Legally Charming by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

Legally Charming by Lauren Smith – Review & Giveaway

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DESCRIPTION
THE RIGHT DRESS CAN CATCH THE EYE OF PRINCE CHARMING… 

Felicity Hart has one goal: Completing her masters in art. Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. She reluctantly agrees to attend a Halloween party with her best friend. After sneaking away from the party and falling asleep in an unoccupied room, she wakes to the sexiest pair of eyes she’s ever seen. Eyes that belong to the one man who could turn her well organized world upside down. When he flashes that wicked, panty-melting smile at her the vow to not fall in love seems impossible… 

EVERY PRINCE IS LOOKING FOR HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY TO KISS… 

Jared Redmond used to be the ultimate bad boy. But now his legal career is taking off and the partners of his firm are trusting him with high-dollar real estate transactions. Jared’s king-size bed is empty. But when he arrives home on Halloween to find a princess sleeping in his bed – his all work and no play attitude goes out the window. There’s nothing he wants more than to explore the hidden desires of this mysterious beauty and show her just how much of a bad boy he really is by fulfilling her every fantasy. 

WHEN MIDNIGHT STRIKES AND COACHES TURN TO PUMPKINS… 

Underneath the glitter of this fairy tale romance, Felicity and Jared might have found true love. But the mounting pressure of their real lives takes hold again and Jared and Felicity are pulled further and further apart. Can they find their fairy tale ending or will they be left with the dying embers of what could have been? 

REVIEW

4.5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Another amazing book from Lauren Smith.  I am in absolute love with her historical romance series, and it is always wonderful to find a fave author is just as good in another genre of romance! 🙂

Legally Charming by Lauren Smith is the first book in her “Ever After” contemporary romance series.  Two people who were not expecting or hoping for love, come to find it whether they like it or not, and it knocks them right off their concrete path of life and onto a bumpy, full of adventure and “who knows what is going to happen” road.

Felicity Hart is a sweet, kind and a little naive woman who aspires to complete her graduate degree and move to a dream job to start her life.  She ends up getting dragged to a Halloween party by her friend, and finds herself in a strange predicament before the night is over.  She is laying in bed with this incredibly hot guy!  

Jared Redmond is our incredible hot guy.  LOL!  Jared is a lawyer who is aspiring to make partner at his firm, he is sure of himself, somewhat of a reputable bad boy, and comes home to a Halloween party one night to find this beautiful woman sleeping, in his bed. 

Neither of them are looking for love .. but love is about to find them!

Off we go on sweet love adventure of sorts.  Both try to fight it in their own ways, but there is a pull that keeps them coming back for more.  Outside circumstances, blackmail, and insecurity are just some of the odds stacked against them, but love has a sneaky way of squirming it’s way in a prevailing over all obstacles.  These two are in for a sweet surprise.

This is truely a lovely romance story with a side of heat.  My only complaint was it was a little too much predictable in story.  That being said, what was predicted in my mind was well delivered and written.  This is fairy tale like in a contemporary setting.  Sweet girl tames bad boy!  I absolutely loved the secondary characters as well and am really hoping that Lauren decides to give them their own stories.

Overall, an easy, fun, light and very sweet read.  If you like a good ole contemporary romance then I highly recommend this book.  I also will take the time to tell you to read her historical romance series as well .. because that is FANTASTIC!  

HAPPY READING! 🙂

Reviewed by Rachel

Copy supplied for review

 

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Silver Edge by Ciara Knight – a Review

Silver Edge by Ciara Knight – a Review

 

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Description:
All I’ve ever wanted is to fit in.

But no one can ever see past how weird I am. Bright lights? Can’t stand them. Loud noises? Definitely sends me over the edge. And touching? Forget about it.

At least, until I met Drake.

From the moment I walked into that nightclub, I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. And when Drake touched me, it didn’t send me into a tailspin of sensations that I couldn’t stand. It actually felt…nice. Like something I could get used to. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s probably the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.

But now someone wants to close the club down. And since I promised Drake that I’d help him keep it open, I’m going to have to find a way to tap into whatever that inner strength thing is that everyone always talks about. And fast. But what happens if I can’t? 

Review:

Silver Edge by Ciara Knight is the start of her new Straight Edge series.

Scarlet hates to be touched, can’t look at anyone in the eye for too long, finds comfort in music and maths. After the death of her mother, she lived in foster homes, but none could see past her problems. 

Her drug and sex addiction makes her a prime candidate for an early death, but someone sees past that and throws her a lifeline in the shape of “the community” the guy (called Ton) who runs the community has a job for Scarlet, but she doesn’t last long, and she feels that she has let Ton down, so she runs away and looks for her own job and life.

Drake owns a nightclub, he didn’t want to run one, but it seems he owes his brother a wish. But It’s not doing very well and Drake is on the verge of closing it down. Scarlet points out a few things, the bouncer not doing his job properly, the barman skimming off the profits, and the math mistakes he made in the books. 

They decide to work on saving the bar, by promoting a “battle of the bands ” style competition. Their attraction to each other is hindered by Scarlett’s aversion to touch and her past, but she really likes him, and although she made a promise to herself not to sleep around, she’s finding it harder to listen to that inner voice. 

The other characters in the book bring it all together, some you like and some you’ll loath. It was interesting reading about people who don’t fit into “normal society” How scarlet uses her music to ground herself, and how she tries to live a normal a life as possible. 

I’m hoping that we get to read more about the characters, and maybe visit with Drake and Scarlet again. 

Reviewed by Julie B

Copy provided by Publisher

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Love Story (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren Layne-Release Day Review and Tour

LOVE STORY (Love Unexpectedly #3) by Lauren Layne-Release Day Review and Tour

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LOVE STORY
Love Unexpectedly #3
by Lauren Layne
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance
Release Date: February 14, 2017

Love Story

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date February 14, 2017

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

••••••••••

REVIEW: LOVE STORY is the third installment in Lauren Layne’s contemporary LOVE UNEXPECTEDLY romance series. This is Lucy Hawkins and Reece Sullivan’s story line. LOVE STORY can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Each installment does not interconnect with the other stories.

Told from dual first person points of view (Lucy and Reece) using present day and memories from the past, LOVE STORY focuses on the second chance romance between life long friends Lucy Hawkins and Reece Sullivan. Lucy has loved her brother’s best friend since they were barely old enough to walk but falling in love with a man who wants someone else finds our heroine heartbroken and in pain the morning after he takes everything she has to offer. Fast forward several years and Lucy is now a business graduate focusing on the wine making industry, and Reece will be working for a competing winery. As Lucy prepares to embark on a cross-country journey towards her destination in the wine country of California, she discovers that Reece Sullivan will be going along for the ride. What ensues is a tempestuous adventure for two people who love one another but are afraid to admit the truth.

