Monthly Archives: January 2021

Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) by Beth Barany (Novella Review)

Sarah Redman, a bank project manager up to her neck with work, wants some adventure in her life. A career opportunity in Paris seems like a dream come true, but once she gets there nothing goes as planned. The job interview she thought she wanted falls through and her dreams about a crying dragon trouble her. To top it off, she gets lost in the tunnels of Paris with a man who attracts her more than she wants to admit.

Trainer extraordinaire, Josh Kleine, needs to pull off a successful presentation at the Paris Transportation Conference to land more clients and save his company. But strange events in the tunnels under Paris drive him to distraction and into a strange, profound sadness. In search of answers under the city, he gets trapped below ground with a gorgeous woman who he desires like none before. But will the sadness tear him apart before he can convince himself and her that love does not only exist in fairy tales?

Together they may hold the key to the strange disasters striking the City of Lights. Can Sarah unravel the secrets of the city and of her heart in time to save them all?

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

I love mythical creatures and folklore. Dragons are such imposing and awe-inspiring creatures. You think of them as fierce beasts and not ones that are weighed down by sorrow. Parisian Amour is a magical short read that shines a light on a love so strong time has no meaning. A love that defies logic.

Josh and Sarah were fated to meet. They shared a spark that has the potential to be an everlasting love.

They may not live HEA, but they sure are HFN – which I thought was a perfect ending.

On a side note: With chestnuts being a prominent word in the story, Beth created an earworm. 😀

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤  

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.

All the Books in the Touchstone Series:
All books are stand-alone, yet are connected.

Touchstone of Love (A Time Travel Romance) (Touchstone, #1)
A Christmas Fling (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #2)
Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #3)
A Labyrinth of Love and Roses (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #4)
A Cupcake Christmas (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #5)

Buy All Five At Once!

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The Stud Next Door by Kendall Ryan (Book Showcase)

A sexy, single dad standalone romance coming soon from New York Times bestselling author Kendall Ryan.

Life threw me a curveball. An adorable eight-pound, four-ounce curveball with her mother’s eyes and my dark hair. I’d like to think my single-dad game is strong, but honestly? I’ve been struggling a little.

When a beautiful young woman moves in next door and offers to give me a hand, I jump at the chance to hire her as a nanny. Jessa is amazing with my daughter. She’s also patient, kind, and way too pretty.

The number one rule of hiring a nanny? Don’t bed the nanny.

It’s a rule I intend to keep.

But as the days pass, I begin to realize how much my life is missing. Companionship. Romance. Intimacy. When I discover my heart has space for one more female, it’s a lost cause, another curveball. The hot-as-hell nanny is leaving soon for a mission trip to Central America. No sense in letting myself fantasize about Jessa being a permanent part of my life.

The closer we get, the more difficult it becomes to keep my feelings in check, because my heart won’t listen. And neither will my libido.

Well, you know what they say. Rules are meant to be broken . . .

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(partial chapter) 

Connor

Sunlight pours onto the front porch of the three-bedroom home I bought several months ago. I gave up my apartment in the city for a suburban zip code, a lawn I don’t have time to mow, and nosy neighbors who want to know why my baby’s mom isn’t in the picture.

It’s . . . a lot.

But at this moment, lawn mowers and property taxes are the least of my concerns.

The stress I’ve been under for the last few months, ever since before my daughter was born, has been beaten into temporary submission by warm sunshine, good company, and the cold beer in my hand. Anxiety still lurks just below the surface, in the tension in my shoulders, in the dark thoughts that linger, but for now at least, I’m relatively at ease. Summer has finally come to Chicago, and I’m parked in a lawn chair on my front porch with three of my best friends.

“Just like old times. Right, man?” Hayes leans back in his chair, kicking his feet up onto the brick ledge. He’s the easygoing one, always able to put people at ease.

I used to be that way. Friendly. Fun-loving. Always down for a good time. Now it’s a mixed bag. The stress of becoming a single father has done a number on me, and I’m still fighting for breath on what feels like a sinking ship at times.

“Something like that,” I murmur, lifting the bottle to my lips for a sip. The beer goes down with a bite, hoppy and full-bodied.

To my left, Wolfie grunts his approval. In contrast to Hayes, Wolfie is a bit of a handful. Complicated, but loyal. Unpredictably moody, yet reliable. Although his foul moods have improved drastically since he started dating my younger sister—a story that I have no intention of getting into right now.

“Thanks for the beer, man,” I say, raising my beverage in Caleb’s direction.

“Fuck yeah. Anytime,” he says before downing what I can only assume is half of his beer and releasing an enormous belch.

Caleb is a bit of a wild child. I keep waiting for the guy to grow up, but so far, that hasn’t happened. He’s still the same shamelessly immature guy I met in college, and by all indications, that’s not changing anytime soon.

“Chill, man,” Hayes whispers to Caleb, nodding in my direction. “Boys’ night isn’t just for the boys anymore.”

