Highlander Entangled (Highland Adventure #9) by Vonda Sinclair-Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

Highlander Entangled (Highland Adventure #9) by Vonda Sinclair- Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

HIGHLANDER ENTANGLED
Highland Adventure #9
by Vonda Sinclair
Release Date: December 8,2017
Genre: adult, historical, Highland, romance

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 8,2017

Lady Kristina MacQueen suffered devastating injuries at the hands of a ruthless Highland chief, Blackburn MacCromar. Two years later, he kidnaps her for a journey across the chilly, windblown Scottish Highlands to flush out her sister, Anna—the woman Blackburn forced to wed him. Red Holme, Blackburn’s second-in-command, is equally brutal and determined to possess Kristina.

A Highland warrior and future chief, Colin Cameron has no intention of becoming entangled in the whims of another highborn lady. However, upon witnessing Lady Kristina being held hostage by the enemy, a knife to her throat, he resolves to rescue her and bring her to safety. When R

ed Holme sees Colin Cameron, he recognizes his enemy from a decade earlier and craves revenge even more than he lusts for the lady. But he is determined to have both.

Colin is the most charismatic and heroic man Kristina has ever met, and he awakens her woman’s instincts. He might be her only chance to experience a brief moment of passion. Even so, she holds no illusions about marriage, for no worthy man will find her blindness and scars appealing, or see them as beneficial traits in a wife. But she can’t see how he looks at her. Though Colin has sworn to never fall in love again, he cannot defend his heart against the strong, spirited and lovely lass who is like none other he has ever met.

••••••••••

REVIEW: 5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

FANTASTIC BOOK! I have not read any of the other books in this series, but I am very eager to dive in and perhaps get some back stories on other characters. I did not feel this took away from any enjoyment I had reading this story, it was very easy to follow.

Highlander Entangled by Vonda Sinclair is the ninth book in the “Highland Adventure” series and let me say one thing … ADVENTURE is the perfect word they could of used. A highland historical romance, you will find yourself completely immersed into the past, where men were gruff, unapologetic, prideful, egotistical, full of revenge, passionate and so much more, and the ladies made sure they have met their match. The side of sexy love completely sold me and solidified my “must read more” attitude for this author.

Lady Kristina McQueen is our leading lady and I completely adore her. She is the kind of character you will be all in with, and your heart will break a hundred times, but you deep down will know she will make it through. She is carrying many scars, both emotional and physical and this has left her blind. She is kidnapped by the man who gave her her scars to try and get to her sister. Kristina possess a strength that I am uncertain many woman can achieve in that time and under these circumstances. She is resigned to what she has been dealt with in life, and believes she is fated to live tortured and lonely. Her attitude isn’t woo is me however, she threw no pity party. She has mourned what she has gone through, but it hasn’t completely consumed her and when her leading man comes into the picture, she doesnt recognize him as her partner, but as a strength she can draw from.

Colin Cameron is the future chief of his clan, and a fierce enemy of the men that have kidnapped Kristina. When he sees her kidnapped he does right by her and gets involved. He saves Kristina from more than physical harm, he saves her from a future of loneliness. Colin is the real deal. He is a good man, cares strongly but is no pushover. He is enchanted by this woman that has crossed his path and while there are certain attributes that a chiefs wife must possess, he doesn’t seem to give two cares about it. He is protective and loving of Kristina, and she openly embraces this caring and love and finds herself returning it.

This book is full of adventure and emotion. You will feel like you have been on the most intense roller coaster ride of your life, and I as an emotional read love that! Vonda is an excellent historical romance author and I say this because she writes vivid images and makes me feel like you have been thrown back in time, living this story with the characters.

I am very interested in reading more from Vonda, and certainly am going to go back and snag this series. I am completely impressed and really looking forward to more!

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

Researching on Location in Scotland
By Vonda Sinclair

There’s nothing I like better than exploring castle ruins in the remote areas of Scotland. On one such research trip, I drove 25+ miles beyond Glenfinnan with my friends to visit Castle Tioram. We passed through sparsely populated, wild areas with amazing scenic beauty, and drove along narrow winding roads, most of them single track. There were a few houses, crofts, and tiny villages or communities here and there. The drive took twice as long as it should have because we had to stop several times along the way for photo ops. We passed lochs, mountains, and old bridges. We could’ve seen the Jacobite steam train (aka “Hogwarts Express”) if we’d been willing to linger in a certain spot long enough. We didn’t, but we did see the train the next day as it passed over the Glenfinnan Viaduct.
We wanted to get to Castle Tioram (pronounced Cheeram) as quickly as possible. This is a privately owned castle in a dangerously ruinous state. It was unsafe for us to go inside because of the hazards of possible falling stones from the masonry. But what a spectacular location! The castle sits on a small island called Eilean Tioram (meaning ‘the dry island’ in Gaelic) in Loch Moidart near where the River Shiel empties into it.
I had craved visiting this castle for years, from the first time I saw a photo of it online. It had always captured my imagination. I wanted to use it in a story but was unsure how until I started writing My Captive Highlander.

When I was writing a shipwreck (or technically a galley wreck) scene for the story, I thought, okay, where could the hero’s galley crash during the storm and where could he be taken hostage and tossed into the dungeon? It needed to be on the west coast of Scotland somewhere between Inveraray and Isle of Skye. I decided that even though my castle would have a fictitious name, Bearach Castle, I would base it on Castle Tioram, a MacDonald stronghold back through history. And the heroine would be a MacDonald—the chief’s sister. About twenty years earlier in actual history, the hero’s clan, the MacKenzies, had experienced a conflict and a battle with these MacDonalds. Perfect for drama, conflict and action.

I’ve since set two more books there including Highlander Unbroken and, my newest, Highlander Entangled. Highlander Unbroken features the new chief of the MacDonald clan, Neacal, while Highlander Entangled features his friend and foster brother, Colin Cameron, as the hero. All three stories are stand-alone but are linked.
Castle Tioram occupies a place, near the River Shiel, which was strategic for Scotland’s defense centuries ago, because it allowed easy travel by boat toward the Great Glen and the center of Scotland, along Loch Shiel and other inland lochs. Even during the Iron Age, long before the current castle, this site was important. Artifacts from the time have been found. There is also much evidence of Vikings’ presence in the area during medieval times. The beaches around the island would’ve been ideal for sheltering galleys, ships and other boats.

Even though I couldn’t explore the inside of the castle, I walked almost all the way around it. In some areas I was close enough to touch it, but in other areas I had to climb rocks or walk along the sea loch’s shore and view it from a distance. It was a nice, sunny day and I took several hundred photos. Because I was able to explore the rough and rocky terrain around the castle, I could accurately describe it in many of my books’ scenes, including battle scenes. I absolutely love to bring the readers fully into my scenes and make them feel a part of the story.

Vonda Sinclair writes wildly romantic Highland adventures about brave Highland warriors and their unconventional ladies. She takes readers back through the mists of time into a different world—17th century Scotland.

