Review: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

Hooking Up by Helena Hunting is AVAILABLE NOW!

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Summary:

Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw.

Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him.

They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical.

Filled with hilariously scandalous situations and enough sexual chemistry to power an airplane from New York City to the South Pacific, Hooking Up is the next standalone, laugh-out-loud romantic comedy from Helena Hunting, the New York Times bestselling author of the Pucked series and Shacking Up.

My Review:

If nothing else, this story confirms that all Canadian comedy romance authors are crazy. Well, maybe not, but I’m quite certain those among our ranks–myself included–love to write and read comedy that borders on farce. Helena? I love you. And this is probably my favourite of your comedy romances.

Poor Amelie. Anything that can go wrong for her does go wrong. Just as well she didn’t end up marrying a narcissistic a-hole, but I’m sure she could have done without the scene at Customs. As for her so-called “revenge screw,” what a darling. Guaranteed to become a top contender for this year’s Hot Book Boyfriend. Five stars.

 

Author Bio:

Helena Hunting is the author of The USA Today and NYT bestselling PUCKED Series. She lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes everything from romantic sports comedy to new adult angst.

 

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/helena.hunting

https://twitter.com/helenahunting

https://www.instagram.com/helenahunting/

https://www.amazon.com/Helena-Hunting/e/B00HHM5MLQ

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Cover Reveal: Cats & Dogs Part 2 by Jess Molly Brown

   Title: Cats & Dogs – Part 2
By: Jess Molly Brown
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
#catsanddogs2reveal

This is the second of two novellas containing animal antics and a second chance romance. Partial proceeds will be donated by the author to children’s cancer charities.

Nathan Brooks and Julia Hart have known each other forever. As kids, no one could keep up with them and no one could replace them in each other’s lives. They bickered, they bantered, they loved and they fell apart. Five years later, they’ve reunited and the relationship is serious. The kind of serious that involves weddings and babies.

Nathan is adamant that the wedding will come before the baby.

Fate may not be so accommodating.

Julia may be on the same page as her fiancé, but there are many roadblocks standing in the way of this devoted pair. Work, family, addiction, and even the weather present unforeseen challenges. And don’t even get started on the antics of the crazy animals Nathan accommodates in his veterinary clinic.

No matter what the circumstance, life at Brooks House is never dull. It comes with a hefty helping of barks, meows, cackles, squeals and moos. And a few strange photographs.

Can Brooks and Hart tie the knot before cutting their baby’s umbilical cord?

Don’t be fooled by the seeming tranquility, Jess is scheming. There are a lot of characters in her head and all of them want out.

A best-selling author, she edits for professional authors and is always tutoring somebody. She got her start ten years ago, in Twilight fan fiction, and is proud of it.

Four great kids, one husband *coughbiggestkidofallcough* and two dogs ensure that the house is always messy. The garden’s overflowing with blooms, but weedy. The grass always needs cutting, provided it’s not buried beneath snow. She lives in Canada, eh? The dogs are walked, the kids get fed, the hubbs hasn’t killed anybody yet, the books Jess reads she reviews, and somehow, the people in her head manage to make it into stories. Occasionally, she embarrasses her kids by doing Zumba in front of their friends. It’s just how she rolls.

Come join her quest for world domination at https://www.jessmollybrownauthor.com

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New: Cats & Dogs by Jess Molly Brown

   Title: Cats & Dogs – Part 1
By: Jess Molly Brown
Publication Date: October 7, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
#catsanddogsrelease
Partial proceeds go to 
Children’s Cancer Charities

Young veterinarian Nathan Brooks spent every childhood summer with his neighbor’s granddaughter Julia Hart. As a small boy, he’d been impressed by her attack on him with a plastic bat after his border collie attempted to eat her kitten. He knew he’d marry her someday. Childish spats evolved into something sweeter until suddenly, cats and dogs didn’t seem so incompatible.

But Nathan’s mother succumbed to cancer and his father and brother took solace in addiction. For Nathan, golden days grew few, and far between. Cast out of his home, Nathan had to make his own way in the world. For the first year, he managed to keep everything together. The year after that, his life fell apart and he left behind the only girl who ever mattered.

Three years after Nathan left her, Julia Hart is living in her grandmother’s house next door. Nathan has returned home to open his own practice.

They have a lot of unfinished business.

Evidently, neither has been able to move on. But what can he offer her? They haven’t spoken since the day he walked out with no explanation, and Julia’s not about to let bygones be bygones. Not after she’s spent three years shoring up the walls around her broken heart. Besides, he’s not exactly convinced he’s the best bet.

But fate has a way of knocking down walls when it gets good and ready. Even if Julia and Nathan are not.

This is the first of two novellas containing animal antics and a second chance romance. Partial proceeds will be donated by the author to children’s cancer charities.

