Review of “Lovestruck Two Step: Rhythm & Romance Book 4” – Mariposa Cruz

~~ Rhythm & Romance Book 1-3 ~~

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(Rhythm & Romance Book 4)

Print Length: 63 pages

With her marriage and dance studio wiped out by divorce, Becca Collins reluctantly agrees to teach Two Step lessons at a country bar. Carson Quill isn’t thrilled about spending his Saturday nights playing guitar in a local dive, but a certain dance instructor with long legs and dark curls caught his eye. Does love have a shot in a bar called Last Chance?

 

~~ Short Excerpt ~~

 

“You don’t have to do this,” Becca said quietly as he led her to the center of the dance floor.

“Dance with the most beautiful woman in the room? Of course I do,” Carson replied, taking her in his arms.

He paused for a beat, listening to the vocals, before starting to dance. Becca heard the playful undercurrent of the keyboard while Eleanor and Greer sang in harmony that they weren’t going home alone tonight. Somehow, Carson had mastered the quick, quick, slow steps integral to Two Step just from watching her teach it. He moved easily with the rhythm of the music, smoothly leading her into a turn without rushing the move.

“You’re good,” she exclaimed.

“I always pay attention in class with the right teacher,” Carson replied. He smiled at her, and the rest of the world disappeared. His touch was subtle, yet firm, as he led her in perfect time with the music. No words were needed. Too soon, the song drew to a close, and with his arm circled around her waist, Carson escorted her to her table. With a light kiss on the lips, he thanked her for the dance, then turned and walked back to the stage.

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

 

Life is all about curveballs. In Lovestruck Two Step, we witness two people who have faced their own bumps in the road but still push forward.

Becca lost her business, her husband to divorce, a job, and (for a time) she lost herself to depression, self-doubt, and lack of purpose in the world.

Carson, divorced dad, was trying to maintain a relationship with a teenage daughter who seemed to be pulling away in favor of her new step-dad.

Both of these characters were going through trying times, obstacles real life people face daily. These plausible scenarios are what will connect readers to Lovestruck Two Step.

People going through tough times like to see hope during their darkest moments. Readers will find that here in Lovestruck Two Step.

This story for me isn’t just about love and romance. It’s also about getting knocked down and finding the strength to get back up and try again.

Becca did dance again. She did teach dance again. Carson kept trying to connect with his daughter and his efforts paid off.

**This was a sweet romance with a HEA.**

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

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Mariposa Cruz balances writing with working as a fulltime corporate paralegal. For her Mariposa Musings blog she has interviewed a variety of real life characters from romance authors to psychics. She works, writes and dances Salsa in Reno, Nevada.

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Review of “Cowboys, Cattle, and Cutthroats” – Gini Rifkin

Ochessa is heartbroken when she finds her brother fatally wounded. His dying words are about a childhood puzzle box, missing legal documents, and a drifter named Nicodemus Breedlove. Ochessa vows to find Will’s murderer—and the man Will described.

No stranger to trouble, Nic’s only concerns are his Stetson, his mule Sadie, and a long awaited chance at retribution. After gaining Ochessa’s trust, and taking the job she offers, life gets more complicated. 

Back on the ranch in Colorado, Ochessa works as hard as any man. Then Nick tempts her into playing even harder as a woman—both are consumed by their growing love for one another. 

Weathering a stampede, a gully washer, and a pack of outlaws, they locate the killer. As Nic’s quest for justice, and Ochessa’s vendetta for Will play out, bullets fly…

Not everybody’s gonna make it out alive.

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Naked to the waist, and bent over the horse trough, his sculpted muscles standing out in sharp relief, Nic scooped handfuls of water over his head. A growl escaped him as he straightened to his full height, and slicked back the dripping mane of dark hair. Arms still raised, he met her gaze, as the excess water trickled happily across his bare chest.

Involuntarily she sucked in a deep breath. The distance between them felt charged with lightning, thunder pounding in her brain, leaving the rest of the world dead silent.

A look of surprise flickered across Nic’s face. His muscles flexed and bulged as he lowered his arms to his sides.

“Good evening, boss.” He emphasized the last word as if were a personal joke.

She swallowed hard, and fought to find her voice. “Time’s a wasting, Breedlove. Why are you still hanging around the ranch? Shouldn’t you be out earning your keep?”

“Well, we all have our own way of doing things, and my way is usually different from the norm.”

“Why doesn’t that surprise me?”

Retrieving his hat, he carefully dislodged a thistle from the battered brim then settled the coveted headgear upon his head. “What would surprise you, Ochessa?” He studied her with an expression that sizzled and danced through her like water on a hot griddle.

“Not seeing you every time I turn around would be a good start.”

“You’re not very good at lying.”

She nudged a dried up cow pie with the toe of her boot. “Maybe not. But I am good at recognizing a load of bull when it comes my way.”

