She’s sworn to protect her students—he’s sworn to protect her
Charlotte Reacher found her calling teaching art therapy to teens. But when her attempt to stop a kidnapping leaves her wounded and unable to see anything beyond trauma and fear, she’s hesitant to trust the stranger who promises to keep her safe.
FBI agent Lucas Hawk knows Charlotte’s the only witness to the human-trafficking abduction that shook his Texas hometown. Determined to find the victims, he must convince her to work with him—even while resisting his growing desire for her. Every hour is critical for the kidnapped girls. And every breath Charlotte takes could be her last.
Startling first pages to the story pulled me into this riveting, action-filled, emotional story. The plot for this story is well thought out and the premises of the story has so much 'meat' into it, I can't help but wish there would have been a chance to get more into the details, that things didn't have to feel so rushed to come to the conclusion as they at times with the category length novels do.
I really enjoyed the story of FBI agent Lucas Hawk and Charlotte Reacher, the art therapy teacher. The connection between them was palpable, it was natural and true. The feelings bloomed fast, took root, the danger they were in just tighten the bond they shared. I enjoyed the first book in the series and it was delightful that Harrison and Honey had such a prominent part of this story, as well.
Lucas has never entertained the thought of a relationship, yet looking at his brother's happiness has made him yearn for something more in life. Lucas is a good man, smart, kind, considerate, and protective. It takes just one look at Charlotte, and his convictions of bachelorhood start to change.
Charlotte grew up in the system, with a large birthmark on her cheek, giving the kids a reason to torment her. Her skin might be fixed by a surgery, but the wounds deep in her mind still get sore time to time. Especially with the new insecurities of her blindness her need to be independent and not lean on anyone for help is stronger than ever. I thought she took that need a bit too far in a couple of instances, but the uncertainty of her situation warranted some extreme reactions.
The suspense with the human trafficking, with the kidnapped girls, and the ring to hunt young 'merchandise' for sex slaves, really hit hard with the realistic storytelling. With the tangible fear, the urgency of the cases to save the girls as soon as possible while still potential to rescue them, and the knowledge that time was running out on these innocent souls to be saved, I admit, it had an emotional, heartwrenching effect on me, having me in tears and biting my nails, as the story unfolds.
With horrifying, gory crime ring on the lose, the Hawk brothers have a time sensitive case on their hands, with leads that no one wants to believe to be true. Gripping and enthralling suspense with the sweetest, tender romance on the side make a great addition to Hawk brothers series, entertaining and touching story at the same time
~ Four Spoons
First, I want to express my gratefulness to the readers following my website, to the authors trusting their eARCs to my hands knowing they will get an honest opinion, and to the publishing houses that has granted me the access to the eARCS via NetGalley, Edelweiss, and tour companies. It has been a whirlwind year with over 300 reviews, hundreds of excerpts, promos, and giveaways, countless hours of reading and preparing, building up blog posts, and deciding on the books to read and promote.
The highlight of my year, if not of my life, was the week in Orlando participating in RWA. I am thankful for the warm welcome I got there from the authors and the bloggers, and for the authors to allow me to go a complete fangirl on them on several occasion... There are some pictures to witness these moments (on Instagram) yet there were, even more, moments when I was so baffled by the honor to meet these authors that I completely forgot to even think about taking a picture.
This past year I had the opportunity to read some amazing books and follow some great series. I am going to make a list of recommendations for books and series I adored making it easier to have that as a reference to those asking about my favorite books or authors.
I have based this list on the spoons I have given over the year 2017 and to the books saved on a file 'best of 2017' on my Kindle. I hope you can use it as a reference 'what to read' or in search of new authors to follow, series to check out. They are in no particular order, just mentioned in the order they appear in the file. Hope you enjoy it!
~ Cheers for 2017!
Ranger Under Fire: Nothing is more dangerous than falling in love
CIA analyst Bethany Bryant has risked her career to prove her former love, soldier Marcus Allen, actually survived a military ambush - and betrayed his country.
But when she finally tracks the rugged army ranger to a remote Texas town, Marcus doesn't remember who he is... or why someone is trying to kill him.
With an assailant determined to silence both of them for good, Bethany and Marcus must go on the run in the hope he will regain his memories.
But will Bethany's risky gambit to expose the truth clear his name and give them a future... or end their second chance at forever?
Action filled story where trust is put to a test, where integrity is questioned, doing the right thing could be wrong, and love could be just blinding them from the true, crooked nature of the other...
Marcus Allen is a character, that even with all the questions about his nature and intentions, I immediately liked him, trusted him, and wanted to cheer for him. The inner light of a good, solid man was shining through, the faith in God unwavering force in his life, his kindness and considerate nature as obvious as his attraction towards Bethany Bryant.
With Bethany, I struggled a bit to like her. I understood where her mistrust and skepticism came from but her blindness to the situation at hand, her stubbornness to think the worse, to be so easily manipulated to believe the most negative possible outcome, it started to get to me after awhile. She struggles with her faith, she struggles to believe Marcus, she struggles to believe the culprit is as bad as they proved to be, yet Marcus's brothers in arms see the truth with fewer convictions and evidence that she has.
Marcus and Bethany's feelings towards each other were genuine even though the past conflicts weight on their minds and hearts. The constant dodging of the attacks towards them, the questions of who to trust, the fight to survive, and the mind games of past memories, and the challenges the amnesia create, all provide a non-stop battlefield with vicious action, brutal combat, and tussle to survive.
