The Billionaire Next Door (Billionaire Bad Boys, #2)

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Whenever I see a book by Jessica Lemmon, I’m not  really sure what kind of book I am going to get. For me, her books are always hit or miss. I have found a couple that I have really enjoyed, but this book was not really one of them. The lead heroine didn’t sit well with me and parts of the book just didn’t do it for me.


billionaire next door

Author: Jessica Lemmon
Published: October 25, 2016
Pages: 384

Stars: 2.5 out of 5

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Other Books in this Series:
The Billionaire Bachelor

Synopsis:
It’s Tag Crane’s job to be the life of the party. Traveling from one exotic locale to another is just part of running the luxurious Crane Hotel empire. But even paradise isn’t perfect. Devising a new business strategy is keeping Tag up at night-and so is the Great Dane barking at all hours in the apartment below his. To muzzle the problem, Tag charges downstairs . . . right into the most beautiful, blond distraction he’s ever seen.

Dog-sitting by day, bartending by night. It’s not exactly the life Rachel Foster dreamed of. But when Tag Crane rushes in, all mountain-man shoulders and obscenely sexy smile, needing her help for the Crane Hotels, it’s a fantasy come true. What’s the harm in a fun no-strings fling? Only a fool would give her heart to a billionaire player like Tag-until suddenly the one man who can’t be caught is the one flirting with forever . . .

Review:
Rachel has gone from successful career woman to bartender all because she put her trust in the wrong person. Her boyfriend of two years steals her promotion right from under her by taking credit for something she worked her butt off for. Now she finds herself lost and house sitting for one of her regulars to earn extra cash by watching his dog. Not exactly where she saw her life heading. Rachel is worried she has lost her independence and the fearless person she used to be. One thing I never understood was why she was so worried to tell her parents about what happened with her ex. Instead of coming clean about the entire mess, she lies and dodges them as though she is a teenager instead of a young adult. Her insecurities made it difficult to love her character and I wish she didn’t come off as so damaged.  

Tag is not at all what you would expect from a successful businessman. For one, he has hair down to his elbow and looks more like a lumberjack, maybe Thor, than someone found in a busy city. But beyond his looks and his unconventional style, Tag is in charge of guest and restaurant services. He runs this side of the business not through spreadsheets and numbers but by following his gut and reading the people around him. 

The moment Tag and Rachel meet, sparks fly. Too bad Rachel fights her attraction to Tag with everything she has. Knowing this, Tad accepts the challenge and tries to get her to give in to her desires. But he doesn’t exactly chase after her. He invites her to dinner/drinks and of course Rachel turns them down. But like I said, he doesn’t chase after her in the traditional sense and try to change her mind. Not at all what I was expecting. Tag and Rachel’s interactions are flirty, fun, and exciting. 

One of the downfalls to this book was the slow pace. The flirtation, buildup, and collision of Rachel and Tag was so much fun to read. But in-between all this, everything dragged! Not even half way through the book and I am bored to death reading the same thing-  how much of a jerk Rachel’s ex was and how much he hurt her. I’m pretty sure I grasped that concept the first handful times the author brought it up. The other thing that irritated me was how much the characters were in their own heads. For some reason this didn’t work well in this book and I felt like I was constantly struggling to connect with the book. This not only ruined the books flow but again made the book drag some. 

I had high expectations for this book but ultimately I was disappointed with the outcome. I think I would have liked it better if Rachel was a stronger character. Oh well.. 

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The Hunt (Devil’s Isle, #3)

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This series keeps getting better! The Hunt is book three in the Devil’s Isle series and probably the best one so far. This book dragged so many emotions out of me. I love how the Chloe Neill was able to connect intense emotions with her readers. LOVED IT!!


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Author: Chloe Neill
Published: September 26th, 2017
Pages: 311

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Other books in this Series:
The Veil (Devil’s Isle, #1)
The Sight (Devil’s Isle, #2)

Synopsis:
When bounty hunter Liam Quinn discovered that Claire Connolly was a Sensitive and infected with magic, he should have turned her in to be locked up in the prison district known as Devil’s Isle. Instead, he helped her learn to control her power and introduced her to an underground group of Paranormals and humans who know the truth about the war and those who fought it.

