Author Archive: Steph

Texas Hold ‘Em – Kay David – 3.5 stars

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The Blurb:

Part law enforcement. Part criminal. And all deliciously bad…

Working undercover as part of an elite team of Rangers disguised as the Smokin’ ACES biker gang, Timothy Santos walks the thin line between law-enforcer and law-breaker. With one of his informants missing—and possibly dead—at the hands of vicious cartel leader El Brujo, Santos will do whatever it takes to find justice. Even if it means heading to Rio County to look up his former lover…who’s not only the sheriff, but Santos’s only lead.

Rose Renwick is not happy to see Santos. In the past, their chemistry had been explosive—raw, sensual, and unforgettable—but she’d been burned. Now Santos is back in town, looking just as lethal and as irresistible as she remembered. But Santos wants something from her—and suddenly Rose’s family is in danger and her town is under attack. The only way out is to trust the one man she swore never to trust again. Ante up..

My Thoughts:

I can already say I am looking forward to the next one in this series so it can land in my mailbox any time now…  LOL

Timothy carries a lot of secrets in his head and heart.  One of the biggest ones is that he is still in love with his ex but knows one of the other major secrets he has will make being back with her impossible.  He’s always seen life in shades of black and white but as he works this latest undercover op he realizes things are not always cut and dry with the ones you love.  He’s a hard man to get to know and it took a bit for him to grow on me but when he did I wanted to be in Rose’s shoes because having a man that intensely in love with you yet willing to let you shine would be awesome.  He is very driven to protect those he loves but also to do the right thing even at the expense of self and I loved that.

Rose is very stubborn and independent but also has some major secrets that she kept from the man who held her heart.  She’s shocked when she sees him and finds out a bit of what he is doing in town but she can’t afford to let him completely in her life because one of the items she holds secret is something he would never be able to understand or see beyond.  The good news is she spills the secret to him and unlike what she believed he not only understood it but there was more to what she thought she knew about their split.  He’s such a closed door to her that when she can’t ignore her feelings for him it tears at her inside.  She doesn’t want to vulnerable to him but he just has a way of getting beneath her skin and she can’t turn away.

This was a good story with believable conflict from the main pair and from the external players.  I can’t wait to see more of the team and watch as everyone finds their HEAs.  I would have liked a bit more time with the main pair in this one but the pacing was still believable and very nicely done.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion.

Gone With the Wolf – Kristin Miller – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

CEO and alpha werewolf Drake Wilder has given up the search for his one true love. When he discovers that she’s a secretary in his company, Drake’s primal instincts kick into overdrive.

What he wouldn’t give to have her fingers rake over his body instead of the keyboard…

Free-spirited bartender Emelia Hudson wants nothing more than to make her Seattle-based bar succeed. But when profits decline, she slips into a dress suit and secures a nine-to-five. After learning that her bar has become property of Wilder Financial, Emelia is determined to get some answers.

Two can play the ruthless business game. If only her attraction to the boss wasn’t so intense…

When Drake’s twin brother senses that Drake has found his match—and now inherits their father’s billion dollar estate—he hatches a plan to take Emelia out. Drake vows to protect her at all costs, but he might have to pay with his own life.

My Thoughts:

As the blurb says we have another book of fated matches but this book takes that premise and changes it a bit.  We have an Alpha that is torn with his need to be with his true mate and one that wants to continue his line but knows (or does he) that his true mate would end up being killed if she ever got pregnant and came to term having the baby would kill her.  So here we go in to the story…

Drake is a 300 year old wolf who also happens to be a twin Alpha.  His father decreed that in order for one of the twins to become Alpha they would have to meet their one true mate.  Drake doesn’t want to completely destroy his brother so put his search for his mate on the back burner but fate has a way of bringing you what you really want when you least expect it.  He runs in to the woman fated to be his in the basement of his house drinking some rather expensive wine and immediately needs to not only be with her but find out everything he can.  He accomplishes this by moving her up to be an assistant to him and as he gets to be around her more and more the conflict in his head begins.  You see she’s human and he’s always been told that human mates of Alphas don’t survive.  The other thing about him is his driven personality and the sheer amount of control he has over every aspect of it.  He can’t just relax and see anything other than the bottom line so is puzzled when his mate isn’t willing to just let something dear to her go even though it makes no practical sense.

