REVIEW AND EXCERPT TOUR: THE REAL by Kate Stewart

Contemporary Romance
Stand Alone

Blurb

They say it happens when you least expect it.

It did for me.

It started the moment I saw the simple message pop up on my computer screen:

Cameron’s Mac: Hi.

And when I met the eyes of the gorgeous man messaging me from across the coffee shop, I never thought my reply would lead to the most intense, sexual, and passionate relationship of my life.

We both agreed to check our bags at the door and put our future hopes and aspirations on the table.

It worked.

I fell in love with his no holds barred attitude, sexy smirk, and undeniably good heart . . . and for a while we forgot about our baggage. We happily tripped over it to get to the other, neither of us willing to show the contents of our pasts in the off chance it could ruin us.

We built our love on a foundation of gray.

It was life in black and white that threatened to tear us apart.

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Review

I’m so glad that I made reading new-to-me authors a part of my 2018 Reading Challenge because, so far this year, I’ve come across some amazing storytellers, and I can wholeheartedly say that Kate Stewart is an absolute gem of a romance writer…not only does she craft emotionally charged, angst driven stories, but she also develops multifaceted characters who, despite every obstacle faced and every self-sabotaged situation created, find their way to a contented present and a loving future that is absolutely deserved.

Despite Abby’s heartbreaking past, she’s an intelligent, driven, and quirky heroine – one who lives by a set of controlled rules because that’s how she copes with all that she’s had to endure. Cameron is definitely a game changer for Abby, and while she may not handle her feelings for Cameron in constructive ways, at times, she is doing the best she can with everything that’s been thrown her way, so even though readers might have some concerns about Abby’s ability to be everything that Cameron deserves, Abby absolutely deserves every happiness in life and Cameron is the only man who can give it to her.

The King of Woo is an apt name for Cameron, but it’s also only part of the man who Cameron is. Time and time again, he proves himself to readers and to Abbie, even when Abbie seems to get lost inside her head and has to fight every instinct not to runaway from the turbulent emotions that threaten to overwhelm her. Cameron’s the real deal and despite his own baggage, he breaks through and allows them both to be as honest and as open as any two people with complicated pasts can be.

The Real is an absolutely amazing romance – one that has all of the components of a fantastic story, but the one idea that I kept going back to as Cameron and Abby’s story continued is that it is one of the most realistically crafted fictional tales I’ve read in a long time. It deals with real issues and handles them as delicately as they deserve to be.

Kate Stewart is a storyteller who helps her readers truly experience what her characters think, feel, and do, so much so, that they can’t help but become emotionally invested right from the start, and that, in my opinion, illustrates a truly gifted writer.

5 Poison Apples

Excerpt

Cameron’s Mac: Hi.
I looked above my laptop and took a deep breath before I accepted his invitation.

Abbie’s Mac: Hi.
Abbie, he’s going to wear your skin! I tried to ignore my inner voice.

Cameron’s Mac: I saw you with the homeless guy.
Abbie’s Mac: Ok?
He took a sip out of his Real Men Love Pomeranians mug and shrugged before he typed.

Cameron’s Mac: So, that was nice of you. Most people in the city just walk on by.
Abbie’s Mac: Oh. Most people do walk past Bennie. But he’s different and I’m not most people.
He lifted a brow and bit his lip.

Cameron’s Mac: I see that.

Cameron’s Mac: Want to have your next cup with me?
Say yes, say yes! It’s only coffee!
Abbie’s Mac: No, thank you.
You idiot.
His brows drew tight with his frown.

Cameron’s Mac: Sure? How about some breakfast?
My pulse raced with the memory of my last reaction to that type of attention and the consequences, and I answered without another thought.

Abbie’s Mac: No, thanks.
His chuckle was deep and covered me, even across the space between us. He bit his full bottom lip as he typed, his smirk still intact.

Fuck. Me. Damn it, Abbie!
Cameron’s Mac: Well, I guess today is not my day.

Abbie’s Mac: That’s all you’ve got?
I had no clue why I sent that message . . . why I was bothered that he didn’t try harder. Just that fucking smirk. It was sexy as hell.

He read my message and shrugged as he typed.

Cameron’s Mac: You seem to enjoy coffee. I don’t have an agenda. You’re beautiful, I noticed. I wanted to drink coffee with you. You said no. I’m going to scrape up the rest of my pride now and head out.
He closed his laptop and stood while I deflated. Damn it. He was being nice. Since when are guys just . . . nice?

Am I a man hater? Have I become that woman?
I spoke up as he slipped his computer into a worn leather bag.

“I’m sorry,” I offered in quick apology. “I was expecting some horrible line or screwed up proposition. The web, messaging, anything that has to do with technology has been hazardous for me. I’ve seen enough unsolicited dick pics for a lifetime. I was just being cautious.” And that was the truth. But I’d said it aloud in verbal vomit. Did I really say “dick pics” out loud?

He chuckled again as he looked down at me from where he stood, then grinned.

“Today isn’t the right day.” The husky baritone of his voice matched the silky hue of his eyes, which seemed to darken as he looked me over.

“No?” I asked in a whisper as I sized up his six-foot-plus frame and imagined the possibilities.

“No,” he said. “Maybe we can not have coffee again sometime?”

He’d tapped out with a simple ‘no’ from me. He couldn’t have been that interested in the first place.

I couldn’t deny the disappointment welling up in my ovaries.

Okay.” I lifted the last syllable when he didn’t press further.

Cameron pulled out his wallet and set some money on his table then walked over to mine and did the same.

“At least let me buy your next cup.”