Now the weight of Liam’s own secrets has forced him into hiding. When a government agent is killed and Claire discovers that Liam is the prime suspect, she races to find him before the government can. But she’ll discover proving his innocence is no simple matter. Their enemies are drawing closer, and time is running out….

Review:
Claire is a strong woman with conflicting feels about Liam. But when Liam needs her help, she doesn’t think twice about going after him.

When Claire goes looking for Liam, I expected a happy reunion. Maybe hugs,Liam’s famous half smile, something that resembled the affection the two of them once shared. The build up of seeing Liam again had my stomach doing somersaults. And the reality is devastating. Instead of affection, Claire is met with a solid flat wall. Putting myself in Claire’s place, I would be so hurt but also royally mad. It doesn’t help how utterly attractive Liam is and somehow is even more otherworldly masculine and sexy.

The question of Clair’s mother rises early in this book. Again I put myself in her position and wonder, would I want to know the truth of my mother. The possibility she could have been this evil entity? Or the tail her father strung of her early death before the war? Either way, Claire gets forced into the reality every person must eventually face. That moment when your parents fall from the enormously high pedestal you’ve held them at because they aren’t perfect. And in Claire’s case, they are more than flawed. They are this cold, evil stranger. 

Liam’s power is pretty cool. It takes a while before figuring out why he didn’t want to tell Clair about it. And it’s actually kind of sweet. I think I would have done a similar thing. Maybe with a little more communication though. 

I love the chemistry between Liam and Claire. The similarities between Liam and Clair’s father don’t go unnoticed and I wonder if there are any underlining ‘daddy’ issues Claire is compensating for. 

The story ends with the battle between time and Claire’s mother. Claire has shown an enough as amount of strength, clarity, and willingness to make the hard choice and follow through with it in this book. This book has so much love in it. Even though in the beginning it’s difficult to see, trust me it’s there. And it comes in so many forms and from the people you least expect. I’ll admit reading this book, my emotions ran high. But isn’t that the best gift an author can give! The end – and I don’t mean the last few chapters, I mean the very end – of this book was ok. I’m somewhere between thinking ok, maybe that would work to yeah that was kind of an easy out. Either way, that was what we are left with and I’m hands down excited for the next book. 

I wish I could say more, dive into every detail of this book. But let’s be honest, that’s not what you want. I’m trying very hard not to give away too much but my hope is I gave you enough to entice you to read more. Although this isn’t my favorite series from this author, I still wholeheartedly enjoyed this book. 

Priceless (Rylee Adamson, #1)

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This book is full of drama, action, and mixed emotions. For some reason, I felt like sexual tension/situations were a constant theme throughout the book. Each character brings something new. And just when you think things couldn’t get worse, the next chapter does just that. I didn’t love the book but I also didn’t hate it, I guess I’m still unsure about this series. But I’m getting ahead of myself.


Priceless

Author: Shannon Mayer
Published: June 2013
Pages: 269

Stars: 3 out of 5

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Synopsis:
“My name is Rylee and I am a Tracker.” 

When children go missing, and the Humans have no leads, I’m the one they call. I am their last hope in bringing home the lost ones. I salvage what they cannot.

I’m on the FBI’s wanted list.

I have a werewolf for a pet, a Witch of a best friend, and have no need for anyone else in my life.

But when a salvage starts to spin out of control, help comes from a most unexpected direction. One that is dangerously dark, brooding, and doesn’t know a thing about the supernatural.

One whose kisses set me on fire.

Review:
Rylee has a special skill that is unique to her in that she is able to find any missing child. Well, almost any. Having a sister go missing ten years ago and an FBI agent determined to pin the crime on her, Rylee isn’t exactly living an easy life. Rylee is also known as an Immune, meaning psychics are unable to see into her past or future, most magic won’t affect her, poison won’t harm her.. You get the idea. 

Rylee is a strong character with a soft heart. She puts everything she has into her job and is quite the fighter. But she carries a lot of baggage around and is constantly haunted by her past.

