Tag Archives: love

Ignite on Contact by Jaci Burton (Book Showcase)

New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton is back with a friends-to-lovers romance sure to melt hearts as one smokin’-hot fireman turns up the heat on love.

Relationships. Firefighter Rafe Donovan avoids them whenever possible. He loves dating women, but he makes sure they know up front that he’s in it for fun, great sex and nothing more.

Fun. As an ER nurse and official caretaker of her disabled grandfather, Carmen Lewis doesn’t have time for fun. But Rafe has been there for Carmen–and her grandfather–time and again, and he’s clearly interested in her. She knows he’s a player, but she’s tempted by his charm and incredible body. And maybe a little fun isn’t a bad thing, as long as she keeps her heart away from this fiery game she’s enjoying with a very hot man.

Love. It doesn’t take Rafe long to realize that until now he’s only been playing at romance. With Carmen he feels searing passion and heart-tugging emotion for the first time. Now he has to convince Carmen that what they have together is the real deal.

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~~ Excerpt courtesy of Jaci Burton’s Website ~~

 

Chapter One
 
Flames licked all around Rafe Donovan, the heat from the house fire causing sweat to drip down his face and inside of his SCBA mask. Since he couldn’t wipe his face, he blinked instead, clearing the perspiration from his eyes.
 
Rafe firmly gripped the lead hose to douse the blaze threatening to drop a fiery ceiling on their heads. Tommy Rodriguez had his back, feeding him more line. They soaked the flames in the living room, pushing through the dining room and into the kitchen, driving the beast back.
 
“It’s wearing down,” Rafe said, watching as the inferno tried to roar, then inched back into the walls as he blasted it with water. “You don’t win today, you bastard.”
 
“You tell that fucker, Rafe,” Rodriguez said.
 
Fire was his nemesis, the thing that had almost killed him back when he was a kid. It had also saved his life, turned it around and given him a new beginning. But it still had to die. Every day he faced it, it had to die.
 
When the blaze was finally extinguished, he exhaled. The Engine 6 team did a walk around, pulling down walls to make sure fire didn’t lurk in the Sheetrock, waiting to reignite. He made his way outside and pulled off his mask, sucking in a deep breath of Ft. Lauderdale’s hot summer air.
 
It might be humid as hell, and he might be drenched under his turnout gear, but he’d survived. No one was inside the house when the fire broke out, so he’d call this one a success.
 
He looked at the one-story ranch, charred but still standing. It looked a little beaten down, but the old house would come back.
 
“Nice job in there.” Jackson Donovan, his brother and his lieutenant, patted him on the back.
 
“Thanks.”
 
He grinned and headed back to the truck, elation blasting through him as it always did when they were successful.
 
He loved his job. If he could do it every day, he would.
 
They began to wrap up. They were folding the hoses and packing up equipment when smoke started pouring from the roof.
 
“Dammit,” Rafe said. How had they missed that? He heard Jackson’s voice ordering them to get back into the house. Rafe loaded a fresh tank of oxygen on his back and put his mask on, then waited for his backup.
 
Rodriguez was right behind him as they returned inside.
 
“Be careful in there, all of you,” Jackson said. “I don’t like the looks of that smoke.”
 
“Yeah, got it,” Rafe said. He didn’t like the skittering feeling crawling down his back. He had a sixth sense about fire, and which scenes posed a danger. This one didn’t feel right to him. Something was off.
 
Inside looked clear, which meant the smoke was hiding in the walls somewhere. Hendricks and Richards were inside, too, helping them inspect. They’d broken off, going in the opposite direction.
 
“There’s no heat, no smoke,” Rafe said as they made their way around the house, testing more walls for fire. “So where’s the smoke coming from?”
 
“Attic, maybe,” Rodriguez said.
 
“Already up in the attic and cleared it,” Hendricks said into his radio. “So whatever we saw, it isn’t up here.”
 
Damn. It wasn’t unusual for a fire to snake along the walls, lurking, moving from one location to another. Which meant they’d have to check behind the drywall in every room until they found it and extinguished it. Rafe used his drywall hook to cut open a section of wall, checking for smoke in one of the smaller back bedrooms.
 
“Anything?” Jackson radioed.
 
“Still looking,” Rafe radioed back. “Not finding anything.”
 
“I don’t like this,” Jackson said. “Keep a sharp eye.”
 
Rafe was already doing that. The whole team was in here now, cutting through and dragging down sections of walls to search for smoke, looking for hot spots.
 
When Rafe got to the closet in the hallway, he felt the door. It was hot, and the paint on the outside of the door was bubbling.
 
“There you are,” he whispered, then turned to Rodriguez. “We need to vent this through the roof.”
 
He was about to notify Jackson that they were exiting when he was knocked back on his feet by an explosion.
 
And then everything went dark.
 
