Down by Contact (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell-Review, Interview & Giveaway

DOWN BY CONTACT (The Barons #2) by Santino Hassell-Review, Interview and Giveaway

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The Barons
By Santino Hassell
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, M/M, football romance

Down By Contact / / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 16, 2018

Simeon Boudreaux, the New York Barons’ golden-armed quarterback, is blessed with irresistible New Orleans charm and a face to melt your mama’s heart. He’s universally adored by fans and the media. Coming out as gay in solidarity with his teammate hasn’t harmed his reputation in the least—except for some social media taunting from rival linebacker Adrián Bravo.

Though they were once teammates, Adrián views Simeon as a traitor and the number-one name on the New Jersey Predators’ shit list. When animosity between the two NFL players reaches a boiling point on the field, culminating in a dirty fist fight, they’re both benched for six games and sentenced to joint community service teaching sullen, Brooklyn teens how to play ball.

At first, they can barely stand to be in the same room, but running the camp forces them to shape up. With no choice but to work together, Simeon realizes Adrián is more than his alpha-jerk persona, and Adrián begins to question why he’s always had such strong feelings for the gorgeous QB…


REVIEW: DOWN BY CONTACT is the second instalment in Santino Hassell’s contemporary, adult THE BARONS erotic, M/M, football romance series focusing on the professional football players of the New York Barons. This is Barons’ quarterback Simeon Boudreaux, and New Jersey Predators’ linebacker Adrian Bravo’s story line. DOWN BY CONTACT can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

NOTE: DOWN BY CONTACT is an M/M romance story line with sexually graphic language, text and situations that may not be suitable for all readers.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Simeon and Adrian) DOWN BY CONTACT follows the enemies to lovers relationship between one-time teammates New York Baron’s quarterback Simeon Boudreaux, and New Jersey Predators’ linebacker Adrian Bravo. Following a less than stellar start with the Predators, Simeon Boudreaux was traded to the New York Baron’s where his star power is on the rise, but in the ensuing time rumors and innuendo about betrayal and playbook theft dogged our hero from the opposing team, but none more so than from one-time teammate and friend Adrian Bravo. Simeon’s recent forced ‘coming out’ prompted a firestorm of media sensation including the homophobic diatribes from a man he once call a friend. Enter Adrian Bravo, New Jersey Predator’s linebacker, and the man with whom Simeon would fall in love. A preseason, on-field brawl between our leading couple finds Simeon and Adrian facing suspension with team ordered volunteer work at a local children’s shelter. What ensues is the building relationship between Simeon and Adrian as they are forced to work together for the benefit of a children’s summer camp, and the potential threat to Adrian’s career when their relationship is revealed.

Adrian Bravo always thought he was a heterosexual male until the day he met teammate Simeon Boudreaux but Adrian had to keep up appearances in front of his team fearing rejection and ridicule at the hands of the media and his so-called friends. Social media attacks against Simeon Boudreaux quickly made Adrian an enemy in more ways than one. Simeon Boudreaux was previously ‘outed’ by several jealous fans who posted sensitive images for all to see but discovering that Adrian Bravo, quite possibly, wanted something more than a rekindling friendship brought hope to a man who was potentially looking for a happily ever after.

The relationship between Simeon and Adrian is an enemies to friends to lovers romance; a second chance friendship that continues to build as they must work together towards a common goal. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.My only complaint is the lack of condom usage. Although this is a story of fiction, in an era of STDs and AIDS, I believe the author ( or for that matter, everyone) has a responsibility to promote safer $ex.

We are reintroduced to Barons’ tight end Gavin Brawley, and his personal assistant Noah Monroe (Illegal Contact #1); running back Marcus Hendricks and his fiance Jasmine; and second-string quarterback Noah Monroe; Simeon’s agent Mel Hawkins’, and Adrian’s agent Casey Rose; several young teens and counselors at the Grant Street Center, Simeon’s mother Joanne Boudreaux, Adrian’s parents, as well as Adrian’s embattled teammate Rocky Swoops.

DOWN BY CONTACT is a sexy, sassy and spirited story line; an inspiring and heart warming romance about passion, perception, discrimination and love. The premise is encouraging and energetic; the romance is sensual and provocative; the characters are dynamic and realistic.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book one-ILLEGAL CONTACT

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


TRC: Hi Santino and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the recent release of DOWN BY CONTACT.

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

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Santino HassellSantino: First of all, thank you so much for interviewing me! I guess the most succinct way to explain my background as a fiction writer is to explain that I’ve been writing since I was a teenager. As a kid, I was the type to keep journals full of songs and poetry, then it upgraded to me writing short stories about my friends and I. All of it was wishful thinking and how I wished my life was different. Later, I moved onto writing fanfiction and original fiction. Once I found out there was a whole market for queer romance, I jumped down the rabbit hole and haven’t looked back.

