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That does it for this week’s weekly wrap up. How was your week in books? Hear any book news that you’d like to share? Get any new books you want to share? Review any books we should check out? Please share.
Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned.
I Flipping Love You is the third book in the Shacking Up series by Helena Hunting and it’s a book that looks like it is right up my alley. I’ve read one book in this series and have the other books on my radar but this house flipping romance has me hooked since I love house flipping tv shows. Sign me up!
A new kind of love story about flipping houses, taking risks, and landing that special someone who’s move-in ready…
SHE’S GOT CURB APPEAL
Rian Sutter grew up with the finer things in life. Spending summers in The Hamptons was a normal occurrence for her until her parents lost everything years ago. Now Rian and her sister are getting their life, and finances, back on track through real estate. Not only do they buy and sell houses to the rich and famous, but they finally have the capital to flip their very own beachfront property. But when she inadvertently catches the attention of a sexy stranger who snaps up every house from under her, all bets are off…
HE’S A FIXER UPPER
Pierce Whitfield doesn’t normally demo kitchens, install dry wall, or tear apart a beautiful woman’s dreams. He’s just a down-on-his-luck lawyer who needed a break from the city and agreed to help his brother work on a few homes in the Hamptons. When he first meets Rian, the attraction is undeniable. But when they start competing for the same pieces of prime real estate, the early sparks turn into full-blown fireworks. Can these passionate rivals turn up the heat on their budding romance — without burning down the house?
I FLIPPING LOVE YOU, set in the Shacking Up world, follows two people, both working in real estate, who find themselves vying for the same properties in the Hamptons, leading to a sometimes-not-so-friendly competition.
I flip through my stack of flyers, checking for a sale on the jumbo box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal so I can price match it. I’m a conscientious price matcher. I mark the sale with a big circle before tucking the red Sharpie into the front of my shirt. If I’m going to wheel and deal at the cash register, I want to make it as easy as possible for the cashier and the people in line behind me. Nothing is worse than getting stuck behind an unorganized price matcher.
I shimmy a little to the song playing over the store intercom as I toss boxes of my most favorite, unhealthy cereal in my cart. A prickly feeling climbs the back of my neck, and I shiver, glancing over my shoulder. A mom rushes past me down the aisle, her toddler leaning precariously out of the cart in an attempt to grab a box of Fruit Roll-Ups. I can’t blame him. They are artificially delicious.
But the mom-toddler combo isn’t the reason for the prickly feeling. Halfway down the aisle is a suit. A big suit. Well over six feet of man wrapped in expensive charcoal-gray fabric. He doesn’t have a cart or a basket. And he’s staring at me. Weird. I can’t look at him long enough to decide if he’s familiar or not without making it obvious that I’m staring back.
I have the urge to check my appearance, worried I have his attention because my hair is a mess, or there’s a sweat stain down the center of my back. I’m not particularly appealing at the moment. I’ve just come from a boot camp class at this new gym my twin sister forced me to try out.
Marley bought an online two-for-one coupon for forty bucks, so now I have to attend six of these stupid classes with her. I managed to get out of last week’s class, but she wouldn’t let me escape two weeks in a row. My tank is still dewy, post-exertion, I have terrible under-boob sweat, and my thong is all wonky. If I were alone in this aisle, I’d for sure fix the last issue, but suit guy is here so I must leave the thong where it is for now, wedged uncomfortably between my vagina lips.
The suit quickly shifts his attention to the shelves and picks up the jar directly in front of him, which happens to contain prunes. He inspects it, then maybe realizes what it is, because he rushes to return it, exchanging it for another item. I bite back a smile, pleased that even in my disgusting state I’m being checked out.
As suit man gives the shelf in front of him his full attention, I return the checkout favor. His attire and his posture scream money and a twinge of something like longing combined with jealousy makes my throat momentarily tight. At one time, price matching was a practice I would’ve laughed at—like an entitled jerk—now it’s a necessity.
Suit man must be warm, considering it’s late April and we’re experiencing temperatures far above average for this time of year. Based on the tapered fit of his suit, I’m guessing it’s a high-end brand. He’s complemented it with black patent leather shoes. Very impractical for this weather and location. Does he realize he’s in the Hamptons?
He’s wearing a watch, and from his profile, he can’t be much beyond his early thirties. I have to assume the only reason for the watch is because it’s expensive and he wants to show it off. In my head, I’ve already profiled him as a pretentious, rich prick who probably commutes to NYC a few times a week where he bones his secretary and has a penthouse with the barest of furniture. The rest of the time he works from home.