Reece Sullivan lost everyone he loved at an early age. With the recent death of his emotionally absent father Reece knew that it was time to go forth and discover his future. With her degree in hand, Lucy Hawkins sets out to start anew in the vineyards of California not realizing that the man who destroyed her heart will be going along for the ride.

The relationship between Lucy and Reece is one of second chances; a rekindling romance between one-time best friends-a friendship that was destroyed when Reece walked away from the woman he has always loved. Several years would pass before Lucy and Reece would come face to face forcing the couple to look for the truth behind their animosity, anger and pain. The $ex scenes are intimate without the use of over the top sexually graphic language or text.

LOVE STORY is frenemies to lovers adventure; a new adult story line; a rekindling romance between two people who have never stopped loving one another but two people who got caught up in appearances, egos, and a lack of communication. There is plenty of angst, palpable sexual energy, unresolved hurt, and conflicted emotions that roller coaster throughout the story. The back and forth bickering is juvenile and immature as though neither one was able to move on from the past. The premise is engaging; the characters are passionate; the romance struggles with issues of trust and memories of the past.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

_________________

Good GirlGOOD GIRL
(Love Unexpectedly #2)
by Lauren Layne
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: adult, contemporary, romance

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 17, 2016

Jenny Dawson moved to Nashville to write music, not get famous. But when her latest record goes double platinum, Jenny’s suddenly one of the town’s biggest stars—and the center of a tabloid scandal connecting her with a pop star she’s barely even met. With paparazzi tracking her every move, Jenny flees to a remote mansion in Louisiana to write her next album. The only hiccup is the unexpected presence of a brooding young caretaker named Noah, whose foul mouth and snap judgments lead to constant bickering—and serious heat.

Noah really should tell Jenny that he’s Preston Noah Maxwell Walcott, the owner of the estate where the feisty country singer has made her spoiled self at home. But the charade gives Noah a much-needed break from his own troubles, and before long, their verbal sparring is indistinguishable from foreplay. But as sizzling nights give way to quiet pillow talk, Noah begins to realize that Jenny’s almost as complicated as he is. To fit into each other’s lives, they’ll need the courage to face their problems together—before the outside world catches up to them.

•••••••••••

REVIEW: GOOD GIRL is the second installment in Lauren Layne’s contemporary, adult LOVE UNEXPECTEDLY erotic, romance series. This is country star Jenny Dawson, and Preston ‘Noah’ Maxwell Walcott’s story line. GOOD GIRL can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Jenny and Noah) GOOD GIRL looks at the fall out of lies, secret, fame and betrayal. Jenny Dawson is a country music phenom whose star status implodes when an innocent picture of her surfaces with a married man. Labeled a whore and homewrecker our heroine seeks solace in the back woods of Louisiana where she will meet Noah Maxwell, a man she presumes to be the caretaker at the Walcott estates. What ensues is the building relationship and romance between Noah and Jenny, and Jenny’s spiral into heartbreak when Noah’s true identity is finally revealed.

GOOD GIRL is a slow building story of romance; a second chance at love for a man whose prior relationship ended with his fiancés affair-an affair that has hardened Noah’s heart. Jenny Dawson is innocent of the charges against her, and falling in love with Noah Maxwell was never in the cards. Noah’s past will come screaming into the present leaving a heartbroken Jenny to move on with her life. The $ex scenes are intimate and explorative.

We are introduced to Noah’s best friends: Finn Reed and Vaughn; Noah’s ex fiancé Yvonne Damascus; and Jenny’s bestie Amber Fuller. Most of the story line premise takes place on the grounds of the Walcott estate with very little outside interference from paparazzi or interfering friends. It would be nice to see a couple of story line for Finn and Vaughn but that doesn’t appear to be the direction the author is taking as each of the books in the series is a complete stand alone and not interconnected with any of the other stories.

GOOD GIRL is a story of rebuilding for one woman whose life is destroyed by secrets and lies; and by one man who perpetuates more lies to keep his own identity secret. The premise is hopeful and romantic; the characters are passionate in their beliefs; the romance is heartbreaking knowing that there is a time-limit that is about to expire.

Reviewed by Sandy

Excerpt

“Spock, we’re giving you Horny!” my mom blurts out, apparently fed up with my denseness.
Her utterance is too much for my siblings to handle and they both burst out laughing, retreating into the kitchen to rejoin the party where there’s wine.
Oh what I wouldn’t give for wine right now.
“I, um . . . you’re giving me the car?” I ask.
“Because yours broke down,” my dad explains, walking forward to thump Horny’s dented hood.
“And this one’s . . . not broken down?” I ask skeptically.
Look, it’s not that I’m not grateful. My parents are trying to give me a car, I appreciate the sweetness of the gesture, it’s just . . .
Here’s the thing about Horny: he barely got us three kids through high school. I mean, Horny is the car that sputtered and shook making it the 3.2 miles to Jefferson High, no matter who was behind the wheel.
I’m even going to come all the way clean here and say that early on in my freshmen year, I was embarrassed showing up in Horny. Then I realized I was lucky to have a car at all, and well . . . I dunno, I guess Horny became a part of us Hawkins kids’ charm, because the station wagon was practically an institution from Craig’s high school reign all the way through Brandi’s.
But poor Horny quit working years ago. Much to Brandi’s chagrin, he gave up the ghost a mere two months before her high school graduation, and I spent the last bit of her senior year being picked up by my parents.
“He’s going to take you to California,” Dad says, giving the car another thump.
“Really?” I step forward and run a tentative finger along the familiar panel. He’s had a bath, so at least that’s something. “Because last I knew, he wouldn’t even make it out of the garage.”
“Yeah, well, we neglected him for a while, but he’s right as rain now,” Dad says, puffing out his chest as though Horny’s a fourth child.
“Like, as in he actually starts?”
“Purrs like a kitten,” my mom says with an emphatic nod, even though I know she doesn’t even like cats. “We didn’t believe it, but we took him to church on Sunday and there were no issues.”
I literally bite my tongue to keep from pointing out that this is hardly a feat. Sacred Presbyterian is 0.8 miles away from the house.
“You took Horny into a shop?” I ask, starting to warm to the idea of having a car again. I’m a little touched, actually. Money is tight for my parents. Dad’s a PE teacher, and Mom gives a mean winery tour, but the gig’s never paid much.
“Not exactly, it was more of a bartering situation,” Mom says.
“Yeah?” I say, going around to the driver’s seat, already giddy with the prospect of telling Oscar I’ll be able to come see him in Miami after all, even if I won’t exactly be riding in style.
“Reece agreed to fix him up.”
I’m lowering myself into the car as my dad says this, but I reverse so quickly I hit my head. My skull doesn’t even register the pain, because I’m too busy registering the hurt in my heart at the familiar name. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Reece,” my mom says, giving me a bemused look. “He’s always been handy with cars.”
“He fixed up the car in exchange for what?”
And then I feel—I actually feel—the air change around me as the side door to the garage opens, and a new presence sucks all the air out of the space.
I don’t turn around. I don’t move. But I feel his eyes on me. Over me.
“Reece is headed out to California too,” my oblivious mother chatters on. “It worked out perfectly actually. Now you two can ride together, and your dad and I don’t have to worry about you alone in the middle of nowhere with a twenty-something-year-old car.
They think the car is going to be the problem here? It’s not the car that’s toxic to me. It’s him.
Reece Sullivan. My brother’s best friend. My parents’ “other son.”
Slowly I force myself to turn, and even though I’m prepped, the force of that ice-blue gaze still does something dangerous to me.
He winks, quick and cocky, and I suck in a breath, and I have to wonder . . .
I wonder if my parents would feel differently about their little plan if they knew that their makeshift mechanic is the same guy that popped my cherry six years earlier under their very roof.
And then broke my heart twenty-four hours later.

