Intended For Bristol by L.P. Dover (Second Chances #9)

Title: Intended for Bristol
Series: Second Chances
Author: L.P. Dover
Genre: Romantic Suspense

L. P. Dover’s tantalizing Second Chances series scores once again as the Carolina Cougars’ infamous bad boy takes a shot at seducing a driven career woman who’s supposed to be out of bounds.

Trying to live down his very public indiscretions, Carolina Cougars kicker Jaxon Reed feels like the most hated man in the NFL. Fans and teammates alike treat him with the disrespect he figures he deserves. Unfortunately for them, Jaxon’s no easy target. As payback, he sets his sights on the quarterback’s sister: a sultry brunette who’s curvy, confident, and sexy as hell. But what begins as a revenge fling turns into so much more—a lesson in humanity, and in love.

Bristol Thomas doesn’t have time for games, especially those played by her brother’s Neanderthal teammates. A talented interior designer with lofty goals, she doesn’t know the first thing about football, or Jaxon—except that he’s exactly the type of man she usually avoids. But when his deep laugh and deeper kisses break through her walls, she becomes the target of a fan who’s obsessed with Jaxon. Now she needs to know that Jaxon has her back . . . because he already has her heart.

**Intended for Bristol is an Interconnected Standalone in the Second Chances Series**

 

Hey,” I squealed, waving my hand in the air. I was so happy my brother would finally get to meet Jack.

He walked toward me with a smile, but when he caught sight of Jack, that smile turned into an all-out heated glare. “What the fuck are you doing here?” he growled, quickening his pace.

Jack froze and gripped my arm, grumbling, “Shit,” before pulling me around to face him. “Bristol, listen to me. This isn’t how I wanted you to find out.”

Everything was happening so fast, I didn’t know what to think. “Find out what?” I asked desperately.

Before he could reply, Ryan ripped me out of Jack’s hold and pushed him away. Jaw tense, Jack was ready to fight, but I couldn’t let that happen. “Ryan, stop!” I shouted, digging my nails in his shoulder.

Jerking his head around, he glared straight at me. “Do you even know who this cocksucker is? He’s playing you to get back at me.”

I threw my hands in the air. “What the hell are you talking about? How do you even know him?”

Jack’s eyes never left mine, the anguish on his face making me sicker by the second. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to like what came out of Ryan’s mouth. He scoffed incredulously and spat

at Jack. “He’s Jaxon fucking Reed, the asshole on the team I’ve been telling you about. Don’t tell me you didn’t know?”

Jack stepped forward, but then again, that wasn’t his name. It was Jaxon Reed.

 

*****REVIEW FROM LIZ*****

Even the resident bad boy sometimes deserves a second chance, right? Jaxon Reed has not been a good guy for some time. He has made decisions that have hurt others and set him apart from his team, the Carolina Cougars.

Frustrated, though he knows he has no one else to blame but himself, he deicides no one messes with him. To show his teammates he does not care, he goes after the sister of one his teammates. What he finds is totally unexpected.

Bristol Thomas knows all about her brother’s teammates and she is having none of it. Avoiding all things football, she knows better than to get involved with any of them. That is until the one player sets his eyes on her. She is drawn to Jaxon, even as she tells herself she knows better, he slowly begins to break down her walls.

I have to say Jaxon was not at the top of my list of heroes, but sometimes a person can surprise you. He is still Jaxon and he is not perfect. He was not always able to hold back his bad boy ways, but somehow Bristol was able to penetrate him in a way no one else ever did. Sometimes all it takes is the love from the right person to make you a better person. Bristol was that for Jaxon.

It was nice to see a bad boy change and fall in love. Bristol was the right match for him and seeing them together brought out a better person in Jaxon that allowed him to redeem himself and start letting others in. Like previous books in the series, there is a bit of a mystery as well that added to the story.

As mentioned by the author, Intended for Bristol by L.P. Dover is a part of a series, though each book is an interconnected standalone. You do not have to read the other books in the series to enjoy this one. There is some background on the hero Jaxon Reed, but you never feel at a lost when reading this book.

Overall I found this book an enjoyable second chance sport romance.

I give Intended for Bristol by L.P. Dover 3.5-stars!

Don’t Miss the other SECOND CHANCES Stand Alones!

Carolina along with her husband and two beautiful girls. Before she even began her literary journey she worked in Periodontics enjoying the wonderment of dental surgeries.