Emelia just wants to get even with the no-good businessman who claims that the bar/building she owns is actually his.  She can’t even get a response from him or a meeting with him so decides to work for his company as a temp in order to hopefully get to meet him.  At the party she meets a man who brings out feelings in her she never expected and when she finds out this man is the same businessman that is stealing her life from her she does some stupid things to get even.  As she gets to know him and is put in danger due to his brother she wants more than just a fling she wants him.  She pushes him outside of his shell but when he does something stupid that seems to show her he is nothing more than a bottom line guy can she really live with that?

Both of them were stubborn and the conflict with the twin was believable although I wish we had more time to see a bit more of the dynamic.  I do hope she comes back to this world so we can see more of the main pair and learn more about the pack.  I have to say thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest opinion.  I appreciate it and am looking forward to more by the author in the future.

True – Erin McCarthy – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

When Rory Macintosh’s roommates find out that their studious and shy friend has never been with a guy, they decide that, as an act of kindness they’ll help her lose her virginity by hiring confident, tattooed bad boy Tyler Mann to do the job…unbeknownst to Rory.

Tyler knows he’s not good enough for Rory. She’s smart, doctor smart, while he’s barely scraping by at his EMT program, hoping to pull his younger brothers out of the hell their druggy mother has left them in. But he can’t resist taking up her roommates on an opportunity to get to know her better. There’s something about her honesty that keeps him coming back when he knows he shouldn’t…

Torn between common sense and desire, the two find themselves caught up in a passionate relationship. But when Tyler’s broken family threatens to destroy his future, and hers, Rory will need to decide whether to cut her ties to his risky world or follow her heart, no matter what the cost…

My Thoughts:

I was very lucky to meet Erin Galloway at an RT Convention unofficial Blogger event sponsored by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and Dear Author.  We had a great time and as a part of this event Erin was nice enough to offer us a chance to read this title with no pressure for review.  I have to say I am looking forward to the next one as even though I didn’t like most of the “friends” that surround the main characters I did love his family and the next one is about his brother plus one of the “friends”.

Rory has always been an outsider when it comes to being a normal young woman.  She’s very smart and driven but when it comes to social interaction she’s lost.  An introvert by nature and shaped by life with her introverted father she skipped out on having dates, boyfriends and all the other drama that comes with getting older but in college she ends up being roommates with two women that are much wilder and willing to live life for fun than she has ever been.  When they find out she’s a virgin they decide pairing her up with someone her complete opposite from the outside would do the trick.  She finds out that love, sex and passion are not as easy as she would have hoped but that what people see on the outside is not necessarily the true version that exists if you look behind the facade. She grows up a lot during this story and I have to say I liked how much she was willing to push her family and the man who ended up stealing her heart.  She isn’t perfect and at times is overly dramatic but it never made me roll my eyes as the author does a good job making you see why the reactions fit Rory.

Tyler…  sigh… I have to say I adored Tyler once we got around his tough exterior.  He does things not because he wants to but out of a huge sense of honor that even though they are not always smooth or appropriate are truly heartfelt and moving.  He starts hanging out with Rory to get to know her better and as they start to develop a real relationship also tries to let her go knowing in his heart he is beneath her.  She’s smart, sweet and according to him worthy of someone that is more than the son of a druggie that is going to be lucky to get his EMT certification and then work to build a new life for his two younger brothers.  He’s very stoic about what he deals with from his mom but when the worst happens his only real thought is to protect Rory from being taken down with him.  I adored this tattooed, pierced bad boy with a heart of gold and do want to see more of him.  My hope is we will get to see him managing to get out from under the hole he is in when we see his brother’s story.

This was a wonderful read other than the secondary characters who managed to piss me off because of their behavior.  Neither set of them seemed worthy of the loyalty Rory and Tyler show them other than maybe Nathan but I just felt like slapping them all at times and saying grow the hell up!