Love Story Teaser

About the Author

Lauren LayneFollow: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / GOODREADS

Lauren Layne is the New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen romantic comedies.

A former e-commerce and web marketing manager from Seattle, Lauren relocated to New York City in 2011 to pursue a full-time writing career.

She lives in midtown Manhattan with her high-school sweetheart, where she writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush. In LL’s ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

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If I Dream (Corrupted Love #1) by K.M. Scott- a review

IF I DREAM (Corrupted Love #1) by K.M.Scott-a review

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ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 24, 2017

If I dream, will you dare?

All I wanted was my freedom. It’s all I’d dreamed of from the first time I stood in the ring. Until I entered Robert Erickson’s world. Until Serena. Cruelty and ugliness surrounded me, but she was beautiful and good. I wanted to protect her from her father’s world, even though I knew being with her could mean the end of me.

I wanted for nothing as the daughter of one of the richest men in the world. But all my father’s money couldn’t buy what I truly craved. Until Ryder. I wanted all he was, all he brought out in me. All he made me desire.

Our love was forbidden by the one person who had the power to harm us. We dreamed of more than living in that world, though. We dreamed of having it all, but did we dare?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: IF I DREAM is the first installment in KM Scott’s new adult, contemporary CORRUPTED LOVE romance series focusing on former underground MMA fighter Ryder Rhodes, and twenty year old Serena Erickson’s story line.

Told from dual first person perspectives (Ryder and Serena) IF I DREAM focuses on the forbidden relationship between former underground MMA fighter Ryder Rhodes, and his boss’s daughter Serena Erickson. Two years earlier, at eighteen years old, our hero’s contract is bought by businessman Robert Erickson, and Ryder Rhodes was now beholding to the man in charge. Enter his youngest daughter, Serena Erickson, a woman off limits to the hired help. What ensues is the building relationship between Ryder and Serena that is destroyed when Robert Erickson sends our heroine away for getting too close to Ryder Rhodes. Fast forward two years when Serena returns to a household that has changed but not.

Ryder Rhodes has been fighting most of his life. His power and strength in the ring caught the eye of billionaire businessman Robert Erickson, a man whose power stretches into the seedy underbelly of abuse and control. Serena Erickson has struggled to gain her independence from her father but the disappearance of her mother years before has kept our heroine close to home in case the woman she loves should ever return. Serena’s defiance in the face of her father’s demands sets the stage for a heartbreaking story. Her father’s control extends beyond the kinship of family and blood when he uses his daughters as a bargaining tool to get what he wants in the world of business and financial success.

The relationship between Ryder and Serena is fraught with regret, heartbreak, and a forbidden love but the heart wants what it cannot have. Two years apart has not broken the desire or love although life continued in the absence of one another. The $ex scenes are intimate without the over the top sexually graphic language and text.

We are introduced to Serena’s sister Janelle, as well as Oliver Landon, a man who sets out to destroy the love between Serena and Ryder.

The world building focuses on the forbidden relationship between Ryder and Serena; the power and control of one man over his family; and one woman’s struggle to uncover the truth about the mother who disappeared years before. Serena is all but a prisoner in the house she once called a home, and Ryder will become a glimpse into freedom but not for very long.

IF I DREAM is an emotional, heartbreaking, angst-ridden story line of betrayal, love and deceit. The premise is dramatic and intense ; the characters are tragic and passionate; the romance is seductive and painful. IF I DREAM ends on a cliffhanger-so you have been forewarned.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

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His Undeniable Secret (A New Adult Erotic Romance) by Shayla Black-review and book tour

HIS UNDENIABLE SECRET ( A New Adult Erotic Romance) by Shayla Black-review and book tour

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His Undeniable Secret

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*Previously published in the Alphas of Sin Anthology

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date January 23, 2017

I’m Kayla.

I’m twenty one.

I’m afraid because ever since a sudden, terrible tragedy, I’m alone in the world—except for my brother’s best friend. But now Oliver intends to move back to London.
I’m in love with him. And I have to persuade him to stay…somehow.

Maybe if I tell him I’m a virgin and show him just how far I’m willing to go to keep him, he’ll give in.

Of course, I never expected that he’d be keeping a shocking secret of his own…

•••••••••

Review

REVIEW: HIS UNDENIABLE SECRET by Shayla Black is a stand alone short story of erotica focusing on Kayla, a twenty one year old college student, and Oliver Ryan.

Told from first person point of view (Kayla) HIS UNDENIABLE SECRET focuses on the ‘best friend’s little sister’ premise wherein weeks after the accident that claimed the life of Kayla’s brother Shane, Oliver Ryan has made the decision to move back to England in the hopes of forgetting about the woman that calls to his heart. Oliver has always been attracted to his best friend’s little sister, and moving out of the country is the best way to put distance between him and the woman he loves. What ensues is a quick proclamation of love, and the sexual adventures of a woman who loses her virginity to the man with whom she will spend her forever.

