Tag Archives: contemporary

Review of “Letting Go” – Cassandra Riley

Publisher: Mascot Books; 1 edition (August 18, 2016)

 

Jasmine Parks is a strong, no-fuss woman from the wrong side of the tracks. Benson Walsh is a fraternity brother who was raised in a life of privilege. After a chance encounter on the campus of William and Mary, their worlds collide as they start on a path that will forever change their destiny. When forces work to tear them apart, will their love be enough to help them let go of their pasts so that they can build a future?

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

For those who’ve went to college or are attending it now, you know those years are about discovering yourself, pursing your dream job or figuring out what your career should be, and sometimes stumbling upon the love of your life.

For Jasmine and Benson, they are in their senior year of college and also building a life together. They might not have been each other’s firsts but I have the feeling they’ll be each other’s lasts. In the short months they have been together, each has shown their true feelings, character, and all I see is two sensational, loving, giving people who deserve each other. Their backgrounds, upbringings might not be similar (poor woman, rich man) but their souls are undeniably alike…… pure and good.

And even though Tyler (psycho/jealous guy) and Deborah (Benson’s mom) tried to tear them apart, nothing was too difficult to overcome as long as they had one another. (FYI: Still surprised no one saw the warning signs Tyler was a few apples short of a full basket. He hid his evilness rather well but the “best” psychos usually do.) 

One last thing, Cassandra Riley wrote plenty of sweet and steamy love scenes. Various locations, some full of heat, some on the gentler side but all portrayed their love beautifully. However, the scene that stood out for me was the one where Benson wanted to sleep with Jasmine. No sex — just wanted to sleep next to her and wake up with her. That’s love, folks, and their story is just beginning.

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Hello, my pen name is Cassandra Riley. My real name is Renee. I live in Yorktown Virginia with my husband and two children. I have been a teacher for 14 years. Two years ago I sat down and wrote what was to become my Coastal Love Trilogy. I have since completed two novellas and I am working on two more novels. Two of my works can be found on Kindle, Holding On (book 2) and Reflections (not really a romance).

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Author Showcase – Connie Chappell (Wild Raspberries) 📕

When Callie MacCallum sews her first quilt after the death of her lover Jack Sebring, she doesn’t realize she’ll be drawn into a Sebring family battle between wife and daughter-in-law. She simply wants to fulfill her promise to Jack to visit their cabin in the West Virginia mountains, where their long love affair was safely hidden. Instead, her emotionally reminiscent trip becomes crowded with the two Sebring women, a grief counselor, and the massive role Callie assumes. She must speak for Jack in order to protect his four-year old grandson Chad from his stubbornly manipulative and blame-passing grandmother and his recently widowed and power-usurping mother. Callie understands both women grieve the loss of Chad’s father. He died when a raging storm split the tree that crushed him. Grief isn’t the only common thread running between the four women. One by one, their secrets are revealed on the West Virginia mountaintop.

 

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~~ A scene from Wild Raspberries ~~

 

Out in the street, ten-year old Carson Tillman from next door rode his bike in circles, watching the proceedings.

            After loading Arnett’s things, Lizbeth slammed the cargo door. She turned to Beebe. “We’re ready,” she said.

            Beebe made an arm gesture that gathered Arnett, Lizbeth, and Callie into a line at the foot of the drive. Carson’s bike jumped the curb. He ground it to a stop nearby. The nosy boy might have thought the ladies were posing for a send-off photograph.

            A breeze kicked up Beebe’s crop of straw-colored hair so that it stood out from her head like a crayon drawing of the sun. She raised her right hand into oath-taking position, then used several upward gestures with her left to prompt the others to hoist their hands as well. Beebe recited a pledge, breaking it into five chunks, which the others repeated in unison.

            “I hereby swear an oath to honesty. From this point forward, I promise to provide fully factual information and will express my feelings earnestly and without reservation.”

            As all the hands dropped, Carson, a respectfully polite tattletale, his broad mouth gleaming with dental hardware, announced, “Miss Arnett had her fingers crossed.”

            Lizbeth’s mouth flew open. Her gaze jumped off the boy and landed on Arnett. “How could you?”

            In a teacher-to-student tone, Beebe said, “Show me your hands.” Arnett complied. “Do you swear to this honesty pledge?”

            “Yes, I swear.” Arnett glared at Carson. “Are you satisfied?”

            He shrugged and pedaled away.

  

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Chappell does a wondrous job allowing her words to speak for her characters, immersing the reader in scenes where dialogue would have typically done the trick.” ~~Maxy Awards

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Author Showcase – Cher Lane (Even Love)

For Mackenzie Barton Taylor, known to the world simply as Kiz, modeling is beginning to lose its luster. She keeps thinking about her home in Texas, the baby she left behind, the man she loved and married. No other man has ever touched her heart the way he did. It is time to go back. Therefore, when her model agency opens a branch in Dallas, Texas, she jumps at the opportunity to run it.

But can a girl who abandoned all for a star-studded career in the big city go home to the small town she was raised in and reclaim the man she loves and the baby she abandoned, now fully grown? Can she convince them that she is sorry, that she’ll give up her life as a supermodel to be with them? As her husband has divorce papers prepared, Mackenzie fights to save what was once hers.