I return to shopping and continue down the aisle, in the opposite direction of the suit—it’s my way of finding out if he’s actually creeping on me or not. I keep tabs on him in my peripheral vision as I scope out more sales and more delicious, unhealthy food items. My job is to balance out all the fruit and vegetables my sister, Marley, is currently picking out in the produce section.
I grab a jar of the no-name peanut butter since we’re out and the good stuff isn’t on sale, dropping it in the cart. My phone keeps buzzing in my purse. It’s distracting, so I give up ignoring it and check my messages.
It’s my sister.
We’re in the same store. It’s not particularly huge, so I don’t know what could be so pressing that she needs to text four thousand times instead of finding me.
Meet me in parking lot
Jeez. What the heck is going on? Maybe the grocery store is being robbed. Holy Hot Pockets. What if there is a grocery store heist going down? I’m about to abandon my cart in a bid to find Marley and escape the mayhem I’ve created in my head. It’s all very dramatic. As I turn, I come face-to-face with the suit.
I suck in a breath and slap my hand over my chest. The tank is still damp, and my skin’s a little gritty with salt-sweat, so I drop it quickly, because ew.
“Hi.” His expression is hard to read. He seems … smug.
“Hi, hey. Uh…” I wave a hand around in the air, a little flustered, and conflicted, because it’s not often I get approached by a guy this hot—and in a grocery store of all places. Maybe he’ll be here again next week. “I’m sorry, I’d like to stare at your pretty face, I mean…” Crap, why are words so hard? “I have to go.”
I try to step around him, but he mirrors the movement, taking a linebacker stance, as if he’s considering tackling me. Which is an odd way to stage an introduction.
“Recognize me?” he asks, one perfect eyebrow arched.
As I take him in, I wrack my brain for a time or place I might’ve run into him before. I don’t think so, though. His light brown hair is neatly styled, and the cut of his suit highlights all of his assets. Well, the visible PG ones, anyway.
He widens his stance and crosses his arms over his chest. His very broad chest. The sleeves of his suit jacket pull tight, biceps bulging and flexing. He’s a bit intimidating based on his size alone, but we’re in a public grocery store, so I feel relatively safe. And he’s just so gorgeous. Which is a silly reason not to be concerned, some of the most notorious serial killers are attractive men. Also, I need to find my sister, in case the grocery store is really under attack—although maybe this suit could save us.
I adopt his crossed arm pose, but I don’t think I look intimidating. All I succeed in doing is awkwardly squeezing my boobs together inside my damp sports bra and jabbing the right one with the Sharpie. “Should I?”
He looks me over, a slight smirk tipping his mouth. His gaze gets stuck on the Sharpie for a few seconds before they come back up to my eyes.
It’s possible I met him in a bar, but I swear I’d remember his face if I did. The bar scene is also more my sister’s speed than it is mine. Oh God. It’s also possible he’s mistaking me for her. It’s happened before.
While we look nearly identical at first to most people, we’re actually fraternal twins. After a few interactions, most people can tell us apart. I have a distinctive Marilyn Monroe mole on the right side above my lip, and my eyes are amber, where Marley’s are closer to green. My mouth is too big for my face, my lips a little too full and my nose too small. At least that’s my perception. Marley’s also the more outgoing of the two of us and an inch taller. And about ten pounds lighter.
Marley is a little less cautious than I am with men, so there have been a few uncomfortable occasions where her previous hookups have approached me, asking why I haven’t returned their calls. It’s too bad if this is the case, because this guy is inordinately attractive and it would be nice if he wasn’t one of my sister’s castoffs.
His face is a masterpiece of masculine perfection; straight nose, high cheekbones, an angular jawline that could cut glass, full lips. Especially the bottom one. The kind of full that makes me think of kissing, with tongue, of course. He’s all-American handsome with a shot of alpha hotness. It’s a lethal combination for the state of my already damp panties.
“I recognize you.” He has a low, rough voice, like the delicious scrape of fine grit sandpaper.
He breaks me out of my ogle daze. He must think I’m Marley. I’m actually rather disappointed. “I think maybe you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”
“Oh no, sweetheart.” His gaze rakes over me again. I feel very naked all of a sudden. And hot. It’s really hot in here. “You drive a powder-blue Buick.”
“How the heck—”
“I knew it!” he shouts, eyes alight with some kind of weird, victorious satisfaction as he points a long finger with a blue-black nail at me. Maybe he slammed it in a door or something. Or based on the way he’s rudely pointing, maybe someone slammed it for him. “I fucking knew it! You hit my car.”