Liam, an FBI agent hell bent on seeing Rylee behind bars, has found himself in unmarked territory. After a flirtatious kiss, Liam can’t stop thinking about Rylee. But the thing that doesn’t make a lot of sense is that there is zero evidence pinning Rylee to her sisters death/disappearance. Yet Liam has been stocking – I mean investigating Rylee for 10 years. That’s a long time to investigate something, especially without any evidence. 

 Priceless is an easy read, the pages turn quickly as the heroine fights her way to save the life of a child. Although I felt like the plot could have dug deeper (a lot deeper), the book was an enjoyable read.

 But like I said above, I’m still not sure about the series. The plot was interesting and I think there is a good story in there but this book is weighed down by the lack of editing. Ok, maybe not the lack of editing but the book could have used more help in that department. Another thing that really put me off was all the sexuality in this book. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a prude. I enjoy reading romance books and everything that comes with them. But in this case, I felt like everything was forced and pushed in your face while reading. There was nothing subtle or smooth about Rylee and Liam. Besides, their attraction just doesn’t add up.

Overall, the author has a good imagination and unique plot to work with. I wish there weren’t so many inconsistencies or forced scenes. And the authors unrealistic sexual attraction between her characters is off putting. I’m just not sure if I will continue with this series…

Wild Hunger (Heirs of Chicagoland, #1)

As of today, there are 102 days before this book is released. And I know, it’s not fair but I promise the wait is well worth it! You are going to love this series!

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I was surprised, albeit happily surprised, with how often Ethan and Merits characters showed up in this book. It was a little weird having Ethan and Merit be side characters, being able to hear their words without their thoughts. I almost felt left out, like I was missing something. But I guess that’s how it is with all spinoffs. It’s a good thing I loved Elisa’s character! Otherwise, I think it would be difficult to stick with the series.


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Author: Chloe Neill
Published: August 14, 2018
Pages: 352

Stars: 5 out of 5

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Series: Heirs of Chicagoland

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Synopsis:
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.


Review:
First off, do not go into this book expecting a miniature Merit. Although Elisa has aspects of her parents, she is no Merit. She is more and so different. And as a side note, I love the parents Ethan and Merit turned out to be.

“My smart and kind and beautiful girl. He (Ethan) liked to say that, had been saying that for years, and had always put ‘beautiful’ last. Whether it was true or not, he’d tell me it was the least important of the three. “You are smart,” he’d say. “You should be kind. And if you are, you’ll always be beautiful.” 

I love this quote because it says so much about their character and values. And again, it shows what kind of parents Ethan and Merit are. I do wish Elisa would have felt like she could have told them her secret. I can’t imagine the weight of having to carry that around with you, not being able to talk to anyone about it.

The prologue was really fun to read. Chloe Neill did a great job at capturing the innocents of a child and the love/hate relationship between two young kids. If you haven’t read Chicagoland Vampire series, then I don’t think you would fully be able to picture the scene described here. Neill doesn’t go into too much description with the characters. For example, you don’t really get the sense of just how big/dominating Gabriel and Ethan presence would be, especially to two young kids. I do love how Elisa refers to Connor as ‘Connor Stupid Keene’.

Elisa’s character is complex. She is 23 and although she is a vampire, she continues to age. Elisa is heroic but at times can become reckless. And although she thinks she has discovered herself in Paris, she still has no idea who she is in Chicago. But no matter where she is, she is unbelievably brave.  Knowing she has to do something, even if it means hurting the ones she loves most because it’s to save the innocent, doesn’t hurt any less. I love the innocence of Elisa’s character. Although She is able to step up to a fight, she is still affected by the loss of death.

The phrase ‘I’m an immortal’ has come from Elisa throughout the entire book. I’m not sure why it sticks out to me, but it does. I can’t help but wonder how and if this might come into play later.

Connor is just as gorgeous as he is cocky. The naked scene was far too short and such a tease. God I loved it!! I love the dominant side of him and I like how he’s honest with Elisa. Even when it’s hard, he tells her not what she wants but what she needs to hear. I like Connor’s take on Elisa’s ‘monster’. I don’t think I would have looked at it that way, but it makes sense.

Connor and Elisa have a very complicated relationship. On the one hand there’s old childhood resentment, then there is their life’s dream – for Elisa it’s being anonymous, earning her way. For Connor it’s being leader of the pack. – and finally, it’s the connection between them, discovering who they have grown to be. But even as the sparks fly between them, the rules are clear and choices will eventually have to be made.