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“I hate this stinky room. I hate this disgusting food. And I hate this ugly green hospital gown with no back in it,” Mackenzie Barton Taylor whined, a disgusted look on her perfect, young face.
 
Margaret Barton pulled her gaze away from the small bundle in her arms long enough to sympathize with her spoiled daughter. “Don’t worry, honey, I’ll get you out of here soon. In the meantime, eat your lunch. You need the strength.” Margaret eyed the food on her daughter’s tray and caught herself just in time from wrinkling her nose. She wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Mashed green beans and shredded turkey it looked like. Double yuck!
 
“I can’t eat that,” Mackenzie pouted. “Have you seen my body? My god, Mama, I’m fat! What am I going to do? The agency will never want me now,” she wailed, lying her head back on the pillow, she squeezed her eyes shut, hoping her figure would magically morph into her ‘before baby’ silhouette.
 
“You can and you will,” her mother said firmly. “I ordered a special, low fat diet for you. Within six weeks you’ll have your old figure back.” The baby cooed in Margaret’s arms. “Yes, that’s right,” she cooed back.
 
Mackenzie rolled her eyes at her mother’s obvious admiration for the infant. The baby was her infant, her daughter. A momentary feeling of jealousy struck her to the core. “She doesn’t know what you’re saying,” she scoffed.
 
“Yes her does,” Margaret insisted, making kissy noises with her  mouth as she gazed adoringly at the baby. Her first grandchild. Oh, my, that made her a grandma now. Not that she looked it. Margaret took impeccable care of her own self and had taught her daughter to do the same, just as she’d teach this little one in her arms. The women were beautiful. Not that the Barton men noticed, so the women had to keep telling themselves. “You’re beautiful, yes you are,” she crooned to the infant.
 
“Mama, let me hold my baby,” Mackenzie demanded. That got her mother’s attention. She smirked in satisfaction at Margaret’s expression of disbelief.
 
“I thought we agreed that it’d be best if you didn’t, honey,” Margaret protested.
 
“Why? Because I might change my mind and decide to stay?” Mackenzie asked belligerently. “Don’t worry, Mama, that won’t happen. I’m not going to be one of those young yay-hoo mother’s, pushing the stroller down the street and eating an ice cream cone, butt cheeks hanging out of too short short-shorts. Yes, I’ve seen ‘um,” she assured her mother, at her shocked expression. “You try to keep me away from that side of town, but I’ve driven through it. Me and Katina did one day. We wondered what happened to the girls who got pregnant and dropped out of school. Slumville, that’s where they go.”
 
“Katina and I,” Margaret corrected. “Well, good, then you understand why Josh must never know about this baby,” she declared triumphantly. “He might insist on keeping you here. The boy can’t support himself, let alone you and a child. You’d be just like those yay-hoo girls.”
 
“No, I wouldn’t,” Mackenzie protested. “You and Daddy would take care of us. Wouldn’t you?” She loved taunting her mother and making her re-avow her maternal love.
 
“Mackenzie,” her mother said in a threatening tone. “Behave.”
 
“Ow! Mama,” Mackenzie complained, trying to shift to a more comfortable position in the bed. “Why did you let this happen to me? Huh?”
 
“Don’t put the blame on me, missy. I’m not the one who went out her window at night to go fuck that no good Josh Taylor,” Margaret admonished.
 
“Mama, how can you say that word?” Mackenzie asked, astonished. “You’d wash my mouth out with soap if I said it.” “Yes I would,” Margaret agreed, “so don’t even think about repeating it.”
 
“Don’t worry, Mama, it’ll be a long time before I can fuck anybody again,” she groaned, turning over on her side. “I’m not even sure I’ll want to, after going through this.”
 
“Mackenzie,” Margaret warned, giving her daughter the evil eye.
 
“Fuck, fuck, fuck, Mama. Now go ahead, wash my mouth out with soap. It’ll take my mind off the pain in my ass,” Mackenzie taunted.
 
“Mackenzie Page Barton,” Margaret threatened, “just wait until I tell your Father.”
 
“Taylor, Mama. You forgot Taylor. I’m Mackenzie Page Barton Taylor now and I’m not afraid of Daddy. He’s not around enough for you to tell him anything,” she scoffed. “Now hand me my baby.”
 

 

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Cher Lane lives in Texas with her husband, four cats and a dog. She has three sons and one daughter, two step daughters, 15 grandchildren, and five step grandchildren. When she’s not writing, she enjoys working out, going for walks, swimming, sewing and cooking.
 

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Review of “Proper Goodbye” – Connie Chappell

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Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and, eventually, draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father, Cliff.

Months earlier, Cliff stood back from that sparsely attended funeral, unaware the woman’s passing made him a widower. Cliff, devoted caretaker of the cemetery, doesn’t know he’s tending to his wife’s grave. Beebe must find a way to tell her father that the homeless woman was misidentified. In reality, she was the wife and mother who abandoned them decades before.

Oddly enough, the first person Beebe meets upon her return is a young man who’s new in town. Yates Strand is also chasing the secret behind the homeless woman. He has another story to tell.

