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Saturday, July 4, 2015

ARC Review: Unscripted by M.C. Decker


Unscripted is the second book in M.C. Decker's Unspoken series and needs to be read after Unwritten. Unscripted is the continuation of Brooke and Rich's story, and I have been dying to get my hands on this one after that cliffy at the end of Unwritten! I love these characters so much, and I couldn't wait to see what would happen for them. Not only did M.C. Decker do a fabulous job with their story, but I felt like it was exactly as it should have been for these characters.

After years of being apart, Rich Davis and Brooke Anderson had finally reconnected. Not only did they have great jobs, but they had each other. But just when things appeared to be perfect, a tragedy stole their happy ending. Now they are left to pick up the pieces and see what happens after their perfect script has changed yet again. Can Brooke and Rich write a new happy ending together, or will it be too late for them to get their forever?

I love Rich and Brooke, and my heart was absolutely breaking for these two at the end of Unwritten and the beginning of Unscripted. These two had already been through so much, and yet it seemed like they were being dumped on yet again when neither of them deserved it. Rich and Brooke were absolutely perfect for one another, and I loved how well they fit together. They were each so passionate about their careers and each other. This book wasn't an easy journey, and there were several times that I really felt like things were beyond unfair for them. Yet the love between Brooke and Rich was never ending, and it was easy to see that love was never their problem. I loved that their feelings for one another never wavered no matter what they were going through. Sometimes we have to go through some rough times in order to get to where we need to, and that really seemed to be the case here. The chemistry between them was stronger than ever, and I had faith that these two would be able to find their way back to one another.

Overall, I really loved this book and the journey that these characters have been on for these two books. I feel emotionally connected to them, and I was invested in their story from the start. This book was beautifully written and brought out all the feels. M.C. Decker has a way of drawing you into her stories and captivating you right until the very last word. I loved Rich and Brooke, but I also really love the secondary characters as well. I am very intrigued with what is developing between Blake and Cassidy, and I cannot wait to get more of these characters. I honestly cannot recommend this series enough, and if you haven't read these books yet you are seriously missing out. M.C. Decker doesn't disappoint, and if you are looking for a great contemporary romance with emotion and depth you cannot go wrong with her books. I am looking forward to seeing what else she writes in the future and will be anxiously awaiting Unforeseen, the third book in her Unspoken series.

**ARC Provided by Author**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes





ARC Review: A Change of Plans by Robyn Thomas


A Change of Plans is a novella about Ethan and Sara. Ethan is a divorce attorney who is naturally skeptical about all things related to marriage. Sara is fresh off a break up nearly on the eve of her wedding to a man who woke up one day and decided she was just boring. After reading this book, I'm inclined to agree with Sara's ex about her ability to inspire excitement.

Ok, let me just start by saying I almost never read novellas. I like full length novels because I'm nosy and I need lots of information to feel satisfied, the novella format doesn't work for that kind of mindset. My rating of this book is based on my attempt to give the author the benefit of the doubt for my bias against novellas. I can only describe my experience with this book as...weird. The book starts out and Sara is determined to prove that she can be spontaneous and live it up in Vegas. I respect that, I even liked it. But right away, we get a contradiction with Sara because despite her determination, she doesn't even know how to deal with a pawn shop owner. But then wait, in the same scene she morphs back into an assertive woman with a snarky sense of humor. And that right there, it kept happening. Sara is kind of naive and innocent one moment and the next she's snapping out one liners. I know it was supposed to be her thing but it was very confusing and left me feeling like i didn't know who the hell she was.

Speaking of confusing, I just couldn't get a handle on the actual relationship between Ethan and Sara. Right from the beginning i didn't understand why Sara was spending time with Ethan or why Ethan was investing money in giving Sara back her wedding weekend. I absolutely was lost by the time the two get married. How is it a good plan to convince someone that marriage is a bad idea by way of actually marrying that person? Of course you can guess that the plan backfired and Ethan found himself falling for Sara. The problem is that I don't know enough about Ethan to know what he saw in Sara. He is depicted as being mysterious and a little closed off. That's great for developing the story of his interactions with Sara but the readers need more information to develop a connection with Ethan. Because it's hard to connect with Ethan and Sara kept switching personalities, I found it difficult to get into their relationship.

There are some subplots thrown into the book. One of them involves Ethan acting as the divorce attorney in his parents divorce. There was potential for that subplot to give us more information about Ethan but it never happened and I was left feeling just sort of confused.

Totally random side note: Why was Sara wearing those butt ugly clothes? I know she was from a small town but I just could not understand her wardrobe at the beginning of this book.

My conclusion is that the writing of this book was decent, the sex scenes were very mediocre and i couldn't get into the relationship between the main characters. It should've been a fast read but when it gets disjointed, it's hard to stay interested. I walked away from the story feeling like this was an ok book but I couldn't really tell you what the hell just happened.

**ARC copy provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |



Feature and Giveaway: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley


The ride of her life . . .

Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy---until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa's pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .

In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he's the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa's acting, it's clear she's falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker's secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa---or ride away forever . . .

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

ARC Review: Discovering April by Sheena Hutchinson


Discovering April is the first book that I have ever read by Sheena Hutchinson, but I was really interested in reading it after I read the blurb. I have to admit that I struggled with this story at times, and there were some things that just didn't work for me. I did have things that I liked and that kept me reading, but I will say that I almost gave up on this one especially at the beginning of the book. 

