Review

★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW, EXCERPT★ CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE BY GENA SHOWALTER

Genres: Contemporary Romance

From New York Times Bestselling author Gena Showalter, comes the next standalone romance in the Original Heartbreakers Series—CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE!

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with an irresistible Original Heartbreakers story about a woman who’s never felt desired and the man who wants her more than air to breathe…

Bullied in high school, Dorothea Mathis’s past is full of memories she’d rather forget. But there’s one she can’t seem to shake—her longstanding crush on former Army Ranger Daniel Porter. Now that the sexy bad boy has started using her inn as his personal playground, she should kick him out…but his every heated glance makes her want to join him instead.

Daniel returned to Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma to care for his ailing father and burn off a little steam with no strings attached. Though he craves the curvy Dorothea night and day, he’s as marred by his past as she is by hers. The more he desires her, the more he fears losing her.

But every sizzling encounter leaves him desperate for more, and soon Daniel must make a choice: take a chance on love or walk away forever.

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Hands trembling, she hooked the vacuum to the cart and rolled the cargo to the supply room…where her younger sister Holly was smoking a cigarette.

Coughing, Dorothea claimed the cigarette and stubbed the tip into an ashtray.

“Hey!” Eighteen-year-old Holly glared at her. “I wasn’t done.”

“You mean you weren’t done giving our guests lung cancer and stinking up the inn?”

“Exactly.” Ever the smart aleck, Holly tossed a piece of gum in her mouth and popped a bubble in Dorothea’s face. “Besides, we don’t really have guests, now, do we? Since you took over, only four people have stayed here. Mayor Trueman and his side slice, and Daniel Porter and whatever bimbo he happens to be banging.”

Not true! A few months ago, Dorothea had hired Harlow Glass, and everyone in town had rented a room to witness the former bully’s downfall.

Good times.

Dorothea hadn’t wanted to like Harlow, but dang it, something bad had happened to the girl in the years since

high school, and she’d changed. More than that, Harlow had done everything in her power to make amends, and eventually Dorothea had warmed up to her.

Now the beautiful brunette was married to reformed playboy Beck Ockley. The happy couple were expecting their first child in a few months.

A razor-sharp pang cut through Dorothea. Won’t think about my own—

Nope. Slam the breaks.

To ward off the oncoming pity party, she drew in a deep breath…slowly released it… Good, that was good.

She focused on her sister. Holly had pinned back the sides of her jet-black hair, the remaining locks tumbling all the way to the metal links anchored around her biceps. She’d paired a crimson corset top—her first pop of color in months—with a ruffled black skirt, ripped fishnet stockings and combat boots caked with mud Dorothea would have to clean from the floors.

In a town as small as Strawberry Valley, Oklahoma, Holly was a legend. Unique.

“My inn, my rules,” Dorothea said. “No smoking. Ever.” Besides, she suspected the teenager only ever lit up to aggravate her. Not once had Dorothea witnessed an actual puff.

“You’re worse than a Mogwai that’s been fed after midnight.”

A Gremlins reference? Seriously?

“No wonder Jazz left you,” her sister added.

Air hissed between her teeth. Holly might hate her guts, but the teenager loved to insult her, and this barb hit harder than most.

Rather than waiting for love, as Dorothea had dreamed, she’d settled for companionship, marrying the first guy to pay attention to her. Worse, she’d believed his words rather than his actions. I adore you and only want what’s best for you…for us.

4 STARS

From the outset I could tell I was really going to enjoy CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE. We’re introduced to a teenage Dorothea Mathis, she’s had a horrible time at school so far, but she’s positive and upbeat that this will be her year. When her tormentor sets her sights on her it soon becomes apparent she’s due for another year of ridicule, except this time her object of desire Daniel Porter comes to her defence.

Any visions of falling into one another’s arms are quickly quashed when Dorothea is the accidental voyeur to Daniel hooking up with another girl. Although heartbreaking for her, it serves as a reminder that boys like him don’t go for girls like her.

Years later and Dorothea back in Town to help run the family Inn. A failed marriage and stalled career behind her, it’s easy to see why she’s down in the dumps about things. That is until the object of her teenage affection rents a room in her Inn. She’s not the naive school girl she once was so if he thinks he can charm her with one of his smouldering looks, he’s got another thing coming.

Daniel’s primary reason for being home is help look after his father. He struggles with guilt for being away so long, but more seriously he suffers from the residual effects of being in the Army. Daniel doesn’t need distractions which is why he finds himself frustrated he can’t get his cute Inn keeper out of his head. He’s reluctant to start anything serious, but Dorothea quickly sets him straight. Any notions of having his cake and eating it are off the menu.

Here’s where the fun really starts. Who knew that Daniel had it in him to be so incredibly sweet? He really did well raking up the swoons from me. And Dorothea? Talk about under selling yourself. She has great comedic value and a much loved snarky streak.

CAN’T HARDLY BREATHE is a banter filled, cat and mouse chase and I enjoyed every cheesy moment of it. I absolutely love it when the tables turn, and Dorothea certainly did  fantastic job of making Daniel work for it.

 

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About Gena Showalter:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the spellbinding Lords of the Underworld and Angels of the Dark series, two young adult series–Everlife and the White Rabbit Chronicles–and the highly addictive Original Heartbreakers series. In addition to being a National Reader’s Choice and two time RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan (Red Hot Read) and Seventeen magazine, she’s appeared on Nightline and been mentioned in Orange is the New Black–if you ask her about it, she’ll talk for hours…hours! Her books have been translated in multiple languages.