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

Death, no matter how it happens, takes a toll on the living. It can bring people together or tear them apart. In the case of Abigail (also known as Terri), it helped reunite a father and daughter. Two people who were harboring a lot of anger and hurt, all centering around the abandonment of a wife and mother.

Abigail/Terri, like most of us,  made some bad decisions in her life. In her case, she lost her family, job, respect, and her body to AIDS. However, despite her mistakes, she was a good person. She used her nursing skills to save lives. Unfortunately, through a chain of events, she couldn’t be there for her family. An accident, painkillers, drug addiction and trouble with the law led to the loss of her loved ones.

For three decades, Cliff and Beebe had no clue if she was alive or dead. When you are faced with that question, you hold onto hope. When you finally get the answer, you must then face your true emotions and deal with them accordingly.

I can’t imagine living in this type of limbo or the aftermath of such an event.  Connie Chappell illustrated beautifully the pains, the internal battle people face in this type of predicament. She made a dark, dismal story come to life. After I read Proper Goodbye, I immediately hugged my family. I imagine you will too. 

 

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Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤

 

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Connie Chappell is a bestselling author of both literary fiction and cozy mysteries. Proper Goodbye, the long-awaited standalone sequel to her debut novel, Wild Raspberries, is now available for purchase. In Proper Goodbye, Beebe Walker’s life changes when she learns about a secret buried in her father’s cemetery. The secret revolves around the burial of a homeless woman and eventually draws her home to Larkspur, Michigan, to renew a relationship with her father.

Connie’s other books, Wild Raspberries and Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, were awarded the 5-Star Readers’ Favorite distinction. Two additional awards were received by Connie and Wild Raspberries in 2016: the Maxy Award for Best Literary Fiction and the Readers’ Favorite Book Award for Women’s Fiction.

In Deadly Homecoming at Rosemont, historian-for-hire Wrenn Grayson solves a double mystery in her hometown of Havens, Ohio. A murder, coupled with a theft, pulls her away from her duties for Mayor K.C. Tallmadge and her after-hours job of writing historical articles for the local newspaper. Wrenn’s knowledge of hometown history, specifically the old train station, plays into this mystery. Connie’s inspiration behind the inclusion of a Havens train station extends from her hometown, Springfield, Ohio. A postcard and short history of the Big Four train station are uploaded to this profile. A second Wrenn Grayson mystery has been hatched, so stay tuned.

Wild Raspberries, released in April, 2015, is especially dear because memory quilts are stitched to it. Photos of the memory quilt Connie sewed are uploaded to this profile. Like hers, the memory quilts described in Wild Raspberries were sewn with squares cut from favorite clothing a loved one wore in life. The quilts tell a life story, and through them, the reader meets the loved ones the women in Wild Raspberries have lost.

Connie’s novels are published by Black Rose Writing.

Learn more about Connie and her novels on her author webpage: www.conniechappell.com. Reviews of her books are there as well, so take some time and look around. In addition, she’s written several short stories—all ready for viewing on her website. Also available are a host of interesting podcasts.

Connie is a lifelong resident of Springfield, Ohio, where she serves its citizens from her office in City Hall. She also produces videos about Springfield, government projects, and community events for the local government-access channel. She devotes as much of her free time as possible to anything out-of-doors. Flowerbeds, golf, walking, and riding her bicycle are particular favorites.

 

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Review of “The Trouble with Mistletoe: A Heartbreaker Bay Novel” – Jill Shalvis

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If she has her way . . .

Willa Davis is wrangling puppies when Keane Winters stalks into her pet shop with frustration in his chocolate-brown eyes and a pink bedazzled cat carrier in his hand. He needs a kitty sitter, stat. But the last thing Willa needs is to rescue a guy who doesn’t even remember her . . .

He’ll get nothing but coal in his stocking.

Saddled with his great-aunt’s Feline from Hell, Keane is desperate to leave her in someone else’s capable hands. But in spite of the fact that he’s sure he’s never seen the drop-dead-gorgeous pet shop owner before, she seems to be mad at him . . .

Unless he tempers “naughty” with a special kind of nice . . .

Willa can’t deny that Keane’s changed since high school: he’s less arrogant, for one thing—but can she trust him not to break her heart again? It’s time to throw a coin in the fountain, make a Christmas wish—and let the mistletoe do its work . . .

 

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I’m a uber fan of romantic comedies because I love to laugh and I adore happily ever afters.

In “The Trouble with Mistletoe”, readers will laugh over the woes Keane faces with Pita; his (Pain In The Ass) aunt’s (turned his) cat. It’s a love-hate relationship but they do reach a point where she retracts her claws and allows him into her kitty heart. Someone else also allows him to enter their heart –Willa.

Willa had many walls put up, but thankfully Keane’s tearing down skills don’t just apply to his house-flipping business.  With a little love and a WHOLE LOT OF PATIENCE, he helped her see they were perfect together. Pita, too.  😀 

Really, how could she not let this man in…..all the way in! He’s hardworking, smart, handsome, takes care of his family, friends, and loves Frosted Flakes for supper. Come on, he’s the total package.