Busy shifts in the emergency room at Ft. Lauderdale Medical Center were Carmen Lewis’s jam. It was a big-city emergency room, serving a large population that made for demanding days. Carmen’s shifts went fast because she rarely stopped moving. She relished the fast pace, but even more, she loved helping the sick and injured.
 
She was charting in the station when her friend and fellow nurse Tess Blackstone stopped by. “The patient in room seven is ready for discharge according to Dr. Lange. Scrip for pain meds and a follow-up with his personal physician in a week. Room six is still waiting for someone to take her up for a CT scan. I just administered another bolus of morphine to room eight with Dr. Chan’s approval.”
 
Carmen nodded and updated the patient charts, signing off on the discharge for room seven. “Call CT—again—and tell them we’ve been waiting an hour and a half for that scan. What’s the status on the patient in room three?”
 
“Waiting to be taken up for an angiogram.”
 
“Okay, thanks.”
 
“I’ll see what’s up with CT—again,” Tess said, picking up the phone and rolling her eyes at Carmen.
 
Carmen grinned, confident Tess would do her job. All her nurses did. She had the best staff in the hospital, in her opinion. As triage nurse and supervisor of the department, Carmen had her hands in everything in the ER, which meant she was always managing chaos. Just the way she liked it.
 
EMTs rolled in with a firefighter strapped to a stretcher, bringing Carmen to instant alert. She recognized Rafe right away since he and his brothers lived in the house next door to hers. As a nurse running an ER, she never panicked, but she hated seeing someone she knew on that stretcher.
 
His face was covered with ash and grit, but she was happy to see he was awake and seemingly alert as she directed the paramedics to take him into room five.
 
The attending physician came into the room at the same time to do an assessment.
 
“Explosion at a house fire,” EMT Miguel Acosta said. “He took a pretty good blast that knocked him unconscious.”
 
Acosta and his fellow EMT Adrienne Smith unstrapped Rafe and moved him from the stretcher onto the ER bed.
 
“But as you can see,” Rafe said, “I’m not unconscious now.”
 
“Patient was down for approximately three minutes but roused quickly,” Miguel said.
 
“And then he was a royal pain in the ass in the ambulance all the way here,” Smith said, glaring at Rafe. “So he’s alert and oriented times three.”
 
“Any vomiting?” Dr. Lange asked.
 
“None,” Smith said.
 
“Thanks, Adrienne,” Carmen said. “We’ll take it from here.”
 
Miguel smiled at Rafe. “Behave yourself.”
 
Rafe tried to sit up, but Carmen laid a firm hand on his shoulder. “Nope. Stay put until we assess you.”
 
Dr. Lange did a physical and neurological exam.
 
“No burns, but he does have a bump on the head. No external injuries. Get him set up on an IV and EKG and do his vitals and blood work,” Dr. Lange said. “Let’s order a CT scan.”
 
She nodded and Dr. Lange stepped out. Carmen went to the cabinet to get the leads and everything else she’d need, then alerted one of the other nurses to bring her IV fluids.
 
“I shouldn’t even be here,” Rafe said.
 
“You know the protocol, Rafe,” Carmen said, giving him her standard nurse stare. No one ever argued with her stare. It was pretty fierce.
 
Rafe, apparently, wasn’t fazed by her glare.
 
“Whatever, Carmen. I’m fine.”
 
“Sure you are. Let’s get you out of that turnout gear.”
 
He grinned. “Getting me naked. Now we’re talkin’.”
 
She laughed and shook her head. “Can you sit up?”
 
“Yeah, sure.”
 
She held out her hand. He grasped it and sat up, much too fast for her liking.
 
She noticed he winced, and then he wobbled on the table a little.
 
“Head hurt?”
 
He reached for his forehead, cradling it in his hand. “A little. Damn backdraft caught me unaware, and the door knocked me backward. And out cold, I guess.”
She’d known Rafe and his brothers since they moved next door to her four years ago. Rafe helped her all the time with her grandfather. Over the years, they’d grown close, and the thought of him being hurt made her hurt.
 
She helped him unlatch his jacket and slide it off. “You’re lucky it wasn’t worse.”
 
He shrugged out of his coat, and Carmen couldn’t help but admire his broad shoulders encased in his tight T-shirt, something she shouldn’t be noticing right now.
 
“Can you stand so we can get the rest of your turnout gear off?”
 
“Yeah.”
 
“Hold my hand.”
 
His lips curved, revealing his amazing smile. “Carmen, I never knew you were interested.”
 
She rolled her eyes at him. “Up. Hold my hand.”
 
He took her fingers and dropped his suspenders, letting the pants fall while he stepped out of his boots.
 
