Deck the Halls Review

35965582This is a short contemporary holiday romance about two people who desperately need closure and a second chance. I’ve always loved George and I was happy to read about him as a MC in this book. He’s a very complex and interesting character who has grown through the series from a man who lost everything when he was discharged from the military and ended up homeless to a man who is slowly finding his way back. Thanks to some of the citizens of Darling (mostly the Gallaghers) George has been given a second chance. He’s very slowly re-entering society and figuring out how to live again although he’s still filled with guilt over his best friends death.

George is getting by until Amy, his best friend’s twin sister shows up wanting to know more about the day her brother died. This sends George into a bit of a tailspin and feelings he’s tried to forget have reawakened. Amy has questions about her brother’s death and is dealing with a recent divorce as well. Both characters have been going through the motions and together they start to find a way to heal.

I really liked that George continued his slow evolution of healing and although I thought Amy was a bit pushy at times when it came to George’s PTSD I also realize that this was a short book so things had to happen rather quickly. This was a wonderful comfort/healing story that will leave you with a glow and is perfect for the holidays.

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Five Dares Review

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I loved this book – it was funny and sweet and hot and had two really wonderful main characters.

Andy and Jake have been best friends since grade school and now they were both graduating from college and heading off in different directions. Andy has a wild streak that comes out through the stunts he sets up although the rest of his life is very structured. Jake “helps” Andy but keeps him in check so he doesn’t go too crazy. Andy has one last dare for the Andy and Jake show but he doesn’t research/prepare as much as he usually does and things go wrong leaving them both with second and third degree burns on their hands. Neither one of them can use their hands for the summer so Andy convinces Jake to recuperate with him at his family’s cottage where his family has arranged for a nurse to come in and help them some.

Jake has been in love with Andy for years but had finally started to put some distance between them when they got to college since he realized he’d never get to have Andy the way he wanted. So the first couple of weeks at the cottage is the two friends hanging out but Andy is horny as can be (I loved the scene where he is talking about all the ways he tried to get off but couldn’t – it was really funny). Finally he decides that he and Jake should help each other out orally. Andy tells Jake they can just close their eyes and pretend they are doing it themselves. Jake flips out at first because he isn’t sure he can take the emotion out of sex but finally agrees.

What comes next is a progression from oral sex just to get off to getting off with feelings. We also see a series of flashbacks of previous dares that Andy and Jake were involved in through the years and this comes into play later in the book in a wonderful way I didn’t see coming. The two grow closer and closer and although it’s obvious that there is a lot more involved neither one of them admit it and finally their hands are healed. I admit I was worried at this point in the book and my heart when thump during the scenes where they are driving home from the hospital and Andy realizes they no longer have an excuse to continue to touch each other.

I loved that the way the author took this story and the fact that they were honest enough to admit they wanted to continue to be together until of course Jake ends up with his heart broken. I’m glad the separation wasn’t a long one but I have to admit the scene with Andy on the roof calling Jake had me in tears and it was so emotional and so well written. I loved the epiphany Andy has while having lunch with his mother and how that changed so much. I also loved that Andy’s dad didn’t end up being a jerk. Yes he was a bit too controlling but it was so nice that it came from a place of love. He was a realistic character and I could see that although he didn’t go about it in the best way he just wanted what was best for his son. Honestly the roof top and the epiphany scene were my favorites and the grand gesture at the end seemed a bit rushed to me although I did love the epilogue at the end.

I loved this best friends to lovers story! It had likable and developed characters, hot sex scenes, lots of humor and some emotional scenes. You can’t ask for much more! 

Cover Up Review

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This is the third book in the Skin Deep Inc series and the one I was most looking forward to. I enjoyed this book but I didn’t love it as much as I expected to. I loved Nate from the second book and his marriage crumbling at the end of that book had me so looking forward to his story.

This book resumes right where book two ended with Nate divorcing Caleb whom he caught cheating on him at the end of book two. Nate is having trouble dealing with the loss of his ten year marriage and has found himself with no sexual drive and really just going through the motions in everything. He decides to cover up the tattoo he and his soon to be ex-husband got and that’s where he meets Lucas. Nate finds himself extremely attracted to Lucas and for the first time since finding Caleb cheating on him he’s feeling something. Lucas and Nate embark on a sexual relationship that moves into a friends with benefits but Nate is hiding and isn’t dealing with his divorce or his feelings over the end of his marriage.

I really enjoyed the first 50% of the book but I kept expecting Nate to start to deal with his feelings and for the divorce to play a bigger role in the story. Unfortunately IMO there wasn’t much of a story in this book. A whole lot of sex which at first was really hot but actually became a bit repetitive. I loved the soft touches and sweet moments between the two guys but there wasn’t much meaningful conversation and very few interactions with anyone but just the two of them alone together having or recovering form sex. There was so much potential for Nate to deal with his divorce and I guess I expected more angst. In fact, when Lucas finally realizes/admits Nate is using him to cover up/hide from his divorce the book is almost over and the resolution happens within pages. It also didn’t feel like there was much lead-up to this resolution and I wanted more emotion, more angst and more story for Nate and more angst and emotion from Lucas as he realizes that he has fallen for Nate but Nate isn’t dealing with his divorce.

