Review: Hooking Up by Helena Hunting

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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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Chapter Reveal: So Good by Nicola Rendell

 

 

 

Coming August 7th

 

 

 

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On the roof of a house outside Truelove, Maine, master carpenter Max Doyle looks down through a skylight and sees the most beautiful woman he’s ever laid eyes on. She’s naked, she’s gorgeous, and everything about her is perfect, down to the ball-busting tattoo of a rose that wraps around her hip. But it isn’t just any woman making his knees buckle. It’s his best friend, Rosie Madden. And as he stands there, mesmerized and precariously close to toppling off the roof, he knows he’ll never, ever be able to look at her the same way again.

Rosie can’t help but notice that Max is suddenly acting very strange—lots of long stares, totally tongue-tied, and not at all like the slightly cocky hunk she’s proud to call her best friend. She can’t figure it out, until later that night when Max rescues her from the world’s worst date, challenges her to a game of pool, and shows her just exactly what she’s got him thinking about. Repeatedly.

But life is complicated. Rosie’s cat, Julia Caesar, wants to eat Max’s dog Cupcake for an afternoon snack. A dream job threatens to pull them apart. And another glance through the skylight changes everything, one more time. Yet try as they might, they can’t go back to being just friends, because falling in love with the one you’ve always adored?

It feels so good.

 


