Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Book Blitz for Fluffy by Julia Kent (Review & GIVEAWAY)

A naive yet endearing heroine finds herself reunited with her high school crush during an unfortunate misunderstanding that hits the internet in this fun and flirty contemporary romance.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Fluffy by Julia Kent, then get my impressions of this entertaining read which will have you wanting to add it to your bookshelf.  In honor of this first installment in this soon-to-be series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $25 Gyft GC too!

It all started with the wrong Help Wanted ad. Of course it did.
I’m a professional fluffer. It’s NOT what you think. I stage homes for a living. Real estate agents love me, and my work stands on its own merits.
Sigh. Get your mind out of the gutter. Go ahead. Laugh. I’ll wait.
See? That’s the problem. My career has used the term “fluffer” for decades. I didn’t even know there was a more… lascivious definition of the term.
Until it was too late.
The ad for a “professional fluffer” on Craigslist seemed like divine intervention. My last unemployment check was in the bank. I was desperate. Rent was due. The ad said cash paid at the end of the day.
The perfect job!
Staging homes means showing your best angle. The same principle applies in making a certain kind of movie. Turns out a “fluffer” doesn’t arrange decorative pillows on a couch.
They arrange other soft, round-ish objects.
The job isn’t hard. Er, I mean, it is — it’s about being hard. Or, well… helping other people to be hard.
Oh, man...
And that’s the other problem. A man. No, not one of the stars on the movie set. Will Lotham – my high school crush. The owner of the house where we’re filming. Illegally. In a vacation rental.
By the time the cops show up, what I thought was just a great house staging gig turned into a nightmare involving pictures of me with an undressed naked star, Will rescuing me from an arrest, and a humiliating lesson in my own naivete.
My job turned out to be so much harder than I expected. But you know what’s easier than I ever imagined?
Having all my dreams come true.


“I can't tonight. I have a date,” I blurt out, remembering David. The dating app. The asshole who isn't an asshole.
Yet. I haven't met him, so that judgment remains withheld.
“A date?” Will asks, intrigued.
“Yes. A date. You know, that thing where you go out with someone who has no intention of really getting to know you and you spend the entire time eating bread that doesn’t taste as good as your date claims and trying to decide whether to initiate rescue-text sequences with your mom.”
“That’s your idea of a date?”
“That is my actual experience of every date I’ve had since college.”
“You’re dating the wrong guys.” He holds my gaze for just a little too long. I look away.
“I have to keep fishing in the pond if I ever want to catch a different one.”
“If that’s the way you talk to your dates, I am beginning to understand why they all turn out so badly.”
“Don’t accuse me of being a bad date. I’m a great date! I Google the guy in advance and read his LinkedIn profile. I make sure I don’t wear super-tall heels in case he lied about his height on his dating profile. I pretend to care about all his hobbies and don’t reveal that I’m secretly tallying all the micro-aggressions he’s sending my way during appetizers and wine. And if he makes it to dessert, well–” I falter.
“You never make it to dessert, do you?” Will asks, eyebrows up. He drops them quickly, wincing.
“I–well–it’s not that I don’t. He doesn’t!”
“He ditches you?”
“No! No! It’s just that he always has a thing.”
“A thing?”
“A work emergency. Or a dog with a twisted bowel. Or a grandma in the ER.”
“How many guys used the twisted-canine-intestine thing?”
“Three.” I sit down and sag against his teenage desk, elbows sliding forward, fingers deep in my hair. “I looked it up. There’s an entire subreddit devoted to inventive ways to get out of a bad date.”
“And yet here you are.” He leans against the edge of his desk. “Trying again.”
“I’m a masochist.”
His eyes gleam. “Maybe you should start your dates with that line. ‘Hi. I’m Mallory Monahan. I’m a masochist.’ You’d definitely make it to dessert.”