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Vonda Sinclair is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning Scottish historical romance novels and novellas. Her favorite pastime is exploring Scotland and taking photos along the way. She especially loves ancient castle ruins! She also enjoys writing about hot Highland heroes, unconventional ladies and the healing power of love. Her series are the Highland Adventure Series and the Scottish Treasure Series. Her books have won the National Readers’ Choice Award, the CRW Award of Excellence, the Winter Rose Award of Excellence in Published Romantic Fiction–1st Place Historical, and an EPIC Award. She lives in the mountains of North Carolina where she is crafting another adventurous, wildly romantic Scottish story. Please visit her website at www.vondasinclair.com

Vonda Sinclair is graciously offering a paper copy of MY CAPTIVE HIGHLANDER to ONE lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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The Goddess by M.A. Abraham – Review & Anniversary Giveaway

The Goddess by M.A. Abraham – Review & Anniversary Giveaway

 

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M.A. Abraham is graciously offering a Kindle to one commenter, and an e-copy of The Goddess to two (2) lucky commenters

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Description:
Chania has lived most of her life in seclusion. She was placed amongst the humans that had once come to the aid of her ancestors, many millenniums before. She kept secreted by the head priestess, and revered as a Goddess by the people. She knows she is not what they think she is. She is an Elven Princess in hiding, and content to stay that way.

Daeron is an Elven/Dragon shapeshifter, who has served as second in command of the Guardians of the Elven Empire for a long time. He comes from a long line of Kings, and has proven himself worthy of his position of life. He is a proud, noble, Golden Dragon, when he is not an Elf. He is not so pleased with the sudden match making ambitions of his leader though, especially when he has been singled out to be mated with one of the leader’s daughters. He is not about to give in without a fight. He will not be used in this manner, not by anyone.

Captured by her father’s guardians and forced to his side, Chania, learns her fate. She is no happier about their upcoming nuptials than Daeron. They recognize the Life Bond they share, but under the circumstances, refuse to allow it to dictate their future. Can they fight an attraction that no Elf has ever been able to deny?

 

Review:

The Goddess by M.A. Abraham is the 1st book in her new Guardians of the Empire.  I have read every book by M.A. Abraham, and I continued to be amazed how her stories continue to get better and better, not to mention her wonderful imagination.  I am happy to say that The Goddess is the start of another great series that takes place in the same world, but of course a different time and characters .

The Goddess is set thousands years past the finale of the Elven Chronicles.  When that series ended, all surviving humans were granted a land called The Valley, where they were able to live prosperous and in peace.   Over the years, these humans did not remember the Elves, who were hidden and unseen in their portal.  

Chania, our heroine, is the goddess, but she is also an oracle and a white dragon.  Chania is still young, and learning; but she does have visions and sees a war on the horizon.  Chania lives in the Valley (human territory) that is led by Britallia (High Priestess), who also has visions.  She protects Chania, who loves to shift to her white dragon.  One day she goes too far, and is caught by Gold Dragons, who will bring her home to the land of her father, where she will see her mother and sister, Serena again.  Seems her mother took the girls years before, because her lifemate, King Gerolth was acting like a dictator.  Now all three have returned, and the King is happy to have them back.  But the Gold Dragons are determined to keep an eye on the wild escapades of the girls.

Chania knows that with the war coming soon, she needs to return to the human world to help them fight off the enemy.  She makes plans with Serena to be prepared to escape within the next month or so.  But Daeron,a leader of the Gold Dragons, and who is a loner and arrogant, knows she is his lifemate and is determined to take her at any cost.  Chania feels the attraction and bond to Daeron, but he has  been possessive and domineering,  not like a  lifemate should be treated as an equal.  Her father, and his brother try to reason with Daeron and his dragon, but he only gets angry at them all, until Chania and Serena finally escape, with Serena going to the Elves for help.

We meet the new General of the Elven Army, Gabriella, who is an Eagle Claw and a descendant of Gabriel. She is a powerful and fierce warrior, who will take charge of the mission to help the humans, working closely with Britallia, and her warrior brothers, as well as Chania.

What follows is an exciting and wonderful adventure, where we will follow three of the most powerful women, and their great warriors/dragons to fight an enemy that has thousands of warriors more than they do.  But it was wonderful to see all the weapons the Elves will bring in: dragons, birds, sword wielding warriors,  thatchers; all the things we remember so well from the Elven Chronicles.  

I do not want to say too much more, as you need to read this book, and meet all the fascinating characters Abraham has created for us to savior.  I loved Gabriella, Britallia and Chania.  For a bit, I was not a fan of Daeron, but closer to the end, changed for the better.  The Goddess was an entertaining, fun, exciting, suspenseful, lifemate romance, and a wonderfuj cast of characters.  I for one I cannot wait to see what comes next.  The Goddess by M.A. Abraham was a super start to this new series, which you should read.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy supplied for Review

 

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Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose – Review, Interview & Giveaway

 

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Description:
Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he’s worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn’t want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they’ll soon find out she isn’t the only target…

 

Review:

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose is the 4th book in her Cincinnati series.  I have read a few books by Rose, but not in this series.  The last book I had read I noted that it was one of the best thrillers of the year, and now in 2018 I can say the same. Wow, what awesome thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.  Karen Rose has now become a must read for me.  I have not read the previous books in the Cincinnati series, but there were so many marvelous characters that make me want to find time to read the previous 3 books.

We meet our heroine, Meredith Fallon, in the beginning as she is a child psychologist, who helps out at a special home for abused children.  Meredith has many friends that  either work at the children’s home or her police that she is very close to; as they are very protective of her, especially since she is still emotionally upset over not seeing or hearing from her ex-boyfriend, Adam. 

Adam Kimble is a top notch detective, who loves Meredith, but has intentionally stayed away from her for almost a year.  Meredith’s friends are also Adam’s, but most of them have been unhappy that he has ignored Meredith, as well as avoiding some them…but no one knows why.  Adam suffers from PTSD from watching a horrible murder, where he could not save the young girl.  Having a verbally abusive father caused Adam to secretly drink early in his younger days, and after the murder, he got worse to help him get through each day.  Unbeknownst to his friends and coworkers, is that he has been sober for almost a year, and though still emotionally damaged, he plans to try to win her back once he meets his one year goal.

Before that happens, Meredith brings one of the sexually abused young girls to a restaurant to help her become more confident in releasing her fears.  They are accosted by a young man, who threatens them, and when they fall to the floor, the young man blows up. This is just the beginning of an intense & complex murder mystery that will result in more murders, pulling in all the detectives, including Adam to find out why someone is targeting Meredith. Adam forces himself to maintain control of his emotions, as he is assigned to be main detective to investigate this case, which also brings him back into Meredith’s life. 