The hottest man she knew was undressing in front of her. At least partially undressing. Even in his T-shirt and standard uniform pants, standing this close to him made Carmen feel things she hadn’t felt since—
 
Longer than she’d like to admit. Which she wasn’t going to think about, because right now Rafe was a patient. And that’s all he was to her.
 
“Come on, climb back into bed. Shirt off.”
 
“See, you flirting with me like this makes my head feel a lot better.”
 
She shot him a look. “At least your sense of humor is still intact.”
 
He gave her a lopsided grin. “Always.”
 
He pulled his shirt off, and she refused to notice his wide shoulders and muscled chest, or the very interesting tattoo on the back of his right shoulder.
 
Okay, she did notice the tattoo, the Maltese cross with the three fists and the words “Brotherhood by Fire” surrounded by flames. She wanted to ask. She didn’t. He was hurt and she was his nurse and it was none of her business. She got him into a gown and hooked up to the machines so they could chart his vitals, all of which were ridiculously normal. She checked his eyes, which were dilating normally as well—a very good sign.
 
Amy, one of the nurses, brought her the fluid bag, so she started the IV. Rafe didn’t even flinch when she inserted the needle, which wasn’t a surprise. The guy was tough. She wet a washcloth with warm water and brought it over to clean the soot and grime off of his face.
 
“I didn’t know a bath was included,” he said, his warm brown eyes studying her the entire time.
 
Heat sang through her body. Normally, cleaning a patient was an emotionless task. She did it because it was part of her job. But with Rafe it felt . . . different. Intimate. Unnerving.
 
“I thought we might want to clean off some of this residue from the fire.”
 
“A nice hot shower would feel really good right about now.”
 
She swept his thick dark hair away from his forehead and finished cleaning his face. Such a gorgeous face, too, with angular lines and a very strong jaw. “Can’t do that for you, but does this feel better?”
 
He reached up and wrapped his fingers around hers. “You touching me feels good.”
 
That heat she felt earlier was replaced by an incredible tingling sensation that settled somewhere in the vicinity of her sex.
 
Whoa, girl, back up.
 
Which she did. “Okay, I can actually see your face now.”
 
He smiled, as if he knew exactly the effect he had on her.
 
She needed to remind herself that Rafe Donovan was a patient, and her neighbor, and that nothing was ever going to happen between the two of them.
 
Ever.
 
No matter how many times she’d fantasized about him.
 

END OF EXCERPT

 

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Perfect by Tricia Copeland (Book Showcase)


One driven woman. Five passionate paths to the perfect love.

Chloe refuses to compromise when it comes to romance and success. Powering through her sophomore-level college business classes, she’s done with the effort of distance-dating her high-school sweetheart. But when he proposes just as she hits it off with a hunky basketball player, she worries following her heart could send her bright future to the bench.

As Chloe matures becoming a rising star in the fashion industry, love knocks another four times. But while each potential suitor eventually pops the question, only she knows her ultimate happy ending.

Whose arms will embrace Chloe when she chooses her forever man?

Perfect is a standalone clean contemporary romance. If you like tender moments, lighthearted comedy, and endings you choose yourself, then you’ll adore Tricia Copeland’s option-filled tale.

Buy Perfect to pick your ideal walk down the aisle today!

 

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Abby

Reviewed in the United States on January 28, 2020

Format: Paperback
Mindy S.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Paths Not Taken

Reviewed in the United States on January 29, 2020

Format: Paperback

 

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Nevermore: Raven Crawford Book 2 by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Rundown waitress, part-time private investigator, and full-time shifter, Raven Crawford, always gets the opposite of what she wants most.  She works two jobs but can’t pay the bills. Her confrontation with Queen Lloth has unexpected and unfortunate consequences, and her love life is a hot mess.

With failure and disappointment honed to painful perfection, Raven’s life is riddled with complications, including her troublesome attraction to the lethal Lord of Shadows. When her latest case leads to a group hell-bent on destruction, she must decide who to trust. Will she choose wisely, or will she fail once again and become the next casualty in a war between the Mortal Realm and the Underworld?

 

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

When I read Conspiracy of Ravens (book one), I was immediately drawn into the story. Every character, no matter how big or small their role, captivated me. I liked the good guys/gals and even found myself warming up to the questionable characters as well. 

After reading Nevermore (book two), I can safely say it shared similar qualities with its predecessor: suspense, mystery, love, passion, shocking developments, humor, action, and plot twists. 

However, unlike CoR (acronym), I wasn’t instantly engaged with the storylines. I didn’t particularly care Robert (Raven’s ex) kept vanishing on his fiancée (Sarah). I didn’t mind Kelly Clementine (the teacher) was attempting to cheat the system and collect disability checks. I wanted more Cole and Raven time. I also wanted Bear to have more of a presence this time around. 