The banter between Connor and Elisa is fantastic but there is definitely a love/hate, are we friends or more, kind of thing going on here.  Some of the scenes between Connor and Elisa are not only intense but they are seductive! Who would have thought having someone grab your hand to prevent you from turning could be so sensual?!?! Chloe Neill does such an amazing job with building sexual tension between the two characters!! She is such a gifted writer and Wild Hunger is no exception.

The side characters are fun to read. I love LuLu’s hidden hobby of running. Finally, a girl that speaks my heart! I love the little details Chloe Neill adds into her books. They make her characters, no matter how minor, seem more real and relatable. Even the side characters are written in such a  personal way, it’s easy to connect with them.

The plot is fun, exciting, and similar to Chicagoland Vampires series yet much more. Elisa has been away from Chicago, developing control, and is returning to support the houses in hosting peace talks amongst the other supernaturals in the world. And as you can imagine, those talks don’t exactly go as expected. One of the things I found interesting is how Cadogan house struck a deal with the mayor to not get involved in supernatural crimes. And part of me gets it – when supernaturals get involved, the city tends to get destroyed. But another part of me recognizes the injustice that is put upon a single race. I can’t help but make a comparison with today’s world and how we look, respond, and treat those of different races.  I’m not sure if that was Neill’s intention or not and it wasn’t like it was an overwhelming theme. Just something I noticed.

Okay, I promise I won’t say more about the plot and characters, don’t want to give too much away 🙂

The end of the book is fantastic! I’m surprised with how much Connor and Elisa’s relationship changes. Connor is going to have his hands full with her! And that darn prophecy! Ah, I love it. This is a book you will want to read. I’ve had it on pre-order from the very beginning and even though I was given an advanced copy, I can’t wait for the book to come. This will be a book I will read again and a new series I am looking forward to starting.


I would love to hear your thoughts about the review and if you are planning on reading this book. Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars (Rock Canyon, Idaho #2)

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This book is not what I expected. Good Girls Don’t Date Rock Stars is the second book in Codi Gary’s Rock Canyon series. I absolutely loved the first book, Things Good Girls Don’t Do, and was excited to read this book. The books not perfect, but it’s a fun read.


Good girls don't date rock stars


Author
: Codi Gary
Published: April 22, 2014
Pages: 384

Stars: 4 out of 5

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Synopsis:
Gemma Carlson didn’t plan on waking up married. She also didn’t count on running into her old flame—and her son’s father-turned-country rock star—Travis Bowers, followed by a night of drunken dares. Apparently one of those involved a ring on her finger and a vow … neither of which she intends to keep. Now with a hangover from hell, this good-girl-gone-bad knows there’s just one thing to do: run.

Travis has been all over the world, but Gemma has never been far from his thoughts. So when they had the chance to catch up over a few drinks, he didn’t hesitate. Of course, he didn’t expect it would lead to marriage, or a runaway bride! Travis finally has a second chance and doesn’t plan on losing Gemma again—or the son he didn’t know he had. He proposes, albeit belatedly, a date. Or rather, a few. If they can make this marriage work by starting over, he stays. If not …

Gemma’s not interested; she’s got a son to protect and a heart to heal. But having Travis around could make both a little easier. Still, good girls don’t date rock stars . . . right?

Review:
Gemma is a 28 year old single mom. She is consumed with keeping her child protected, out of the spotlight, and safe. If I had to describe her, I would say she is a hot mess. Gemma has no idea what she wants and hurts others if it means protecting herself and her son. She is full of insecurities and as an adult, she has never fully been able to escape the taunts she received throughout her youth. 

Travis, is a country music star who has a soft and loving heart. Running into Gemma after years apart has brought perspective into his life. Realizing he is a father to a young boy, that completely changed his life. Now Travis is trying to find a balance between his career and his new family. Unfortunately, Gemma makes this exceptionally difficult. 

Wow, Gemma is something else. This is one story I feel like the burden of fault mainly lands on Gemma’s shoulders. For one, how selfish can she be for not telling Travis he has a son. I honestly can’t wrap my head around that. Then the snide, hurtful comments she makes once things start changing.. Did she not realize her life needed to change if she wanted to be with him? 

