Renowned photographer Chris Malone is fed up with fame and disaster. All he wants is anonymity and a chance to recharge. Suburban journalist Ellie Flannery has other ideas. If she can just convince her long-time idol to support her favorite cause, she knows her fund-raiser will be a huge success.
After refusing at first, Chris decides to co-operate. When he’s forced to defend his own reputation as well as his family’s, he decides he wants something from the idealistic and sexy-but-doesn’t-know-it Ms Flannery Ellie in return: her heart.
But Ellie has scars that no one has ever seen, and she doesn’t want to open herself up to anyone, much less a man with such an unflinching eye for the truth. Can Chris convince her to strip herself bare, in more ways than one?
A sweet, joyful, feel good story, that has surprising depth to it.
The first couple meetings between Ellie and Chris doesn't go so well. Chris is worn out from his job in the disaster areas of this world, having signs of PTSD, and only needing solitude and peace. All Ellie wants, is to meet her longtime idol, to ask him a favor. When social media goes viral with Chris' refusal to help, he doesn't like the man in the picture of himself, he sees in the newspapers. And goes looking for Ellie, making a deal with her to help her charity.
Chris and Ellie have an instant connection, attraction, but not only that, they are comfortable in each others company and space. Beyond the physical attraction and heat between them, they start to share about their lives, the hurts and pain, scars that are not so visible to the rest. In the short novella the author manages to show the growth and depth of the characters, the way they have to face the past demons, the acceptance of the realities, and who they are, inside and out.
An adorable love story, that was so much more than I expected
~ Four Spoons!
One Kiss More
U.S. Marshals # 2
By: Mandy Baxter
Releasing Feb 24th, 2015
Rough, tough and by the book, he's most criminals' worst nightmare. Until the girl of his dreams is caught on the other side. . .
Emma Ruiz knows her father is innocent. But that doesn't help her convince the law--not even smoking hot U.S. Marshal Landon McCabe. When McCabe bangs on her door demanding information about how her cancer-stricken father escaped from federal prison, she'll have to distract him somehow--it may as well be with a stolen kiss.
Landon gets why Emma isn't saying all she knows. What he doesn't understand is why he's putting his reputation, his case, and his badge on the line for a gorgeous person of interest. Much as he'd love to, he can't let Emma play him. The stakes are higher than either of them can guess. The only way to survive is to trust their instincts. But their instincts want more than one kiss. . .
Adventurous, thrill ride action, mixed with wallop of pleasure and romance.
Landon and Emma have a connection. There's no doubt about that. The connection is raw, real, and steamy. In fact, when in the presence of each other, their thoughts turn into such a lust driven mush, it gets comical at times. The hard cord, true professional marshal can only think the curves of the suspect, and dream about touching her skin. For six years, they have harbored these wanton thoughts of each other. Ever since Landon put Emma's father in prison. Now, her father has escaped from the federal prison, and all the eyes are on Emma, but none so much than Landon's. And just when Landon starts to think there's more into the case than he has thought of before, things get complicated. And Landon and Emma are just pieces of a puzzle in a game, where they seem to be a way over their heads.
I enjoyed the author's humorous style of writing, the story flows out smoothly, and the tension rises as the terrorist plot with their games. With just enough surprises and twists in the plot, the story kept me guessing and wondering what will happen next.
The emotions are running high, fear, anxiety, concern, and the ever present desire Landon and Emma have for each other.
And when the tough cop Landon falls, it is completely. When they finally come together, and pretty much trash a hotel room, it is hot, sensual, steamy, and feverous. But the bliss can't last forever, since the terrorist still holds the strings, and they can't get out of that hold, without blood being shed and sacrifices being made.
