Category Archives: Harlequin

Too Hot to Handle – Victoria Dahl – 3.5 stars

Too Hot to Handle

 

The Blurb:

This good girl’s going bad…. Merry Kade has always been the good girl. The best friend. The one who patiently waits for the guy to notice her. Well, no more. Merry has just scored her dream job, and it’s time for her life to change. As the new curator of a museum in Wyoming, she’ll supervise a lot of restoration work. Luckily she’s found the perfect contractor for the job.

Shane Harcourt can’t believe that someone wants to turn a beat-up ghost town into a museum attraction. After all, the last thing he needs is the site of his dream ranch turning into a tourist trap. He’ll work on the project, if only to hasten its failure…until the beautiful, quirky woman in charge starts to change his mind.

For the first time ever, Merry has a gorgeous stud hot on her heels. But can she trust this strong, silent man, even if he is a force of nature in bed? When Shane’s ulterior motives come out, he’ll need to prove to Merry that a love like theirs may be too hot to handle, but it’s impossible to resist.

 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story because I really do understand where Merry was coming from when she feels like she is always the buddy.  As a fellow friend zone  female all the way through high school I felt her pain in that regard.  I was happy to know that she ends up getting the HEA she deserved with a man who wasn’t perfect but really did belong to her in the end.

Merry has been floating through life but really has always just wanted to find somewhere she could prove her worth and really do something.  She finds this place when she is offered the chance to restore and preserve an old ghost town.  She also finds a man who makes her want to end her drought if only he could be interested in her.  When she finds out she was just hired to act as a way for the trust to win a lawsuit brought by the grandson of the trust creator to get the money that was slated to go to it from the estate , she’s understandably devastated.  Being Merry she picks herself up and decides to push forward by hiring a carpenter to start fixing up the town and by deciding to go for it where the hunky neighbor is concerned.  I mean not like he’s really going to be interested in her as anything other than a pity fling but hey why not scratch the itch if he’s willing to play along.  She’s sweet, cute, quirky and definitely someone you want to protect from all the ugly in the world but not because you think she’s weak or silly but because everyone needs one of those people who can make you smile just because they are so nice.

Shane has an agenda when he meets Merry and discovers that she is working for the trust wanting to save the ghost town he just wants to be forgotten.  He’s the person holding up the money but isn’t ready to tell her exactly who he is.  He starts off just working out on the town to see what the board is doing out on the property but as he spends more time around her he starts to see what she sees in the town and also that she pushes all the right buttons in him.  He’s drawn to her and as he spends more time with her has a harder time telling her the truth about himself because he just wants to have her still like him and not hate him.  He’s convinced that he’s never going to fall in love or be able to be a true partner in a committed relationship because of his family’s history but as well all know…. in romance land these are the men that fall the hardest…  😉

 

This was a nice sweet read with a good amount of heat but I enjoyed the heart behind their actions and that Merry really isn’t what she seems to be but is stronger than even she realized.  She and Shane are such a good match that you will root for as they work through their issues.

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Making Him Sweat – Meg Maguire – 4 stars

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The Blurb:

She’s hitting below the belt…

Round 1
In this corner is admittedly romantic Jenna Wilinski, who’s inherited a rather seedy boxing gym from her estranged father. With it, she can realize her dream of launching an upscale matchmaking business…provided she can take on the very intimidating—and wickedly hot—boxer who stands in her way!

Round 2
In the far corner is former pro boxer Mercer Rowley. He’s the only one who can protect his “home”—even if it is a little run-down— from his determined and feisty little opponent. But man, once the gloves come off, his hands just want to touch her everywhere…

Round 3
This matchup is too close to call. But no matter which contender comes out on top, the other is sure to enjoy every minute of it….

 

My Thoughts:

This was an interesting story of how things are not always the way you imagine them to be.  Both main characters think they have each other figured out and realize over time that maybe just maybe people are more than their outer appearances and professions entail.

Jenna was estranged from her father at a very early age.  We find out why as the story unfolds but she has a lot of bad impressions of fighters due to this.  She inherits the gym her father owned and has plans to open a matchmaking business to replace it.  She’s confronted by the manager of the gym and when she also feels a strong attraction to him she just doesn’t know what to think of it.  During the course of this story she finds out more about the man her father was and also realizes that what she needs isn’t necessarily what she planned out in minute detail for her life.

Mercer isn’t looking forward to meeting this “daughter” of his mentor.  She hasn’t been a part of his life even when he was dying so he isn’t prepared to meet someone that draws out all his protective instincts and lustful thoughts.  He’s upset when she plans to close the gym that has been his life for years but as he gets to know her he does understand it.  He’s a very smart man underneath the rough exterior and seeing him open up about what he wants from life was interesting.