Gemma hides behind her son instead of taking responsibility and taking a chance. I hate how much of a coward she is. She continues to let Travis down, giving him reasons not to trust her. But he always does and he forgives her like her actions didn’t hurt or cause too much damage. When in reality, her actions turned his entire life upside down. On top of all this, everyone in town blames Travis for everything- for breaking up with Gemma when she’s pregnant. Oh wait, that was Gemma who broke up with him and then hid her pregnancy from him. Then there’s him leaving Gemma after trying to make things work. Oh wait, again that was Gemma who kicked him out. 

Overall, this is a love story that is a fun and easy read. I wouldn’t jump into this book with the hopes of a serious plot. The author, at least for me, really pulls on the readers emotions. And even though I didn’t care for Gemma, the author did a nice job creating a consistent character. This isn’t a book I would buy but it was fun to read. 

 

Author/Book Spotlight – Opal Carew: X Marks the Spot

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Author: Opal Carew
Pages: 256

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Synopsis:
Abi has been in love with Del for years, but they never got around to acting on their mutual attraction. And then she met and married his best friend, Liam.

But when Abi and Liam’s marriage falls apart, Abi decides to take control of her life and find her happily-ever-after with Del. So when they’re all staying in a country inn for her brother’s wedding, Abi decides to slip into Del’s bed and seduce him…except she accidentally ends up in Liam’s instead.

Liam never stopped loving Abi, and he plans to use every blazing hot trick in his book to keep her in his bed…even if it means sharing her with Del.


Excerpt, Chapter One:

Abi ran her finger over the embossed wedding invitation. The feel of the raised flowers, smooth under her fingertip, made her think of white satin.

She stared at the silver letters … Join us … and her mind drifted off, imagining herself walking down the aisle, wearing a beautiful white satin and lace dress adorned with delicate pearls and white sequins. In her daydream, her gaze locked on her groom, standing at the altar watching her approach with eyes filled with joy, his beaming smile melting her heart.

Del.

“Hey, earth to Abi,” Jaime, her older sister, said. “You know we’ve got to get all these done this evening, right?”

Claire, Abi’s other sister, laughed. “Don’t worry about it, Jaime. If our little sister wants to daydream a little, that’s okay. She’s already stuffed more invitations than both of us combined. What were you thinking about, Abi?”

This time Jaime laughed. “Isn’t it obvious? She’s thinking about Del.”

Ignoring her sisters, Abi slipped an RSVP and the invitation into an envelope, then turned it over and ran her dampened sponge over the glue on the flap and sealed it. Then she flipped it back and wrote Del’s name and address on the front.

He was the next guest on the list.

She sighed, wishing this was her wedding coming up instead of her brother Kurt’s. But despite the intense attraction between her and Del, he seemed more than happy to be just friends. Which she couldn’t really blame him for after their false start in college.

But she’d do anything to turn things around. To finally find her happily-ever-after in his arms.

Jaime plucked the completed invitation from Abi and placed it in the box with the others. Claire added the one she’d just finished. Doing the invitations had been Kurt’s task, but of course he’d left them to the last minute, then got pulled into something at work, so he’d called on his three sisters to help out.

Abi sipped her wine and realized Jaime was staring at her.

“What?” Abi asked.

“You know you’ll be seeing Del at the wedding. You should make a move.”

Abi’s lips compressed. “I don’t have a move.”

“You’re a woman. The only move you need is to get naked in his bed,” Jaime said.

Abi’s mouth dropped open. It wasn’t like Jaime to say something so brash.

Claire’s eyebrow arched. “You’re suggesting our little sister march into a man’s room, strip down, and climb into bed with him?”

Jaime shrugged. “I suggest a little more finesse than that but, yeah, essentially. And the point is, this isn’t any man. It’s Del, the man she’s been mooning over for years.”

“Forget it,” Abi interrupted. “That is not going to happen.”

“Come on, Abi,” Jaime said. “You’ve been out of sorts ever since you heard that Scruff was getting married.” Scruff was the nickname her older sisters had for Kurt.

Claire placed her hand on Abi’s, staring at her with concern. “What is it, honey? Why is Scruff getting married bothering you?”