I definitely would’ve remembered hitting someone’s car, especially if a guy this good looking was driving it. He should probably come with a warning, like: Panties may combust if you get too close, or something. I take a step back since he’s all up in my grill and clearly he’s not looking to flirt like I originally thought. “I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Don’t play dumb with me! You think you can flip your ponytail”—he reaches out and flicks the end, which is rather startling—“flash a smile and some cleavage, and it’s going to get you out of this. Well, think again, sweetheart. I guarantee my paint is still all over your bumper.” He’s leaning over me, face way too close to mine. So close I can see tiny gold flecks in his deep green eyes. They’re an unusual shade. Dark like pine tree needles.
And he’s chewing gum. Juicy Fruit. I can smell it when he breathes in my face. I would’ve expected a man like him to chew something more along the lines of Polar Ice, or Arctic Ice—strong mint.
I put a hand on his chest and take one deliberate step backward as he opens his mouth to resume his tangent. It’s a solid chest. Extremely hard. His gaze darts down, brows furrowed. I use his distracted state to my advantage. “First of all…” I point my finger in his face, like he did to me. “Don’t ‘sweetheart’ me. That’s condescending. Secondly, I’m sure I would’ve noticed if I’d hit another car. Thirdly, there are literally hundreds of powder-blue Buicks in this stupid city. It’s not an uncommon car. And I’d like to point out, that the cleavage comment was completely unnecessary and unwarranted and actually, pretty damn sexist.”
He blinks a couple of times, possibly taken aback. That expression doesn’t last long. His lip curls in a sneer and that pretty all-American handsomeness morphs into downright malevolent hotness. “Nice try, sweetheart. But there’s no way I’d forget you.” His gaze sweeps over me—it’s not in an unappreciative way either.
I poke his hard chest. “Stop leering at me, you pervert. I don’t know what kind of drugs you’ve been snorting, but I assure you, you’ve got the wrong person.”
“Oh shit!” my sister’s voice comes from behind me.
I turn to find Marley doing an about-face, and then she breaks into a little grapevine step as she moves back toward me. Her eyes are wide, mouth contorted into some kind of grimace as she grabs my wrist.
“What the fuck? There are two of you?” hot-crazy guy asks, eyes bouncing between us.
“We gotta go.” Marley latches onto my hand and drags me down the aisle, away from crazy-hot suit.
“Whoa! Wait a damn second!”
Hot suit makes a grab for me, but Marley yanks me out of the way and shoves my shopping cart at him—hard. He’s not quite quick enough to get out of the way, and the corner of the cart slams right into his crotch. He doubles over with a groan and aggressively pushes the cart aside. It ricochets into a display of canned peaches, which spill into the aisle with a deafening crash.
“What the heck, Mar?”
“Come the fuck on!” She sprints down the aisle, dragging me behind her. I’d protest, but I don’t think I have much choice in the matter, considering the death grip she has on my hand, or the fact that she’s assaulted the sexy-crazy suit with my shopping cart.
Marley fast-walks to the exit, glancing over her shoulder. “Act natural.”
“Will you tell me what’s going on? Who is that guy?”
She flips her hair over her shoulder and smiles as we pass the cashiers and the automatic doors open. Marley fast-walks down the sidewalk toward our car. “I may have tapped that guy’s car last Saturday when I was shopping.”
I stop walking, which brings her to a jarring halt. She yanks on my arm. “Seriously, come on. I’ll explain when we’re in the car.”
“Nope. No way. You explain now.”
Her eyes are bouncing all over the place. “It’s not a big deal. I just grazed his bumper.” Marley spin and tries to push me forward from behind. “Now let’s get out of here before he finds us again. We should probably shop somewhere else for a while.”
I stumble forward a step and then spin away from her. “You hit that guy’s car?”
“It was more of a graze. At least I think it was.” She wrings her hands and makes her oh crap face.
Now crazy-hot suit guy seems a lot less crazy and much more justified in his reaction. Except for the cleavage comment. That was still unnecessary. “It sure didn’t seem like nothing with the way he freaked out in there.”
“He’s probably overreacting. Where are your keys?” She’s still wringing her hands.
I pat my hip with the intention of keeping my purse safe and away from my sister. Except all I end up patting is my actual hip. I look down, running my hands over my stomach, searching for the cheap, faux-leather knockoff. “Oh fudge.”
“My purse. It’s in the cart. I have to go back and get it.”
Marley grabs the back of my tank. “You can’t! What if he’s still in there?”