What follows is an amazing story that held me on the edge of my seat from start to finish.  There were so many twists and turns throughout the book, almost to the very end.  As Adam, and his team try to protect Meredith, and others who are slowly getting killed off, the intensity of the story never lessens, especially when we get closer to discovering some secrets and surprises that will escalate the investigation that puts both Adam, Meredith, a couple of the abused girls, and their detective friends, in constant danger.  Rose has created an evil villain, who is as ruthless as they come, killing anyone who gets in the way, regardless of who they are.  This is a major twist that we never saw coming until we got closer to the end. 

In between the many tense moments, we got to see Adam and Meredith learn more about each other, their past lives; their situations; their dangerous jobs; and their love for each other. What I absolutely loved about this book, was the amazing group of friends, who are mostly cops or therapists that are closely bonded to each other, with some of them having been through tough and violent cases, similar to this one.  They are all strong and smart individuals and loyal friends, who are a close knit family.  Rose has done this so well, and when you like the characters that you become invested in, it makes the story that much better.    As I said before, I now have to go back into the three earlier books to learn about them all.   

I am in awe of Karen Rose, as her books are so well written with fantastic characters, evil villains, a great couple, and a totally intense mystery that keeps you in suspense to the very end.  If you love suspense, with a touch of romance and a thriller all the way, you should be reading anything by Karen Rose. I know I will.

Reviewed by Barb

Copy provided by Publisher

 

Hi Karen. Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions today.We are always looking forward to reading about the author behind the book.

TRC: Would you please tell us something about yourself? 

Karen:  I was born and raised in the Baltimore-Washington area.  I met my husband when we were seniors in high school, over 35 years ago.  We’ve been married more than 30 years and have two adult daughters.  I’m a chemical engineer by education.  I worked for 15 years for a large consumer products company in Cincinnati and I have two patents in bulk fiber laxatives.  (Don’t ask.  Okay, ask if you want to, but don’t be grossed out by what I answer.) I’m a knitter and a reader and a Buffy fan 🙂

TRC:  LOL   I love Buffy, too.

TRC:  When and how did you first become interested in writing? 

Karen:  I began writing when I was an engineer traveling internationally, unable to pack enough books to last the length of my trips.  There were no ebooks back in the day and I couldn’t understand anything on the TV, so I began writing my own stories to keep myself company in all those hotel rooms away from home.  It was a hobby for nearly ten years before I sold my first book, DON’T TELL.  That was in 2001.

TRC:  Within your Romantic Suspense series, you have the Cincinnati series.  Can you give us a brief description of this series? 

Karen:  The Cincinnati series is built around the FBI/Cincinnati PD joint task force, their friends, families, as well as the families they build.  First up is the sometimes bigger-than-life Special Agent Deacon Novak, who’s transferred from Baltimore at the beginning of book one, CLOSER THAN YOU THINK.  Deacon and his heroine, psychologist Faith Corcoran, are drawn into the deadly web of a killer who has been operating out of the house Faith has just inherited for many years. 

Books two and three deal with human trafficking, labor and sex trafficking.  ALONE IN THE DARK and EVERY DARK CORNER feature Deacon’s two task force partners, Detective Scarlett Bishop (book two) and Agent Kate Coppola (book three).

Introduced in book one, Deacon’s cousin Detective Adam Kimble is having a rough time, his personality changing drastically.  No one in his circle knows why, except psychologist Meredith Fallon, in whom Adam has confided—at least part of his story.

TRC:  With Edge of Darkness released yesterday, can you please give us a brief description of this book?

Karen:  EDGE OF DARKNESS is Adam Kimble’s return to his family and to Meredith.  In the months since their first interaction he’s pulled away, avoiding her.  He’s plagued by demons, but knows that he can’t solely rely on her for his sanity or his sobriety.  Adam is an alcoholic, trying to get his life together before he feels he is good enough to invite Meredith to be part of it.  Meredith has been confused and hurt by his avoidance, but he is the first person she calls when a young man is shot and killed right in front of her—after he’d held a gun on her.  The race to catch the killer leads Adam to the dark places he’d hoped he’d escaped forever.

TRC:  You write exciting Romance Suspense Thrillers, which can be intense.  Have you ever found yourself affected by a scene?

Karen:  Many times! Often I’ll put off writing a scene because I feel awful about a character being murdered.  Sometimes I’ll group all my “villain scenes” into one day so that I can get all the intensity out at once.  I can become edgy and irritable while writing the villain scenes, so I like to do these in ways that keep me from snapping at my family :).

TRC:  Can you please tell us what you are working on now, and what you have upcoming in 2018?

Karen:  I’ve just started a new series – set in Sacramento, California!  More on this later, but I will tease a little by revealing that readers will meet mostly new characters with a few very old favorites.  Later in 2018, we’ll release DEATH IS NOT ENOUGH, Baltimore #6.  This is Gwyn and Thorne’s story – they were introduced in YOU BELONG TO ME, Baltimore #1. 
TRC:  What is your writing process?  Do you like to outline your story before you start? Do you have a specific place you like to write?  Is there a special time of day that works best for you?

Karen:  I usually binge write.  Once I get into the groove, I’ll write 18 hours a day until it’s done.  I have a place on the beach where I go to write.  It’s quiet and gorgeous and I love it there.  I’m more productive between 11pm and 6am, which is difficult because I try to sleep during the day when nobody else is sleeping.  Phones ring, dogs bark, trash trucks rumble, waking me up every time.  I wish I were a 9-5 writer!  When you are not writing, what other interests or hobbies do you have?

I read a lot! Not usually suspense, though.  I read a lot of contemporary romance.  I also travel, knit for other people because we don’t get much call for woolens in Florida, and play with my dogs.  Would you like to add anything else? Just a huge thank you for inviting me!

Thank you, Karen for answering our questions. We wish you the best of luck with Edge of Darkness.

 

 

 

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Room For Two (Breakfast in Bed #2) by Sydney Landon-Review & Giveaway

Room For Two (Breakfast in Bed #2) by Sydney Landon-Review & Giveaway

ROOM FOR TWO
Breakfast in Bed #2
by Sydney Landon
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

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When Asher Jackson, the playboy co-owner of the Oceanix Hotel Chain, meets Dana Anders, manager of the gourmet coffee shop within the Oceanix Resort, he longs to strike up a good rapport with her. But to his surprise, his typical charm immediately fails him and he can’t help but provoke her with sarcastic remarks at every turn.

Even though Dana can give as good as she gets, she’s confused by Asher’s hostility toward her–especially when she harbors a secret attraction toward him. When she finds herself with unexpected bills to pay, Dana strikes up a deal; Dana will pose as Asher’s jealous wife and drive away the lingering ex-girlfriends that Asher desperately wants to get rid of. Asher hasn’t engaged in a serious relationship since his heart was broken five years previously, so he thinks playing husband to a fake wife won’t be a problem. But as the relationship continues he’s no longer quite so certain. And as the line between false animosity and real attraction becomes blurred, Dana begins to realize that the one thing she wants is what she’s pretending to already have.