There is a nice amount of chemistry in this and there is a bit of an opening for more about the gym along with the matchmaking business that I hope gets to be told.  Special thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  As always if you wish to purchase this or other Harlequin titles a link to their site is on my sidebar.

Big Shot – Joanna Wayne – 3 stars

Durk is heading to the ranch for a nice week off when he gets a call from his mom to check in on his aunt.  When he gets to the hospital he steps out of the way of a gurney with a badly beaten woman on it and his heart stops.  The woman is someone he thought he would never see again and the woman who holds his heart even though they split over two years prior, Meghan.  He steps in and knows he has to help even though they aren’t together any more.  He’s a very sexy man and when the truth starts to come out about him and Meghan you wonder why she ever let him go.  Oh yeah…  she thought her career was more important than her safety and him…  oopsie.  I liked that he just wanted to keep her safe but realized that she would do what she felt was right even at the expense of self.  He didn’t want to control her but wanted her to stop taking so many risks that would eventually catch up to her.  I guess you could say this latest risk did catch up to her but not in the way he feared.

Meghan has been working as a PI and is very good at her job.  Unfortunately she takes a lot of risks but is willing to do so if it means getting put in the line of fire.  She’s beaten almost to death and has lost her memory of almost everything including her family and her time with Durk.  She’s also lost her assistant as he was killed in her office shortly after her beating by the gun she always carries.  She’s hurting and confused but wants to help figure out what exactly happened and is very attracted to Durk.  She wants him but isn’t sure why he would want her since he is amazingly handsome and wealthy.  I enjoyed watching her put together the pieces of her life and realize what truly was important.  My only complaint was I wanted to see more time put in to their relationship than what was given.  I know with the little history we get they had an amazing connection so the whole yes we are meant to be together wasn’t overly hurried but…

Anyway thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  Please check the sidebar for the link to the Harlequin website if you wish to check this one out.

After the Storm – Amy Knupp – 4 Stars

I have to say this was a really nice read that made me smile and sniffle a bit.  There is a lot to be said for a read that can make you feel like you are a part of the characters lives and you understand why they are doing what they are doing even if you don’t like what they are doing to each other.

Nadia is running a bit late.  She’s such a work-a-holic that she stayed later than expected during a mandatory evac of the island as a hurricane approached.  As she is trying to leave a sign falls and pins her car.  She can’t get out and makes a call to 911 for rescue.  It comes in the form of a man she rescheduled one date with then left in the middle of another to go to work.  She’s got major issues with taking any time for herself but instead throws herself in to the running of her family’s hotel.  She’s good at what she does but sometimes you need something to kick you in the ass to realize work isn’t everything and if you use it as a substitute for a life…  you end up lonely and shortchanged.

Ok..  that came out a bit harsh…  not that I think everyone needs to be in a relationship to be happy but if all you have is work and you even put friendships on hold…  now that is sad.

Penn is obsessed with being a firefighter.  It defines him and all he is..  or at least that is what he thinks..  He’s not surprised that Nadia’s work made her run late on evacuating since she messed up two date attempts.  While he is working on getting her car free he gets hit by debris which permanently changes his future.  He can’t be what he loves any more and he takes it out on everyone…  especially her.  After all if she had left on time he wouldn’t have lost his passion.  He’s still attracted to her but does all sorts of things to drive her away.  He keeps everyone at a distance but in this story as he comes to terms with his injury and loss he learns a ton about his family and himself.  Watching him wake up and heal was wonderful.

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.  This is worth a read for many reasons so go grab it.  Check the sidebar for the link to the Carina Press website to pick this up in the format you choose.

A Night of No Return – Sarah Morgan – 3 stars

 

Lucas just wants to be left alone and he goes to his estate to do just that.  Unfortunately his soon-to-be ex-bf decides to throw a surprise party for “him” which he promptly disbands and then also gets rid of the woman.  He’s just wanting to be alone so he can drink himself into a stupor but things don’t always work the way you want them to.  He’s hardened his heart against love believing himself to not be worthy of anything more than a quick affair.

 

Emma is a good girl working for Lucas as his assistant.  He expects nothing less than perfection and buries himself and her in work.  Nothing is important to him other than the job.  She realizes as she is packing up to leave the office for holiday that he has left a rather important file at the office.  She ends up driving out to the estate during a blizzard to return it and ends up seeing how tortured he is so stays there to make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid or hurts himself.  With this one kind action she ends up getting more than she bargained for but as they both work thru their issues they both end up with what they never thought was possible.