After setting the bills down, he stood over me briefly and I caught his scent—purely masculine. I inhaled as much as I could without being obvious. He didn’t smell like a psycho.

Cameron picked up his man–bag while I pictured running my fingers through his messy, inches thick, dark-brown hair.

Don’t let him leave. Tell him you aren’t that big of a bitch. But that would seem desperate. You aren’t desperate. But you are horny. Omg, are you horny??

As if reading my thoughts, I caught another flash of his teeth and had to bite my cheek to keep my reaction in check.

“I’ll see you.”

“Yeah, see you. And thanks,” I said to his retreating back, an octave louder than necessary. “For the coffee,” I added. Outside the window, Cameron bent and exchanged words with Bennie before sticking some cash in his hand.

Well, Abbie. Guess you’ll just have to wait until the next time you roll out of bed and a beautiful man hits on you. Should happen again, you IDIOT!
Once again, my hesitance had cost me. And I couldn’t help but feel like this time it cost me big.

Sagging into my seat, I continued to stare in his direction, watching those broad shoulders walk out of my life.

About the Author

Kate Stewart lives in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. A native of Dallas, Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring it her creative muse. Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it’s what she loves as a reader. A lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and rap, she dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity only and does a horrible job of playing the ukulele. Aside from running a mile without collapsing, traveling is the only other must on her bucket list. On occasion, she does very well at vodka.

Contact Kate- Email-authorkatestewart@gmail.com

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REVIEW AND EXCERPT TOUR: NEEDING HIM by Kennedy Fox

Evan Bishop is your typical hotshot doctor.
Hardass, brooding, and all business.

Instead of working on the family ranch, Evan broke the mold and became an ER doctor.
He’s good with his hands—in more ways than one—smart as a whip and is the definition of God’s gift to women. Being a gentleman is in his Southern roots, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t flawed. Exclusive dating has never been a top priority and his tragic past makes him stay at arm’s length. Deciding to let loose for a wild night, he takes a page from the Bishop brother’s relationship book and hooks up with a mysterious girl he’ll never have to see again, which is perfect for this self-proclaimed bachelor.

Emily Bell is a city girl through and through but is determined to get away from her family and past. All she wants is a fresh start and to make a name for herself in the medical field. No random hookups and no dating coworkers—that’s her new motto after being burned time and again. When she agrees to attend a wedding as a plus-one, she’s soon ditched and left to drink solo—but not for long. Mr. Suit is the ultimate temptation with his Southern charm, messy blond hair, and irresistible sex appeal. Everything about him screams bad news, but he makes her reconsider her rules just for one night.

After all, some rules are made to be broken.

They want the same thing—one night of passion then they’ll go their separate ways. No cuddling afterward. No next day phone calls. No awkward goodbyes. Too bad the universe has other plans—one that’ll be obvious when they report to work on Monday morning.

*A contemporary romance with a little Southern drama. This is book 2 in the Bishop Brothers series. Each book features a different brother and can be read as a complete standalone. HEA guaranteed!*
Not suitable for readers under 18 due to adult language and sexual content.

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Review

Readers better be ready for resident hard ass, Dr. Evan Bishop, because not only is he one hell of an ER doctor, but he’s also an alpha male to his core, which means that even though Dr. Emily Bell pushes his buttons and pisses him off, he’s unwilling to give up control or be undermined by the woman who was supposed to be a one-night stand but now seems to always be around, defying him and daring him to give into the undeniable attraction and the chemistry between them because it’s more than obvious that one night is not going to satisfy either of them, regardless of how much they piss each other off and how many mixed signals Evan seems to deliver.

Evan Bishop may be one confusing and broody bastard, but he’s also an amazing doctor, rancher, and sibling, even if his brothers may deny that fact. Evan may have earned the Mr. Undateable nickname, but now that he’s had a taste of Dr. Emily Bell, he can’t seem to walkaway no matter how much effort he puts into battling his desires. And, even though he’s a total prick to Emily at the beginning, once his stubbornness allows Emily a chance to explain, there’s no stopping him from claiming her once and for all, no matter what obstacles stand in their way.

Emily Bell may come from a long line of prestigious doctors, but she hasn’t relied on her last name to advance her career; she’s worked her ass off and proven herself a fantastic doctor in her own right, and it’s her strength and intelligence that allows her to go head-to-head with a man who refuses to make things easy on her no matter how much he wants her and she wants him.

There’s definitely a battle of wills when Evan and Emily are in the same ER room or any room for that matter, but what’s also abundantly clear is that the sexual tension that surrounds them is far too overwhelming not to give into, so the fact that these two go from screaming at one another to tearing each other’s clothes off makes a whole lot of sense, even if it frustrates the hell out of them both.

When the Bishop brood is together, there’s never a dull moment, whether it be the Bishop brothers meddling ways, knowing just how to wind one another up, or Mama Bishop putting them in their place, this family is always entertaining and they’re bonded in a way that illustrates just how close they are and what they’re willing to do to have one another’s backs at all cost.

Needing Him is definitely a steamy read, but it also has suspenseful, dramatic, and hilarious scenes that make it one hell of an entertaining read.

Bring on the next Bishop brother book!!

4.5 Poison Apples

Excerpt

I caved.

Fuck me. I caved, and now he thinks he’s in control and God’s gift to the world.

Fucking great.

I won’t let him manipulate me with sex. He must not be that smart if he thinks that’s actually going to work. I said those things in the heat of the moment and because I really needed to fucking come, but that doesn’t mean I meant it. Hell, I would’ve told him the sky was purple if that meant he’d give me what I needed.