HIS UNDENIABLE SECRET is a very quick read of erotica. The majority of the story line focuses on the sexual relationship between two people who have loved one another from afar but were afraid to take the first step towards the rest of their lives. The premise is provocative; the $ex scenes are intimate and animated with all of the requisite graphic sexual language found in the erotica genre; the character building is virtually non-existent as the story line covers but a couple of hours in the life with a look towards the future.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

His Undeniable Secret teaser

About the Author

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

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

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

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Wild Poppy (Wildflower #4) by Vivian Winslow-Review

WILD POPPY (Wildflower #4) by Vivian Winslow-a review

Wild Poppy

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The daughter of a renown media mogul, Poppy Koslowski has her life turned upside down overnight when her father is indicted for a massive fraud that leads to the loss of her family’s fortune. In the wake of the scandal, Poppy moves to Paris at the behest of her aunt, the Countess Domel, who, unbeknownst to Poppy, intends to find a wealthy husband for her niece in order to ensure her future. Poppy, however, has her own dreams of finishing school and realizing her goal of becoming an award-winning journalist. When she meets Henri Olin, the passionate and seductive illegitimate son of one of France’s most powerful politicians, his political and social ideology introduces Poppy to a world very different from her own. Yet, Poppy ultimately learns that everything comes at a price, even love. After suffering a devastating loss, Poppy finds herself alone and virtually penniless, and is forced to make her way back to America to piece together the remnants of her life in New York City. There, she rediscovers her passion once again, only to be confronted with yet another life choice, one that will forever shape her destiny.

REVIEW

5 out of 5 for this reader folks!

Be still my freaking aching heart VIVIAN WINSLOW! Give a reader a warning next time why don’t you hunny! I was a freaking mess of emotional goo by the end of this book and I have to say you delivered some serious “AHA” moments here. This out of all of the books I have reviewed for you is my absolute FAVE!

Wild Poppy by Vivian Winslow is a contemporary romance and the fourth book in her “Wildflowers” Series. I suppose you do not have to read the previous 3 to appreciate this book, but I will say that you will be missing out on a great experience if you do not. This book is about a character in previous books that is very influential and understanding why she is the way she is was the best part of this book for me. You can totally love the story for what it is, but you will enjoy it so much more understanding the history.

Poppy Koslowski is the daughter of a prominent couple, privileged and her direction is mapped out for her. When her father is arrested her mother and her are left with nothing and Poppy is sent away to Paris to stay with her aunt. She meets and falls in love with a man named Henri who shows her a life she never could have imagined possible. But not all is as it seems and before we know it she is desolate and alone again. Her next step in life takes her across the ocean where she is hoping to put the pieces back together and live her dream of becoming a journalist. She however is afforded an opportunity that can shape the rest of her life and she is left with a question of living for the now or for the future.

Ok so not quite the best synopsis of what this story is about, but I am not ruining any of the story for you an quite frankly I want to review something far different than mapping out how this story happened. I want to review what Vivian so wisely did here. Vivian laid out a “life lesson”, “heart vs security”, “what would you do” kind of story. So much has been thrown at Poppy in her young life. So much hurt and pain, cruel life lessons that one has to wonder how she picks herself up and carries on. How does one believe in dreams and love when one has been beaten down? This book really made me stop and think. Would I want a life of maybe’s and happiness, or of security and a colder existence? After what this strong woman went through I can only imagine how hard of a choice that is. I tell ya Vivian, I sure understand Poppy a whole heck of a lot more in the previous books now.

Poppy is one of the best female characters I have read in a while. She is multi-layered and while naive (that comes with her age), she is developing into a very strong woman. I am really looking forward to the next book and I am really anxious to see what decisions are made next. Excellent story flow with some yummy scenes, and I love that we travelled the world a bit as well.

HAPPY READING!

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Rachel T.

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Safe Bet (The Rules #4) by Monica Murphy-Review and Book Tour

SAFE BET (The Rules #4) by Monica Murphy-Review and Book Tour

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SAFE BET
The Rules #4
by Monica Murphy
Genre: new adult,contemporary,romance
Release Date: January 10, 2017

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2iBpT8e

Safe Bet

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About the book: Release Date January 10, 2017

Sydney Walker’s new job is perfect. As the live-in nanny to the most famous quarterback in the NFL and his beautiful wife, she couldn’t have it any better. Their kids are adorable. Her bosses are more than generous. Plus, there are hot football players at the house all the time. Life can’t get much better than this.

Until her life turns into an absolute nightmare. The media is abuzz with rumors that she and her boss Drew Callahan are having a torrid affair. Everyone knows the truth—except the public. So Drew’s wife Fable comes up with the perfect idea.

She creates a fake relationship between Sydney and one of the rookie players on Drew’s team. Wade Knox is forever indebted to Drew and Fable and readily agrees to the set up. Pretending to be in a romantic relationship with the hot nanny for a week—how hard can it be?

Crazy how it only takes one week for two people to fall head over heels in love…

••••••••

REVIEW: SAFE BET is the fourth installment in Monica Murphy’s contemporary, new adult THE RULE romance series. This is twenty two year old, NFL wide receiverWade Knox, and nineteen year old nanny Sydney Walker’s story line. SAFE BET features characters from Monica Murphy’s THE RULES and ONE WEEK GIRLFRIEND (Drew and Fable) series, and can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Sydney is Gabe’s (In the Dark #2) younger sister; Wade is best friends with Fable’s brother Owen (Four Years Later-Drew and Fable).

Told from dual first person perspectives (Sydney and Wade) with a couple of chapters from Fable Callahan’s POV, SAFE BET focuses on the ‘fake girlfriend’ premise following the media reports that Sydney is having an affair with her boss Drew Callahan. Weeks earlier Sydney found herself homeless and in need of a job when she lied to her millionaire parents about college-the fact that she didn’t intend to go to college at all. Fast forward and her brother Gabe finds our heroine a position as the nanny for one of the NFL’s hottest quarterbacks, but in the ensuing weeks Sydney will find herself immersed in a paparazzi scandal when images of her and Drew Callahan surface purporting the sports hero to be having a torrid affair with his live in nanny. Enter Wade Knox, the Niners’s newest recruit, and Drew’s friend, and the man who will steal our heroine’s heart. What ensues is the fake boyfriend/girlfriend arrangement that quickly turns into something more.

SAFE BET is a story of family, friendship and love; a ‘one week girlfriend’ scenario that focuses on distracting the media from the lies they have propagated in the hopes of taking down a professional sports hero.

The relationship between Sydney and Wade is one of immediate attraction but Sydney does not want to lose her job with an ill-timed affair with her boss’s friend. The ‘fake girlfriend’ scenario is perfect until the heart wants something more. The cross over between series brings familiarity and some backstory to fans of both THE RULES and DREW AND FABLE’S (One Week Girlfriend) series. It was wonderful to catch up with Drew and Fable, and their expanding family, as well as Owen and Chelsea, and his rising star. The premise is sweet and sexy; the romance is fated; the characters are spirited and lively. SAFE BET is a lighthearted story with passionate characters and wonderful happily ever after. There is very little external conflict affecting the couple’s relationship.