“It has my identification in it, Marley. And my bankcards, and my money, and keys to the car and the apartment. I can’t leave it in there!”
Marley flails and paces around in a circle. “What if he’s waiting for us to come back and get it?”
“You can stay here if you want, but I’m going back for it. I’m not leaving my purse behind because you hit some guy’s car in a parking lot. I can’t believe you just drove away!”
“I thought I tapped it, and then I panicked.” Her fingers are at her mouth now. “I didn’t want to drive up our insurance premiums over some guy and his Tesla.”
“You hit a Tesla?” This keeps getting worse.
“Anyone who has the money to buy a Tesla has the money to fix it, right?” Marley says.
“So you drove off! Jeez, Marley. What were you thinking?” I shake my head. I’d like to say I’m surprised by this, but sadly I’m not. Marley doesn’t always use common sense in day-to-day life.
“I don’t know. I wasn’t thinking. That’s the problem, I guess.
I’m about to go back into the store, but stop short at the sight of the suit leaning against the side of my car, one ankle crossed over the other, all calm like. Dangling from a single finger is my knockoff, hot-pink Coach purse. “Forget something?”
NTY and USA Today Bestselling author of The PUCKED Series, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance to romance comedy, sports romance and angsty new adult romance.
Casee: I love Lexi Blake, but I just wasn’t getting into Order of Protection. I know it’s going to be a good book, but I’m really into paranormal right now.
Last week Holly sent me an email about Faith’s Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti which is an upcoming book in her Dark Protectors series. That series has always been on my radar, but I have never started it. I decided that I should give it a go so I went onto Amazon to buy Fated, the first book in the series. Imagine my surprise when Amazon told me that I purchased Fated in 2015. That was a pleasant surprise. It only took me three days to read it. I love Dark Protectors world! I’m reading Claimed now, which is the second book in the series. Zanetti also has another paranormal series called the Realm Enforcers. I’ll probably glom that after I’m done with the Dark Protectors. I’m pretty excited right now. I have a lot of paranormals to read.
Holly: I finished listening to Burn for You by J.T. Geissinger this week. The narrator was fabulous and really made the book for me. I loved it. I re-read Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley. After that I spent the week reading The Warrior Chronicles by K.F. Breene. So far I’ve read Chosen, Hunted, Shadow Lands, Invasion and I’m listening to Siege now. I’m really enjoying the series. The heroine is a kickass warrior and all the novels are action packed. I am starting to become irritated by some small things, however, so I’ll probably take a break after I finish this book.
Rowena: It’s a slow reading week for me. I haven’t finished any books but I am reading Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen. It’s slow going, but I’m reading it. It’s not the book at all but my mood. I’m just not in the mood for books. Send help!
We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…
The beloved author of the Mystic Creek series gifts readers with a novel of homespun holiday cheer, as two families discover the joy of hope and redemption....
Widow Maddie McLendon has uprooted her life to move to Rustlers Gulch with her son and grandson. But as a brutal Montana winter looms on the horizon, contractors have yet to break ground on their new house, leaving them to live in a makeshift camp of trailers, tents, and sheds....
Since his wife died six years ago, millionaire rancher Sam Conacher has been content to wallow in his grief alone while keeping a tight rein on his twenty-six-year-old daughter. But now the girl has gone and fallen in love with his foolish new neighbor's no-good son....
Maddie and Sam will never see eye to eye on anything, until a near-tragedy gives them a true glimpse into each other's souls. And as the first snowflakes begin to fall, they'll discover that an open heart is the biggest gift of all....
Once the Countess of Riverdale, Viola Kingsley throws all caution to the wind when adventure calls in the form of a handsome aristocrat. . . .
Two years after the death of the Earl of Riverdale, his family has overcome the shame of being stripped of their titles and fortune--except for his onetime countess, Viola. With her children grown and herself no longer part of the social whirl of the ton, she is uncertain where to look for happiness--until quite by accident her path crosses once again with that of the Marquess of Dorchester, Marcel Lamarr.
Marcel Lamarr has been a notorious womanizer since the death of his wife nearly twenty years earlier. Viola caught his eye when she herself was a young mother, but she evaded his seduction at the time. A prize that eluded him before, she is all the more irresistible to him now although he is surprised to discover that she is as eager now for the excitement he offers as he is himself.
When the two defy convention and run away together, they discover that the ties of respectability are not so easily severed, and pleasure can ensnare you when you least expect it.