Regardless, that was really damn hot. The way I yelled at him, and he yelled back, and then we just attacked each other. Every moment of our first night together has replayed in my head since it happened, but now… angry Evan is the one who will haunt me in my dreams. Angry Evan is hot and demanding and knows just how to tease the fuck out of me. I almost hate him for it. Except I could never hate a man who knows how to worship my body like he does.

But God, does he really have to be such a controlling asshole?

I scoop my scrubs and shoes off the floor and adjust my just-fucked hair. Once my top is on, I search for my panties. When I don’t find them on the floor, I shake out my scrub bottoms, but they aren’t there either. What the fuck?

Panic starts to surface at the realization that I lost my damn panties. Shit, shit, shit.

My pager beeps, and it’s painfully obvious I’m going to have to put my pants on without them. Quickly, I finish getting dressed and push my shoes on before grabbing my lab coat and the soiled shirt and flying out the door.

I throw Evan’s shirt in the trash before anyone can see me and ask questions.

Rushing to the nurses’ station for an update, I look around but don’t see any commotion or people scrambling like normal. “What’s going on? You paged me?” I ask, trying to catch my breath.

Fiona looks at me like I’ve gone crazy. She swallows and lowers her eyes before bringing them back up to look at me. She witnessed the heated argument back in the trauma room, and now she looks uncomfortable as hell. “Dr. Bishop asked me to page you. He wanted me to tell you that your break is over and to get back to work.” I can tell she’s uneasy delivering the news, but that doesn’t stop the anger from brewing inside me.

The vein in my forehead is about to burst, but I remind myself to play it cool. For all they knew, Evan sent me on the break to calm down, and now I’m the one looking like a slacker.

“Okay. Thanks.” I pinch my lips together to prevent any further words from spewing out of me. No one can know that Evan and I are…whatever the hell we are. Considering I came to this hospital to make a name for myself all on my own, the last thing I need is people thinking I sleep my way to the top.

Crap.

“Dr. Bell,” Evan barks from the other side of the room. He’s holding a pile of charts in his hands that are no doubt from the huge fire incident that just unfolded.

Taking a deep breath, I put my lab coat on and dig my stethoscope from the pocket and wrap it around my neck. We have to act impartially to each other publicly, but hell, I didn’t realize how hard it’d be now that we’re together.

“Yes, Dr. Bishop?”

He doesn’t even look up at me when I approach him, and I hate that it irritates me.

“I need you on beds seven through fifteen until the next shift rotation, then finish these charts before you leave.” His head tilts up, his lips in a firm line as he piles the stack in my arms. “I also need an update on the Brauer kids once an hour.”

Swallowing, I adjust the charts in my arms to prevent them from falling. I won’t let my pride get in the way of doing my job, and if charts are what I need to do right now, then I won’t make a scene. At least not in front of everyone. However, once we’re alone, I’m going to give him a piece of my mind for treating me like a damn intern again.

“Absolutely. Anything else, sir?” My tone is laced with fake sweetness, and he doesn’t flinch a beat at it.

“Yes, actually.” He takes a step forward and dips his head until his mouth hovers over my ear. “Make sure those charts are done correctly before you leave. I’ll be looking through them extensively.”

“Of course.” I grind my teeth, wishing I could give him a piece of my mind right now.

“And since I know you’re going commando, I won’t ask you to perform any oral procedures.” He winks before walking away, making my blood boil.

That asshole stole my panties!

Brooke Cumberland & Lyra Parish are a duo of romance authors who teamed up to write under the USA Today Bestselling pseudonym, Kennedy Fox. They share a love of You’ve Got Mail and The Holiday. When they aren’t bonding over romantic comedies, they like to brainstorm new book ideas. One day, they decided to collaborate and have some fun creating new characters that’ll make your lady bits tingle and your heart melt. If you enjoy romance stories with sexy, tattooed alpha males and smart, independent women, then a Kennedy Fox book is for you!

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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: THE PLAN by Katie Ashley

This is a novella that was previously published in The Vault anthology and is now available separately.

You can purchase it now for just $2.99!

Blurb

For Jenny O’Malley, the plan was supposed to be easy. Become the surrogate for her friends, Connor and Jeff, deliver their healthy baby, and earn some money towards her student loans. But as the saying goes, the best-laid plans often go awry. Especially when you’re looking at the prospect of not getting laid for a long, long time.

With T-Minus two weeks to insemination, Jenny decides to take her friend, Casey’s, suggestion to have one wild fling before she’s saddled with heartburn and stretchmarks. When a tall, dark and handsome man swaggers into the bar where she works in skin-tight jeans, cowboy boots, and a Stetson, Jenny knows he is the one. After a scorching night of banging boots until dawn, Jenny is a little sad to see her Cowboy in Shining Armor leave.

When he reenters her life a few weeks later, she never could have imagined a positive sign could be such a negative.

iBooks: https://apple.co/2JP7nXi

Nook: https://bit.ly/2H3MGJm

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2qJVc54

Review

The Plan by Katie Ashley illustrates what happens when fate intervenes in someone’s life and alters her plans, complicating an already complex set of circumstances in the best and worst way.

Jenny O’Malley may be only in her early twenties but she’s driven to help her friends expand their family in the most selfless and amazing way and even though she meets someone who she instantly connects with, she understands that for the next year, her life is about more than just her wants and needs so she moves forward, holding onto her one night with a sinfully hot cowboy but looking ahead to the next nine months.