She’s hard at work on her next novel, a tale featuring an alpha male with a dark side and the strong woman who brings him to his knees. You can learn more about Gena, her menagerie of rescue dogs, and all her upcoming books at genashowalter.com or Facebook.com/genashowalterfans

 

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★NEW RELEASE & REVIEW★ GHOSTED BY J.M. DARHOWER

Genres: Contemporary Fiction

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GHOSTED by J.M. Darhower

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 24th August 2017

He’s a troubled young actor, Hollywood’s newest heartthrob, struggling with fame as the star of the latest superhero franchise. Through scandal after scandal, addiction on top of addiction, a flurry of paparazzi hunt him as he fights to conquer his demons.

She’s a single mother, assistant manager at a grocery store, existing in monotony with her five-year-old daughter. Every day when she goes to work, lurid tabloids surround her, the face of a notorious bad boy haunting her from their covers.

A man and a woman, living vastly different lives, but that wasn’t always the case. Once, they were just a boy and a girl who bonded over comic books and fell in love unexpectedly.

When Kennedy Garfield met Jonathan Cunningham back in high school, she knew he had all the makings of a tragic hero. With stars in his eyes, and her heart on her sleeve, the pair ran away together to follow their dreams.

But dreams, sometimes, turn into nightmares.

Now, years later, the only thing they share is a daughter—one who has no idea her father plays her favorite superhero. But Jonathan is desperate to make amends, and at the top of his list is the woman who gave up everything for him and the little girl he hasn’t yet met.

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★5 STARS★

Ghosted tells the story of one time childhood sweethearts, Jonathan Cunningham and Kennedy Garfield. At Seventeen Jonathan is the moon, the stars, and the apple of Kennedy’s eye. At Twenty seven, he’s Hollywood royalty and deadbeat father to their five year old daughter, Madison.

The world knows him as “Jonny Cunning” but she knew him back when they shared a love of comics and would skip school to go to the movies. Now she knows him as the drunk who shows up once in a while full of apologies and empty promises.

They are worlds apart until an accident on set leaves Jonny unable to work and in need of a place to recuperate. When he thinks of home, he thinks of her, so there is only one place he wants to be. As expected Kennedy is not pleased to see him. More than the hurt his presence dredges up, it’s the fear that he will disappoint their daughter, a daughter who is unaware that her favourite onscreen superhero is her failure of a father.

Ghosted is a triumph. Darhower does not skimp on the rawness of heartbreak nor the fragility that comes with renewed hope. There is a subduedness to this fierce romance and its slow burn that built momentum with every page read. It’s a story of redemption, growth and forgiveness not to mention the comedic element that came with Maddie’s character. I adored her and I love Darhower’s style of writing parent romances.

There are many reasons why J.M. Darhower is one of my favourite authors, but if you need just one, read Ghosted.

 

About the Author:

J.M. Darhower is the USA Today Bestselling Author of paranormal/erotic/romantic suspense novels about the baddest bad boys and the ladies who love them. Fangirl at heart, J.M. is obsessed with books, music, and all things Marvel, especially the glorious Sebastian Stan. She spends her days in a tiny town in North Carolina, churning out words and chasing down Pokémon.

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★BLOG TOUR & REVIEW★ WILD CARD BY KARINA HALLE

Genres: Contemporary Romance

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Wild Card, an all-new contemporary STANDALONE by New York Times Bestselling author Karina Halle is available NOW!!!

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Wild Card by Karina Halle
Release Date:
August 15th
Genre:
Contemporary Romance

Wild Card is a standalone novel and the first book in the North Ridge Trilogy about rough and rugged Canadian mountain men, the Nelson brothers. Canada’s never felt so hot.

She swore she’d never go back home.

She swore she’d never see the man who broke her all those years ago.

But you don’t always get to choose your path.

And sometimes that path is as wild and rugged as the heart.

Rachel Waters thought she saw the last of the small mountain town of North Ridge, British Columbia, when she left six years ago. But while her advertising career blossomed beneath the skyscrapers of Toronto, her mother’s sudden illness has the 26-year old returning to North Ridge to care for her, putting her career on hold while dealing with family secrets, regrets and unresolved goodbyes.

Shane Nelson has always been a bit of a wild card. The youngest of three brothers, Shane’s spent most of his life being underestimated and misunderstood. With his quiet intensity, classic good looks and thoughtful demeanor, he’s an enigma on horseback, managing his father’s sprawling ranch on the slopes of North Ridge.

But while Shane remains the quintessential brooding cowboy, complete with an arsenal of inner demons, all of that changes when Rachel steps back into his life.

She was the girl he pushed away.

Now she’s the girl who wishes she could leave.

Despite the odds, Shane will do everything to convince Rachel he needs a second chance that he doesn’t deserve but when the two of them head off into the wilderness together in search of lost cattle, more than just their hearts are at stake.

Whether it’s love or lives on the line, one thing is for sure: always bet on the wild card.

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★4 STARS★

Wild Card is the first standalone novel in the North Ridge Trilogy, and suffice to say Karina Halle surprised the hell out of me with this one. I was not expecting or prepared for the level of intensity I experienced, nor the angst that clung to the pages of this novel.