**NOW AVAILABLE**

Partial proceeds go to Children’s Cancer Charities
AMAZON – UK – https://goo.gl/dh2D7z

AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/UCzgyo

“Julia, you asked me to talk, so please talk to me.”
She sat up tall on the low stool. “Brooks, you want the truth?”
“Please.”
“I am monumentally pissed at you and I don’t know if I can ever get over it.” She tossed back her hair. “You called me your Hart and then you left me. You didn’t fight for us and it totally wrecked me.”
“I’m sorry.”
“It’s a little late.”
“Look, I’m not making excuses. I am truly sorry for everything. I wasn’t mature enough to deal with it when everything got shot to shit.”
“That sounds like an excuse to me, Brooks.”
“I’m stating facts. I shouldn’t have treated you that way. First I was a kid clinging to my dying mother’s skirts, and then after she passed, I was overwhelmed.”
“And I was what, just a precocious little girl with a mouth too big for my own good? And yours?” She stuck out her palm. “And don’t tell me my mouth was just the right size for you, smartass!”
Nathan smiled at her with a touch of the old fire. “You were an insanely intelligent, spunky, maddening, gorgeous, lovable young woman. And I suspect you still suffer from word vomit.”
“Well . . .” Jules shrugged a shoulder as Greg knocked and stuck his head in the room.
“Jules, your next victim’s waiting.”

“Okay, thanks.” She stood and searched her file drawers for various handouts, which she gave to Nathan. “I want you to go home and read these while you elevate your feet for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow, I want you to start doing these exercises. Don’t be a slacker. I want you back here in three days.”

Don’t be fooled by the seeming tranquility, Jess is scheming. There are a lot of characters in her head and all of them want out.
A best-selling author, she edits for professional authors and is always tutoring somebody. She got her start ten years ago, in Twilight fan fiction, and is proud of it.
Four great kids, one husband *coughbiggestkidofallcough* and two dogs ensure that the house is always messy. The garden’s overflowing with blooms, but weedy. The grass always needs cutting, provided it’s not buried beneath snow. She lives in Canada, eh? The dogs are walked, the kids get fed, the hubbs hasn’t killed anybody yet, the books Jess reads she reviews, and somehow, the people in her head manage to make it into stories. Occasionally, she embarrasses her kids by doing Zumba in front of their friends. It’s just how she rolls.
Come join her quest for world domination at https://www.jessmollybrownauthor.com

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Chapter Reveal: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

 

 

Chapter One

Wedding Unbliss

Amie

This is the happiest day of my life. I allow that thought to roll around in my head, trying to figure out why it doesn’t seem to resonate the way it should. This should be the happiest day of my life. So I’m not exactly certain why the uneasy feeling I associate with cold feet is getting worse rather than dissipating. I’ve already done the hard part; walked down the aisle and said “I do.”

My husband excused himself to go to the bathroom several minutes ago and, based on Armstrong’s itinerary for the day, speeches are supposed to begin promptly at eight-thirty. According to my phone, that’s less than two minutes from now, and he’s not here. The emcee for the evening is awaiting Armstrong’s return before he begins. And then the real party can start. The one where we get to celebrate our commitment to each other as partners for life. As in the rest of my breathing days. Dear God, why does that make my stomach twist?

I sip my white wine. Armstrong pointed out that red is not a good idea with my dress, even though it’s my preference. Besides, I don’t want it to stain my teeth. That would make for bad pictures.

I glance around the hall and see my parents, who are probably celebrating the fact that I didn’t walk down the aisle with a convicted felon. And frankly, so am I. My dating history pre-Armstrong wasn’t fabulous.

The sheer number of people in attendance spikes my anxiety. Speaking in front of all of these people makes me want to drink more, which is a bad idea. Tipsy speeches could lead to saying the wrong thing. I check my phone under the table again. It’s after eight-thirty. The longer Armstrong takes to return, the further behind we’ll get. The music playlist, devised by Armstrong with painstaking efficiency, leaves no room for tardiness. If we don’t start on time I’ll have to take out a song, or possibly two, to compensate for his delay and he’s selected the order in such a way as to make that difficult and that will annoy him. I just want today to be perfect. I want it to be reflective of my decision to marry Armstrong. That I, Amalie Whitfield, can make good choices and am not a disgrace to my family.

“Where the hell is he?” I scan the room and take another small sip of my wine. I should switch to water soon so I don’t end up drunk, especially later, when all of this is over and we can celebrate our lifelong commitment to each other without clothes on. I’m hopeful it will last more than five minutes.

Ruby, my maid of honor and best friend for the past decade, puts a hand on my shoulder. “Would you like Bancroft to find Armstrong?”

Bancroft, or Bane for short, is Ruby’s boyfriend who she’s been living with for several months. Recently I find myself getting a little jealous of how affectionate they still are with each other, even after all this time. Cohabitation hasn’t slowed them down on the sex or their PDA. I have hope that Armstrong and I will be more like Bane and Ruby now that we’ll be sharing the same bed every night.

I’m about to tell Ruby to give him another minute when a low buzz suddenly fills the hall. It sounds like a school PA system. I start to panic—they can’t start the speeches without Armstrong at my side. What’s the point of speeches if the groom isn’t present?