Copy supplied for review

Reviewed by Sandy

Safe Bet teaser

Excerpt beige

“Drew!” Fable calls, waving him over. “Come meet Sydney.”
He starts to head over there and when he sends me a look over his shoulder, I reluctantly follow him. I really don’t need to be involved in this scenario, but I just can’t tell him that, can I? It would be rude. And I’m never rude to Drew and Fable.
Ever.
“Sydney, this is my husband, Drew. Drew, this is Sydney Walker. She’s going to be our new nanny,” Fable says, sounding pleased. She looks over at her husband with a little wince. “I hope you don’t mind that I went ahead and hired her.”
“Of course I don’t mind. I trust your judgment.” Drew turns to greet Sydney. “Good to meet you,” he says as he gives Sydney a firm handshake. She’s staring up at him, her lips slightly parted, her eyes wide. Full on awestruck, which is typical. He’s a superstar. That’s how most people look at Drew when they first meet him.
“Hi,” she squeaks, her cheeks going pink as she releases Drew’s hand. Her gaze slips to mine, and then flitters away. But that one quick glance was like a sucker punch to my gut.
The nanny is beautiful.
I take a deep breath, shoving my hands in my jeans’ pockets so I won’t do something stupid—like try to grab her. She has pretty blue eyes and a full mouth that’s made for kissing. Her curves are even lusher than I first realized. She has full hips and a tiny waist and shapely legs. But I can’t worry about pretty nannies right now. I have to concentrate on work.
It still blows my mind that I might play for the NFL. That football is my job. I’m a lucky son-of-a-bitch.
“Sydney, this is Wade Knox. He’s an old family friend,” Fable says, knocking me from my thoughts. I blink and look down to find Sydney smiling up at me, interest clearly showing in her gaze. Hmm. “Wade, this is Sydney.”
“Hey Sydney.” I shake her hand, electricity pulsing between us the moment our palms touch. She jerks her hand away from mine as if I burned her. Guess she felt it too.
Interesting.
“Nice to meet you,” she murmurs as she takes a step back. Like she needs the distance.
Even more interesting.
We make small talk for a few minutes before Fable takes Sydney back to the house, and the moment the door shuts behind them, Drew’s talking.
“The nanny’s cute,” he observes, his voice way too nonchalant.
“Uh huh.”
“She looked at you like she thought you were cute, too.”
I roll my eyes. He never says stuff like this, so what’s his deal? “Cute? What are you doing? Trying to play matchmaker?” I send him a pointed look. “Give me a break. I don’t need the distraction.”

 

Slow PlaySLOW PLAY
(The Rules #3)
by Monica Murphy
Genre: New Adult, contemporary, romance

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

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 13, 2015

Newly broke girl Alexandria Asher just wants to live a normal life. After her parents are sent to prison on embezzlement charges, she enrolls in college under her mother’s maiden name and tries her best to pretend she’s someone else.

Tristan Prescott is everything Alex is trying to avoid. A seemingly egotistical, lazy, rich jerk, she dumps her beer on his head when he comes on to her one night at a party. This only spurs Tristan into action. He loves nothing more than a challenge. And the beautiful Alex is exactly the type of challenge that intrigues him.

Despite her reluctance, Alex finds herself quickly involved with Tristan. Underneath that playboy exterior is a good guy, a sweet and sexy guy who she is undoubtedly falling for. What they both don’t realize is the actions of Alex’s parents are the reason for so much tragedy in Tristan’s family. And when Tristan discovers who Alex and her family really is, can he forgive and forget?

•••••••

REVIEW: SLOW PLAY is the third installment in Monica Murphy’s contemporary, new adult THE RULES romance series focusing on a tight night group of college friends. This is Tristan Prescott, and Alexandria Asher’s story line. SLOW PLAY can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Any important information from previous story lines is revealed where necessary.

Told from dual first person points of view (Tristan and Alexandria) SLOW PLAY focuses on the building relationship between two college students –Tristan Prescott and Alexandria Asher. Tristan’s reputation as a manwhore precedes his introduction to Alexandria Asher. His acerbic personality, rude comments, and childish behavior are three strikes against our story line hero that continue to grow throughout the series. Alexandria Asher is a young woman who once had it all but her parent’s fall from grace has left Alexandria struggling to make it on her own. Meeting Tristan Prescott pushes all of her buttons because she is attracted to the man who gets on her nerves. What ensues is the growing love between two people who keep secret their dark and heartbreaking pasts where lies, betrayal and secrets will come to the surface and destroy everything they had together.

The attraction between Tristan and Alexandria is immediate but Alex has a difficult with Tristan’s less than appropriate behavior and sexual come-ons. Tristan is a man who goes for what he wants and he wants Alex in his bed and between the sheets. He is cocky and self centered; extremely gifted when it comes to the woman in his life. He is not looking for a relationship and in this the struggle between Tristan and Alex continues to grow. The $ex scenes are intimate and intense.

All of the previous story line couples play secondary and supporting characters including Jade and Shep (Fair Game #1), and Gabe and Lucy (In the Dark #2), as well as an assortment of friends, roommates and potential love interests.

The world building continues to focus on the love lives of several college friends. There is a wide assortment of personalities that allows for a continuous growth in the character development. There are several references to ‘Sex in the City’ and if you are a fan you will recognize most if not all.

SLOW PLAY is a sexy and intimate story; the push and pull of heartbreak and passion. The premise is enjoyable and pleasant ; the characters are passionate and animated; the romance is tender and encouraging.

Reviewed by Sandy

About The Author beige

Monica MurphyMonica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.

She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.

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Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson-Review, Interview & Giveaway

Lessons in Letting Go (Study Abroad #3) by Jessica Peterson – Review, Interview & Giveaway

Lessons in Letting Go Banner

Lessons in Letting Go
Study Abroad #3
by Jessica Peterson
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Genre: new adult, contemporary, romance

Lessons in Letting Go

Amazon.com / Amazon.ca / KOBO /

ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date December 12, 2016

“Ten minutes ago, I was just an American student studying abroad in Spain. But now? Now I’m a professional soccer player’s muse. His good luck charm…”

Soccer star Rhys Maddox’s recovery from an injury isn’t going well—until one night with a beautiful American and a few terrible pick-up lines changes everything. With Laura at his side, he plays smarter, runs faster, and fights harder than he ever has on the pitch. She’s just the good luck charm he needs to turn his flailing career around.

Laura Bennet begins her semester in Madrid with plans to ditch bad habits and worse boyfriends. But when she unexpectedly gets caught up in Rhys’s A-list life, her plans are put on hold. Who wouldn’t skip class to fly on a private jet with a studly Welsh footballer? It’s a no brainer, or so she thinks. Turns out Rhys’s glamorous lifestyle hides an obsession with appearances—an obsession that makes her totally miserable. Determined to take back her happiness, Laura decides to dump Rhys and tackle a “Spain Bucket List” on her own.