Every now and again you come across a book that rescues you from a week that you just want to forget about...and this is just such a book.  From its witty banter to its unapologetic heroine to a dreamy hero that reminds readers of a John Hughes movie to friends who support you while still calling you to account...this book was a delightful breath of fresh air.  Laugh out loud moments were nicely balanced with a sweetly sentimental romance that began over a decade ago and which I was invested in from the first page to the last.

Mallory Monahan is at wit’s end with a rapidly shrinking bank account and a fear that she’ll end up moving back home after her designing job was cruelly ripped away from her.  Desperate for money she answers a Craigslist ad and ends up in the middle of a Big Misunderstanding on a porn set at the home of the parents of her unrequited high school crush.  With the shocking reintroduction of her teenage dream Will, and an embarrassing picture of the two of them and a Beastly actor hitting the internet, life takes an even more unexpected turn for Mallory.  Accepting a job from Will repeatedly puts her in close quarters with him, bringing up their past interactions, in heartfelt talks that slowly turn flirty. A surprising invite to their upcoming high school reunion opens up even more emotional floodgates as Mallory deals with her feelings of diminishment in the eyes of those who think they’re better just as she discovers Will’s true feelings in a heartwrenching series of events that ultimately had me cheering.  Along with navigating her complex feelings for Will, we see numerous interactions with her girlfriends that were endearing and easy to relate to.  Fiona, Perky, and Mallory are a boisterous trio of women, bold in their words and desires.  Each is strong-willed, self-deprecating in their views of themselves, but a strong support to each other when they need a kick in the pants the most.  On her own Mallory’s an immensely appealing heroine, a bit naive in some ways but unflinching when in defense of her beliefs.  Her self-esteem’s a bit bruised though from an older sister’s judgments and the high school years of being picked on for her intelligence.  These cruel words have left their mark and become especially hurtful at their reunion with the fallout putting her and Will’s HEA in danger. Through everything though I found myself drawn to Mallory, applauding her for her realism and for her unapologetic nature in a tale that pulled at my heartstrings while putting a smile on my face.

Will Lotham was the Golden Boy in high school, a top football player with smarts who was beloved by all.  He was a dutiful son who did what was expected of him according to his social status.  Though he never said it out loud, he knew the strong feelings Mallory had for him and relished every exchange they had as he enjoyed the challenge she presented him, even as he was too afraid to do more. Their years apart were years teeming with temptation as he always wondered whatever happened to her which makes his discovery of her on a porn set at his parent’s house all the more compelling.  It’s a delightfully wicked first meeting that brings out his protective side and is the first of many encounters he has with her as he slowly ingratiates himself to her.  Sweet and sexy, Will charms his way into Mallory’s life with me cheering him on every step of the way as he proved himself more than worthy of her.  A master of flirtiness and subtle sexual innuendos, Will was more than a match for Mallory in a relationship that was over a decade in the making.

Ms. Kent put on a master class here when it comes to writing banter.  The banter in this story was crackling, rapid-fire, and led to many laugh out loud moments.  Between the three girlfriends it solidified their friendship, making their bond even more relatable, while turning up the heat when the banter was between Will and Mallory.  The banter between these two was teeming with sexual tension and made the long wait until these two got between the sheets more bearable.  Will and Mallory were utterly delightful together as they addressed some heavy emotional issues from their pasts while charming me with their getting reacquainted now.  Though I wish we’d had more scorching encounters between them throughout the story, I still enjoyed their journey to HEA.  Surrounding this wonderful main couple was an equally appealing cast of secondary characters.  Those characters are Fiona and Perky, Mallory’s best buddies since high school who’ve had their own embarrassments over the last decade.  They’re bold and brash heroines who pull no punches as they say what they mean and mean what they say.  I look forward to learning more about them, and with the exhilarating epilogue found in this book, Perky’s story promises to be a non-stop and sizzling rollercoaster ride!  Those looking for a bit of girl power, with a charming romance, will want to grab this book for their very own.

My rating for this is an A-.

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


New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down.