I’m halfway out of my seat, ready to tell the deejay, or whoever is behind the mic, he needs to wait, when a very loud moan echoes through the room. The acoustics are phenomenal in here, it’s why we chose this venue.

I glance at Ruby to make sure I’m not hearing things. Her eyes are wide. The kind of wide associated with shock. The same shock I’m feeling.

Another moan reverberates through the sound system, followed by the words, “Oh, fuuuck.”

A collective gasp ripples through the now-silent crowd. While the words themselves are scandalous among these guests, it’s the voice groaning them that makes me sit up straighter, and simultaneously consider hiding under the table.

“Fuck yeah. Ah, suck it. That’s it. Deep throat it like a good little slut. Fuuuuuccckkkkk.”

My mouth drops and I look to Ruby to ensure I have not completely lost my mind. “Is that—” I don’t finish the sentence. I already know the answer to the question, so it’s pointless to ask. Besides, I’m cut off by yet another loud groan. I clap a hand over my mouth because I’m not sure I’m able to close it, my disbelief is as vast as the ocean.

Ruby’s expression mirrors mine, except hers is incredibly animated since she’s an actress. “Oh my God. Is that Armstrong?” Her words are no more than a whisper, but they sound very much like a scream. Oh no, wait, that’s just Armstrong on the verge of an orgasm. But these sounds are nothing like the ones he makes when he’s in the throes of passion with me.

I clutch Ruby’s hand. The next sound that comes from him is a hybrid between a hyena laugh and a wolf baying at the moon. And every guest at our wedding is hearing the same thing I am. Our wedding. Someone other than me is blowing my husband at my own wedding. My mortification knows no end.

I grab the closest bottle of wine and dump the contents into my glass. Some of it sloshes over the edge and onto the crisp white tablecloth. It doesn’t matter. There’s plenty more where it came from. I chug the glass, then grab Ruby’s.

People lean in and whisper to each other, eyes lift to the speakers. A few people, the ones who are probably just here for the social-ladder-climbing potential, question who it is.

“Is the deejay watching porn?” That comment comes from a table full of mostly drunk singles in their early twenties.

Several eyes shift my way as I carelessly down Ruby’s wine and someone asks where the groom has disappeared to.

The grunts and groans grow terrifyingly louder. This is nothing like what I’m used to in bed with Armstrong. The dirty words aren’t something he ever uses with me, mostly it’s just noises and sometimes a “Right there” or “I’m close,” but that’s about it. He’s never talked to me like he is to the woman currently providing oral pleasure. And I’m very adept at oral. Although with Armstrong it’s very polite, neat oral, with no sounds other than the occasional hum. Slurping is uncivilized and a definite no-no.

I reach past Ruby for the bottle of red since I don’t really give a flying fuck about purple teeth right now. As I sink low in my seat I pour another glass of wine, surveying the people in the ballroom from behind the cover of the centerpiece. The centerpieces are huge and excessive and I don’t like them at all, but at least provides a protective barrier between the guests and my disgust, which I’m certain they must share. He sounds like a wild animal rutting. It is entirely unsexy. I have no idea who he’s getting intimate with, but I’m suddenly very glad it’s not me.

And doesn’t that tell me more about our relationship than it should.

It’s only been about thirty seconds—the most humiliating thirty seconds of my life—before Armstrong comes. How do I know this? Because he says, very clearly, “Keep sucking, baby, I’m coming.”

And “baby,” whoever she is, makes these horrific gurgling noises. It sounds like some form of alien communication. It’s way over the top, and apparently Armstrong is loving it, based on the string of vile profanity that spews from his asshole mouth.

“Holy crap. Is this for real? That was really fast,” Ruby mutters.

I guzzle my glass of wine. Then decide the glass is unnecessary and take a long swig from the bottle before Ruby snatches it away. Wine dribbles down my chin and onto my chest, staining the white satin purple. My dress is ruined. I should be freaking out. But I really don’t care.

“Come on,” Ruby tugs on my hand. “We need to get you out of here while people are still distracted.”

My older brother Pierce and the emcee are standing in the middle of the hall, gesturing wildly to the speakers above us. My other brother, Lawson, is on his way toward the podium in an attempt to do something. I don’t think there’s anything he can do to stop this train wreck from there.

Ruby tugs again, but I’m frozen, still trying to figure out what exactly just happened. Well, I know what’s happened. I just can’t believe it.

The sound of a zipper and the rustle of clothes follows. “Thanks for that, now I’ll be able to last later tonight,” Armstrong says.

“What about me?” A female asks. Her voice is nasally and whiny.

“What about you?”

“Well I helped you, aren’t you going to help me?”

“Didn’t you come with a date?”

“Well, yes, but—” God her voice is familiar. I just can’t figure out where I know it from.

“My cousin, right? He loves my sloppy seconds. Speeches are starting. I gotta get back to my ball and chain.”

Gasps of horror ripple through the room, followed by a few giggles. These people really are assholes.