But Rhys isn’t letting his good luck charm go without a fight. He’s spent his entire life trying to earn his way into the big leagues, and he’ll do anything to win—even risk his carefully crafted image to help Laura with her bucket list. Will he be able to let go of his ego? Or will he and Laura ultimately let go of each other?

•••••••••••

REVIEW: Let’s all be honest, we all have inner demons and hang ups in our lives. Whether we let those inner demons and hang ups control our lives is up to us. Whether it’s a past we are trying to leave behind or a fear that constrains way of living, we all have our inner demons and hang ups. In this story we have the beautiful yet bright student Laura who wants to shed her people pleasing skin to be more emotionally free to have more fun and to stop caring about her weight so much to enjoy real food. And then we have rising soccer star Rhys who came from a very poor family in Wales who puts so much unnecessary pressure on himself to provide for his family. He is always constantly fighting his inner demons that he doesn’t want to repeat his father’s mistakes. Will Rhys and Laura let go of their demons and hang ups to really live their lives and find love in each other’s arms?

I really enjoyed how likeable Laura was but what I really appreciated was how relatable her issues were. Being a people pleaser and being overly concern about weight are very relatable issues many women have. I also enjoyed reading about Rhys letting go of his inner demons as well, that just because he deviates from his rigid schedule and routine doesn’t mean that he’s going to end up a washed up failure at soccer like his dad. The character growth and development were elements of the book I really enjoyed. Laura was able to enjoy real food and not get upset over the slight weight gain. She was able to do things for her and not for others, she was even able to assert herself to do the things she wanted. Rhys was able to free himself of letting his father’s mistake rule his every action. I truly enjoy reading Laura and Rhys’s journey to emotional freedom.

I really liked this book. The book was tastefully sexy but had literary substance to it. You would think all the hangs ups and inner demons concept would bring down the mood of the book but doesn’t. The book has an uplifting and encouraging tone to it that is refreshing. I enjoyed this book so much that I went ahead to purchase the rest of the series. Another plus, the book can read alone with no issues of missing parts of the previous books. I highly recommend this read I really do.

Copy supplied for review.

Reviewed by Xtina

excerpt

 

Rhys That Night

“Zat, it was fucking awesome, mate!” Olivier says, pounding me on the back. “Where did it come from? For so many months, you play like a terrible child. But today? Today you play like a champion.”
“Thanks, dickhead,” I say, laughing as I tug on my trousers. The familiar scents of the locker room—sweat, soap, antiseptic—surround me. For the first time in forever, they fill me with hope. Happiness. I’m actually glad to be here. “Nice goal, by the way.”
“Not as nice as ze assist.”
“That’s it, Cabbage!” William Wallace—I don’t think anyone knows his real name anymore—appears at my elbow, clapping loudly. “Whatever girl you and your dobber mates were chattin’ about at training, I want you to see more of her! I haven’t seen ye play like this since before ye balls dropped.”
“Thanks,” I say.
“I mean it,” he says, looking me in the eye. “Ye’re comin’ back, lad. Keep it up, yeah?”
I fight back a smile. The relief that floods me—the disbelief that my luck might actually be turning—is overwhelming. I finally played like the legend I hope to be. In this sport, legends get paid very, very well. And heaven knows I could do a lot of things for a lot of people with that money.
My sponsors lit up my mobile tonight. I even got a new one—a giant diamond company—that promised to pay me twenty thousand euros if I showed up at their event tomorrow night.
Needless to say, I cleared my schedule and accepted the invitation. Relationships with sponsors are fragile, so I always make an effort to put my best foot forward and attend every event they invite me to.
I shake hands, slap backs, smile as the squad compliments me on the pass. But all the while I’m thinking of only one thing.
One girl.
I admit I’m superstitious—what athlete isn’t?—but even I’m not daft enough to think my legendary performance today has anything to do with Laura, or the ridiculously intense orgasms we had together. Orgasms are magical, sure, but they don’t have magical powers.
Do they?
Because that feeling I got when I gunned down the pitch, the way my instincts took over, and guided me—it came from the same deeply buried place inside me that came alive when I fucked Laura, her eyes wet and lucid, her hair wild, her silky skin flushed.
Maybe coach is right. Maybe Laura did make me play any better today. It makes sense—sort of. Nothing else about my life has changed in the past week. I ate the same food, trained the same way, slept my customary nine hours a night.
Hanging out with Laura was the only deviation from my carefully scripted schedule. It was the only time I had fun, cut loose. I spend so much time doing the things I should or need to do; I rarely do what I want. I wanted to get naked with Laura, so I did. There was something so…liberating about it.
Sure, I’ve thought about Laura this week. I haven’t called her, though, because that’s my rule. But I have to admit that even my training sessions were better—every single one of them.
I suppose playing so well in the match today just confirms that there’s something at work here.
That I finally played really, really well for the first time since blowing out my knee after I slept with Laura could be purely coincidental. It could be a not-so-funny joke, engineered by the big guy in the sky. The connection between my performance and Laura could mean nothing.
Then again, it could mean everything. It could mean the difference between being demoted from first team, and making all my dreams come true. If I keep playing like I did tonight, there’s a seriously exciting future ahead of me. A future where I can do right by my family, and prove to the world I’m not going to wash up like my deadbeat dad. A future with the biggest sponsors and the biggest paychecks and the best bet to live the life I’ve always wanted for myself, and for mum, and for Maggie.
The kind of life dad promised us, but never delivered on.
I’m certainly not alone in my superstitions. Alexandr swore it was wearing the bright yellow boots his wife “blessed” with a kiss every morning that made his performance in last year’s Euro Cup so astounding. Fred’s got his ice cream. Sergio bangs on the brick wall outside the locker room exactly six times before every match. If he doesn’t, his play will be rotten (so he says). As athletes, so much of our professional lives—our successes, our failures—depends on chance. To touch the divine, and play like the gods we want to be, the timing’s got to be just right; the stars have to align; that ever-elusive shadow called luck must be on our side.
No one knows what it is, exactly, that keeps that shadow in our corner, or lures it away. I’d sell my soul to know the nebulous math that solves the equation in my favor. But as much as I believe in the power chance, I also believe in my own power—my own agency. I can’t control luck, but I can run after it as hard and as fast as I can.
Tonight, I ran pretty damn fast.
Shrugging into my suit jacket, I know what I have to do. I have too much at risk to underestimate this Laura thing. Maybe it’s real, maybe it’s not, but I will do anything—bloody anything—to keep my stars aligned.
Lucky for me, that “anything” is a gorgeous girl with an even more gorgeous body. Just thinking about that body, the way her pussy clenched around me again and again, has me adjusting the crotch of my trousers.
I’ve got to run like hell after Laura, and convince her, somehow, to let me see her again. Tomorrow, perhaps. I’ll apologize for not calling sooner, tell her I’ve been busy with training. The diamond guys want me to bring a date to the event, and Laura would look really hot in heels and a tight little dress.
With the most important season of my career on the line, I have to see her. Perhaps make her laugh with more awful pick-up lines, or give her another orgasm, or five. God, the look in her eyes when I slammed inside her…
I swallow, hard.
It’s not serious. It can’t be. But I’ve got to see her.
I think I just stumbled upon the good luck charm I’ve been looking for.
***
Laura