•••••••••

REVIEW: ROOM FOR TWO is the second installment in Sydney Landon’s contemporary, adult BREAKFAST IN BED romance series focusing on the Jackson family, owners of the Oceanix Hotel Chain. This is Asher Jackson, and barista /gourmet coffee shop manager Dana Anders’ story line. ROOM FOR TWO can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Ash and Dana) ROOM FOR TWO follows the acrimonious / ‘pretend girlfriend’ relationship between coffee shop manager at the Oceanix –Pensacola Resort Dana Anders, and co-owner of the Oceanix Hotel Chain Asher Jackson. For months Asher Jackson has been the bane of Dana’s existence with his rude, condescending remarks about her weight and size-remarks unwarranted since the two barely know one another except to work at the same hotel. Dana’s attraction to Asher is tempered by the man’s need to humiliate, and Dana’s ability to give as good as she gets, but when Dana decides to change her method of operation, Asher begins to see a different side to the woman with whom he would one day fall in love. Needing a ‘pretend girlfriend’ for future family functions Asher makes Dana an offer she cannot refuse. What ensues is the enemies to friends relationship that turns into something more, and the potential fall out when the truth about Asher’s behaviour is finally revealed.

Asher Jackson’s reputation as a manwh*re precedes his introduction to our story line heroine, who, along with her best friend and Asher’s sister in-law Zoe, are unable to comprehend Asher’s need to destroy Dana at every opportunity. Asher’s poor treatment of women is legendary as are the resulting escapades aimed at vengeance and revenge towards out story line hero but herein lies a problem with the hero’s likability- his actions, comments and past behavior all contribute to a personality that should be questioned on so many levels. As Asher and Dana work together to alleviate the advances and questioning intentions of Asher’s step-sister Claudia among other potential female advances, Asher will begin to realize that his reasons for his recent behavior towards Dana and women in general are misdirected in spite of his need to bury the memories of the past.

The relationship between Asher and Dana is caustic and bitter for reasons unknown to our story line heroine as she endures a constant stream of biting remarks. The back and forth, childish, and angry diatribes between our leading couple will slowly evolve into a partnership meant to destroy someone else- a partnership that grows into something more. Dana is more than capable of holding her own against the personal attacks by the man with whom she will fall in love but in the end, hurtful words cause as much pain as physical assaults. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

There is a large ensemble cast of secondary and supporting characters including the return of Dylan and Zoe (Keeping It Hot #1), and Rhett Jackson –manager of the Miami Oceanix. We are introduced to Dylan and Asher’s mother Charlotte Jackson and her husband Bart, as well as their step-sister Claudia who may or may not have an attraction to their brother Rhett. There is some great one on one banter, back and forth between all of Jackson siblings, and Dana Anders isn’t afraid to add her own sarcastic and testy remarks into the mix.

ROOM FOR TWO is a story with a little bit of everything: humor, fun, romance, heartbreak, painful memories, redemption and revenge. The premise is engaging and energetic; the characters are playful and passionate if you can get past their initial cantankerous relationship; the romance is sassy and hot. ROOM FOR TWO is a well-written story line about one man’s inability to let go of the past, and one woman who proves that the past is a path upon which a future reveals.

Click HERE for Sandy’s review of book one-KEEPING IT HOT

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

The Reading Cafe and Sydney Landons’s publisher are graciously offering a paper copy of ROOM FOR TWO to ONE lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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Judgment Road (Torpedo Ink #1) by Christine Feehan-Dual Review and Giveaway

JUDGMENT ROAD (Torpedo Ink #1) by Christine Feehan-Dual Review and Giveaway

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JUDGMENT ROAD
Torpedo Ink #1
by Christine Feehan
Release Date: January 23, 2018
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, paranormal, romance

Judgment Road

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 23, 2018

An outlaw motorcycle club sets up shop next door to Sea Haven in the dangerously sexy new series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

As the enforcer of the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club, Reaper lives for riding and fighting. He’s a stone-cold killer who turns his wrath on those who deserve it. Feelings are a weakness he can’t afford–until a gorgeous bartender gets under his skin…

Near Sea Haven, the small town of Caspar has given Anya Rafferty a new lease on life. And she’s desperate to hold on to her job at the biker bar, even if the scariest member of the club seems to have it out for her. But Reaper’s imposing presence and smoldering looks just ratchet up the heat.

Anya’s touch is everything Reaper doesn’t want–and it brands him to the bone. But when her secrets catch up to her, Reaper will have to choose between Anya and his club–his heart and his soul.

••••••••••

Sandy’s REVIEW

JUDGMENT ROAD is the first instalment in Christine Feehans’ contemporary, adult TORPEDO INK slightly paranormal, erotic, romance series focusing on the members of the MC Torpedo Ink. The Torpedo Ink series is a spin-off from the author’s Sisters of the Heart /  Sea Haven series but you do not have to have read the original series to understand or follow Torpedo Ink. This is Torpedo Ink enforcer and Sergeant at Arms Savva ‘Reaper’ Pajari, and bartender Anya Rafferty’s story line.

NOTE: Most of the characters including Torpedo Ink club president Victor ‘Czar’ Prakenski, and his wife Blythe Daniels were introduced in the final instalment of the author’s Sea Haven Series BOUND TOGETHER.

WARNING: JUDGMENT ROAD contains, and makes reference to graphic violence, rape, murder, torture and abuse against children and women, and therefore, may not be suitable for all readers.

SOME BACKGROUND: At the tender age of ten years old, Victor ‘Czar’ Prakenski set about to save and rescue over three hundred children from a Russian child sex-slave operation but in the end only eighteen survived. The Torpedo Ink series focuses on the survivors: their stories, their history, and their happily ever afters.

Told from several third person perspectives including Reaper and Anya JUDGMENT ROAD follows the acrimonious relationship between Torpedo Ink enforcer, assassin and Sergeant At Arms Savva ‘Reaper’ Pajari, and bartender Anya Rafferty. Anya Rafferty is a new hire at the biker bar run by the Torpedo Ink MC; a woman that quickly gets under Reaper’s skin but a woman whose past may be a threat to the security and safety of the Torpedo Ink MC. When a rival MC comes looking for help the Torpedo Ink gang set into motion a search and rescue mission that reveals a much darker and deeper threat than anyone had suspected, a threat that quite possibly leads back to Anya Rafferty. What ensues is the building and volatile relationship between Reaper and Anya; the search and take down of the threats against Torpedo Ink; and the potential fall-out when Reaper’s nightmares and heart breaking past refuse to let go.

Reaper is a stone-cold killer; a dark and tormented man whose own family-the Torpedo Ink MC- is troubled by his emotional instability and inability to let go. Trained as an assassin Reaper believes he is incapable of any relationship involving the woman with whom he will fall in love. With the arrival of Anya Rafferty, Reaper slowly begins to shed his dark and cold exterior. Anya Rafferty is on the run and finding a home with the Torpedo Ink MC places everyone in danger. Unaware of the history, and the savage beginnings of the man that she loves Anya finds herself at a crossroads, ready to run, on more than one occasion.