I think I’m going to throw up. I can’t believe he’s going to come out here and pretend nothing just happened. Like some other woman didn’t just have her lips around his cock. His distinctly average cock. Maybe even slightly below average in length, if I’m being one hundred percent honest.

A door opens and closes.

Lawson turns on the mic behind the podium and taps it, sending screeching feedback through the room, making people cringe. Too bad no one did that a minute ago.

Murmuring grows louder and glances flicker to the head table and then away as Brittany Thorton, a seriously skanky debutante, comes strutting through the doors, using a compact to check her lipstick. She’s made it her mission to attempt to get into the pants of half the eligible men in this room. She’s followed, not five seconds later, by a very smug-looking Armstrong.

“I’m going to kill him.” I grab the closest steak knife, but it appears my hasty, and possibly felonious, plan is unnecessary. My brothers leave their respective posts and stalk toward him. Across the room my mother is gripping my father’s arm, whispering furiously in his ear. Great. Just what I need, additional family drama.

“Oh shit,” Ruby gasps.

I follow her gaze to find Bane converging on Armstrong with my brothers. Bancroft is a tank and he used to play professional rugby. I’ve seen him with his shirt off, he’s built like a superhero and he’ll probably crush Armstrong, or at least break something. Possibly multiple somethings.

For a second I consider that Ruby should probably stop Bane from destroying Armstrong’s pretty, regal face, but then I realize I don’t actually care. In fact, the possibility that he might break Armstrong’s perfectly straight nose fills me with glee. Armstrong’s wellbeing is no longer my concern, it’s more about Bane ending up in prison for murder.

“I hope Armstrong has a good plastic surgeon, he’s going to need it once Bane is done with him.” Ruby echoes my internal hopes and her chair tips as she jumps up. “Come on, let’s get you out of here.” She nods to the right.

I notice my mother and father engaged in a heated discussion with Armstrong’s parents. I really don’t need this right now. Not the drama. Not the humiliation. All I wanted was a nice wedding. Instead I end up with a husband who gets a blow job during our reception—and it’s broadcast to everyone attending.

Ruby urges me into action. “Don’t worry about them. Get your stuff and we’ll get you the hell out of here. I’ll have the limo meet you by the entrance near your bridal suite as soon as I can.”

I nod and stumble unsteadily to my feet, thanks to having consumed the better part of a bottle of wine in the last minute and a half. It’s amazing how ninety seconds can change a person’s entire life.

All hell breaks loose as more men jump in to either pummel or extract Armstrong from the pummeling. I grab my clutch and phone from the table, gather up my stupid, too puffy gown, and head for the bridal suite, where I had prepared for what was supposed to be the most amazing day of my life. And now it’s likely the worst, at least I hope the mortification level I’m experiencing can’t exceed this. I feel like the foulest version of Cinderella ever.

I rush down the empty hall and grab the doorknob as I fumble around in my clutch for the key. I’m surprised when it turns. I thought I’d locked it before we left for the ceremony. Regardless, I need to get away from everyone before I either lose it or commit a felony. Maybe both. Murder in the first. Armstrong will be my victim. And maybe that horrible skank, Brittany.

I thrust the door open and slam it closed behind me, locking it from the inside. Tears threaten to spill over and ruin my makeup. Not that it matters since there’s no way I’m going out there again. I can’t believe my forever lasted less than twelve hours. I can’t believe the man I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life loving couldn’t be faithful to me for even one day. What the hell is wrong with me? With him? I’m as devastated as I am angry and embarrassed. Once I annul this farce of a marriage I’ll become a spinster. I should probably go ahead and adopt six or seven cats tonight.

“I need to get out of this dress,” I say to myself. I reach behind me and pull the bow at the base of my spine. Instead of unfurling, it knots and I only succeed in pulling it tighter. Of course my dress has to be difficult. I growl my annoyance and rush over to my dressing table where my makeup and perfume are scattered from earlier today. Half a mimosa sits unconsumed beside the vase of red roses Armstrong had delivered.

The card read: I can’t wait to spend forever loving you.

What a load of bullshit. I drain the contents of the champagne flute, not caring that the drink is warm and flat. Then I throw the glass, because it feels good and the sound of shattering crystal is satisfying. Next I heave the vase of roses, which explodes impressively against the wall, splattering water and shards of glass across the floor.

I yank out a couple of the drawers and find a pair of scissors. They actually look more like gardening shears and seem rather out of place, but I don’t question it. Instead I reach behind me with my back to the mirror and awkwardly try to cut myself free. It’s not easy with the way I have to crane my neck.

“Goddammit! I need to get out of this stupid dress!” I yell at my reflection. I think I might actually be losing it just a touch now. I stop messing around with the laces in the back and shove the scissors down the front. I nearly nick myself with the blade—they’re a lot sharper than I realized—but that doesn’t slow me down. I start hacking my way through the bodice; layers of satin, lace, and intricate beading sliced apart with every vicious snip.

I just want out of this nightmare.

Author Bio:

Helena Hunting is the author of The USA Today and NYT bestselling PUCKED Series. She lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes everything from romantic sports comedy to new adult angst.