Fun twist into a suspense story where tension runs high, a romance that doesn't leave you cold when emotions are getting involved
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Mandy Baxter is a part time pet wrangler, a full time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. She lives in rural Idaho with her family.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/one-kiss-more-us-marshals-2-by-mandy.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22450850-one-kiss-more
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/120236-u-s-marshals
When fire and ice collide, you get steam…
Grace Campbell leads a privileged life. The daughter of a United States senator, she moves within the social circles of the rich and famous. But Grace is also a scientist, and when someone learns she possesses the knowledge necessary to create a new super virus capable of destroying entire nations, she becomes a target for terror groups and foreign governments alike.
Garrett “Iceman” Spencer didn’t join the Army’s elite Hostile Operations Team to babysit a spoiled rich girl, but when his superiors insist on assigning him to a senator’s daughter as her security detail, he has no choice but to comply.
It’s a shock to find that beneath the glasses and serious scowl, Grace Campbell burns hot. And Garrett, who’s been burned before, suddenly wants to immerse himself in the flames.
Keeping Grace alive—and keeping his hands off her—is a full-time job for this HOT soldier. Failure is not an option…
At the first look Garrett and Grace could not be more opposite of each other. Garrett is cynical, 'Iceman', career military man with no intentions to ever step into a relationship again, after a bitter divorce, and trying to balance between the job at HOT and his daughter. Grace is a nerdy scientist, insecure as a woman, and brainy when it comes to her job, hiding behind a bit icy exterior, to protect herself from getting hurt.
Soon, Garrett and Grace find themselves opening up to each other, sharing their history, hurts and pain from the past, and their lips locked together. They burn up the scenes, again and again. Every time it is 'the last time'. And the feelings start to grow, surprising both of them.
The romance between Garrett and Grace is raw and steamy, and the story mostly focuses on that aspect. How they deal with their insecurities, personal problems, and Garrett's days of bedding as many women he can after the divorce.
They are on the run, trying to escape the people after Grace, and her research materials. The constant threat is present, the build up for the collision is well done, but the collision itself seems somehow not so sharp, almost as an afterthought. I wish the story would have focused more on the suspense part, on the action running from the mobsters, and how HOT solved the case behind the attacks on Grace.
When reading long running series like HOT, it's always nice to visit with the old characters, and seeing where life has taken them over time. Hot Ice, while not the strongest book in the series in my opinion, was enjoyable, and good addition to the series. There's no doubt I will keep reading the books, and following the HOT team with their adventures.
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
She dances on the edge of life…and death…
Not all are meant to walk in the light. Marine Corps Sergeant Khat Shinwari lives among the shadows of the rocky Afghani hills, a Shadow Warrior by name and by nature. She works alone, undercover and undetected—until a small team of US Navy SEALs are set upon by the Taliban…and Khat is forced to disobey orders to save their lives.
To go rogue.
Now, hidden deep in the hills with injured SEAL Michael Tarik in her care, Khat learns that he's more than just a soldier. In him, she sees something of herself and of what she could be. Now duty faces off against the raw, overwhelming attraction she has for Mike. And she must decide between the safety of the shadows…and risking everything by stepping into the light.
A military story where duty, culture and customs tangle with love for your soul-mate and priorities of life.
When Khat saves Mike's life, they come instantly connected. The attraction is fierce, the connection is more than physical, they feel like they are meant to be together. And Mike is willing to do anything to make that work.
Khat has been years in combat, in special black ops mission, without a break, and it has started to affect her, and her health. Mike, as well all the other SEALs sees this, and are doing what they can, to help this stubborn beauty out there in the mountains, alone against the Taliban.
The way the story unfolds, it's almost poetic in nature. The Saudi background of Mike, and Afghan heritage of Khat, gives them insight and depth, and understanding towards each others culture. The pull of tradition, customs, and the culture where Khat has lived the past years, is strong. She is broken, but can't seem to see the big picture, she is so focused on her mission. The battle with PTSD is constant, even though she doesn't seem to realize it.