Ah. That’s my cue to acknowledge the tiny little cherub resting in my arms. Marley, my baby girl, who has my dark hair and my ex’s blue eyes and creamy skin.

“Oh, come on. She’s dead asleep.” Caleb leans forward in his chair. “Hey, Marley. Maaarley. Marzipan!”

My two-month-old daughter doesn’t wake, nestled peacefully against my chest, her plump little fist clutching my T-shirt.

We all take a moment to watch the rise and fall of her back, the cutest little poop-and-puke machine you ever did see. Even when she’s pooping and puking, she’s the most beautiful thing in the world, and you can fight me on that. I’ll die on that hill.

“How’s she been?” Wolfie asks with a deep line etched between his brows, tipping his chin toward the sleeping baby.

I smile. I’ve missed my old roommate’s perpetual frown.

Paternity leave has been . . . interesting. A bit isolating, but I’m starting to realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Good. She’s good.” It isn’t a lie. Marley is a good baby, usually low maintenance with only the occasional meltdown. Kind of like her dad.

“How about you?” Hayes frowns as he studies me.

Damn, I must look as exhausted as I feel.

“I’m alive.” I chuckle, but the humor in my voice sounds forced. That’s a new one for me.

“You’ll feel better once you’re back.” Caleb nods sagely, as if my returning to work will somehow restore the balance of the universe.

If I come back,” I say to remind them, only half joking.

My partners graciously gave me six weeks of paid paternity leave, with a little leeway in the budget to sneak in another week or two.

Together, the guys and I own a sex toy business named Frisky Business, both an ecofriendly line of toys that we manufacture, as well as a retail store in the heart of Chicago. Despite the shop being a second home to me for years, I haven’t set foot in the place in six weeks, and part of me can’t picture myself going back. At least, not until I find someone I trust to take care of the most important person in my life, Marley.

“What about the day cares you were researching?” Wolfie asks, and I can see him crunching the numbers in his head.

I’m well aware that Frisky Business can’t afford to keep me on paternity leave for much longer. It’s already been two months.

I scowl. “No luck. Did you know there’s a government website where you can look up safety violations and infractions of any licensed day care? It’s terrifying,” I say with a shudder that’s all too real. “All the day cares within a five-mile radius have too many accident reports to even count.”

“Shit, seriously? Well, what about Beth?” Hayes asks.

Ah, yes. Beth. Part-time mother of my child, full-time med-school student alongside her med-school-student boyfriend.

They certainly don’t have the time to care for a child 24/7. We share joint custody, but a lot has been falling on me lately, not that I’m complaining. I love spending time with Marley, and I want Beth to be able to build her career. She’s a good mom, juggling school, a new relationship, and Marley with relative ease.

“When she finishes her residency next year, she’ll have more time to care for Marley. For now, she and Brett have her two days of the week. Beth wants more, but she can’t quite swing it right now.”

The guys nod, trying to understand this new life I’ve found myself living.

One day at a time . . .

Let’s rewind. Thirteen months ago, I was happily single, living in the city without a care in the world. The only unknown in my life was the familiar and somewhat amusing panic of waking up next to a woman whose name I couldn’t remember. Back then, I was going on a minimum of three dates per week, some of which ended with a satisfying hookup with whichever lucky lady could keep up with me.

My love-for-life dial was cranked up to 100 and locked into place with superglue. Nothing was gonna slow me down.

Of course, all that changed with a phone call from my former friend-with-benefits. Beth was busy becoming a doctor, and neither of us had time for a relationship. But Netflix and chilling became our thing for a couple of months last year, until those two little pink lines changed everything. Beth was carrying my baby, despite the precautions we’d taken.

But even with the massive overhaul of my social life, life is better with Marley, on all counts. She’s given me purpose, a word I thought was only reserved for the kind of people who go on mission trips to Guatemala twice a year.

Nowadays, I’m so much more than just Connor Blake, the bachelor. More than co-owner of Chicago’s number one sex-toy shop.

I’m a dad.

Read the ENTIRE first chapter ———-> Kendall Ryan’s Website

 

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A Christmas Fling: A Christmas Elf Romance by Beth Barany (Novella Review)

What if falling in love put the life you cherished in jeopardy?

Dahlia, a Santa’s Elf, has 21 days left before Christmas to create the best toy in the world without using magic or revealing her true identity.

tuck on how to complete the prototype, and working as a temp in San Francisco’s financial district with no time for love, will her Christmas fling get her unstuck, or will she turn her back on her beloved career for her heart?

Liam, an up-and-coming financial analyst, swore off women after getting dumped by the love of his life.

He just found out his ex is going to the company Christmas party with his rival Michael Hendricks.

Up for promotion against Hendricks, Liam has to win the favor of his boss.

His best bet is to invite the vivacious secretary Dahlia to the party.