1
Max

I wasn’t planning to see her naked—I swear to God, I wasn’t. The day was a scorcher, one of those godforsaken New England summer days that makes a guy wonder how he ever said fuck you to winter. I stood on the roof her house, three stories above the Maine woods, with a far-off view of the ocean. It was pretty, yeah, like the kind of shit real estate companies put on complimentary calendars. But in that heat, it was like standing on top of a goddamned toaster, turned all the way to burnt. I could feel that shit in my socks, straight through my work boots. At my feet was a stack of shake shingles, old school, to replace the ones that were missing. Her house had a few slow leaks, and one over her bathroom that made the ceiling look like a huge Rorschach test. She said it definitely looked like a rose in bloom, I said it definitely looked like Batman. But I told her hidden meanings wouldn’t make shit for difference when the ceiling collapsed into the tub, so there I was. Fucking miserable work, but I was glad to do it. Glad to do anything for her—anything she needed at all.
In the forest on every side around the cottage, the cicadas screeched. It sounded like a needle squeaking off a record player. I knelt down by the stack of shingles, using my utility knife to score a line through one to fit a nearby gap. I snapped it with my hands and tossed the scrap end off the edge of the roof. A trickle of sweat ran down my forehead, and I wiped my face with my forearm. One droplet got away, sparkling in the sun. It caught my eye, and I watched it fall, as it landed on the skylight window with a splat.
​And that was when it happened. Boom.
​There she was, right under me. She couldn’t have been more than six feet away, but she felt even closer. I had a direct line of sight down into her gorgeous, soft cleavage, bright and pure in the sunshine. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it was the surprise of seeing her, but at first I didn’t really process that it was Rosie at all. My dude brain said, I want that woman.
​Then my regular brain said, Don’t be an asshole, man. It’s Rosie. Have some respect.
Respect I definitely had, but of course I’d thought about seeing her naked before. She was so fucking beautiful that any man would have thought about it. Sometimes, like right then looking down into her dress, I couldn’t fucking help it. Sometimes we’d be out doing something ordinary, like eating dinner, or I’d be changing her oil, or she’d be teaching me to do shit I should have learned at some point in the last 34 years, like iron a dress shirt without screwing up the collar, and I’d catch myself watching her cleavage rise and fall as she breathed, or thinking how nice her legs were, and I’d think, Holy hell.
Now she was directly underneath the skylight. The angle of the sun cast my shadow down the roofline, away from the skylight, so I didn’t give myself away. Like that, I watched her. I gave in to my dude brain and just took her in. Her light brown hair glinted, and a beam of light caught the curve of her shoulder.
That was when the goddamned striptease started, beginning with the left strap of her sundress.
Her movements were graceful, sexy, sassy—the sway of her hips, the shake of her shoulders. I realized I might be in real fucking trouble, because I loved that sexy sass. It wasn’t normal Rosie-cute. It was naughty, like nothing I’d ever seen her do before. I liked it so much, I couldn’t look away. She shimmied out of her sundress, and it fell to the floor in a pool at her feet. No big deal, I tried to tell myself. I’d seen her in her bikini a thousand times. This was no different from that.
Except it was, because then she reached around to undo her bra. Before I could tell myself Don’t look, dude. It’s Rosie, don’t look, it was too fucking late. The straps slid down off her shoulders, and for one perfect second got caught on her nipples, swinging in the air before falling to the floor.
Holy…
I pressed my clenched fist to my mouth and groaned into my hand. All my blood was leaving my head. The roofline was getting wobbly.
It wasn’t like I didn’t know her curves; we’d spent whole summers on the beach—I knew her shape and her softness, I knew her lines and her freckles. Every curve of Rosie Madden was sacred in my book. Fucking douchebags on the beach giving her eyes had to answer to me and my eyes, right behind her. She did that to me—I was one punch away from defending her honor, always. But this? This was different. Seeing your best friend in a bikini at a clam bake is one thing. Protecting your best friend from assholes with wandering eyes is part of the guy-girl best friend creed. But seeing your best friend, absolutely naked in her bedroom, without knowing she can see you? That was a different deal.
…Shit.
Part of me knew I should keep my eyes off of her. She thought she was in private, I had no business spying. Anyway, I didn’t want to be that guy. I hated that guy. But the other part of me, fuck. The other part of me was nothing but want.
Then she bent at the hips, and time slowed down, like some kind of stop-motion Jackie Chan kung fu sequence. All the cicadas went silent, at least in my head they did. The wind stopped blowing through the trees. It was just her, and her perfection, in the sunshine underneath me. I felt like I was on one of those glass-bottomed boats, looking at a world I never knew existed.
She tossed her bra aside, and it landed on her neatly made bed. She shimmied out of her panties, shaking her ass as she did. I growled into my fist, and that’s when I went down into a crouch.
Because as she shimmied I saw it in a V above her ass. My kryptonite. A skimpy thong.
All these years, all these decades, I’d had her pegged for cute cotton panties—pastel polka dots, thin stripes, shit that was sweet and sensible. But I was so fucking wrong. Black. Strappy. Tiny. Not sensible at all. Now it was in a rolled-up ball at her ankles. Using her toes, she plucked her panties from the floor, and caught them on one finger.
Fucking A.
She was completely naked, not a thread on her. Every thought I’d ever had got sucked out of my brain, like dishwater down the sink drain. What was left was only one true thing, and it wasn’t about her ass, or her skin, or her breasts. It was the one thing I think I’d always known but never let myself feel. Until that moment.
She is the most beautiful woman in the world.
Part of the reason I thought that was, yeah, obviously, she was fucking stunning, every inch of her straight out of a dream. Not just my dream, either. Guys would slow down on Main Street to give her the elevator stare, and I’d quietly crack my knuckles and give them don’t-you-fucking-dare stares. But the other part, the part that wasn’t in my gut but that was in my heart, was that I fucking adored her. Adored her so hard it hurt.
She crouched down to pick up her dress, lifting the delicate straps with her small, sweet fingers. She pivoted, so I had a view of her other side of her body for the first time. There it was.
The tattoo.
I groaned again. I wasn’t prepared for this shit; three stories up, that body was dangerous. It was a rose tattoo, snaking around her hip, on the milk-white skin that was always under her bikini bottoms. The part of her I’d never seen. It was serious ink, real art, not some namby-pamby temporary tattoo or some amateur shit she might’ve gotten in an hour at a tattoo parlor on a dare on a cruise to Puerto Rico. It was complicated, detailed, and artful. Multiple visits to some tattoo artist, touching that creamy skin—goddamn.
It took every fucking ounce of strength I had, but I did manage to look away. I felt as disoriented as if I’d been sucker punched. Not cotton—lace. Not cute—hot. Not my friend—my fucking fantasy.
She was so important to me, such an integral part of my world, that I’d never let myself think of her as more than what she was. She was like running water, or electricity, or the sunshine itself. She was one of those things that was perfect exactly as it was, and one of those things only an idiot would want to change. I never looked at her and thought, I wish I could have more of her than I do already. That would be like thinking, I wish I could turn that cold glass of water into a swimming pool. Or, I wish electricity came through the air. Fuck that noise. Perfect things are perfect things, and Rosie Madden was a perfect goddamned thing, from the tips of her toes to the freckles on her nose. And that rose, holy fuck, that rose.
I was strong, but not that strong, and I let my eyes move down again. She’d disappeared from view, mostly, except for the edge of her ass. I watched her rifle through her closet, and a few dresses fluttered onto her bed. On her bedside table, I caught a glimpse of the picture she always kept there, of the two of us together. The memories flew back at me like a runaway train. The first time I’d ever seen her was the day my parents and I moved to Truelove, at the start of middle school. The first time I ever saw her, she was volunteering at the community gardens. She had a smudge of dirt on her cheek, and I thought she’d looked super badass. I’d helped her dig up carrots and had been too fucking tongue-tied to say a goddamned word.
That’s how I felt, all over again times a thousand.
I’d never made a move. She’d cried on my shoulder through a line of guys who were never good enough for her. Jocks and pricks and a brief and seriously unfortunate stint with a guy who was a drummer for a reggae band who I hated so much it made me grind my teeth. But I never said shit about it. She was perfect even when she made mistakes. Tips of her toes. Freckles on her nose.
Never mind that rose. Like Banksy took on a temple.
One more time, I glanced down. Now she was sitting on her bed, and I saw that dark V shadow between her thighs. Oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck. I watched her put on a pair of red panties. Equally skimpy, equally not-sensible, equally ball-busting. They were only tragic because they hid the parts of her I’d never seen before.
Christ. All. Mighty.
As the world started to spin, I realized fixing the shingles could wait. I’d been working on old houses long enough to know that if you found yourself on a dangerously sloping roof and felt like you might be less than 100% on the ball, you needed to reconsider your game plan. I needed to get my shit together—that body had me totally fucking derailed. So I made my way down the roof, basically bouldering down backward. I focused on my grip, and my steps, like a climber coming down from Everest without enough oxygen. When I got to the gutter, I worked my way around the corner, standing on the eave, and hooked my leg over my ladder, making sure to put one foot after another and keep a tight grip on every rung.
When I stepped off the ladder, I grabbed a bottle of water that she’d left for me and filled up my palm and then splashed my face. My sweat stung my eyes through the droplets of water, and I rubbed away the tears. I heard the hinges on the screen door creak. “All done?” she asked.
I opened my eyes. They stung like hell, but I didn’t give a fuck. There she was, in a dress I’d seen before. Striped and sweet. But now I knew the secret. There were red panties under there. Red. Cherry red. My eyes fell on that part of her hip that I knew was inked.
“Max?”
I managed somehow to snap out of it. “Sorry. Getting there. Spotted something weird with the skylight.”
Rosie cocked her head. “Were you up there? Above my room?”
Awesome, dude. Smooth. “Just noticed it out of the corner of my eye.”
“I don’t like you being on the roof.” She pursed her lips. “Too steep. Promise you’ll get some ropes up there or something? Promise?” She reached out and put her hand to my arm, her fingers with their short pink nails pressing into my tanned skin. I had a quick but totally unavoidable image of her gripping my forearm in a very different situation. I want that. So fucking…
Oh, for fuck’s sake.
When I didn’t answer—I knew that if I opened my mouth the first words out would be You. Me. Right Now.—she looked up at the roof and squinted into the sun. She peered suspiciously up at me and shifted her nose, kind of like a bunny. Adorable. She wasn’t very tall, so whenever she looked at me she had to lift her chin, which used to be cute. But now looked…like everything I’d ever wanted. “Have you had too much sun?”
​I was vaguely aware that she’d said some words, but I wasn’t hearing them because I realized that I couldn’t see her bra straps, so that had to mean she was she was wearing a strapless…
Knock. That. Shit. Off. “I’m good.”
“Mmm.” She nodded and furrowed her delicate eyebrows, which had never looked so pretty as they did at that moment. I didn’t even know eyebrows could be pretty. They’re eyebrows, for fuck’s sake. But suddenly I felt like for the last ten years, I’d been looking at her through a standard definition television, with a shitty cable connection. Now someone had handed me an HDMI cable, and she was in 1080 dots per inch. Christ.
“Lemme make you a sandwich. You’re acting strange.”
Rather than answer her, I dumped the remaining half a bottle of water over my head, like Andre Agassi used to do between break points at the French Open.
“Ham? Or turkey? I’ve got both. Or chicken salad!” She clapped her hands together, compressing her cleavage. “Do you want a pickle?”
She means an actual pickle, you fuckwit. “Surprise me,” I told her, and dragged my eyes off the curve of her cleavage. I grabbed the bottom of my T-shirt and pressed it to my eyes. I had to get out of there. I needed a cold shower, or a call from my tax guy, or an unexpectedly urgent trip to the DMV—anything to stop myself seeing her stark naked every goddamned time I looked at her. Anything to get my mind off that ink.
As I wiped my face, she cleared her throat, and I dropped my shirt. “What?”
She pressed her lips together and rocked back on her sandals. “Nothing!”
I followed her eyes and glanced down at my fly, but the stallion was still in the barn. “Come on,” I said, finding myself smiling right along with her. “What are you looking at?”
“Just…” She swallowed hard. “Looking good there, champ.” She glanced at my stomach, where I’d shown her my bare abs. She made a fist and gave me a mock punch, soft and sweet. “That P90X is working great for you.”
Here we go again with the fitness videos. For everything else she was—beautiful, smart, funny—she was also a fucking ball-buster sometimes. She’d worked up this whole narrative that I spent my nights with Tony Horton on my houseboat, getting cut and doing reps while I drank protein shakes with a straw straight from the blender. It was her only explanation for why I didn’t have a girlfriend. P90X it had to be, she’d said. Or maybe, she’d whispered like a co-conspirator, “Jazzercise.” Now, though, I had a better idea than ever about why I was so picky: not a single woman held a candle to her. I’d been fucking blind to it, but now the mist had burned right off. “I’ve never even seen the opening sequence. Never have. Never will.”
“They’re streaming now!”
​“Christ.”
Rosie snorted and made a long wheeeeee. “Sure. Surrrrrrre,” she said, stifling her giggle. “One ham-and-turkey, coming right up.” She spun on her sandals and disappeared into the house. Hips swinging. Red panties invisible, but not to me.
Not anymore.