An entertaining and thought-provoking story
~ Four Spoons
The Pretender by HelenKay Dimon
Series A Games People Play Novel
Genre Adult; Contemporary Romance
Publisher Avon Impulse
Publication Date December 26, 2017
They say it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Harrison Tate is proof. Once a professional burglar, he now makes a lawful living tracking down stolen art. No one needs to know about his secret sideline, “liberating” artifacts acquired through underhanded methods. At least until one of those jobs sees him walking in on a murder.
Gabrielle Wright has long been estranged from her wealthy family, but she didn’t kill her sister. Trouble is, the only person who can prove it is the sexy, elusive criminal who shouldn’t have been at the island estate on that terrible night. She’s not expecting honor among thieves—or for their mutual attraction to spark into an intense inferno of desire.
Under the guise of evaluating her family’s art, Harris comes back to the estate hoping to clear Gabby’s name. But returning to the scene of the crime has never been riskier, with their hearts and lives on the line.
“I’ve gotten used to looking over my shoulder.” She popped the cracker in her mouth but she really couldn’t taste it.
“Is this the part where I’m not allowed to pretend ignorance?”
She was impressed he’d actually listened this afternoon. That was more than most people did. But it didn’t mean that she wanted to revisit any part of that topic.
With a hard swallow, she got the cracker down then dumped the rest on the bench between them. “How exactly does one become an art appraiser?”
That sexy smile of his came roaring back. “We’re changing the subject?”
She nodded. “Without even an ounce of subtlety.”
The rich sound of his laugh floated through the dark night. “Then the answer is easy—misspent youth.”
“What are you talking about? Art appraising sounds like something wealthy people would be into. Like, I’m looking at you and thinking private-school boy.” She studied his face and hummed as she tried to pin him down, figure out his untold story. “Maybe even a boarding school.”
He snorted. “Your people-reading skills are way off tonight.”
That answer . . . it had her wanting to know more. She beat back the urge to pepper him with questions. If she took a turn, he would want one. No way.
She pointed at the gooey s’more oozing between his fingers. “Blame the marshmallow.”
“They’re growing on you.”
“Not really.” She’d never been a fan. “The sticky thing . . . it’s annoying.”
He held up a hand and wore a look of fake outrage. “Honestly, you keep talking like that and I’ll have to leave the island.”
“I wish I had that option.” She hadn’t meant to say that, but the words were out there now.
His head snapped back as he looked at her. “Do you really have to be here?”
“I owe it to Tabitha.” And it was a debt Gabby took seriously. Her sweet, loving sister deserved so much more than the end she got. The idea of her dying alone and afraid twisted Gabby’s insides into knots. She had faint memories of a man and footsteps that horrible afternoon, but Tabitha was gone by the time Gabby reached her. “Someone needs to care about what really happened to her.”
“Too many, actually.” Someone looking for cash. Some jerk hoping to find a woman alone. Every option centered on the hazy figure she saw leaving the house. The one she’d almost convinced herself she’d dreamed up.
“Are you really not going to sleep inside tonight?” he asked.
“I might sleep on the porch.” That was the plan. There or the boathouse, where there’d be some protection from the wind.
She’d thought about knocking on Kramer’s door but his son was on the island, trying to catch up on maintenance that had been limited when the police shut down the island to everyone to conduct an investigation. Poor Kramer got displaced for a few months. Once he came back the police limited the work he could do. So did the wrangling over the estate be- cause Tabitha’s trust fund had been frozen. But now that Kramer was back, he was behind on all but the most routine work. She knew because he’d grumbled about that while they shared breakfast at his house this morning.
“It’s freezing out here.” Harris rubbed his hands together in front of the fire as if to prove his point.
“I’ll be fine.” When he started to say something, she talked over him. “I’m serious, Harris. I can’t be in the house. Not yet. Tomorrow, maybe. In the light.”
“Have you been in there since . . .”
He didn’t need to finish the sentence because she knew where he was going. “Since I found her body? No.”
He let out a long, loud breath as he wrapped up the chocolate bar again. “Take the guesthouse.”
The idea sounded so much better than any other option. She’d stayed there on and off with Tabitha since their parents died. Her sister loved the solitude of island but Gabby always worried the lack of companionship would prove to be too much. She stopped in. She swung through. She came up with excuses to be there for days at a time with her sister before jumping off again.
“Where would you sleep?” A not entirely unwelcome idea formed in her brain. “Or was that a really sloppy pass?”
“Sloppy?” He shook his head. “Woman, come on. It takes skill to look debonair while having your fingers stuck together with marshmallow.”
He held up his fingers to show her.
“You’re right,” she said, ignoring the fact he pulled off the look just fine.
He picked up the chocolate bar then dropped it again. “Melting chocolate. I mean, I’m balancing a lot over here.”
He really was adorable. Sexy and hot in a want-to- climb-him way, but kind of sweet, too.
Too bad she thought it was all a very calculated act. “You’re very impressive,” she said in the most con-
descending voice she could muster.
“Thanks for noticing.” He wiped his hands on a paper towel and put the rest of the s’mores ingredients away. “But the offer still stands. The guesthouse has a couch and a floor. I can sleep on one of those.”
“No.” The offer should have been easy to resist but she had to force the denial out. She stood up, thinking leaving might be the only way she could win this round. “I’ll be fine.”
He glanced up at her. “I get the impression you’re always fine, Gabby.”
“Then you’re not looking very closely.”
This seductive and intense tale continues the intriguing series that has been one of my favorites this year, each installment highly anticipated.
If you allow me to fangirl for a moment with HelenKay Dimon's stellar writing - the smoothly flowing stories that have strong, capable, and smart characters are well written, the puzzling plots thoroughly thought out, and chemistry between the alluring characters, both protagonists and the secondary characters, is a tangible force impossible not to notice. The witty, crafty dialog carries the stories forward, giving insights to the characters, and always manages to seduce my mind and make me smile. She is one of the authors I was reading before I was publishing my reviews and I'm delighted and excited about each new book published.