Two years ago Viola’s husband died and she found out that her marriage of 23 years had been bigamous. She retreated to her brother’s home trying to deal with the emotional aftermath. She would have thought that she’d be over it all by now but when she heads to Bath for her grandson’s christening she’s inundated with her family. Even the Westcott family, which she was never legally a part of, shows her love and kindness. She knows she’s horrible for not appreciating it more but she finds it smothering. She leaves Bath in a hired carriage (many family members had offered their carriages and servants but she’d refused) and just her luck, the thing breaks down. She ends up in a little village overnight and who does she meet there but the man she’d fallen in love with 14 years earlier.
Marcel is on his way home to deal with family issues when he sees Viola. He knows that she’s no longer married and though he knows he shouldn’t, he approaches her. She told him to “go away” years earlier and he had abided by her wishes. He knew she was married but he couldn’t help flirting with her. Now she’s free and he suggests they spend the day at the town fair. Viola agrees and has more fun with Marcel then she’d had in a very long time – even when she was married. They end up spending the night together and Marcel suggests that they run away together for a couple of weeks. Viola knows it’s not proper but she agrees.
Marcel and Viola spend time at his cottage in the country and they have a great time but reality soon comes crashing down on them in the form of their families and to save Viola’s reputation Marcel says that they’re betrothed. Now it’s back to reality and Viola has to figure out how she can get out of the betrothal. She loves Marcel but knows he doesn’t love her. She thinks he’s just a womanizer and not good marriage material but there’s a whole lot more behind Marcel’s outer core than Viola knows.
This was another lovely novel by Mary Balogh. She’s become one of my favorite historical romance authors as she writes so well and always gives me a good story.
I’ve loved reading about the Westcott family as they’ve gone through the scandal of what their father/husband did to them. Finding out that she was never married to her husband was a shock to Viola and I think she’d been in a bit of a depressive state for two years. I know I would have been! When she sees Marcel again she thinks he’s just as handsome as he was 14 years earlier. She’d fallen in love with him back then but knew nothing could come of it because she was married and not a cheater. To be with him again easily brought those feelings back and she quickly fell in love with him. I could see how she would fall hard and fast for Marcel. He had a dry sense of humor and though he held himself back some I could tell that he truly cared for Viola.
Marcel had once been a loving husband and father to his twins but after the death of his wife he left his kids with their aunt and only visited them twice a year. He had become someone he didn’t recognize, or particularly like, but that changed when he was with Viola. She made him want to be a better person and I loved reading about his transformation throughout the book. Balogh did a wonderful job of bringing him to being more “human.”
The book included characters from previous Westcott books and that was awesome. We got to see how the couples from books 1-3 were faring and I loved reading about the whole family. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens next with this wonderful, loving family.
Three hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today's hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!
Bearing His NameMeeting his mate should have been cause for celebration. There’s just one teeny tiny problem. Jade thinks Ark might have impregnated her sister. He didn’t, but convincing Jade is going to take a bit of honey.
Owned by the LionKeir’s been told to stop playing the field and settle down—difficult advice for a hard and hot man with a lion’s heart to follow. But his sights have always been set on Ally. She’s his mate, plain and simple. With her sweet and delicious curves, she’s nothing but sugar and trouble all rolled into one. But he’s known her and sparred with her for years. She’s his best friend’s little sister, and it’s going to take a whole new level of convincing that he’s the mate for her.
No Need Fur LoveMoving with his pack to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho has Owen Courtney a little on edge. With literally no women in sight, Owen will be lucky to find a date, let alone his true mate. But you know the saying about a werewolf walking into a bar…Gorgeous wood nymph Mia Oliver is on a mission: Find a suitable male to get her good ‘n pregnant and provide her with an heir. But when Mia decides to pick up a gorgeous and oh-so willing werewolf at the bar, she realizes she might be in over her head. …
Bearing His Name by Eve Langlais
Jade sent snarky “Congratulations you’re a father!” cards to a whole slew of men in the same extended family. Her sister Ruby is pregnant by one of them, but she has no idea which one. She was at a Halloween party and only knows that the guy was dressed as Zeus – as were a bunch of men there. When Ark heads to Jade and Ruby’s apartment he’s not sure if he’s the father of Ruby’s baby or not but he hopes he isn’t because it looks like Jade is his mate.
This story was just ‘OK” imho. I liked Jade and Ruby but Ark made me crazy. He pretty much stalked Jade and would break into her apartment and watch her sleeping. That is the definition of creepy stalker in my book. I think this was all supposed to be forgivable because they were mates and he just wanted to be with her, etc. It wasn’t. He was also so arrogant it made me want to hit him. Because of his attitude I never really got into the romance – probably because I kept thinking Jade could do better.