He gave a deep chuckle, and reached for the shirt dangling from the water pump. “Sounds like you’ve been on both ends of the shovel.”

“No more than anyone else, I guess.”

He stood his ground, casually shucking into the article of clothing, his movements so sure, no wasted motion, no hesitation. Did he live his life the same? Taking what he wanted when and where he found it? She imagined him wanting her, taking her, and as his gaze slid down the front of her body, memories of their stolen passion again flared hot in the pit of her stomach.

His eyes brightened as if the same thoughts held him transfixed. Then his expression hardened, and the gleam in his eyes turned to flint. “I should have some information for you soon. I’ll be out of your way come morning.”

The fluttering in her belly turned to a panic. His leaving disturbed her more than running into him at every turn. Yet, it was what she wanted, wasn’t it? Confusion had her at a loss as to how to respond or how to proceed. It felt as if she’d captured a wild creature, and now before ever knowing what made him so intriguing, so unique, she had to set him free.

His mouth softened into a mocking smile. “I’ll be back in a day or two. I’m only going to Denver.”

Apparently her face was an open book, and now she felt the fool. “Don’t hurry on my account. I was only worried Lucky might miss you.”

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

 

When you look back on the history of the Old West, you’ll see more men recognized than women. However, women did have a great impact on this time period much like they do today.

No matter the era, women are strong, fierce, warriors who can hold their own in a fight. In Cowboys, Cattle, and Cutthroats, Gini brought us Orchessa Starr. She had more skill with a firearm than a rolling pin. She ran a ranch and was well respected for her leadership. She was strongly independent, brave, and fiercely loyal to all those around her. She’s the type of character, a woman, I’d loved see portrayed more in books.

Nic, the drifter, was your typical male character you’ll see in many stories. He was adventurous, charming, flirtatious, and brave.

They might’ve had their differences, at first, but they came together to make one dynamic team.

Gun battles, outlaws, mystery, death, deception, romance, and love…. Cowboys, Cattle, and Cutthroats was a very well written Old West story.

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely.

 

Heart Rating System

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

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Where the past and the present meet adventure and romance:

Gini Rifkin’s characters are courageous and passionate, and when they meet sparks fly and danger often threatens. Her settings include the American West, Medieval England, Victorian England, and contemporary fantasy. When not reading or writing, she has the privilege of caring for a menagerie of abandoned animals including ducks, geese, goats, rabbits, donkeys, and cats. Her writing keeps her hungry to learn new things, and she considers family and friends her most treasured of gifts.

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Authors: Get Inspired with January’s Sexy Selections!

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Keanu Reeves

 

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Review of “Gaelan’s War” – Thaddeus McGrath

Book one of the Gaelan Kelly Trilogy

WHEN GAELAN KELLY RETURNS FROM WAR, physically and emotionally scarred, he tries to piece a normal life back together. But the horrors of war couldn’t prepare him for the terror he discovers, thrust into a world he never knew existed. Dealing with the trauma of combat and plagued by nightmares of a monster that shouldn’t exist, Gaelan finds himself embroiled in a battle to protect humanity even as he struggles to preserve his own. 

He fought a war of men. Now he fights a war for mankind. But Gaelan’s greatest war will be within.

 

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

Hunters love the thrill of the chase but what if the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted. In the introduction, a deer hunter finds himself in this very predicament. He suddenly understands the fear animals face in the wild and the pain of dying that follows. As I read the gory scene in “Hunting Grounds,” I knew this book was going to be highly descriptive in future encounters with various monsters. As a reader, I love when an author holds nothing back. In Gaelan’s War, Thaddeus McGrath pulled no punches in delivering many gruesome, finely detailed battle scenes.

Gaelan, a Marine, faced many horrors on the battlefield and more when he retuned home. In the Middle East, he watched many comrades die in battle. At home, he witnessed his parents savagely killed by a beast. At the time, he had no idea it was a werewolf or that he was about to become one. With the assistance of Father Denny and Master Oonishi, he had a second chance at life. Instead of dying, he trained to control his beast and fight the monsters feasting on mortals.

Every battle scene was exceptionally written. Gaelan’s most memorable supernatural fight scenes involved him battling a vampire, cobalus, and a pack of wolves.

Gaelan was no ordinary werewolf. He wasn’t a complete monster. He can do something extraordinary…. He can control the beast instead of the beast controlling him. 

No one can truly understand why and how Gaelan is different than other werewolves. Maybe he carried over some of the traits he had as a mortal man: strength, honor, loyalty, and compassion. He was a respected soldier; a man his fellow soldiers could rely on during battle. As a werewolf, nothing’s changed. He’s still a fierce warrior. 