Thanks again to Erin at Penguin/Berkeley Publishing for giving me the chance to read this one as I greatly enjoyed it.  Please keep me in mind if you want to send me the next one… 😉

The Awakening: Aidan – Abby Niles – 3 stars

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The Blurb:

Is the gift of eternal love a blessing or a curse?

After years of counseling grieving shifters, psychiatrist and half-shifter, Dr. Jaylin Avgar has become jaded on shifter mating. She wants to marry a human and forget about the love for eternity crap. Then she meets Aidan O’Connell, an infuriatingly laid back shifter who represents everything she doesn’t want. Yet, the more he pursues her, the more she craves a future with him. Only one thing stands in her way: death. Can she overcome her fear of losing Aidan to the one guarantee in life?

Millionaire consultant, Aidan O’Connell knows he’ll one day meet a woman who’ll awaken an unrelenting mating instinct. Unfortunately, that woman is Jaylin, who has no qualms about telling him that he and his so-called eternity can shove it. When she pushes him away, he takes a drastic step so she can no longer escape. The close proximity throws the instinct into overdrive. Can he control the need engrained in him until he’s certain she will reciprocate the bond, or will a moment of weakness doom him to hell on earth?

My Thoughts:

While this was a nice read I find myself a little torn on how to rate this one.  I mean I liked the characters and the world that was built but I can’t quite figure out why I’m torn on it.

Aidan has waited all his life to meet his fated mate but meeting her when he is trying to save his friend from the madness that can hit shifters if their fated mate rejects them is just not optimal.  He’s very laid back but stubborn when it comes to pursuing her even when she does everything she can to dissuade him and avoid contact.  He’s got issues with his past and is conflicted with what he did in the name of making money but when we meet him he’s a good man worried about his buddy.  He pushes her to not only help his buddy but also to see beyond her fear of the bonding that they would share should they complete it.

Jaylin has a very jaded view of the wonders of shifter bonded mates.  You see she’s witnessed first hand the devastation they can cause when one partner dies or rejects the bond.  She’s decided that even though she’s a half-shifter she only wants to find herself a human male to build a life with.  She’s also decided to change her practice to human only which is causing her to have money problems.  When Aidan calls her to help his friend break out of the trance he’s gone in to she’s in a huge hurry to get out of there as she realizes he’s drawn to her.  As she realizes what is happening she tries her best to avoid him but when he abducts her and puts on the mask he wore in his old life she realizes that she wants the old laid back Aidan not the cold almost cruel one.

Of course we wouldn’t have a story if something bad didn’t happen and when it does we get to see more than a bit of angst as everyone tries to get it resolved.  I liked the moments between Aidan and Jaylin when they let their walls down and truly interacted but those weren’t frequent as both sides had issues to resolve.

Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  I would like to see more of this world and hope she will revisit it.

Rocky Mountain Rebel – Vivian Arend – 4.5 stars

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The Blurb:

The best type of growing up involves getting down and dirty

Vicki Hansol made different choices than her less-than-reputable mom and sister, yet her fiery temper has left her branded with the same town-bad-girl label. When she desperately needs a change of scenery, her get-out-of-town-free ticket arrives—and requires she face down one of her deepest fears.

Easygoing Joel Coleman has nothing to complain about, but he’s never really done anything to brag about either. The youngest member of the Six Pack Ranch is looking to make some changes in his life that include stepping out from under his twin brother’s shadow.

So when the bold beauty with the smart mouth approaches him with a proposition, Joel is intrigued. Her request for him to teach her to ridesoon takes on a whole new meaning. All that passion in his arms, his bed, in the barn…hell, anywhere he can get it? Bring it on.

But tangling the sheets leads to unanticipated complications, and by the time the dust settles, everything family means is going to be challenged.

Caution: Saddle up for some youthful vigor applied with great enthusiasm. Ropes, rails and raunchy sex—there’s more places to get dirty around the ranch than first meets the eye.

My Thoughts:

As always I adore Vivian Arend’s writing, she has a way of making you love the characters even when they behave in ways you don’t expect.  In this case she not only gives us a lovely story of two misunderstood people finding one another but she gives us great stories that are giving us the building blocks of future books.