Owned by the Lion by Milly Taiden
Keir knew immediately upon meeting Ally that she was his mate but he didn’t tell her. He wants to woo her but she hates him something fierce, for some reason that is never explained. He finally gets her to talk to him and she finally sees he’s a good guy. Too bad all of his many women keep coming around. Of course it’s hard to get away from them when they are literally everywhere they go.
This story wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great for me either. I couldn’t understand why Keir didn’t just come out and tell Ally she was his mate. It truly would have solved all the issues because of how mates in this world are so devoted to each other. She would have known that the other women he’d been with previously now meant nothing to him. Of course then their wouldn’t have been a story so… Because of Ally “hating” Keir so much at first it was hard for me to get into their relationship, unfortunately.
No Need Fur Love by Kate Baxter
Mia is out for a one-night stand so that she can get pregnant. Her father, who is the leader of their wood nymph band says that if she’s produces a child then he’ll let her in more of the leadership issues. Mia meets Owen at the first bar she goes to and it hardly takes any time at all before they’re leaving with each other.
Owen is at the bar wishing he could have the type of relationship that his Alpha has with his new mate when Mia walks in. He knows immediately she’s his mate but after their night together she disappears.
This was a cute story. I liked Mia and Owen a lot. It wasn’t insta-love but pretty close. Owen was all about the mate bond but Mia didn’t feel it the same way so that brought a little tension into the mix which was nice.
The story also involved Mia’s crazy dad and his hatred of Owen’s wolf pack which brought even more tension into the story which I liked.
Overall not a fabulous anthology for me but at least somewhat entertaining.
With nothing to lose, former cop Damon Winter agrees to an undercover op, infiltrating a cult in the dangerous post-Scorpius world. After one look at his new partner, he knows she belongs far away from not only the cult, but from him. She's sweet and kind and has no business being in peril, but she's determined to help. Suddenly, the part he's playing as her man explodes into a passion neither of them had expected.
She hadn't purposefully faced risk until she met him...
April Snyder has survived loss, pain, and uncertainty. Now she's ready to live again. There's nothing left but to make a difference for others, so why not go undercover in the cult? Now all she has to do is keep it professional and ignore her handsome, deadly, overbearing partner, who's too sexy for her peace of mind. Intrigue, risk, and danger make for an irresistible temptation--until enemies close in, threatening everyone they've sworn to protect.
This is my first 4.5 review of the year and I’m shocked spitless that it was this book that did it for me. If there was book in this series that I expected to give a 5 star review to it was Storm Gathering. I loved Greyson Storm. I still love him. I don’t necessarily love Damon more, but the story as a whole and the progress of the series in Winter Igniting just did it for me. Damon has been a key figure in the series since Grey kidnapped Moe (really, really dislike that nickname). He wasn’t really on my radar until Grey’s book. Then he was right up there and I was looking forward to reading his book. Until I found out that his heroine was April Snyder. Sure, she’s been through more than most people in this post-apocalyptic world, but she that doesn’t make her any less boring. And less of a mousy, quiet woman whom, in no way could grab the attention of a character like Damon. I admit when I’m wrong and I was very wrong.
Damon lost his whole family after they were infected by Scorpius. Damon is one of the few survivors of in their new world that hasn’t been affected by Scorpius. Which makes him the perfect person to go undercover in the Pure Church. The Pure Church is a cult-like church in Jax Montgomery’s territory that he’s been unable to infiltrate. He doesn’t like that he has a group of armed civilians in his territory. He won’t accept anything less than talking to every member of the church and making sure they are at the church of their own free will. That’s where Damon comes in. As a “pure” human, the members are sure to welcome him in. His partner? April Snyder who is also unaffected by Scorpius.
April turned out to be more than a pleasant surprise. Underneath her mousy exterior was a woman of steel. I adored her. She was confident without being stupid. She was determined to help the women of the church, especially when she found out what was really going on. One thing she never expected was someone like Damon to enter her life after losing everything. Losing her husband to Scorpius was something that was devastating to April, but losing her daughter was life-changing. She never expected to feel so much for anyone again and she is pretty much at a loss. She decides to take things one day at a time with Damon, but is still unprepared for the magnetism and protectiveness of his personality.