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Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Tour for Running On Empty by S.E. Jakes (GIVEAWAY)

It’s a rocky road to HEA in this sexy and suspenseful tale of second chances set against the backdrop of the gritty MC world crafted through two previous books.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Running On Empty by S.E. Jakes, then add this m/m romance to your bookshelf.  In honor of this third installment in the Havoc series make sure to answer the question below for the chance to win an e-copy of the first book in this series too!

After years of running wild, Linc might’ve finally run out of road.
After a brutal capture at the hands of the Heathens Motorcycle Club, Linc is just trying to heal, mentally and physically. But he’s got men in his life who are complicating everything. There’s Mercy—a Havoc MC biker and the man he is falling fast for—plus an undercover ATF agent and a rogue Havoc member.
But Mercy's keeping him at arm’s length, and Linc is spinning. In an attempt to regain his equilibrium, he heads to the bar where he first met Mercy. Night after night, he escapes Havoc bonds and continues down his merry path of mayhem...mainly in the hopes that Mercy will give chase.
Since Linc’s capture by his old MC, Mercy's been dealing with the fallout of his guilt. He’s trying to give Linc space and still watch over him—all without Linc’s knowledge. But with Linc’s old job calling and a threat to Havoc MC heating up, can they make their way back together?


Welcome to Shades Run, where the notorious Havoc Motorcycle Club runs wild and free. Havoc’s got a long reach and strong community ties, and is always on the lookout for infiltrators like ATF agents, car thieves, and others who might harm their enterprises. Havoc’s community is tough to penetrate, but once these hard-living motorcycle men have taken you in, saved your life (maybe after threatening it a few times), or even fallen in love with you, you’re Havoc MC forever. Unless you’re one of their enemies, in which case you’re completely out of luck.



SE Jakes writes m/m romance. She believes in happy endings and fighting for what you want in both fiction and real life. She lives in New York with her family, and most days, she can be found happily writing (in bed). No really...
SE Jakes is the alter ego of New York Times bestselling paranormal and romantic suspense author Stephanie Tyler.



-Winner will be chosen randomly from each valid comment left.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Book Spotlight on Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan (GIVEAWAY)

Readers will be kept on the edge of their seats with this sensual and suspenseful contemporary romance of past lovers working together to save lives from a worldwide poison.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan, then start counting down the days until this book releases on April 30th.  In honor of this first installment in The Final Hour series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win 1 of 3 copies of this book too!

48 hours
2 covert operatives
1 chance to get it right
Maddox Kinkade is an expert at managing the impossible. Tasked with neutralizing a lethal bioweapon, she turns to the one person capable of helping her stop the threat of pandemic in time: the love of her life, back from the dead and mad as hell at her supposed betrayal. Recruiting Cole to save millions of lives may be harder than resisting the attraction still burning between them, but Maddox will do whatever it takes...even if it destroys her.
When Maddox crashes back into Cole Matthews' life, he wants to fight back. He wants to hate her. But the crisis is too strong to ignore, and soon the two former lovers find themselves working side-by-side in a breakneck race to stop a world-class killer with a secret that could end everything.
The clock is ticking.