 

 

Links:

https://www.facebook.com/helena.hunting

https://twitter.com/helenahunting

https://www.instagram.com/helenahunting/

https://www.amazon.com/Helena-Hunting/e/B00HHM5MLQ

 

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Cover Reveal: Cats & Dogs Part 1 by Jess Molly Brown

   Title: Cats & Dogs – Part 1
By: Jess Molly Brown
Publication Date: October 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance
#cats&dogsrelease

Young veterinarian Nathan Brooks spent every childhood summer with his neighbor’s granddaughter Julia Hart. As a small boy, he’d been impressed by her attack on him with a plastic bat after his border collie attempted to eat her kitten. He knew he’d marry her someday. Childish spats evolved into something sweeter until suddenly, cats and dogs didn’t seem so incompatible.

But Nathan’s mother succumbed to cancer and his father and brother took solace in addiction. For Nathan, golden days grew few, and far between. Cast out of his home, Nathan had to make his own way in the world. For the first year, he managed to keep everything together. The year after that, his life fell apart and he left behind the only girl who ever mattered.

Three years after Nathan left her, Julia Hart is living in her grandmother’s house next door. Nathan has returned home to open his own practice.

They have a lot of unfinished business.

Evidently, neither has been able to move on. But what can he offer her? They haven’t spoken since the day he walked out with no explanation, and Julia’s not about to let bygones be bygones. Not after she’s spent three years shoring up the walls around her broken heart. Besides, he’s not exactly convinced he’s the best bet.

But fate has a way of knocking down walls when it gets good and ready. Even if Julia and Nathan are not.

This is the first of two novellas containing animal antics and a second chance romance. Partial proceeds will be donated by the author to children’s cancer charities.

Don’t be fooled by the seeming tranquility, Jess is scheming. There are a lot of characters in her head and all of them want out.

A best-selling author, she edits for professional authors and is always tutoring somebody. She got her start ten years ago, in Twilight fan fiction, and is proud of it.

Four great kids, one husband *coughbiggestkidofallcough* and two dogs ensure that the house is always messy. The garden’s overflowing with blooms, but weedy. The grass always needs cutting, provided it’s not buried beneath snow. She lives in Canada, eh? The dogs are walked, the kids get fed, the hubbs hasn’t killed anybody yet, the books Jess reads she reviews, and somehow, the people in her head manage to make it into stories. Occasionally, she embarrasses her kids by doing Zumba in front of their friends. It’s just how she rolls.

Come join her quest for world domination at https://www.jessmollybrownauthor.com

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Review + Giveaway: My Image of You by Melanie Moreland

  Title: My Image of You
By: Melanie Moreland
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Random House LLC/Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance
#myimageofyourelease

A globe-trotting bad boy chases the one that got away in this addictive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Contract.

My name is Adam Kincaid, and I’m the best at what I do. After losing my parents, I decided to follow in their footsteps, and now I’m the most daring freelance photographer in the world.

Maybe some think I’m a loner, but I don’t care. All that matters is the shot: braving danger and devastation in search of a single image with the power to tell someone’s story. But as good as I am, accidents happen—and thank god for that, because it’s what leads me to her. . .

Alexandra Robbins. My nurse. My savior.

With her fiery red hair and crystal-clear blue eyes, the camera loves her . . . and I have to have her. We soon find that we’re perfect together. We just fit, physically and emotionally. And yet something isn’t right. Something from her past is haunting her, and no matter what I do to help her break free, I lose her.

Today is the day I try to win her back. Not only do I need an explanation, I need her in my bed once again. I don’t just want a damn picture—I want her. Because what we have is a love that never fades away. . .

MY REVIEW:

This is an exciting adventure and I loved it. Adam has a naughty sense of humour and a reckless streak. Alexandra is quiet with a kind heart. He and Alexandra aren’t much alike; opposites attract. But she brings out all his best qualities.

An event from Alexandra’s past is haunting her, thanks to certain people who won’t let it go. It wakes up Adam’s protective streak, which is swoon-worthy.

There are tons of sub-currents running through this novel. I think it’s my favourite Melanie Moreland novel to date. Five stars.

“There are so many things I want to do with you,” I assured her, and licked my lips as I stared at her, my voice husky. “To you.”

“Tell me,” she insisted, her fingers curled into fists at her sides.

I stepped behind her, wrapping my arm around her waist and pulling her to my chest. I smoothed my fingers up her arm, trailing them along her skin. Small goose bumps broke out, pebbling the surface as I dropped my head down into her neck, kissing and swirling my tongue. “I’m going to explore you—everywhere. I’ll touch and discover every part of you. I want to know what makes you gasp, what drives you to distraction. I’ll find out what I can do to make you groan and beg me to take you. I’ll know your body better than you do.” I drew her skin between my teeth, biting and sucking. “I want to kiss you . . . taste you everywhere.” I slipped my hands under her shirt, teasing the softness of her stomach and side, stroking upward until my hand cupped her breast lightly. “I bet you taste different all over. Sweet some places”—I dropped my hand down, running it along the edge of her waistband—“musky and tangy others.”