I did enjoy the scenes with Colin and Daniel and the brief scenes with Jon and Matt and overall I liked this book but I wanted to love it. Overall a series, some more than others but I like the characters and find this an enjoyable series so if there is a fourth book I’ll be reading it.

 

Release Week Blitz: Excerpt of Too Beautiful to Break by Tessa Bailey

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ABOUT THE BOOK

 

  • Title: TOO BEAUTIFUL TO BREAK
  • Author: Tessa Bailey
  • Series: Romancing The Clarksons, #4
  • On Sale: September 26, 2017
  • Publisher: Forever
  • Mass Market: $7.99 USD
  • eBook: $5.99 USD
  • Add to Goodreads

A love of a lifetime . . .

Leaving Belmont Clarkson is the hardest thing Sage Alexander has ever done. From the moment they met, she knew Belmont was the one, and getting up close and personal with him on his family’s epic road trip has taken her desire to a new, even hotter level. But there’s no way she can go there—not without revealing secrets that could devastate them both.

Losing Sage is  not an option. Belmont’s heart is hers, has always been hers. He knows she’s hiding something from him, but nothing will stand in his way of telling her just how much she means to him. Finding her is easy—saving her from her past could cost him everything.

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EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK

“You don’t have to leave right away,” Sage said when Belmont turned, watching her from beneath his eyebrows. “Can you wait here while I take a quick shower?”

Maybe that hadn’t been the right thing to say. His big back heaved and the touch of his tongue in her mouth came crashing in like a behemoth wave. They had crossed an unspoken boundary on the train platform. There was no going back to before, to when they stopped at rough, crushing embraces. As if that hadn’t been…more than sexual somehow.

“Yes, I’ll wait,” he said, his voice sounding like serrated metal. “I can light the fire for you.”

I’ll say. God, why did everything sound like an innuendo now? If her body weren’t flush and sweating beneath the jumpsuit, she would have laughed about it. But there was nothing funny about having Belmont looming mere yards away, looking like one word of encouragement would snap his chain and send him barreling toward her. “That would be perfect. I’ll just be…a few minutes.”

Sage all but dove into the itty-bitty bathroom, pressing her back up against the door and willing her racing heart to calm down. Why had she asked him to stay? Her resolve would weaken with every passing second. Biting down on her lower lip, she began the excruciating task of lowering the zipper of her jumpsuit, which kicked up a protest in her triceps and shoulder muscles. When she finally got it down, she gripped the hem of her T-shirt and attempted to lift it over her head.

Her arms wouldn’t cooperate. They flat out wouldn’t rise any higher than her ribs, leaving the T-shirt suspended in midair. Her muscles burned like someone had doused them in lighter fluid and held them above a flame. Sage’s agony must have escaped in the form of a whimper, because Belmont’s boots scraped just outside the door. And her stomach hollowed with awareness, lightning racing all over her skin.

“Sage.” His voice was deep, urgent. “Do you need help?”

No. Say no. She’d only gotten finished reminding him she didn’t need him. But in this case, it would be a lie and she’d done so much of that lately. With Belmont. The most truthful person she knew. “I can’t get my shirt off.” Her nose started to ache, the tip probably turning red. “My arms hurt.”

His growl was short and broken. A beat passed before the door opened and she felt Belmont filling the doorway behind her. She flicked a glance up to the ancient mirror and confirmed what she’d seen in her mind’s eyes. Belmont towering over her like an avenging angel, outlined by candlelight. He’d taken off his coat, leaving him in a black long-sleeved shirt, which he’d rolled up to the elbows. Every inch of visible skin was shot through with strained cords of muscle, as if his frustration were written on him like a road map.

Sage still had the shirt halfway lifted, so her lower back was visible. Not a big deal to most people. But Belmont had never seen anything below her neck. Or above her knees. With the jumpsuit peeled halfway down, the band of her underwear might even be peeking out.

Breathing grew difficult as Belmont took one step closer and took hold of the T-shirt, his knuckles grazing the small of her back. “You’re wearing”—his breath ghosted down her neck—“my shirt.”

Sage only realized she’d closed her eyes when they popped open. Oh God. In the shock of Belmont arriving, she’d forgotten. “I am?” Her mouth was parched. “L-look at that.”

“I am looking.” She jumped when Belmont reached over her shoulder with his left hand and turned on the shower, the sound of spray filling the room. Then the roughness of his knuckles returned, sliding up her spine along with the shirt. “I like knowing there was a layer of me standing between you and the earth.”