12:21 P.M. EDT
No thought of how far he’d have to run, how long he had to pushCole held a singular focuscatch the Ghost.
To keep Maddox safe, he had to reach the devil first.
Extending his stride in a flat--out sprint, Cole gave it everything. His shoulder hurt like hell.
He was gaining on him. Less than thirty feet, chipping away at the distance with every hot lungful.
Just ahead was the Gallery Place Metro—-one of the busiest stations in DC. A throng of passengers streamed in and out of the cavernous entrance. The Ghost wove between people, darting to the left then right, flowing like a stream of water around stones.
Don’t lose him. Stay close. Almost there.
Cole knocked a man out of the way and slipped through a narrow opening in the pedestrian herd. The entrance cleared ahead, and there was Novak.
The Ghost zipped past the station agent, Metrorail vending machines, and vaulted over the turnstile in one fluid motion.
Steamrolling forward into the musty air and under the fluorescent lights of the station, Cole hopped the turnstile.
Maddox’s pounding footsteps weren’t far behind.
Cole cut to the east side of the Metro station, keeping sight of the Ghost. Escalators to the trains on the lower level were around a corner. Hopefully, passengers lining the moving staircase would slow Novak down.
What if he deployed the weapon in the station or on the Metrorail? The virus would spread fast with no way to contain it.
Novak hesitated at the escalators and snapped a glimpse over his shoulder, not looking the least bit winded. Their eyes met, and that freakish smile hitched up Novak’s mouth. In a flash, he whirled, facing the escalator.
Then he jumped onto the wide metal panel running between the escalators and slid down.
Breathless, Cole reached the escalator and peered over the side. Down a long, steep descent running several stories below ground. Really fucking long and very steep.
Sonofabitch. Novak had no limits and kept pushing the line. Cole hated heights, but that lunatic was getting away, and Maddox was closing in. No time. No time to think.
He vaulted onto the steel divider flanked by the two escalators.
“Dude, you’re crazy,” quipped a teenage kid getting off.
It felt a hell of a lot crazier than it looked. With the constraints of the narrow panel, Cole was forced to roll onto his side as Novak had done. Maddox’s pounding footsteps drew closer. Not giving himself a chance to chicken out, he let go and gravity took him.
In a lightning rush, he zipped down cool, smooth steel feet first.
“Cole!” Maddox’s voice echoed overhead.
His jackhammering heart blasted into his throat, followed by his stomach. He slid down the tight divider like a slick stone.
The faces of gawking onlookers were a blur. He braced, leaning back against the steep, eighty--foot decline. He almost swallowed his tongue.
To control his breathless descent, he thrust his forearms out to the sides.
Bad idea.
His sleeves dragged against the rubber handrails, the friction turning his quicksilver slide into a jerky ride. He feared flipping over the side onto the steel teeth of an escalator.
Weightless, helpless, he drew his arms in close to his body.
Not every Metro in DC had bumpers. The puck--sized discs didn’t stop a fall, only turned a person into tenderized meat by the time they reached the bottom. He was grateful not to face any here.
The ground below was a desperate hope rushing toward him, coming at him fast. But it was the longest eight seconds of his life.
Wild exhilaration wrestled with fear.
Fear was better.
It’d keep him sharp and hungry. Keep him alive.
Novak reached the bottom and glanced up at Cole before disappearing in the direction of the Red line.
Swooshing off the metal panel, Cole’s feet stumbled finding the floor. The electric surge rising in him was akin to being born again. He fell to one knee and sprang forward, following the trail of twisting heads and necks craned over shoulders.
The corridor spilled onto the westbound platform. People stood shoulder to shoulder. Jam--packed with kids, from teens to middle-schoolers, in a patchwork of yellow, green, light--blue, and red T--shirts.
Damn it. Summer camp field trips.