 

My heart hurt for both of them placed in to situations where neither was getting what they truly deserved or needed.   Emma is such a kind person and works so hard for what she has even at the expense of self.  I loved her but felt that the story was a bit rushed in some respects.  I think if we had more time to get to see the two of them together outside of the trip I might have bought in to it a bit more but all in all a nice quick read.

 

Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for giving me the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

The Prince – Tiffany Reisz – 5 Stars!! No Spoilers!

Ok…  It’s official…  She’s a genius..  an evil one since we have to wait for more but a genius..  🙂

This is going to be a really short review as I do not want to give away any spoilers but trust me you want to read this you really really do…

After The Angel we saw Nora running to her Wesley and leaving Søren holding her collar, I was feeling really horrible for him at the end of it and after reading this one I just don’t know any more who I want Nora with.  I love our sweet Wesley but…

This book shows a lot of the history of Kingsley and Søren which gives more angst than anything.  I fell in love with our wise-cracking Kingsley but the boy he was broke my heart and I don’t know what to think of him or his future.  I loved the history and seeing both men in a different light was inspiring.

Ahhhh…  and the safe word will make you well up if you don’t break down crying…  It just made me wonder how much more someone was willing to take for…..

Nora is still her normal wild self but seeing her struggle with her feelings for Wesley was interesting and knowing Wes could be a great influence on her was illuminating.  I loved seeing how grounded she was with him but at the same time I missed her wicked ways.

We get glimpses of Juliette, Griffin and others in this book but the main stories focus on Wes/Nora and Søren/Kingsley.  Be ready to scream at the end and be chomping at the bit for The Mistress…

Pre-order this so you can join me in the wait for The Mistress and I can share more of this angst ridden book…  🙂

Thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley.com for giving me the chance to read this prior to the November 20th release date because I don’t think I could have made it much longer…

Kindle

A Gift for All Seasons – Karen Templeton – 3 stars

 

I had a bit of a holiday read marathon which included this sweet story.  It has heart…  a cute kid…  a wounded warrior…  and a woman with a very giving heart…  what isn’t to like??

 

April has secrets of her own but they aren’t bad just different.  She’s decided to make her grandparent’s home back in to an inn and needs work done on the landscaping.  She’s not ever really had a nice life but her deceased husband left her with quite a bit of money so she doesn’t have to worry about not being able to pay for anything she desires ever again.  She’s not used to money but is used to working hard for what she gets and has an incredibly giving heart.  She wants kids, home, hearth and the man to have all that with but isn’t that experienced when it comes to the whole dating thing.

 

Patrick was hurt badly in the mideast and is not really healed mentally or physically yet.  He’s blown over by this woman who needs landscaping done and ends up realizing that he wants more than just to spend time with her..  he wants everything even though he doesn’t feel like he is worthy of her.  He has quite a few issues with his looks and keeping his daughter safe so he throws road-blocks up over and over again with April.  I felt for him but was happy that April had the ability to see beyond that and make a decision which about killed her in the hopes that he would heal and wake up to what he could really have if he opened up.

 

This was a sweet story with a little bit of heat but mainly a ton of heart.  I enjoyed watching everyone rally around our wounded man and truly understand why he behaved the way he did but not coddle him.  Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

Kissed by a Vampire – Caridad Pineiro – 4 stars

Alex almost died doing his job as an undercover agent but a mystery woman saved him …  or at least that is what he sort of remembers except the woman was not completely mortal…  Oh wait that can’t be right so he keeps that part to himself otherwise he wouldn’t be able to go back undercover doing what he loves.  Duty means everything to him even at the expense of a personal life.  I loved his sense of honor and vulnerability with our heroine but underneath it all you know these two are just meant to be together.  He’s sexy…  driven..  alpha… and yet his underlying honor makes him a softie when it comes to those he loves.  He wants to protect and serve but understands that the woman he’s fallen for can’t be controlled or kept in a gilded cage so he doesn’t try.  I loved watching him open his heart to her and also give her the space she needed to be able to accept that love was possible.  My hope is we see them again and they get a forever HEA not just a mortal life HEA.

Stacia is a vampire elder who was turned by a man she thought loved her and cherished her.  Imagine her surprise at the way she was treated by the man she loved and then to add insult to it she’s immortal so who is she going to trust.  She’s locked herself off from love but as you see in this book she craves it and needs it to soothe her soul and enjoy her immortality.  She runs in to Alex and ends up being fascinated by this mortal who sees the woman underneath and not just the outer package.  She’s initially extremely hostile towards having anything other than sex with him but as the book progresses you sense the walls coming down even though pain lies ahead.  I loved watching this strong woman allow a softer side to emerge but keep her strength even when showing that weakness.

Good book and makes me want to go back for the backlist along with keep an eye on more from this world.  Thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley.com for allowing me to read this in exchange for my honest review.