And The Pretender didn't disappoint either.
The investigation of the murder is tense and tricky because of the main stage is a private island and the turbulence of the family drama and tragedy playing on the side involves the main characters as well.
As the plot thickens, it is obvious that the culprit is a known character, most likely currently on the island, and prepared for drastic measures to keep their secrets.
The relationship between Harrison Tate and Gabrielle Wright is precious and so natural, it felt like they have known each other always. Both of them have had a challenging foundation for their lives, with childhood experiences no one would envy or wish upon anyone, making it hard for them to trust or let people in. Yet when Harrison and Gabby come together, it feels like the bond between them is innate. The need to open up and share the secrets they never ever talk about is urgent. And with all the lies, secrets, and half-truths there is raw honesty, fragile and gentle tenderness, sincerity between them that is enriched by the searing hot passion igniting since the first touch.
When the characters are secretive and withdrawn and they hold everyone at the arm's length the possibility that the reader will feel that distance to the characters is a possibility as well. There were a couple of instances in the first half of the story, that Gabby and Harrison kept their inner turmoil from me as well, I felt I couldn't connect with them. But as the story progress, I was invested to find the murderer, to find the culprit behind the attacks, and definitely allured by the charming characters.
A thrilling and engaging continues into the enjoyable, riveting series, yet easy to read as a stand-alone book since it does not require you to know the previous cases.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell
Series Spinster Heiresses Series
Genre Adult Historical Romance
Publisher Avon Books
Publication Date December 26, 2017
Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the Marriage Mart a bit too long. They were known as the “Spinster Heiresses” . . .
He’s inherited a title, but not a penny to speak of, so the Earl of Rochdale knows he must find a wife—preferably one tolerably pretty and good-tempered, but definitely wealthy, and willing to exchange her fortune for his family name.
His choice: Leonie Charnock, one of the season’s “Spinster Heiresses.” Years before, the earl had saved the dark-eyed beauty’s reputation, and she is still breathtakingly lovely, leading Rochdale to hope that their marriage will be more than in name only.
However, Leonie doesn’t want to be anyone’s wife. Nearly destroyed by the secrets in her past, Leonie agrees to their union with one condition: there will be a wedding but no bedding. But it’s a condition the new Countess Rochdale isn’t sure even she can keep . . .
March 10, 1813
“Marry?” Roman Gilchrist, newly named tenth Earl of Rochdale, stared at his solicitor and godfather, Thaddeus Chalmers, as if the man had just suggested he cut off his own right arm.
They were in Thaddeus’s office. Thaddeus, a mild-mannered man of Roman’s stepfather’s age, sat behind a huge mahogany desk. Roman had not yet taken the chair offered him. Instead, he threw down the pieces of paper with the ninth earl’s hastily scribbled signature upon them upon the desk.
Roman continued. “I come to you with a stack of gambling chits that I do not believe I should have to pay and your only suggestion is that perhaps it is time for me to marry?”
“What other solution can there be?” Thaddeus asked. He was well respected amongst the loftiest circles of the ton. Roman usually valued his opinion. Now, he feared his godfather had gone senile.
“You can tell me that I don’t have to honor them,” Roman answered. “My uncle owed everyone. But he is dead. If they wanted their money, they should have petitioned him before he croaked—not lay in wait on my first day taking my seat in the House of Lords and then delivering these to me. It was a scene. Everyone was there. They all couldn’t help but overhear what Erzy and Malcolm were saying to me, and then they handed me these. I wanted to wipe the smirks off their faces.”
Thaddeus pushed aside the ledger he had been writing in before his godson had stormed into the room. “How much do you owe?” He spread the chits out to read them over the spectacles on his nose.
“Just under ten thousand pounds.”
“Their presenting the debts to you publically is bad form.”
“Damn right it is.”
“You will have to pay it.”
Roman slammed his hand down on the desk, hard. “No. It is not my debt. A man’s debt should die with him.”
“They do if they are to his tobacconist or bootmaker and if there is no money in the estate—”
“There is no money in Rochdale’s estate. You of all people know that.”
“I do, young Roman. I do . . . but those notes there represent something more than a jacket or a pair of boots, or even the bread that graces a table. No, these are debts of honor. As the Earl of Rochdale, you are ‘honor bound’ to pay them.”
“They are not mine—”
“They are Rochdale’s and you are now Rochdale. See? The name Rochdale on each slip.”
“But that isn’t me.”
“Yes, you are correct and most men would not have given the debts to you to pay. Unfortunately, Erzy and Malcolm are hardened gamesters who have no thought for anyone but themselves.”
“If they are not honorable men, then I see no ‘honor’ in paying gambling debts that aren’t mine.” It all made perfect reason to Roman. “Especially since I don’t even have the money to repair the leak in Bonhomie’s roof let alone buy a pair of boots for myself.” Bonhomie was his recently inherited estate in Somerset and the first home he and his family had ever had.
“Exactly,” Thaddeus said in triumph, stacking the gambling chits. “Which is why I suggested marriage. I mean, you could sell off a portion of the land. The last earl had not seen to the entail—”
“Absolutely not,” Roman interrupted. “The land will not be sold.” He’d been overjoyed to discover that Bonhomie boasted six hundred acres of forests and fields waiting for him to turn them into something meaningful.
“Very well, then.” Thaddeus reached for a decanter from a tray of them on a table behind his desk. He uncorked what Roman knew was a very fine whisky and poured generous portions in two glasses. “Sit,” he told Roman. “Be reasonable and hear me out.”