TRC: Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Santino: I was really influenced by writers like Jordan Castillo Price, Amy Jo Cousins, and more recently Molly O’Keefe. Writers who tackle interesting issues and perspectives with characters who have a very strong voice. Also, I’m really drawn to grittier romances about people who have to fight to get their happy endings, which is why my own writing tends to trend in that direction.

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

Santino: One of my main challenges, and I think the challenge of queer romance writers in general, is my desire for my books to not be treated as a separate subgenre because the characters aren’t straight. This isn’t something that can be changed by one person, or even a few people, but eventually I’d love for these books to be shelved right alongside M/F romance novels.

Down By ContactTRC: Would you please tell us something about the premise of DOWN BY CONTACT and The Barons series?

Santino: The premise of The Barons is essentially “troubled athletes finding love”. Book 1, Illegal Contact, saw the main character suspended and on house arrest following a public brawl, and in Down by Contact the main characters are also in hot water after getting in a fight on the field with each other. Football is such an aggressive sport filled with these athletes who are driven by competitiveness and ego that I wanted to explore that in the series.

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

Santino: Before I started the Barons, I read several memoirs of athletes and agents to get an idea of how the sport works on the inside. Besides knowing what goes on during the game, I wanted to know what happens in negotiations, between players and their agents or managers, and definitely in the locker room.

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

Santino: Humans are so unpredictable as a species that sometimes the story tells itself depending on the characters I’ve created. If you start with creating characters from the ground up, with all their background, influences, and life experiences, you have totally different people who will react differently in various scenarios. So, in book 1, Gavin reacted to a friend being threatened by… chasing that person down. He was driven by loyalty and overprotectiveness. In book 2, both Simeon and Adrián are driven by competitiveness and pride—it drives them to engage in a social media feud that gets physical, and ultimately causes them to get trapped together where they take start up a sexier kind of challenge. They basically cannot help but try to one-up each other.

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

Santino: I pretty much figured out what works for me in terms of drafting. Basically, that I NEED a detailed outline to survive a draft!

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

Illegal ContactSantino: Honestly, some of my most challenging scenes are always action oriented. In The Barons, writing the football scenes always end with me double checking my descriptions, rereading about fifty times, and then asking my beta readers to pay close attention to the details. I’m always terrified of getting something wrong.

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

Santino: I definitely think it’s important to catching a reader’s attention. As a reader myself, I’m inundated by hundreds of books when I step into a bookstore or go on Amazon, so an amazing cover will stand out from the rest and grab me. After that, the blurb will be the deciding factor on whether I buy.

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

Santino: I try to direct the characters but, as trite as it sounds, they don’t always follow the script. Usually, they develop in such a way over time in the draft that their actions shift and change, and I have to revise my outline. For example, in Down by Contact, I did not initially intend for Adrián to be smitten with Simeon first, but it happened organically.

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

Santino: I don’t have a super scientific process. I tend to go by background, region they grew up in and their parents’ personalities, and use something believable based on all those factors.

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

Santino: Creating characters that are multi-faceted is important in that regard. Characters need their own histories, motivations, and life experiences so they feel real. In books where I’ve struggled to form an emotional connection with the characters, it was because they were two-dimensional and had no motivations other than overcoming the main conflict in the story.

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

Santino: I do listen to mood music while writing. In the past, I’ve listened to the type of music that I thought my characters would be listening to. Now, I tend to listen to something mellow and calming that won’t distract me. It usually leads to me picking a station on Spotify.

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

Santino: A misconception about me… is probably that I have a plan and know what I’m doing. Most of the time, though, I’m winging it. In terms of an overall misconception about authors—I would say many people I meet seem to believe authors just write in their spare time as a hobby. Usually people who aren’t voracious readers are the ones who make comments implying professional authors just casually pen novels on the side for fun. They have no idea how time-consuming and stressful the craft can be.

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

Santino: I plan to start writing M/F romance and one day try my shot at YA!

TRC: On what are you currently working?

Santino:I’m currently starting book 3 in The Barons series—Use of Hands. You meet the hero in Down by Contact. His love interest was introduced in book 1.

TRC: Would you like to add anything else?

Santino: Thank you so much for having me! I hope everyone loves Simeon and Adrián.