Damon knows what kind of man he is. Once he commits to anything, he is all in. Even more so when he meets April and they become lovers. The only problem he has is that April refuses to see him for who he really is. Which is a violent man that will kill to protect those he loves. Damon knows that when she sees his true nature it might be the last time she looks his way. He underestimates April as does most other people (including me). When April finally realizes what she is in for…hawtness. I just adore these two together. Although I liked Grey and Moe (ugh) together, April and Damon just clicked for me almost right away.
As for the progress of the series, the situation with the church was finally resolved after several books which was nice. There was plenty of action to go around. President Atherton is as evil as ever which makes the series that much better. I can’t wait to see what he’s up to in the next book. You just know that he’s going to get his hands on Lynne one of these books and Jax is going to go through the roof. I can’t wait to see that happen. So overall, I 100% loved this book. I didn’t give it a 5 because I rarely give 5’s.
A sexy agent hounds Wall Street's hottest new wolf in an exhilarating novel from New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne.
Ian Bradley is the definition of a Wall Street hotshot: seven-figure salary, designer suits, and a corner office. His drive off the floor is just as potent. Every woman who knows him has felt the rush. But now he's met his match in Lara McKenzie-a woman with the power to bring Ian to his knees.
An ambitious, whip-smart daughter of FBI agents, Lara is a rising star in fighting white-collar crime. Her latest case-the investigation of Ian Bradley for insider trading-could make her career. She knows a scoundrel when she sees one, and Ian fits the bill: a cocky, ridiculously handsome bad boy with a slick swagger.
She'll do anything to prove he's guilty. He'll do anything to prove he's not. But it's only a matter of time before their fierce battle of wits gets oh so hot and personal. Now taking down Ian has become more than business for Lara. It's become a pleasure-and there's more at risk than she ever dreamed.
Hot Asset is the first book in Lauren Layne’s new 21 Wall Street series. It features a hotshot broker who is being investigated for insider trading and the SEC investigator who is digging into his entire life. Sparks fly whenever they’re together so you know this was going to be a good one.
Ian Bradley grew up with nothing. No family, no money, no handouts so he worked really hard to make sure that he doesn’t have to worry about money or need any handouts now. He knows that he’s fortunate to have the life that he has now and he plays just as hard as he works. He lives the life of a bachelor and tries to live without regrets but when he comes into the office and is blindsided by an insider trading investigation on him, he needs to get his shit together and figure out a plan. And just as soon as he stops staring at Lara McKenzie’s long legs and fine ass, he’ll get right on that. Haha.
Lara McKenzie has a dream of joining the FBI, just like her parents. Her dream job is within reach but she has to get through her present job in order to get the recommendation that she needs for the FBI gig. She’s hoping that this latest investigation will lead her to a big case that will lead her one step closer to the FBI. She’s investigating a broker on Wall Street who thinks the world rises and sets with him. He thinks he’s above everything and she’s not surprised that he might be a little shady. Anything to get to the top, right? But the further she digs into this case, the more she realizes that Ian Bradley is not the guy that everyone seems to think he is.
Both Ian and Lara battle their attraction while she’s investigating him. It’s thrown them both off of their game because they don’t know how to handle it. Nothing can come of the attraction, not now anyway but the more they get to know each other, the more they want each other.
Lauren Layne did a great job of meshing both the Wall Street and the SEC worlds in this story and I really enjoyed it all. The characters, the romance, the dialogue, it all worked and I am so here for the next book.
Lara was a fun heroine because she knew what she wanted and she worked hard to achieve all of her accomplishments. She acted on what she felt was right, no matter the cost and how can you not respect someone like that? She was confident in her work and she was also confident in herself as a person and I just really enjoyed getting to know her.
Ian was a great hero and I enjoyed getting to know him. The bits and pieces of him that made him the person that he grew up to be, seeing the family he created for himself and seeing him take care of the one man who was as close to a father figure as he could get just warmed my heart so much. He wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t polished but he was real and I dug him. I also really enjoyed seeing him fall for Lara and that was completely believable. It happened organically and seriously, Lauren Layne is really good at bringing couples together. She delivers the goods and I will definitely have ants in my pants until I can read the next book in this series.
Jules MacDonald thought her happily-ever-after was secure with her barbarian laird. She journeyed through time, to seventeenth century Scotland in search of her sister, and fell in love with Hugh MacDonald.
Her forever started over a year ago when she decided to stay. Now she’s expecting her first child, and can’t be happier. The problem is her husband doesn’t share her joy.
After losing his first wife and wee son in childbirth, every day his sweet Juliette’s stomach grows is proof of her probable demise. Memories haunt Hugh and he closes himself off from her, rather than deal with the pain.