Not only does she love to write, but she loves to play tennis, go on mountain hikes, white water rafting, and you can’t forget the passion for singing. Her two number one fans expect a concert each and every night before bedtime and those songs usually consist of Christmas carols.

Aside from being a wife and mother, L.P. Dover has written over twenty novels including her Forever Fae series, the Second Chances series, the Gloves Off series, the Armed & Dangerous series, the Royal Shifters series, and her standalone novel, Love, Lies, and Deception. Her favorite genre to read is romantic suspense and she also loves writing it. However, if she had to choose a setting to live in it would have to be with her faeries in the Land of the Fae.

L.P. Dover is represented by Marisa Corvisiero of Corvisiero Literary Agency.

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Nico by Sarah Castille (Ruin & Revenge #1)

nico-by-sarah-castilleAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: St. Martin’s

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Michelle

Las Vegas Mafia boss, Nico Toscani, is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off. . . Sexy computer hacker, Mia, struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties…but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?

All I can say is merry early Christmas to me. I read Nico in one sitting, not because it was short (it wasn’t) or an easy read (it wasn’t that either), but because I.COULD.NOT.PUT.IT.DOWN. I don’t know how Sarah Castille did it, but she made me fall in love with a mob boss. She has a talent for taking larger than life heroes and making a romance with them seem attainable for any woman.

Mia Cordano is not just any woman. She is the daughter of Don Cordano, who heads one of the three most powerful mafia families in Las Vegas. Unfortunately for her, everything in her rebels against the mafia lifestyle. In her world, women are married solely for political reasons and family advantages. They are property, there only to look pretty, raise children and keep up a certain image. Mia grew up watching her mother turn a blind eye to the physical and verbal abuse her father heaped out. Disobeying meant a beating, and Mia suffered her share of those, until she finally broke free. After leaving home and working her way through college, Mia has taken her talent for computer hacking and turned it into a successful – and legitimate – business.

It is that business that puts her on mafia boss and casino owner Nico Toscani’s radar. Having been hired by Nico’s casino manager to test their cyber security, Mia is caught in the act as she was sneaking out of the control room during her hack. She is no

stranger to powerful, arrogant men, but when she is brought to Nico to face the music, she is caught completely off guard. Aside from being the sexiest and most compelling man she’s ever seen, Nico is someone she knows from her past. The son of a rival mafia family, Nico has grown into a powerful and successful mafia businessman that most people think twice about crossing. Ten years ago, a teenaged Nico showed her compassion and support in the face of one of her father’s tirades, and ended up losing his own father that same night.

What follows is a dangerous cat and mouse game in which Nico focuses solely on possessing Mia. She wants Nico, but his life and everything he stands for are what she’s been rebelling against her entire life. There is a blood feud between their two families that is a decade old, stemming from the murder of Nico’s father Don Toscani. Working for him is dangerous. Being seen with him even more so. Having an intimate relationship with Nico is treacherous and puts both of their lives at risk.

There was an attraction between them that goes beyond sexual, and neither of them were able to deny it, despite the danger. Nico was bossy and self-assured and sexy as all hell. The way he single-mindedly pursued Mia despite the obstacles….. sigh. He could no more resist her than he could stop breathing, and Mia’s independence was no match for his magnetism.

I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that Nico is everything you could want in a sexy romance. Mia was a kick-ass heroine who wasn’t afraid to give Nico shit. She wanted him as desperately as he wanted her, but she was not an easy conquest. I could FEEL how much Nico wanted her, and he was as irresistible to me as he was to Mia. There are twists and turns and secondary characters that bring some surprises to the plot, and the writing was excellent as usual. Ms. Castille is at the top of my auto-read list and I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

I give Nico by Sarah Castille 5 stars!

One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis (Heartbreaker Bay #2.5)

one-snowy-night-by-jill-shalvisAvailable: Amazon

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Avon

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Michelle

It’s Christmas Eve and Rory Andrews is desperate to get home to the family she hasn’t seen in years. Problem is, her only ride to Lake Tahoe comes in the form of the annoyingly handsome Max Stranton, and his big, goofy, lovable dog Carl. Hours stuck in a truck with the dead sexy Max sounds like a fate worse than death (not), but Rory’s out of options. She’s had a crush on Max since high school and she knows he’s attracted to her, too. But they have history… and Max is the only one who knows why it went south. They’ve done a good job of ignoring their chemistry so far, but a long road trip in a massive blizzard might be just what they need to face their past… and one steamy, snowy night is all it takes to bring Max and Rory together at last.