Abi shook her head. “It’s not. I’m thrilled for him. Suzanne is wonderful and I know they’ll be very happy together.” She squeezed Claire’s hand. “I really want that for him.”

Claire stroked her shoulder. “Of course you do. We all do.”

“It’s not really about Scruff,” Jaime said, leaning back in her chair. “Is it?”

Abi shook her head. She’d been thinking about it a lot lately, confused by her own reaction to her brother’s fabulous news. And she’d finally figured it out. “It’s because after this, I’ll be the only one in the family who’s not married.”

“But, honey, you are married,” Claire said.

Abi sighed, pain flaring through her.

“Technically, yes. But I was married for barely a year before we separated and we’ve been apart for over two years now. I don’t really think that counts.”

Her chest constricted at the thought of Liam. The whole ordeal around their separation—her hands tightened into fists—around their marriage … was still difficult for her to think about. It brought up memories that were too agonizing to relive.

Claire slid her arm around Abi’s shoulders and squeezed.

“I know it’s been tough on you. But I still think you and Liam have a chance to make it work. I think the fact that he hasn’t signed the divorce papers yet means he’s not ready to let you go.”

“No,” Jaime said, “it means the jerk’s a son of a bitch who just wants to prolong Abi’s suffering. She belongs with someone who’ll make her happy. Del will do that.”

Abi glanced at Jaime who sat in the chair opposite the couch, sipping her wine. “I always thought you liked Liam.”

The severe expression on Jaime’s face softened.

“I did. Until he hurt my little sister.”

* * *

When Abi got home, she slumped into her bed and stared at the ceiling. Both her sisters were home with their husbands now. Jaime with her two boys in the next room. Claire didn’t have kids yet, but Abi knew she and her husband, Bill, were thinking about it.

Her sisters had everything Abi had ever wanted. A life partner who loved them. A family, or the opportunity to have one soon. And now Kurt did, too. In a month’s time, he would be married and working on his family.

Where was Abi’s happily-ever-after?

She closed her eyes, but sleep wouldn’t come. All she could think of was Del and what might have been.

* * *

Abi had met Del at college, the day she’d moved into her dorm room. She’d received a scholarship to pursue her master’s in Early Childhood Education at Brahm’s University in Eldridge, New Hampshire. The same place her brother, Kurt, had gone for his graduate studies.

It was the first time she’d been away from her family, since she’d done her undergraduate degree close to home, and she’d been feeling a little lost.

Then Del had shown up at her door. He was a friend of her brother’s, and Kurt had asked him to look out for her.

She still remembered glancing up to see the gorgeous man standing in her doorway.

He’d smiled, his straight, white teeth and the warmth glowing from his eyes making his whole face light up in a way that dug into her heart and tugged at her most intense feminine needs.

When she’d shaken his hand, electricity had sparked up her arm, firing every nerve ending along the way. His hand had been so big and warm and … comforting. In his warm olive-green eyes, flecked with what looked like golden stardust, she’d been sure she’d seen a reflection of the same intense attraction.

He’d shown her around town and helped her integrate into the social life on campus.

But because of his friendship with her brother, he’d insisted they remain just friends.

She’d kept hoping. Her face flushed with embarrassment as she remembered when she’d practically thrown herself at him one evening, kissing him and telling him she wanted more from him than friendship.

Despite the sexual tension between them, their friendship continued to grow. He was always there when she needed someone to talk to. And he looked out for her. He even introduced her to his best friend, Liam, clearly hoping she’d turn her attention to him instead.

The moment she’d met Liam, she’d fallen hard. It would be easy to tell herself that she’d only needed someone to distract her from her feelings for Del, but it wasn’t that simple. The chemistry between her and Liam was spectacular, burning brighter than anything she’d ever experienced before. And both of them had mistaken that for love.

Her gut clenched as her mind started along a path that would take her on a rapid downward spiral. Tears prickled at her eyes, and she brushed them away. She pulled herself from the painful memories, refusing to relive them right now.

Over the long, dismal year when her marriage was falling apart, Del had been there for her. Encouraging her. Trying to help her keep it together with Liam, who had sunk into his own man cave of despair.