Favorite Food: Spaghetti

Favorite Dessert: Cookies

Favorite TV Show: Shameless, at the moment

Last Movie You Saw: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk Chocolate

Secret Celebrity Crush: Clive Owen

Last Vacation Destination: New Orleans

Do you have any pets? 2 cats, 1 dog

Last book you read: Relay by Layla Reyne

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


Santino Hassell’s publisher is graciously offering a paperback ARC of DOWN BY CONTACT to ONE lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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9.. Giveaway runs from January 18-23, 2018

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Scoring with the Wrong Twin (WAGS #1) by Naima Simone-a review

SCORING WITH THE WRONG TWIN (WAGS #1) by Naima Simone-a review

Scoring with the Wrong Twin / / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 15, 2018

Shy, awkward Sophia Cruz has a hard time telling her vivacious identical twin “no.” But when her sister begs her to swap places for a modeling shoot, she caves … again. Then Zephirin Black walks onto the set. The brooding, aloof, and gorgeous tight end for the Washington Warriors. But she can keep it professional… She has to. Because the adorkable Cruz twin has no luck with guys once they compare her to her sister.

After a bad break-up, Zeph hasn’t been big on second chances—and even less with trust. But he finds himself giving please-call-me-by-my-middle-name-Sophia both. The woman he’d dismissed as a spoiled cover model is different from the first time he met her. Quirkier. Funnier. Definitely sexier. What started as one night turns into another…and another…and another…

Still, Sophia can’t go on keeping her secret from him. But telling Zeph the truth will mean losing him for good.


REVIEW: SCORING WITH THE WRONG TWIN is the first installment in Naima Simone’s sexy, contemporary, adult, romance story lin. This is app developer Sophia Cruz, and Washington Warriors’ tight end Zephirin Black’s story line.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Zeph and Sophia) SCORING WITH THE WRONG TWIN is a ‘twin trope’ romance story line that follows the building relationship between professional football tight end Zephirin Black, and app developer Sophia Cruz-a woman our hero believes to be model Giovanna Cruz. Giovanna Cruz is a model who double booked a shoot with Zephirin Black and Sports Unlimited, and the runways of Milan but having a twin sister came in handy especially when no one could tell them apart. Enter Sophia Cruz, nerdy, tattooed and pierced sister of up and coming model Giovanna Cruz, and the woman with whom Zephirin Black would fall in love. What ensues is the building relationship between Zeph and Sophia, and the fall out when Sophia and Giovanna’s ruse of a lie is revealed.

Zephirin Black has been burned in the past, and all he asks, going forward, is honesty in his relationships but Zeph has no idea that the woman with whom he is falling in love is not the woman she purports herself to be. Sophia Cruz knows the longer she continues to lie the more likely she is about to destroy not only her heart but the heart of the man she is starting to love. On several occasions she has attempted to reveal the truth but in the end, her meagre attempts made for a less than honest romance.

The relationship between Zeph and Sophia begins as a lie; a lie meant to protect the sister she loves but a lie that will once again destroy Zeph’s faith in relationships and love. Burned in the past, Sophia’s lies reignite the betrayal of a previous love. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

We are introduced to a number of Zeph’s teammates and friends including Ronin , Dom, Tennyson, Jason and Renee. There is something developing between friends Dom and Tennyson; and the one-time ‘friends with benefits’ relationship between Jason and Renee has placed a strain on the tight knit group of friends.

SCORING WITH THE WRONG TWIN has a little bit of everything: conflict and drama; betrayal and heart break; forgiveness and love. The premise is spicy and captivating; the romance is sexy and passionate; the characters are colorful and energetic. SCORING WITH THE WRONG TWIN is a fast paced, encouraging and heart-warming story-perfect to curl up and read on a cold winter’s night.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

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Infraction (Player’s Game #2) by Rachel Van Dyken-a review

INFRACTION (Players Game #2) by Rachel Van Dyken-a review

Infraction / / B&N / Chapters Indigo /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 9,2018

Pro footballer Miller Quinton would do anything for his best friend and teammate—including “fake dating” his friend’s sister. What no one knows is that seven months ago in Vegas, Miller and Kinsey did a whole lot more than just kiss. Miller knows that this cheerleader is off-limits to him and any guy on the team. Still, he can’t stop himself.

Kinsey’s whole world is on the verge of crumbling. Her dad has cancer. Her overprotective brother is falling apart. Dating Miller may be a fake-out, but he’s the one guy who can make her forget about everything—including all the reasons she stayed away from football players. With each heated moment, Miller feels more like a safe place…even though he’s not safe at all.

Now temptation is testing every rule in the game of love. But how long can they go on playing when winning is a harder goal than either of them imagined?