Her legs took on the consistency of Jell-O. His touch was a drug, making her languid, although it was different than the way he usually touched her. There was sex this time. So much of it. And it was that major difference that allowed Sage to accept the skimming of his fingers. Accept the part of herself that lusted. They were in a dark room and time had surely suspended anywhere outside this little plot of square footage. Words ached to leave her mouth, words that wouldn’t be suitable in the sunlight. This man, so warm and brave and large at her back, knew things about her no one else did. What was one more secret? “I stole it out of your suitcase. I broke a commandment and everything.”

“Why?” He breathed into her hair, sinking heat like an anchor in her belly. The shirt came off, her arms dropped to her sides, and she was left in nothing but a bra from the waist up. Inches from Belmont. “Why, sweetest girl?”

A light steam had begun curling in the air like beckoning fingers. Maybe this is a dream. It felt like one of the fevered fantasies she woke from on occasion, sweat slicking her breasts and neck. “Because I like the way you smell and it hadn’t been washed.”

His exhale was gravelly. “Sage.”

“Yes.”

She thought he might not respond, but finally he asked a question that made her nipples turn to hard points. “Can you manage”—a long, windy inhale—“the bra?”

Sage tried. She really, truly did. Her arms felt as though they might break off and hit the floor, but she reached back until her muscles locked up, refusing to move farther. But Belmont was already there, pushing them back down, holding them at her hips.

“Jesus. Please, stop. I can’t watch it.” His touch disappeared only for a second and then the cotton material of the bra tightened over her breasts. She could feel him working the back clasp with fingers she knew so well. They’d tunneled through her hair so many times, twisted in her clothing, but had never, ever, touched her with any kind of…intent. Intent to seduce. And that’s what he was doing, intentional or not. The inhibitions she’d held close forever, circled the drain, along with the shower water. “Your back is so beautiful.” A ghost of a fingertip traced down her spine. “But I need to leave before I—”

“What?”

“Before I turn you around.” They weren’t touching, but she could sense the shudder that ran through him. “Or look in that mirror.”

Right or wrong, the mine, their codependency aside, Sage knew if she let him leave just then, she would regret it for all time. Her body had been woken up. By one man. He’d kept her on the razor’s edge for thousands of miles, surrounding her with his power and taking it away. Over and over. And this fever wrapping around them in the tiny bathroom was completely different from easing his anxiety. Finally, she felt like a woman standing in front of him, instead of a calming device. This was mutual and alive and she couldn’t stand it to end. Tomorrow might be a different story, but this moment was the culmination of a thousand dreams and she could no more deny herself than she could forget his face.

“Belmont, do you think of the kiss?”

“I never stop,” he groaned into her hair. “Never.”

She took a deep breath for courage. “Will you shower with me?”

Romancing the Clarksons Series[1824]

The Series

Series Page on Goodreads

About the Author

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Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.

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TooBeautiful-Quote-Graphic-1[1829] Review

3.5 Stars. I was all over the map with this book. Parts of it were a five star read and then parts of it were a two star read. I found some parts so frustrating but other parts so wonderful. To be fair I’ve been waiting for Belmont’s book since the first book in the series and sometimes when you are looking that forward to a book you build it up to be too much and maybe I did that.   I have been fascinated with Belmont since the the moment he showed up in book 1. He is this intense, quiet, smart but obviously broken man. He suffers from anxiety and Sage seems to be able to ground him. Honestly, Sage seemed to be very put together through the last couple of books so it really threw me off when in this book we discover that Sage also depends on Belmont. That their relationship is really a bit dysfunctional and codependent. I wish that had been a bit clearer in the build up for this book I think I would have been better prepared for the direction this book took.

This story concludes the journey by the Clarkson siblings and I don’t think you can really enjoy it to the full depth without having read the previous books. Along the way the other siblings have found their happy endings and have stayed behind although all agreeing to meet up for the New Year’s Day Polar Plunge that was their ultimate destination. It’s down to just Belmont and Sage but Sage has another destination and needs to leave Belmont behind. I was truly heart broken for Belmont when Sage left him and I still didn’t really get the whole it’s for his own benefit. Again if I had understood the nature of their relationship better I think I would have gotten why Sage needed to leave although it was more for both of them then just for Belmont.

Of course, they don’t stay apart for long and Belmont ends up going to Sage and this is where he discovers her past and the issues that Sage faces. Again, this is where I had a few issues with the relationship. It turns out Belmont really doesn’t know Sage that well, he’s put her on a pedestal and she’s kept a lot from him. Belmont was such an interesting character but I had a hard time reconciling the childlike side of him with the alpha side and the sexual side. Sage realizes her relationship with Belmont isn’t healthy and it reminds her too much of her parents relationship. Belmont of course is extremely protective of Sage and can’t help but want to solve her problems for her. However, Belmont isn’t willing to give up and if he needs to change to be with Sage then that’s what he will do. I loved that Belmont realizes he needs to face his past and deal with it in order to be in a healthy relationship with Sage but this is where the book felt rushed to me.