After she’d finally ended it with Liam, Del had been the one holding her hand. He had been the shoulder she’d cried on.

And he’d helped her get herself back on her feet and focused on getting her degree. Despite the fact that all she’d wanted to do was curl into a ball.

He’d known how vulnerable she was, and he’d been a true friend, never making a move on her. Even though she’d wanted him to.

Then she’d graduated and moved back home, hoping to get a position teaching. And needing to be near her family. She and Del kept in touch, but they continued to stay firmly entrenched in the friendship zone. She was sure that he had feelings for her and now that time had passed, it was time to do something about it.

* * *

Del grabbed the mail from his box and headed up to his apartment, then dropped onto the couch and sorted through it. He spotted the invitation to Kurt’s wedding. He knew that’s what it was before he opened it. Kurt had asked Del to be a groomsman and, of course, he’d accepted. The invitation was a formality.

He recognized the handwriting on the front of the envelope. Abi had addressed it.

He ran his finger over the inked lines, picturing her fingers gliding the pen over the paper. Imagining reaching for her hand and taking it in his, then bringing it to his mouth. Brushing his lips against the soft skin on the back of her hand.

Del couldn’t help remembering the first time he’d met Abi almost four years ago.

He’d been attracted to her the instant he’d seen her. He’d heard a lot about her from Kurt, so he’d already known what kind of person she was. Loving, sweet, and giving, with a strong sense of family. And intelligent.

He hadn’t realized how stunning she was, however. He’d seen pictures of her, but none of them did her justice. Her long, wavy, chestnut-brown hair that tumbled around her shoulders had glistened in the sunlight from the window. Her figure was slim, but well-rounded in all the right places. And when she’d gazed at him with her luminous blue eyes, his pulse had skipped a beat.

Damn, his friend’s little sister should not have been so fuckably attractive. She’d been totally off-limits.

Even now, the memory of how she’d looked at him still sent liquid fire racing through his veins.

He stood up and walked into the kitchen, then grabbed a water bottle from the fridge. He returned to the couch and sat down again.

When he’d taken her out to dinner that first day, despite his best efforts, he’d forgotten he was with the sister of a friend, seeing instead a fascinating, vibrant, sexy woman he wanted to get to know better.

Much better.

When they’d stood outside her door, her wide, blue eyes gazing up at him, his intense desire for her had urged him to take her up on the invitation glowing in her eyes, and follow her to her bedroom.

But he had a sister. He glanced at the graduation photo of Cara on his bookshelf. One he cared about very much. And when Kurt had asked Del to look out for Abi, he’d taken that promise very seriously.

So he’d forced himself to resist the temptation of her lips. Of her incredible body. A feat that had become increasingly difficult the more time he’d spent around her.

He took a sip of his water, then slumped back on the couch.

Especially the day she’d made it clear she wanted more. He’d walked her to her door, and seen the desire in her eyes. She’d wanted him to kiss her. When he didn’t make a move, she’d rested her hand on his shoulder and pushed herself up onto her tiptoes, then their lips had met.

Oh, God, he could still feel the gut-wrenching need that had swelled within him at the feel of her soft lips. His arms were around her before he knew what he was doing, pulling her tight to him. His cock swelling in response to her soft curves. His tongue had delved inside her, her sweetness becoming like an aphrodisiac. He’d pulled her tighter and she’d murmured softly against his lips.

When their mouths parted, she’d smiled up at him and invited him inside.

He raked his hair from his face.

That’s when he’d come to his senses. He’d explained to her that he couldn’t pursue the attraction between them. That he wanted to be her friend.

He’d been a complete fool. If he had only allowed them to pursue the intense attraction that crackled between them … allowed their romance to blossom … then he would have prevented the tragic events that followed.

And the limbo they both found themselves in now.

Fuck, he wanted her in his life. And not as a friend. Desire had turned to something more years ago.

The fact that she was his friend’s younger sister didn’t matter anymore. Not after so much had happened.

But she was married. To his best friend.

The marriage had failed, however. He’d seen it crumble before his eyes, despite Abi trying to keep it together.

Liam was resisting signing the papers, but Abi wanted the divorce. And they’d been separated for two years.

