip group for hire. This is attorneys Roman ‘Ruthless’ Reeves, and Addison ‘Addie’ Paige’s story line. RUTHLESS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

NOTE: RUTHLESS is an erotic story line that contains scenes of M/F/M sexual situations including voyeurism, ménage and sharing partners.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Roman and Addison) RUTHLESS focuses on the building relationship between Roman Reeves, and Addison Paige. By day, Roman Reeves is a high powered attorney working for his own upstart law firm; by night our hero is Ruthless, an exotic dancer for hire with one rule, and one rule only-he doesn’t date friends or friends of friends. When his partner at the law firm hires a new attorney, Roman comes face to face with his last one-night stand. Enter Addison Paige, his best friend’s wife’s friend, and the woman who makes him break all of his rules. What ensues is the developing romance between Roman and Addison; and the fall out when mistaken beliefs and a lack of communication interfere in the growing relationship.

Roman’s sexual proclivities extend towards the kink, and there is never a repeat or second time. Addison is a woman whose attraction to Roman finds herself accepting all that is Roman Reeves, including a relationship where another man is part of the scene. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense. There is plenty of back and forth banter between all of the story line characters.

We are re-introduced to Chance and Jane (Shameless #1), as well as Austin Massey, the third member of the Playboys 4 Hire. Austin will enter the relationship between Roman and Addison, a relationship that will be destroyed when jealousy and anger override one man’s sexual desires.

The world building looks at the professional lives of Roman and Addison as they struggle to keep secret their after-hours affair, and as they battle the growing love between one another. Work place romances are difficult but mistaken beliefs push Addison out of Roman’s life and into a world of heartbreak and hurt.

RUTHLESS is a sexy, provocative and fateful story line of two people caught between desire and love, want and need. The premise is imaginative; the characters are spicy and impulsive; the romance is energetic and intense.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

about the author

Website / Goodreads / Facebook /Twitter / Instagram

Gina MaxwellGina L. Maxwell is a full-time writer, wife, and mother living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. An avid romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read. Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and she’s been living her newfound dream ever since.

When she’s not reading or writing steamy romance novels, she spends her time losing at Scrabble (and every other game) to her high school sweetheart, doing her best to hang out with their teenagers before they fly the coop, and dreaming about her move to sunny Florida once they do.

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Holding on Tighter (Wicked Lovers #12) by Shayla Black-Review, Release Blitz & Giveaway

HOLDING ON TIGHTER (Wicked Lovers #12) by Shayla Black-Review, Release Blitz & Giveaway

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Wicked Lovers #12
by Shayla Black
Release Date: February 7 , 2017
Genre: adult,contemporary, erotic, romantic suspense

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Holding on Tighter

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Add to your GOODREADS shelf.

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 7, 2017

Jolie Quinn is a woman in charge. Her no-nonsense attitude has made her a rising star in the fashion world and her brand a household name among the Dallas elite. Nothing will stop her from achieving her goals—not even the gorgeous British security contractor who seems just as interested in seeing her personal assets as he is in protecting her professional ones.

After a tragedy left him broken, Heath Powell made a rule of staying unattached. But Jolie challenges him in a way he can’t ignore, and he isn’t used to backing down from a confrontation—especially when the reward for winning could feel so good. As passion blazes between them, the stubborn, confident beauty arouses more than his desire. She touches his heart.

When a mysterious enemy threatens Jolie and her company, Heath is the only person Jolie can trust to help. But working with him to save her business might put her dangerously at risk of falling in love


REVIEW: HOLDING ON TIGHTER is the twelfth full length installment in Shayla Black’s contemporary, adult WICKED LOVERS erotic, romance series. This is thirty nine year old, former MI5 agent and security specialist Heath Powell, and thirty year old women’s fashion mogul Jolie Quinn’s story line. HOLDING ON TIGHTER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story lines is revealed where necessary. The reader was first introduced to Heath Powell in Wicked For You-Wicked Lovers #10.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Jolie and Heath) HOLDING ON TIGHTER focuses on a series of threats against our story line heroine Jolie Quinn. A self-made fashion entrepreneur Jolie and her younger sister Karis, have become targets of a twisted mind. Enter Heath Powell, former British Intelligence Agency (MI5) and security specialist. On the advice of her best friend Callie Ward- MacKenzie, Mitchel and Sean’s wife (Their to Cherish #8) Jolie hires Heath to increase the security at her thriving business, never expecting to fall in love with a man who wants nothing to do with relationships or happily ever afters. What ensues is the quick building relationship and love between Jolie and Heath, and the increasing threats against the woman with whom Heath will fall in love.