It’s billed as a second chance romance but for me it’s much more than that. It’s a story of forgiveness and redemption, as Halle takes us on a journey navigating the tatters of what was once a grandiose love.

Rachel Waters has not looked back since leaving North Ridge. Her relationship with her mother can be described as fragile at best, and when the only man she’s ever loved breaks her heart in a callous way, there is no reason for her to stay.

When word reaches Shane of Rachel’s return, it ignites the flame to the candle he has always held for her. He knows he’d be foolish to think anything could ever happen between, there’s too much water under the bridge but when he sets eyes on her the flood gates open and as foolish as it may be he’s prepared to live in hope.

There’s innocence to this story that touched me from its opening pages, and as it continued I became addicted to the hurt, the rawness of the pain six absent years could not diminish. It drove the novel and reinforced how great their love once was and inferno that still rages between them.

Wild Card is a deeply emotional and stunningly heart breaking read. I fell in love with every aspect of it, and wild horses couldn’t keep me away from what promises to be an incredible series.

 

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Meet Karina:

Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.

Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.

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★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & EXCERPT★ ROYALLY ENDOWED BY EMMA CHASE

ROYALLY ENDOWED by Emma Chase

Series: The Royally Series Book 3

 

Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him??

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, protective royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
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Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to bring him home to her family.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.

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Ellie

But then the mood shifts, as if the air becomes thicker, weighted, more . . . sultry.

Because slowly, Logan sinks down to one knee in front of me—looking in my eyes the whole time. In this position, I could touch his shoulders, comb my fingers through his thick, dark hair. He’s the perfect height for me to bend down and kiss his mouth—the perfect height for him to kiss me back . . . in a lot of places.

My breath hitches. And I wonder he feels it too.

There’s a sound of tearing Velcro, and Logan takes something off his ankle—a holster, with a small silver knife, about three inches long.

“Keep this on you all the time,” he says seriously. “Just in case. If you wear a skirt, the strap will fit around your thigh.”

And I almost laugh. Most girls get a ring from a guy on his knees. I get a murder weapon. But still, it makes me feel safe . . . watched over. Like I’m something precious that deserves to be protected.

I take the knife from him, testing the surprisingly solid, heavy weight of it in my hand. I press my index finger to the tip.

Logan grabs my wrist tightly. “Careful. It’s sharp.”

There’s a small, painless nick, a tiny bead of blood, so I put my finger in my mouth, sucking.

And Logan’s watching me again.

Watching my mouth.

His chest seems to rise just a little faster, and his throat ripples when he swallows. He bends his head, curves his strong back, and then I feel his hands on my ankle, securing the strap. His touch is warm and self-assured. It’s the way he always moves—confident and experienced. Logan knows his body and he knows how to use it, in every way possible.

I almost moan. The sound is in the back of my throat, but I keep it trapped. I never knew the ankle was an erogenous zone, but it sure as hell is now. A hot pulse of pleasure streaks from Logan’s fingers on my bare skin, up my thigh, between my legs.

And I throb there, growing swollen and heavy as he keeps his hands on me.

Can he tell? Does he know? He’s so aware of everything, always so attuned, I wonder if he can sense my arousal . . . feel it in the air that clings between us.

 

★4.5 STARS★

Describing Logan St. James as a fit as f*ck bodyguard is both accurate and a gross injustice the man behind the uniform. Being raised in an underprivileged area with a family that prides itself on their rap sheet, has not stopped Logan from living a life he is proud of. His role as personal bodyguard to the Royal family is one he is honoured to do and gives him a sense of purpose in life.

By personal request of the King, Logan is asked to watch over the Queen’s younger sister, Ellie. Much like myself as a reader he is instantly amused by her quirky personality and vivaciousness. They strike up a friendship that over the years transforms into a relationship filled with angsty forbidden undertones. And I dear reader could not get enough!

Having a sister who is The Queen has opened doors Ellie had daren’t peek behind. For starters there aren’t many girls her age that have their own personal bodyguard. Far be it of Ellie to think of Logan as that though. He quickly became her friend and closest confidant, and now as young woman his role in her life has changed once again.

The slow burn in this novel is the stuff dreams are made of. I was positively itching for these two to get together, but with a chilling outside threat made against The Queen, scratching that itch could dire consequences for all.

Royally Endowed is the third edition to series which you’d think would get harder for the author to top. Instead we get more laughs, bigger swoons and a wealth of smouldering steam. In short, Emma Chase writes an utterly delightful romantic comedy that I could not put down for love nor money.


About Emma Chase:

Emma Chase is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the hot and hilarious Tangled series and The Legal Briefs series. Emma lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children and two naughty (but really cute) dogs. She has a long-standing love/hate relationship with caffeine.

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★NEW RELEASE & REVIEW★ ILLEGAL CONTACT BY SANTINO HASSELL

Genres: Sports Romance
Published by Berkley

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Series: The Baron, #1

Release Date: 15th August 2017

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

★5 STARS★

There was none of the “new author to me” jitters when it came to diving into this one. When a book comes highly recommended by the ladies at Berkley, and one of your favourite authors, (Sarina Bowen) the only dutiful fangirl thing to do is to dive on in.

Illegal Contact is the first standalone novel in the sports romance Barons series, and the first step to what I’m sure will be an unhealthy addiction to the author, Santino Hassell. Seriously, where have you been all my life? There was none of the getting to know you process that happens with a “new to me author”, from the first page the writing was familiar, fun and engaging yet still managed to be fresh and exciting.