“I have no desire to take on a wife.”
“Posh, of course you do,” his godfather said. “You will need an heir or what will become of your plans for your estate, eh? Do you want all your fine work to go to a nephew that you didn’t know? Just like what happened to the ninth earl with you? Besides, a man needs something to poke at night. If he doesn’t have it on a regular basis, his balls shrivel.”
“I don’t believe that is true.”
Thaddeus pointed a finger at him. “How do you know? Have you been going without? Are you saying you don’t have anything to poke with anymore, Roman?”
“I have balls a’plenty.” He was no monk, but he was no lothario either.
Thaddeus cackled at his own jest. “I knew you did. All your years in the military should have made you a man of the world.”
Roman sat and picked up the whisky. “It did. But I have very high standards.”
“Then marry a wife who meets them. Because, lad, the way matters are going . . .” He tapped the small stack of gambling debts. “You could lose everything you inherited with the title. Erzy and Malcolm could force you to sell, and then the old earl’s tobacconist and bootmaker would be right behind them. It is never wise to stir a pot.”
He was right. Except . . .
“What heiress who isn’t lame or hideous to look upon would settle for penniless me? Or are you going to tell me, Thaddeus, that it doesn’t matter? That I should leg-shackle myself to a woman and then live apart?”
“Well, that is one solution.”
“So much for heirs,” Roman muttered.
Thaddeus gave a sharp bark of laughter. “And here I thought you were a realist.”
“I am,” Roman assured him. “And I know that any heiress worth her weight in gold can attract a man with more to offer than empty pockets and a ramshackle estate.”
“Ah, but then there are the Spinster Heiresses. They are three young women, all marriageable, very attractive, and wealthy beyond your dreams.”
“Then why are they called spinsters? Why hasn’t someone snatched them up?”
“Because their fathers are very particular, just like yourself. They wouldn’t let a Captain Gilchrist near them, or even a Baron Gilchrist, or a Sir Roman, and very few earls—but Rochdale is one of the oldest titles in England. Before the last three holders of that title, blast their gambling souls, they were respected statesmen, the sort historians praised and the world never forgot. I want you to be that sort of earl, Roman. I want you to do me proud.”
“I will try . . . if I’m not in debtor’s prison.”
“Which is the reason I believe you should shine yourself up and call on one of the Spinsters. Their fathers will not look down their noses at one of their daughters becoming the Countess Rochdale, I can promise you that.”
“And how can you make such a promise?”
“Because this is their third year on the Marriage Mart.” He referred to the round of social events, balls, and routs where marriageable young women hunted for suitable husbands. “They are becoming a bit long of tooth. Their fathers will have to lower their standards if the daughters don’t make a match soon. One almost claimed a duke but he ran off with an actress instead. Bad bit of business. Delicious gossip though.”
Thaddeus poured himself anther drink. He offered the bottle to Roman, who with a shake of his head refused it. He needed to keep his wits about him right now and he wasn’t one to see a virtue in overimbibing.
However, he was intrigued with Thaddeus’s plan. “What is wrong with them?” he asked, settling back in his chair. There must be a hidden cost.
“They are all decent young ladies,” Thaddeus assured him, putting the cork back in the decanter.
His godfather eyed him. “You’re not in a position you can be choosy.”
“Granted. However, does one of them limp or the others have pox marks? I’d rather be forewarned.”
“First, three Seasons does not a hag make. And they aren’t hags,” Thaddeus hurried to add. “They are each actually lovely.”
“Lovely and rich and unmarried?” Roman made a dismissive sound. “Spill it all, Thaddeus. Spare nothing.”
“Well, if there is a drawback they are each just on the border of being unacceptable. Not one could gain vouchers to Almack’s. However, most of the concerns are about their families. For example, Cassandra Holwell’s grandfather made his money in the mines. He started off as a miner and ended up by dint of hard work owning the mine. Her father is currently in the Commons.”
“That is not such a shabby thing.”
“Aye, but his manners are atrocious. He eats like a bull who has been starved for days. Throws food all around him.”
“And his daughter? Is she covered in food as well?”
“I’ve never seen her eat but I’ve not heard a complaint. She has yellow hair, rosy cheeks, and, from what I’ve heard, is very educated. She is a book lover as yourself.”
“A bluestocking?” Roman liked to read, but he did not like to debate.
“She is known for being outspoken, which isn’t a terrible thing if one is in your circumstances and needs the Holwell fortune. However, if a man has his choice of ladies to choose from, and perhaps a mother who is a stickler for family bloodlines, Miss Holwell and her mining ancestors will not stand a chance. She is also rather tall. Of course, that is not a problem for you. You’re over six feet.”
“Is she six feet tall?”
“I don’t believe she quite is.”
“An Amazon bluestocking.”
“You are putting a bad slant on this. Last I saw her, all I could think about were her breasts, which were just about to my eye level.”
Thaddeus was short for a man, short and clever. Roman also knew he liked breasts since that is usually what he commented upon about women.
“So, the powers of Society don’t like Miss Holwell because she is a tall, miner’s daughter who likes to read.”
“That is the gist of the matter. The families with sons her father would approve of her marrying believe they can do better than Miss Holwell. Or their sons are my height. So, she languishes on the Marriage Mart.”
Roman set his empty glass on the desk. “What of the others?”
“There is Miss Reverly. I believe she is the loveliest of the lot and the wealthiest. However, she is very petite, a mite of a woman.”
Roman shrugged. “I like petite women.”