What Khat and Mike have is real, rare, and fragile. Their feelings for each other is almost feverish in nature, and together they are explosive like fireworks. There's a lot Khat has to change and give up, to make out of the life she has created to herself in the deep black ops. They get to know each other slowly, as the story unfolds. The constant threat of the Taliban is present, there's no place where they feel safe and secure from the war. Mike knows the challenges their relationship will face, and is willing to be patient, work through the things together, and wait for Khat to be ready.
The story is beautiful, and flows like a poem. I enjoyed the action, as well as the different cultural aspects of the story. The romance was tender and delicate. Even though, this was a full story with a happy ending, there's even more details in this story coming up March 1 on a novella On Fire. Parts of the story that just didn't fit into this book in this format. I'm looking forward to it.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Back In the Game
Stardust, Texas # 1
By: Lori Wilde
Releasing February 24th, 2015
New York Times bestselling author Lori Wilde welcomes you to Stardust, Texas . . . where dreams come true and love is always right around the corner
Wanted: ghostwriter. Must be female, a baseball fan, and have a great pair of legs.
Ex-pitcher Rowdy Blanton never saw a woman he couldn't conquer or a team he couldn't beat. And now that he's off the field he's ready to tell all about when he played the field. So he chooses Breeanne Carlyle to do the job-she's got the requirements, but more important, there's something about her that makes him want to be a better man.
Convinced there's more to Rowdy than a good fastball, a wicked smile, and a tight pair of pants, Breeanne can't help but be tempted. After all, it's boring always being the good girl, and Rowdy dares her to be just a little bad. The stakes are high, but win or lose, this time Breeanne's breaking all the rules playing the game of love.
Jane Austen meets the modern day baseball player, who has game both on and off the field.
I had to laugh the first time Rowdy called Breeanne Jane Austen, since that's what I had in my mind, as well. The story has a light and fun tone, Rowdy is a ladies man with no relationship or commitment ideas. Breeanne has not experienced much of a life, because of her health issues. Together they go on a magical tour into love, life, and living to the fullest. The characters are charismatic and likable, the tight family loving, the sisters sticking together and supportive.
You have to believe in a bit of a magic, faith, soul mates and destiny to let this tale take you for the ride. 'Rookie rules' was so refreshing, kind, loving, and tender way for Rowdy and Breeanne to immerse to the relationship. By working on the book, they slowly get to know each other, share their intimate, most hidden secrets and built something strong and lasting in between them. They have the true connection, passion, and fire between them, every time they look or touch each other, it is like the fireworks going off. I loved how in the love scenes, the author describe their feelings instead of the act itself, giving the moments the magical, powerful, energetic feeling.
The conflict that comes between them, after the perfectly dreamy weekend, is serious, and cuts deeply. But it's not dragged on, both taking their responsibility in the matter. I did wish a bit more on the solution how the problems were solved, but the story focuses more on the relationship instead. And it clearly shows the depth and growth of the characters through the story, making me want to cheer for them.
Delightful, alluring, and magical story of soul mates, living to the fullest, and looking deeper than the first appearances
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses.
Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas.
A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. She's won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads
Link to Follow Tour: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/back-in-game-stardust-texas-1-by-lori.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22401418-back-in-the-game?ac=1
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/129829-stardust-texas
Carina Chapman wants a vacation. Somewhere hot. Somewhere decadent. Somewhere far, far away from her complicated life in New York. Somewhere in Australia appears to be the answer, until Carina discovers her PA has booked her into the wrong resort.
Cowboy Jake Richardson can cook a mean camp-oven roast, track wild horses, breed cattle and knows Australia’s rugged High Country like no other, but he needs to diversify if he wants to keep his land. Tourism seems like the answer, but his housekeeper just quit, the rooms aren’t ready and he doesn’t know a short black from a cappuccino.
Then his first guest arrives.