We are introduced to all eighteen members of Torpedo Ink- survivors of horrific abuse, torture and betrayal at the hands of the sick and depraved. A tight-knit group that calls itself family, the Torpedo Ink gang collectively share telepathic abilities, as well as a heart breaking and devastating history that only furthers their close relationship and over-protective nature as it pertains to one of their own.

The world building reveals the tragic history of abuse, torture, rape and ‘education’ of a group of children who discovered that the world and people have a sick and twisted version of right and wrong. In past reviews I have remarked on the author’s increasing violent story lines and abuse against women and children but in the case of the Torpedo Ink series, the violence is part of their history and lives-ingrained and imbedded –into their very existence. The story line heroes are not the perpetrators of the violence and abuse against the women they love but are the saviors and salvation of those who suffered years before.

JUDGMENT ROAD and the Torpedo Ink are the stories of the broken; the damaged; betrayal and revenge. The premise is dark, startling and edgy; the characters are colorful, charismatic and protective; the romance is dramatic, controversial and healing. Christine Feehan enters the world of the MC with the first fiery instalment in the Torpedo Ink series.

Copy supplied by the publisher through Netgalley

Reviewed by Sandy

 

Barb’s Review:

Judgment Road by Christine Feehan is the 1st book in her new Torpedo Ink series, which is a spin off from her Sisters of the Heart/Sea Haven series. When the last book in the Sisters of the Heart series left off, our heroes, (Viktor/Czar) and his wife, Blythe and all the members of Torpedo Ink Club were together as a team,  and will continue to be major or supporting characters in this new series.   Czar is the President of Torpedo Ink, and the man who is the glue that keeps them (his 17 members of Torpedo Ink) together as a team.  All of them suffered horrible abuse in their childhood, making them all lethal assassins; living still in the darkness of the past.  In Bound Together, Blythe was the lone light that they all grabbed hold of, and being Czar’s wife, she is always protected by them.

In Judgment Road, Reaper is our damaged hero; Torpedo Ink’s enforcer, and the man who is always first to protect Czar.  Reaper is feared by the enemy, but loved by his brothers and sisters of Torpedo Ink; but mentally he also lives in a cold and dark inner world. 

Anya, our heroine, is one of the new bartenders in the club, and she is very beautiful.  Reaper starts feeling things he has never felt, and this brings his shield up; which makes him try to fire Anya.  She cannot understand why he is mean to her, as she has done nothing wrong; she is a loner, who also does her job well.  When Czar refuses to fire her, Reaper will have to fight off his attraction to Anya.  When he follows her after work, he sees she lives in her car; and forces her to come back to the compound.  In a short time, Reaper and Anya will act on their lustful feelings for each other, though he was very macho and demanding. Reaper begins to realize that he needs Anya (his only light to his soul), but he has a long way to learn how to treat her, something she tries to work with him on.  Their chemistry was off the wall sizzling. 

When a rival gang, comes to check out Torpedo Ink, Czar and the team notice that they keep watching Anya, and soon they fear she might be a spy.  They will all take her to the back and question her, using mental force to find out the truth.  But Anya is not a spy, she is running for her life, as she accidently discovered something about the rival gang, and ran for her life, when her friend was murdered.  Now after she recovers from the damaging force, she wants to leave Reaper, since he did not trust and protect her.  She loves him, but she needs to know she has to be his first priority.  Reaper, Czar and the entire team try to apologize for their mistake. Can Reaper win Anya back, and be able to protect her first?

What follows is an exciting adventure with Czar, Reaper and the team trying to help another rival club fight off the bad guys, who were kidnapping club leaders wives.   I loved so many of the Torpedo Ink members, and loved how the two girls ( Lana and Alena) were just as lethal as the guys, especially using their looks to trick the bad guys.  They were all so good together.  You have to sympathize, and Feehan gives us flashes to the past, and shows us how much they suffered; especially Reaper.   It is these dark memories, that will hurt his relationship with Anya, who loves him; but Reaper fears he will hurt her when in the midst of his bad dreams.  Very emotional.

As usual for Feehan, the story does have a lot of sex scenes, and though they were very steamy and great together, there were times early on when Reaper was too rough and always demanding control.  I also thought the mental torture scene was something that was easily brushed off, which was surprising. 

Judgment Road is a very dark story and romance, especially when we learned the things they had to endure in Russia; abuse, rape, torture, and murder.  But they are survivors, and slowly we will get to meet the other members of the team, as they find their way out of the darkness to the light of love. Despite the dark violent story, Judgment Road was a great read, exciting, sexy, and  a fabulous group of secondary characters.  

 

 

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Christine’s Feehan’s publisher is graciously offering a paper copy of LEOPARD’S BLOOD to ONE lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

Down By Contact

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / 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

Interview

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.

LIGHTNING ROUND:

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.

giveaway

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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Unchained by a Forbidden Love (Eternal Mates #15) by Felicity Heaton-Review, Excerpt & 2 Giveaways

Unchained by a Forbidden Love (Eternal Mates #15) by Felicity Heaton-Review, Excerpt & 2 Giveaways

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Unchained by a Forbidden Love

Amazon Kindle stores: US | UK | CA | AUS | DE | FR | ES | IT

Apple iBookstores: US | UK | AUS | CA | NZ

Other stores: Barnes and Noble | Kobo Books | Google Play

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 16, 2017

Lost to the darkness, Fuery wages a daily war against the corruption that lives within him, constantly in danger of slipping into the black abyss and becoming the monster all elves fear. Work as an assassin gives him purpose, but what reason is there to go on when he killed the light of his life—his fated mate?

Shaia has spent forty-two centuries mourning her mate. Tired and worn down, she agrees to wed a male of her family’s choosing, following tradition that has always bound her as a female and hoping she will be able to gain just a little freedom in return. But as she resigns herself to being the mate of a male she could never love, fate places an old friend in her path—one who tells her that her lost love is alive.

Will Shaia find the courage to break with tradition and leave the elf kingdom in search of her mate? And as a ray of light pierces his soul again, can Fuery find the strength to win his battle against the darkness or will it devour him and that light of their forbidden love forever?

••••••••••

REVIEW:UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE is the fifteenth instalment in Felicity Heaton’s contemporary, ETERNAL MATES paranormal / fantasy romance series. This is elf and assassin Fuery, and elf Shaia’s story line. UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE can be read as a stand aloe without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Shaia and Fuery) using present day and memories from the past UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE follows the second chance romance between Shaia and Fuery, two elves from different social classes, who, four thousand years earlier, were torn apart by mistaken beliefs and presumptions of death. Fast forward to present wherein Fuery has all but been claimed by the darkness and corruption inherent in the male elf, as he battles the memories of the mate that he lost, a woman he believes has died by his own hands, while Shaia prepares to be mated to someone else.