New York Times/USA Today bestselling author Melanie Moreland, lives a happy and content life in a quiet area of Ontario with her beloved husband of twenty-seven-plus years and their rescue cat Amber. Nothing means more to her than her friends and family, and she cherishes every moment spent with them.

While seriously addicted to coffee, and highly challenged with all things computer-related and technical, she relishes baking, cooking, and trying new recipes for people to sample. She loves to throw dinner parties, and also enjoys travelling, here and abroad, but finds coming home is always the best part of any trip.

Melanie delights in a good romance story with some bumps along the way, but is a true believer in happily ever after. When her head isn’t buried in a book, it is bent over a keyboard, furiously typing away as her characters dictate their creative storylines to her, often with a large glass of wine keeping her company.

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Review + Excerpt: Shacking Up by Helena Hunting

Blurb:

Ruby Scott is months behind on rent and can’t seem to land a steady job. She has one chance to turn things around with a big audition. But instead of getting her big break, she gets sick as a dog and completely bombs it in the most humiliating fashion. All thanks to a mysterious, gorgeous guy who kissed—and then coughed on—her at a party the night before.

Luckily, her best friend might have found the perfect opportunity; a job staying at the lavish penthouse apartment of hotel magnate Bancroft Mills while he’s out of town, taking care of his exotic pets. But when the newly-evicted Ruby arrives to meet her new employer, it turns out Bane is the same guy who got her sick.

Seeing his role in Ruby’s dilemma, Bane offers her a permanent job as his live-in pet sitter until she can get back on her feet. Filled with hilariously awkward encounters and enough sexual tension to heat a New York City block, Shacking Up, from NYT and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting, is sure to keep you laughing and swooning all night long.

Excerpt:

“I went out with her as a favor.”
She grimaces. “Wow, that’s some favor.”
“She’s not that bad.” I’m not sure why I’m defending Brittany, other than it seems to irritate Ruby.
“She called me a slut!”
“Well, you were kissing me, so . . .” I have to bite back the smile at her incredulity.
She points her spoon at me, her annoyance clear. “You kissed me.”
I shift an arm behind my head. “You didn’t put up much of a fight.”
Her mouth drops open and snaps shut just as quickly. It’s the same reaction I got out of her the other day when I brought the same thing up at the restaurant. Her eyes narrow into slits. I bet she’s a real firecracker when she’s angry. I sort of want to push her buttons just to see what happens when she goes off. I bet angry fucking with her would be incredible. I wonder if she’s a hair puller, or a biter, or a scratcher. Wow. That got dirty fast.
She narrows her eyes. “We are not talking about this.”
“About you kissing me back? I wasn’t going to bring it up, but now that we’re on the subject—”
“Consider it un-brought-up.” Her cheeks flush.
I can’t help myself. I keep pushing. “No way. You as much as admitted that you kissed me back, right there. You opened the door. I’m walking through it. Why would you kiss a complete stranger?”
“I said I wasn’t talking about this.” The pink in her cheeks rises to the tips of her ears.
This is way too much fun. She’s got one hell of an angry glare going on. “I’m leaving you in my house for more than a month, alone. I need to be certain you have sound judgment.”
“I’ll have you know my judgment is usually very sound. However, when an incredibly attractive man surprises me with his tongue in my mouth, the most logical response is to kiss back.”
“You think I’m incredibly attractive?”

Buy Links:

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My Review:

Oh, man. I’m a sucker for a man with pets and Bancroft loves his little critters. The fact that he’s an athlete makes it even better. Enter Ruby.

I really relate to Ruby. She does eccentric things like talk to photographs. I do that, too. And of course, she talks to the animals. Ruby and I can be besties. Maybe I shouldn’t admit that we’re so much alike.

Ruby and Bane have this flustered canary vs. cat-with-the-creamy-whiskers dynamic going on. It made me laugh out loud. Maybe Ruby is quirky, but she’s such an interesting character to stare at. On top of that, she’s really sweet. Five stars.

Author Bio:

Helena Hunting is the author of The USA Today and NYT bestselling PUCKED Series. She lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She writes everything from romantic sports comedy to new adult angst.

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Review + Giveaway: Pucked Off by Helena Hunting

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Pucked Off, an all-new emotional and sexy STANDALONE from Helena Hunting is LIVE!!

Pucked Off by Helena Hunting

Genre: Contemporary Romance

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***A Standalone novel in The Pucked Series***

I’m NHL defenseman Lance Romero, AKA Lance “Romance.”

I’m notorious for parties and excess. I have the most penalty minutes in the league. I get into the most fights. I take the most hits. I’m a player on and off the ice. I’m the one women with no inhibitions want.

Not because I like the notoriety, but because I don’t know how to be any other way.

I have secrets. Ones I shared with the wrong person, and she used them against me. Sometimes she still does. I should cut ties. But she makes it difficult, because she’s the kind of bad I deserve.