Joel has always been the willing partner in his twin brother’s games but as he gets a bit older he finds himself not wanting to live the party lifestyle although he isn’t in any huge hurry to be in a serious relationship.  When he sees Vicki Hansol at the local cafe he is intrigued by her spunk and her looks.  He’s shocked when she comes out to the ranch to ask him for help but sees this as a chance to not only help a woman he’s attracted to but also a chance to finally get seen as something other than one of the wild Coleman twins.  He goes through a lot as he and VIcki connect but even though he loses his brother a bit he gains self-pride and a future he never saw coming.

Vicki has lived her life being yet another one of the Hansol whores.  The sad thing is she isn’t what people have made her out to be but with her mom and sister sleeping their way through the area she hasn’t had a chance to prove her own worth outside that misconception.  After she loses another job due to being unable to tolerate the maltreatment she finds a savior in Joel.  He sees her real personality and doesn’t seem to paint her with the reputation of her family.  She gets another job but also an offer on an amazing job that won’t be available until late the next spring but it means she would have to face a huge phobia- horses.  This job means the world to her as it could get her away from the reputation she’s been given just because of her last name but she has to learn how to be near the scary beasts.  As she gets to know more about Joel and as they pretend to be in a relationship things begin to spiral out of her control and she finds herself wondering….  what do I really want and need?

I loved this story and even though Jesse (Joel’s twin) is a royal asshole in this story I can’t wait until he grows up to become an amazing man.  I also am looking forward to Travis’ story as he seems to be struggling with exactly what he wants and needs so it will be fun to watch him get kicked in the ass to move forward.

Great story and I cannot thank Vivian enough for letting Fatin send this one to me!  Give me more Colemans any day and I will be a happy girl. Viv didn’t require me to write a review but I am doing so with no input from her or Fatin.

For those heading to the Lori Foster Reader and Author Get Together in June 2013 please find me there as I have some goodies that Viv gave me at RT and will be giving them away to people that ask as long as I have them.

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A Tale from RT- Covet Thy Neighbor – L.A.Witt – 5 stars

The story of how I got the title & met a wonderful lady:

I could start this story in a really cheesy way…  There I was getting on an elevator at RT…

I’m going to just dive in and tell how this wonderful book ended up in my possession.  I might not have the exact conversation correct but the gist is there.

So the RT convention was an insane time but I met quite a few wonderful people and got asked the following question a ton of times – “What genres do you read?”  My answer was typically “Um…  all of them but I don’t do overly preachy inspirational romances.”  Well on one such elevator ride a woman turns around at my answer and tells me she has a book for me then.  I wasn’t certain who she was but I’m always happy to check out new titles.  She then proceeds to tell me that it has an atheist and a pastor.  Well…  how can one turn a title pitched like that down?  She proceeded to give me her card and tell me to send her an email so she could send me a copy if I wanted to check it out.  Well I can’t remember if it was that night or the next night (early morning) I finally got a chance to check out the blurb for it and saw…  Tattooed atheist???  *THUNK* Also I noted that not only was her comment that no one was magically saved during the story correct but that a few reviews I looked at said the same.  I sent her an email and the rest as we shall say…  was history.

The woman on the elevator – the amazing Sarah Frantz from Riptide Publishing.  I cannot thank her enough for telling me about the title and then being awesome enough to send me a copy of it just to read.  She didn’t require a review or tell me to gush over it but here I am doing just that.

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The Blurb:

Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smokescreen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

My thoughts:

I’m keeping this review short and sweet.  You don’t get a true HEA in this story but you do get a more realistic ending than most stories I’ve read recently.  Do I think they are going to be an HEA?  Oh heck yes but I liked the way this ended.

Seth is an incredible man who in most respects seems happy and healthy but he’s missing someone to share this with.  He’s convinced that he is only a love ’em and leave ’em type but he’s really a huge softie underneath the tattoos.  He finds himself immediately attracted to the new neighbor but when he finds out the man is a pastor it puts him off-limits.  Seth has a major problem with organized religion and this amazing connection he feels just can’t be right.  I loved watching his interaction with his friends and it was amazing to see how much he helped a character in this story at the church.