I really wanted to see a bit more of a conclusion between the relationship between Belmont and his brother Aaron and also more when he finally meets up with his father. All of this was rushed and then a quick epilogue wraps everything up between Sage and Belmont. I also wish the revelation about Belmont’s childhood would have been addressed more. It was so huge and then it just went nowhere.

However, even with my frustrations and the rush at the end of this book I enjoyed this story and Belmont is a character that will stick with me for a long time to come. This entire series was a great read and I enjoyed all of them.

 

 

Rank & File Review

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Rank & File is the 4th book in L.A. Witt’s Anchor Point series but can easily be read as a stand alone (I haven’t read the earlier books in the series but I will definitely be going back to read them now).

I have a love/hate relationship with military romance books. I love them unless they aren’t realistic because then I find myself picking them apart thinking that would never happen or the military just doesn’t work that way. I’m so happy to say that this one is utterly realistic. I adored both Will and Brent and so wanted them to find a way to be together but one that could actually happen and that I would find believable.

Will is enlisted and Brent is an officer. Although DADT has been repealed the two can’t be together. Fraternization is a very big deal in the military and almost nothing will get you in trouble faster than having a relationship between enlisted/officer. I really liked the way that Brent and Will meet as it added a lot of dimension to both characters. Although they are initially attracted to each other neither one realizes the other isn’t straight. When they both go to the same gay bar because they haven’t been able to stop thinking about each other and see each other there is no stopping the attraction. The fact that they both were willing to take a chance for a one night stand was reasonable given the chances of getting caught were pretty slim. Those first scenes between the two were super hot and steamy. Will and Brent connect and even though they know it isn’t a good idea they decide to continue to sneak around and see each other.

I’m guessing that Commander Wilson was a previous character and I loved him in this book. His empathy was moving and yet there is only so far he can truly go before being put into a situation where he can longer help Brent. When he tells him that the base is small and incestuous I had to laugh because it’s so true. When you are assigned to a small base it seems eventually everyone knows more about your personal life then you’d like them to.

I also loved the career struggles that Brent was going through and the difference between him and Will. The military certainly isn’t for everyone and it truly does need to be a calling if you are going to put up with everything that comes along with it. Will and Brent are at different places in their career and have different struggles with the Navy but it showed two completely different sides that was lovely to read about.

Brent and Will’s struggle to be together was emotional, moving and I loved every moment of it. Both characters were likable and well developed and I really enjoyed the secondary characters as well. The only reason this wasn’t a five star read for me was that the pacing was a bit slow at times but it was a wonderful read and I Anchor Point has just become a must read series for me.

 

Cold Malice Review

356538394.5 Charms! Although Cold Malice is the 8th book in the Cold Justice series you could read it as a stand alone but why would you when the previous books are just so darn good! Cold Malice is another page turning, edge of your seat romantic suspense with a great mix of action, danger, and intrigue that has you guessing who the villains are and who the MCs can really trust.

Once I started this book I was hooked from the cult scene that introduces both of our characters in the past to the beginning of a series of hate crimes that seem to involve someone from that past. Tess was a strong heroine who grew up in a white supremacist group until they were raided by the FBI. Mac was a young police officer under cover with the group and he tried his best to protect Tess while he was there but ultimately feels guilty for the way some it played out. Tess always saw Mac as her protector and she had a big crush on him when she was a girl. Mac saw Tess as a spirited little girl who didn’t let the family/life she lived smother the spark of life and sweetness. Tess is all grown up and she’s tried to put the past behind her. She is a successful accountant and has done her best to raise her baby brother to be a good man but when people start dying that seem to be connected to her family and she finds information about one of the victims in her brother’s office she starts to worry that he’s somehow involved.

Mac is now an FBI agent and he’s leading the task force on the new series of hate crimes. He doesn’t want to believe Tess is involved but he’s been lied to before and he doesn’t have a lot of trust. Mac has a road map for his career and he doesn’t want anything or anyone to get in the way of that so he has not time or room for a romance especially with a woman with ties to a white supremacist group. However, the more time he spends with Tess the more he sees the spirit of that little girl although he’s also very attracted to the woman she is now.

This book had a lot of twists and turns and I was never sure who was involved in the terrorist plot. There were times when I was sure Tess’ brother was innocent and other times when I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe he was involved. There were a few red herrings along the way and a lot of suspects. I loved the intrigue and mystery of this book and I still wasn’t sure who the bad guys were until the very end! I enjoyed the fact that we got into the mind of the villains and I couldn’t believe I still couldn’t figure out who it was.