Monday

Today is my first day at the Santa Caterina After School Program (bucket list item #6: Community service—tutor kids, literacy work). Considering I’ve spent the past hour in a classroom with twenty-three five and six year olds I’ve only just met, it’s going pretty well. Only one little boy peed his pants, and the kids seem to be enjoying my terrible Spanish renditions of some of my favorite picture books (The Giving Tree gets me every.damn.time., even in a different language).
I’ve always been a big reader—I began sneaking romance novels from my mom’s bookshelf when I was eleven, and now my massive collection of pink- and purple-spined paperbacks is the thing I treasure most in this world—so I knew when I got to college I wanted to do some kind of literacy work. My dirty book habit aside, I hoped to work with underprivileged kids. I remember what a proud, magical moment it was when I learned to read, and I wanted to relive that feeling with the children I volunteered with.
The kids and I are seated in a circle on the floor. They’re a little fidgety—being asked to sit quietly after a full day of school is not easy when you’re six—but they return my smile when I close The Giving Tree and settle it in my lap.
So, I ask in embarrassingly stilted Spanish, the giving tree was very kind and generous with the little boy. Is there anyone in your life who is kind and generous with you? Someone who gave you something special?
A few small hands shoot up. I point to a little girl who is missing her front teeth.
My dad says Rhys Maddox is going to give us a title this year, but only if he doesn’t play like garbage.
I blink. Seriously? I can’t get away from this guy. Less than twenty-four hours ago, I swore to dedicate myself to my bucket list. And yet here Rhys is, invading my carefully guarded personal space once again. Damn him and his ridiculous, delicious, rock-hard body. Oh, that body…
Yeah, another girl in pigtails says. My dad says Rhys Maddox can be the best player in the world if he just gets his head out of his ass.
“Whoa!” I say, before remembering to use Spanish. Celeste, excuse me, but you cannot use that word here.
Rhys Maddox would be kind and generous if he played as well as he did last night so we could win the war against Barcelona, a little boy named Miguel says.
Well, it’s not a real war, I say. The rivalry between the football clubs in Madrid and Barcelona is intense. Some Spaniards—older generations, mostly—see that rivalry as a continuation of the Spanish Civil War, or at least a reenactment of it.
My grandpa says it is, he replies. We’ve been fighting it for a thousand years, and only Rhys Maddox can win it with a league title.
I bite back a grin. I can’t resist. Do you think Rhys Maddox is kind, like the giving tree?
Maybe, a little boy says when I call on him. My mom says he is very handsome. It makes her happy when he takes his shirt off. So maybe that means he is kind?
Hmmm, I say. My belly aches from trying not to laugh. I’m not so sure about that one.
When we finish up reading hour, I take the kids outside to play on the playground. I jump when my phone, tucked into the back pocket of my jeans, begins to ring.
Are you all right, Miss Bennet? Miguel looks up at me, holding a hand to his forehead against the fading sun.
I grin at him and nod, even though my heart weirdly begins to pound as I dig my phone out of my pocket. The girls I went to the soccer game with usually text me; so do my friends back home. The only people who actually call me are Em and my parents. And considering both—well, all three of those people know I’m working right now, they wouldn’t be calling me unless it was an emergency.
I glance at the screen. It’s a number I don’t recognize—a European number. My heart pounds faster. For one stupid, heady heartbeat, I think it might be Rhys, finally making good on his promise to call.
I look around, quickly. I’m not supposed to use my phone while I’m with the kids, but this could be an emergency. Ducking into the shade of a nearby bench, I slide my thumb across the bottom of the screen.
“Hello?”
“Laura?”
My stomach plummets at the familiar rumble of the voice that greets me.
Holy shit. It can’t be. No way. No freaking way. I bite the inside of my lip, just to make sure I’m awake and alive and that this is really happening.
“Uh. Yes?”
“It’s Rhys. Rhys Maddox.”
I take a deep breath, let it out. “Oh, hey, uh, Rhys. What’s, um. What’s up?”
Barf. Why do I have to be so awkward?
“I want to see you,” he says.
“See me?”
“Yeah. Where are you?”
“Where am I? Like, physically?”
“Yes.” He laughs. “Where on the Earth are you located?”
“Right now?”
“Yes. Where are you right now?” There’s a loud noise in the background, like he’s vacuuming or something. Only Rhys wouldn’t vacuum because he’s, well, Rhys Maddox.
What the hell?
“Um.” I glance at the playground. “I’m volunteering at Santa Caterina. It’s this after school program in—God, I actually forget what the neighborhood is called. It’s not in the best area in the city…”
“You’re at Santa Caterina?”
My stomach drops again. “Do you know it?”
“No. But I’ve got Google maps. I’ll be there in twenty.”
Now I really feel like I’m going to barf. “Wait, Rhys—no. No, don’t…please, you don’t have to—”
He already hung up.
I drop my phone on the bench, my hands shaking as I smooth my hair back from my face. I feel like I just got electrocuted. Be cool, I tell myself. Stay calm.
But how in the world am I supposed to stay calm when Rhys Maddox is on his way here? After calling me? And inexplicably telling me he wants to see me?
I don’t get why he’s in such a rush. Did he just find out he has a horrible, non-curable STD he passed on to me? Is he just in a good mood after his win last night? Does he want to get naked again?
I mean, what the frick is going on?
I stand up and survey my outfit. Of course Rhys would pick the day I’m dressed like a sweaty hippie hobo to drop into my life. I was more than a little hung over this morning after yesterday’s shenanigans at the football stadium, so I only had time for cruddy jeans and a little mascara before I had to leave for class. And after hanging outside in this heat, I probably smell just lovely.
I run my hands through my hair, giving my tired waves a bit of a boost. I adjust my shirt and discreetly check for any signs of BO. The situation isn’t great, but it isn’t terrible, either.
I take another deep breath. Be cool. Be calm.
And then I laugh at the absurdity of trying to be either of those things when the hottest, sexiest human on the planet just called to say he wants to see me this very minute. I am so out of my depth here. And I can’t tell if that excites or terrifies me.
***
When the throaty rumble of an exotic sports car fills the playground, I feel like I’m going to faint. On cue, the kids drop whatever they were doing and hurry toward the fence. They let out little gasps of surprise as a black convertible Lamborghini pulls up to the curb.
I bared myself to Rhys in every sense of the word last week. I felt relatively brave then. But now? Not so much. I feel embarrassed. Some small, mean part of me thinks he came here just to make fun of me for my hairy vagina or awful, pretend o-face.
I remind myself I have nothing to lose, that I’m focusing on me, myself, and my bucket list this semester, but that doesn’t do much to slow my racing pulse.
I look down at a tug on my hand. It’s the little girl with the missing front teeth.
It’s all right, Miss Bennet, she says. That’s Batman. He is kind and generous, just like the giving tree. Although sometimes he kills people, too.
Rhys revs the engine one last time—boys and their toys, so ridiculous—before he turns off the car and climbs out, tucking his sunglasses into the front pocket of his tuxedo jacket.
That’s right. As if this whole scenario wasn’t ridiculous enough, Rhys is wearing a goddamn tuxedo. I feel like I’m in a commercial, one of those ads that’s trying to sell probiotic yogurt to middle-aged women. Rhys is one tall class of yogurt—water—whatever—in his dapper duds. I didn’t know feeling weak in the knees was actually a thing until this very moment. I grab onto the fence to steady myself.