And Willa? She would do absolutely anything and everything for those who matter to her. Even Eddie, the homeless man living in her alley, was a recipient of her kindness. She decorated his “home” with Christmas lights. She brought him food. She’d take him into her home, if he actually would accept the offer.

Two generous, loving people finding love on the holidays. What could make a better Christmas story than that?!

 

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit http://www.jillshalvis.com for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

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Author Showcase – Carol Rose (Swaggered)

Before you get a peak at Swaggered (Blue Collar Boys, Book 3), please read the special note from Carol Rose to all of you. 

 

An Audacious Romance Hero

 

I know this isn’t true for everyone, but I find audacious, teasing, funny heroes sexy. I like men who make me laugh. My beloved (of too many years to mention) has this ability and he has said that he thinks this is why I’m with him. He’s not totally wrong. The man is hot, but so engaging and playful that I’ve always had a thing for him.

            My hero in Swaggered(Blue Collar Boys, Book 3) has this ability and when he initially came to me he was as charming as George Clooney, only a tad younger. Of all the three brothers who do architectural salvage together, Tyler Thompson has the murkiest background and some of the darkest fears. He was abandoned by his biological father and drug-using mother and lovingly adopted into the Thompson clan as a teenager.

            His is perhaps the strangest path to happiness in that he’s drawn into a sudden marriage by a woman he’s long had a yen for. Amanda Sinclair has directed the office at his family’s Scruffy Boys Architectural Salvage yard for several years, but she’s always been cautious of flashy, outgoing womanizer Tyler. When she marries him in a weakened, unbeknownst-to-him-drunken state, they end up having to deal with each other in ways she’d never have expected.

            I loved writing the Blue Collar Boys heroes because I’ve always had a thing for men who work with their hands, as well as, their heads. This may appear strange because both my beloved and I are therapists who have advanced degrees. Seems like we’d just be good with working with our heads, but I fell for him when we worked side-by-side on physical projects as teens.

            He’s really good with his hands…if you know what I mean.

            Check out Swaggered(Blue Collar Boys, Bk 3). I hope you love it as much as I do.

 
 
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER ONE
 

Tyler woke slowly, swimming up from unconsciousness, aware of sunlight from somewhere, playing against his closed eyelids. He never woke up well and he’d learned to let it happen in increments. As he surfaced against the heaviness pulling him back to sleep, he became conscious of a comfortable bed under him and the warm pressure of—

A soft shriek close to his left ear, swiftly followed by a gasp, snapped his eyes open. He was always blurry at this point, but he immediately recognized a few things. He was in a barely-familiar hotel room…in Las Vegas, he thought, for his brother Noah’s wedding to Natalie…and a very warm and sexy Amanda was in bed with him.

A very naked, sexy and agitated Amanda was in bed beside him, now holding a sheet clutched to her beautiful chest like a shield.

“Oh. My. God! Tyler, wake up!” Her brown eyes squinted against the light.

“I’m awake. I’m awake.” He struggled to pull himself upright against the pillow, blinking as his brain waves shifted.

“Tyler!” Amanda moved on the bed next to him, bouncing the mattress.

He stuck out a hand. “Can you just sit still for a moment and stop yelling, so I can wake up?”

“No!” She did say this in a more moderate tone, however, bending to cradle her tousled head in her hands, her shoulder-length brown hair sticking out in odd directions. “What are we doing here? Oh-my-god, oh-my-god. My head is killing me and I think I’m going to be sick.”

Looking around his side of the bed, Tyler found a waste basket. “Here. Use this.”

“Are you crazy?” she moaned, throwing her legs off the bed, the sheet still clutched to her chest. “I’m not throwing up right here in front of you. I need the bathroom.”

Coming more fully awake, Tyler couldn’t help grinning. “If you’re planning on taking that sheet with you, you should be aware that I think I’m naked under here. You might get to see my morning glory, if you get what I mean.”

Amanda shrieked again softly, throwing her hand up to blinker one side of her vision as she continued climbing out of the king-sized bed. “Don’t come over here!”

“I’m not going anywhere.” He tucked his hands behind his head. “Take the sheet if you want it.”

Suddenly, she stopped tugging at the sheet and stood next to the bed with her right hand shielding her eyes from seeing him and her left hand lifted in front of her. She seemed frozen.

In a jerky movement, she stuck her left hand out in front of him, turning to glare at Tyler. “Tell me what’s on this hand. There is—there is a ring on my finger! Look at this!”

“Yes.” He blinked, still trying to clear the sleep fog from his brain. “Yes, there is.”

Tyler couldn’t help grinning.

“Looks like a wedding ring to me, Honey.” Reaching out, he rolled forward on the bed to take her outstretched hand in his as much for the contact as anything else, he studied the rock on her third finger. “Nice one, too.”

“A ring with a huge rock!”

He looked down at the ring. “I don’t know. I don’t think it looks over-sized. It’s what? About two carats?”

“What!” She looked at him in shock, snatching back her left hand.  

“Tyler! I. Am. Not. Married!” she shrieked and then cringed, holding her head, saying in a whisper, “At least I wasn’t yesterday.”

He shoved his hand behind the wrinkled sheets. If she’d noticed, he wore a matching band on his finger. “Looks like you are now.”