REVIEW: INFRACTION is the second instalment in Rachel Van Dyken’s contemporary, adult PLAYERS GAME sports, romance series focusing on the men and women of the professional football team and their cheerleaders The Bellevue Bucks. This is the Bucks tight-end Miller Quinton, and head cheerleader Kinsey Romonov’s story line. Miller and Kinsey were first introduced in book one FRATERNIZE wherein Miller was part of a love triangle (of sorts) featuring his life long best friend Emerson Rodner, and fellow player Grant Sanchez. INFRACTION can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from three first person points of view (Kinsey, Miller, Jax Romonov) INFRACTION follows the friends to lovers, fake romance trope between Bellevue Bucks head cheerleader Kinsey Romonov, and tight end Miller Quinton. Months earlier, following a weekend in Vegas with Miller Quinton, Kinsey found herself forcibly sent to Europe to escape the return of her abusive ex –boyfriend Anderson. Seven months later, Kinsey’s return to America is met with some devastating news that will all but destroy her immediate family. Not only does her father have cancer but her abusive ex-boyfriend is now a member of the Bellevue Bucks. Enter Miller Quinton, Kinsey’s friend, and her brother Jax’s teammate, and the man with whom Kinsey will fall in love. To avoid further conflict with Kinsey’s ex, her brother and ‘America’s quarterback’ Jax Romonov offers up a plan to protect the sister he has always loved-a fake dating scenario between Miller and Kinsey-a hands off relationship that, unbeknownst to Jax, began months before.

The attraction between Kinsey and Miller is immediate but an attraction that must be both played up and played down in order to keep the demons at bay, and Jax from discovering the truth about their past relationship. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of over the top sexually graphic, language and text.

A side relationship is developing between Jax Romonov and Kinsey’s friend, fitness model and yoga instructor Harley. Harley is a fiercely independent and brutally honest woman who has caught the eye of ‘America’s Quarterback’, an over-protective alpha male where it concerns his younger sister. Pulled in too many directions Jax struggles with the emotional fall out of his father’s illness, potential threats to his sister, and the fake relationship that isn’t fake-at all.

INFRACTION is a story of family and friendship; secrets and betrayal; falling in love and letting go of the past. The cancer story line is emotional and heart breaking-a heart break that furthers Jax’s spiral out of control. The premise is emotional and sexy; the romance is passionate and fated; the characters are colorful and charismatic.

Reading Order

Copy supplied by Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Hot Stuff (Sexy Jerk World) by Kim Karr-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

HOT STUFF (Sexy Jerk World) by Kim Karr-Review Book Tour & Giveaway

Hot Stuff / / Amazon. uk/ /

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 27, 2017

He’s the newly drafted quarterback.
Hot. Arrogant. Too sexy for words.
Ready to score.

I’m an athletic intern, and the coach’s daughter.
Driven. Determined. Prepared to conquer the world.
Completely off-limits.

The NFL is full of rules. Rules I’ve never broken. Never challenged. Never even scratched–until the day Lucas Carrington crashes into my life with his hard body and I-don’t-give-a-f*ck attitude.

After I almost injure my father’s star player, I volunteer to make sure he’s in top shape. At first, it’s hell. I don’t like his cockiness, his easy smile. Don’t like the way he oozes sex. Or how his penetrating eyes follow me everywhere.

That doesn’t stop me from wanting him. He’s meant to be a distraction–something to occupy my mind for these precious few remaining hot summer nights before I’m forced to leave football behind forever.

I know what we’re doing will lead nowhere good. I know we’re crossing the line. And I know my father will never understand.

None of that matters.

But maybe it should.

Rules aren’t meant to be broken.

Or are they?


REVIEW: HOT STUFF (Sexy Jerk World) by Kim Karr is a stand alone, contemporary, adult, erotic, football romance story line focusing on NFL quarterback Lucas Carrington , and athletic trainer Gillian Whitney. Lucas is the younger brother to Nick Carrington whom we met in the author’s Sexy Jerk.

Told from dual first person points of view (Gillian and Lucas) HOT STUFF follows the rookie career of NFL quarterback Lucas Carrington. From the squalor of Chicago our hero, Lucas Carrington, rose above the rest, with the help of his brother Nick, and made to the NFL. As the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears, Lucas had to prove himself worthy but Lucas had never planned on falling in love –with the coach’s daughter. Enter Gillian Whitney, athletic trainer, Coach’s daughter and the woman with whom Lucas will fall in love. What ensues is the building but secret relationship between Lucas and Gillian, and the fall out when Gillian’s father sits down for a one on one with his first string quarterback.

HOT STUFF is a story of family. Both Gillian and Lucas come from single parent homes but unlike Gillian, Lucas struggled in his early years on the mean-streets of Chicago. With the help of his older brother Nick, Lucas became the successful professional athlete that he had hoped would make his father proud. Gillian never once complained about the lifestyle of the NFL, in fact, it was the life she had grown to love.