I had a wonderful time drooling over the blond bombshell that is Gavin Brawley. He’s the incredibly talented but unapproachable tight end of the New York Barons. His give no f*cks attitude on and off the field have made him a target for the press and there’s no shortage of column inches documenting his misdemeanours.

His latest PR disaster earns him a team suspension and a stint under house arrest. If my gorgeous grump wasn’t grumpy enough, having to hire an assistant to take care of things he will be unable to leaves a bitter taste in his mouth.

The man for the job is financially hard up Noah Monroe. His nerdy exterior might be give of major Clark Kent vibes, but Noah gives as good as he gets when on the receiving end of one of Gavin’s tongue lashings. Their working relationship is tension fraught, but Gavin enjoys being challenged by Noah more than he would care to admit.

The sexual tension with these two was out of this world, and I absolutely loved the dynamic and progression of their relationship. Illegal Contact was the total package and with secondary characters that also stole the show, the Baron’s series promises to be a game changer.

 

About Santino Hassell

Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

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★BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY★ BEARD IN MIND BY PENNY REID

Genres: Contemporary Fiction

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Beard in Mind, an all new standalone in the bestselling, romantic comedy Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid, is available NOW!

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All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.

She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words.

Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity—exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity—and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

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She’d taken the sofa, in her own house, and given me the bed. That didn’t make a lick of sense.

I crouched next to her, threading my fingers into the silky hair at her temples. “Honey.”

“Mmm.”

I bent to whisper, “Shelly.”

“Hmm?”

“I’m going to carry you to your bed. I’ll take the sofa.”

“Mmm.”

I grinned at her soft noises, at the untroubled expression on her face, and how her brow—even in sleep—still looked regal and stern.

Sliding my arms under her legs and shoulder, I picked her up. And, unfortunately, that woke her up.

She jerked in my arms. “What are you doing?”

“I’m taking you to the bed.”

“Don’t do that.”

“I don’t mind, I’ll take the sofa.” Our mouths were just inches apart, and hers was distracting.

She squirmed. “Put me down.”

Sighing unhappily, I did. I set her on her feet next to the couch. The blanket pooled at her feet and I stepped back to give her some space. It was dark, but I could see her just fine, and that meant I had to force my eyes to remain above her neck. The woman was wearing two pathetic scraps of fabric as pajamas. A thin little tank top and shorts. That’s it.

I set my jaw and turned to the side, waiting for her to walk past.

“Where are you?”

I glanced at her and realized she couldn’t see at all. She didn’t have a hand out, but the way her eyes were moving about the room gave away her blindness.

“I’m here.” I didn’t touch her, because if I did, I wouldn’t want to stop.

Shelly turned her head in my direction and took a deep breath. Still she didn’t reach for me. I didn’t know the specifics of what to expect after her Friday session, but I recalled Dr. West saying something about Shelly doing self-guided ERP exercises over this week.

“Can you see?” She licked her lips, her voice sandpapery. “Because I can’t see at all. It’s so dark.”

“I can see.” Unbidden, my eyes dropped to her body, to the swell of her breasts, the panel of bare stomach, the curve of her hips. Pinpricks of heat raised over my skin and I curled my hands into fists.

She shuffled forward and I caught her before she bumped into me, setting my hands gently at her waist.

“Let me take you to your room.” My voice was rough, for obvious reasons.

Saying nothing, she brought her hand to my forearm, her body gently colliding with mine. And then her hand on my arm slid up my bicep to my shoulder.

“Shelly.” I was running out of breath.

“I like this.”

“What?”

“Touching you.”

Oh fuck.

I held still and endured her hands moving over my body, down the front of my shirt, stopping at the hem, then pushing it up.

“Take this off.”

I did. I pulled the T-shirt over my head and let it drop to the floor.

We stood there, facing each other in the dark, not touching. Despite the session on Friday and the progress that had been made, I realized she wasn’t quite there yet. Dr. West was right, Friday was just a step, the first step. Shelly wasn’t able to initiate contact. Not yet.

Her hands balled into fists and she swayed forward, her breath struggling little puffs.

If anything was going to happen tonight, I had to initiate it. I had to be the one to touch first.

God, how I wanted her. How I wanted her above me, beneath me, surrounding me. But how could I?

“I know why I hesitate,” her voice was breathless, “but why do you hesitate?”

“Lots of reasons.”

“Give me one.”

“I don’t want to you use you.”

“I wish you would.”

That pulled a laugh from me, just a small relief from the mounting tension. My eyes moved over her body, an undeniable impulse to devour the sight of her, her legs, stomach, chest, then up her neck to her lips.

“You asked me on Saturday if sex was a big deal for me, or if it was you. The answer is both.”

She held very still, and I got the sense she was holding her breath, straining to listen.

“You are a big deal to me. I don’t want a fling. I don’t want a flirtation. I want promises.”

“What can I promise you?”

That you’ll love me. That I’ll be your priority.

She shifted her weight from foot to foot. A spike of anxiety that she might leave me like this had me acting without forethought. I lifted my hands to her waist again and immediately, her fingertips skimmed over skin of my lower stomach in response, making my muscles tense in hot anticipation. She grew more assertive as she caressed my sides, abdomen, ribs, chest, shoulders, and then back down.

Shelly stepped closer, a hint of thrilling contact between her breasts and my torso, and all the words and worries melted from my mind, died on my tongue, suffocated by the feel of her body, and the possibility of this moment.