Tyler met her stricken gaze, his stomach plummeting at the look in her fine brown eyes as apparently the reality of their actions sunk in. In that moment, he knew Amanda didn’t feel as excited as he did about their marriage. Even the $15,000 ring didn’t brighten her eyes.

She clutched her midsection then and started dragging again at the sheet. With awkward moments that were hampered by her trying to pull the tucked-in sheet from under the cover on the bed, she lurched backwards. Finally, she wheeled around awkwardly, the sheet winding around her delicious body.

“Girl—“ He cleared his throat. “Girl, just go to the bathroom. You don’t have anything that I haven’t seen.” That one stricken look on her face told him the road was rocky ahead and he knew better than to say how recently he’d seen the gorgeous curves under her sheet.

Just then, Amanda moaned again, stumbling back a few steps as the sheet came free. Turning she ran to the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind her.

Trying to ignore her retching sounds like a gentleman, Tyler got off the bed and started searching for his clothes. He didn’t think she wanted to come out to find him sprawled naked on the bed. Despite her clear distress at the wedding ring on her finger, he grinned at the thought of it. Set up identical to the one he’d checked into two days ago, this was Amanda’s room. He hadn’t been wasted when they headed back here for fun time and her stuff was scattered around the room.

In a far corner, he found his boxers, while his jeans had ended up straddling a chair by the table.

After pulling on his jeans, he went over to the closed bathroom door. Leaning in, he thought he heard her sniffling. “Amanda, honey. Are you okay?”

The bathroom door opened rapidly and he straightened, unable to stop the smile that spread across his face. Even like this, hungover with her hair messy, he loved waking up to Amanda.

“No,” she snapped, her brown eyes bloodshot and damp. “I feel like hell. Is there some water out there? My mouth is dry and my head is pounding.”

“Sure. Let me get you some.” He went over to the mini-fridge, pulling out a bottle of water.

Having staggered out of the bathroom with the sheet still wrapped around her like a toga, Amanda sank down on the foot of the bed. She took the bottle he handed her, cracking it open and taking a swallow.

Tyler stood watching her, not sure what came next.

Heaving a shuddering breath, she met his gaze like a woman facing up to her mistakes. “Did we, uh, spend the night together? I remember–”

Knowing the road ahead would probably be rocky, he squatted down next to her. “Yes. Yes, we did.”

Amanda closed her eyes as if to gather herself. “I don’t remember…everything, but…this wasn’t a platonic sleepover, was it?”

“No. It wasn’t.” It didn’t do much for a man’s ego that she seemed so shattered by the fact.

Opening her eyes, she started slowly shaking her head. “I wasted my college years. I spent all my time studying and working.”

He couldn’t help smiling at this. “What? Why?”

“If I’d partied more, I would have built up more of a tolerance to handle alcohol.” Amanda stared ahead of her, her face locked in self-recrimination.

He lifted his head to her accusing glare, volunteering, “There’s a marriage license over on the table.”

Her head snapped in the direction of the table and she gulped in air. “No. Oh, no.”

Leaning forward, Tyler looked at her in concern. “Amanda?”

“Who’s…? Who does it say I married?”

Standing up, he went over to the table, lifting the stiff legal document decorated with elaborate printed flowers. Tyler turned back to her, knowing his disappointment and hurt probably showed on his face. “You really don’t remember?”

“Just tell me!” She wailed softly, her hand bracing her head as if she thought it might fall off.

“You know who. Me, Amanda. You married me. We are…married.” It had been pretty much one of the best nights of his life, but he clearly couldn’t say that to her at this moment.

Jumping up, she clutched at her stomach again, wailing, “This can’t be happening! I can’t—we can’t— I need to—“

Watching in concern, he saw her lunge again toward the rest room in her makeshift toga, pausing only to snag her purse from the low chest that held a television.

Tyler watched her. “Honey, are you hyper-ventilating? Do you need a paper bag to breathe into?”

Slamming the bathroom door behind her, Amanda reached over to turn on the sink faucet, letting the water rush out to cover any noise before she knelt on the cold tile floor in front of the toilet and retched into the ceramic bowl, fumbling in a frenzy to raise the seat. In a few moments, she lay back on the hard floor, promising heaven she’d never over-drink again. When she could think again—her stomach no longer wrenching inside her for the moment—she groped for her abandoned purse and gingerly fished out her phone.

She’d never done such a stupid, insane thing in her life. Married! And to a sexy, hot, man-whore like Tyler?! What was wrong with her? Why did she keep getting with men who couldn’t be faithful to one woman? After the last debacle, she’d promised herself she’d pick a better man next time. A man who knew not to drop his pants for every woman he met. Not a guy like Tyler.

Fumbling to find the phone icon, she scrolled past her brother’s number and those of her parents, shuddering at the thought of confessing this to her family—God, she’d not only gotten blind drunk, but when in that condition, she’d apparently married a sexed up, hotter-than-a-man-should-be, outright dog.

Tyler. Random snatches of memory floated into her brain then—the two of them lost in panting, straining…terrific sex. Amanda closed her eyes in shame, the memories spilling through her head. She’d ridden him like the stallion he resembled. And she’d really, really…really enjoyed doing it.