Across the tracks, the eastbound side was worse. He glanced at the inbound train sign overhead—-three minutes ETA.
Three minutes before the Ghost could be lost in the wind.
Dim lighting in the concave tunnel turned needle--in--a--haystack into finding a needle in a pine forest, at night. Red LED lights lined the bumpy tiles along the edge of the platform but did nothing to brighten the landscape. Chest heaving, he slowed his breathing while scanning for a dark ball cap, black backpack. Anyone in long sleeves.
He shouldered past people, weaving around a huddle of kids and chaperones in light blue T--shirts that read Ride the Summer Wave. Every ten steps, he checked his rear, ensuring he hadn’t missed the Ghost, somehow overlooked him in the sea of passengers.
Maddox made it down, rushing onto the eastbound side across the tracks. She scoured the platform.
Cole pressed forward. Most bodies stayed stationary or paced one to two feet within a localized space. He caught glimpses of one person with a blue ball cap and backpack. Drifting slowly. Snaking around shifting figures. Cole bulldozed his way to the thin male.
Metallic bitterness coated his tongue. He clasped a hand on the man’s shoulder and wrenched him around.
A wide--eyed young man with olive--toned skin stared back. “Hey, buddy, what’s your problem?”
“Sorry.” Cole raised his palms and backed off.
Red LED lights across the tracks on Maddox’s side flashed. A train was coming.
Two minutes until his westbound train arrived. He stepped up his pace through the milling flock of people, wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans. His sixth sense, the electric worm, carved a wriggling path from his skull down his spine, fizzing and spitting sparks across his nerve endings.
The rumble of the eastbound train resounded. Cole glanced back to see lights and Maddox peering down the tunnel at the inbound train. Dread churned his gut.
He faced forward and caught the Ghost’s steely gaze at the other end of the same platform. No baseball cap. The maniacal grin on full display. A moment. Less. A millisecond. Cole pushed toward him, storming through the gaggle of day campers.
Novak made his move. A bloodcurdling scream rent the air as the Ghost leapt off the platform, arm locked around a woman, hauling her over the side along with him. He let go of her and dashed across the westbound tracks, avoiding the electrified third rail.
Bounding over a strip of lighting in the middle, Novak rushed across the eastbound tracks. He jumped, pressing his hands onto the platform, and lifted his body with the fluidity of a gymnast. The flat--faced train whizzed into the station on the opposite side, concealing Maddox and the Ghost from sight.
Red lights flashed on Cole’s platform. He ran to help the fallen woman. Elbowing anyone in his way, he rushed to the far end.
The eastbound train on the other side stopped and the doors opened.
Cole swept paralyzed gawkers to the side and reached down to the plump woman in the light yellow T--shirt, Pirates and Princesses Summer Camp written across the front. Out of his peripheral vision, cowering children shrieked and whimpered.
“Come on.” He beckoned to the stunned woman clambering to her feet. “Take my hand.”
Chimes dinged from the train across the way, and his skin prickled. Doors were about to close.
“Let’s go, lady,” he snapped at her, trying to get her moving.
Lights of the approaching westbound train on his side did the trick.
A horn blared, kicking the woman into action, hustling to the platform. She grabbed both his hands and he held tight to her forearms and heaved. Thankfully, she was lighter than she looked, but his back still protested. A black kid in his late teens, with headphones on, helped him tug her the rest of the way up onto the platform.
“You okay?” Cole asked.
She nodded, and tears streaked down her cheeks. Covering her face with her hands, she broke into sobs. Yellow Tshirts gathered around her, and Cole shot to his feet.
The train on the other side pulled out. The steel cars vanished down the dark tunnel. He swept a frantic gaze over the platform.
Cole’s blood drained from his head as a hot ball of panic burned a hole in his gut.
Maddox and the Ghost were both gone.