 

Interview

TRC:  Hi Jessica, and welcome to The Reading Cafe.

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

Follow: Goodreads / Website / Twitter / Facebook

Jessica PetersonJessica:  Hi there! First, thank you very much for having me; I’m so excited to be here! So I’m a thirty-something writer living in North Carolina with my husband, Ben, and our smelly Goldendoodle, Martha Bean. My STUDY ABROAD series is based on my own experience studying in Madrid, Spain, more than ten (!) years ago.

TRC:  Who or what influenced your career in writing?

Jessica:  Great question. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, but it took me a while to finally sit down and write a book. I started out writing historicals, but after I read the likes of Elle Kennedy and Kristen Callihan, I knew I had to write some smexy contemporary romance. It’s been a lot of fun!

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

Jessica:  Oh, wow, lots. I started out writing historicals for a traditional publisher, but they did not renew my contract for a second series. I was totally crushed and didn’t know where to go next with my writing. I wasn’t so sure about the indie thing, but once I started, I found I was a much happier writer–a much BETTER writer–and that I enjoyed the process so much more. It hasn’t been easy, and it’s a struggle sometimes not to get discouraged when everyone around you seems to be selling millions of books and you’re not, but I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, and I still get goosebumps every morning when I sit at my computer and read what I wrote the day before. It’s a dream come true for sure!

TRC:  Would you please tell us something about the premise of LESSONS IN LETTING GO?

Lessons in Letting GoJessica:  Sure! This is my first sports romance I’ve ever written, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the sports angle…maybe because I enjoyed googling shirtless footballers WAY too much. I pitch it as a hot, tortured Welsh footballer + ambitious American student + orgasm-heavy bucket list. Totally delicious!

TRC:  How many books do you have planned for the series? Can each book be read as a stand alone without any difficulty?

Jessica:  While LESSONS IN LETTING GO is the third book in the series, it can absolutely be read as a standalone–so can the previous two books in the series, SPANISH LESSONS and LESSONS IN GRAVITY.

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

Jessica:  So plotting is definitely not my strong suit, and I look to my editor for a lot of guidance there. I’m a “pantser”, meaning I don’t outline before I write (I just get bored). My method is labor intensive–edits can be a total beast–but I’d like to think it works!

TRC:  Are any of the characters or scenarios based in reality or from people you know or met?

Jessica:  None of the characters are, but this book is basically the fantasy I had when I studied abroad that I’d meet a cute footballer and he’d fall in love with me (ha!). That never happened in real life, so of course I had to write a book about it.

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?

Jessica:  Not necessarily. It certainly doesn’t for me. I read a lot of romance blogs and am active on Twitter and Facebook; if people are raving about a book, I’ll usually buy it and check it out, regardless of what the cover looks like.

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

Jessica:  The characters definitely direct the writing. It’s all about internal and external conflict–those drive the characters, which drives the plot.

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

Jessica:  My editor is AMAZING and we work really well together when it comes to plotting. When I’m stuck, or I’m brainstorming, I’ll usually give her a call and we’ll talk for, like, four hours about how to make the book work. I usually have the characters, and she has the plot ideas.

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

Jessica:  I think it all comes back to the characters. You have to understand in them–you have to believe them and what they’re after. I think it’s especially to get the hero right in romance. I took Elizabeth Hoyt’s workshop on the hero a couple years ago at RWA, and her message–that if you get your hero right, you’re in a good place–has stuck with me.

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

Jessica:  I usually can’t listen to music when I’m writing, EXCEPT when I write a kissing or sex scene. Then music is essential. By the time I finish a book, I usually have a playlist of songs I’ve played hundreds of times. It captures the tone/mood of the story for me.

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

Jessica:  That writing is easy or enjoyable! Sure, I’m chasing down my dream job, but that doesn’t mean that I sit down at my computer with a smile and happily type away until the book is done. Most days are boring, lonely, and HARD. But then you get that one day where the plot comes together or you write a scene that gives you chills and you’re so happy you want to cry. THAT is what keeps me coming back, page after page.

TRC:  On what are you currently working?

Jessica:  I’m currently working on what was supposed to be a novella (STUDY ABROAD #3.5), but apparently I’m incapable of writing anything shorter than 60,000 words. So this next book will probably turn into a full-length novel. I’m kicking around the idea of using it to create a spin-off footballer series. We’ll see!

TRC:  Would you like to add anything else?

Jessica:  Thanks again for having me–this was so fun!

LIGHTNING ROUND

Favorite TV show: right now, THE CROWN on Netflix. Love anything to do with royalty!

Last movie you saw: DR. STRANGE. God I love Benedict.

Favorite Food: Right now? A great cup of coffee first thing.

Favorite Dessert: Definitely cake. Preferably from a box, with icing from a can. YUM.

Dark or Milk Chocolate: Milk chocolate all the way! Reese’s are my favorite.

Favorite Celebrity Crush: Right now I’m digging Sergio Ramos, a super hot Spanish soccer player. Google him. You won’t be sorry.

Last Vacation Destination: Colorado for some skiing.

Last book you read: EVERYTHING I LEFT UNSAID by Molly O’Keefe. So.damn.good.

Do you have any pets: Yes! Last year we got a Goldendoodle puppy named Martha Bean. Now I’m that crazy dog lady who treats her dog like a human. She’s the best writing companion ever!

Thank you Jessica for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of LESSONS IN LETTING GO

 

Giveaway Black and Lime

Jessica Peterson is graciously offering an ecopy of LESSON IN LETTING GO-book 3 in her Study Abroad series to three (3) lucky commenters at The Reading Cafe.

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9.. Giveaway runs from December 12-16, 2016

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