After years of giving him hell for sleeping with everyone from a college professor to a woman he’d met at a convenience store, she’d let herself get into the condition where she’d actually married him. Not just had sex with him, which would have been more acceptable considering the sex dreams she’d had about him before.

And he’d certainly lived up to those…

 
 
 

 

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Author Showcase – Sarah Marsh (Dark Redemption)

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Sofia Boon was ready to make changes in her life, but she didn’t see this coming…

Taking a chance, she finds the nerve to ask out her handsome neighbor, but when he doesn’t show up for their date, Sofia knocks on his door and meets a man claiming to be his roommate, and she soon realizes she’s made a horrible mistake.

Eitan Kent is a tortured man, haunted by a death he was unable to prevent…

Eitan believes he is unworthy of being loved. He buries himself in his work and takes a job to track down a wanted criminal, Ben Donovan. He locates Donovan’s apartment, but finds it empty—until Donovan’s “date” shows up.

Eitan doesn’t know what to make of sweet, curvy Sofia, but she’s the only lead he has…

Feeling he has no choice, Eitan decides to take her with him to see if she can somehow lead him to Donovan before it’s too late—or if her innocence is all an act and she’s involved in the bastard’s crimes.

Sofia is terrified and tries to explain to the dark stranger that she barely knows her neighbor and has no idea how to track him down, but Eitan knows exactly how to get the truth from her. Who knew a little torture could be so sweet?

 

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(Adult Excerpt)

 

That rat bastard! She thought as she watched him stroll out of the room just as though nothing had happened. As if he hadn’t just gotten her so turned on that she thought she’d spontaneously combust and then just…left.

Sofia didn’t think about what she would have done if he’d tried to have sex with her. That would just ruin the fury she was currently riding. She should be relieved he hadn’t tried to force her. She should have been, logically speaking, but she had to admit to herself her overheated body was ready to beg for release and that her traitorous hormones were killing the rational part of her brain. Sofia knew it was crazy, but all she could think about right now was that the most satisfying way to get some relief was under her sexy captor. It was an issue that only got worse as he walked back into the room with a tray of food and all that beautiful, tanned bare skin.

“Here, let me help you sit up so you can eat,” he said, putting the tray down on the nightstand and moving closer, “Or would you rather wash up and use the bathroom first?”

“Bathroom first, please,” she said immediately, thinking she could follow his lead and get some satisfaction while cleaning up.

But clearly her eagerness must have given her away because he raised one eyebrow in challenge.

“Okay, but you have ten minutes to shower, and you are not allowed to touch yourself other than to get clean―am I understood?” he said in a firm tone as he leaned forward and undid her wrists.

“You’re going to watch me?” she asked, not quite certain if she was offended or turned on at the prospect. She wondered for a second why his firm tone seemed to excite her more than it should have.

“Do you want me to watch you?” he whispered low next to her ear, causing awareness to spread through her entire body.

Sofia was a little breathless at the thought of putting on the same show for him as he did for her, but in the end, her pride won out over the wanton need she felt inside.

“No,” she barely answered, and it sounded weak even to her ears.

His deep chuckle at her answer made her nipples peak even more, and she was almost disappointed when he leaned back and pushed the timer on his watch.

“You’ve got ten minutes, Sofia. Then I come in and get you.”

Sofia had never used the washroom and showered so fast in all her life, she got done with barely a minute to spare as she put her bra and underwear back on and then wrapped herself in a big fluffy towel before she walked back out into the room.

“You can keep the towel until you’ve eaten, then it’s off,” he said once he saw her.

She’d take that small win, and she took her sweet ass time eating as well until he finally took the tray away after she’d spent five minutes chewing a single piece of melon.

“Now are you going to make this difficult on both of us or are you going to behave?” he said as he motioned toward the wrist cuffs once again.

She thought about it, but there was nothing she could do against his superior strength, so she begrudgingly laid back against the padded headboard and raised her wrists.

“Why are you doing this?” she asked quietly. “I told you everything I know already.”

“Well, I’ll see about that soon enough, won’t I?” was all he said in reply as he fastened the cuffs and picked up the tray before he left the room.

 

****

 

By the time Eitan had gotten the kitchen cleaned up from breakfast and returned to the bedroom, he was already half hard from replaying how she’d looked watching him come in the shower. He thought about putting on a pair of jeans, but why bother? He certainly wasn’t ashamed for her to see how she affected him and she sure as hell didn’t seem to be put off by his body, so he may as well use that to his advantage, right?

“Ready for the ankle cuffs?” he asked as he entered the room.

He saw her swallow hard and move her legs tighter together.

“Why do you have to?” she asked with a worried look. “Are you going to touch me?”

“You don’t want me to touch you?” he challenged, already knowing her body didn’t have any arguments.

“Of course I don’t want you to touch me!” she answered, clearly trying to sound offended that he’d suggest such a thing, “I don’t even know your name!”

“Well, that’s easy enough to remedy,” he said as he placed one knee on the bed and pulled up the first ankle cuff. “My name is Eitan. Now give me your leg, Sofia.”