Darren is an amazing man who just happens to be a pastor.  He finds himself incredibly attracted to Seth and when he sees something he wants he goes after it.  He’s a bit gun-shy in some respects but as you find out more about why he has moved to Tucker Springs it will make you mad at how much people buy in to stereotypes and misinformation.  I loved how much he was willing to do to help people and understand that not everyone will be willing to see the person behind the label.  He was just an amazing person and I hope that we will get to see him in future stories.

Now to them as a pair, they have a ton of stuff to work through but when they combust multiple times through the book you’ll have to fan yourself and maybe even get some ice.  They have an amazing connection that jumps off the page and how realistically L.A. Witt puts them through the wringer deciding what is best was just incredible to read.  While they do have problems you get a great sense of what both characters are thinking and feeling so the decisions they make are reasonable plus there really is none of the stupid big misunderstanding that pulls them apart.  I adored this story and really hope you will as well.  I cannot thank Sarah enough!!

Ruby – Jeffe Kennedy – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

Book three of Facets of Passion

Danielle Sosna has no problem denying herself in order to achieve her goals—after all, that attitude landed her a dream job at Vogue Paris. But in New Orleans for one last assignment before heading overseas, she’s faced with the most decadent of temptations. Seductive Cajun chef Bobby Prejean takes Dani’s strength of will as a challenge, and offers her a night of wild indulgence—if she will agree to obey his every command…

Dani can’t resist Prejean’s invitation to join him in a world of carnal desire, complete with fetish costumes and masks. Determined to keep her emotional distance, she gives Prejean everything but her name. A night becomes a week, as she spends Mardi Gras suspended…in the delicious space where pleasure meets pain.

Too late, she realizes the cloak of anonymity has not protected her—and that chasing her dream might come at the expense of her heart.

For more Facets of Passion, check out Sapphire and Platinum, available now!

My Thoughts:

Oh dear GAWD I want a Cajun of my own like Prejean.  He’s just deliciously dirty and so willing to give her everything she desires while still retaining a level of control over her that is caring and not smothering.  I just…  YUM!

Don’t try to make sense of only knowing someone for a week and being willing to think of them in terms of forever..  I mean for me that usually is a WTF thing that I have trouble seeing around but in this case I can overlook it just because of how yummy Prejean is.

Dani is in New Orleans to do a final shoot for the magazine she is working for before taking off for what she thinks is her dream job in Paris for Vogue.  She’s an expert at self-control and has this incessant need to be in charge no matter how much it hurts to deny herself things she craves.  Weakness is something she cannot stand and self-denial has gotten her to where she is today.  When she gets her attitude handed back to her in spades she’s shocked and even more shocked when this horrid chef makes her a proposition she just can’t seem to refuse later that same day.  She’s willing to be with him for the week she has left in town but on her terms.  He can’t know her name and she doesn’t want this to be anything more than a fling.  What she gets is someone who reads her like an open book and breaks down every single barrier she has.

Prejean…  Bobby Prejean… now this is one sexy ass Cajun.  Dear lord I’d have to let him have his way with me if he asked because he is just that damn appealing.  He’s drawn to Dani and finds himself wanting to make her open up to him in ways that are more than just a fling.  He brings out the best in her just by being there to push her beyond her controls and opens her eyes to what she truly wants versus what her father would have wanted.  He’s definitely a Dom but I liked how he read her needs and didn’t give her what she thought he was going to but gave her constant surprises.  He treated her like a treasure and I melted at that.  I also melted a bit when we got to see his pain and what he is struggling to move on from.  I adored him..  truly adored him.

Hot sex, wonderfully caring Dom and an interesting story made this a wonderfully quick read.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always if you want this or other Carina Press titles please click the link on my sidebar.

The Rebound Girl – Tamara Morgan – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

Book one of Getting Physical

Plastic surgeon Whitney Vidra knows all about getting over a cheating ex. She followed her boyfriend halfway around the world before she found out about his infidelity. Now she’s focusing on her career and her friends, and using men just for single-serving, no-strings fun. Until she meets charming Matt Fuller.