Her finger hooked in the waistband of my jeans. “Take these off.” Her hand turned, her fingers and palm cupping me over my zipper.

Instinctively, I pressed myself into her touch even as I grabbed her wrist.

“Beau, I promise—”

She didn’t get to speak, because I kissed her, hard and wild, unbuttoning and unzipping my fly with one hand and bringing her palm inside my boxers with the other.

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★4 STARS

At first glance it’s easy to peg Beard in Mind as an Enemies to Lovers romance.  Shelly Sullivan is the newly employed mechanic to the Winston family run auto shop and immediately clashes with Beau. He’s affronted by her hostility to not only himself but to the shops customers. He’s a genuinely easy going individual but there’s something about Shelly that raises his hackles.

Speaking of Shelly, it would take me a while to think of the last time I came across a character as complex as herself. Credit to Penny, she took care and attention with her in the way she was written. In some ways I think she used Beaus character as a device to ask the questions I as a reader and person wanted know.

The revelations in this story are not Shelly’s alone; Beau too experiences some life changing moments and in these moments of Beau’s vulnerability, it’s wonderful to see Shelly blossom and showcase personal develop.

I’m in awe of Penny’s ability to write a swoon worthy romance whilst concurrently tackling serious current issues. Beard in Mind is conscientious and thought provoking romance which was nicely balanced by its comedic value and heart fluttering feels.

I can’t get enough of this band of bearded brothers and am looking forward to what’s in store next.

 

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the Winston Brothers and Knitting in the City series. When she’s not immersed in penning smart romances, Penny works in the biotech industry as a researcher. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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★BLOG TOUR, EXCERPT & REVIEW★ BAD DEEDS (A DIRTY MONEY NOVEL) BY LISA RENEE JONES

Genres: Romantic Suspense

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Bad Deeds: A Dirty Money Novel by Lisa Renee Jones
Release Date: August 8th, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Would you bleed for the one you love?

To save his family empire from the grip of the drug cartel, Shane is pushed to the edge of darkness, forced to make choices he might never make. His father is dying. His brother is desperate to rule the empire and this means war and all gloves are off. His brother only thought he knew what dirty meant. Shane is about to give it new meaning. There is another war brewing though, and that one, is inside him, his battle between right and wrong, light and dark, and in the heat of the night, it is Emily he turns to for escape. Driving her to new limits, pushing her to accept a part of him that even he cannot.

In every one of Shane’s seductive demands, Emily can taste and feel, his torment, his struggle to save his family and not lose himself. But he is losing himself, and that is a problem just as dangerous as her secret, that still lurk in the shadows, a threat to the Brandon Family waiting to erupt. No matter where she and Shane have traveled, or will travel in the future, she can’t just sit back and watch him become everything he hates, everything he never wanted to become, everything she tried to save him from when she tried to run. It could be their undoing, the end. His end.

This is war, blood will spill, and someone in the heart of the Brandon family will not survive….

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“What is in your head right now?”

His eyes heat, darken. “You. Always.” He inches back and looks at me. “You’re mine. Mine to protect.” His voice is low, fierce, and he grips my panties and yanks them away. “Mine to fuck.”

I gasp and grab his shoulders. “Shane.”

His answer is to wrap his arm around my waist, pull me close, his cheek against mine, his fingers pressing into the V of my body. “Wet, just the way I like you,” he says, pressing two fingers inside me. “Wet for me. And too fucking perfect for my sanity sometimes.”

“That doesn’t sound like a compliment,” I pant out, grabbing the lapel to his suit as a sweet ache begins to build in my sex as his thumb strokes my clit.

“And no one else,” he murmurs, nipping my earlobe, “will ever touch you like this.” His fingers caress deeper inside me. “No one,” he adds, “will ever make you say their name like I want you to say mine right now. Say it.”

“Shane,” I whisper, and not because he wants me to, but rather because it’s there on my lips, the way I wish his tongue was on my lips now. “Shane, I—”

Seeming to know what I need, he cups my head and kisses me, long, slow, sensual strokes of his tongue that somehow make every touch of his fingers more intense.

“Come for me,” he murmurs, and this time when he kisses me, I start climbing that wall to release, and I’m there at the top in an instant. I stiffen while his fingers and tongue tease, please, and then I jerk, I’m over it, tumbling in an instant into shudders and shakes. Shane’s lips lift from mine as he breathes with me. His fingers slow as he eases me through the waves until I collapse against his chest.

He tangles his fingers in my hair and drags my mouth back to his. “And no one but me will ever make you come like that again,” he declares, the waves of his emotions beating down any embarrassment I might feel over having had an orgasm on his father’s desk.

“No one has ever made me feel what you make me feel, Shane.”

Bad Deeds Available

 

★4 STARS

When I think cleverly written sexy suspense, I think Lisa Renee Jones. Her Dirty Money series is one that sustains it’s intrigue, all the while building on the seductive romance between Shane and Emily.

Fans of the series will enjoy developments to the story as we see Shane delve deeper into the murky waters he adamantly vowed to avoid, and the temporary or not transformation to his relationship with his family.

As can be counted Lisa leaves us on another high octane moment guaranteeing we’ll want to stick around for the End Game.

 

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About the Author:

Lisa Renee Jones

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT series. Suzanne Todd (producer of Alice in Wonderland) on the INSIDE OUT series: Lisa has created a beautiful, complicated, and sensual world that is filled with intrigue and suspense. Sara’s character is strong, flawed, complex, and sexy – a modern girl we all can identify with.