He could tell she was surprised he’d given her his name, and to be truthful, he was a bit surprised by that himself. But the more he thought about his name on her lips as she moaned her pleasure, the harder his cock got. He was doing all sorts of things with this little captive that seemed to be breaking his rules, and Eitan wasn’t sure he really cared.

When she tentatively placed her little foot in his hand, he quickly attached the cuff and then slowly ran his fingers over the softness of her skin. Clearly she waxed her legs as the skin was still supple and hair free. That thought made him more aware of the noticeably smooth skin under those pretty purple panties, and his mouth watered as he imagined how soft it would feel under his tongue. As he fastened the second cuff and her legs moved further apart, it was all he could do not to crawl up her body and relieve her of those panties just as he’d fantasized about doing in the shower this morning. It was then that he finally had to admit to himself that this interrogation was probably going to be more difficult for him than it was going to be for her…because his self-control was already bucking to be let loose.

 

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Sarah Marsh was born in British Columbia where she still lives, she has only recently began her writing career finding it the perfect outlet for taking the edge off a nine to five office job. She’s been a science fiction and romance junkie for years and when her imagination started to take the characters she’d read about even further in their adventures she decided to try writing something of her own.

Sarah’s also a former pastry chef and spends a lot of time cooking and baking for friends and family as well as painting and knitting. Her biggest weaknesses are animals of any kind…she even loves the ones that wake you up at four in the morning because they can almost see the bottom of their food dish.

When it comes to life in general she’s a big believer that laughter is the best medicine and that there’s no such thing as too much love, which is why she’s such a sucker for a happy ending.

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Review of “Nothing Is Lost In Loving” – Brenda Moguez

 

When Stella Delray unexpectedly loses her job a week before Christmas, which is also the anniversary of her husband’s death, she is forced to stop talking to his ashes, come to terms with her loss, and get her life back on track for her young son’s sake as well as her own. She never expected that posting an ad on Craigslist would send her into the arms of not one but two men, one of whom is her former boss. Now she’s working as an admin for a retired Broadway star, bookkeeping for an erotic video production company, and writing love letters for the mysterious “Oaklander.” Adding to the craziness of her new life, her monster-in-law resurfaces and the father-in-law she never met shows up on her doorstep. With the guidance of her best friend, Bono, Stella will learn to redefine the rules she’s always lived by.

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

 
Life is a tricky bitch. There are ups, downs, and sometimes it throws us a helluva curveball where you don’t know right from left or up from down. 
 
Stella was a recipient of such a curveball. She lost a husband to cancer, her job…..herself.
 
On the anniversary of her husband’s death, she decided it was time to live again. You could say the butterfly was finally emerging out of her cocoon. The emergence brought about a whole new set of woes and revelations.
 
Broken bridges started to rebuild, new relationships started to form and she realized, no matter what life threw at her, she would survive.
 
All it took for her to discover herself was stepping out of her comfort zone. 
 
She met some very interesting people along the way: Gus (ruggedly handsome man who brought passion back into her life), Joel (the nutty poet), Lucille Gantry (who is nutty in a eccentric sort of way), Buck (owner of a porn studio, a real charmer who resembles Magnum PI), and Outlander65 (a man who opened her eyes the most about living again).
 
Bono was correct in her summation about Stella’s life. It had turned into a soap opera. Heck it even featured a flirtatious doctor; because all good soap operas have at least one. 
 
My only complaint would be about Jack. I wish Brenda would’ve kept things in the friend zone. The last thing he needed to do was pursue Stella while going through a separation. Especially since Stella was ‘getting back on the horse’ after being out in the pasture for twelve years. Cowboy reference seemed fitting since Bobby, her deceased husband, is in “Cowboy Heaven” (Santi’s words). 
 
Speaking of Santiago, her 8 year-old son, he brought light, joy and tears to those around him. I was moved by the song he sang to his father; the day they released his ashes. The chapter he asked if Father Christmas brought daddy presents in “Cowboy Heaven” was also a very emotional moment for me. I’ve lost two parents, one about his age, so I can empathize with his emotions at such a tender age.
 
What a sweet, loving young man. 
 
I’d like to end this review with one final thought. 
 
As I stated in my initial sentence, you never know what each day with bring. You’ll have bad days, good ones, and somewhere in-between. Brenda has portrayed this quite well. She’s also showed us, the readers, how strong we all can be. Life moves on and we must move on with it. Embrace the bad, cherish the good, and be thankful for those quiet moments because you never know when things will go haywire again. 
 
 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤❤
 
 
 

 
Brenda Moguez writes the kind of stories she loves to read–women’s fiction, starring quirky, passionate women who are challenged by the fickleness and complexities of life.
 
She’s particularly drawn to exploring the effects of love on the heart of a woman. She has aspirations for a fully staffed villa in Barcelona and funding aplenty for a room of her own. When she’s not working on a story, she writes love letters to the universe, dead poets, and Mae West. You can find her at http://www.brendamoguez.com where she explores passionate pursuits in all its forms.
 