 

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.
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Review + Giveaway: Survive by the Team by Cindy Skaggs

  Title: Survive By The Team
Series: Team Fear #3
By: Cindy Skaggs
Publication Date: June 23, 2017
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Cover Designer: Mayhem Cover Creations
#survivebytheteamreveal

The wild ride continues in this highly addictive series.

Mandi Gault never met a man brave enough to openly date a mortician, so when a good-looking man with twelve-pack abs invites her to dinner, she’s not asking any questions. Too bad he’s trying to kill her.

Danny Gault died in a conspiracy threatening Team Fear–his defunct military team–so when Gault’s sister winds up in the hospital, former teammate Dean Stills is forced to leave the safety of the team’s compound. He recognizes her attacker as a member of a rogue military unit with orders to eliminate Team Fear. Now they’re on the run while they unravel why Team Echo wants her dead.

As the danger escalates, they share a wild night of down and dirty fun that would put a blush on a corpse, but Stills made it clear it was one and done. Now he must decide if he’s brave enough to forget about vengeance and live.

Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the military and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this fast-paced romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.

Pre-Order Your Copy Today!
AMAZON US – http://amzn.to/2sERcTL
AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/BtfPk6
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/0opbbv

My Review:

Every Team Fear novel seems better than the last. I would be hard pressed to pick a favourite. Ms Skaggs’ own military background ensures a taste of authenticity.

The fact that our heroine is a mortician is just icing on the cake. Sure, she’s seen corpses before, but maybe not when they’re so fresh.

Stills doesn’t seem like this group’s likely candidate for romance, either. So when this pair falls together, it’s guaranteed to absorb your interest. Five stars.