At least that’s what I believed until someone from my past gets caught up in my present. She’s all the good things in this world. She lights up my dark.

I shouldn’t want her.

But I do.

I should leave her alone.

But I won’t.

Excerpt:

Armed with my clipboard, I walk down the hall to the waiting room. Lance is impossible to miss. Despite the fact that he’s wearing a sweatshirt and the hood is covering half of his face, he’s more than six feet of broad, hockey-playing man.

He’s so wide his shoulders encroach on the chairs on either side, which would explain why no one is sitting next to him. He’s slouched down so his head rests on the back of the chair, and his hands are clasped in his lap, a baseball cap hanging off one knee. His lips, plush and soft—I know since I’ve had them on mine; it might have been a decade ago, but I remember it clearly—are parted. He looks like he’s asleep.

I clear my throat. “Lance Romero?”

He doesn’t move.

Bernadette, the receptionist, gives me a meaningful look.

I clear my throat again and call his name a second time. He jolts awake and the hood falls back, exposing his face. It’s not in good shape. He has a black eye and bruises on his left cheek. There’s a fly bandage across one eyebrow.

Sadly, he’s still hot.

He blinks a few times, yawns, and smacks his lips, his tongue touching the split in the bottom one. His gaze sweeps the room and finally lands on me. Heat explodes in my cheeks and courses through my limbs, warming me from the inside out as he starts at my sneaker-clad feet and roams up over my yoga pants to my company-issued T-shirt before stopping at my face. I can’t look directly at him for more than a couple of seconds. I sincerely hope he doesn’t remember me. I cannot go there and also be professional.

I’m sure the smile he gives me has melted many a panty off a slutty bunny. Mine stay right where they’re supposed to, wedged up my ass.

I force a polite, professional veneer. “I’m ready for you now.”

My Review:

Every time I think one of the books in the Pucked Series is going to be my favourite, Helena tops her own achievements.

Lance Romero has a reputation for being a player on and off the ice, but not everything is as it seems. I honestly was worried that I wouldn’t like this character but he surprised me. He was nothing like I expected and I fell for him. Hard.

Lance has had a hard life and bears some scars. When he meets Poppy, he doesn’t remember her. But she remembers him. He occupies a place in her heart that can’t be overlooked. Poppy is a wonderfully nurturing, kind and patient woman; just what Lance needs.

The content of this book is darker than that of the rest of the series, but there’s something wonderfully healing in the growth of these characters. This book touched my heart in unexpected ways. Five stars.

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About the Author:

NYT and USA Today bestselling author of PUCKED, Helena Hunting lives on the outskirts of Toronto with her incredibly tolerant family and two moderately intolerant cats. She’s writes contemporary romance ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy.

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Website: http://www.helenahunting.com/

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Review: Forbidden + Interview with F. Stone + Huge Giveaway

Welcome to Forbidden’s book launch celebration

Better Wear Your Flak Jacket

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FORBIDDEN eBOOK IS FREE

February 14th to 18th at AMAZON

My Review:

I always love a book with a different premise. A complex plot and characters with complicated lives are of course very attractive. And that’s what we have here.

My own neighborhood is a real cultural mosaic. We have a lot of new immigrants, many of whom are Muslim. I know a lot of Muslim kids because I used to work in our public school. These are kids who learn English at school and then go home to teach it to their parents. They are–almost always–fantastic kids. And of course I meet their parents and grandparents up at the corner plaza. So phobias and prejudices against average people grieve me. Allah, God and Jehovah are the same God and so how could I hate someone who worships Him?

Of course, I’ve never understood people who hate others.

Here’s an interesting novel: a love story between a white woman and a Muslim man who’d give Jason Bourne a run for his money. Wow, the action and suspense are gripping. Ms. Stone has put a ton of research into this so the setting and mindset of the characters are credible. As well, they’re extremely likeable and heroic. Impressive work. I look forward to reading more of this author’s books. Five stars.

 

Feather Stone: Consequences of Writing a Novel About Islam

When the impulse to write Forbidden began, I resisted. Bartholomew’s (my muse) urging to write the thriller continued with greater intensity. I knew so little about the religion and the culture. DSCN0547

“So what,” he croaked. “You got a brain. Learn. Study.” My muse thumped his froggy flippers.

I shivered at the thought of intense research required, searching for contacts and support. “It’ll take years,” I moaned.

“Ya, so what!” Bart jumped onto my shoulder. “No one can tell this story like you. You’re without bias, a clean slate, a virgin, a – .”

“Now just a minute, Croak.” I call him Croak when he’s gone too far. “What the hell do you mean by virgin?”

Bartholomew blushes as much as a green frog can – kind of an ugly puce. “Don’t get all twisted, sister. You’re unbroken, untainted by hate and fear. Not card carrying religious zealot, or have need for ancient dogma. Your vision is deeper. Unspoiled. Pure.”

Now I’m blushing. “I’m not that pure, Bart. I’ve done things, you know.”