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Review of “Wild Goose Chase” – Jan Romes

 
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Olivia Pence has been a word-nerd and all-around geek forever, which didn’t exactly win her a ton of friends growing up. It did, however, snag the attention of a like-minded geek, Dezz Casey. Instead of becoming fast friends, Dezz became a competitive thorn. The rivalry continued through grade school, high school, college, and now as co-workers for Brilliance magazine. The most annoying thing – Dezz went from being a homely dork to six-feet-three-inches of hotness that infuriates Olivia to the point of madness. Their boss has had her fill of the chaos and orders a two-week cooling-off period where they’re to travel (separately) and find serendipitous situations to write about. Will the time away fix their work issues and their hearts? Or will it amount to a wild goose chase that drives them farther apart?
 
 
 
 
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
 
Olivia and I had so much in common it was hard not to connect with the character. She was a germaphobe, OCD, named her car, writer, and a geek. It was like Jan was writing about me, in my younger years. Even Olivia not realizing Dezz’s flirtatious banter was legit hit a cord with me. 
 
Dezz, oh sweet Dezz. I can’t believe he waited and pinned for Olivia for 23 years. It took him until the age of 28 for him to finally make a play. Of course, Olivia didn’t believe his flirtiness was real because of their competitive relationship and how they goaded each other, often. 
 
All it took for her to really see him for HIM was liquor. Not the healthiest way to start a relationship, but I digress. 
 
Of course, once her eyes were open to the wonderfulness of Dezz, he still didn’t get his lady. Actually, she continued to hurt him, unintentionally.
 
However, through a mugging, flying underwear, toilet mishap, and much more, they did get their HEA. 
 
Oh I should note, Jan, even though it wasn’t my phone that landed in the public restroom, I still went and sanitized my hands. TWICE!! 
 
Even though I loved the humor, I had to give it a 3.5 rating. Why, you may ask?
 
Two reasons: A.) She’s 28, turned 29 and “intact”. It’s appearing too often in books lately and seemed unrealistic.  B.) In chapter 9, he claimed, “I don’t have sex with women I don’t love.” He wasn’t a virgin so who did he love before and why wasn’t that tidbit touched on before or after their near sexual encounter?  
 
Besides those two hiccups for me,  it was a fun – flirty – and fabulous read! 
 
 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5
(highest) 
 
Score: ❤❤❤1/2
 
 
 

Jan Romes is a hopeless romantic who grew up in northwest Ohio with eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she is also a proud mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She likes to read all genres, writes witty contemporary romance and women’s fiction, enjoys finding new ways to stay fit and gardens even though she doesn’t claim to have a green thumb.

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Review of “A Leap of Faith” – Nell Castle

 
Desperate times call for desperate measures. 
 

At her core, merchandising maven Sophia Anton is an old-fashioned girl. To start a family by age 30, she’ll do what’s needed to make sparks fly with an old friend—including a crash diet. But when Sophia meets Jackson Thomas, the handsome new minister in town, she quickly finds she’s playing with fire. Sophia’s new look is working like a charm to snag the man of her dreams, so why is it Jackson’s face she sees when she closes her eyes?

Jackson, whose troubled past has led him to adopt a life of celibacy, never expects to feel hot under the collar for a woman of his own parish. How can Jackson dream of a future with Sophia after he’s shut the door on love?

 
 

(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 
 
This book is a prime example illustrating how imperfect humans are. 
 
In “A Leap of Faith”, Sophia attempted  to become the perfect woman for Christopher by losing an unhealthy amount of weight by basically eating like a baby bird. Why? I didn’t see his appeal. He was a man whose needs came first. I would say ‘love is blind’ but I don’t think she truly loved him and he never loved her.
 
I understand her desire to become a mother but haven’t we all learned a marriage is doomed to fail without love and why even consider bringing a child into that situation. 
 
As for Pastor Jackson, he showed an imperfection by lying when he said, “Actually, I’ve got my eye on a couple women.” He also broke the tenth commandment, Thou Shall Not Covet.  
 
Even though there were a few things I didn’t particularly love about A Leap of Faith, there were many areas I did enjoy very much. 
 
1.) Franny and Sam: They were married 50 years before he passed away and anyone could see, feel the love they had for one another. 
2.) Jackson’s lobster picnic idea for Franny and Sam was extremely sweet and romantic. He went above and beyond the duties of a minister. 
3.) This quote: “If we can send a man to the moon, how can we still let kids go to bed hungry?” I couldn’t agree more and that’s why I believe we all should do our part to make sure no one has to wonder if they are eating today. 
 
Nell, I can tell by your book you are a key member of your community and I’m sure they appreciate everything you do and the time you devote to others. 
 
And I appreciate you writing A Leap of Faith —- a book less about romance (for me) and more about helping out your fellow ‘man’ and PAYING IT FORWARD. 
 
Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5
(highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤
 
 
 
 
 
 

Nell Castle grew up in western Pennsylvania and graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia. Since then, she’s lived in Key West and Anchorage, Virginia Beach and Sarasota. She moved back to northeastern Ohio to raise her kids closer to the family homestead but looks forward to moving to a gentler climate after her youngest graduates. Until then, she revisits white powder beaches and craggy mountain tops only in her writing. She’s submitted a new manuscript to her publisher, The Wild Rose Press, and is currently at work on a novella.

WordPress / Amazon Author Page / The Wild Rose Press

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