“Don’t we all. But she is truly tiny. Perfectly formed but just barely five feet, perhaps an inch more, and fine boned. There are whispers among the mothers of eligible sons that she might not bear a child, and since for those families an heir is all important—as it is to you, my lord—well, Miss Reverly is not a first choice. Mind you, both of those young ladies would be snatched up by would-be husbands if their fathers would accept an offer from lesser titles or just decent gentlemen. Those like me who are called to the bar do not stand a chance. Reverly has made it clear he will not settle for anything less than a duke or a marquis for his daughter.”
“That leaves me out.”
“I thought I should at least mention her.”
“And you did. What of the third?”
“Ah, now she is the one I believe would interest you. Her father is with the East India Company. He is an officer in the Company, but from what I hear, not as clever and successful as his grandfather and father. His money comes from the family. He wishes his daughter to be married to an old and distinguished title because after generations of service to the Crown, the best his family could earn is a knighthood, and not one that could be passed down. Earl of Rochdale will meet his needs nicely.”
Roman shifted his weight. “I am not fond of nabobs.”
“You will be extremely fond of the daughter. There is something striking and different about Miss Charnock, whether the rumors are true about her heritage—”
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to US shipping addresses only. Two winners will receive a paperback copy of A Date at the Altar by Cathy Maxwell. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance. Giveaway ends 1/1/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted.
A stubborn cowboy has sworn never to forgive or forget—but one special woman may find a way to change his mind . . .
Hospice nurse Laken Garlington helps people face the end with peace and dignity, surrounded by their loved ones. But the son of her new patient didn’t come home to reunite with his dad. So why is Cyler Myer back in horse country? It’s clear the sexy, six-three hunk with the steely eyes has a score to settle, and Laken doesn’t plan on being collateral damage . . . no matter how irresistible she finds the prodigal cowboy.
Dying is too good for the father Cyler will never forgive—not in this lifetime.
Showing up at his family’s Washington State ranch is the first step in his plan. But revenge takes a back seat to desire when Cyler meets a bossy beauty who arouses feelings he isn’t ready to face. As they work together to save an ailing mare, Cyler realizes he must decide where his true destiny lies. With
darkness . . . or with the woman who offers the promise of redemption with every kiss
A touching story of forgiveness and love, life at its lowest lows and its highest highs, a heartwarming story about family, redemption, and soul mates finding their way to each other.
The realistic picture of dying and death and the mental work, pain, and sorrow everyone involved has to go through, it not only demonstrates the development of the characters in the story, but it spoke to me personally of the beauty of letting go peacefully, moving on gracefully, and death as a natural part of the circle of life.
The blurb focuses on the romantic relationship developing between Cyler Myer and Laken Garlington yet there is so much more to the story with Cyler's father preparing himself for losing the battle against cancer, and the past mistakes that he wants to correct before it is too late. The relationship that develops between Laken, her patients Jack, and Cyler is beautiful in its raw roughness at the last moments of Jack's life. Everything that happens in the story develops from those poignant last attempts to make things right, giving all the emotions a deeper, profound foundation.
Past sins, misunderstandings, and faults in life had alienated Jack and Cyler long time ago. What seems like unforgivable actions on Jack's part had driven them apart. Now facing each other again Jack and Cyler have to decide how they want to cross that one point in life where there is no return from, with angry revenge in mind, or with forgiveness and fond memories.
Laken is one of those people who can connect with nearly anyone, yet the connection she feels for Cyler is different. The sparks are flying, the passion is tangible, the possibilities reflect in their eyes, but Cyler being Laken's patient's son could cause some problems down the road if they act upon their budding feelings and took the step to a more personal relationship either of them were prepared to take.
The story does have a rather heartrending undertone that is lightened up with a delightful banter and jokes, romantic interludes between Cyler and Laken, and Jack's always ready to argue attitude. And while Laken and Cyler's love story is a beautiful and passion-filled tale of finding your soulmate at an unexpected time in your life, the way Jack prepares himself to leave the life, to die, had something very delegate and graceful in its breathtaking beauty and respect towards life.
This new author to me left me in awe of the depth of the emotions she draws out through the story, going from morose to wonder and delight, with her words, painting the beauty of life at each of its states.
A compassionate and tender story that truly touched my heart with its uplifting message of hope and love
~ Five Spoons
Published December 19th 2017 by Lyrical Caress
Kristin's inspiration for the romance she writes comes from her tall, dark and handsome husband with killer blue eyes. With five children to chase, she is never at a loss for someone to kiss, something to cook or some mess to clean but she loves every moment of it! She loves to make soap, sauerkraut, sourdough bread and gluten free muffins. Life is full of blessings and she praises God for the blessed and abundant life He's given her.
With a false murder rap and hit men gunning for her, Megan has no choice but to trust the cowboy-handsome lawman. She isn’t used to playing it safe.
Yet how can she let Jack put his career and life on the line?
And how can they ignore the desire ratcheting up the stakes, tempting them to take one last risk before a killer erases their future?
Jack MacKinnon, aka Little Jack, the Texas Ranger and a son of a newly elected senator, was supposed to just do a favor for his friend and partner - rescue a damsel in distress. But things with Jack's partner apparently never go as they are supposed to go, and things escalate quickly, dangerously, and potentially deadly.
Megan Harper has no idea what is going on. Is she being rescued or kidnapped, why do people want to attack her, why is deadly force being used, what, who, why --
And neither does the reader. This is the niche of the story, the reader gets the same information in real time as Megan and Jack. There are continues attacks, twist in the plot, and the reasons for them, or who is behind them, or why is Megan involved stays a mystery most of the story. This creates some chaotic confusion for Megan and Jack, as the clues are slow to come in and Jack's partner is missing in action.