One Snowy Night is part of Jill Shalvis’ Heartbreaker Bay series. It’s a novella, which means it’s a (very) short story. It’s wonderful, but I wish it had been longer. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re getting one hundred pages of Jill Shalvis goodness. The book actually ends two-thirds of the way in, and the rest is an excerpt from another book. I was more than slightly disappointed about that, but only because this author always leaves me wanting more, more, more.

Rory Andrews has not had an easy life. A disappointment to her family and with no real friends, she left home before graduating high school, desperate to get away. Unfortunately she learned quickly that life on her own could be even worse…until she was lucky enough to be “rescued” by Willa (from The Trouble with Mistletoe). Willa gives Rory a job, a place to stay and becomes someone she can count on. Now that she’s back on her feet, having earned her GED and adoring her job at Willa’s pet grooming shop, Rory decides to go home for the holidays. She is determined to show her family that she is not the screw-up who repeatedly let everyone down.

Unfortunately, getting home to her family means spending hours in the close confines of Max Stanton’s truck. Rory and Max share the same circle of friends, and Willa had arranged for Max to get Rory safely home. They also share a history from their hometown. In high school, Rory had a serious crush on Max, even though he was the popular jock who could have any girl he wanted, and Rory knew she wasn’t even on his radar. She’s not sure how they ended up in the same town, the same neighborhood, with the same friends years later, but she does her best to ignore the fact that her crush has evolved into an attraction for the all grown up Max.

Max remembers Rory from high school as the lonely troublemaker who ruined his chances at a basketball scholarship. Now, years later, she is on his radar for an entirely different reason: he wants her. He doesn’t want to want her, but he’s finding it more and more difficult to pretend he doesn’t feel the sexual pull between them.

Sharing a ride to Lake Tahoe with Rory isn’t on his top ten list of fun things to do, but as the snowy night closes in on them and they delve into not only their present lives, but their pasts, Max learns that everything he believed about high school Rory was wrong. And that gives him the push he needs to finally do something about the pesky attraction he feels for her.

I really liked both of these characters and wish this had been more than a novella. Jill Shalvis did a good job packing a full story into basically one night and giving Max and Rory their romantic journey to a happy ending.

I give One Snowy Night by Jill Shalvis 4 stars!

When The Clock Strikes Twelve by Elisabeth Grace

whentheclock_kindle

Cover Design: Marta Chade

Release Date: November 30, 2016

 
Max and Chloe had prepared themselves for a short trip to Aspen after celebrating Christmas in his Manhattan penthouse. It was the perfect opportunity to finalize their wedding details and get in a few runs on the snow-covered slopes. Being born and raised in Maine means Chloe’s no stranger to snow, but when a blizzard hits all their plans go awry. The result is something that will change both of their lives forever.

 

*****Review From Liz*****

I have to admit when I started reading this novella, I had not realized it was part of a series I had not yet read. Even so, it was an enjoyable holiday story of two people in love after their happily ever after.

Max and Chloe were in Aspen after the Christmas holiday to enjoy themselves and finalize plans for their upcoming wedding. They are happy and in love and looking forward to their future as husband and wife.

After this quick trip, Chloe planned a special surprise for Max to start the new year just right. That is until mother nature got in the way. Now stranded, can they find another way to celebrate the start of a new year? With the help of strangers they befriend that are also stranded, they find the perfect way to start the new year, even if it was not exactly what they planned.

Aside from this being a continuation of a series, this was really a fun, quick read of two people in love and living their happily ever after during the holidays. And though it could be read as a standalone, I know I want to go back and start the series from the beginning.

I give When The Clock Strikes Twelve by Elisabeth Grace 4-stars!

Goodreads

 

Giveaway

$10 Amazon Gift Card

 

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Other Books in the Series featuring new covers:
indecision_kindle
Indecision (Maine Attraction – Book 1)

Jackie Davenport will try anything once, especially in the bedroom. Anything except falling in love. She lives a carefree existence packed full of fun, but free from emotional entanglements and that’s just how she wants to keep it. When she meets the new police officer in town, she’s unable to deny the connection between them. His over confidence and bullish ways grate on her…still she can’t help but find herself falling into his bed AND falling for him.