His lips compressed as he opened the envelope and pulled out the RSVP. He grabbed a pen and filled out the small card—no plus-one—then slipped it into the small pre-addressed, stamped envelope.

It was high time he stopped playing by the rules and did whatever it took to win her heart.

* * *

Abi stepped from the car and stood gazing at the lovely country inn with a beautiful garden of bright-colored flowers adorning the sides of the stone path leading to the front entrance, as Claire’s husband, Bill, started pulling their luggage from the trunk of the car. There was a sparkling lake beyond the building, the shoreline spotted with tall trees.

Claire stepped beside her and drew in a deep breath.

“Mmm. The flowers smell lovely,” Claire said. “Scruff and Suzanne definitely picked a beautiful spot for their wedding.”

Claire hooked her arm with Abi’s and they walked along the path toward the front door.

“Abi.”

Abi’s heart stuttered at the familiar male voice and she turned toward Del.


2

 

Opal Carew is the author of several erotic romances for St. Martin’s Press, including A Fare to Remember and Nailed. She lives in Canada and makes regular trips to the US to speak at conferences and industry events.

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Comment below if you’ve read the book or other books by Opal! Check out my review of her other book, Meat

Until next time, Happy Reading 🙂

Forever Black (Forever, #1)

1

I was really looking forward to reading this book and I was so disappointed. There were some things I enjoyed about this book, but those were far and few…


Forever Black

 

Author: Sandi Lynn
Published: February 16, 2013
Pages: 278

Stars: 2 out of 5

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Synopsis:
When Ellery moved to New York with her boyfriend, she thought they’d live happily ever after in their small New York apartment. She never thought he’d pack his bags and leave because he “needed space.” With her newfound single status and fear of being alone, Ellery buries herself in her artwork and paintings until one night she helps a mysterious intoxicated stranger get home safely. Little did she know the mysterious stranger is none other than CEO and millionaire Connor Black. After finding Ellery in his kitchen the next morning and assuming she broke his #1 rule about sleepovers, he becomes intrigued, not only by her stubbornness and defiance, but by her kindness.

Connor Black, emotionally dead and damaged, that stemmed from a personal tragedy, made a vow to never love or fall in love with a woman, until Ellery Lane walked into his life by accident. After she opens up and shows him her world, Connor starts to feel emotions and feelings he never knew existed. Despite the rumors and warnings regarding Connor Black and his use and misuse of women, Ellery finds herself being drawn into his world.

Ellery knows they can never be together because she is harboring a deep secret that could destroy Connor emotionally forever.

Review:
Ok, where to start. This book starts off really slow. You meet Elle as her boyfriend of 4 years is leaving her. And although the author hints at him cheating on her, Elle is still heartbroken and fearful of being alone. Everywhere she goes, everyone handles her with delicate gloves.  The sex scenes were the same way, gentle with an underlining fear of hurting her. It was just completely odd and doesn’t match her character. For example- She goes to a club called club S. Supposedly the s stands for sex and Elle freaks out because it’s a club where people go to find sex… Tell me if I’m wrong but don’t a lot of adults go to a club looking to get laid, hook up? Either way the club is as mild as it gets and nothing happens. But the way Elle freaked out about it just didn’t really match with how old her character is supposed to be.

And this is where we meet Connor Black, at the club getting slapped by some girl. Then later as he is getting kicked out for drinking too much- Yes, I know. Sounds like a stand up guy… Elle must think so because she decides the safest thing for her to do is get in a cab with the stranger and take him home. Again, sounds like the safest thing to do in New York…

Connor is arrogant, good looking, and wealthy. He is also stuck up, condescending, rude, bossy, and somewhat of a stalker. The interactions between him and Elle come off as forced, at times creepy, and negative. Connor always comes off as a curious yet pissed off guy and Elle comes off as annoyed and defiant. I have no idea why they continue to interact with each other. But they do and the plot gets a little more bizarre. Elle tells Connor something personal and emotional, Connor loosens up and acts like a human. I just don’t get it. 

As the story progresses, Connor and Elle’s relationship changes multiple times. Some of the events that happened were too sappy for me and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. Overall, I probably wont read this book again. Maybe the timing is off and if I read this book later down the line, I might think differently. Either way, I wasn’t too impressed.