Newly single Matt is captivated by the vibrant Whitney, in every way the opposite of his cheating ex-wife. When he confesses to Whitney that he hasn’t had sex since his divorce, she volunteers to be his rebound girl. But Matt’s not a no-commitment kind of guy—he’s either all in, or all out.

Whitney is determined to remain attachment-free, but Matt is equally determined to prove to her that what they have is more than just a rebound fling.

My Thoughts:

I struggled with how to rank this one.  I loved it but there was one thing keeping it from a 5 star for me – the heroine.  I liked her but she was just so hard to get close to for both the reader and her adorable hero.

Whitney is used to getting her own way and will let nothing sidetrack her from her goals of opening a medical spa with her friends.  She’s also very open when it comes to sex but  is not willing to even consider that there might just be a relationship and love out there for her.  She’s scarred from her past where a man she gave up everything for ended up cheating on her and is determined to never be that vulnerable again.  She’s loud and opinionated but in this small town it makes her a pariah and not someone that will fit in which ends up causing things to happen that put their plans of a medical spa in jeopardy.  Before all this happens she meets Matt in a bar and can’t help but feel for this obviously sweet man that is so horrifically clueless when it comes to dating or picking up women.

Matt is still smarting from his divorce from a woman who cheated on him.  He’s such a good guy though that he keeps helping her at every turn and while lonely isn’t quite ready to start again.  When he gets a chance to meet Whitney he’s intrigued and extremely interested in this woman who doesn’t seem to care what people think.  She’s exciting and outlandish but there is something about her that calls to him for more more more.  He’s shocked when she suggests she be his rebound girl but is unwilling to have intercourse with her unless they are truly in a relationship.  He’s strong and yet there is this inherent weakness in him for taking care of people at the expense of self that you just can’t help but be drawn to.  He’s also deliciously sexy with what he is willing to do with and for Whitney sexually other than full intercourse.  I loved him and I have to say I cheered when he finally let everything out to stand up for himself and his needs.  He didn’t deserve the crap people were willing to put on his shoulders but at the same time he needed to learn that he was worthy on his own and to put boundaries in place when needed.

Ok… where I had problems…  Whitney was very harsh on Matt in many sections of this book and I’m sorry I did get a bit frustrated with her.  I only wish she had been able to let him in a bit more and a bit earlier even though I did understand it.  I liked Whitney being strong and everything but she came dangerously close to just being a bitch at times…..

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for giving me the chance to read this one in exchange for my honest review.  I’d have to say read this for our amazingly wonderful hero.  You’ll warm up to Whitney eventually but Matt makes the book.  As always if you want this or other Carina Press titles please click the link on my sidebar.

How Beauty Loved the Beast – Jax Garren – 5 stars – Contest!

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The Blurb:

It’s all been leading to this.

Jolie Benoit has become a skilled agent of the Underlight, relying on her savvy to complete assignments while Sergeant Wesley Haukon was out of commission. But an unexpected clue to the Order of Ananke’s diabolical scheme rattles Jolie, and she turns to Hauk for comfort.

It’s been years since Hauk took comfort from the touch of another person, though his love for Jolie is deep and powerful. Uncomfortable in his skin, scarred by a terrible fire, he is unable to give in to the pleasures that Jolie so desperately wants to grant him.

Meanwhile, the Order is lurking in the shadows—and when they strike, the blow is swift and terrible. Hauk and Jolie scramble to fight for their community, but with the future of the Underlight threatened, no one is safe. And Hauk will never be the same…

My Thoughts:

I really wanted this story but at the same time having this story makes me sad.  I mean I have been craving watching Jolie and my so worthy Hauk find their HEA but at the same time knowing they have their HEA means that their story arc is over.  Others who are as addicted to them understand my quandary but I hold out hope that Jax will get a chance to show more of the Underlight and give us more glimpses of this amazing couple.