Shaia has mourned the loss of her mate for over four thousand years, a mate her family knows nothing about. But a surprise visit from the commander of the Elven army finds our heroine on the search for the man that she loves. While her family prepares for her nuptials to another elf, Shaia must battle Fuery’s protector in order to save him from the demons within. What ensues is the hunt for Fuery as our hero fights the darkness that continues to pull him in, and the potential fall out when Shaia’s future husband has other plans. Fuery’s position as an assassin pushes our hero a little further over the edge with every encounter and every kill.

Like most of the previous story lines UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE is a narrative where most of the story line is told through introspection, thoughts and emotions, and memories from the past-a retelling of events that lead to our couple’s introduction, developing love and loss of connection when their bond was severed by mistaken beliefs.

The relationship between Fuery and Shaia is one of fated mates but a relationship torn apart by the past and the fear of the unknown. Throughout the story line Shaia and Fuery are separated by distance and the undiscovered truth, as Shaia searches for the man she still loves. The $ex scenes are limited but passionate and intense without the use of over the top, sexually graphic language and text.

UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE is a heart breaking and emotional story line as the reader is up close and personal with our leading couple; we known their most intimate feelings and emotions, and their complete loss of faith in a happily ever after but saying that there are some issues of redundancy as the author tries to explain both sides of a story through differing eyes. The premise is engaging; the characters are broken and energetic; the romance is a second chance at forever and love.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Books in the Series

Book 1: Kissed by a Dark Prince (FREE AT SELECTED RETAILERS!)
Book 2: Claimed by a Demon King
Book 3: Tempted by a Rogue Prince
Book 4: Hunted by a Jaguar
Book 5: Craved by an Alpha
Book 6: Bitten by a Hellcat
Book 7: Taken by a Dragon
Book 8: Marked by an Assassin
Book 9: Possessed by a Dark Warrior
Book 10: Awakened by a Demoness
Book 11: Haunted by the King of Death
Book 12: Turned by a Tiger
Book 13: Tamed by a Tiger
Book 14: Treasured by a Tiger
Book 15: Unchained by a Forbidden Love