Jamie McTavish is man enough to admit that he probably didn’t make the best first impression when he met the 911 Operator. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still sizzling sexual tension between them. He’s a man of action and he’s not content to sit on the sidelines until Jackie works out her issues. But trying to tame this tiger might be too big of a challenge for even him.

 

Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble ~ http://bit.ly/2gCqWDK

 

 indiscretion_kindle
Indiscretion (Maine Attraction – Book 2)

F*ck and chuck. Pump and dump. Hit it and quit it. One night stand. Didn’t matter how I branded it—that’s all she had wanted it to be. That much was clear when she left me with my pants down and my dick still out.

What she hadn’t counted on was fate intervening and our worlds colliding—again.

The day I showed back up in the life of Chloe Griffins, I knew I had to have her again. My body was hungry for another taste. Like an addict, I’d been craving another hit for months, and there she was—flesh and bone, tits and ass.

The fact that she worked for the competition should’ve been reason enough for me to leave her alone. I had a job to do that summer and f*cking Chloe wasn’t part of it. But I was like a man possessed.

I’d do whatever it took to have her again.

 

Purchase Links
Barnes & Noble ~ http://bit.ly/2fFa9he

 

 

About the Author

USA Today Bestselling author, Elisabeth Grace, has a hot spot for alpha males and a soft spot for happily ever afters. She lives outside of Toronto, Canada with her husband, two small children, and killer cat. Her theory is that Satan himself spawned the white furball. She’s almost always eaten a chocolate bar before 10am (don’t judge) and has a mild, but healthy obsession with model David Gandy. 😉

If you’re a lover of romance novels, hot sex in obscure places, alpha males, and a little LOL on the side than you may enjoy her work!

She LOVES talking with fellow readers about books! If you’re the same she encourages you to reach out to her via one of her social media links!

You can sign-up for her newsletter and get information on her books, signings, and more at Elisabeth-Grace.com

 

Connect with Elisabeth

Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/bli-LP

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/1WDZ3sM

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2c9tU3j

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2cmvGzi

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2bMAVYw

Instagram: http://bit.ly/2c3aZ73

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2bvTdLF

 

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Love Rehab by Louise Bay

love-rehab-by-louise-bayAvailable: December 7, 2016

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Self

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Kim

Ever wanted to fast forward to your happily ever after?

My name is Mackenzie Locke and I’m a loveaholic. I haven’t got a handle on men. Not even a little bit.

So I staged an intervention and booked me and my two best friends into Love Rehab, complete with a love shaman, horse therapy and a bunch of stones that promise to change my life. I’m not leaving until I’m cured.

Lesson #1: the first night of your stay, don’t have a one night stand with the hottest guy you’ve ever seen in your life.

Fail.

Lesson #2: make sure your one night stand isn’t planning on sticking around, teasing you, tempting you right back into his Levis.

Big Fail.

Lesson #3: Whoops. I forgot this one. I was too busy daydreaming about Blake McKenna’s mouth on mine and the way his five o’clock shadow feels on my thighs.

Epic Fail.

So maybe I’m not the best student. Maybe I wasted my time and money on Love Rehab. But I can’t help that I want to spend every minute with Blake, naked under the stars. Perhaps he can teach me every lesson I ever needed to learn.

Mackenzie Locke is a love junkie. Be exactly what the man needs to fall in love with you then you will fall in love with him, right? That mentality has Mackenzie on marriage proposal number #3. However, when fiance #3 comes to the wedding dress shop, Mackenzie realizes something needs to change. Packing up her two best of friends, they head to Love Rehab where they are all determined to find out exactly what they need to do to meet their Prince Charming.

Blake McKenna is a smart, sexy man who is just looking for direction in his life. Returning to his family’s ranch to make some life altering decisions, he had no idea that Mackenzie was going to turn his life upside down.

Before the are confined to Love Rehab, a night at a local bar ends up in a sexy and incredible one night stand for Mackenzie, something that is totally out of character for her. And there is a reason for that…which she realizes the next morning at Love Rehab when Blake is there to help his sister run the camp for the next few days.