The relationship between Lucas and Gillian is one of immediate attraction but an attraction tempered by their professional acquaintance and positions on the team. Gillian is a smart, sexy and talented, and goes for what she wants, and our heroine wants Lucas Carrington but something or someone pulls Lucas back, and in this, our couple will face the future apart. The $ex scenes are intimate, erotic, and intense.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including several of Lucas’s teammates, the Bear’s support staff, coaches, as well as the appearance of Lucas’s brother Nick. The world building follows the Chicago Bears as they struggle through wins and losses, injuries and illness, with an epilogue that looks three years into the future and a shot of the Super Bowl Championship.

HOT STUFF is a fast paced story of forbidden romance; a sexy and seductive look at relationships both on and off the field of play. The premise is engaging, enjoyable and lively; the characters are colorful and charismatic; the romance is fated, provocative and hot. HOT STUFF is a wonderful addition to Kim Karr’s Sexy Jerk world of erotic romance story lines.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
Sexy Jerk
Big Shot
Hot Stuff

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy


Disappointed, she unwrapped her arms from her body, and then pivoted on her toe in the direction of the open door. “Then it looks like we have nothing further to discuss, Lucas.”

I reached for her and tugged her to me. “I don’t want to want you,” I breathed, my mouth hovering just centimeters from hers.

Gillian tried to pull away, but not whole-heartedly. If she wanted me to let her go, I would have, but I knew she didn’t. “Then stop,” she sighed.
I took her face in my hands. “I can’t. I don’t know how to.”

“Neither do I,” she whispered.

Unable to stop myself, I crashed my lips to hers and drove my tongue into her mouth to retrace every inch that I had explored days ago.

About the author

Kim Karr 2Reader * Chocolate Lover * Writer * Coffee Lover * Romantic * Beach Lover * Yoga Beginner

Kim Karr is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of eighteen novels. Best known for writing sexy contemporary love stories, she enjoys bringing flawed characters to life.

Her romances are raw, real, and explosive.
Her characters will make you laugh, make you cry, make you feel.
And her happily-ever-afters are always swoon worthy.

From the brooding rock star to the arrogant millionaire. From the witty damsel-in-distress to the sassy high-powered business woman. No two storylines are ever alike.

Get ready to fall in love.

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

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Most Valuable Playboy by Lauren Blakely-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY by Lauren Blakely-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway

Most Valuable Playboy Banner

by Lauren Blakely
Release Date: September 1, 2017
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance, football

Most Valuable Playboy / / Amazon. uk / B&N / KOBO / Chapters Indigo /ibooks / Google Play

Add it to Goodreads here!

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date September 1, 2017

Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns.
Don’t let the fact that I’m the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you. These days, I’m only a player on the field. I’ve kept my pants zipped all season long — and it has been long — because nothing’s more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner’s recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who’s dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary.

She’s my best friend’s sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don’t even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she’s my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we’ve got to keep up the act while he’s negotiating my contract.
Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is — I’ve been riding the bench for years.

How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?


REVIEW:  MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY by Lauren Blakely is a stand alone, contemporary, adult, erotic romance story line focusing on quarterback Cooper Armstrong, and hair stylist Violet ‘Vi’ Pierson.

Told from first person point of view (Cooper Armstrong) with a few pages of text between Vi and her friends, MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY follows several romance tropes including friends to lovers, best friend’s little sister, and fake girlfriend. At a recent auction for charity Cooper Armstrong pleads desperation when the team owner’s overly sexed sister makes a play for our leading hero. Hoping to save her brother’s best friend from a fate worse than death Violet Pierson offers up ten thousand dollars for a night with the man she has always loved. What ensues is the media frenzy and building relationship between our leading couple when Cooper reveals his life-long attraction for the girl who is pretending to be his current love.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a story of romance, friendship and building love. There is very little conflict or outside interference to the couple’s relationship; any problem or fall out is quick to resolve including a potential threat from the owner’s sister. Saying that I felt the lack of controversy, hostility or discordant scenarios was surprising in the face of so many possible threats: a fake girlfriend , best friend’s little sister, and the probability of professional misconduct with the owner’s overly-aggressive sister.

The relationship between Vi and Cooper is a friends to lovers attraction; a life-long attraction that Vi knows could crash and burn if the truth were to be revealed The $ex scenes are intimate, seductive and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

We are introduced to several members of the Renegades including team owners, managers, PR staff, agents and players. Jones’ story line is next in MOST LIKLEY TO SCORE.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a simple and fun read; a happily ever after romantic story line of destined lovers. The premise is entertaining; the romance is provocative; the characters are colorful and dynamic.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

**10% of the proceeds from the release day sales along with a portion of pre-orders across all retailers of MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY will be given to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and Houston Humane Society to help those in need from the natural disaster**

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The business suit woman raises a hand, offering forty-one hundred.