Team Fear #1
AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/wYPfqk
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/2q2elT
Team Fear #2
AMAZON UK – https://goo.gl/6QiAmv
AMAZON CA – https://goo.gl/QTu8Or
Her socks snagged on the raw floorboards as she followed. “Are you sure you don’t feel fear?”
“Absolutely.”
“Then why are you backing away from me?”
Hell if he knew. He’d been dying to touch her. Taste her. Dead center of the attic, he stopped and she walked straight into him. Her body was flush against his. Her curves turned his mind to mush. Doing the right thing no longer mattered.
He cupped her neck. So fragile.
He rubbed a knuckle along her jawline. So soft.
“This is a mistake,” he warned. The flutter of her pulse beat against his hands.
“If we’re going to make a mistake,” she said, lifting onto her tiptoes, “better make it a good one.”
“Hell yeah.” That was a philosophy he could get behind. It was too late to keep things platonic, but she needed to understand what she was getting into. Bracing a hand on either side of her face, he forced her to look at him. “I set the pace. I lead.”
She swallowed. “Is there any other way?”
“Not with me.”

Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado.

Now she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into a career she loves. She has an MA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. She also plays the flute, makes crazy-good sculptures out of tortilla dough, and can wrangle the neurotic dog without getting mauled. Find her as Cindy Skaggs, Writer on Facebook, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.

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Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Summary:

 

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counterThis book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone. For more about its previous publication, you can read this blog post.

Review:

Joshua and Caleb have a lot of preconceived notions and insecurities to battle, considering where they’ve grown up. They’re very different men. While Josh is more of a homebody and gentle spirit, Caleb is willing to sink his teeth into the real world. But even he is afraid to communicate what he wants from Josh.

After all, when the one person you want could very well reject you, isn’t it better to hide your feelings? Communication doesn’t always work to your advantage.

The supporting cast in this story is super. I’m looking forward to reading more books in this series. Sarina Bowen never disappoints. 4.5 stars

Buy Links:

➜ Amazon: http://geni.us/GPamazon

➜ iBooks: soon

➜ B&N: http://geni.us/GPnook

➜ Kobo: http://geni.us/GPkobo

➜ Google: http://geni.us/GPgoogle

 

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Review: The Hold Trilogy by Arell Rivers

No One to Hold

by Arell Rivers
The Hold Series
Publication Date: December 16, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Succumb to Cole Manchester—talented, witty, charming, sexy and oh-so flawed—a womanizing rock star whose shallow life is transformed when he experiences love for the first time.

From the outside, Cole Manchester seems to have it all: looks, fame, money, awards and women. When tragedy strikes, he realizes how hollow his life is, and opens the door to the one thing he’s never considered … finding love. He’s inexplicably drawn to the quiet wallflower who works on his team, a line he knows he shouldn’t cross.

After devastating heartbreaks, all Rose Morgan wants is to blend into the woodwork. Working at her dream job as a publicist, she’s safely hiding in plain sight. Until her client, the sexy Cole Manchester, notices her. Rose must ignore her desires in order to protect her bruised heart … and keep her prized career.

Cole needs Rose to teach him how to love. Rose needs Cole to teach her how to trust. Together, they form a bond ignited by passion but fueled by insecurities. When her mother’s interference collides with his fan’s twisted plot, Cole and Rose may find themselves with No One To Hold.

Hard to Hold (Book #2 in The Hold Series)
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Cheer for Rose Morgan—strong, determined and driven—a brilliant publicist who thought she had finally overcome her tragic past when, once again, her life is turned upside down. Rose and Cole’s passionate love story continues in this second full-length novel in The Hold Series.

Distraught by news of Cole’s unexpected marriage, Rose Morgan tries to pick up the pieces of her life, only to be confronted by Cole at every turn. With her PR career in serious jeopardy, Rose can’t escape his orbit and is forced to continue working on his account. Under snowballing pressure, she seeks solace from unlikely sources.

Reeling from the disastrous fallout after his drunken night in Las Vegas, rock star Cole Manchester is a tormented man. He reaches out to Rose, the one woman who has always fixed his mistakes, only to realize that he might have pushed her away forever. Now, he’ll do whatever it takes to get her back.

Rose and Cole each must face their deepest fears if their love is to survive. But Cole’s stalker is becoming increasingly unhinged … and dangerous. In the end, Rose and Cole must decide if some things are just too Hard to Hold.

To Have and to Hold (Book #3 in The Hold Series)
Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Kobo | Barnes & Noble | iBooks

Rally around Cole Manchester and Rose Morgan: the rock star and his publicist are about to face their most perilous trials yet. Cole and Rose’s passionate love story culminates in this third full-length novel in The Hold Series.

Back in the spotlight for his world tour, Cole Manchester performs hit after hit before delighted fans. However, his heart remains firmly in Los Angeles with Rose, whose condition remains critical following their terrible car wreck.

After lying unconscious for weeks, Rose Morgan awakens to find herself professionally and personally adrift. Her scrambled memories have convinced her Cole is dangerous, compelling her to shut him out and face an uncertain future on her own.

With nothing left to lose, Cole’s crazed stalker executes her final desperate act. After an explosive finale, who will survive her deadly rampage?

Destinies will be altered. Intentions stripped bare. Rose and Cole must face all of their remaining demons if their love is to survive. In the trilogy’s thrilling conclusion, they’ll discover if they truly have each other forever To Have and To Hold.