Heath Powell lost everything he once loved and cared about, and in this our hero is unwilling to again risk his heart for love. A one-night stand kind of guy, Heath finds himself impossibly attracted to the woman he has sworn to defend and protect. One night will never be enough especially when the threats against Jolie Quinn begin to take on a more dangerous nature.

Independent, strong and successful, with attitude to spare, Jolie Quinn does not want to be like her mother-a serial bride with a succession of broken marriages and divorces to her credit- and a woman whose history with men has marked our heroine with a negative attitude about relationships and love. When Heath ‘demands’ nothing more than a one-night stand, Jolie has a difficult time processing the feelings that begin to grow. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense; Heath is a dominant but he has trouble taming the woman with whom he is falling in love. Some readers may take offense to Heath’s manwhoring ways especially in the early pages of the story line premise. He pushes at all of Jolie’s boundaries, and in this his dominant persona is a struggle to accept especially when very little time passes between sexual conquests.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including Jolie’s sister Karis, and fellow employees business accountant Arthur, PA Wisteria and website operator Rohan. We are also introduced to Heath’s former partner and best friend at MI5 Myles Beaker. Several of the previous story line male leads have cameo roles as they volunteer to help Jolie and Heath when things spiral out of control.

The world building looks at the threats against Jolie and Karis; the sister’s struggle to find happiness in spite of their disastrous earlier years; and Jolie and Heath’s acceptance that everyone deserves a happily ever after.

HOLDING ON TIGHTER is a passionate story line of betrayal, revenge, romance and love. The premise is entertaining and captivating; the characters are colorful, dynamic and spirited; the romance is intimate and sensual. Shayla Black’s WICKED LOVERS SERIES is a seductive look at romance-outside of the box.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


(Wicked Lovers 11.75)
by Shayla Black
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
Release Date: December 2016

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 2016

‘Tis the season… Sometimes the holidays are so busy—work, kids, shopping, baking, partying, wrapping, decorating, planning, and Christmas music!—that you don’t have time for the one you love most. Can the spirit of the season bring the first two Wicked Lovers closer forever?


REVIEW: A VERY WICKED CHRISTMAS by Shayla Black is a contemporary, adult erotic Christmas short story that revisits Wicked Lovers first couple Jack and Morgan Cole (Wicked Ties). Morgan is the hostess of a late-night cable sex talk show, and Jack is a former military man and security specialist. Going on five years of marriage, and two children, Morgan struggles with issues of self esteem and insecurities, as the couple’s love life becomes almost non-existent. What ensues is the rekindling romance between Morgan and Jack, as Jack takes control of the submissive he has always loved.

A VERY WICKED CHRISTMAS is a quick look at the trouble most new parents must endure-busy lives, young children, little time for themselves. The premise is sexy and sweet; the romance is provocative and intense. Shayla Black ‘s A VERY WICKED CHRISTMAS allows the reader another glimpse into the lives of one of our favorite couples.

Reviewed by Sandy

Holding on Tighter teaser


About The Author Black and White

Shayla BlackShayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than forty novels. For over fifteen years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold well over a million copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past seven years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her teenage daughter, and a very spoiled cat. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


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The Reading Cafe and Shayla’s publisher are offering a paper copy of
HOLDING ON TIGHTER to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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

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

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9. Giveaway runs from February 8-12, 2017


Take Me Harder (Texas Bounty #3) by Jackie Ashenden-a review

TAKE ME HARDER (Texas Bounty #3) by Jackie Ashenden

Take Me Harder

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 7, 2017

An ex-con with a bad-boy reputation falls for his childhood sweetheart—a good-girl cop chasing a ruthless killer—as the Texas Bounty series gets steamier than the Lone Star State.

Rush Redmond never expected freedom to taste so bittersweet. He spent eight years in jail doing someone else’s time, and for what? As an ex-con, Rush can’t work as a bounty hunter like his brothers—not in Texas. Better to drown his sorrows with a stiff drink and soft curves. Too bad the temptation he craves is a redhead with a badge: Ava St. George. Once upon a time, Rush would’ve done anything for the sheriff’s innocent daughter. Now he’s fighting the urge to let her sweet-talk him into some trouble he can’t afford.