City slick Carina is smart, classy and disgruntled that her dreamy five-star retreat has been replaced by a rustic homestead beside the Barcoo Creek. Jake has seven days to convince Carina he can deliver all the items on her vacation checklist – including the five-step method to an everlasting relationship…
The story has such a delightful humorist way to describe how things are going in this recently opened 'resort' with Jake's first guest, making it nearly into a tragicomedy. Jake is a down to earth, handsome, farmer, down on his luck and trying to save his farm by opening it for the tourist, as a resort. He is willing and able to go the extra mile to make Carina happy, with genius ways to fulfill her vacation fantasies of a spa, swimming pool with a bar etc.
Carina comes off as a spoiled diva at the beginning, true city slicker, until she opens her eyes to her beautiful surroundings, and to the possibility to make the most of her vacation as it is.
They are such an 'opposite attracts couple', that at first it was hard to see, what Jake was seeing in her. Thankfully, she became more likable towards the end. I wanted a bit more conclusion, maybe an epilogue, of how they managed to turn around the farm's tourist business, not to mention how the New York city slicker managed in the outback. The beginning of the story had so much detail, that the ending seemed rushed. But overall entertaining story, written with humor, drizzled with some life lessons, and a steamy romance
~ Three spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Jillian thought she was a city girl through and through; the fast cars, high fashion, and glamour—she loves it all. But when her ex tells her he’s having a baby with his new wife (after Jillian struggled for years to get pregnant), she hightails it back to Montana to cry on the shoulder of her best friend, Cara.
But in truth, Jillian would rather be comforted by someone else…specifically Zach, Cara’s brother-in-law. Zach is a veteran of the Iraq War who came back to the family ranch to raise his preteen son after the boy’s mother took off. He’s struggling to re-establish a relationship with his son, and warding off the demons of PTSD, which still haunt him. The last thing he needs is bold, brassy Jillian…but why can’t he keep his hands off her?
Big loving family under the Montana sky, with lots of romance, and hunting past history are the makings of this touching story.
Jillian and Zack have chemistry, energy, magnetic pull to each other like no one else. They are drawn to each other, despite the miscommunication they had after a steamy night few months back. They are taking time to get to know each other, and they are burning up the sheets, yes, the heat level is high, but that wasn't the main focus, there was a lot story as well. The story of a two people, with lots of emotional baggage, and the road to the happily ever after is not easy. I loved how they shared their past history, hurt, and pain with each other. Seth, Zack's son is adorable, and the moments when he is sharing with Jillian were priceless, and touching. The abuse from the past was dealt with, talked and shared, and acknowledged.
The conflict that came between Jillian and Zack was a bit predictable, but I appreciate how it was played out, over time, but without drawing it out too long.
Some of the language was, in my opinion, unnecessary. I just didn't think it fit into the story.
The big family was inviting, they were fun, with great humor, and lots of love. The different aspects of the story brought layers of interest to it, and the story made an impact
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Gambling on a Dream
Colton Gamblers # 3
By: Sara Walter Ellwood
Releasing June 9, 2015
With Everything At Stake….
It’s been years since Sheriff Dawn Madison said goodbye to Texas Ranger Wyatt McPherson. She’s closed the door on the heartache of her past. But when the sleepy town of Colton, Texas, is rocked by a series of shocking murders, Dawn has no choice but to trust the man who broke her heart if she wants to protect the ones she loves…
All Bets Are Off
Four years have passed. But Wyatt hasn’t forgotten the bold, Native American beauty who stole his heart . . . and broke it. Losing her and the life they had hoped to share left him an empty shell of himself. But if he wants to stop the deranged killer terrorizing the innocent kids of Colton, he’ll have to let Dawn back into his life. It’s a risk he’s willing to take, even if heartache is all he takes home…
When the door closed with a resounding click, Dawn pounded a fist onto the table with enough force to rattle their coffee mugs. “Dammit, who is he protecting?”
He glanced back at the door. Talon had always had it rough, but no worse than his sister or younger brother. Sure, being one of Jock Blackwell’s ill-begotten sons wasn’t something he’d wish on a rabid coyote. However, Tom Madison had treated Talon like a son all his life, even giving him a third of his ranch when he retired.