It took Bart almost a year to convince me I had been selected to tell Forbidden’s story. And so the research began. My first task was to approach our local Muslim community. Imam Mustafa Khattab met me at his mosque. I could see he had serious doubts about my ability to tell any story about Islam. He was not alone on that count. However, he handed me an armful of books and videos, advised me to have a Muslim read / edit my work, and gave one final piece of advice – take the middle road.

Over the next many months I studied, including reading the Koran. Gradually, a fascinating world began to take shape. History, music, academics, geography, and weather, social and religious practices, faith in God / Allah, allegiances and warfare, shifting borders and tribal lands, customs and culture merged into a dynamic and complex segment we know as the Middle East. What I learned is that unless you are born in that region, most of us cannot fully understand the depth of devotion, nor the passion for the lands once tread by Mohammad, the prophet.

shutterstock_57827968To ensure Forbidden was an unbiased and ‘middle of the road’ reflection of Islam, I needed support. It’s amazing how when you put out the intention to the universe, things happen. Lots of things. I am now so blessed with several amazing friends who are Muslim. The are from Canada, United States, and the Middle East. In particular, Dr. Albakkal read each chapter of Forbidden and provided feedback and information. Although I did pay her for this service, she in turn forwarded those funds to charity. She continues to volunteer her time with medical support to the Canadian Syrian refugee children.

In the beginning, I feared a back lash from the Muslim communities. After all, why should a non-Muslim person be writing a novel about Islam? Absolutely, a valid concern. No doubt, Forbidden’s account of the thoughts and behaviors of a Muslim cop in the Middle East may have missed the mark. The local expressions, the body language, etc. – I would loved to have been able to paint a far more true to form image. My most fervent hope, however, has been to not insult or misinterpret the basics of Islam and the Koran.

What I didn’t expect when I started writing Forbidden was resistance, even some hostility from members within my culture. And though I had gained enough knowledge to appease their fears, they dug in their heals resisting the idea they could be wrong, misled, or misunderstood the average moderate Muslim. Pointing out that the media have focused on one small segment of militant Muslims and, thus, giving the impression Islam is a religion of hate and terrorists did nothing to persuade some of my friends and associates to reconsider their opinion. So entrenched is their fear. Fear makes us blind and impotent.

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The consequences?

I sacrificed a lot to write Forbidden. Four years was devoted to research and writing. I threw all my energy into creating a story that cannot be compared to another novel. I gave up my love of water color painting and my social calendar was trashed. There were three complete rewrites. Just ask my editor, Leigh Carter, who had to deal with changing character personalities, shifting plots, and an ending that eluded me until the final year. I put my relationships at risk, may have lost a few friends. There may be Muslim and non-Muslim who will want to thrasdownloadh me and trash my book.

But, through it all, the sleepless night of searching for that perfect word, the plot twist, infusing my passion into the characters – I regret nothing.

Giving Bartholomew a big froggy kiss 🙂

Zowie!

book-cover-three-dimensional-finalSynopsis:

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, Captain Sharif becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. The devout Muslim is horrified to discover that if he exposes the cover-up, his family will suffer dire consequences.

The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

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Enter your name in my rafflecopter for a chance to win:

GRAND PRIZE: AMAZON coupon valued at $100 USD,

Second prize: Amazon coupon $50,

PLUS five ten dollar amazon coupons.

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LAUNCH SCHEDULE

February 13:

Review by Lily Eva Blake

February 14:

Guest Post with Pat Garcia

Review and Guest Post with Juneta Key

February 15:

Featured in OPAL Magazine

Guest Post with Lily Eva Blake

February 16:

Review and Showcase with Nicki Elson

Showcase with Jennifer Lane

February 17:

Showcase with Nancee Cain

Interview with Tyler Wiegmann

February 18:

Review and Showcase with Yolanda Renee

Showcase with Michelle Willms

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Romance Under Fire
Author Feather Stone / F. Stone / Judy Weir:

1-b078f2221d6ec0463539f01708b9e727On our cattle ranch, when an animal was in distress or injured, I was put in charge of nursing it back to health. Never mind that I was just a kid and hated the sight of blood, but I had to muster up the courage to apply home remedies. My survival rate was pretty good. It seemed like a foregone conclusion that I would progress to nursing – humans. After one year into nurses training, I bolted. Bed pans and chronic diseases pushed me in different direction; a career of dealing with drug addicts, murder, suicide, fatalities, and biker gangs. In 1983 I graduated with honors as a paramedic and worked in the City of Edmonton’s Emergency Services.The Guardian's Wildchild

For the next twenty years, I came face to face with scenes most people would rather not think about. I loved it. Having experienced life in the most deadly and gut wrenching events, and work alongside the police service, I gained the fodder for creating intense novels.

My first novel, The Guardian’s Wildchild, was published by Omnific Publishing in 2011. The setting is on a naval ship, under the command of a surely man who is under suspicion of treason. When a battered woman is brought to his ship for execution, he has no idea that she is about to turn his disciplined life into chaos – and that she is no ordinary woman. The Guardian’s Wildchild has a rating of 4.1 at Amazon.

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