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)


A Christmas Fling was a unique, adorable novella. In it, an elf goes to the Human world for vacation and to work on her toy. She had no plans to fall in love. Her toy, winning the toy competition, was her everything. That is until Liam came into her life. 

Liam was all work and no play until a woman, Dahlia, literally ran into him and the dog he was watching for a friend. They had a deal to keep things light, but you know how those go — pesky feelings always seem to pop up. 

The unordinary romance character (the elf) made this novella highly enjoyable. I do love plots that break away from the norm, and this plot was certainly not your typical one. The author should consider pitching it to the Hallmark channel. I bet they’d jump at the chance to bring it to life. 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤  

 

Kindle Purchase Link

 

 

Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.

All the Books in the Touchstone Series:
All books are stand-alone, yet are connected.

Touchstone of Love (A Time Travel Romance) (Touchstone, #1)
A Christmas Fling (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #2)
Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #3)
A Labyrinth of Love and Roses (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #4)
A Cupcake Christmas (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #5)

Buy All Five At Once!

 

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The Extravagant Series by Lauren Blakely (Author Showcase)

(The Extravagant Book 1)
A Standalone in The Extravagant Series
 
A delicious new romance novel featuring a strong, protective bodyguard and the beautiful, brilliant hotel heiress he protects…

I shouldn’t want my bodyguard the way I do. His job is to protect me. It’s not to fulfill all my nighttime wishes. And so I resist him, fighting the enticing pull of the powerful man who watches over me. Until the night we combust in my penthouse suite. It won’t happen again, we say the next day.

Besides, my mission is singular — pull off the event of a lifetime — a one-night only concert with one of the world’s biggest rock stars.

A man my bodyguard happens to know. And a good bodyguard knows all sorts of things about his client. Turns out he knows my secret wishes, and he wants to make them come true. Including a VIP engagement so I can experience both men at the same time…

I want to say yes, but what if I fall even more in love with the man whose mission is to keep me safe?
 

 
 
 
(The Extravagant Book 2)
A Standalone in The Extravagant Series
 
A sexy enemies-to-lovers standalone, rich with masquerades, billionaires and forbidden trysts!


When the invitation arrived, it detailed the rules of the masquerade–no names, no identities.

I set one more–find a most wicked man for one night, the kind who’ll bring me deliciously naughty pleasure.

But as the clock ticks to midnight, he finds me, whisks me away to a secret alcove, and delivers all that dirty bliss and then some, leaving me craving more. We make arrangements for another secret rendezvous. 

Only fate has other plans, since I run into him the next morning. Turns out the stranger at the ball is the billionaire owner of the hotel across the Strip from mine.

My rival. My enemy.

The last thing I’ll do is let the brilliant, mercurial man who wants a piece of my business into my bed again.

But when he throws down a daring, risqué bet. I have to decide if I want to raise the stakes.

Or walk away…
 
ONE EXQUISITE TOUCH  is a wickedly racy, high-stakes love story between a man and a woman. It also features several sexy MFM love scenes. 

 

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Touchstone of Love (A Time Travel Romance) by Beth Barany (Novella Review)

 

***A short novel. This is a novella of approximately 20,000 words.***

From present day modernity to medieval France.

When a thunderstorm transports software expert Rose Waldman to thirteenth century France, she meets hunky stonemason Julien, who is secretly creating a gargoyle in defiance of his master mason. Can independent gadget loving Rose trust her life and heart to Julien, and can she really never go home again?

Kindle Purchase Link

Click here to add this book to your reading list on Goodreads.

 

 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)

 

Time travel stories are fascinating because an author can take you to virtually any date and place in history. Rose managed to teleport to 13th century Scotland where a very muscular man found her buck-naked in a field.

Even though Julien admired her body, he was respectful toward her, probably because he was betrothed to another.

When Rose was lucid, she made advances at him several times despite his commitment to another. I wasn’t a fan of this, but it all worked out in the end. True love conquered marriage by obligation.

I found it comical and realistic how she failed so epically to fit into the new time period. I was mildly shocked she didn’t brainstorm or have meltdowns on how to get back home. I’m not sure if I’d been as resilient as Rose. I’d probably scream or hyperventilate before I succumbed to the realization this was my life now.

After all the drama, this novella ended as I predicted.
It was a sweet ending to a not so sweet start.

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score:  

 

Kindle Purchase Link

Click here to add this book to your reading list on Goodreads.

 

 

 

Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance and adventure to transport readers to new worlds where anything is possible.

All the Books in the Touchstone Series:
All books are stand-alone, yet are connected.

Touchstone of Love (A Time Travel Romance) (Touchstone, #1)
A Christmas Fling (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #2)
Parisian Amour (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #3)
A Labyrinth of Love and Roses (A Fairy Tale Romance) (Touchstone, #4)
A Cupcake Christmas (A Christmas Elf Romance) (Touchstone, #5)

Buy All Five At Once!

 

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