My Review:

I was invited to blog the review for Book #1 of this trilogy, with the option to review the other two books. I loved the first book so much that I just couldn’t wait to read the sequels–the trilogy is complete and published–so I immediately bought the other two volumes. It took me about three days to read them all. I didn’t want to put them down.

Cole’s mother passes away and he has an epiphany: everything he’s earned is worthless if he has no one to share it with him. In times of trouble, everyone he knows evidently has a friend to lean on, but not him. He’s unwittingly isolated himself. He decides to find a woman with whom he can have a genuine connection. Somebody normal, outside the environment to which he’s accustomed. And he soon sets his eye on Rose. There are only two problems: she works for him and she has secrets. Oh, and she’s leery of committing to him. Not to mention that he has a stalker who’d like to see her dead.

Book #1: No One to Hold: 4 stars.

Book #2: Hard to Hold: 5 stars.

Book #3: To Have and to Hold: 5 stars.

About Arell Rivers

For as long as I can remember, I have been lost in a book. During my senior year in college, I picked up a Danielle Steel novel … and instantly was hooked on romance.

I started writing my first novel, No One to Hold, because the characters were screaming at me to do so. The story started coming out in my dreams and attacking me in the shower, so I took to the computer to shut them up. But they kept talking.

Born and raised in New Jersey, I have what some may call a “checkered past.” Prior to discovering my passion for writing romance, I practiced law, was a wedding and event planner and even dabbled in marketing. I live with a very supportive husband and two mischievous cats. When not in my writing cave, I can be found making dinner in the crock pot, working out with Shaun T or hitting the beach.

I hope you enjoy my stories about driven men, strong women and the passions that ignite!

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Review: Jude by Kathy Coopmans

 

From USA Today Best-Selling Author comes the second book in a series of standalones in The Saint Series.

NOW AVAILABLE!!!

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Blurb

Jude

 

I faked my way long enough by keeping my mouth shut, painting a fake smile on my face and focusing hard on my job.

I quit going out to find that random piece of ass.

Not a one of them would stand up to her anyway.

She hates me, loathes me even.

Little does Vivian Shepard know I’ve got more tricks up my sleeve than she will ever begin to imagine to get her to change her mind, to get my chance.

I’m not giving up.

I want her, and by God, I’ll fight as dirty as I can get to have her.

No matter what!

 

Vivian

Of course, I knew it was a one- night stand.

It’s was the perfect night before all hell broke loose to be quite honest.

Drinking, talking and flirting.

One I relished in as I tried to gravitate my mind back to solid ground after soaring so high I could feel the rush of flying.

My stomach dipped, my heart fluttered, and my toes curled inward and then I splattered to the hard surface of the ground.

Jude Westbrooke opened his big fat mouth.

He ruined it, ruined me, ruined it all.

“We need to talk.” I finally manage to pull away from her. My eyes are diverting from her mouth to her soaked t-shirt. “Fuck,” I snarl. Her pink nipples are standing out against the wet fabric, which is white and very thin. My gaze darkens the further south it goes, down to her tiny little pink and white shorts that are saturated. Rivulets of water are dripping down her long, toned legs, dripping off her silky skin to mix with the giant puddle on the floor.

“You look absolutely beautiful, Red.”

“What in the hell are you doing here, Jude? It’s a monsoon out there. And what gives you the right to barge into my house and attack me like that, anyway? Have you lost your mind?” She shoves me back a step and climbs off the counter, nearly falling on her ass in the process. Slippery when wet, baby! The spell is broken.

“I didn’t lose my mind. You fucking stole it. I can’t stop thinking about you, and no matter what you try and say, I know damn well you don’t want me to. So we are talking, goddamn it!” I yell.

“Well, that sure didn’t sound like talking to me. And take your mind back. I don’t want it.” Liar.

“No, darling, it wasn’t talking. What that was, was several months of pent-up frustration over wanting more of what you gave me the night we met. What that was, was me telling you that I’m not a man who walks away from something he knows is rare. You want to give me my mind back, then let me give you something more to stew about in that pretty head of yours. You are so full of shit if you think for one second I’m buying the piss-ass excuse that you don’t want me. And before your head gets all rattled and you start spewing more of your shit, I’m not talking about sex, Vivian. I’m talking about you. The woman I know is in there, but is too fucking stubborn to let the best side of her out. I want that woman. The woman I met before I fucked shit up. The woman I want to ask out on a date. So, you know what? I’m here to tell you that once you decide to let that woman emerge, you give me a call.”

I turn to leave and grab the door handle. I’m so fucking mad she isn’t trying to stop me like she should that I could spit nails into this door. Hammer this goddamn thing shut.

“I’m telling you right the hell now, Vivian, that if you don’t call me, then you are wasting what I know for a goddamn fact would be the greatest gift given to me, which is you.”

My Review:

This book wasn’t what I expected–in a good way.

I was expecting the usual macho guy with an attitude. But Jude Westbrooke is so much more than muscle. He’s a total sweetheart and one of my all time favourite Alpha male leads. Plus, I love his dog.

Once, Jude made a mistake with a girl named Vivian that cost him dearly. He’ll do anything to fix it and get her back. Unfortunately, somebody doesn’t want that to happen. At all.

This book is full of twists and I couldn’t put it down. I haven’t read Riddick but I’m going to have to remedy that. Five stars.

About the Author:

Kathy Coopmans

USA TODAY Best Selling Author Kathy Coopmans, lives in Michigan with her husband Tony where they have two grown sons.

After raising her children she decided to publish her first book and retiring from being a hairstylist.