But the best laid plans don’t always go according to plan and when her one-night stand re-enters her life in a bizarre twist of fate, it’s up to both of them how they proceed, if they do, because there are obstacles that might not allow anything to develop between them.

Brett Evans is one delicious cowboy who definitely knows how to wear a pair of tight jeans! And, I can’t say that I blame him for reacting the way that he does when he realizes who Jenny is…but he more than makes up for it and once they figure things out, everything seems to fall into place and even though Jenny’s plan doesn’t quite go they way it was meant to…it doesn’t mean it didn’t go how it’s supposed to for everyone involved.

Jenny and Brett’s story is a sweet and steamy novella that explores the idea of family and how a plan can go a very different way when the right person enters someone life. I loved catching up with characters from Ashley’s Proposition series and how integral they are in redefining what family means and how love conquers all.

4 Poison Apples

Author Bio

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of both Indie and Traditionally published books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her spoiled mutt, Duke. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, as well as a few adjunct college English classes. As of January 2013, she hung up her red pen and expo markers to become a full-time writer. Each and every day she counts her blessings to be able to do her dream job.

Although her roots are firmly planted in the red Georgia clay, she loves traveling the country and world to meet readers and hang out with fellow authors. When she’s not writing or chasing down her toddler, you might find her watching reruns of The Golden Girls, reading historical biographies, along with romance novels, or spending way too much time on Facebook.

Website: http://katieashleybooks.com/

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COVER REVEAL: Shattered Love by Stacey Marie Brown

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Title: Shattered Love

Author: Stacey Marie Brown

Genre: New Adult Romance

Release Date: May 10, 2018

Cover Designer: Dane Low at e-book launch

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Everyone has a story about a broken heart, but Jaymerson’s heart wasn’t just broken. It was completely shattered…

Along with her body and mind.

Jaymerson Holloway had it all. Popularity, boyfriend, good grades—until one moment—one bad decision. A split second and her life was altered forever. Faced with unimaginable grief and guilt, while learning to simply walk again, Jaymerson knows nothing will never be the same. Family and friends want her to get back to how things were before. But she’s no longer that girl.

The only one who understands what she is going through is someone who she has always hated. The other survivor.

Hunter Harris is totally off-limits and full of secrets of his own.

Though each blame the other for the tragedy, they start to help each other repair their shattered lives.

But as the undeniable pull between them intensifies, Jaymerson starts to wonder if she will ever learn the secrets Hunter’s been hiding—or if she even wants to.

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Stacey Marie Brown is a lover of hot fictional bad boys and sarcastic heroines who kick butt. She also enjoys books, travel, TV shows, hiking, writing, design, and archery. Stacey swears she is part gypsy, being lucky enough to live and travel all over the world.

She grew up in Northern California, where she ran around on her family’s farm, raising animals, riding horses, playing flashlight tag, and turning hay bales into cool forts. She volunteers helping animals and is Eco-friendly. She feels all animals, people, and environment should be treated kindly.

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REVIEW AND EXCERPT TOUR: Lexi Blake Crossover Collection

Crossover2

Discover the Lexi Blake Crossover Collection
Release Date: April 10, 2018

Crossover_Lexi Blake_300dpi_newCLOSE COVER by Lexi Blake

Remy Guidry doesn’t do relationships. He tried the marriage thing once, back in Louisiana, and learned the hard way that all he really needs in life is a cold beer, some good friends, and the occasional hookup. His job as a bodyguard with McKay-Taggart gives him purpose and lovely perks, like access to Sanctum. The last thing he needs in his life is a woman with stars in her eyes and babies in her future.

Lisa Daley’s life is finally going in the right direction. She has finally graduated from college after years of putting herself through school. She’s got a new job at an accounting firm and she’s finished her Sanctum training. Finally on her own and having fun, her life seems pretty perfect. Except she’s lonely and the one man she wants won’t give her a second look.

There is one other little glitch. Apparently, her new firm is really a front for the mob and now they want her dead. Assassins can really ruin a fun girls’ night out. Suddenly strapped to the very same six-foot-five-inch hunk of a bodyguard who makes her heart pound, Lisa can’t decide if this situation is a blessing or a curse.

As the mob closes in, Remy takes his tempting new charge back to the safest place he knows—his home in the bayou. Surrounded by his past, he can’t help wondering if Lisa is his future. To answer that question, he just has to keep her alive.

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Review

I’m a huge fan of Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series; there’s just something about dominant alpha males who kick bad people’s asses for a living and then let off steam in deliciously decadent and kinky ways.

But what I also like about these heroes is that they aren’t one-dimensional; it’s not all about sex and violence for them…don’t get me wrong, those two things are a significant part of their identity but there’s another side to them and it seems like only their ‘potential’ leading lady can bring it out of them because regardless of their past…their current path in life and their current outlook on what they want in life, once these domineering men allow themselves the one person who seems to be made for them, they can’t help but find a way to claim her, even when they mess up in frustratingly life-altering ways and boy do these guys know how to fuck things up!

I have to admit that I wasn’t sure how Remy Guidry would redeem himself after he messed up so epically when he rejected Lisa Daley’s invitation to play at Sanctum, humiliating her and making any interaction between them extremely awkward. But Blake forces Remy and Lisa to face what happened between them as Remy takes one last job before he heads back to the Bayou, his home, to run the family business, and Lisa just so happens to be his close cover assignment, and while Remy’s a fantastic covert bodyguard, what he feels for Lisa and what he allows himself to get from her spells trouble in very significant ways because not only is he leaving Dallas but he also refuses to accept just how much she means to him, setting both of them up for one hell of a fall amidst the danger that already threatening her.