Excerpt

“Shaia?” A male voice curled around her and she frowned and looked around as they entered the fringes of the village, seeking the source of it.
None of the males coming and going along the avenues between the thatched houses were familiar to her.
“Do you know that male?” Eirwyn said and she glanced up at him, catching him scowling in the direction of the village square as he smoothed his ponytail, his actions clipped and reeking of irritation.
Shaia looked there.
A handsome male strode towards them along the broad road between the grey stone two-storey buildings, his fitted black tunic detailed with elegant pale green embroidery around the edges of the two long panels at the front that reached his knees, the matching ones at the back, and around the cuffs. Tight black trousers hugged his lean muscular legs, tucked into polished black knee-high riding boots. Their silver clasps reflected the light, dazzling her as much as his wide smile and bright violet eyes.
Eirwyn pulled a face beside her, and she could understand why. While his own tunic and trousers were fine and tailored for him, they couldn’t compare to the ones the male wore.
They bore symbols only those high in the court of Prince Loren could wear.
The male’s smile became a grin and he waved, glanced over his shoulder and said something to someone behind him, and then picked up pace, heading towards Shaia.
She blinked as she finally recognised him.
The miller’s son.
The last time she had seen Bleu, he had been a scrawny lad and had come home to the village to announce to his parents that he had been given the position of commander. His family had held a celebration in his honour, and Shaia had been invited, but had refused. The thought of seeing him in the finery of a commander and attending the celebration had been too much for her, and she had spiralled back into a depression.
Bleu had visited her the day after, and had apologised. He hadn’t been the one to send the invitations to the entire village. She had been grateful when he had told her he wouldn’t have invited her if he had and that he understood, and hoped it hadn’t hurt her too deeply.
She had lied then too, telling him that it hadn’t, when it had cut her deeper than any blade could have.
She moved forwards to meet him, pulling herself away from the past and managing to smile for him. This time, it felt genuine, warming her and chasing away some of the cold that seemed a permanent part of her now.
Her step faltered when a tall, beautiful female stepped out from behind Bleu, her violet-to-white hair matching her striking eyes. Those eyes darted around, taking everything in, not seeming to notice the way the males in the village looked at her, a mixture of admiration and fear in their eyes.
Shaia could understand their shock. It rippled through her too.
She had never seen a female dressed this way before.
Violet leather trousers hugged her long legs, paired with matching boots, and a white leather corset fitted snug to her torso, revealing a strip of toned stomach and a startling amount of cleavage.
Bleu glanced back at the female again, and then did the most shocking thing of all.
He snarled and flashed fangs at the males who were looking at the female, his pointed ears flaring back against his wild blue-black hair, and snapped in their native tongue, “Get your fucking eyes off my mate.”
The males bolted, leaving the female looking around her with a confused crinkle to her brow.
“Bleu?” the female whispered, her incredible eyes landing on him, and continued in the mortal tongue, “I said it was not wise for me to dress in my usual manner.”
“And I said I like you that way and people will deal with it. You don’t have to be something you’re not.” He caught the female’s wrist and tugged her into his arms, banding them around her in a way that caused a fierce sting in Shaia’s heart. “I love you just the way you are.”
The female blushed and pushed against Bleu’s shoulders. “You are making a scene.”
He shrugged and refused to release her. “Let them all stare. They’re just jealous.”
“That they might be, but I believe you are being rude to the elf female and her male looks displeased.”
Shaia risked a glance at Eirwyn. He looked positively aghast.
She wished she couldn’t understand why, because she wanted what Bleu and this female shared to be the accepted way of things, that such public displays of affection between a male and a female were not a faux pas or frowned upon by society.
That love in all its forms could be celebrated not scorned.
Bleu nuzzled the female’s neck and then drew back, and Shaia ached as she saw the marks on the female’s throat, twin scars that confirmed what Bleu had said. This female was his mate.
“I barely recognised you,” Shaia said, hoping to pull Bleu away from his female, because Eirwyn was rapidly losing patience and she feared he would pull her away if Bleu didn’t speak soon.
She wanted to know why Bleu had called out to her, and wanted to know more about the female, because she wasn’t elf. She was something else. Something strong, and powerful, and independent.
Bleu finally pulled himself away from the female, but kept his arm locked tightly around her waist, pinning her against his side in a way that sparked envy in Shaia.
She had been held like that once.
Eirwyn placed his hand against the small of her back and a weight instantly descended on her, pressing down on her heart and making her want to twist free of his touch. While Bleu’s grip on his female was possessive, it was born of love and a need of his female, a desire to be in contact with her at all times.
Eirwyn’s touch was possession of another nature, a show of dominance over her, marking her as belonging to him.
Bleu’s violet eyes narrowed on Eirwyn and he was silent for the longest time before he said, “I know your brother… Leif. He serves in my legion. I served your father, Commander Andon, once too. It was an honour.”
“Your legion?” Eirwyn’s tone held a trace of venom and a slight note of disbelief, and she had the sinking feeling that things were about to turn dire.
Before he could offend Bleu, Shaia stepped forwards and captured his focus. “Bleu is a commander, serving Prince Loren directly.”
Eirwyn cast a glance over Bleu from head to toe and back again, and she was surprised he didn’t curl his lip. “The same Bleu who was born to the mill on the outskirts of the village?”
“And now I see where Leif gets his lovely temperament and that lofty air. It clearly runs in the blood. I’ve had to beat it out of him a few times… so don’t think I won’t beat it out of you too.” Bleu held his free hand out to Eirwyn. “You may call me Commander Bleu.”
Shaia stifled the smile that wanted to curve her lips and schooled her features so Eirwyn wouldn’t see her amusement. If she had thought he had looked aghast before, she had been mistaken. Now he looked aghast, his mouth hanging open and face reflecting his astonishment.
It had probably been centuries since someone had spoken to him with so little respect.
It had probably been longer than that since someone had pulled rank on him.
Bleu’s steady gaze dropped to her as he lowered his hand. “Speaking of the legions… I have spent time with another male recently, one from the legions and one you know.”
Shaia frowned at him. She didn’t know anyone from the army but Bleu, and she barely knew him. She couldn’t think who he was talking about.
“You must be mistaken,” she said.
He cleared his throat and spoke very carefully, pressing each word home. “I believe you did know him once. I recall you telling me so in a town near the free realm. Do you not remember? It was forty-two centuries ago now so I can see why you have perhaps forgotten.”
Her heart started a slow, hard thump against her ribs. It wasn’t possible that he was talking about the one she thought he was, but she had only ventured near the free realm once in her lifetime, one reckless grief-fuelled moment four thousand two hundred years ago.
One moment where instinct had driven her there and she had come upon a battlefield, drenched in blood and scarred as deeply as her heart.
“Are you unwell?” Eirwyn’s hand against her back pressed deeper into her spine and she fought for air, for the words that would make him leave her alone and give her space to breathe.
She managed to shake her head and muttered, “I will be fine.”
Bleu watched her closely.
He was so different to how he had been that day, when she had gone looking for her love, desperate to find him alive even when she had known he was gone.
Bleu had told her then that the male she was looking for hadn’t come in with the wounded, that he was dead.
Now he was telling her that male was alive?
It wasn’t possible.
But what if it was true?
Gods, what if he really was alive and had been all this time?
Her throat closed as all her strength rushed out of her and she struggled to breathe, rasped as she sucked down shallow pants of air and her mind raced as quickly as her thundering heart.
She could feel Eirwyn’s eyes on her, intent and focused, and could sense he was close to making another attempt to smother her. She had to speak.
“Would you introduce me?” Her voice shook and she quickly gestured to the female beside Bleu when he cocked an eyebrow, making it clear she hadn’t meant the male he had spoken of but his mate.
Or had she?
Gods.
If she asked it of him, would he take her to that male?
Was it really possible that he was alive?
Everything in her screamed that it wasn’t and Bleu was mistaken. Her heart had shattered when her love had died. She had felt it.
“This is Taryn, my mate.” He beamed at her, male pride and a lot of love shining in his eyes.
“I am pleased to meet you, Taryn.” Shaia turned to Taryn and focused on her to subdue the questions racing through her mind and give herself a moment to breathe.
The contrast between them struck her again. Suddenly, her green elven dress felt as if it was swamping her frame, designed to hide her body rather than make the most of it. The long sleeves had always irritated her when other females were allowed to wear dresses without them, and the fact it dragged on the floor was often highly impractical, but it was another elf tradition, and one she would dearly love to shatter.
She tried to picture herself dressed as Taryn was, wearing tight leather and a revealing corset, and failed dismally.
Her own corset sat over her dress, made of wrought silver swirls that felt as if they were crushing her ribs and her breasts rather than supporting her, cinched down the sides with ribbons. Some elf females dared to wear dresses that were lower cut, and corsets that revealed more bosom.
Shaia had tried that once, and had been banished to her room in her parents’ home for one cycle of the moon.
She couldn’t openly dress as she wanted, but she often did her best to break with convention when she could.
She always wore sturdier and cheaper clothing at her small home away from the village, a basic blouse paired with a long skirt. She would roll up the sleeves and open the buttons down the front to allow air across her skin as she worked, and sometimes lazed in the private garden with her skirt hitched up to reveal her legs as she soaked in the sunlight.
“Where do you come from?” Shaia couldn’t even guess at what species Taryn was, but every instinct she possessed said that the female was strong, born of a breed with powers possibly more impressive than her elf mate’s ones.
Taryn pointed north-east, to a place beyond Eirwyn and the high peaks on the horizon. “The land of dragons.”
Shaia’s mouth dropped open and she snapped it shut before anyone noticed. A dragon? Incredible. She had a thousand questions she wanted to ask Taryn, but Eirwyn was watching her closely again, seemingly waiting for her to break with convention.
She smiled and forced herself to respond with just a single word. “Fascinating.”
It wasn’t against society’s rules for her to be fascinated by something. Eirwyn couldn’t pick her up on it.
The pang of envy returned as Bleu tugged Taryn a little closer, gazed at her through adoring eyes and looked as if he would die if she asked it of him. Taryn stood tall beside him, her head high, and violet-to-white eyes leaping around, taking everything in again. She glanced at Bleu and then away again, and began speaking in another tongue.
Bleu responded, a smile in his eyes as he spoke with his mate.
Gods.
Shaia’s heart beat painfully hard at the sight of them, at the way Bleu indulged her and the way Taryn stood at his side like an equal, commanding his attention and not held back by him. He didn’t stop her when she broke away from him, turning in a slow circle, her eyes leaping back to him from time to time as she spoke. She pointed towards the mills and he turned, carefully caught her hand and swung it towards one in particular.
The one his family owned.
Her eyes lit up and she said something else.
Bleu smiled again, spoke to her and then looked back at Shaia.
“She’s eager to meet the family. She’s convinced she won’t be accepted and until I get her there and she sees that they’ll love her just as much as I do, she’s going to keep slipping into the dragon tongue. Either that or she’ll get so wound up she’ll want to fly and people in these parts are jumpy enough about a stranger, let alone a dragon.” He grinned, as if he actually liked the idea of Taryn shifting and terrifying everyone.
Shaia found she liked the idea too.
It would certainly brighten her day, if not her life and this dull little village.
Eirwyn pressed harder against her spine. “We should be going.”
Panic lanced her and her eyes shot to Bleu, and she blurted, “How is our friend?”
Her voice shook as badly as her hands and she feared her intended would see it, but there was no way she could contain it, not when she was speaking about him.
Her lost love.
Bleu’s expression turned grave. “Unwell. The perils of being an assassin I suppose. It is dark work.”
That terrified her as much as it delighted her. Bleu was trying to tell her everything she needed to know in a coded manner. He was giving her clues that she could follow. The male she had thought had died was alive, but terribly sick if she was interpreting Bleu’s words correctly.
Tainted.
Gods, she needed to find him. She needed to scour every assassin’s guild until she was with him again and could pull him back from the darkness.
That desire shattered when Eirwyn spoke, reminding her that she wasn’t free to do as she pleased. “We must move on now.”
Shaia’s eyebrows furrowed and she looked to Bleu, desperate to learn more from him but aware that she couldn’t remain any longer. Her purple eyes shifted to the dragon beside him, and courage bloomed, strength that she thought had died long ago with her male.
“Thank you,” she said to Bleu as Eirwyn caught her wrist and pulled her away, her heart soaring as she looked back at him and his mate.
The dragon was free, powerful and independent. Bleu’s sister lived her life that way too.
All it took was courage.
She could be independent too.
She could find the male she had thought she had lost.
She could find her mate.