She now writes full time.

She’s a huge sports fan with her favorite being Football and Tennis.

She’s a giver and will do anything she can to help another person succeed!

Stalk Her: Facebook | Twitter | Website |  Goodreads | Newsletter signup | Follow on Amazon

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Tour, Review + Giveaway: Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

 

 MY REVIEW:

Holy Hannah, did I love this book!

A couple of years ago, I discovered a liking for sports romances even though I’m not very sporty. And there are superb ones out there, but they tend to follow certain tropes. This story comes out of left field and provides something delightfully different.

(I know, baseball metaphor about a football story. Sue me.)

I’m not even going to fill you in because being surprised is such a treat. There’s basically nothing I want to tell you about it that isn’t in the summary. And the summary’s got enough to hook you already. The man is a fish out of water. He’s so cute. The girl’s complicated, but she holds all the cards. And the dog? I want a dog like this dog. I loved it all! Five stars.

There’s a link below. All you have to do is click it.

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At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

***

To the reader: Contents includes love, sweetness, naughtiness, honey, champagne, and an HEA. Safe.


 

With her hand in mine, I hail a cab on Fullerton. She isn’t saying much, and I like that. I like talking to her, getting dirty, watching her lose her words. Because I’ll tell you what, I’m planning on her losing a shitload more than that before I’m done with her. Losing everything to me. That’s the fucking plan.
The cabbie pulls off to the other side of the road a little way up from us and puts on his hazards to tell us he’s waiting. As we head for the crosswalk, I kick aside a drift from one of the plows, but it’s unsteady footing, icy and slick. As she begins to slip, her grip on my hand tightens.
“That’s enough of that,” I tell her, and scoop her up into my arms, newlywed-style.
She squeals and hangs on tight. She fits fucking perfectly in my arms, and I love the way she feels tight against me. Her fingers slip past my collar, and her fingernails dig gently into the back of my neck. “I can walk,” she says, mostly to my mouth. Then she raises her eyes. “It was just slippery.”
I don’t answer right away. I don’t want to come on too strong. I don’t want to scare her, but I don’t want there to be any fucking mistake at all about what I want or how I plan to get it. “I know you can. I’m sure you can do pretty much everything.”
Her eyes glisten, and I hoist her up a little higher in my arms. The walk signal starts flashing its hand as we get to the other curb. “I’m no shrinking violet.”
“Good. Because I’m going to need you to come strong for me tonight.”
Her body reacts before her face does, her back arching under my hand, that bend so delicate under my palm.
“Multiple times. Loudly.”
She presses her face to my chest and moans out what sounds like, “Who are you?”
“And you’re going to tell me what you like and how you like it. We’re not going to fuck around. Communication, pussycat. That’s the key.”
There go her words again. I’m getting to know that glaze in her eye, disoriented with desire. “And what about you?”
Now we’re even with the cab, but I’ve still got some things she needs to know. “I don’t come until you do. At least twice.”
She’s got no answer for that, so I bring her chin up toward me, stretching her pretty neck out with my thumb on her jaw. “You hear me?”
She nods. She breathes. She blinks.
“That’s how it’s going to go.”
“I think I can handle that.”
I laugh, sending a plume of steam out of my nose. This girl has no idea how badly I want her. How badly I need her. How fucking hard I am already to get inside her. “Yeah? You think so? You think you can handle me?”
Her eyes widen a little. “I think so,” she whispers.
Then I let her slip from my arms, such a fucking shame, but I’m not about to let her open her own door. As she gets into the cab—on the street side, the safe side—I say into her ear, “We’ll just see about that.”

A signed copy of Hail Mary and a $50 Sephora Gift Card

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Nicola Rendell writes dirty, funny, erotic romance. She likes a stiff drink and a well-frosted cake. She is at an unnamed Ivy and prefers to remain mostly anonymous for professional reasons. She has a PhD in English and an MFA in Creative Writing from schools that shall not be named here. She loves to cook, sew, and play the piano. She realizes that her hobbies might make her sound like an old lady and she’s totally okay with that. She lives with her husband and her dogs. She is from Taos, New Mexico.

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Review: Fight by the Team by Cindy Skaggs

   Title: Fight By The Team
Series: Team Fear #2
By: Cindy Skaggs
Publication Date: August 23, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense

Military trained, medically enhanced, designed to kill.

Sergeant Rose is a former Special Forces soldier turned fearless through a classified program designed to inhibit the physiological reactions to fear, but the secret cocktail of drugs has lethal side effects. The soldiers are still fearless, but they’re also angry, paranoid, violent, and potentially suicidal, making them a danger to anyone close to them, which sends Rose on a mission of revenge against the military and the scientists who used Team Fear as guinea pigs to further a twisted agenda.

A discredited chemist fired for rushing testing protocols, Debi works as a bartender and longs for a way to redeem an impulsive, life-altering mistake. When she is kidnapped and nearly killed by the men sent to destroy Team Fear and all evidence of the experimental program, she has no choice but to join Team Fear on their quest for vengeance. Now she’s in the crosshairs of a rogue military team bent on her destruction.

The threat of annihilation should be enough to prevent Rose from acting on his fantasies about the beautiful scientist, but he can’t fight fate, the Army, and their explosive chemistry. As they’re drawn deeper into the conspiracy, will their relationship survive the truth?

Fast paced, with twists and turns and a side of steamy, Fight By The Team is the second in the Team Fear series. The surviving members of Team Fear are out of the Army and in a world of secrets, lies, and cover-ups in this military romantic suspense series by Cindy Skaggs.