Soul searching leads some of the ladies in Love Rehab to come to terms with their mistakes before others. But when the shaman tells Mackenzie to stop looking for the love that is right in front of her face, will she realize who that is before it is too late? Will Blake finally tell Mackenzie how he feels about her? Where will Blake decide to go, Boston or Oklahoma City?

Love Rehab is a really fun and sexy read. I enjoyed Mackenzie and her road to realizing exactly what she needs in her life to make it full. It was enjoyable to read her transformation and how she realized she needed to go after what she wanted more than anything. When she finally knows who the shaman was talking about, what will she do to get him back?

I give Love Rehab by Louise Bay 5 stars!

Snowed In by Jenna Bayley-Burke (More than Friends #2)

snowed-in-by-jenna-bayley-burkeAvailable: December 6, 2016 Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Swerve

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Kim

Marissa Clarke was going to murder someone. And that someone was her former sorority sister—now former friend—who had just kicked her out of her own hotel room…in the middle of the night…at their friend’s wedding…for some hanky-panky with an old fling. So much for sisterhood. With no room in the inn and no place to stay, she’s forced to accept help from the last person she ever wanted to spend the night with again: Scott, devilishly handsome, smart, and her ex-fiance’s ex-best man.

Scott Parker has loved Marissa since the first day he bumped into her freshman year of college. Only he’d never been able to tell her. After all, you didn’t just grab your best friend’s girlfriend, kiss her and tell her she was the One for you, no matter how often he’d dreamed about it. Now, years later, Marissa is single and, in a moment of pure luck, staying at his cabin. When a winter storm blocks the roads and snows the two of them in, Scott is determined to make Marissa see there can be more between them than a shared history…if only she’ll let him.

I’m a sucker for a second chance romance book and Snowed In by Jenna Bayley-Burke is just that. This is the second book from the More Than Friends series, and it can be enjoyed as a standalone.

Marissa Clarke was just a freshman in college when Scott Parker saw her and fell hard for her. However, she was dating the star basketball player, who just so happened to be one of his teammates. The “one” for Scott was someone else’s girl. Fast forward a few years later when Scott watches his teammate and now groom-to-be break the heart of the girl he loves more than anything. Scott knew that Marissa was oblivious to her fiance’s cheating ways but knew he was damned if he told her, damned if he didn’t. Well, Scott didn’t tell her and the feud began.

Marissa Clarke is now an event planner helping to run one of her best friends’ wedding along with being the Maid of Honor. While there, she runs into a former college classmate Scott Parker and is very obviously trying to avoid him at all costs since he knew what exactly was going on with her ex-fiance.

Successful business owner Scott Parker has always held every girl to the standard of Marissa. Seeing her again after all this time at their friend’s’ wedding has brought up all his feeling for her once again.

After the wedding, Marissa is stranded without a hotel room and has only Scott to save her. After a massive snowstorm, they are Snowed In and both give in to the amazing chemistry they have together. Now they just have to figure out how they can be together while their lives lead them in different directions.

Snowed In was a charming tale of one person knowing they belong together and one person just figuring it out. The sexual tension between the two could have melted all the snow they were stranded in and the dirty talk….WOW!!!

I give Snowed In by Jenna Bayley-Burke 4 stars!

Looking Inside by Beth Kery

looking-inside-by-beth-keryAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Are you just going to stand there and watch?

Eleanor Briggs just can’t help herself. Every night, the sight of the man in the high-rise across the street is driving her wild. She longs to feel his touch up close and personal. To win him over, she’ll need to shake off her wallflower sensibilities and become the seductress she never imagined she could be. The only trouble will be finding the perfect way to meet him…

Or are you going to join in?

Sex is easy for millionaire entrepreneur Trey Riordan. Finding something of substance, however, seems impossible. That is until a simple night of reading at a local coffee shop becomes something far steamier when a beautiful brunette comes by and leaves a note telling him to look out his bedroom window at midnight. But when the time comes, neither of them will be truly ready for what follows…

Have you ever passed someone on the street or seen them from afar and yearn instantly to know them? To find out what makes them tick? Perhaps find out if that body you know is hidden under that suit is something that can set your sheets on fire at night? Eleanor sure does. She promised her dying sister she would live. That she would love. That she’d have no regrets. Fulfilling that promise starts with finding out if the man in the building across from hers, the one who leaves his curtains open, can make her feel like the other women he has brought home. Because Eleanor watched and she loved every minute of it.