Oh, we did get more Cole time. Let me say; he will never have to resort to toys when he has shadows at his beck and call. *wink, wink* 

As for Bear, he didn’t grace the pages too much but Mike (younger brother) sure did. He brought the funny many times over. 

Even though I didn’t take a sudden liking to the sequel, my opinion changed halfway into the book. 

Raven’s two cases (Robert and Kelly) were linked. Bombshell after bombshell was dropped. When you think Raven’s life can’t become any more complicated, she learns another big secret that will change everything for her. I can’t wait to see how she’ll handle the latest curveball. 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤

 

~~ CHECK OUT BOOK ONE! ~~

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.

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J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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Conspiracy of Ravens: Raven Crawford Book 1 by J. C. McKenzie (Book Review)

Raven Crawford knows better than to venture into the seductive world of the dark fae or agree to any of their salacious promises. She plans to pay off her debts so she can get on with her life and stay far away from the denizens of the Underworld.

Unfortunately, her numbskull twin steals from the most tempting and lethal fae of them all. Now, Raven must help the Lord of Shadows get back what her idiot brother stole. Her only weapons? Just a little ingenuity and a whole lot of snark. It’s suicide for sure, but she’ll do anything to protect her twin.

 

 

Shadows encased them. Her scalp prickled as if someone reached out and gripped her head with giant fingers. Raven twisted around to find a large figure blocking out the moonlight.

“You!” she hissed.

“Move.” Cole’s deep voice punctured the quiet forest and silenced Mike’s whimpering.

Before she could demand answers, Cole flowed forward, gathered them both in his arms and pushed them into the darkness of the trees. A shadowy film settled over them, much like the dark cloak when Cole had pulled her into the shadows at Bear’s apartment.

A branch snapped down the deer trail to the right.

Cold settled over her skin.

Moments later another large, looming figure entered the clearing. Luke. Again. She couldn’t lose these two dark fae. They kept hopping back into her life like rabid fleas.

 

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

Conspiracy of Ravens is by far my favorite J.C. McKenzie novel

I loved how she didn’t limit herself to stereotypical shifting scenarios. Human body to ONE particular animal… No, not for JCM. JCM didn’t limit any character’s power, and the story was better for it. 

Mystery.

Passion. 

Love.

Anger.

Humor. 

Danger.

Magic.

Deception.

Heartache. 

Surprises. 

Plot twists.

You’ll find all the above in Conspiracy of RavensYou’ll also find yourself eagerly grabbing for book 2 in the series, Nevermore

Special note to the author: I love how Raven curses. “Odin’s scrotum!” 😀

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:  ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

J.C. McKenzie’s Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter |

Goodreads | Amazon | Newsletter

 

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One Hot Holiday by Cynthia Eden (Book Showcase)

She’s running for her life. He’s the safe haven she never expected to find. The holiday season is about to get HOT.

Hiding out for the holiday season in the heart of the South? Not something that Haley Quick ever expected to have on her to-do list but then…she never expected her ex to want her dead, either. Turns out, life is full of surprises. Time to deal. Haley has ditched New York for a crazy little dot on the map known as Point Hope, Alabama. It’s a town gone extra crazy for the holidays, and Haley is sticking out like a sore thumb with her very much Grinch-self.

But enter sexy sheriff Spencer Lane…Tall, muscled, and made with an extra dose of sex appeal, he is exactly the kind of man that Haley should be avoiding. He’s charming, he looks way too good in a Santa hat, and, oh, yes, he’s her new landlord. The hits just keep coming. She can’t afford to let Spencer learn all of her secrets, a tough job since she is living with the man. No sex, though. It’s purely a business relationship. Except…the holidays in the South sure do get HOT. Or maybe that’s just sexy Spencer. Usually, Haley falls for the bad guy. It’s the whole reason she’s running for her life. She can’t help but wonder…What would it be like to fall for a man like Spencer?

He just got his Christmas wish.

Sheriff Spencer Lane can’t believe his luck. The most beautiful, fascinating woman he’s ever seen has just dropped into his life like a gift from, well, the big guy in red. Only the problem is that Haley seems to think Spencer is some by-the-book, nice guy. Probably because of the badge. And if she wants him to be the hero, that’s a role that he’s happy to play for her. But the truth is, Spencer has plenty of darkness inside, too. Ex Special Forces, he knows how to get sh—um, stuff done. He also knows how to be very, very naughty.

When danger threatens his Haley, all bets are off. No one is going to hurt her. No one is going to threaten her. Not in his town. Not on his watch. The nice guy will show Haley just how bad he can be.

Fake snow, a parade of drunk elves, and a stalker ex don’t make for the merriest of times, but in Point Hope, anything can happen—and it usually does. Ready for a steamy story that will get you in the ho-ho-ho spirit? Settle back, curl up with Spencer, and have yourself a jolly old time.

 

~ Click HERE to read Chapter One!~

 

 

 

 

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