Despite all of his mistakes and manwhore tendencies, Remy is an extremely likable hero. There’s reasons for the way he has chosen to live his life and Blake helps readers understand Remy’s issues. I really can’t fault Remy for misjudging Lisa’s background and ‘princess’ lifestyle; he thinks he knows her ‘type,’ so his preconceived notions about her are based on stereotypical assumptions, but when he does learn who Lisa is and what her life was like, he admits his mistakes and then finds himself inadequate for her because of where he comes from and what he doesn’t have to offer her that she so obviously deserves.

Lisa may be a submissive in sexual play, but she’s definitely a strong and independent woman outside of Sanctum. She may wear her heart on her sleeve and struggle with demons from her past, but she refuses to be anyone’s doormat, regardless of her attraction to him or her desire to be with him. She’s a sweet, beautiful, and classy woman who deserves the best in life, so when she feels used and burned by the man who initially rejected her, it’s difficult for her to come back from that…to reconsider her anger and give Remy a second chance to make things right, and based on what she endured as a child and the scary situation she’s currently in, she needs to guard herself because everything is too overwhelming and too up in the air for her at the moment, which not only has her at a disadvantage but it also requires her to trust the man who broke her heart twice.

Close Cover is a great read; it has action, suspense, angst, and steam. I loved how Remy and Lisa’s relationship evolved and the way Remy fought for her once he realized just how much she meant to him. The secondary characters complemented the story line well because their insights allowed Lisa to gather much needed information about Remy and find a place where she truly felt she belonged.

4.5 Poison Apples

Crossover_Larissa_300dpi_newHER GUARDIAN ANGEL by Larissa Ione

After a difficult childhood and a turbulent stint in the military, Declan Burke finally got his act together. Now he’s a battle-hardened professional bodyguard who takes his job at McKay-Taggart seriously and his playtime – and his playmates – just as seriously. One thing he never does, however, is mix business with pleasure. But when the mysterious, gorgeous Suzanne D’Angelo needs his protection from a stalker, his desire for her burns out of control, tempting him to break all the rules…even as he’s drawn into a dark, dangerous world he didn’t know existed.

Suzanne is an earthbound angel on her critical first mission: protecting Declan from an emerging supernatural threat at all costs. To keep him close, she hires him as her bodyguard. It doesn’t take long for her to realize that she’s in over her head, defenseless against this devastatingly sexy human who makes her crave his forbidden touch.

Together they’ll have to draw on every ounce of their collective training to resist each other as the enemy closes in, but soon it becomes apparent that nothing could have prepared them for the menace to their lives…or their hearts.

Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Google Play

Review

I have to be honest…I wasn’t quite convinced that a crossover could occur between a paranormal series and a contemporary romantic suspense series, but I love both worlds separately and Larissa Ione and Lexi Blake are excellent storytellers, so I decided to venture into new territory and see how it goes. And, I have to say, overall, I really enjoyed Declan and Suzanne’s story, and I think the main reason this crossover worked as well as it did is because it was set in Ione’s Demonica World…I’m not sure how readers would have reacted to a paranormal character entering the Masters and Mercenaries world, so it was a good call on the part of the authors to bring one of the McKay-Taggart bodyguards into the deadly, decadent, and devious world that readers have come to know and love.

Not much is revealed about Suzanne D’Angelo, but once her mission and her otherworldly abilities are shown, readers understand why Suzanne hired Declan Burke to be her bodyguard and why this earthbound angel (Memitim) watches his back as much as he watches hers.

It’s quite intriguing to witness how Declan handles the new environment that he enters because there are many attributes that align quite nicely with the dominant man he is, and while he attempts to hold true to his philosophy of not mixing business with pleasure, there’s just something about Suzanne that makes him want to give into his forbidden desires and the fact that she can’t seem to resist herself either makes their need for one another bypass anything sensible and head straight towards satisfying their lustful thoughts.

Because Her Guardian Angel reads more like a novel than a novella, I think readers new to this paranormal world will receive enough backstory to understand everything that occurs, and while there are quite a few supporting characters present that readers may not know, there’s still enough interaction and introductions that keep the focus on the present events and then open up the world to further investigation if readers enjoyed what they read.

Declan fit well into Suzanne’s world, even if he became part of it under false pretense, and the fact that he couldn’t stay true to his separation of business and pleasure speaks to just how in sync these two become and just how overwhelming attraction can be even in the face of adversity.

4 Poison Apples

Crossover_J Kenner_300dpiJUSTIFY ME by J. Kenner

McKay-Taggart operative Riley Blade has no intention of returning to Los Angeles after his brief stint as a consultant on mega-star Lyle Tarpin’s latest action flick. Not even for Natasha Black, Tarpin’s sexy personal assistant who’d gotten under his skin. Why would he, when Tasha made it absolutely clear that—attraction or not—she wasn’t interested in a fling, much less a relationship.

But when Riley learns that someone is stalking her, he races to her side. Determined to not only protect her, but to convince her that—no matter what has hurt her in the past—he’s not only going to fight for her, he’s going to win her heart. Forever.

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Review

The combination of J. Kenner’s sensual Stark world and one of Lexi Blake’s McKay-Taggart ’s operatives allows readers to enter an intriguing and suspenseful setting and immerse themselves in a story line that illustrates what happens when a hero and heroine are offered a new perspective on bad memories and finally let themselves give into sexual attraction that’s been building beneath the surface for almost eight years.