Trey never expected his sex hiatus to take such a drastic turn. One minute he’s trying to enjoy Pride and Prejudice and the next an extremely hot woman reading an erotic romance at a highbrow coffee shop is offering him a glimpse into her bedroom from across the street, Eleanor is everything Trey has ever wanted on the surface, but past that, can he accept the true woman underneath?

If voyeurism is your thing, Looking Inside by Beth Kery is most definitely for you. From Eleanor being a peeping tom, to putting on a show herself from afar, this entire book was hot, hot, hot! What I enjoyed most though was being witness to Eleanor coming out of her shell in the wake of her sisters death, and learning to embrace life with the vigor it deserves. Putting herself out there took a lot of courage, especially with a man like Trey who was self assured and knew what he wanted from the get go. Cracking that impenetrable shell with her sexy striptease and bringing a man like that to his knees is something she never thought herself capable of until now.

Both Trey and Eleanor were looking for something casual. A few sexy romps and then done. But Trey was fascinated by the different sides of Eleanor he witnessed and went about trying to figure her out. Was she the sexy woman in the coffee shop or the shy woman who seemed unsure where to go once her play acting was over? Their emotional connection surpasses the physical quickly as both realized something casual wasn’t going to work this time.

Eleanor spends a lot of the book worrying over the fact that Trey might find out she’s not the persona she’s portraying. She’s got a job in a museum, her clothes are all leftovers from her sister, even the apartment wasn’t hers. What she fails to see is that both of those personas make up the whole. I really enjoyed watching as that realization happened in smart bits throughout the book. It definitely made her feel more real to the reader. Aside from the high rise striptease, I also loved how wonderfully real the story line was too.

Beth Kery weaves her tales with heart and lots of hot sauce! Looking Inside is a voyeuristic love story sure to leave you wanting to peek inside just one more time!

I give Looking Inside by Beth Kery 4 stars!

Collecting the Pieces by L.A. Fiore

collecting-the-pieces-by-l-a-fioreAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Self

My copy: Purchased

Reviewer: Liz

At fifteen I fell in love. His name was Jake Stephens and he took the abandoned, lonely girl I had been and made me whole. His love was a pure and unconditional love that made every day better than the last…a fairy tale of my very own.

But this story isn’t about Jake. It’s about Abel Madden; the man I meet after the fairy tale goes to hell. A cocky, arrogant man who says what he wants, does as he pleases, and makes no excuses for it. He irritates me—downright pisses me off at times—but he also brings me back to life.

My name is Sidney Ellis and this is my story of finding love twice—the first when I needed it most and the second when I never saw it coming.

I don’t even know where to start. Collecting the Pieces is a story about love. First love, unconditional love and second chances at love all wrapped up in one heart-wrenching story.

Sidney Ellis was lost and alone for most of her life. All she ever wanted was love and a family, but life had a different plan for her. Then at fifteen she meets Jake Stephens and he literally sweeps her off her feet. With Jake, Sidney finds everything she ever wanted. They build a life together and really, things could not be more perfect. Until the night everything changes.

Now Sidney is starting over without the love of her life. Finding herself feeling lost and alone again, she knows she needs to find purpose and learn to live again. That is how she finds herself and her best friend, Rylee, starting a new life in a new place. Jake always encouraged her and believed in her, so she is determined to follow her dreams.

Come in Abel Madden. Abel makes her feel for the first time in three years. She is finally coming back to life and starts to feel and desire again. But Abel is nothing like Jake. Abel is a man used to getting what he wants, arrogant and cocky, he pushes all her buttons. Even as she wants him, she wants to slap him and run away as fast as she can in the opposite direction.

Abel did not have an easy life, however, he learned to stand on his own two feet and build a life for himself. A life he loves with no complications, until the day he first lays eyes on Sidney. He wants her, but is he the right man for her? He is not a romance and flowers kind of guy, the kind of guy he sees Sidney deserving.

This was such an interesting story. We meet Sidney early in life and feel the loss and loneliness of the circumstances that were out of her control. We see her connect and love her brother, even as he spirals out of control. And then see her find love and happiness with Jake, only to see her lose it all again. Their love was so strong and everlasting. When that kind of love is gone, can you find love again?

Once Sidney realizes she needs to learn to live again, she makes changes, but finds something very unexpected in Abel. He is everything Jake wasn’t, but is instantly drawn to him. The intensity she feels when he is around scares her. Abel on the other hand has never felt the connection he feels for her with any other woman. It leaves him wanting to run for the hills.