As those of you who have been following the series know, Hauk has had a major thing for Jolie since the moment he met her but his scars and status as a fugitive make him feel that he is unworthy of such a beautiful person (inside and out).  He always dreams for more and at the end of How Beauty Save the Beast we got to see Jolie make her intentions towards this honorable man known.  When we start this story Hauk is still healing from his injuries and it is causing Jolie to go a bit crazy with both missing him and worrying about him.  She also is having to own up to her own blindness when it comes to fitting in to the Underlight and what she needs to do to make them feel like she really is there for the movement.  She works hard to become accepted and I really enjoyed her willingness to see things from their side and not just get hurt/pouty when not everyone warmed up to her.

This is not an easy story to write a review on as I want to let you enjoy the twists and turns Jax takes us on even when they break your heart a bit.  I have to admit to sobbing a few times in this as their road to bliss is not an easy one and watching both of them struggle to help Hauk with his self-confidence was at times painful to read but so worth every second and tear it brought out of me.  I’m keeping this review short but I have to tell you that if you haven’t read this series you need to do so as it is such a worthy storyline to read and enjoy.  These are two people that really deserve every ounce of happiness they can get and I adored that it did take so long to get there as neither character would have stayed true to themselves without all the pain and angst.

Beautiful story and a wonderful ending to an amazing pair.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Carina Press for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  Oh and I was lucky enough to meet Jax Garren at the RT Convention so I can say truthfully she is as lovely a lady in person as she is a wonderful writer.  I cannot wait for more stories from her and I hope that she goes far in this business.

As always if you wish to purchase this or other Carina Press titles please visit the sidebar for the link to their site.

Now for the good stuff…  I adored this series and want to share my adoration with 2 lucky commentors to this post.  I will draw 2 winners that will get all 3 stories (Met, Saved, Loved) in either a Nook or Kindle format.  Contest will end at 11:59 pm CT Sunday May 19th with winners getting emails early on Monday May 20th.  Please just tell me what you like to see in a love story and the format that you would prefer if you win.  If for some reason you cannot get a comment to save on the site please tweet me at @sac402 to enter.

Wife in Name Only – Hayson Manning – 3 stars

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The Blurb:

Trapped in a loveless marriage, Zoe Hughes escaped to make a new life for herself on the tiny island of Tonga. Now she runs a successful boutique honeymoon resort. Selling true love is easy. No one needs to know she’s married in name only. At least until America’s premier honeymoon magazine wants to publish a feature on her perfect marriage. Now she must convince her estranged husband to rip himself away from plotting corporate takeovers in LA to save her island paradise.

Rory agrees to come for forty-eight hours, but only because he needs the positive PR. To his surprise, the wife he finds in Tonga isn’t the same woman he married. Now she’s so much more…

When a storm strands Rory in Tonga, will he win back his wife or leave paradise empty-handed?

My Thoughts:

Zoe loved her husband so much that when he changed to nothing more than a money-making machine she decided it wasn’t worth it any more.  She decided to leave him and go halfway around the world to an isolated island to create a wonderful honeymoon destination.  Unfortunately for her a major magazine wants to do a story about her and the husband that is known in the media as the Ice Man but she hasn’t seen him in a year.  She has to call him and ask for his help no matter how much it kills her to do so.  After they end up stuck together because of an impending storm she is confronted with the fact that she’s changed but he’s still the same distant man who only cares for his business and making money.  She’s emboldened by his secretary to try to reach the man she loved but in doing so becomes someone she hates.  She’s strong enough to walk away from what she wants so desperately but knows won’t be good for her no matter what she does.

Rory was a hard sell in this story.  He’s very brutal in his assessment of Zoe and what he wants but he can’t see that his inattention killed the very spirit that originally drew him to her.  He’s at loose ends during most of this story and says/does things that made me cringe.  I wish we had gotten more about his history as it might have made him a bit more sympathetic but I did get the feeling that he truly did love Zoe under all the macho caveman behavior.  He’s gruff and very obsessed with his business but as time passes on the island you see him changing.  Slowly…  but changing enough that his behavior at the end made sense and I really did have hope that they would be happy and make things work.

This was a good story that I think could have been great if it had been just a bit longer so you could get more of a feel for what made Rory tick.  I mean I got that to him money = security for Zoe.  I got that he equated material possessions with love but I wanted to know more about why emotion made him shut down and panic.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Entangled Publishing for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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