 

My Review:

I officially adore this series. Again, we have an appealing alpha male (who happens to be secretive about his first name) and a strong, skilled, STUBBORN female lead. The plot’s fascinating, the settings would make a terrific movie, and the characters are fascinating. On top of all that, this author has a military background so you can count on her knowing her stuff. Five stars for another of my favorite military romance series. I can’t wait for the next book!

Amazon US – http://amzn.to/2bEs9ro
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A muscle twitched in his bicep; otherwise he was still. “You don’t owe me anything.”

“No. But I’d like to.”

“What am I supposed to do with that?” He laced his fingers together on the top of his head. His features were impassive, intimidating as hell. “I decked one of my teammates in anger. Doesn’t that concern you?”

“All you did was split his lip.” The day before, he’d taken Wade out with one hit. “You pulled your punch.”

“That should still concern you.”

“It’s between you and Stills.”

“He’s got a hard face. He’ll live.”

“My point exactly. How about you?” Because the guilt hadn’t left his eyes the whole time they’d talked.

Shallow breaths moved his chest. “Why are you here?”

The coronary that had threatened since she was a kid was about to be realized. The words stalled in her throat, but if he could expose himself, his anger issues and the concerns behind them, she could speak the truth. Crap. Her heart nearly seized. “I want you to sleep in my bed.” She stepped forward and ran a finger down the midline, feeling the muscles twitch. It was quite possible she’d die before he answered. “And I don’t want to snuggle.”

Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado.

As a single mom, she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into the one thing she can’t live without: writing. She has an MA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. Find her on Facebook as Cindy Skaggs, Writer, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.
 

New: Cuffed and Claimed Anthology for Charity

Cuffed & Claimed

This collection of phenomenal authors and stories has been brought together to support the families of Law Enforcement Officers that have been killed in the line of duty.

What’s better than an Alpha man in uniform?

Ten of them. Turn up the heat with ten BRAND-NEW law enforcement stories from some of the hottest USA Today, Amazon, and International best-selling romance authors around. These commanding men in uniform will fulfill your every sinful fantasy, and leave you panting for more.

Featuring stories by: Caitlyn O’Leary, Daisy Philips, Elle Boon, Fiona Archer, Holly Roberts, Jenika Snow, Lori King, Lynne St. James, Sherri Hayes, and Sydney Lea

 

http://cuffedandclaimed.com

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Her Hearts Protector

by: Caitlyn O’Leary

It’s the worst case scenario for David Sloane as a Military Policeman. An earthquake has rocked Las Flores, leaving devastation in its wake. The local government leans heavily on David to lead the manhunt to recapture the escaped convicts.

In the midst of the chaos, former army nurse Sarah Kyle arrives with the International Aid Workers. As David comes face to face with the woman he’s never forgotten, danger continues to escalate as the desperate prisoners do anything they can leave the island.

When conditions deteriorate will these former lovers survive, let alone have the happily ever after they deserve?

Read an Excerpt

 

Arresting Submission

by: Daisy Philips

Cat Conroy had fallen for a bad boy before and it hadn’t ended well. Scott Weston was trouble with a capital T. He claimed to be a CPA but in Cat’s experience, accountants rarely carried guns to work.

Undercover FBI agent Scott loved Cat from the moment he met her. Unfortunately, the lies he had to tell were driving them apart. Would she be able to forgive him when the truth finally came out?

Read an Excerpt

 

Delta Rogue

by: Elle Boon

Hailey’s tired of seeing men she considers her brothers nearly killed. The Navy was the one place she considered home, until now.

Maddox is used to playing cat and mouse, his job is to keep the United States safe from terrorists. However, the ends always outweighed his own needs. Only this time, with Hailey’s life hanging in the balance it wasn’t the same.

3As threats escalate, and Hailey is placed under his care 24/7 will he be able to keep things professional? Or will it all fall apart as secrets are uncovered and the threats are closer than either thought?

Read an Excerpt

 

 

In His Custody

by: Fiona Archer

English teacher Mercy Jones has sworn off men, especially the edgy ones. So why does the new substitute history teacher have to be dangerous, raw, and challenging—on every level? His uncompromising masculinity and questioning mind captivate Mercy, tempting her to risk her heart.

Detective Aidan Shaw is a cynical bastard. But when working undercover to eradicate a high school drug network, Aidan meets an intelligent, feisty blonde. Mercy’s warmth and generous spirit awaken a part of him buried deep for too long.

But as he closes in on the criminals manipulating innocents for profit, the stakes grow ever higher.

Read an Excerpt

 

Street Justice

by: Holly S. Roberts

Street Justice combines a sexy alpha cop, a bohemian woman with a heart of gold, and a half-Shepard half-Poodle mix with a leg-humping need to prove who’s top dog in the neighborhood. With suspense, humor, and steamy romance Street Justice will have your alpha-cop fantasies on full alert.

Read an Excerpt

 

Yes, Sir

by: Jenika Snow

Brittin

I had no choice but to come back. I knew I’d run into Law, my bear-shifting ex, and the man I still loved.

I thought I could move on.

I was wrong.

Law

Brittin is the only woman I will ever love. She is it for me, even if she broke it off. I screwed up when I lost her, and I spent the next two years regretting it.Cuffedandclaimed3d

Now she’s back, and it’s my chance to show her I can be the man she deserves.

Read an Excerpt

 

 

The Lawman’s Lover

by: Lori King

A divorcee whose broken dreams are buried so deep she can’t remember where she put them.