In addition to the success of Lisa’s INSIDE OUT series, Lisa has published many successful titles. The TALL, DARK AND DEADLY series and THE SECRET LIFE OF AMY BENSEN series, both spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling lists. Lisa is also the author of the bestselling DIRTY MONEY and WHITE LIES series. Presently, Lisa is working on her Murder Girl/Lilah Love series to be published by Montlake.

Prior to publishing Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by the Dallas Women’s Magazine. In 1998 Lisa was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.

Lisa loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at http://www.lisareneejones.com and she is active on Twitter and Facebook daily.

 

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★RELEASE BLITZ, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY★ WICKED S.O.B. BY ZARA COX

Genres: Erotic Romance
Published by Forever

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WICKED S.O.B.: A Dark Desires Novella by Zara Cox

Series: Dark Desires, #2.5

Publisher: Forever

 

For so long, I lived for revenge. Now I live for her.

Ask anyone and they’ll tell you that Quinn Blackwood is not someone you mess with. I see. I want. I take. And you better not get in my way. That’s how I built my billion-dollar empire. That’s how I made my enemies pay. That’s how I won the one good, pure thing in my life, Elyse “Lucky” Gilbert. But after what I’ve done, my luck may have run out.

There is a fine line between love and obsession.

I’m not a fool. I didn’t think coming back to Quinn would be easy. That we would fall into a happy future and the darkness inside him would just disappear. Still, after everything we’ve been through, I couldn’t leave him to fight his demons alone. I’ve tried to convince myself nothing else matters as long as we’re together. But if I give him what he needs, will there be anything left of me?

 

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It’s 5:45 a.m.

From the living room window, I stare eastward and take in one of the many spectacular views from Quinn’s penthouse ninety-two floors up. I love watching New York City come to life in the mornings. Love watching the light on the Chrysler Building’s spire blend into the rising sun’s rays. Love the warmth of first morning light on my face. And having just come through my first, fierce NYC winter, I crave the sun with almost rabid zeal. It must be the native Californian in me.

New York City is fast becoming the center of my world, though. It’s where the love of my life, the reason for my existence, lives after all. I don’t doubt that Quinn’s presence in the city is what makes it extra special for me.

But it’s also become clear that while he lives in the most dynamic city in the world, this isn’t his home. He doesn’t have a home. I don’t have a home either.

Between Quinn and me, we’ve lost sight of what a true home means. I’ve tried to convince myself nothing else matters as long as we’re together. My heart clenches in fear at the thought of losing what we have. In a world of unlikely possibilities, Quinn and I ending up together was one in a million.

I didn’t fool myself into thinking the path to our future was going to be easy. I returned to him on my own terms, despite knowing from the beginning that taking on a man like Quinn Blackwood would be the challenge of a lifetime. I live that overwhelming reality every day. Even before I saw his face, I knew his power over me was borderline absolute and that he intended to own every last cell in my body the way he owns half of the city we live in.

My mouth twists in a smile. I’m not with Quinn for his money, but if I were, I’d slavishly fulfill his every desire for the chance to live in this stunning Park Avenue apartment every day for the rest of my life.

A few days after we moved in three months ago, we woke up to an overcast city below us and nothing but blue sky above us. The sensation of floating above the clouds was incredible. We spent the day in bed, staring at the view from our California King when we weren’t fucking in the heavens.

I want many more days like that.

I sigh. Turn around. And freeze.

He’s lounging against the wall in the hallway, wearing gray low-riding sweatpants and nothing else, with one knee propped behind him. My mouth goes dry as those penetrating eyes watch me in silence.

Quinn’s deathly stillness is one of the many unnerving things I noticed about him when we first met. Despite his towering six-foot-three height and his sleek but solid frame, he moves with a quiet, devastating elegance that literally stops my breath when he walks into a room. And that is even before the exquisite masculinity of his sharp cheekbones, square jaw, and sensual lips. The contrast between his startling silver blue eyes and dark hair never fails to trap and hold the attention of anyone he comes into contact with. I’ve literally seen grown women, and men, stop and stare when he walks on the street.

That dangerous attraction holds my total focus now.

His eyes search mine, the unnervingly direct gaze examining every corner of me. Probing for flaws I can’t hide and concerns I’m struggling to contain. But then that’s nothing new.

“Tell me what you’re thinking about,” he commands from across the room in a low, sleep-rasped voice that makes my toes curl.

I want to start this day with a cleanish (snort) slate. But I know any attempt to evade him will be spotted a mile off. He sees too much. He always has. “Your money,” I reply, choosing the least volatile truth.

His eyes flare for a moment before he shakes his head. “No, you’re not. You go out of your fucking way to avoid anything to do with my money. Try again.”

I’m not touching that statement with a ten-foot pole, so I shrug inwardly and state another truth. “I love this apartment. I’m not moving.”

His unwavering eyes gleam the way they do when he’s debating the pros and cons of giving me what I want. His leg slowly straightens, and he moves toward me. He stops behind the wide sectional sofa he fucked me on last night. Strong, elegant fingers spread over the back of it as he angles his body toward me. “I see. Have I finally found something of mine that you love enough to claim for yourself, Elyse?”