What happens when this kind of connections explodes around you and it’s the last thing you want? Sparks fly, that’s what. Add in some suspense surrounding their new home, some wild animals and new friends and you have a story you cannot put down.

The emotions run rampant while reading Collecting the Pieces. Definitely worth the ride, even as your heart breaks while reading, it will heal, after a few bumps. I enjoyed this story and look forward to reading more from this author.

I give Collecting the Pieces by L.A. Fiore 4-stars!

First Step Forward by Liora Blake (Grand Valley #1)

first-step-forward-by-liora-blakeAvailable: November 29, 2016 Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Pocket Books

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

After eight seasons playing pro-football, Cooper Lowry knows all the right answers.

Is he stubborn, short-tempered, and impatient? Yes. Are jersey chasers more trouble than they’re worth? Absolutely. Has he ever imagined a life beyond the game? Nope.

Cooper has built an enviable career—the result of staying focused, working hard, and keeping his head on straight—even as his body takes the brunt. So when a hard hit during a Sunday home game leaves him in a dazed heap on the field, it’s nothing more than another day at the office. The only thing that’s different about this Sunday is a chance encounter with a certain fascinating, beautiful free-spirited woman. And some sternly-worded instructions from his coach to take a little time off and give his body the TLC it craves—before he does lasting damage.

Whitney Reed is a few months away from losing the organic fruit orchard she bought three years ago in the tiny town of Hotchkiss, Colorado. At the time, she was just looking for a place to get lost. Instead, she found a home, somewhere she could finally put down roots. Now foreclosure is knocking on her door—along with a grumpy, gorgeous football player who might be just what she never knew she needed.

Sometimes a straight contemporary romance is exactly what I need. They sneak up on me really. I generally don’t even pick them up on my own. I tend to gravitate toward the dark, the erotic, the paranormal. Sure, of course I’ve read other contemporary romances here and there. Some Jill Shalvis (LOVE HER) or Carly Phillips (ALSO LOVE HER) but it’s not a genre I usually crave. Yet when First Step Forward showed up and I read the back, I wanted to start it right away. Maybe it was just the right time to send it, maybe it was because I hadn’t read a straight contemporary in a while, but I think it had more to do with the phenomenal sounding story the back cover painted for me as a reader. In addition, this was also my first book by Liora Blake which probably also played a part in my curiosity since I’m always on the lookout for new or upcoming authors.

First Step Forward is, at its core, a story about accepting change and learning to open up to that change. Cooper Lowry is staring down change in the face. His career in pro football is slowly slipping out of his grasp after a series of injuries coupled with his age. Even though he knows all the correct answers to give in the game he doesn’t have any clue how to answer the question, “what comes next?”. After a particularly bad hit in a game, he finds himself sidelined and ordered to take a few days rest.  He ends up in the last place he expected, across the state looking for the woman he had a chance encounter with in a drug store who he hasn’t been able to get off his mind.

Struggling orchard owner, Whitney has run out of options. Her dream is going to be foreclosed on and the bank is going to take everything. Her life has been a series of bad events and decisions all leading up to this point. One bad season and her dream is gone. The only place she’s ever felt at home or felt she belonged. When the surly football player she met shows up at her front door asking for more of her canned apple butter, she’s shocked, and a bit leary. With the bank knocking down the door soon, Whitney knows now isn’t the time to become distracted. She just needs more time to find an investor in her dream. Cooper isn’t about to take no for an answer, and they soon find themselves in an unlikely relationship. One that’s about to be tested by life changing events and unspoken truths.

Loved, loved, loved this book! There was just something about the writing that drew me straight into the story from the get go. I understood Whitney’s need to belong, to feel at home and I loved her ambition to do it on her own. She could have very easily accepted Cooper’s offer for help early on, but pride kept her on the path she was already on. She was headstrong without being overly so. Determined and lovable in her quirky, hipster traits. She was a character who just seemed real. Even though they seemed radically different, Cooper and her just fit so well. Never once was it about the money he made or the life he lived. It was about him. What he wanted, who he really was, and Whitney go that from the beginning.