The chemistry between Jack and Megan was sizzling. The interactions between them were life-like, flirtatious teasing and games, as they are on a run for their lives, trying to survive.
This new suspense-filled mini-series starts with a hair-raising story that at times felt like all over the map until the strings are finally pulled together, answers are found, and culprits are named, reasons for attacks given. While the case was satisfactorily solved, lots of curiosity and fascination towards the still open-ended questions were left in my mind, mainly about the secondary characters and how do they play into the whole picture.
I believe this is going to be one riveting series of fiery suspense and enthralling romance with alluring characters. An entertaining and captivating start, that's for sure!
~ Four Spoons
Paperback edition Published December 19th 2017
by Harlequin Intrigue
eBook edition (January 1st) $4,49
ANGI MORGAN combines Texas settings with characters in realistic and dangerous situations. Bodyguards in Heels is a mash-up of her favorite things to read: a little magic, a little comedy and a little suspense. She loves to pack up her husband and rescue dogs for road trips to locations she’s writing about. They have a goal to travel roads they’ve never traveled and find the best pie in the Lone Star State. Contact her via her website or other social media.
A USA Today and Publisher's Weekly bestseller, Angi's romantic suspense has been nominated for the Booksellers Best First & Best Series Romantic Suspense, Romantic Times Best First Series Romance, Gayle Wilson of Excellence, and the Daphne du Maurier. Angi utilizes her strong heritage to create passionate characters willing to risk everything. An 11th generation Texan, she plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, in actual Texas locations. She shares her research and photos on her daily blog.
Today's Steal is...
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Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.
And don't forget to check out the rest of our holiday fun here!
A woman screaming into a phone sends Riker County detective Matt Walker racing to the rescue of his onetime nemesis, Maggie Carson. Four years ago, the green-eyed journalist accused him of killing his wife.
Her first solid lead in the case she can't let go just landed Maggie in the custody of the Alabama lawman who hates her. The single mother can't remember the past twenty-four hours and now there's a target on her back.
As they move closer to the truth…as desire turns enemies into passionate allies, Matt will move heaven and earth to protect Maggie—and the love that's bigger than both of them.
I have to say I am impressed how the author played the troublesome relationship between the leading lady and the man. The dislike is palpable at the beginning of the story, and to get from that state of mind to a believable, authentic, romantic relationship - this is romantic suspense, so it is expected, no spoilers here - in the shorter category length novel, and succeed in it like the case is here, I have to say 'well done'.
Because the attraction between Matt Walker and Maggie Carson is obvious, even a stranger can feel it in-between them. But also there is a much deeper bond, an understanding of each other, genuinely caring for each other, 'getting' each other that shines through as the story progresses. They make an impeccable team where the respect and appreciation are shown in every word and action.
The tension and fear escalate with each threat and attack towards Maggie and Matt. The unknown abyss, the memory loss, the lacking information and clues to the old murder case and the present aggressions, and the constant malice towards them puts everyone's lives in peril while the culprit stays at large. The twists towards the end kept me on the edge, the conclusion taking me by surprise, an accomplishment in itself.
A riveting, exciting, and arresting story on both accounts; on romance and suspense. I adored the mature, smart, well-developed characters who were not afraid of emotions and to feel to the bottom of their being. The distressing investigation into the past and the present danger and the perils that follow provides nail-biting action with a jolting conclusion.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Published December 19th 2017 by Harlequin Intrigue
eBook edition $4,49
Tyler Anne Snell spends her days plotting murders, creating mysteries, and weaving sexual tension, romance, and can't-live-without-you love throughout each. When she isn't writing romantic suspense she's reading urban fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and falling even more in love with Netflix.
Tyler lives in South Alabama with her same-named husband, their mini lions, and a burning desire to meet Kurt Russell.
saw her, he called, “The paint’s already dry up here. If you bring me the
shutters you painted, I’ll put them up at the two windows.”
She gave him a thumbs-up and almost ran to the barn. He’d asked her,
not one of the others, to help him. She hurried to grab a pair of shutters.
When she got back, he’d come down for them and jammed a screwdriver
and screws in his jeans pocket. Then he scurried up to the porch roof and
stood on that to work. Karli squirmed. The porch roof slanted downward
and didn’t look safe to her.
“Be careful,” she said.
He gave her a look. “I’ve been balancing on a ladder to paint the peaks all
day. I think I’ll survive this.”
She went to get the shutters for the second window and climbed a few
rungs to hand them to him. Once he’d finished installing them, he started
down. He’d reached the ground when Karli noticed someone’s paint
brush lying on the roof. She scrambled up the ladder to reach it and then
carefully retraced her steps. Before she reached the bottom, though, two
strong hands lifted her and set her on the ground. Keagan’s touch sent
heat through her fleece hoodie.
She turned and found herself toe to toe with him. His solid chest was
eye level. She looked up at his strong jawline, his lips. She sucked in her
breath and tilted her head, staring up into his cobalt-blue eyes. She could
smell his scent—clean and manly. His gaze burned with intensity. Her
lips parted. One more inch and she’d be pressing against him…
Officer Jake Lohmiller can't believe the dark-haired, self-contained woman who earlier caught his eye was able to get the drop on him. Or that Carmen Redhorse is an undercover Ranger Brigade sergeant investigating the same Colorado cult his mother and sister are in.
When a sniper opens fire on the encampment, the two join forces to bring down a killer. But even as the danger —and the death count — escalates, Jake sees the possibilities of teaming up with the smart, sexy cop on a permanent basis.