Maxine’s eyes laser in on me, and she slashes an arm through the air. “Five thousand dollars,” she says, jacking the price up by nine hundred and staking her claim. I shudder inside.

The guy’s eyes widen, and he holds up his hands. “I’m out.”

My stomach plummets when the business woman shakes her head.

“Going once?” Sierra asks, scanning the tables, looking for perhaps one last big spender. My eyes scan the crowd, too. Hell, maybe I’ll find an escape hatch. A trapdoor to drop into and disappear like in a magic act. Maybe Trent will learn to read my mind. Trent, I’ll cover you for anything you bid. Just raise that hand, name a price, and save me.

My best friend’s expression is merely curious now as he watches Maxine and Sierra, waiting for the verdict. My opportunity to play yard boy slips through my fingers.

The look in Maxine’s eyes is pure satisfaction as she waits for the final word. She winks at me, as if we have a secret. Holy shit. She thinks I want this. She thinks I want her to win me.

A flash of chestnut brown hair in the back catches my attention. A flurry of silver. It’s Violet, hands in the air, wildly flapping over her head in the middle of the ballroom. She brings her finger to her nose. And she’s tapping it, like fucking Santa Claus coming down the chimney, and Harlan tapping his nose to signal his agent, and all the greatest solutions in the universe at once.

My heart goes crazy.

It hammers in my chest. This is like finding an open receiver a second before you’re sacked.

“Going twice,” Sierra says, trailing off as she waits.

I raise my arm and tap my nose, too. Violet is the only one who knows I need to get out of this jam. She’s the only one I mentioned it to. And she’s the only one now who can save me.

“Ten thousand dollars.”

Holy shit. Violet does not mess around with my money. Her eyes widen, as if she’s surprised she bid that high.

My gaze finds Trent. He’s staring at his sister, slack-jawed.

Sierra’s smile is bright and wide. “Ten thousand dollars. Do we have ten thousand, one hundred?”

The room is hushed. Maxine’s expression is blank. She must be shocked. She probably didn’t expect anyone to vie with her to this extent.

I tap my foot, willing Sierra to close this quickly. Just slam the door shut, please, fucking please.

“Going one. Going twice.”

I say a silent prayer. I cross my fingers. I hope.

Maxine blinks, opens her mouth, and I steel myself for a disgustingly high counter bid.

But there’s only silence. No words come. Violet has shocked her speechless. This type of bid wasn’t in Maxine’s playbook.

Sierra raises her arm. “And a night with the quarterback is sold for ten thousand dollars.”

Talk about a Hail Mary.

About the author

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than eighty times, and she’s sold more than 2 million books. In June she’ll release THE KNOCKED UP PLAN, a standalone contemporary romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

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Inkslinger 2


Out of Bounds by Lauren Blakely-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

OUT OF BOUNDS by Lauren Blakely-Review, Book Tour & Giveaway

Out of Bounds / / B&N / KOBO / BAM /ibooks / Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date November 22, 2016

The first rule of football–don’t screw with a streak.

My career is finally looking up, and I’m leading a new pro team down the field every Sunday. No way will I mess with that. But when I meet the most stunning and captivating woman I’ve ever seen, I tell myself one night will have to be enough.

But it’s not. And now I can’t get her out of my mind. Even when I’m playing. Even when I need to focus. Even when I’m on the hottest streak of my life.

And it turns out, she’s not just some random woman I met. She works for the team. My team.


I only have one goal this season–do my part as the team’s lawyer to keep them out of trouble. Help rebuild their reputation on and off the field. There’s no room for error and certainly no room for a secret tryst with a player . . . even if he’s the quarterback.



REVIEW: OUT OF BOUNDS by Lauren Blakely is a stand alone, erotic romance story line focusing on the Los Angeles Knights quarterback Drew Erickson, and team attorney Dani Paige.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Drew and Dani) OUT OF BOUNDS follows the building of the forbidden relationship between two members of the professional football team the Los Angeles Knights. As the team’s attorney Dani has had to deal with her share of team scandals and isn’t willing to place herself in the line of fire but meeting Drew during the summer hiatus adds fuel to a fire that is beginning to burn. What ensues is the push and pull of attraction between two people who are desperately trying to keep their relationship in the friend zone.