Talon had changed, and not for the better. His problems didn’t come from how he was raised, or even the occasional bullying. He was a troublemaker, and nothing would have changed him.
He sat in the chair Talon had vacated. “Or the question could be what is he hiding?”
She ran her hands over her dark hair to the tight bun at the base of her skull. With jerky movements, she pulled out the band holding the twisted braid captive. As she ran her fingers through the long mass of raven silk, heat coursed through him at the memories of all that hair covering him like a blanket while they’d made love. When she bent over the table and scratched her scalp in pure frustration, all he could think about was her hair hanging down her back to brush and tickle his thighs as she rode him--her favorite position--to orgasm.
The erection was fast and furious and nearly had him groaning. Thank God, he was sitting. He forced his numbed mind to focus on the case.
“We have to find someone else who may have seen or knows something.” She glanced across the table at him and straightened. If there was ever the perfect picture of a beautiful Indian maiden, it was Dawn with her hair down. Had she ever had the stuff cut? He swallowed hard and shifted in his chair as his jeans strangled his cock. How long had it been since he’d had sex? He couldn’t remember, but refused to believe he hadn’t been with someone since Dawn.
With swift, practiced motions, she broke the trance he was under by daftly braiding her hair and wrapping it into a bagel-sized knot at the back of her head. She snapped the hair band over the bun.
He cleared his throat. “When are we talking to Chris’s friends?” His voice came out sounding a bit husky, even to his ears.
She stood, taking their coffee cups with her, and refilled them. After she dumped that god-awful crap pretending to be creamer into hers, she handed him a mug of black joe. Sipping her coffee from the extra-large, bright green mug he’d given to her for her thirtieth birthday, she returned to her chair.
“Hendricks and Kennedy are getting a list, but according to Julie, he didn’t have many friends in Colton.”
“How about Justin Vaughn? He’s always been a known dealer. Maybe he knows something.” He sipped his coffee.
She smiled, and he almost choked as he swallowed the hot, bitter brew. “Haven’t thought of him. We should talk to him. They’re about the same age. Vaughn’s working over at his uncle’s farm and garden market.”
He set his mug on the table and glanced at his watch. “I can’t today.”
Grinning, he stood. “No. I’m buying the Estrada Ranch.”
Her dark eyes widened. “Really? I heard Luis and Stella were thinking of moving to New Mexico, but I didn’t know it was a done deal. I figured it would go to either Jose or Mary,” she said, referring to the Estradas’ son and daughter. “How long has their place been up for sale? I haven’t seen a sign in their yard.”
He shrugged and reached for his hat where it sat on the edge of the table. “Luis and Stella told Mom and Dad they planned to sell the place a couple of weeks ago while playing Bingo at the firehouse. When they told me, I called the Estradas and made an offer. It never officially made it on the market. I’ve been looking for a small ranch.”
“We’ll be neighbors when you settle in there.” She cocked her head to the side. “I never knew you wanted to be a rancher.”
“You never cared about a lot of things I wanted.” His bitterness surprised even him.
She stood and picked up her mug, leaving his where it sat. As she headed for the door, she nodded toward it. “We have a policy around here. We clean up after ourselves. Something I seem to remember you have a hard time with.”
Although Sara Walter Ellwood has long ago left the farm for the glamour of the big town, she draws on her experiences growing up on a small hobby farm in West Central Pennsylvania to write her contemporary westerns. She’s been married to her college sweetheart for over 20 years, and they have two teenagers and one very spoiled rescue cat named Penny. She longs to visit the places she writes about and jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Sara Walter Ellwood is a multi-published and international Amazon bestselling author of the anthology set Cowboy Up. She also publishes paranormal romantic suspense under the pen name Cera duBois.
Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Link to Follow Reveal: http://www.tastybooktours.com/2015/01/gambling-on-dream-colter-gamblers-3-by.html
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23433644-gambling-on-a-dream?from_search=true
Goodreads Series Link: https://www.goodreads.com/series/94823-colter-gamblers
"I'm not who you think I am."