If they can make it out alive…
The Ranger Brigade: Family Secrets
The investigation is a multilayered operation with several culprits, possibilities, and theories and each of them as dangerous and possibly deadly as the other. The tension is high, the unanswered questions are worrisome, but the determination to find the culprits and to solve the cases are unwavering.
I love when the heroines are strong and capable like Carmen Redhorse is in this story. Her experience as a law enforcement officer exceeds the one of Jake Lohmiller's yet they work together in a seamless effort, as a team, to find the culprits and bring them to the justice.
The attraction between Jake and Carmen is immediate and they are not even trying to hide it or play games. They openly admit that they are drawn to each other, and honestly answer the questions and concerns the other has.
Jake's mom and sister and the whole family dynamics are an important part of the plot. Getting to know both Jake's and Carmen's families gives an insight into them and their history that otherwise could have stayed hidden.
A captivating story with many enthralling themes, from the cult, also known as the Family, to the Native Americans reservoir, to the post-military life and illegal smuggling of cactuses. Add danger and threats, sizzling chemistry and those first fumbling steps when you are falling in love and you have a smoothly flowing tale that was hard to put down until the end.
~ Four Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
Expected publication: January 1st 2018 by Harlequin Intrigue
eBook Edition $4,49
Cindi Myers worked as a newspaper reporter, travel agent and medical clinic manager before turning to writing full time. She's written both historical and contemporary romance, as well as dozens of short stories and nonfiction articles. Cindi thinks writers have the best job in the world.
Former president of San Antonio Romance Authors, Cindi is a member of Romance Writers of America, Novelists Inc., and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
She and her husband and their two dogs live in the mountains Southwest of Denver. When she's not caught up in creating new characters and stories, Cindi enjoys reading, quilting, gardening, skiing and hiking. She's also in demand as a speaker, teaching workshops and making presentations to both local and national writing groups.
Christmas - peace and goodwill to all.
At least, it was supposed to be. But all good intentions and plans can go awry, as Flynn found out.
Can she save Christmas?
Can she survive her family?
Can Ben save her?
Can her sanity remain intact?
Will true love be hers?
Or will the blues happening at Flynn’s end it all?
We always hear about those disaster stories about Christmas with family, and oh boy, does Flynn have relatives that can put out some drama and 'blue'. There are each of those stereotypes of family members represented and then drawn to the extream. I took turns with laughing, feeling sorry for Flynn, and getting upset with the inconsiderate and at times rude behavior from her relatives.
But thankfully Flynn has Ben. Ben is just perfect. He is a vet nurse and neighbor to Flynn. From the first moment Ben saw Flynn, he has been developing feelings towards her. Nothing has ever happened between them, they are friends, but Ben had high hopes of quiet Christmas together with Flynn and their fur babies.
I loved Ben, he is kind, generous, considerate man yet takes charge and is protective when needed. He stands up for Flynn when her relatives are about to walk all over her, and tolerates them when she wants to give them another chance. He is tender and gentle, and so in love with Flynn, it is impossible not to like him.
Flynn is not the doormat her relatives thought she was. Her heart is pure gold, she loves to bring people together and have fun, she helps around the neighborhood and loved by all because of her kindness and thoughtfulness.
Her feelings towards Ben has been developing for a year and while escaping her quarrelsome relatives to his peaceful home, the passion ignites and burns h.o.t.
The Australian culture, customs, and slang shine through from the tale, giving it an extra layer of enjoyment. Ben and Flynn stole my heart, made me laugh, and gave that extra shot of holiday spirit I so needed right now. Delightful and delectable, with lots of family drama, humour, and enticing, delicious romance, a fun novella for the holidays!
~ Four Spoon with a teaspoon on the side
Published December 17th 2017 by Angela Verdenius
eBook edition $1,99
A member of both the Romance Writers of Australia & the Australian Romance Readers Association, I live in Australia, where I am happily ruled by my cats. When not procrastinating and sneaking peeks at books, or at work as a nurse, I can usually be found at my trusty computer… procrastinating by playing on the internet…
I started writing sci-fi romance some years ago before spreading my wings and writing contemporary romance . But there’s always room to spread my wings further!
So, apart from romance, I also wrote a short horror story (Zombie Hospital - I mean, get it? I love zombies and I'm a nurse...I was influenced by night shift, I tell you!) I love supernatural horror films (not slasher...they make me queasy and cringe) and I stand up and say proudly - ZOMBIES RULE! They are truly the coolest of the monsters.
Reading has always been my escape, writing my dream. Horror, crime, mystery, thrillers, humor, myths, legends, fantasy and history ,there are no limits to the wonders to be found. And romance? Well, that adds the spice, hope and happiness ever after…
As the last note faded, the tears Tula held bottled inside since the night they said goodbye fell unchecked. She wanted Fleet. Here. Where she could see him. Touch him. Never let him go.
"Where are you? Tula's voice was surprisingly steady. "Why aren't you here?"
Tula wanted to turn. More than anything. If only her body would cooperate.
"Never mind. I have you." From behind, Fleet's arms slid around Tula's waist. Warm. Strong. Steady. "I'll always have you. For as long you want me."
Tula couldn't keep the hitch from her voice. The question was too important. Maybe the most important question she'd ever asked.
"Mmm." Fleet brushed his lips across her tear-soaked cheek.
Marco Reyes had no plans to attend his ten-year high school reunion, but when the sinfully sexy and perpetually single firefighter unexpectedly finds himself in his hometown one fateful weekend, that’s exactly where he ends up—and it’s where he reunites with the only girl that had ever tempted him to want more than his bachelor life.