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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Book Spotlight on Tangled Up In You by Samantha Chase (GIVEAWAY)

A cop’s injury leads to healing for both his body and soul once he meets a tempting single mom which will change both of their lives irrevocably in a sensual romance full of highs and lows.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Tangled Up In You by Samantha Chase, then start counting down the days until this contemporary romance hits bookshelves on April 30th.  In honor of this seventh installment in The Shaughnessy Brothers series make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win 1 of 3 copies of the previous book in this series too!

They'll change each other's fate...
One fateful night Bobby Hannigan sustains a gunshot wound that could end his career as a police officer. If that's taken from him, he doesn't know what he'll do. The only ray of hope is Teagan Shaughnessy—a kindhearted single mom who understands his struggles...
Teagan and her young son have just moved back to the Carolina coast to be near family. When she meets Bobby, the timing feels wrong, but everything else feels oh-so-right. Bobby and Teagan each had plans for their own futures. But they're finding that those plans are meaningless if they can't be together...


That was their pattern for the next hour. Occasionally Bobby would hit the ball and let Lucas try to catch it, but after each ball Lucas would ask if he could be the batter again. Rather than push, he figured it wasn’t a big deal to let him get comfortable with one skill at a time. Maybe next time they’d work on playing catch.
Next time? Was he seriously standing here thinking of when he could hang out and play ball again? Sure, he wasn’t opposed to it and he really was having a great time, plus he really wanted to get to know Teagan better...
No, he wasn’t going to use Lucas in an attempt to win over Teagan. It was wrong on so many levels. What he really wanted was to find a way to see her again in a bit of a different setting—one that didn’t involve a big family gathering or babysitting. That shouldn’t be too hard, right? Maybe if he could just—
The next thing he knew, something hit him hard, his eye was stinging like it was on fire, and he was stumbling back.
“Oh my God!”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
Eyes slammed shut, Bobby bent at the waist as he hissed out a breath. It didn’t take long to realize Lucas was on one side of him and Teagan on the other.
When had she gotten back?
His eye stung like a…well, he wanted to let loose a string of curses, but was mindful of the five-year-old beside him. No doubt if Bobby could get it together, he’d see Lucas’s big brown eyes looking scared.
Pull it together, Hannigan, he chided himself. You were shot, for crying out loud. This was a plastic ball to the eye! Man up!
Slowly, he straightened and let out a long breath, forcing himself to open his eye—which was now tearing up wildly.
Teagan stepped in front of him and cupped his cheek in her hand while she looked at his eye. “We’re going to have to put ice on that. Come on.” She took him gently by the hand and led him back to the house. Lucas grabbed his other hand and Bobby had to fight the urge to pull away from them both because they were treating him like an invalid.
Or maybe he was just acting like one.
They stepped through the back door and into the kitchen. Bobby sat down on one of the bar stools while Teagan prepared an ice pack. Between the pain and the tearing, his vision was slightly blurred, but not enough that he couldn’t tell that the woman fussing over him had received a bit of a makeover. She had different makeup on, her nails were painted a bold, bright pink, and her hair was full of curls that looked like they had been kissed by the sun. He knew enough about women to know how to compliment a good haircut and highlights, but this was the first time he’d been stunned speechless by the sight of them.
She looked younger and more carefree than he’d seen her before.
Except now she was frowning at him.
“Here,” she said softly, lifting the ice pack over his eye. “Hold this on there for a few minutes. Can I get you something for the pain?”
“No. I’m fine, really. It looks worse than it feels.”
Even though it felt pretty painful, he had to remember that he’d been hit by a plastic ball, not another bullet.
“It’s my fault, Mom,” Lucas said, his small voice coming from the stool beside Bobby. “I hit the ball before he asked if I was ready.” Bobby could hear the tremor in his voice and had a feeling the kid was going to start crying any minute.
Resting one arm on the counter, Bobby turned and mussed up Lucas’s hair. “It wasn’t your fault, Lucas. I wasn’t paying attention. You’ve got nothing to be upset about, okay?”
Lucas’s eyes went wide. “But—but you got hurt and—“
“And that’s what happens when you don’t pay attention,” Bobby said firmly but gently. “It’s an important lesson to remember when you’re playing sports. You always need to be paying attention or you could get hurt.” Then he pointed to his eye and gave a lopsided grin. “Just like this.”
Lucas studied him and then looked at his mother before turning his attention back to Bobby. “So…you’re not mad at me?”
Bobby shook his head. “Nope.”
“And maybe you still want to play ball with me?”
“Any time,” he said with a nod.
“Like right now?”
“Lucas,” Teagan quickly interrupted. “I think Bobby needs to rest for a little while. Why don’t you go and read for a bit, okay?”
“But Mom—“
Before Teagan could respond, Bobby leaned close to Lucas and whispered, loud enough for her to hear, “This is another important lesson to remember—don’t argue with your mom.”
Oooh,” Lucas said, dragging out the word. “Okay.” Then he hopped down and ran to his room.
When they were alone, Bobby found Teagan looking at him. For the life of him, he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say. Should he apologize for interrupting her when she was talking to her son? Or maybe apologize for teaching the kid how to hit a ball? Her expression was mild and a little unreadable, and it made him feel sort of uncomfortable.
“Teagan, listen. I know I should have—“
She held up a hand to stop him. “Can I just say something first?” she asked gently, glancing over her shoulder at the door to Lucas’s room.
He nodded.
“You handled that very well and I appreciate it. And while I hate that you ended up getting hurt, I’m very thankful you didn’t take it out on Lucas.”
Placing the ice pack on the counter, he looked at her like she was crazy. Had someone else done that to the kid? Had his father been abusive? Was that why they were willing to move so far away from him? Then another thought hit him—had this unknown, unnamed man been abusive to Teagan, as well?
Swallowing the rage he was feeling, Bobby took a minute to gather his thoughts. “First of all, I meant what I said. I was the one at fault, not Lucas. And yeah, it stung like son of a—” He stopped when he saw that Lucas’s bedroom door was open. “Anyway, it hurt. But there was no reason to get mad at anyone except myself.”
Teagan laughed and gently touched the skin right under his eye. “I don’t think there’s any permanent damage, but you’ll probably have at least a bit of a bruise there. Sorry.”
Unable to help himself, Bobby captured her wrist to keep her hand on his cheek. He heard her soft gasp, saw the surprised look on her face.
He had so many questions that he was dying to ask—about her life, about Lucas’s father—but he couldn’t make himself form the words. Now wasn’t the time. His gaze lingered on her face. “Your spa day agreed with you. You look beautiful.” And even that felt awkward coming out of his mouth. Normally, he could sweet-talk his way around any girl. He was good at it. But right now with Teagan, he felt like a teenager around his first crush.
She blushed. “Thank you.”
He swallowed. “It’s true. Not that you didn’t look beautiful before,” he quickly corrected. “But right now, you just look…amazing.”
He almost groaned at how lame he sounded.
Slowly, Teagan pulled her hand from his and took a step back. “You, um, you should really keep the ice on your eye for a little longer.”