About Felicity

Felicity HeatonFelicity Heaton is a New York Times and USA Today international best-selling author writing passionate paranormal romance books. In her books, she creates detailed worlds, twisting plots, mind-blowing action, intense emotion and heart-stopping romances with leading men that vary from dark deadly vampires to sexy shape-shifters and wicked werewolves, to sinful angels and hot demons! If you’re a fan of paranormal romance authors Lara Adrian, J R Ward, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Gena Showalter and Christine Feehan then you will enjoy her books too.

If you love your angels a little dark and wicked, the best-selling Her Angel series is for you. If you like strong, powerful, and dark vampires then try the Vampires Realm series or any of her stand-alone vampire romance books. If you’re looking for vampire romances that are sinful, passionate and erotic then try the best-selling Vampire Erotic Theatre series. Or if you prefer huge detailed worlds filled with hot-blooded alpha males in every species, from elves to demons to dragons to shifters and angels, then take a look at the new Eternal Mates series.

If you want to know more about Felicity, or want to get in touch, you can find her at the following places:

WEBSITE | BLOG | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM

Giveaway

There are TWO (2) ways to WIN !

In addition to the KINDLE giveaway below, Felicity is graciously offering an ecopy of any ONE book in her ETERNAL MATES series *excluding UNCHAINED BY A FORBIDDEN LOVE* (international) to ONE (1) lucky commenter at The Reading Cafe.

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

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7. Giveaway runs from January 13-17, 2018

Grand Giveaway

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NOTE: The Reading Cafe is NOT responsible for the Grand Giveaway. If you have any questions, please contact the author.

Enter the grand tour-wide giveaway to win an Amazon Kindle Fire HD plus books 1-7 of the Eternal Mates series in e-book or audiobook at the Unchained by a Forbidden Love book page. This giveaway is international and open to everyone, and ends at midnight on January 28th. Enter now: http://www.felicityheaton.co.uk/unchained-by-a-forbidden-love-paranormal-romance-novel.php

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Headmaster (Lessons From the Rack #2) by Tara Sue Me-Review & Giveaway

Headmaster (Lessons From the Rack #2) by Tara Sue Me-Review & Giveaway

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HEADMASTER
Lessons From the Rack #2
by Tara Sue Me
Genre: adult, contemporary, erotic, romance
Release Date: January 16, 2018

Headmaster

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 16, 2018

Lennox MacLure, owner of the RACK Academy, has sworn off the Dominant/submissive lifestyle. Years ago, his submissive, Winnie, died in a car accident following a heated argument for which he blames himself. Guilt-ridden and emotionally closed off, Lennox sees the academy as both his punishment and penance for her death.

Mariela, a dance instructor and a natural submissive, was Winnie’s best friend and longs to help Lennox move past his grief. She’s accepted that he will never see her as anything more than a friend, but she still wants to help him acknowledge what he needs. Mariela comes up with a plan of seduction, guaranteed to unleash the Dominant he’s willfully buried—but the passion they unleash could prove to be stronger than they are ready to handle.

••••••••••

REVIEW: HEADMASTER is the second instalment in Tara Sue Me’s contemporary, adult LESSONS FROM THE RACK, BDSM erotic, romance series focsing on the exclusive $ex academy The RACK. This is RACK owner and Dominant Lennox MacLure, and dancer/submissive Mariela’s story line. HEADMASTER can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from the previous story line is revealed where necessary. Lennox and Mariela were first introduced in book one The Professor –Fulton Matthews and Andie Lincoln’s story line.

NOTE: HEADMASTER is an erotic story with BDSM sexual situations that may not be suitable for all readers including caning and spanking.

Told from dual third person perspectives (Mariela and Lennox) HEADMASTER follows the building but struggling relationship between submissive and RACK dance instructor Mariela, and RACK owner and Dominant Lennox MacLure. Three years earlier Lennox fell in love with Mariela’s best friend-a woman far from submissive but a woman Lennox hoped to ease into the lifestyle he lived and worked. A tragic accident destroyed any hopes for a future leaving our story line hero in a world of guilt, grief and remorse. Fast forward to present day wherein submissive Mariela, a woman who has loved Lennox MacLure from afar, tries desperately to get Lennox to notice the woman in front of his eyes. A fractured friendship and palpable sexual attraction pulls our couple together but Lennox’s ongoing guilt over the loss of his previous sub continues to push our heroine out of his life. What ensues is the on again, off again D/s relationship between Lennox and Mariela, and the potential fall out when Lennox leaves to find what it is he has been avoiding all along.

HEADMASTER is a story of two people pulled together by circumstance and mutual loss; a relationship predicated on the BDSM lifestyle but a relationship that must endure one man’s ongoing grief and guilt over the death of someone he loves. Although there is no timeline on grief, Lennox is but a shell of his former self and refuses to accept his Dominant life. Mariela battles not only her feelings for, but the ongoing rejection of, the man that she loves, and in this the struggle to accept her undying devotion is questionable in the face of the constant rejection.

HEADMASTER is a roller coaster of emotions knowing the attraction between our leading couple is tempered by guilt and grief. Mariela continues to make herself available to a man who isn’t ready to move on from the past-a man who struggles with too many memories and a loss of motivation. The premise is imaginative and creative but there are some unresolved issues that got lost in the build up; the romance is highly sexual, erotic and intense; the characters are broken, dynamic and charismatic

Reading Order and Previous Review
Master Professor
Headmaster

Reviewed by Sandy

Copy supplied by Netgalley

About the Author pink

FOLLOW: Website / Facebook / Twitter

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Tara Sue Me is the New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive series, including The Enticement, The Training, The Dominant, and The Submissive. She lives in the southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat.

 

 

Giveaway pink

The Reading Cafe and Tara Sue Me’s publisher are offering a paper copy of HEADMASTER  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.

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8. Giveaway is open to USA only

9. Giveaway runs from January 11-16, 2018

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