I liked Mac and Tess together but there were times when I really wanted to smack Mac. He just couldn’t decide whether to treat her as a suspect or friend/lover. I do wish that the two would have had a bit more time together without conflict to establish their relationship and I also thought Tess was awfully quick to forgive some of Mac’s behavior. I would have loved to have seen some of the scenes from the end of the conflict before we jumped a month into the future for the epilogue.

Overall a 5 charm suspense/mystery and a 4 charm romance but I’m rounding up to 5 charms because once I started this I couldn’t put it down!

M/M Monday – The Quarterback Review

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The Quarterback is the debut book by Mackenzie Blair and although there were a few things that I didn’t like overall I really enjoyed this book and the good far out weighed the bad.

This book centers around Matt and Trevor who are students at a small Christian college in Alabama. Neither Matt nor Trevor were the stereotypical role of dumb, arrogant jock or Asian math nerd. Matt is the star quarterback and he’s popular, smart and gorgeous. On the surface Matt’s life is close to perfect but it’s a lot more complicated than everyone else thinks. Matt’s gay but not only his father homophobic he’s a scam artist that controls Matt’s life through his twin sisters. Matt toes the line in order to try to keep his sister’s safe from his father’s issues. He’s counting down the days until his sister’s go off to college and he’s finally free but what he doesn’t count on is meeting Trevor. Trevor is a edgy Korean-American boy with long hair and tattoos who works three jobs to put him through school since his family disowned him when he told them he was gay.

Matt meets Trevor when his friends take him to a happily ever after massage parlor and request a male for him. This was bizarre to me and I didn’t really buy into the whole his friends not talking to him about the fact that they figured out he was gay before they dropped this on him.  Matt flips out and Trevor is embarrassed but even though Matt runs out he can’t stop thinking about Trevor.

I really loved the friends with benefits relationship these two developed. It’s starts out all about sex but quickly develops into a true friendship between the two. Both guys are a bit complicated at times and Matt does some truly stupid things but MOST of the time he is trying really hard and is quick to make up for it. Trevor pushes Matt a bit too hard and he can be a little insecure (although justified) and defensive.

However, there were a few things I didn’t like in this book. Some of the dialogue was just a bit too stereotypical and had me rolling my eyes thinking really he/she said that? I also thought Danielle and Matt’s sisters responses when they first meet Trevor or find out Matt is gay were ridiculous. I think it was supposed to be precocious but they were too old to pull that off and I found it silly and rude. I also HATED that Matt threw Trevor’s massage parlor past in his face during their big fight. It was a horrible thing to do and it shocked me because it just didn’t fit Matt’s character. I also think Trevor forgave him for that just a tad too easily.

However, for me the good outweighed these issues and I really enjoyed the characters and the story. I adored Drew, Trevor’s roommate and I liked Matt’s football buddies as well. It had some really humorous moments, some sweet moments and the sex was pretty steamy.

So a really good debut novel for me and I hope she writes Drew’s story next – I’d love to read it.

 

 

Cover of Night Review

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3.5 Charms. Cover of Night is the 3rd book in Alpha Crew but could easily be read as a stand alone book. It’s a quick, exciting and sexy romance with likable characters and quite a bit of action.

Karly is a journalist on her first overseas assignment to write about the US ambassador to Thailand.
She’s wrapping up her trip when the resort she’s staying at is attacked by terrorists. She is able to escape and gets a quick message of to her editor that they are under attack. The Alpha Crew (an elite team of Navy SEALs) are sent to the island to do some recon and set-up for a rescue attempt when the rest of the team arrives. Ethan finds Karly and the two are immediately attracted to each other and end up working together to stop the terrorists. .

I liked Karly and appreciated that she wasn’t a woman in need of rescuing. In fact, I love that she rescued herself and the way it was set up was actually believable. Although I didn’t buy the way she ended up working with the SEALs. <spoiler>Yes they needed the information she had but having a traumatized civilian help in a rescue op just wasn’t believable</spoiler> Ethan was likable and a pretty typical Alpha Male military character. With the book being so short nothing really stood out about him but I liked him. The instant attraction turning into love so quickly wasn’t all that believable but again with the shortness of the story and let’s face it that’s a pretty typical trope for a romance book especially with a lot of action/suspense. I liked the team dynamics and would have liked to see more interaction between Ethan and the rest of the team.

The second half of the book slows down a bit and I really liked the way the author showed the repercussions of the attack in Karly’s life. It would have been nice to see some more development on the relationship side and Karly certainly had some valid concerns about a future together that were basically swept under the carpet.

I enjoyed the suspense, the fast pace and the characters. While the romance was hot it was a little less developed than I prefer but still enjoyable. The Alpha Crew is a great series if you’re looking for a fast-paced, fun romance that you can read quickly!