While his rodeo days have come and gone, cowboy Jack Drummond is in for the ride of a lifetime…with life itself hanging in the balance. An unexpected encounter with his old flame, Mara Jennings, triggers a series of events that Jack never could have predicted. There's just one problem: Mara isn't the same woman Jack remembers. She looks like Mara. And sounds like Mara. But reignited passions aren't enough to hide the fact that she's harboring a big secret—and hiding out from an even bigger enemy. Now, learning the truth might be the only way to stay alive. Or it could tear them apart—permanently.
Secrets, threats, and danger mixed with a hint of a romance.
Jack was just supposed to be on a fishing trip with his family. Until he runs into Mara, or a woman he thought was Mara. As the past indiscretions hunt Jack, he needs to make amends with Mara, and he goes after her. Just to witness an attempt to kidnap her. And from there, they are off to a wild run for their lives. The tension builds through the story. There are so many things that are uncertain, not least the fact, that MJ doesn't know how to, or who to, trust. So much information is unknown, so many players are unknown, it is hard to fight against something, when you are not sure what you are fighting against, and why. This uncertainty and confusion runs through the story, issues of trust, and the threat is constant. The run for their life is full of action and danger, without a moment's rest or peace. Some answers are forthcoming towards the end, but as the series continues from here, more clarity to the situation has to wait to be uncovered.
The romance is more of a hint of one. Jack and MJ do have an attraction towards each other, but at times it feels more like MJ is playing games with him to get what she needs, or to hide from the truth, to get Jack's attention elsewhere. Slowly, as they get to know each other while on the run, the rare trust is building between them, and the feelings are deepening between them. I liked that in the end they are shown as a couple, even though the road to it was left to the imagination of a reader.
The intense action, unraveling secrets, and layers of lies, even though a bit confusing at times, kept the interest through the story, that will be developed in the future books of The Gates series, yes, it ends in a sort of a cliffhanger
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
The woman fleeing a cold-blooded killer is no stranger to Deputy Colt McKinnon. Fourteen years ago, Elise Nichols was the love of his life. Now she's back in Sweetwater Springs—to be the star witness in an upcoming murder trial that could tear the Texas lawman's family apart.
With her explosive revelations certain to rock the town, Elise didn't expect to be welcomed home with open arms. Certainly not by the cowboy with the badge who once meant everything to her. But after being run off the road and shot at, she has no choice but to trust him. Even more dangerous is the desire that's reigniting, making Elise yearn for something she may not live to see.
Wild West meets today's Texas in gun blazing thrill ride, mixed with dysfunctional family, love from the past, and murder trial witness in danger of her life.
Colt and Elise have a history, they grew up in the small town Texas, and they had loved each other 14 years ago, before she left town. Now Elise is back, and bringing more trouble with her than anyone expected. They still feel the attraction, it is instantly fumed up again, and the pull for each other is strong. But the fact that Elise is a witness in a murder trial, where either Colt's mother or father most likely will be convicted of murder, brings tension into the budding relationship. Colt's family is warmly accepting her back, even though Elise only expected trouble from that front. I liked how openhearted they were towards her.
Everything between Colt and Elise happens really fast, it's like 14 years without contact never happened. The passion runs hot, and they aren't able to keep their hands off each other, even though danger seems to only a step away from them, where ever they go.
The action is full blast guns blazing, running non-stop, to stay alive. Every corner seems to bring more people who are after Elise, who are willing to risk anything to get her, dead or alive, making it a true wild west thrill ride.
Intriguing tale, indeed, with fast action and romance, and the story seems to go on into the next installment of the series
~ Four Spoons
MY GRADING SCALE:
5 Spoons - Amazing, memorable story that I loved, and want to read again.
4 Spoons - Fantastic, entertaining story
3 Spoons - Good story, but not much that stood out
2 Spoons - A story with some issues, that were a problem to me
1 Spoon - Not for me
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