When he holds out his hand to me, I don’t even think of refusing. He guides me around the sofa, pulls me into his arms, and spears his fingers into my hair. Our lips meet in a hungry, thorough greeting. Then he nibbles at the corner of my mouth, my cheek, my jaw to my ear. “I’ll think about not moving us if you agree to spend the day with me.”

I frown and plead with my melting brain to function. “It’s Monday, Quinn.”

One hand trails down my body to squeeze my ass in silent rebuke. “I know what day it is. I’m taking the day off.”

My jaw drops to the floor, and I jerk back to look into his eyes. “No way.”

“Shut your gorgeous mouth before I put my cock in it. I’m buying you breakfast; then we’re spending the rest of the day being slobs.”

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★4 STARS★

Who here read Black Sheep and immediately dove into this one without realising it’s a follow up novella to a different book and couple?

*looks around*

Ahem. Just me then. Lol!

Blunder aside, I didn’t need their backstory to pick up on how incredibly intense and urgent the romance between Quinn and Elyse was. Zara Cox’s storytelling is luckily for me wonderfully detailed, and she not only encompassed the all the information I was not privy too, but she also built on the story with enough style to draw me in in a seamless way.

Wicked S.O.B is the kind on novella that much like Quinn hits all the right spots. It was surprising emotional for such a sexy number, and had the right balance of drama to round it off nicely.

Although I found my appetite satiated by this novella, it’s whetted enough of it for me to go back and read the full length novel to experience its full flavour.

THE DARK DESIRES SERIES

BEAUTIFUL LIAR, #1 | BLACK SHEEP, #2 | WICKED S.O.B, #2.5 | ARROGANT BASTARD, #3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

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★RELEASE BLITZ, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY★ BLACK SHEEP BY ZARA COX

Genres: Erotic Romance

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BLACK SHEEP by Zara Cox

Series: Dark Desires, #2

Publisher: Forever

**Now Available in Print for the First Time!**

In a family of cold-hearted black sheep, I, Axel Rutherford, am the blackest.

My father has hated me since the day I was born. The feeling was mutual. In the shady underworld that was my legacy, Cleo McCarthy became my light. She was beautiful, passionate, and my whole world. So naturally my father had to destroy us. First he sent me away. Next he claimed Cleo as his own. But now I’ve returned, and nothing will stop me from taking back everything that is rightfully mine.

He was the love of my life—when my life was still my own.

We were young enough to believe we would last forever, Axel and I. But neither of us realized how cruel life—

and our families—could be. Now I’m trapped in a gilded cage: desired by Axel, who must never know the full truth, and controlled by his father, who would sooner see me dead than free. And I wouldn’t even care, except that it’s no longer only my life at stake.

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I trust no one. But like I do with Quinn Blackwood, the Black Widow and I share a special bond. Not one I would swear life or death on by a long shot. But there’s an…understanding. She’s the only one who’s been allowed into my special room, the only one who knows the ingredients of my sweet poison. The only one who’s seen what this room does to me. The longest I’ve been able to withstand is five hours.

Her concern is warranted.

I see her swallow before she reaches into her pocket. The small remote is directly linked to the chains. She sets the time but hesitates before pressing the requisite button.

Boldly she steps up to me, and she slides her hands through the hair at my nape. I jerk away but cannot escape her touch because of the cuffs. She stops, staring down at me with narrowed eyes.

I’m on the edge. Hell, who the fuck am I kidding? I was born on the edge. But tonight I’m a whisper away from annihilation and we both know it.

“Are you sure about this?”

“Fuck no. Hell yes.”

She opens her mouth.

“No,” I preempt her.

“I don’t have to stay here with you, but I can be outside.”

“No. Press the button. Don’t make me repeat myself.”

“Axel…”

I close my eyes and shudder as my fists ball. I want to hear my name, but I don’t want the voice to be The Black Widow’s. There’s only one voice I want to hear right now. One face I want to see. Cleo’s.

“Do it and leave. Now.”

“I will, but at least let me come back and check on you—”

“Say another word and I’ll fire you.”

Her eyes harden to ice chips. “Fuck you. Have your six hours if you want. But I’m coming back in three hours to check on you. Fire me then if you want.”

With a defiant flick of her wrist, she sets the timer down between my feet, within touching distance.

The moment her back is turned, I kick the remote. It bounces against the last step and skids sideways halfway across the room. She hesitates, her back stiff, but she doesn’t turn back around. In silence, she leaves.

The moment the door shuts, twenty projectors on the dark gray walls flicker to life. Large, small, and in-between, they take up every inch of the circular wall. If space allowed I would have had more screens put in, but I work with what I have.

Each one is set on a half-hour loop at full volume with a different video. With barely an inch between them, they could be one jumbled-up picture but I know each screen like I know the length of my cock.

I take a deep breath as the first reel plays on the middle screen. The chair moves, the wheels beneath the floor spinning it slowly around.

Fading sunlight dapples over a lake before the camera swings to the figure in the tiny white bikini fleeing a large wave.

The wave catches her, splashes up to mid-thigh. She shrieks. “Omigod, you’re such a liar. The water is collllldd—What are you doing?”

“What does it look like?”

She approaches. Her hands come up to block the lens. “Stop filming me. I look fat.”

A different set of hands reaches out to grasp hers, gently nudging hers aside. “You don’t look fat, Cleo. You’re perfect.”

Feminine hands curl around a masculine one. Together they slowly lower until long-lashed, deep blue knowing eyes stare into the camera. “You’re only saying that because you’re in love with me.” Sultry words whispered from between kiss-swollen lips.