I recommend anyone who loves supernatural/horror stories to read Gaelan’s War.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Thaddeus McGrath is a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter/attack pilot, a veteran of the War on Terror and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  He has loved writing since he was a boy. His debut novel, Gaelan’s War, was inspired by a desire to continue the discussion about PTSD, and a love of all things supernatural.  In his world, werewolves aren’t big dogs and vampires definitely don’t sparkle! He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, kids, and oversized dogs.

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Author Showcase – G.E. Stills (Child of the Stars)

For the 18+ reader: Strong language and descriptive sex scenes.

Elvie is not only cautious but she’s a workaholic. Winning an all expenses paid Mexican getaway is just the type of vacation she needs to get away from work and escape reality. She craves whimsical romance and adventure. What she gets is far more than she ever imagined in her wildest fantasies. Once on the island, Elvie meets Thad who is both handsome and exotic. She feels an instant attraction to him not realizing just how much her life changed the second she encountered him. Romance takes on an entirely new meaning for Elvie when she becomes intimate not only with Thad, but his best friend, Giann. This is completely outside her normal existence, but at the end of the week, she learns her adventure is just beginning. Now she is flitting among the stars, living a new life, and destined for a new world. 

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For a time she sat at the table sipping her coffee. Elvie reached up and fingered the diamond settings of her collar and smiled while her thoughts drifted over all that had taken place in such a brief time. Just a few days earlier she had been getting ready for a sad return to the reality of her real estate job and never seeing Thad again. Now she was married to two fantastic men who loved and cherished her. She was onboard a for real spaceship, not the ones from her childhood fantasies, and now she was fliting among the stars. On the way back to their rooms she stopped and activated one of the view screens located in the corridor.

Elvie gazed out at the blackness of space and the millions of pinpoints of light that permeated it. “I’ve really done this,” she whispered to herself. “I’ve consented to leaving Earth to be with these wonderful men. Just as my tattoo says, I’ve truly become a child of the stars. And compared to their age, I really am a child. Leaving Earth to live among the stars isn’t the only thing I’ve consented to. I’ve agreed to be their baby factory.”

Gentle fingertips glided across one of the dimple dermal piercings on her back making her aware she was no longer alone. Moments later Thad’s chin rested on her shoulder. “Good morning, my precious gift,” he said. He embraced her, and his hands moved down along her curves. He laced his fingers together just below her navel and rested them on her lower stomach. “Are you okay?” he asked and brushed his lips to her shoulder.

Her grip around her mug tightened and shivers raced along her spine. “I feel fantastic.”

“Sore?”

“Not anymore. I used some of that miracle paste Giann gave me.”

“No regrets?”

“None. Just feeling a little melancholy about leaving my home forever, but being with the two of you is the only thing that matters to me now.”

“You mean everything to us as well, precious.”

“It’s strange, we’ve only known each other for a few days and yet being separated from either of you has become unthinkable. I’ve come to think of you as my men.”

“That is part of the bonding process we are going through. We are joining in mind just as much as we were physically joined last night. Giann and I, think of you as our woman as well. Speaking of, I see our woman didn’t conceive last night.”

“It will probably take time to get the birth control medicine out of my system.” She laughed. “With the amount of semen you and Giann put in me, I feel certain I’ll get knocked up soon.”

“Good morning,” Giann said in his baritone voice. He pinched her chin between his fingers and turned her head to kiss him. His lips were soft and his face scratchy with a morning growth of beard. Together they were arousing. Everything either of these men do is arousing.

“I’m going to get some coffee,” Giann said. “Do you need some more?” he asked her.

She rested her head back against Thad’s chest while he continued to caress her, stoking the embers inside her again. “Yes please,” she said.

“I’ll bring you a cup as well, Thad,” Giann said and strode away.

When he returned, the trio stood gazing at the display and taking sips. “Where’s Earth now?” she asked.

Giann reached out and twisted a knob located below the screen. The view magnified and narrowed to a smaller section of space. He punched in numbers on a keypad located next to the knob. One of the tiny points of light began to pulse slowly.

“Earth’s sun is hard to see and Earth itself is too small to locate, but that pulsing star is Earth’s sun.”

Elvie gazed at the tiny point of flashing light among the vast number of other points and sighed.

“How about we begin your first flying lesson?” Thad asked to pull her away from her melancholy thoughts.

 

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Normally zany and often naughty talking, G. E. has a serious and compassionate side if you can find it. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He is terrified of heights so hasn’t braved the tramway ride in his home town. He lives in the southwest while longing to live by the sea. He often says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

He heeds the call of the many characters that pop into his mind and demand to have their stories put in print. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author his stories cover many genres including contemporary romance, paranormal romance and science fiction. His stories are both erotic and non-erotic in nature. G.E. is the leader of a local writers group and in addition hosts a meeting of his own locally on fiction writing bi-monthly.

G.E. Stills loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at any of these sites.

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