 

Scorpio Hates Virgo

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This year is all about healing the heart, Scorpio. It’s time to leave negative attitudes and stoic facades at the door and let others see the real, more vulnerable you.

Percy Freedman is not grieving. Absolutely not, take that back at once. No, he’s entirely sure that selling his dead aunt’s home and leaving the neighbors he’s known for years is the sane thing to do. Who in their right mind would keep the house that smells like all the hugs he’ll never have again?

Nobody, that’s who.

Well, except his cul-de-sac neighbors. They all seem to think some paint and new furniture will clean the emotional slate. They all want him to stay.

Even his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

 Especially his old nemesis, Callaghan Glover.

Lured into a game of Sherlock Gnomes, Percy finds himself hanging out with his neighbors more than might be considered healthy. Along with juggling new and surprising verbal grenades from Cal, and his burgeoning friendship with Gnomber9, Percy is starting to wonder if selling might have been the grief talking after all . . .

That’s right, Scorpio. With a little patience, heartbreak might be a thing of the past . . .

“Scorpio Hates Virgo” contains sarcasm, sexual content, a slightly sappy HEA, and an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs.

It can be read as a standalone.

Themes: Light-hearted, friends-to-lovers, slow burn

Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

EXCERPT

They arrived at Peter Molton’s—a forty-five minute drive from Aunt Abby’s. The small house was crammed between two less-maintained town houses. Already, Percy wasn’t sure about the place.

“This is housing at its best,” Cal said. He’d spent the entire drive fluctuating from quietly happy to frustrated. The further they drove, the more pinched his expression. “Let’s go.”

Percy clicked his belt open, holding back a laugh at the blatant scowl Cal sent him.

“I meant let’s go back home.”

“I know,” Percy said. “Now, come on.”

A pokey front garden gave way to a creaky porch. “This place isn’t right for you,” Cal said, brushing off a bug that had landed on his gentle-blue T-shirt. Another new one, Percy couldn’t help but notice.

A fat grin pushed at Percy’s lips as he knocked on the door after trying the defunct bell.

Curly-haired Peter cracked open the door, flustered. Shifty-eyed. “Um, just a moment.”

He shut the door and yelled to someone.

“Great first impression,” Cal muttered at his ear, and a shiver scuttled down Percy’s spine.

The door swung open and Peter beckoned them in with hurried sweeps of his hand. He slammed the door shut behind them.

“This way,” Peter said, leading them into the depths of the dark, rusty-smelling house.

Cal bumped the back of his hand against Percy’s, knuckles skating at the ticklish skin below the bone at his wrist. “If we get murdered, it’s your fault.”

“If we’re murdered, I’ll take the blame.” Maybe he was already wishing they’d not come inside, but the urge to tease Cal had overwhelmed him. Also, he was fascinated just how bad the place was. Certainly looked different online.

Peter stopped in a heavily draped living room with a low-lit chandelier. “Paperwork is out back, but the grand tour starts here—”

A woman cursed from somewhere out back. Something about “that damn escape-artist”.

“Stay right there,” Peter said tightly. “One of my pets needs locking up.”

Peter hoofed off and Cal folded his arms, clearly unimpressed, feet shuffling toward the exit. “If he comes back and tries to make us another of his ‘pets’…”

Percy snorted. “What a wildly dark imagination you have. I like it.”

“Dark imagination? It’s called self-preservation.” Cal reluctantly moved to the windows and lifted the drapes. To check for bars on the windows, perhaps.

None, thank fuck.

The thick material shifted, blocking out the natural light once more. Cal pivoted but didn’t turn around all the way, his fingers still pinching the edge of the drapes. “Why did you invite me along today?” he asked quietly, lifting his head and looking over at him.

Percy rubbed the back of his hand where Cal’s earlier touch still lingered and stared at the sunken cushions of the leather couch. “Human shield?”

A large yellow snake slithering over the back of the couch cut off Percy’s nervous laugh. Cal saw it at the same time, because he lurched protectively in front of him, arm outstretched, pushing against his chest.

“Clearly, you need one.”

They both stumbled back a few steps, eyes not leaving the reptile.

“So, maybe not quite the place I had in mind?” Percy managed with a shiver.

Cal reached for Percy’s hand and, without hesitating, squeezed his fingers as he tugged him in front of him. Then, one warm hand planted on his shoulder, the other just left of the small of his back, he propelled Percy toward the front door.

“I draw the line at snakes, Perseus.”

“Is this a bad time to crack a joke, Callaghan?”

 

REVIEW:

Although Scorpio Hates Virgo is the second book in the Signs of Love Series it can easily be read as a stand alone book.

Scorpio Loves Virgo was a sweet, charming and VERY slow burn romance with quirky, fun characters and lots of fun banter.