“Yes, I’m saying that because I’m in love with you.” Gruff, hopelessly young, newly broken voice, thick with seething emotion. “I’m also saying it because I have fucking eyes in my fucking head.”

A naughty, goes-straight-to-an-eager-cock giggle. “You’re so bad swearing all the time. Daddy says he’ll paddle my behind if he catches me swearing.”

A wobble of the camera before it steadies. “If he lays a fucking hand on you, I’ll tear his fucking head off.” A voice no longer gruff, hard with rigid purpose. Harsh breathing. “I mean it, Cleo. I see so much as a scratch on you, someone will fucking die.”

A gasp. “You can’t say things like that!”

“I can. I fucking am. Because you belong to me. I don’t care who created you. You are mine. No one else is fucking allowed to touch you. No one is allowed to take you away from me, do you hear me?”

A bite of her lip as her nostrils flutter in a shaky inhale. “You’re scaring me.”

Deep, harsh breath. “Am I? Really? Tell the truth. Are you scared, Cleo?” Camera poised with intent, recording every flutter of her lashes.

A pause. A firming of plump lips. Then a shake of the head. Thick, vibrant locks frame her stunning face.

“Say it. I want to hear you say how it makes you feel when I say this to you.”

“It…it excites me.”

“That I claim you as mine?”

A shy nod.

“What else excites you?”

A flick of her gaze between the lens and the face behind it. “Come on. I can’t say it on camera.” She reaches out.

The camera angles away from her but remains on her. Focused. Rabid. “Tell me.” The voice that will one day command hell itself.

“It excites me when you say that you’ll do…all of that for me.”

“All of what?”

“That you’ll…tear his head off.”

“I fucking will.” A solemn promise. A brief pause. “You think I’m a sick psycho?”

“I think you’re…you’re…”

“What?”

“I think you’re effing amazing.”

Effing?”

Pink color stains her cheeks. “Don’t tease me.”

“I won’t if you say the word. The actual word, Cleo.”

“I won’t.”

“Right. Then I’m not as amazing as you want me to think, am I?”

Blue eyes, opened wide. “You are.”

“Then say it. You’re not going to burn for it. It’s just a word.”

“I hate you when you’re like this.”

“You don’t hate me, but fine. Don’t say it.”

The camera swings out to the lake, to the setting sun that’s almost swallowed up by the orange water.

★3.5 STARS★

I was instantly attached to the allure of the blurb for Zara Cox’s, Black Sheep. It sold me a world of deceit, betrayal, revenge and a second chance romance that promised to be as passionate as it was dysfunctional.

Axel Rutherford & Cleo McCarthy were born to families whose dealings where on the wrong side of the law. As much as there can be honour among thieves, their fathers were brothers in arms until the glamour of power brought a change that would shatter their childhood romance beyond repair.

Axel is a formidable force who has directed his power and wealth into destroying his father, and along with him, the person he trusted above all others, Cleo. With the Rutherford Empire crumbling, Cleo is sent to negotiate with Axel on his father’s behalf.

There’s a thin line between love and hate and these two tested the theory on several occasions. Their relationship is driven by the potency of hate they have for once another, but even they can’t deny the attraction that burns even after all these years.

When it came to Cleo there was much intrigue into her resentment of Axel, and it’s this intrigue that kept the pages turning. When we finally discover her reason, misunderstanding is the name of the game and I admit I gave way to frustration at times with these two. There were also times where sex took over the story and for personally I felt it hindered the development of the plot.

Maybe I’m more blood thirsty than I care to admit but I felt the resolution came much too quickly without justice being served in the manner it was dished. Even so, I enjoyed my first foray into the Dark Desires series so much, I’ve got my eye on a Wicked S.O.B.

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THE DARK DESIRES SERIES

BEAUTIFUL LIAR, #1BLACK SHEEP, #2WICKED S.O.B, #2.5ARROGANT BASTARD, #3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Zara Cox has been writing for almost twenty-five years but it wasn’t until nine years ago that she decided to share her love of writing sexy, gritty stories with anyone outside her close family (the over 18s anyway!).

 

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★BLOG TOUR & REVIEW★ THE BRIGHTEST SUNSET BY ALY MARTINEZ

Genres: Contemporary Romance

The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez was everything! This is the conclusion of a must-read contemporary romance duet, and is it available to read for FREE on KindleUnlimited!

The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)

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Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Bullshit.

Words destroyed me.

“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”

“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”

“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Lies.

Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.

Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.

“He’s gone.”

In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

★4 STARS★

The Darkest Sunrise is the devastatingly climatic conclusion to a story that has riveted me from its very first page. With the shocking developments made in The Darkest Sunrise, Aly did not disappoint in plunging us over the precipice, and in doing so, continuing the gripping roller-coaster of emotions.

The combination of drama and romance was heighted by the vein of heartbreak that flowed throughout the story. As a reader that was fully invested in this couple, I was moved by the repercussions of a fracture which threatened to shatter their foundation.

The sombre mood of this half of the duet is juxtaposed by the raucous urgency for a resolution. I was torn and pulled in different directions, and I dared to predict how it would end. Although there were times I felt it moved a little slowly, I love the story Aly created and developed, and it’s no surprise it will be on list of favourites for the year.

—————————-

The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)

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You won’t want to miss this amazing series!

———————

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

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