Although Justify Me is a short novella, the fact that the main characters have history together helps to set the stage for the actions that occur and the feelings that develop between Natasha Black, Lyle Tarpin’s personal assistant and Riley Blade, a dominant alpha male who has worked as a consultant for one of Tarpin’s films.

Riley has wanted to claim Natasha since their first interaction, but he’s never had a reason to breech the walls that Natasha has put up in order to live a safe and practical life until now and with that justification in place, Riley helps Natasha to let go…to give herself over to the sexual pleasure he provides, challenging her reasons for keeping him at a distance and giving her an outlet for her hidden desires and sexual needs.

Some readers may not like that Riley and Natasha’s story doesn’t ‘completely’ crossover into Lexi Blake’s Masters and Mercenaries series, but from my perspective, bringing the two worlds together, even with only one character, makes for an entertaining and intriguing read, which is exactly what I want when I read romantic suspense.

4 Poison Apples

Crossover_Corinne_300dpiSAY YOU WON’T LET GO by Corinne Michaels

I’ve had two goals my entire life:
1. Make it big in country music.
2. Get the hell out of Bell Buckle.

I was doing it. I was on my way, until Cooper Townsend landed backstage at my show in Dallas.

This gorgeous, rugged, man of few words was one cowboy I couldn’t afford to let distract me. But with his slow smile and rough hands, I just couldn’t keep away.

Now, there are outside forces conspiring against us. Maybe we should’ve known better? Maybe not. Even with the protection from Wade Rycroft, bodyguard for McKay-Taggart, I still don’t feel safe. I won’t let him get hurt because of me. All I know is that I want to hold on, but know the right thing to do is to let go…

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Review

Cooper Townsend is definitely a Corinne Michaels’ hero that readers have been hoping finds his forever girl, and as chance would have it, he actually doesn’t have to look too far in order to realize that the one he’s destined for…the one he’s ready to give his heart to has actually been right in front of him for almost his entire life, and while their lives have taken them in much different directions, when it comes to the feelings that have always been just beneath the surface, there’s nothing either of them won’t do to get a shot at a happy ending.

But Say You Won’t Let Go wouldn’t be a Lexi Blake crossover without a bit of suspense and drama factoring into the main characters’ lives, so when things go down with Emily that Cooper can’t control, he hires one of the McKay-Taggart bodyguards to protect her, and because Cooper has history with Wade, there’s not a better man for the job.

For a rather short novella, there’s a lot that goes down and the two biggest plot lines occur at quite a quick pace, and while it’s clear that the feelings between Cooper and Emily aren’t new, them acting on it is, so part of me needed things explored in a way that gave them a more solid foundation given everything that happens after they reconnect. I guess I just wanted things fleshed out a bit more, but overall, the storyline and the characters had my attention and just like the characters, I needed to know who was making Emily’s life so crazy and the reasons behind their insane behavior.

I also wouldn’t mind Wade getting his own book because I know he has an interesting past and perspective that includes why he wants nothing to do with the opposite sex.

4 Poison Apples

Crossover_Carly_300dpiHIS TO PROTECT by Carly Phillips

Talia Shaw has spent her adult life working as a scientist for a big pharmaceutical company. She’s focused on saving lives, not living life. When her lab is broken into and it’s clear someone is after the top secret formula she’s working on, she turns to the one man she can trust. The same irresistible man she turned away years earlier because she was too young and naive to believe a sexy guy like Shane Landon could want her.

Shane Landon’s bodyguard work for McKay-Taggart is the one thing that brings him satisfaction in his life. Relationships come in second to the job. Always. Then little brainiac Talia Shaw shows up in his backyard, frightened and on the run, and his world is turned upside down. And not just because she’s found him naked in his outdoor shower, either.

With Talia’s life in danger, Shane has to get her out of town and to her eccentric, hermit mentor who has the final piece of the formula she’s been working on, while keeping her safe from the men who are after her. Guarding Talia’s body certainly isn’t any hardship, but he never expects to fall hard and fast for his best friend’s little sister and the only woman who’s ever really gotten under his skin.

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Crossover_Susan_300dpiRESCUING SADIE: A Delta Force Heroes/Masters and Mercenaries Novella by Susan Stoker

Sadie Jennings was used to being protected. As the niece of Sean Taggart, and the receptionist at McKay-Taggart Group, she was constantly surrounded by Alpha men more than capable, and willing, to lay down their life for her. But when she visits her friend in San Antonio, and acts on suspicious activity at Milena’s workplace, Sadie puts both of them in the crosshairs of a madman. After several harrowing weeks, her friend is now safe, but for Sadie, the repercussions of her rash act linger on.

Chase Jackson, no stranger to dangerous situations as a captain in the US Army, has volunteered himself as Sadie’s bodyguard. He fell head over heels for the beautiful woman the first time he laid eyes on her. With a Delta Force team at his back, he reassures the Taggart’s that Sadie will be safe. But when the situation in San Antonio catches up with her, Chase has to use everything he’s learned over his career to keep his promise…and to keep Sadie alive long enough to officially make her his.

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Review

Ever since Sadie Jennings, Sean Taggart’s niece, was introduced in the Masters and Mercenaries series, I wanted Lexi Blake to give readers Sadie’s story. Sadie is such a sassy and spunky woman, and I knew that whoever she gave her heart to would be in for a rude awakening since Sadie is such an independent woman who, at times, can be a bit too impulsive for her own good.