OUT OF BOUNDS is a quick read; a sweet and sexy romance story line with a little bit of heartbreak when our hero believes his relationship threatens his golden arm. The premise is lighthearted; the characters are passionate; the romance is spicy and hot. OUT OF BOUNDS is an enjoyable story line from kickoff to touch down.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Out of Bound Teaser


When we reach her home, a cute little white bungalow, she gestures to the porch. It’s teeming with potted plants and flowers, as well as pizza coupons and takeout menus stuffed behind the mailbox next to the doorway. “Thank you, Andrew. For the drinks and the escort service.”

I wiggle my eyebrows because she says escort in kind of a naughty way. “And thank you for the surf angel-slash-nurse work.”

“My pleasure. I was happy to save a guy in distress.”

I narrow my eyes and protest her description. “Hey now. I’m not dude in distress.”

She whispers “just kidding” as she leans against her porch railing. I don’t think it’s intentional, but that pose shows off all her assets. The swell of her breasts in her tank top, her curvy hips, her strong legs. This woman just fucking does something to me. Turns me on, that’s what she does. Makes me hard as hell. Though she’s made it clear that the night ends right here, I intend to make the most of this good-bye.

I move closer to her and run my hand down her arm. I watch as goose bumps rise in its wake. My voice goes low. “Do you know what I’ve been thinking about?”

She tilts her head to the side. “What would that be, Andrew?”

It still sounds funny to hear her call me that. But next time I see her I’ll tell her that everyone calls me Drew. With my other hand, I brush her hair off her shoulder, cataloging her reaction to my touch. The way she shivers. How she sways closer. The rush of breath on her lips. I bring my mouth to her ear, and whisper. “What it would be like to kiss you.”

I pull back, wanting to look at her. Her lips are parted, then she licks them and swallows. It’s like she’s taking a step closer, saying go for it. “You should absolutely find out then,” she says, soft and inviting.

My fingers travel from her shoulder, up to her hair, and I rope my hand through those blond locks. I pull her close, savoring the warm feel of her sun-kissed skin and the smell of sand, surf, and sunshine in her hair.

I dip my mouth to hers, clasping her face in my hands. When I nip her bottom lip, she gasps. It’s such an alluring sound, and it turns me the fuck on even more. My dick would very much like to go inside her house tonight, but kissing is all that’s on the menu, so I kiss her in a way that’ll leave her wanting more. Because I want so much more of her, and I also want her to know that.

I’m not sure how I went from leaving the field when practice ended this morning, to spending the afternoon surfing to get my mind off all the changes I’m sure are coming, to kissing this beautiful stranger outside her Venice Beach home. But hell if I want to analyze this moment.

I spend my working hours making decisions, analyzing, choosing. Then executing.

Right now, I want to get lost in something that no one else controls but this woman and me.

about the author

Lauren BlakelySince self-publishing her debut romance novel CAUGHT UP IN US three years ago, Lauren Blakely has sold more than 1 million books. She is known for her sexy contemporary romance style that’s full of heat, heart and humor. A devout fan of cake and canines, Lauren has plotted entire novels while walking her four-legged friends. She lives in California with her family. With twelve New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy times. Her bestselling series include Sinful Nights, Seductive Nights, No Regrets, Caught Up in Love, and Fighting Fire as well as standalone hit romances like BIG ROCK, MISTER O, WELL HUNG, and THE SEXY ONE which were all instant New York Times Bestsellers. In January she’ll release FULL PACKAGE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

Website ** Facebook ** Twitter ** Newsletter ** Goodreads

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Inkslinger 2


Completing the Pass (Santa Fe Bobcats #5) by Jeanette Murray-a review

COMPLETING THE PASS (Santa Fe Bobcats #5) by Jeanette Murray-a review

Completing the Pass / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 17, 2016

Teamwork improves the chances of scoring . . .

When the Bobcats’ fate on the field is sealed, and they would rather give their starting quarterback, Trey Owens, a break, they call in Josh Leeman: “The Backup.” But after Trey is placed on the disabled list for the season, all eyes are on Josh to lead the team. Josh’s sudden superstar status thrusts him into the spotlight, and garners plenty of attention from the ladies—except for one.

Carrington Gray is delighted to see her father released from the hospital—but not so much to see Josh at the celebration. Their mothers have long tried to set them up, although it’s had the opposite effect. But under the circumstances, Carri and Josh would rather go on fake dates to appease their mothers than rock the boat. Yet the more time these two work together on their little lie, the more they see the surprising truth.


REVIEW: COMPLETING THE PASS is the fifth installment in Jeanette Murray’s contemporary, adult SANTA FE BOBCATS erotic, sports romance series focusing on the members of the professional football team of the same name. This is second string quarterback Josh Leeman, and real estate investor Carrington Gray’s frenemies to lovers story line. COMPLETING THE PASS can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Carri and Josh) COMPLETING THE PASS follows Carri as she returns to Santa Fe to help her mother look after her ailing father. Carri and Josh’s families have known one another all of their lives, and with Carri’s return their meddling mothers plan to push the couple together unaware that Carri and Josh’s relationship has been antagonist for many years. What ensues is the building relationship between Carri and Josh that slowly melts the ice around our heroine’s heart.