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Friday, April 26, 2019

Book Tour for Luca by Brenda Rothert (REVIEW)

Fans of sports romances with be quickly consumed by this charming and sensual story of a one-night stand that leads to something more despite the roadblocks of her past and his being a single dad to his brother’s children.  Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Luca by Brenda Rothert, along with my impressions of it, then add this second installment in the Chicago Blaze series to your bookshelf too!

I only have one love now—the home furnishings business I’m building into an empire. Maybe money and success can’t love me back, but they keep what’s left of my heart safe. One-night stands are my way of scratching the occasional itch I get for something more. And no one’s better for that than a sexy as sin hockey player I’ll never see again after one very hot night together.
I used to love two things: hockey and women. But now my nieces and nephew are my top priority, because I’m raising them after tragedy stole their parents. Somehow I balance single parenthood and my career as a forward for the Chicago Blaze. There’s no time for women, until I get knocked on my ass by Abby Daniels. She’s everything I’ve ever wanted, but her devastating past may end us before we even get started.



While reading the previous book in the Chicago Blaze series I was immediately drawn to the sexy and talented Luca as he took on the duty of caring for his nieces and nephews after the death of his brother and sister-in-law.  Managing both his career on the ice, and learning the ropes of single fatherhood, changed Luca and in this book we see a man mostly confident in what he’s doing with a few moments of uncertainty.  The moment I met Abby I knew she’d be an intriguing match to Luca, living with her own doubts while showing the world a tough exterior.  What starts out as a casual series of one-night stands soon takes a more serious turn as each became more invested in the other.  What was once casual soon becomes heartfelt as unvarnished truths are revealed that lays both of their hearts on the line in a romance full of heart and soul.