So, when I saw that Sadie’s story was going to be told, and it was part of Lexi Blake’s crossover collection, I immediately signed up for an ARC, even though I wasn’t familiar with Susan Stoker’s writing. I thought it would be awesome to get a character’s story I really wanted and also be introduced to a new writer, and while I will say that Susan Stoker’s writing is exactly the kind of writing I enjoy, because I had no background of her Delta Force Heroes’ series, I felt like I only got part of the story because when Rescuing Sadie begins, parts of what’s happened to Sadie have already occurred, and now, the characters are dealing with the fallout of her choices and what that means for not only Sadie but for the hero, Chase Jackson, as well, because it’s his Delta Force world that Sadie’s story occurs. 

Sadie and Chase’s story had the suspense, intrigue, and character chemistry that I love to read about, but I couldn’t feel the full effect of all of those characteristics because I felt like I was immersed into the storyline in the middle of things and because the action was already occurring or had already occurred, there weren’t many details offered that would allow me to be on the same page as readers who are familiar with Stoker’s series, so I just couldn’t catch on to everything that was happening in a way that allowed me to fully understand the entire story line.

I will say, though, that readers who are familiar with both series or probably just the Delta Force Heroes’ series would definitely enjoy Sadie and Chase’s book and not feel like they’ve been placed between the end of the rising action/climax of the story line, which would make a big difference to the understanding of everything that had already occurred before the book began.

3 Poison Apples

Excerpt

Say You Won’t Let Go by Corinne Michaels

“Good morning,” Cooper’s deep voice grumbles against my neck.

“Hi there, cowboy,” I reply, nestling into his body a little deeper. “Sleep good?”

I did. We passed out at some point during the night—fully dressed. I’ve never had so much fun doing nothing before. All we did was talk about everything and anything, and of course, I kissed him—a lot. How could I not? Kissing Cooper feels like coming home. It was full of anticipation, joy, and a feeling of safety that I could just fall if I had to. Cooper was there to catch me all night.

His nose rubs up and down the back of my neck. “I did,” he replies.

His arm snakes around me, tightening and holding me secure. I try to remember that I need to keep myself in check. Yes, this is Cooper Townsend, but at the same time, we live worlds apart. It isn’t smart to get caught up in something that won’t ever be anything more than just this.

Feelings lead to heartbreak. Heartbreak isn’t something I can afford right now.

“What time does the bus leave?”

I flip over to my other side so I can look at him. “Not until tonight. Luke likes to travel at night and see the city we’re in during the day. So, I have all day. Why?”

He smiles while resting his hand on my hip. “Spend the day with me.”

“Coop.” I sigh. We had talked about this last night. That we’d say goodbye in the morning and keep things light. No complications. No promises. Not until the tour was over and I was back in Tennessee. Then, who knows, but I’m all too aware of how easy it would be for me.

“It’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Just a day of us hanging out,” he presses.

My eyes narrow slightly, and I pull my lips to the side. “I don’t know. We agreed…”

“Emmy, we have a very looming expiration date. I’m just askin’ my friend to hang out. Besides, what other options do you have?”

Crossover1

About the Authors

lexi-blakeAbout Lexi Blake

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband and three kids. She began writing at a young age concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance that she found success. Lexi believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome or foursome may seem.

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About Larissa Ione

Larissa Ione is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. An Air Force veteran, she traded in a career as a meteorologist to pursue her passion of writing. She now spends her days in pajamas with her computer, strong coffee, and supernatural worlds. She believes in celebrating everything, and would never be caught without a bottle of Champagne chilling in the fridge…just in case. She currently lives in Wisconsin with her U.S. Coast Guard husband, her teenage son, a rescue cat named Vegas, and her very own hellhound, a King Shepherd named Hexe.

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Julie-KennerAbout J. Kenner

Julie Kenner (aka J. Kenner and J.K. Beck) is the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of over forty novels, novellas and short stories in a variety of genres.

Praised by Publishers Weekly as an author with a “flair for dialogue and eccentric characterizations,” J.K. writes a range of stories including super sexy romances, paranormal romance, chick lit suspense and paranormal mommy lit. Her foray into the latter, Carpe Demon: Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom by Julie Kenner, is in development as a feature film with 1492 Pictures.

Her most recent trilogy of erotic romances, The Stark Trilogy (as J. Kenner), reached as high as #2 on the New York Times list and is published in over twenty countries.

J.K. lives in Central Texas, with her husband, two daughters, and several cats.

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Corinne-Close-Medium-200x300About Corinne Michaels

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Corinne Michaels is the author of nine romance novels. She’s an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. Corinne is happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife.

After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. She enjoys putting her characters through intense heartbreak and finding a way to heal them through their struggles. Her stories are chock full of emotion, humor, and unrelenting love.

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About Carly Phillips

Carly Phillips is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels, including the Indie published, Dare to Love Series. She is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.

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About Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.

She debuted her first series in 2014 and quickly followed that up with the SEAL of Protection Series, which solidified her love of writing and creating stories readers can get lost in.

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REVIEW AND EXCERPT: ONE GOOD MAN by Emma Scott

 

It’s spring, 1970. The Vietnam War has been raging for years with no end in sight. Janey Martin, a California college student and aspiring journalist is tired of writing puff pieces about her university men’s sports teams. She wants to be taken seriously as a journalist and as a woman. With riots at their doorstep, her wealthy father sends Janey to the Sorbonne in Paris to finish her college education away from the chaos.

Janey is reluctant to leave the Big Story that is Vietnam, but vows to prove herself. Much to her dismay, her first assignment is to interview the hotshot star forward of a local soccer team. Janey is sure Adrien Rousseau is going to be like every other playboy jock she’s ever dealt with, but quickly learns there is much more to Adrien than meets the eye.

The mysterious, sexy footballer just might be the biggest story of Janey’s life.

Review

‘Find a big story within a smaller one…’

‘Find one {a story} that looks like nothing on the outside {puff pieces if you will}, but once you crack it, something incredible comes out.’

Janey Martin doesn’t doubt that these ideas are sage advice, but for an aspiring journalist – one who views the Vietnam War as the ULTIMATE BIG STORY, it’s difficult for her to take a step back and acknowledge that, oftentimes, it’s the less significant events or situations that have the most depth, that have the biggest impact on people because they’re relatable and because they matter in heartfelt ways…not to say that war and all that comes with it isn’t significant because it is, but the frontline – the one at home…the one that changes the dynamics of lives each and every day is where the focus is and while there is definitely a link to those bigger stories,

Janey is the perfect heroine because her imperfections, her passion, her snark, and her heart are all what makes her the best kind of reporter, and while she hates the fact that her father sent her away from what she thought was a story that would help launch her career, the real story…the one that not only changes readers’ opinions and casts things into a much different light is actually way more personal…way more important…and way more self-defining than any story she could have written about the Vietnam War or any other worldwide concern.

At first glance, Adrien Rousseau is just another rich and arrogant athlete – one whose cocky attitude and asshole antics make him personify every stereotype that Janey has ever felt about sports stars, but because the article she needs to write about Adrien is a means to an end, her arduous task becomes even more than the burden it already has, but not quite in the way Janey expected.

I love heroes who are perceived to be one way, but because readers are privy to their perspectives, they understand that these males created a persona to hide behind for one reason or another, and that is exactly what Adrien has done, and it’s why Janey begins to understand that he is nothing like she expected and that he is one mass of contradictions.

But the reason behind Adrien’s mask is not easily understood, so as Adrien and Janey’s story continues, Emma Scott allows her readers to do some investigating of their own as they are presented with Adrien’s conflicted internal thoughts and Janey’s astute observations and drive to uncover everything that Adrien works hard to hide.

One Good Man is an incredible story – one that illustrates the true measure of a man when it comes to not letting people down and accepting a set of circumstances that may not be what he would have chosen for himself. I loved how Emma Scott characterized Janey in a way that forced the heroine to look beyond Adrien’s mask because Janey’s inquisitiveness and her ability to read a situation pull her towards Adrien’s truth regardless of her initial reaction to him.

I’m so glad that I found Emma Scott when I did; I adore her storytelling because it’s obvious that she writes from her heart and that she listens to her characters’ voices and then shapes them accordingly because each one is incredibly dynamic, and that allows readers to understand all facets of who the characters are and why they do what they do…even when other characters may not understand.

Janey and Adrien’s story is not one I will soon forget because it truly showed just how fragile life is and why sometimes the best stories are the ones we write about ourselves just by living our lives.

5 Poison Apples

Excerpt

I reached over and pushed ‘stop’ on Janey’s tape recorder and turned to her. “Saturday then?”

She coughed in surprise. “What happens Saturday?”

“We conclude the interview. You need to see a football match firsthand or your article is going to sound like a bunch of amateurish gibberish. You want to be taken seriously?”

She pressed her lips together for a moment. “Yes.”

“So do I. Saturday at noon at Stade Jean-Marc. We’ll finish the interview after.”

“Antoine wants the article in two days,” she said.

“Tell Antoine I said to wait.”

She took another long pull from the lemonade, her pride not letting her say yes to me so quickly.

“Saturday then,” she said. “For the article.”

“Right,” I said, holding her gaze. “For the article.”

She finished off the lemonade and set the glass down. “Thank you very much, Sophie. It was just what I needed.” She gathered her belongings and turned to me. “See you.”

“You have a drop of lemonade on your chin,” I said.

“Where?” Her hand flew to her mouth. “No, I don’t…”

I held out the cocktail napkin with my sketch of her, my brow raised.

Janey dropped her hand from her dry chin, fuming. I expected her to flounce away. But she snatched the napkin out of my hand, dropped it into her bag, and coolly walked away.

I wasn’t in love with her, but in that moment, I knew someday I would be.

Emma Scott is a bestselling author of emotional, character-driven romances in which art and love intertwine to heal, and in which love always wins. If you enjoy thoughtful, realistic stories with diverse characters and kind-hearted heroes, you will enjoy my novels.

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COVER REVEAL: MORE THAN CRAVE YOU by Shayla Black

MTCY-SBPRBannerCR04 MoreThanCraveYouMore Than Crave You, an all-new sexy romance from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black is coming September 18th!

More Than Crave You by Shayla Black
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 18th
Designer: Rachel Connolly
Photographer: Sara Eirew

I’m Evan Cook—billionaire tech entrepreneur and widower. Professionally, I’ve got it all. But since my wife died, my personal life has fallen apart. Remarrying seems like the obvious answer, so I place an ad. I’m not asking for much. The ideal woman only needs to be smart, organized, pretty, and helpful—both in and out of bed. No romance, period. I never thought to look right in front of me…but it turns out that Nia Wright, my sexy, sassy assistant, just might be the perfect candidate.

After an unexpectedly hot night together, I’m ready to stop interviewing strangers and simply marry her. On paper, she ticks every box on my list. Best of all, she’s far too sensible to fall for me. I didn’t see the flaw in my logic until it was far too late. I never thought I’d lose my heart for the first time. And I definitely never imagined that she could consume me until I more than crave her. But she’s harboring a secret that could tear us apart—just as I’m finally putting myself together.

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About Shayla

ShaylaBlack highres.jpgShayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

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