The long running love –hate relationship between Carri and Josh is a perpetual theme throughout the book but more so for our heroine who is unable to forget about the past. There is never a reasonable explanation as to why our couple has been frenemies for most of their lives but in the end, Josh needs someone to ground him as he takes over the Bobcats quarterback duties, and Carri is the only one to keep him in line. The $ex scenes are provocative and seductive.

The world building continues to focus on the Santa Fe Bobcats-the team, the friendships, the relationships and their loves. The epilogue fast forwards the story line four years, so I am not sure where that leaves the remaining players or the updates of the couples we have already met.

COMPLETING THE PASS is an entertaining and enjoyable read. At times Carri’s attitude and dislike of Josh ran a little too close to childish and immature-she was a difficult heroine to like in the early stages of the story as she continued to push too many buttons. The premise is heartwarming; the characters are engaging and colorful; the romance is a cat fight to a happily ever after.

Reading Order and Previous Reviews
One Night With the Quarterback
Loving Him Off the Field
Takes Two to Tackle
Romancing the Running Back
Completing the Pass

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy


Romancing the Running Back (Santa Fe Bobcats #4) by Jeanette Murray-a review

ROMANCING THE RUNNING BACK (Santa Fe Bobcats #4) by Jeanette Murray-a review

Romancing The Running Back / / B&N / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 19, 2016

They’re not on the same page in the playbook…

When Anya Fisher is asked to be the maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding, she jumps at the chance to go to Santa Fe. There’s nothing left for her in Atlanta—except a bitter and controlling almost-ex husband. Starting over as an online personal shopper is challenging, but not as much as having to plan wedding festivities with uptight groomsman Josiah Walker…

As a Santa Fe Bobcats running back, Josiah wants to make his mark on the field, not on the earth. A serious conservationist, he’s all about saving energy. So why is he wasting so much on the flighty fashionista in his best friend’s wedding? One kiss leads to another—and more. But when Josiah discovers that Anya has just as much substance as style, their harmless little fling may go into overtime.


REVIEW: ROMANCING THE RUNNING BACK is the fourth installment in Jeanette Murray’s contemporary, adult SANTA FE BOBCATS football romance series focusing on the members of the Santa Fe Bobcats professional football team. This is Bobcat’s running back Josiah Walker, and personal shopper Anya Fisher’s story line. ROMANCING THE RUNNING BACK can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Anya and Josiah) ROMANCING THE RUNNING BACK follows the building relationship between Anya And Josiah, a forbidden relationship when the truth about Anya’s almost ex-husband comes to light. Anya is a professional shopper and a very busy lady who moves to Santa Fe to help organize and plan Cassie and Trey’s (One Night with the Quarterback) wedding / bachelor & bachelorette parties but a move that takes everybody by surprise. Anya has a secret back home, and distance is the only way she is able to handle her almost ex who refuses to sign on the dotted line. Enter Josiah Walker, Trey Owens’ s team mate and the man who brings out all of the worst in our story line heroine.

The relationship between Anya and Josiah begins acrimoniously. Our couple is thrown together by Trey and Cassie in the hopes of making a love match but what ensues is the push and pull between two people whose lives and personalities are polar opposites. Josiah doesn’t understand the need for a professional shopper or a fashionista of any sort; and Anya believes Josiah’s need to be ecologically friendly goes beyond what is actually necessary. There is plenty of sexual tension and anxiety as Anya and Josiah play off one another’s personality quirks. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of erotic graphic text or language.

All of the previous story line couples play secondary and supporting roles throughout the story line as Trey and Cassie prepare for their upcoming nuptials. Cassie’s half sisters continue to add a little bit of family confrontation. While the Santa Fe Bobcats make a run for the Superbowl playoffs, Anya pushes herself in one too many directions. Time on the playing field is limited although the players do spend plenty of time watching replays and reruns of their games. Anya’s not quite ex-husband makes for a scandal that could affect her future with the Bobcat’s running back.

ROMANCING THE RUNNING BACK is a fun read with the push and pull between two people whose introduction to one another did not go according to plan. The premise is entertaining with a little bit of humor and fun (e.g. Koala fart towels); the characters are colorful, charismatic and frustratingly real; the romance was a bit of a slow build to a happily ever after. There are moments of friendship and love; moving forward and letting go of the past; resignation and realization that sometimes love does conquer all.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley.

Reviewed by Sandy