Percy and Cal are both unique and likable characters who you can help but love and root for. This book is a very slow burn with the characters not even sharing their first kiss until around the 70% part but the lead-up to getting there is lots of fun and worth it. I have to admit I don’t usually like that slow of a burn but I enjoyed these characters and watching them slowly find their way to each other and flirt with each other. s

Percy is back at his aunt’s house after she dies to get the house ready to sale. It’s his inheritance but he just doesn’t think he can live their without her. Percy was kicked out of his house for being gay and went to live with his Aunt Abby. Not only has Percy recently lost his aunt but his boyfriend of several years also just broke up with him. However, the neighborhood is very close and they are constantly reaching out to try to help him and get him to stay and no one more than Callaghan (Cal).

Cal dropped out of college when his dad left his mom, 2 younger sisters and oh yeah his mom is pregnant as well. So now he’s home trying to keep his family running smoothly and reaching out to Percy at the same time. Percy keeps insisting that he wants to move and dragging Cal along to look at a new place to live. But as the two spend more time together their walls are starting to drop.

Not only does Percy grow closer to Cal but he is also very close to Cal’s family and spends a lot of time with them. I really loved Cal’s family and as secondary characters they added a lot to the story. I particularly loved Percy’s relationship with Cal’s sister. The neighbors were wonderful and lots of fun and it would be amazing to live in a neighborhood like that.

I really liked Cal and the fact that he didn’t worry much about his attraction to Percy he just needed some time to think it through and make some decisions about whether he wanted to pursue it or not. Percy was a bit messed up with his worry that everyone leaves him but I enjoyed the growth and his realization at the end. There was even a sweet twist in the middle of the book that had me going back and re-reading a few parts of the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed this fun, quirky and romantic book.

Author Bio:

Slow burn romance that quickens the heart.

Anyta is a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. She loves to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love.

Some of her favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries.

Anyta writes a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of fantasy. Her books have been translated into German, Italian and French.

Member of Romance Writers of America.

Connect with Anyta: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Need You Now

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Need You Now_COVER

Jacket Copy:

Welcome to the small island town of Cloud Bay, where it’s never the wrong time to find a love that’s oh-so-right. . .

Caleb White knows what he wants out of life—and being a star tennis player is not it. After speaking to the press about his plans to retire, Caleb decides that a trip to quaint, beautiful Cloud Bay for its legendary music festival is exactly what he needs. There will be time to figure out what to do with his life without a racket in his hand soon enough. Until then, Caleb is content to be stuck on an island with CloudFest’s gorgeous director Faith Harper. . .

The daughter of a famous rock star, Faith knows all about fame, fortune, and hot flings that aren’t meant to last longer than a few good songs. Gorgeous, built Caleb is a temptation she can’t resist, but she’s not prepared for the way he makes her feel. . .and the dreams that they both share. What begins as a carefree distraction deepens into something real. But is Caleb ready to put his celebrity behind him and give life in the slow lane with Faith a chance?

NEED YOU NOW EXCERPT

So maybe that was the wrong thing to think about.

She steered the car through the familiar bends of the road from Salt Devil to Danny’s place, not needing to really pay much attention to what she was doing. She could make the drive with a bag over her head. Could probably drive all around Lansing that way and never miss a beat.

Unlike her heart, which was bumping just that little bit too quickly to let her fool herself into thinking she didn’t have a rapidly developing case of, to quote Ivy, “flaming panties,” when it came to Caleb White.

Well, her panties were just going to have to cool it a little longer.

She let her left hand drift out the open window, fingers spread to catch the night air rushing against her skin so one part of her body had a chance to feel cool. “My mom would tell you that’s a terrible habit,” Caleb said. His voice sounded lower in the darkness.

Rumblier.

Sexier.

Engine vibrations. That was it. Blame it on the roar of whatever supercharged monster engine Will had put into the Mustang. That was what was making his voice sound so good.

Note to self: Drive the Prius if you ever have to share a car with this man again.

“I know this road. There’s nothing I could possibly catch my hand on.” She turned her head slightly to look at him for a second. He’d lowered his window too, his elbow resting on the window frame, his fingers gripped around the top. “And hello, pot, kettle, black. You do not have all limbs inside the vehicle, Mr. White.”

“My hand isn’t sticking out,” he said.

“And what would your mom say about that response?” “She’d tell me not to be a smart-ass.”

“I think I like your mom. What does she do?” “She’s a doctor. I think she’d like you too.”

Faith shook her head. Nope to him getting any kind of wrong idea. “I’m not really the kind of girl mothers approve of.”

“Why not?”

“Rock star dad. Tattoos. Not interested in settling down.”

“You have tattoos?” he said, sounding intrigued. “I hadn’t noticed.”

“That’s because so far you haven’t seen any parts of me where they’re noticeable.”

“I see.” He sounded even more intrigued. “But they’re somewhere a mom might see them?”