Cooper was so afraid of his career ending because he never had anything outside the game waiting for him. When he met Whitney everything changed. His priorities shifted.  He began to see that life outside the game could be just as good. Just different. Maybe even better. Sure, he made it a bit difficult on himself at first, but as the story progressed and his character grew, I knew he’d find his way in the end.

I didn’t like how long it took Whitney to wise up at the very end. Without spoiling the story, I will say it took way longer than I thought necessary to come to the conclusion that Cooper was it for her. I mean…weeks. And the author made it seem like she simply didn’t notice how long it had been. She was painted as a bit of a scatter brain at times but…WHAT? Not cool.

Overall, a great start to a series I will definitely be back for. Contemporary romance at its very best, heartfelt and light, something you start and cannot put down!

I give First Step Forward by Liora Blake 4.50 stars! 

 

 

The Exposure by Tara Sue Me (Submissive #9)

the-exposure-by-tara-sue-meAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

She’s ready for her close-up. . . .
 
Meagan Bishop gave up modeling after an ill-fated tryst with a sexy photographer left her career and heart in shambles. When that same sexy shutterbug makes a titillating offer to do a BDSM spread for his new photography book, she’s determined to refuse—until an anonymous blackmailer entices her to accept. Now her body is again at the whim of the man who broke her heart, and she’s finding his strong direction undeniably intriguing. . . .
 
Meagan is the muse Luke needs to make his shoot something special, even if it means keeping his hands off. But each new erotic scene they capture makes it harder  to ignore his need to command her in the bedroom as well as the studio.
 
As their sexual tension explodes, Meagan’s arrangement with her extortionist becomes more perilous, putting in danger her darkest secrets and the fragile passion between Luke and her. . .

The Exposure is book nine in Tara Sue Me’s erotic romance series, Submissive. By now in most series I’ve lost interest in the premise yet with this series I keep coming back for more. Maybe this is because the story line manages to stay the same yet vary widely from book to book. The author keeps reinventing the books with new characters, each bringing a steamy story to the mix while still delivering the core love story.

Meagan is many things in life, a successful businesswoman, a friend, a boss, an ex model, a submissive and a dominant depending on her mood. Yet she feels unfulfilled and has no idea what is missing. She seemingly has it all already. When Luke, a photographer from her past, bursts back into her life with an idea to revisit her modeling career she’s quick to shut him down. He’s the one who got away, the one who showed her the beauty in submission, the heart who broke her heart. His persistence seems intent on a lot more than simply securing her to model for his erotic photography book, he seems to want to secure her heart as well.

Years ago Luke made a very bad decision. He walked away from Meagan. Now she’s back in his life and he’s determined to convince her to stay with him. His success in the photography world and as a business owner has led to the realization that he’s missing something the rest of his friends have already found, a partner. The sweet gift of submission from the one who got away is something he’ll have to fight for because he’s not the only one who has Meagan in their line cross-hairs.

I really enjoyed the storyline The Exposure presented me with. Meagan was a complex character, both submissive and dominant who sparkled on the page as a woman who craved life yet had a hard time achieving her true desires. Be that in the BDSM world or in her personal life. Her true contentment may have come in submission but the only man to get her there was Luke, With Luke she could breathe easier and get out of her own way in other aspects of her life too. She felt free and able to think clearly on what her goals should ultimately be and how she wasn’t content in other areas of her life either.

Luke was your typical dominant man, short on patience, demanding and unbending. Yet when this should have annoyed me, I craved it. Loved it like Meagan most certainly did. He knew upfront the mistake he’d made letting her go the first time around and made amends accordingly this time. He didn’t make mistake after mistake until he finally got it. He knew his grievance, he set out to amend it. His talent as a photographer took a backseat to his need to make sure Meagan was taken care of.

The usage of photography is always a page scorcher for me. I love the idea of seeing life differently through a lens and felt the heat between the two flare brighter each time Luke picked up his camera. The subtle nuances that a camera can capture truly depict the person it’s trained on. The beauty in a snapshot can forever be admired and the feeling it evokes forever be felt each time someone sees it.

The only thing about this book I had an issue with was the build up throughout to who seemed to be stalking Meagan and making heinous threats against her. They built as the book progressed but I was a bit let down as to how it all ended. I wanted it to be more than it was… For that reason I dropped the rating a star. Otherwise The Exposure had everything I craved in an erotic romance.

I give The Exposure by Tara Sue Me 3.50 stars! 

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