Wyoming Fierce – Diana Palmer – 3.5 stars

I wanted to give this more stars but the reconciliation at the end just didn’t cut it for me.  This was a good read with some true depth in it but the ending just rushed through items that I thought needed more work.

Bodie is just trying to keep things together.  She’s in school working hard for her degree and also working hard when out of school keeping her and her grandfather’s heads above water.  She’s just barely making ends meet but does what she needs to in order to keep her grandfather cared for.  When he takes a turn for the worse and her bastard stepfather raises the rent it just is too much for her to handle.  She makes some decisions and does what she can but it forces her to ask for help from someone she never thought she would.  His reaction guts her and forces her to make another choice that changes everything.  I liked her spunk and her willingness to be there for everyone including the hero but she’s a bit naive when it comes to the world and while that isn’t a bad thing I think it puts her in a place where things are made more difficult than they need to be.  Overall I liked her but damn I wish she had made him work more at the end because he was a bastard to her multiple times and hurting or not he had no real excuse.

Cane was a hard one to soften towards.  I mean I liked him and loved when he finally realized what an ass he had been.  Did he need to work for the HEA more??  OH HELL YES!! but oh well that wasn’t what we got.  He’s a mess due to having his arm blown off in the war and having others pity him for it or women treating him like less than a man for it but…  he needs help.  He’s stubborn and won’t stick with a therapist even though that is truly what he needed.  The way he works off this frustration is by getting trashed at the local bars and the only person who can reason with him at those times is Bodie.  She soothes his soul and allows him to use her as a sounding board when he is drunk.  She of course has always loved the man but he’s convinced that he doesn’t want or need a committed relationship but just needs to get laid and move on.  Due to a lot of things being thrown around he decides to marry Bodie and then the real asshole comes to light.  He’s attracted to her sure…  but he panics…  and in doing so I lost a lot of my tolerance for him.  I’m still a bit pissed about the rushed ending because even though Bodie came to terms with it and had forgiven him before he made his minor gesture…  I’m not so forgiving.

Anyway…  this was a good read and the characters were in some respects believable.  I would read more of this series and am going to have to go back and read the first one. Thanks to NetGalley.com and Harlequin for letting me read this in exchange for my honest review.

When Snow Falls – Brenda Novak – 3.5 stars

I have really enjoyed this series but in this case the heroine almost ruined it for me.  I have to say I understood where she was coming from…  I really did..  but he was working so hard to be there for her and she kept hiding him.  It just made me really sad for him but they are still great couple.

Cheyenne has never had an easy life.  Her “mom” is now dying from cancer and while she mourns for the loss she can’t be completely sad.  Her mom is a piece of work and no-one really feels sad that she is dying other than Chey’s sister.  I really felt for Cheyenne as she has always had a dream of a blonde woman and a life that didn’t include being hungry and mistreated but has always been told she’s making it up.  She’s also been in love with Joe for years but never had him notice her.  Unfortunately her friend Eve has never been aware of this crush so asks Joe out to dinner.  Cheyenne is devastated but is supportive of her best friend and decides to let the crush go.  Of course…  Eve and Joe don’t really hit it off and all of a sudden Joe realizes he wants Cheyenne.  Joe starts to pursue her but Cheyenne turns him down until Eve tells her it is ok.  The kicker is…  while this but i can’t is going on she meets Dylan who is one of the town bad boys and ends up giving him her virginity.  Yeah I know…  surprise surprise but she’s got this amazing chemistry with a man who represents everything she wants to clean her hands of.  I was happy to watch her come to terms with things in her life but keeping Dylan hidden just pissed me off.  I understood it but he’s just such a good guy that it wasn’t fair to him at all.

Dylan..  talk about a bad boy with a heart of gold.  He’s been down a rough road all his life but really isn’t as bad as people think he is.  Yeah sure he did stupid stuff when he was younger but that was acting out as a teen and as an adult he’s been a great man.  He has always had a bit of a crush on Cheyenne and is willing to take what she can give him even though it is killing him inside.  He pushes her away but like a drug addict craves her and doesn’t completely shut the door on them.  He’s willing to stand up for what he wants but she has to choose because he will not be someone’s secret while they see someone they think is more outwardly appropriate to her friends.  I fell in love with the sensitive side he hides from everyone because who wouldn’t want a man who takes care of his family, business and stands up for you even when you don’t know what you want from him.  He’s just so over the top sexy and man oh man could he make anyone melt.

I’m happy to hear more about the others from Whiskey Creek and cannot wait for more stories.  I’m happy that NetGalley.com and Harlequin were nice enough to let me read this in exchange for my honest review.

Kindle

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