“I think it’s more the alcoholic-rock-star–womanizing- dad thing than the tattoos. My family’s reputation precedes me. They think I’m going to have my wicked way with their precious boys and break their hearts.”

“Are you meeting these moms via time travel? That all sounds very nineteen fifties to me,” he said. “And just so you know, I am on board with wicked ways.”

She laughed at that. “In my experience, most men are.” “Maybe the men you meet are smarter than their moms.”

“Oh no.” She pulled her hand back in the window as the approached the turn-off to Danny’s drive. “The moms have my number. I’m not the marrying kind, as they used to say.”

“Really?” He sounded skeptical. “Trust me.”

“I take it this is you telling me that if I ever get to sample your wicked ways, I should beware?”

She tried to ignore the way the rumble underscoring “wicked ways” made her want to invent some very wicked ways on the spot. Dammit. “Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.” She pulled into the drive, rolled the car to a stop outside the gate. “And, not to change the subject or anything, but we’re here.”

Caleb blinked. “So I see. Any point in me asking you in for a nightcap?”

As much as part of her wanted to say “hell yes,” she shook her head. “Not tonight.”

“Rain check on that too?” “We’ll see.”

“All right,” he said. He didn’t sound that put out. She didn’t know if that was good or whether she should be a little insulted. Caleb undid his seatbelt and turned to face her. “Then I’ll say good night. And I’ll tell you one more thing.” He slid a little closer along the seat and leaned toward her. Not too close. Giving her plenty of time to tell him to back off. To say no.

She stayed right where she was. Pinned in place by the weight of that blue gaze and the pounding in her chest and the heat suddenly burning through her again. She tried to sound casual. “What’s that?”

“The same thing I tell my mom when she’s butting into my love life. That I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself.” He leaned in close, until his mouth was hovering only a couple of inches from hers. “Also, that I believe that when you’ve beaten a girl at pool and hitched a lift with her in a Mustang that it’s only polite to kiss her good night.”

“Oh,” was all she had time to say before he closed his mouth over hers.

She couldn’t pretend she hadn’t thought about what it might be like to kiss him over the last few hours. What sort of kiss it might be. Most of her first kisses had been the hot, fiery, let’s-get-naked-fast kind.

Caleb White was undeniably hot but this kiss was . . . different. His mouth coaxed hers, gently, his hand cup- ping the back of her neck. Each tiny change in angle he made seemed to connect with a different nerve. First her lips were tingling, then hot, and then the heat spread out and down from there in a molten rush.

She opened her mouth and tasted him, tasted whiskey and man and heat. He groaned but he held her there, suspended with him in the dark, focused just on him and the places their bodies touched. She wanted more. Wanted closer.

But as she swayed toward him, tried to slide around in the seat so she could get nearer, he pulled back, leaving her startled by his sudden absence.

“Good night, Faith Harper,” he said. And then he was out of the car walking away from her, vanishing into the night when he stepped beyond the reach of the head- lights, leaving her wondering exactly what the hell had just happened.

Copyright © 2017 by the author and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

REVIEW:

Need You Now is the first book in the Cloud Bay series and has a lot of promise although it missed the mark in a couple of spots for me. This book centers around Faith Harper who is the daughter of a deceased rock star and Caleb White who is the #1 ranked professional tennis player. Caleb just announced his retirement and is visiting Cloud Bay while he figures out what is next for him. Faith runs Harper Inc. and is in the middle of running the huge music festival that her dad established years earlier. Neither Faith or Caleb are looking for a relationship but there is an instant spark between the two of them so they begin a fling which is meant to have an end date since Caleb is on the island for a limited time.

I never really warmed up to Faith and I think that was the main issue I had with this book. I can handle guarded and independent woman but Faith took it a bit too far and I really didn’t like how she let other people (who btw had no positive relationship experience) influence her decisions about Caleb. I didn’t like the way she treated him and how she walked away without even having a conversation with him. The other issue I had was that the conflict is wrapped up so quickly and Faith just skates on her behavior. It ended in a HFN and I assume we will see more of them in the continuing books.

While there were some great moments in the book it got a bit bogged down in the details of the music festival and I wish that Caleb and Faith had spent more time together. We were introduced to Faith’s other siblings and they were definitely intriguing characters. So while I had a few issues with this book I was intrigued enough to come back for Mina’s story which is next.

Author Bio:

Emma Douglas would love to live in a world where professional napping was a thing. But until then, she thinks writing books is a pretty awesome alternative. When not writing about imaginary people, she can be found reading, doing something crafty, binge-watching TV, playing her latest song crush on repeat, or singing badly in her car. She lives in Melbourne, Australia in a tiny house stuffed full of books, too many craft supplies and two cats who take up more space than you would expect. Find out more about Emma at www.emmadouglasbooks.com.

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