Luca Campbell’s the kind of hero that makes you melt.  A talented hockey player with a heart of gold, a true gentleman who didn’t hesitate to take on the role of single father, also makes Luca an unforgettable hero whose story gave me all sorts of warm fuzzies.  At the start of the story Luca’s just getting the balance right when it comes to work and fatherhood, devoting himself completely to both while leaving no time for himself.  A rare night out with his teammates though ends with him spending the night with a woman who will change his life irrevocably.  At first he’s content with their casual fling but he soon wants more and goes after Abby wholeheartedly, never letting her hide behind her pain and fears.  It’s an adult relationship on display as Luca actually wants to talk things out.  He doesn’t let Big Misunderstandings fester which made for a stronger story and put him in an even more delicious light.  He’s supportive when Abby needs acceptance most, never judging but instead showering her with love as his tender ministrations warmed my heart.  When it comes to the physical aspect of their romance Luca easily switched gears to be quite the dirty talker in scenes that were scorching and that had him frantic to find a connection to her away from everything else in his life.  Moments out of the bedroom showed them to be a formidable pairing as Luca came to count on her support too as they slowly became a family.  Scenes between him and the children he’s playing daddy to were sweet and it endeared me to him all the more as he never hesitated to be a part of girly spa days or coaching baseball.  Through it all his actions pulled at my heartstrings while putting a smile on my face.

Abby Daniels is at the top of her game, a strong-willed businesswoman who doesn’t let her personal life get in the way.  She’s completely devoted to work, showing the world a tough exterior of no-nonsense, but behind the facade is a woman still grieving for who she used to be.  Sleepless nights, weight loss, and moments of panic still rear their ugly heads when she least expects it though and it’s those moments that had me aching for her.  She tried to bury the pain of her past, dulled it through work, and tried to do so in her casual nights with Luca...until he wouldn’t let her hide anymore.  Just as she tries to push him away he pushes back in a battle for her soul and their future that led to her revealing her truly heartbreaking past.  Abby survived things that would've broken most people, reinventing herself to move past the heartbreak.  Where she was once a homebody and caretaker, she’s now a self-assured boss who doesn’t take guff from others.  Once she meets Luca though her past comes back to the forefront as she helps him during a family emergency that has her questioning who she’s become and if she can be what Luca needs in his new life too.  Abby’s an immensely appealing heroine whose past broke my heart.  Her reactions to all that befell her were understandable and the strength she called on to keep moving on had me rooting for her.  Before Luca she was constantly on edge, but around him you could see a weight lifted off her.  Though she was at first shocked by his having children she seamlessly took on a motherly role when a family crisis left him in need of a babysitter.  Her time with the kids pulled at my heartstrings and showed a softer side to her, one where she could stop and smell the roses.  Scenes like these were a balm to her soul and they brought a tear to my eye as they gave her a glimpse of all she could have if she just took a chance.

From start to finish I found myself fully invested in this couple and rooting for their HEA.  With a sweet and sexy hero and a strong-willed heroine hiding her vulnerabilities, I was drawn to this couple as each made the other better.  Their romance started off frantic but soon became sizzling as fun and flirty banter took on a more heartfelt and emotional vibe.  As one-night stands turned to weeks together their connection deepened, becoming more serious, as they dealt with her fears over the past head-on.  Along with their intense romance was heartwarming time spent with Luca’s nieces and nephews (Cora, Jack, and Emerson).  These scenes warmed my heart and showed how easily they could be a family if Abby just let go of her doubts.  I normally don’t care for children in romance books, but this trio made me smile.  They were larger-than-life and full of unexpected wisdom.  They brought out a caring and gentle side to both Luca and Abby and made their coupling even stronger.  Alongside this sweet and sentimental family-in-the-making was an equally appealing cast of secondary characters, some being teammates we’ve seen before as well as a few new characters.  Amongst those who caught my attention most was Luca’s teammate Vic who’s just gotten burned in a romance with an actress and who’s clearly looking for a fight.  The other character is Percy, Abby’s personal trainer, who’s a strong support to Abby when she hits a low point and who has her own painful past.  These characters called to me and I hope to see more of them in the future.  Fans of sports romances will find this a nice balance between action on the ice and off.  While there’s plenty of emotional intensity when it comes to the journey to HEA for Abby and Luca, there’s also some exhilarating scenes during hockey games and in the locker room that shows the playful and brotherly vibe between the players.  By the turn of the final page I’m left satisfied and ready for more from this thoroughly entertaining book series!

My rating for this is an A.

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


Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.