Jules is devastated by losing the man she loves, when he’s right beside her. She seeks refuge with her sister’s clan, the MacLeods, in an effort to bear her child where they’ll both be loved and wanted.
Hugh must face his worst fears to win back his wife and child before she flees to the future. Or will he be too late?
Jules is heartbroken. She loves her husband dearly, but he has been cold and distant since she told him she was pregnant – in fact he hasn’t touched her at all since then. She’s tried to talk to him, but he won’t talk to her about what’s bothering him. Jules knows that she can’t live like this any longer so she makes arrangements to head to her sister’s home. She hopes that Hugh will stop her when she tells him she’s leaving, but he just lets her go.
I saw this novella on NetGalley and it sounded cute. No, I hadn’t read any of the books in the Highland Secrets series so I hadn’t met Hugh and Jules before. I might have had different feelings about the book had I done so. To a point I understood what Jules was feeling. I got the impression that she’d tried to talk to Hugh about his attitude but had she sat him down and said, “Hey buddy, I’m outta here if you don’t shape up!” would things have been different? Would he have broken out of his fear of losing her in childbirth like he did his first wife and child? IDK. I didn’t really care for Hugh in this story – maybe because I’d never seen the wonderful, loving side of him that I’m sure was shown to readers in the couple’s full-length love story.
Despite not really knowing the characters it was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading.
Michael Redmond, the Duke of Cortland, needs to be in London—most expeditiously—but a band of highway robbers have thwarted his plans. Purse-pinched, coachless, and mired in mud, he stumbles on Lilly Beauchamp, the woman who betrayed him years ago.
Ladies can’t be heroes, or can they?
Michael was her first love, her first lover, but he abandoned her when she needed him most. She’d trusted him, and then he failed to meet with her father as promised. A widowed stepmother now, Lilly loves her country and will do her part for the Good of England—even if that means aiding this hobbled and pathetic duke.
They lost their chance at love, or did they?
A betrothal, a scandal, and a kidnapping stand between them now. Can honor emerge from the ashes of their love?
Michael, the Duke of Cortland, is set upon by highwaymen while on his way to London. He and his coachman and outriders set out, barefoot, for the nearest inn but that takes most of the day. When they finally arrive at an inn, they are soaked from the rain and covered in mud. Of course the innkeeper doesn’t believe Michael’s a duke, but a voice from Michael’s past pipes up and vouches for him. The voice belongs to Lilly Bridge, the woman he fell in love with and the woman who left him to marry another man. He tells himself he’s over her but he’s not sure that’s true. He’s engaged to another woman, however, and despite what his deep-down feelings for Lilly are, he can do nothing about them.
Lilly hasn’t had a great life since leaving Michael at the house party. She felt betrayed by him and felt that he didn’t truly love her – he just abandoned her after they had made love! Lilly had spent years married to Baron Beauchamp – her dead sister’s widower – and he’d made her life miserable. Now he’s dead and Lilly is trying to secure a good match for her niece/step-daughter, Glenda. They are on their way to London for the Season when they run into Michael. Lilly never got over the man but when she finds out he’s engaged she determines that she’ll stay as far away from him as she can. Things don’t always work as planned.
Lilly and Michel, despite the extended separation, never stopped being in love. Now Michael is trying to do the honorable thing by keeping his promise to marry Lady Natalie but he wants no one but Lilly. Lilly just wants to be free from the pain of her life and figures once she marries Glenda off she’ll get a small cottage and live in peace, on her own terms. Of course life has its ups and downs and, as Lilly knows, life doesn’t always work out the way you plan it.
This was a sweet story that I enjoyed reading. I loved reading about Michael and Lilly when they were younger. For about half of the book it has alternating chapters in the present and the past. This did get a little old but once the whole past story was out the book stayed firmly in the present.
Both Lilly and Michael felt betrayed by the other but neither had the full story about what happened. Michael had a very good reason for not contacting Lilly but I also understood Lilly capitulating to her father as he insisted that she be well taken care of. He was dying and wanted her secure – too bad he didn’t know what a bastard Baron Beauchamp would be to his daughter.
While I loved reading this story and about how much Michael and Lilly loved each other, there were times when their declarations of love got a little too cheesy for my liking. It was heart-warming, but I found myself laughing as well when it got to be a bit too much. When the “villain” in the book does something near the end of the story it was a little over the top and contrived. The villain had been mostly silent during the book so for him to make the move he did made me roll my eyes a little.
Overall it was a nice historical romance.
Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5
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