A Deputy Sheriff with a mountain of responsibilities weighing him down.

A fling. No strings attached. No plans for the future.

Until someone’s heart gets broken.

Find out how Deputy Colby Bricker and waitress Elizabeth Newcomer take their shared past and build a new future, in this sister story to the Crawley Creek Ranch Series.

Read an Excerpt

 

House Arrest

by: Lynne St. James

Ethan Price thought a job as a small-town police detective in Willow Haven would be easy after five years as a pilot in the Air Force. Then a rash of break-ins puts the entire department on alert and the woman he loves at risk.

Anna Taggart is smart, stubborn, independent, and doesn’t think she needs anyone. Having her heart broken before, she refuses to give in to her feelings for Ethan no matter how hard he pursues her.

Will Ethan be able to convince Anna life is too short not to love?

Read an Excerpt

 

2Seducing the Detective

by: Sherri Hayes

When Detective Janey Davis is sent to the small town of Liberty to consult on a recently discovered John Doe, she’s paired up with Deputy Kyle Reed. She’s run into his type before—handsome, overly confident, and he has the ladies fawning all over him. It should be easy to resist her attraction to him. If only someone would tell that to her heart.

Read an Excerpt

 

Dirty Liars

by: Sydney Lea

Undercover FBI agent Nikolai has been treading a fine line between right and wrong for the last few years and everything he has worked for is thrown into utter chaos the moment he risks it all to save Harper. Harper’s life has just been turned upside down, and now she must rely on the one man who has been lying to her from the moment they met.

Can they overcome all the dirty lies told between them?

Read an Excerpt

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Review + Major Giveaway: Filthy English by Ilsa Madden-Mills

filthy english now avaiable.

A smokin’ hot British player…

A jilted girl…

One night of mistaken identity…

★★ PURCHASE Filthy English Today!★★

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*A modern love story inspired by Romeo and Juliet*

Young atractive man wearing white shirt

Blurb

Two weeks before her wedding, Remi Montague’s fiancé drops her faster than a drunken sorority girl in stilettos. Armed with her best friend and a bottle of tequila, she hops a plane to London to drown her sorrows before fall semester begins at Whitman University.

She didn’t plan on attending a masquerade party.

She sure didn’t plan on waking up next to the British bad boy who broke her heart three years ago—the devastatingly handsome and naked Dax Blay. Furthermore, she has no clue how they acquired matching tattoos.

Once back at Whitman together, they endeavor to pretend they never had their night of unbridled passion in London.

But that’s damn hard to do when you live in the same house…

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.

perfect fit man from the back in the white towel

Excerpt

 

Without much thought except for comfort, instinctively I pressed myself against him, fitting into his arms as easy as breathing. He leaned against the brick wall of the neighboring building and wrapped me up, sensing my need to be grounded.

I don’t know how long we stood like that—maybe a minute, maybe five—but soon our breaths were in sync; the rise and fall of his chest in perfect accord with mine.

One of his hands traced down my spine and then up. He outlined my shoulder blades with his fingertips. His hands drifted to my hips then caressed back up to my hair, massaging my scalp.

But what had started as an innocent hug changed.

Fire licked my skin everywhere he touched. Of their own accord, my hands slid down to his waist and teased the line where his jeans rested on his hips. I went further, my fingers toying with the V at his hip until I felt him harden against me.

Lips brushed the top of my hair. “Remi . . . look at me,” he said, his voice raspy.

If you look up, you’re going to kiss him . . .

I tilted my head up and his mouth fused with mine in an instant.

Insistent. Wild. Hot. Yes! This is what I needed.

I groaned, and my hands rushed to his shoulders and dug in.

He was wrong—terribly wrong—for me, but it felt so right.

I felt wonderfully alive, revved up, as if I could crush a car with my bare hands, or push Dax against the wall and fuck him senseless. I recognized the feeling for what it was—an I almost-died-and-now-I-want-to-experience-life feeling.

“Wait,” he breathed as I ran my hand under his shirt. “It’s adrenaline. You’ve been through a trauma. You don’t really want this—”

“Shhh.” I lifted his shirt and kissed his chest, my tongue flicking over his nipple. “You taste like every good thing I’ve ever wanted.”

His taut restraint snapped, and he swayed into me. “God, I can’t tell you no.”

 

Book Trailer

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My Review:

This book may have been inspired by Romeo and Juliet, but you need not fear. The bad decisions here involve tequila, not poison and death.

Remi’s on the rebound and with her friend Lulu’s help, she’s hunting for the right man to fulfill a temporary, hopefully sexual position. She practically trips over Dax. Well, she is a klutz. Their meeting makes for a good laugh. Remi is kind of cursed by Murphy’s Law.

Dax is not the guy she thinks he is. Although he’s a bit of a bad boy, he’s not a cad. His personality’s refreshing.

Watching Remi stand up for herself was not only satisfying, it was a lot of fun. I highly recommend this book and I’m looking forward to more from this author. Five stars.

English Series:

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Catch up on Dirty English

A scarred fighter.

A girl with rules.

One night of unbridled passion.

 

 

 

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About the Author

ilsa madden bio

New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She’s addicted to all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding heroes in books. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she’s a Gemini), Sephora make-up, and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master’s in Education.

When she’s not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets, paints old furniture, and eats her weight in sushi.

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VERY BAD THINGS

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VERY WICKED BEGINNINGS

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VERY WICKED THINGS

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VERY TWISTED THINGS

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