Sydney Prince’s last name might conjure images of fairy tales, but her life was far from that. The frogs she’d kissed had never transformed into anything remotely resembling a handsome prince. That was fine by her, though. She preferred the glass slippers to Charming himself. But what happens when the girl who never believed in romance is swept off her feet by the only man who she’d ever imagined a Happily Ever After with?
Will Marco and Sydney finally admit what they feel and find their way to one another? Or will life have other plans?
This touching, fun, and scorching hot story had a smile on my face through the tale. Yes, there are wrenching emotions from deep valley to high mountaintop. No, the life has not been easy for either Marco or Sydney, and their encounters are not always filled with delight and happiness. Yet there is such a joy in the knowledge that the other exists. Even if and when they are not together, just knowing the other one is out there somewhere, and what they mean to each other even through the years of living their lives separately, that purely unconditional love and support towards the other was tangible on each page of the tale radiating such positive vibes, I could not help but smile.
Of course, that joyfulness was also paired with light and fetching banter of two lifelong friends who knew each other way back when. The pop culture references had me cackling, so well embedded in the story and giving relatable references. I admire how well they knew each other, Marco and Sydney, the connection between them is undeniable, nearly visible, and definitely filled with passion, heat, and adoration. Yes, the heat level is in the other atmosphere, Marco and Sydney burn for each other, and every time they do come together in fervor, it not only shows the depth of their emotions but also the development of their feelings and relationship, thus being a valuable, inseparable part of the plot.
I loved Sydney's independence, smarts, and dedication. Her need to save the world even if just one person at the time is admirable. She is generous, kind, and loving person with feets on the ground, and smile in her eyes. She is one of those female leads who is extremely easy to relate to, care and cheer for.
I admired Marco's loyalty and honesty. The way he owned his shortcomings and talked about past misunderstandings without drama made me respect him even more. Marco and Sydney were so intuned with each other, they made a remarkable team when the need arises, he stood up for her, helped her, and cherished her, and had me sighing and swooning, and yes, smiling.
Visiting Hope Falls makes me always feel like coming to a home away from home, the warmth of the people is palpable, the welcome is always there. Marco and Sydney's story is filled with yearning, affection, ardor, joy, and hope, a perfect fit to the marvelous series!
~ Five Spoons
Published November 28th 2017 by Red Hot Reads Publishing
eBook edition $3,99
Growing up, Melanie constantly had her head in a book and was always working on short stories, manuscripts, plays and poetry. Shawna always loved romance in any form - movie, song or literary. If it was a love story with a happy ending, Shawna was all about it! They have joined forces to create a world where true love and happily ever after always has a sexy twist!
Private investigator Jack Moreno lives and breathes for the riskiest missions. But not even his elite training can prepare him for his latest operation: going undercover to rescue a child from a cult. In the process, he meets Sophia Hannah, a young, vulnerable nurse, who is days away from a forced marriage to the cult leader.
Sophia doesn’t know life beyond the invisible walls around her—or that her searing attraction to a handsome stranger is built on lies. Desperate to escape her fate as the next wife to be used and discarded, she turns to Jack. But as they chase freedom, they’ll confront an even more dangerous threat: the truth
The tension rises through the story as the terrifying details about the life and habits of the leader are revealed. To realize that you have lived a lie and that your life is in danger by the ones who were supposed to be protecting you is devastating perception to the members of the cult.
Sophia Hannah is a nurse at the clinic. Until she finds out she has been chosen as the next wife of the leader, she seems to be living a relatively happy life at the compound. She has her friends, a job she enjoys and gets fulfillment in, she loves to take walks and spent time with farm animals providing nourishment to people of the cult. She is romantic at heart, has dreamed about her wedding, and the man she is going to marry and the life they are going to live while watching her friends to find their mates. It isn't until the news of her upcoming nuptials, that there is a seed of displeasure planted in her mind.
Jack Moreno is PI who has to succeed with his missing child case to keep his small company going. He is a recovering drug addict, six months sober from his addiction to the prescription pain pills. The addiction cost him his loved ones, making him an ample victim to the cult, to be kidnapped by the second in command.
As you can see, this is a very different start to the story. I have read some books with cults before but the members were always fighting to get free or trying to escape even before things went wrong. Also, that the hero is a drug addict and struggling is something you don't often see, especially in category romance.
The storyline is captivating. I was mesmerized by the cult lifestyle and by the events occurring. I was not so convinced about the romance between Jack and Sophia, yes, they obviously cared about each other, but was it brought on by the circumstances or was it genuinely something that would last? Why was Jack entering into a serious relationship during his first year in recovery? Was Sophia leaning on him to get help, because she was afraid, or was the attraction true base for a long-lasting relationship? Did Jack ever get back with his family and friends? There were several points brought up by the story that I didn't get answers to or wanted more convincing in some cases, and that' why my scoring is lower. I had to actually sit on this review and think about it because, at the end of the book that held my interest, kept me captivated, and was well written with a natural flow, I felt I needed it to settle down a bit before I could say what I thought and why.
A great setup and storyline, but might have needed a longer format to play out all the components in a thoroughly satisfying manner. Check out for yourself and let me know what you think
~ Three Spoons with a teaspoon on the side
EBook edition $4,49
Karen Whiddon spun fanciful tales for her younger brothers as early as the age of eleven. Growing up in the Catskill Mountains of New York, then the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, she found enough magic in the rugged peaks to keep her imagination fueled for years.
Now making her home in North Texas, she shares her life with her hero-like husband and three doting dogs. She writes paranormal tales for Harlequin Nocturne including the popular Pack series and romantic suspense stories for Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
She's also written Fae novels for Lovespell and a long time ago, she wrote five Precious Gem Romances for Kensington publishing. These she now owns again and has put them up for sale on Amazon.com among other places