Even though she’s a cop, Ava knows that sometimes justice means pushing the boundaries of the law. To track down her mother’s killer, she turns to the man with the county’s criminal underworld in his little black book. The boy she knew is still drop-dead gorgeous, with panty-dropping charm as smooth as his smile. But his sculpted arms and the menacing gleam in his eyes scream “Don’t mess with me.” Yet Ava needs Rush more than ever—in more ways than one.


REVIEW: TAKE ME HARDER is the third installment in Jackie Ashenden’s contemporary, adult TEXAS BOUNTY erotic, romance series. This is former inmate and reluctant bounty hunter Rush Redmond, and police officer Ava St. George’s story line. TAKE ME HARDER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Some background: Rush, Quinn and Zane Redmond are the current owners of LONE STAR BOUNTY since the death of their father months before. Lone Star Bounty is a struggling business but a business that brings the brothers closer together.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Rush and Ava) TAKE ME HARDER looks at the friends to lovers romance between Rush Redmond, a former inmate who served eight years for a crime he did not commit; and naïve rookie cop Ava St. George-a woman determine to uncover the truth about her mother’s demise. When Ava receives a anonymous tip about the death of her beloved mother-a police officer killed in the line of duty- Ava knows that to dig deeper she will need a list of contacts she knows only one man will have. Enter Rush Redmond, recently release from jail, and the man that has always called to Ava’s heart. What ensues is the tempestuous relationship between Ava and Rush; Ava’s need to uncover the truth; and Rush’s journey to discover the who and what of his past, and the heartbreaking rejection by his brother and dad.

Ava has always believed her mother, Lauren St. George, was killed by a drug dealer but a recent phone call from an unknown source revealed that the wrong man was arrested for her mother’s shooting. Rush Redmond was the only person with the available means to ferret out the information and contacts that Ava required but the man she loved was no longer the man she remembered years before. Ava has been in love with Rush Redmond since she was a little girl but eight years behind bars hardened Rush Redmond into someone she no longer knew. Rush Redmond is an angry man; a former member of the armed forces, a military man who upon his return three years later began working in the family’s LONE STAR BOUNTY business only to take the fall when a shooting goes horribly wrong. Ava’s request of Rush is met with derision , harassment and too much anger but our heroine is determined to take down the man who destroyed her mother’s life –with or without Rush Redmond’s help.

The relationship between Ava and Rush is acrimonious. Rush will direct his anger at the woman who calls to his heart; his treatment of Ava is reprehensible, rude and vulgar. Rush is nothing short of a pr*ck and an a$$hole; his demons ride very close to the surface. Ava is so desperate for information that she is willing to submit to Rush’s demands believing the man she once knew hides behind the cold and rough hewn exterior. The $ex scenes are erotic and intense. Some readers may take offense to Rush’s treatment of the story line heroine.

Most of the previous story line couples and characters play secondary and supporting roles including Rush’s brother Zane, and the love of his life Iris Callahan (Take Me Deeper #1) , as well as Nora Sutcliffe of Duchess Bail Bonds (Make It Hurt #2). Quinn Redmond may or may not have an attraction to Duchess Bail Bonds owner Lily ‘Duchess’ Hammond. The Redmond brothers are a little rough around the edges and continue to push one another’s buttons; I am hoping the author reveals more of the family history because the brother’s relationship struggles with secrets from the past. Rush can only surmise why he had to suffer through his father and brother’s rejections. The requisite evil comes with many faces including an expensive bottle of bourbon that all but tries to destroy Rush’s life.

The world building continues to focus on the struggling sibling relationships between Rush, Quinn and Zane Redmond, as well as the bounty ‘collections’ that come into the office.The hunt for the man responsible for destroying Ava’s life reveals some interesting facts about Rush Redmond’s past.

TAKE ME HARDER is a gritty romance about a broken man who lost eight years of his life for a man who seemingly despised the ground upon which he walked. The premise is dark and multi-layered; the characters are tragic and tense; the romance is difficult and struggles in the face of one man’s anger and shame.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Take Me Deeper
Make It Hurt
Take Me Harder

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy