Thursday, August 31, 2017

Book Tour for Spooning Daisy by Maggie McConnell (GIVEAWAY)

Readers drawn to fish-out-of-water storylines will find themselves charmed by this tale of starting over set in the culinary world.  Keep reading to get a tempting glimpse of Spooning Daisy by Maggie McConnell, along with getting to know more about the author, then learn even more about this book by visiting the other sites hosting this tour.  In honor of this first installment in the Otter Bite Romance Series make sure to fill out the form below for three winners to have the chance to win a Nordstrom leather clutch, a Nordstrom turtle pin, and a Rebecca Minkoff star pendant (International winners will receive a $25 bookstore GC) too!


TSP:  Knowing what you do now about the publishing business, would you have done anything differently career-wise or during the writing process?
MM:  I may have written for the market” sooner (I wrote a great book set in Kenya that was nominated for a Golden Heart but publishers felt Kenya was too exotic for readers), instead of writing stories set in foreign locations. But maybe not. I believe everything shows up when it’s supposed to, and all that writing experience/practice made me a better writer.
TSP:  What does your writing space look like and do you surround yourself with any particularly inspirational items?
MM:  I have a room dedicated to writing with lots of space and windows and photos on the wall of my travels (Kenya, Australia, Scotland) along with photos of my animals. I also have a combo radio, disc player, and turntable for some really old albums (yes, albums) that I like to listen to when I write. It’s a very British room in that it has wainscoting and wood and feels like the Downton Abbey library (on a much smaller scale). Taped onto my laptop is a fortune from a lunchtime fortune cookie that will be my secret. And usually my dog, Molly, is sprawled on the carpet. I think it’s a great space and love being there.
TSP:  This is your first book release, did you do anything specific to celebrate?
MM:  No.  I’d been trying to be published for about 10 years—was a Golden Heart nominee-- and I think it felt anticlimactic. I may have paused briefly between ranch chores to let it sink in, then went back to work.
TSP:  Beyond its synopsis, what do you want us to know about Spooning Daisy?
MM:  It’s authentic. Much of the action and settings come from personal experience. The original idea (and opening scene) was inspired by my own garage sale, right down to the sheets covering the makeshift plywood tables and the silver-plated chafing dish. The primary location of the story, Otter Bite, Alaska is inspired by the very real Kachemak Bay village of Seldovia where I spent summers during my 23 years living in Anchorage. Anyone interested in learning more about this special place can visit
TSP:  If this book were made into a movie, who would play the main couple?
MM:  Easy-peasy! Amy Adams (Enchanted, Julie & Julia) is soooo Daisy. And Hugh Jackman (Australia, Kate & Leopold) is soooo Max. (Nothing like the couple on the cover, btw.)
TSP:  What do you think readers like about the "fish out of water" theme?
MM:  Everyone can relate to it. At some time in our lives, we encounter places and situations that are unfamiliar. Sometimes early in life as children when our family moves to a different town or we have to change schools, then when we go to college or start new jobs, when we meet the families of our spouse-to-be (Yikes—I so didn’t fit in!) At some point, we all feel like the new awkward “fish” who hasn’t a clue, so it’s relatable and believable.
TSP:  How has the digital revolution affected your career and how you market yourself?
MM:  Talk about a fish out of water! When I was in graduate school, I learned computer programming using a mainframe that took the entire space of an 8’x10’ room and I wrote code on punch cards. I wrote research papers using a typewriter and I was thrilled that mine had correcting tape. I remember when e-mail showed up and I thought who in the world would ever use that? I’ve gotten over that, although I still prefer talking with friends. My writing career has only been in the digital age and I’ve had a short learning curve. Before Daisy came out, I was aware of Facebook and all other social media, but not much of a follower. Again, preferring to check in with friends personally. Now I have a personal FB page and an author page. I pay attention to blogs and have utilized virtual book tours quite a bit. I continue to enhance my online presence, but the skies are crowded. I still struggle with ways to stand out and get readers’ attention. I happily entertain suggestions!
TSP:  My site's all about favorite things, so what are your favorite things/the things you can't live without?
MM:  My animals. Not only my immediate family of animals—dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena—but all the wild critters that live on my ranch. Skunk Scooter lives under my deck, rattlesnake Reggie shows up each summer, and recently I have a barn squirrel, Lucy. And that is just the tip of a very large wild iceberg, too numerous to name. I keep a trough of water (for large animals like deer and coyotes) and small bowls (for smaller animals like bunnies and chipmunks) around for the wildlife and my reward is having the company of these wonderful souls. I cannot imagine life without them. My other favorite thing? PBS!
Thank you for presenting Spooning Daisy, and for several interview questions no one has asked before!

Her mango chutney is exquisite; her blueberry sauce to die for. But Chef de Cuisine Daisy Moon is a woman without a kitchen after a "bit of trouble" at her last job. Now blacklisted from Seattle to San Francisco, Daisy's sole job offer is from Wild Man Lodge in Otter Bite, Alaska, where the end of the road is just her beginning.


"I had apple strudel. I never have apple strudel. It's not my usual."
"You came here to tell me you had apple strudel?"
"The thing is...I liked it. For a change, I mean. Once. Not every day, of course."
"The truth is..." He stepped toward her. "The truth is...I feel bad about giving you such a hard time at breakfast."
"Ohhhh. This is an apology."
"No, absolutely not." Max retracted the step he'd just taken. "This is absolutely NOT an apology."
Daisy huffed. Normally, she'd take great satisfaction in Max's guilt and take equal pleasure in the banter that would surely follow. However, she was a woman on a mission, and she didn't have the time, not with Otter Bite hanging by a manila envelope. "Fine. Thank you for coming here NOT to apologize and for that apple strudel thing. And--" She momentarily softened. "--the money. But I just don't have the time for whatever this is."
Once again he stepped toward her. "You're making this extremely difficult."
"This? This what? What am I making--"
"This." The word melted into her mouth.
The two hundreds floated from her hand to the floor. Then, her arms wrapped Max's neck, his body pressed hers, and Daisy was lost in a kiss she never expected to own.



Golden Heart nominee Maggie McConnell spent her childhood overseas as the daughter of US diplomats. Attending college in Illinois, she earned a BA in Art and an MBA while working at the local humane shelter. At 26, she packed her dog and cat into a Ford truck and drove the Alcan Highway to Alaska, where she spent 23 years exploring The Last Frontier in a single-engine Cessna. A vegan and animal rights advocate, Maggie provides a sanctuary on her Arizona ranch for all creatures great and small, but her immediate family includes dog Molly, cat Sara, horses Quinn and Teena, and an ever-growing dynasty of chipmunks. Every year, like the Gray Whale, Maggie returns to Alaska.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Book Review for Darkness Before Dawn by Leigh Robbins....

Blinded in Iraq while in the Marines, Matthew Cage never realized the key to unlocking his forever midnight world was within arm’s reach.
Dawn Richards first saw her best friend’s older brother via webcam. For years, she secretly desired him, keeping her fantasies hidden from the rest of the world.
After a downward spiral, Matthew secluded himself in his prison of darkness, but his sister and friends helped him find his way. Having worked hard to become a Master Instructor in Close Quarters Combat, Matthew's world seems normal until tragedy strikes.
When Dawn’s life is threatened, Matthew refuses to let her deal with it alone. Can Dawn trust him to protect her? Will Matthew finally believe he can have sunshine in his world?


From the very first page this book sets itself up to be an epic romance of unrequited love, second chances, and rising above adversity.  Readers are literally dropped into the middle of a firefight that leaves them breathless and on edge and from there they get put through the emotional wringer right alongside these memorable characters.  In a tale that spans years there are numerous highs and lows, moments of intense realism along with bits of melodrama, that all add up to a journey that leaves you exhausted yet satisfied by The End.

Matthew Cage is the typical young Marine who thinks he's invincible, self-assured, with a loving and supportive sister as well as a girl waiting for him back home.  In a single moment though his life is shattered when an IED explodes leaving his face and body burned along with taking his eyesight.  It's a moment that takes his life in unexpected directions while breaking him down and ultimately lifting him back up.  Through it all he's surrounded by supportive friends, his loving sister Lauren, and also unbeknownst to him is the unrequited love of Lauren's best friend Dawn.  He has only a vague remembrance of her but as the years go by he comes to see her as someone he can't live without.  For so long his life was depressingly dark as feelings of loss and guilt weighed on him, but being around her brings him light.  After he returned home he used alcohol to numb the pain and became a man who felt he had nothing to offer, but with Dawn in his life he strives to be a man worthy of her.  Just when it seems as if everything is going their way tragedy strikes and leaves their HEA hanging in the balance.  Matt's a flawed but likable character.  He's sexy but feels unworthy after his accident and makes a bad decision based on desperation.  When hitting rock bottom he hurts Dawn but admits his mistakes and makes grand gestures in winning her back which endeared him to me.  The handling of his blindness was done respectfully and realistically.  The author depicted all the daily obstacles, all the logistics of living independently, of coping as a blind person which I very much appreciated as I'm a disabled person myself.  As the story progresses Matt becomes a true hero, fighting for the woman he loves, while accepting help when he needs it to keep Dawn safe.  He becomes comfortable in his own skin and the journey he took to get to acceptance was an empowering one.

From the moment Dawn saw Matt on the computer screen talking to Lauren she was smitten.  Fate though kept driving a wedge between her fantasy of making him hers and the unfortunate reality of him taking years to notice her as someone more than Lauren's best friend.  He became the man of her dreams as she struggled to move on from her unrequited attraction.  A few bad dates, a clandestine moment that led to heartache, all led to a roller coaster love life that ended with an obsessed police officer wanting to make her his.  Just when she and Matt put all their painful pasts behind them to forge a romantic connection readers will be left with their hearts ripped out by the degradation Dawn is put through as well as the feelings of helplessness Matt experiences over it.  It's a moment that could bring them closer together or break them completely and it kept me on the edge of my seat.  Dawn starts off as an energetic young girl with stars in her eyes but as the story progresses she seemed to lose her self-confidence a bit.  She became much more weepy as the story went along and made some silly choices.  She needed to take a stronger stand and I never stopped rooting for her to do so.  When it comes to Matt, she never defined him by his blindness, never saw him as anyone other than the man she's loved for years.  She's supportive of him and his most loyal cheerleader alongside Lauren and it made me like her all the more.

On a whole this is a powerful story that's not perfect, but it is captivating as it deals with serious issues.  It shows readers the darkness in a wounded warrior's soul as he copes with the remnants of war, shows us the high cost to be paid.  It's a heartbreaking story at times but with moments of sweetness and joy too.  The main couple is flawed which makes them even more realistic as they made mistakes but learned from them.  Their connection was a slow burn and full of sexual tension, but very worthwhile as they're beautifully matched in steamy scenes and quiet introspective moments.  Surrounding this appealing couple are a cast of likable secondary characters, foremost among them are Lauren and Matt's war buddy Brett.  Their romance was full of highs and lows, heartbreak and forgiveness, and they deserved more than being relegated to the back burner.  I was intrigued by the snippets we got related to their rocky romance and I'd love to see their story told in a book of their own as it seems equally as epic as that of Matt and Dawn's journey to HEA.  This story went on a bit longer than necessary, threw in some events that frustrated me as they felt too soap opera-ish, but on a whole it was a solid debut work from Ms. Robbins and I look forward to what comes next from this author.

My rating for this is a B.

*I got this book from Hidden Gems for review in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Cover Reveal for Chasing Ella by Jillian Quinn

Lovers of romance will find themselves drawn to this modern-day spin on the classic tale of Cinderella.  With its themes of unrequited love and second chances reader's will be rooting for the characters and waiting with bated breath for their HEA.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Chasing Ella by Jillian Quinn, while falling in love with this book cover.  Once you've fallen for this storyline make sure to pre-order this book while it's on sale for $2.99 as it goes up to $3.99 on release day, then count down the days until this charming romance releases on September 27th!

Every Princess needs a Prince Charming...
When a masked girl throws herself at Shawn Finch at a costume party, the hotshot football player assumes she’s just another girl trying to get his attention. Except she’s not just any girl. She’s his Cinderella, the nameless girl in the pale blue dress who got away.
Desperate to find her, Finch searches for his mystery girl with no luck. So, it must be fate when Finch’s grade point average drops and the school assigns him a tutor not knowing they just handed over his Cinderella.
After having a crush on Finch since the first time she spotted him on campus, one kiss was all she’d ever wanted. But Finch has other plans for his Cinderella once he discovers the truth about his tutor.




Jillian Quinn is the author of the international bestselling Face-Off hockey series as well as other sexy, sporty romances.
Jillian loves sports, bad boys, dirty talkers, strong females, and books with plenty of heat—all of which you will find in her books. As a lover of all things bookish, she has a serious book hoarding problem and runs a blog in her free time. When she's not reading, writing, or blogging, she's obsessively fangirling over hockey players and can be found wherever she can catch the next hockey game.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Book Release Blitz for 1001 Dark Nights: Bundle Eleven....

Today is a day to rejoice as some of my favorite authors have come together in the publishing of this collection that encompasses the genres of paranormal, erotic, contemporary, and New Adult in romances that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Keep reading to get a tempting glimpse of 1001 Dark Knights: Bundle Eleven, with its six novellas full of intense emotions and compelling storytelling, then add it to your bookshelf!

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Kristen Proby, Elisabeth Naughton, Laura Kaye, Donna Grant, and introducing Meghan March and Jessica Scott.
Six Dark Tales. Six Sensual Stories. Six Page Turners.

EASY FOR KEEPS: A Boudreaux Novella by Kristen Proby.
Adam Spencer loves women. He’s comfortable with his lifestyle and sees no reason to change it. Sarah Cox has just moved to New Orleans, having accepted a position as a social worker. It’s a demanding, sometimes dangerous job, but Sarah can handle just about anything that comes at her, even the attentions of one sexy Adam Spencer. But the more time she spends with the enchanting man, the more he begins to sway her into believing in forever.
UNCHAINED: An Eternal Guardians Novella by Elisabeth Naughton.
For thousands of years, Prometheus’s only certainty was his daily torture at Zeus’s hand. Now, unchained by the Eternal Guardians, he spends his days in solitude, trying to forget the past. He’s vowed no allegiance in the war between mortal and immortal, but when a beautiful maiden seeks him out and begs for his help, he’s once again powerless to say no. Soon, Prometheus is drawn into the very conflict he swore to avoid.
HARD TO SERVE: A Hard Ink Novella by Laura Kaye.
When Internal Affairs investigates Detective Kyler Vance as part of the new police commissioner’s bid to oust corruption, everything is on the line. Mia Breslin’s career is golden. Now if only she could find a man to dominate her nights and set her body—and her heart—on fire. When a scorching scene with a hard-bodied, brooding Dom at Blasphemy promises just that, Mia is lured to serve Kyler again and again.
DRAGON FEVER: A Dark Kings Novella by Donna Grant.
Rachel Marek intends to expose the truth about dragons to the world – and her target is within sight. Nothing matters but getting the truth, especially not the ruggedly handsome, roguishly thrilling Highlander who oozes danger and charm. Asher is more than just a man. He’s a Dragon King – a being who has roamed this planet since the beginning of time. With everything on the line, Asher must choose to trust an enemy in the form of an all too alluring woman whose tenacity and passion captivate him.
The only permanent thing in my life is the ink I put on my clients.
I drift from city to city, in and out of beds, from one tattoo shop to the next.
Every time I start to put down roots, I rip them up.
Until New Orleans.
Until her.
She’s everything I’m not.
Full of fire and life. An innocent where I’m a sinner.
I want to consume her. Protect her. Keep her.
But first, I have to escape from beneath these shadows.
BEFORE I FALL: A Falling Novel by Jessica Scott.
Beth Lamont knows too much about the harsh realities of life. She’ll do whatever it takes to take care of her father, even if that means tutoring a guy like Noah. Noah Warren doesn’t know how to be a student. All he knows is war. But he’s going to college now to fulfill a promise and he doesn’t break his promises. Except he doesn’t count on his tutor being drop dead gorgeous.



Kristen Proby was born and raised in a small resort town in her beloved Montana. In her mid-twenties, she decided to stretch her wings and move to the Pacific Northwest, where she made her home for more than a dozen years.
During that time, Kristen wrote many romance novels and joined organizations such as RWA and other small writing groups. She spent countless hours in workshops, and more mornings than she can count up before the dawn so she could write before going to work. She submitted many manuscripts to agents and editors alike, but was always told no. In the summer of 2012, the self-publishing scene was new and thriving, and Kristen had one goal: to publish just one book. It was something she longed to cross off of her bucket list.
Not only did she publish one book, she’s since published close to thirty titles, many of which have hit the USA Today, New York Times and Wall Street Journal Bestsellers lists. She continues to self publish, best known for her With Me In Seattle and Boudreaux series, and is also proud to work with William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins, with the Fusion Series.
Kristen and her husband, John, make their home in her hometown of Whitefish, Montana with their two pugs and two cats. 


Elisabeth Naughton is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. From Elisabeth: “I was never one of those people who knew they wanted to be an author at the age of six. I didn’t have imaginary friends. I didn’t write stories in my journal or entertain my relatives by firelight after Thanksgiving dinner. For the most part, I was just a normal, everyday kid. I liked to read, but I wasn’t exceptional at it. And when my teachers complimented me on my writing abilities, I brushed them off. I did, however, always have a penchant for the unique and absurd. And as my mother told me all throughout my childhood, I should have been an actress—I was a drama queen before my time.
“Years ago, my husband bought me Scarlett: The Sequel to Gone With The Wind. If you ever saw the book, you know it’s a long one. I sat and read that thing from cover to cover, and dreamed of one day being a writer. But I didn’t actually try my hand at writing until years later when I quit my teaching job to stay home with my kids. And my husband? After that week of reading where I neglected him and everything else until I finished Scarlett, he vowed never to buy me another book again. Little did he know I’d one day end up sitting at a keyboard all day drafting my own stories.
“My writing journey has not been easy. I didn’t just sit down one day, decide I was going to write a book and voila! sell my very first attempt. As most authors will probably agree, the path to publication is filled with hours of work, pulling all-nighters I thought I’d given up in college, sacrifices, rejections, but a love I discovered along the way I just can’t live without. Instead of a big, thick book to read by lamplight (I do read much smaller ones when I get the chance), I’ve traded in my reading obsession for a laptop. And I’ve never been happier.
“I’m one of the lucky ones. I have a wonderful family and fabulous husband who put up with my writing—and obsessive personality—even when life is chaotic. More than once my kids have been late to swimming or baseball because I needed just five more minutes to finish a scene. Their support and encouragement mean the world to me. I also have amazing friends and a support network I couldn’t survive without. So to all of you out there who have encouraged me along the way, sent me emails and fan letters, phone calls and congratulations, I just want to say, thank you. You make this whole writing gig that much more enjoyable. I truly wouldn’t be here without you.”


Laura Kaye is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.


Donna Grant is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the sizzling Dark King series featuring dragons, immortal Highlanders, and the Fae.
She was born and raised in Texas but loves to travel. Her adventures have taken her throughout the United States as well as to Jamaica, Mexico, and Scotland. Growing up on the Texas/Louisiana border, Donna’s Cajun side of the family taught her the “spicy” side of life while her Texas roots gave her two-steppin’ and bareback riding.
Despite deadlines and voracious reading, Donna still manages to keep up with her two children, four cats, and one long haired Chihuahua.


Jessica Scott is the USA Today bestselling author of novels set in the heart of America's Army. She is an active duty army officer, a veteran of the Iraq war, is the mother of two daughters, far too many animals, and wife to a retired NCO.
She has written for the New York Times At War blog, War on the Rocks, PBS Point of View Women and War and has been featured in Esquire Magazine as an American of the Year in 2012. She has compiled two nonfiction projects about her time in Iraq and the return home.
She has recently completed a PhD in sociology from Duke University and also holds a a Master’s Degree in Sociology from Duke University, a Masters Degree in Telecom Management from University of Maryland University College, BA in Cultural Studies from State University of New York and an Associates Degree from Central Texas College.
She's been featured as one of Esquire Magazine's Americans of the Year for 2012.


A USA Today bestselling author of over fifteen novels, Meghan March has been known to wear camo face paint and tromp around in woods wearing mud-covered boots, all while sporting a perfect manicure. She’s also impulsive, easily entertained, and absolutely unapologetic about the fact that she loves to read and write smut. Her past lives include slinging auto parts, selling lingerie, making custom jewelry, and practicing corporate law. Writing books about dirty talking alpha males and the strong, sassy women who bring them to their knees is by far the most fabulous job she’s ever had.


Monday, August 28, 2017

Book Tour for Oh Henry by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Geek meets the football player with unexpected sparks the result in this romance that starts out fun and flirty but takes a serious turn as the story progresses.  It's an engaging read from start to finish and one that will capture reader's attentions.  So keep reading to get a tempting taste of Oh Henry by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff, along with my impressions of it, then add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this second installment in The OhHellNo Series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a signed copy of this book too!

My name is Henry Walton, and though I've been called many things throughout my life--tree trunk, moose, walrus--I am now six foot five, solid muscle, and the hottest defensive end in the NFL college draft. This is the moment I've been waiting for: fame, women, and glory.
Just one problem: I'm suddenly in a bad slump. And it started the moment I got dumped by Elle, the nerdy goddess with thick glasses, a smokin' hot body, and a genius IQ.
So what gives? We only dated for a few weeks, and it's not like I've missed her. (Much.) Regardless, all the facts point to one conclusion. Elle is my lucky nerd-charm.
Call me superstitious, but I have to get her back before I lose everything. Even if she's the last girl I should want and she now hates my guts.


It’s Friday, the last day of classes before Thanksgiving break, and I’m not exactly sure why I’ve come to see Henry practice, considering that I told him we were through. Maybe part of me longs for a little stress relief, the reason I began seeing him initially. I had never had casual sex before him, but nothing in my life has plotted normal this past year, and now I’m nervous about going home for an entire week. The two-hour drive isn’t far, so I go home all the time to see mypoor mother, who has a brain tumor and is in the process of evolving away from this world. At least, that’s the way I like to think of it. When it’s our time, we transform, but we never truly die.
Matter can’t die.
Of course, if my heart believed all that, I wouldn’t have to remind myself fifteen times a day that death is part of life or that my mother can’t leave this world seeing me a mess. Her final happiness is why I started college at the age of nineteen after swearing I’d never go. She’s why I’ve stuck with it and pretend things are normal. Pretending is also how I handle seeing her for a day or two before running back to campus, where I erect my mental fortress and make it all go away.
Thanksgiving week, though… Ugh. My aunt and uncle from California will be there, as will my cousin. My older sister, Lana, who lives nearby, and my father will be there, too, of course. But I know this upcoming week, likely our last Thanksgiving with her, is going to feel more like a funeral, not a holiday. Because my family’s not like me. They’re not able to bury their emotions in a sea of logic. I’ll have to sit there and listen to the sadness in their voices and see the tears. Then I’ll have to watch my mother trying to stay strong for them when I know on the inside, nothing hurts her more than watching the people she loves suffer.
How am I going to get through this?
Crap. It’s no wonder I find myself longing for Henry. Mr. Fun. He’s also the hottest guy I’ve ever met. Tall and strong like a great oak, vivid green eyes, dirty blond hair, and a panty dropper of a smile. My roomie, Tassie, says he looks like a seriously built, young Brad Pitt. I just say the man is fine. Sigh...
I watch Henry’s towering hulk of a frame mow down two guys on the field; one of them is Hunter. Hunter is tall and lean with dark hair and blue eyes. He’s cute, hotheaded, and has a serious heart-on for Tassie, who is currently not speaking to him. It’s a mess, really. Anyone can see that Hunter and Tass are madly in love and have been since they were little. They grew up next door to each other and somehow ended up at the same college.
Anyway, Tass has become a good friend, which is why I feel bad for having lied to her. She has no clue I kept seeing Henry after she had her fallout with Hunter and their frat did the unthinkable. But there hasn’t been a good time to tell her until recently—she’s been too upset.
Well, maybe it’s time to clear the air. And since I’m here, I can warn Henry. Yes, a great excuse for being here since I can’t tell Henry the real reason. I kinda miss him.
I lean back and watch the cheerleading squad—all Gamma Nu sorority sisters—doing flips on the side of the field. I suddenly wonder which one of these incredibly beautiful women with perfect thighs, boobs, and legs is keeping Henry’s bed warm at night. He’s an animal in the sack, completely insatiable, and words cannot describe how much I miss the stress relief he brought to my life. No, he has no clue about my mom, and I have no intention of ever telling him. I need him and everything related to school to remain isolated from that part of my life.
Practice wraps up with the blow of the coach’s whistle, and the sweaty, tired-looking team makes their way to the locker room. Everyone except Henry, who’s high-fiving a few ladies as he heads toward me and the bleachers.
My heart rate increases, and little flutters erupt inside my knotted stomach. I don’t know what I want to say to him. Somehow, I doubt I’ll muster the courage to spit out, “I needed to see your smiling face.” Besides, it wouldn’t be fair. He’ll think it means something more than it does when I already know he’s not the guy for me.
I get up and take the stairs to meet up with Henry on the side of the grassy field.
“Hey,” I say with false bravado.
He pops off his helmet and those stunning green eyes of his sparkle in the sunlight. He’s so full of life. I love that about him.
“Hey, Elle.” His voice is deep, like a growling bear, and exactly what you’d expect from a guy who’s six-five and over twice my size.
A flash of memories explodes inside my mind of Henry groaning in my ear, telling me how beautiful I am, and of him laughing with that gruff-sounding voice as he pins me down and tickles my neck with his stubbly chin. Henry loved making me laugh.
Suddenly, I realize that moments have passed and we’re just standing there staring at each other’s lips.
I shake it off and clear my throat. “I, uh, just came by to say hi. How’s it going?"
He flashes one of those dimply, scruffy-jaw smiles that make my panties instantly steam up. “Surprisingly well, actually.” He makes a little shrug with his wide shoulders, the padding underneath his black jersey making him look even bigger than he already is.
“I’m happy to hear that,” I lie, secretly wanting him to be miserable without me.
Stupid. You don’t want that. Get your head out of your rear orifice, Elle.
He nods and stares like he’s waiting.
“Oh. Yeah, I, uh…just wanted you to know that I’m going to come clean with Tass."
“About what?” he asks.
“About you and me. I mean, I know it’s over, but I never told her the truth, and I think I should now that she seems to be turning the corner."
“What corner?” he asks.
“Hunter. She’s finally starting to get over him—I think—and I really don’t like keeping secrets from her."
The atmosphere abruptly shifts between us, and his eyes harden on me, like he expected me to give him another reason for my visit.
Oh, crap. I’ve made a huge selfish mistake by coming here. Whatever happened between us, we’re still not over it. Yet nothing’s changed. I’m wrong for him. He’s wrong for me.
“Fine by me,” he says. His tone is sharp and accusatory. “I never told you to lie to her—that was all you. I just went along to make you happy. Clearly, that’s not possible."
The jab isn’t missed, but I need to steer clear of the “us” topic and get the hell out of here. Fast.
“And I thank you for helping me protect her. She would’ve felt betrayed if she’d known I kept seeing you after Hunter slept with her for a bet."
It’s true, and the infamous bet is also a good reminder of why Henry is so, so, soooo wrong for meAs part of rush week, there’d been a stupid frat game involving stealing thingsfrom other Greeks, hazing, drinking, and nailing virgins. The pledges with the highest scores became the newest members of the Alpha Phi fraternity, which is the big football frat that Henry, and now Hunter, belong to. Lame.
Henry shakes his head and drags his strong hand over the top of his sweaty blond mop. He’s the only man in the world whose perspiration comes out smelling like spring water infused with mint or something herbal. He always smells good.
“You’re wrong,” he says. “Hunter didn’t fuck Tass for a bet. He’s into her. Period. And we both know that."
“Yeah, well, he might be into her, but he still participated in the bet, and you can’t argue that it looks bad.” Henry has three sisters—two older and one younger—so I know he gets what I’m saying.
“It did look bad,” he admits, “which is why a bunch of us left the frat, despite knowing we’d piss off half the team."
“Yes. Really."
“Why?” I ask, hardly able to believe it.
“I can’t speak for the other guys, but I’m twenty-two and a senior. Doing the same old shit from freshman year just didn’t make sense anymore."
Wow. My stomach does this little cramping thing that causes a chain reaction, ending in my rapidly beating heart. Henry’s leaving the Alphas takes our romantic equation one step closer to a positive integer. Sadly, however, the facts that football is his life, he doesn’t possess a sympathetic bone in his body, and he’s more narcissistic than an only child who’s a runway model keep our equation in the negative five thousands with regards to chances of succeeding as a couple. Still, Henry’s leaving the Alphas is huge.
“When did this happen?” I ask.
“A few weeks ago. Hunter, me, and two other guys got an apartment."
“Hunter, too?” I can’t wait to tell Tassie since I’m sure she was the catalyst and she’s never truly going to be happy until she and Hunter make up.
“Hey, who can resist living with me? Plus, my family owns the building, so rent is cheap."
“Plus you get more privacy for your orgies."
“Exactly,” he says. “We’re having one tonight. Just us dudes and fifty women. Want to be number fifty-one?"
I make a gag sound.
Elle, that was a joke. We haven’t even had one party."
“Yeah, right.” I let out pffft! That’s like saying he’s joined a circus but doesn’t plan to put on a red nose or make balloon animals. Or ride in a tiny car. Or make children laugh. Or scream, depending on their feelings about clowns.
Don’t go there, Elle. Let go of your colorful past.
Henry crosses his big, big arms over his big, big chest. “I’m serious. We’re a no-party, study-only bachelor pad. Why’s that so hard to believe?"
“Because you live for that bullcrap."
His nostrils flare a little, and his normally plump lips go flat.
“Fine. Whatever.” I hold up two palms in surrender. “I didn’t come here to talk about that, and if it’s true, then I’m happy for you. I think it’ll be good for you academically speaking, because God knows you could use some improvement."
“Elle,” his light brown brows pull together, “there’s nothing wrong with my academics."
I laugh. “You have a three point three GPA, Henry."
Wait. That came out sounding really bitchy, didn’t it?
“Wow.” He shakes his head. “That was bitchy."
Okay. Mea culpa. Still, how dare he call me that!
I feel my claws extend. can’t help it if I find your lack of ambition to be comical,” I say calmly. “Besides, I’m sure you’re used to bitches—since you date the cream of the crop.” I glance over at the cheerleaders, three of whom are watching us and snickering. I know they think I’m just fan-girling over him or trying to trade math tutoring for sex. They wouldn’t ever believe that a guy like him would voluntarily be with a super-nerd like me.
Actually, come to think of it, maybe I don’t believe it either. Just like I don’t believe he could ever make me happy. There. You see, Elle. You made the right choice dumping him.
“That wasn’t nice. Since when did you get so bitter."
“Must be the company,” I reply.
He shakes his head and throws in a tsk-tsk for good measure. “I don’t know what I ever saw in you."
His words instantly sting, which shocks me because I’m not new to insults. For example, my nickname in high school was “shark bait.” Yes, from the movie Nemo. I skipped a bunch of grades, which made me very small compared to my much older peer group. For demonstration purposes, I’ll disclose that I literally wore a training bra at my high school graduation. And it was too big. I really needed an over-the-shoulder pebble holder.
Well, that was then and this is now. I’m almost twenty and all filled out. And I don’t need Henry’s approval.
I lift my chin and meet Henry’s angry green eyes. “Well, I know exactly what I saw in you.” I reach for the bulge between his powerful thighs. He’s wearing an athletic supporter, so his footballs look even bigger than they are. But make no mistake, his sporting goods section is as big as a girl like me—who’s five two and weighs one hundred and twenty pounds—can tackle.
I give his man gear a little squeeze, and his whole body freezes up, like he’s sure I’m going to rip off his manhood.
The truth is, Henry, I stopped seeing you because your goal post isn’t stiff enough to keep me entertained."
Unexpectedly, Henry cups my left breast. “I know exactly how you feel. There’s just not enough there to hold my interest. Guess I’ll have to find a girl with adult-sized pom-poms to inspire me.” The right side of his mouth curls into a cocky smile.
“Ugh!” I pull my hand from his package and slap his paw from my boob. “You’re a pig."
“Well, I hope your little—” I glance at his bulge “sense of humor keeps you warm at night when your brain is dead from all those concussions in two years."
“Don’t you worry, sweetheart,” he says, letting his Texan twang break loose and looking over his shoulder at a group of pom-pom-toting girls drooling over him, “stayin’ warm ain’t my problem.” He turns and struts his rock-hard ass toward the locker room, like he owns the fucking world.
My innards sizzle with anger. “Dumb jock."
He lifts his middle finger without bothering to face me. “See ya, gorgeous."
He didn’t call me a stupid nerd, but his tone said it all.
As I watch him disappear into the locker room, I can’t help feeling like the tiny part of me he’d brought back to life—the part that loved to laugh and play—has just died a sad, twitchy little death. If there’s anyone in the world I wanted to connect with more, it was him. But this reaffirms my earlier assumption. We don’t work and never will. I need a serious guy who’s my equal.
Henry is a man-child. So hmph! Good riddance. Again.



When an intelligent yet geeky young woman sets out to find a bit of fun with the star football player unexpected sparks fly along with futures irrevocably changed by their making a connection.  From the moment readers meet this surprising couple they'll be put on a roller coaster of emotions in a romance that starts out fun and flirty but soon takes a serious turn that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.  By the turn of the final page you'll be satisfied by all that's come before but counting down the days until the ramifications of these opposites attracting comes to fruition.

Henry Walton comes from a family of wealth.  It's made his life easier in some ways but in some respects life is much harder as the family money comes with far too many strings.  While he's focused on joining the NFL his father attempts to use guilt and manipulation to get him to be a part of the Walton company. Acquiescing to those manipulations will forever change Henry as the weight of the world will be put on his shoulders as the story progresses.  Early on Henry looks like a party boy who's only dedicated to football, but inside is a caring young man who ends up sacrificing all for the brainiac he unexpectedly falls for. He and Elle are opposites in many ways and though their reason for getting together is merely for fun and sex at first, it soon becomes clear that they're more alike than they care to admit.  When readers first meet Henry he appears arrogant and juvenile but as we get to know him we discover a man willing to sacrifice all for those he cares about.  He's charming, willing to humble himself in the name of love, and is the highlight of this story as he wore his heart on his sleeve.  He's the perfect hero and readers will find themselves drooling over this delicious dichotomy of sexy, sweet, and snarky!

Elle comes from an average family but is anything but average.  From an early age it was clear that she was super smart and those smarts had her family planning out her entire future.  She had other plans though that made for a memorable childhood until her mother's illness leads to obligations of her own. Life for her is serious as she devotes herself to college and ignores the reality and hopelessness of her mother's fate.  Looking for a bit of fun has her connecting with Henry for a few weeks of erotic interludes and blocking out of the future.  When feelings become involved though she runs which leads to a merry chase that endeared Henry to me even more.  When she can no longer ignore the truth of what he means to her, it will lead to heartbreak as well as heartwarming admissions that had me cheering her and Henry on every step of the way.  Elle's a bit unlikable early on as she puts on a tough facade.  She'd rather hurt than be hurt which has her pushing Henry away in the most hurtful ways.  She softens as the story progresses though, admits truths about herself, that had me rooting for her and her family.  I liked that she was an unconventional heroine.  She embraced her geeky side, raised her geek flag high, and it made her and Henry a more engaging couple.

On a whole this was a fun and flirty romance of opposites attracting.  From the engaging main couple to the delightful secondary ones who return in this second installment in The HellNo Series, this was an entertaining read.  Henry and Elle were immensely appealing and had a combustible connection through scorching interludes and witty banter that had me chuckling as well as blushing.  I enjoyed their early interactions that were exhilarating and fresh but felt the suspense in the latter part of the story was a bit melodramatic.  It felt unnecessary and manipulative but despite that I still enjoyed their journey and its uplifting message of love overcoming all and can't wait for this story's cliffhanger to be resolved in the next installment.  Those looking for a decadently delightful hero and a unique heroine will want to add this charming and sexy read to their bookshelf! 

My rating for this is a B+

*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.





Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance. Both traditionally and independently published, Mimi has sold over 800,000 books since publishing her 1st title in 2012, and she plans to spontaneously combust once she hits the one-million mark. Although she obtained her international MBA and worked for over 15 years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance-closet and follow your dreams.
When not screaming at her works in progress, Mimi spends time with her two pirates in training, her loco-for-the-chili-pepper hubby, and rat terriers, Mini & DJ Princess Snowflake, in Arizona.
She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most.


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