April Landau is focused on her work, school, and her boyfriend Hunter. She chose to stay in her childhood home knowing that she would have to cover the costs in order to go to school and stay with her boyfriend. But when things between them start to unravel, April finds her life falling apart and she soon discovers that she has lost herself along the way. With the help of her neighbor and onetime best friend Jared, she finds herself rediscovering a friendship that she didn't realize that she had missed. April and Jared are almost as different as two people can be, but after spending time together again, they find themselves wondering if they can find happiness together. 

I will admit that I had my issues with April right from the very start of this story. April didn't really seem to have a mind of her own, and I didn't understand her relationship with Hunter at all. She assumes he is cheating on her right from the start and they are always fighting which results in him taking off and leaving her multiple times. But then he shows up the next day and apologizes while saying he loves her and is instantly forgiven and they have sex. This seriously pissed me off, and I couldn't get over what a doormat she was. She had no backbone and just kept coming back for more. Then eventually Hunter breaks things off and she is devastated and goes on a crying binge where she can hardly function. I seriously almost quit reading because I couldn't handle it. I was intrigued by her neighbor Jared though, and I wanted to see how things would play out from there. As much as I liked Jared, I thought that he was a bit hot and cold with April. At times he would seem really caring and sweet, and then at others he refused to talk to her and was cold. It was hard to keep up with the whiplash and I honestly didn't really care at that point because I didn't like April. I do think that they had chemistry and a connection, but I just wasn't really invested in it. 

Another big issue that I had with this story is that it felt similar in a lot of ways to a book that I flat out loved, and I found myself comparing the two. They had several differences (including a few huge ones) but I still kept thinking about the other story and getting more and more frustrated with this one. There were also several times that the story seemed to be a bit stilted and choppy, and it felt like this one was almost a debut novel. I think this one could have used a bit more polish as far as transitions and flow went, and I think that might have helped to make it more enjoyable. The other big thing that bothered me about this book was the fact that I thought several things that happened were unbelievable, and it was hard to get past them. I just found them to be unrealistic and it didn't make sense to me at all. Overall, I was pretty disappointed in this story after reading what I thought was a really promising blurb. I think that this one could have been a really great story, but unfortunately it didn't work for me.

**ARC Provided by Xpresso Book Tours**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | Book Depository | 





Friday, July 3, 2015

ARC Review: Dirty Thoughts by Megan Erickson


Dirty Thoughts is the first book in Megan Erickson's new Mechanics of Love series, which is a spin-off of her Bowler University series. Though the Bowler University books are NA, the Mechanics of Love series is a Contemporary series with each book being a standalone. You do not need to have read those books first in order to understand this series, but that is where the Payton brothers are first introduced.

Cal Payton and Jenna Macmillan love each other through high school and had their lives planned together, until one incident ruined everything for them. But when Jenna walks in to Cal's garage years later looking better than ever, Cal and Jenna are suddenly forced to face everything that they left behind. Though Cal and Jenna still feel the pull to one another and are more attracted to each other than ever, the differences that once separated them are still there. Cal has no intention of letting Jenna in again, but finds it harder and harder to stay away from her since she is back in town for good. Can Cal and Jenna have a second chance at love together, or will they find that their relationship is best left in the past. 

Cal made it really hard for me to like him in this book, and I think that was a lot of my problem here. Cal was so hot and cold, and fully intent on pushing Jenna away until about 70% through the book. I don't typically mind a grumpy hero, because usually they start to soften a bit with the love of their heroine. But Cal drove me absolutely nuts, and couldn't seem to make up his mind. Jenna wasn't a bad heroine, but I did think that she put up with far too much as well. She had let her family push her around, and she let Cal continue to treat her the way he did and she never really stood up for herself. It got old, and it made it hard to really like her either. So while these two had clear chemistry and a history, I never really felt much of a connection between them. 

My other big issue besides Cal and Jenna, was the fact that this story seemed to be more about Cal and his family than anything else. Because it focused so much on them, there wasn't much development between Cal and Jenna beyond his constant pushing her away. I did enjoy his family and seeing them together, but I wanted more about Cal and Jenna and seeing how they would move forward after everything that happened. This book seemed to be similar to other books I have read in the genre, with not much new or different here. It was frustrating and I found myself skimming because I didn't really care about the characters at that point. This isn't the first book that I have read from Megan Erickson, but it seems that there is something about her books that just doesn't typically work for me. While I think others might enjoy this book, I think her style might just be one that isn't for me.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes | 





ARC Review: Accidentally in Love by Laura Drewry


This was my first book from author Laura Drewry and I will definitely be checking out more from her in the future. Right off the bat I found myself not only hooked but I was able to connect with the story and the characters. I loved the banter between Ellie and Brett. In fact, there were a few times that I found myself chuckling at these two.

Ellie is a ball buster and she's got sass and I loved her humor. She's witty and some of the things she thinks and says had me laughing out loud. I loved reading her interactions with Brett. Ellie isn't a fan of cops at all and I thought some of things she thought and said to Brett were hilarious.

Brett...ah Brett was such a great hero. For reals. He's protective, caring, sexy and a cop. I mean who doesn't love a sexy cop? But for real, I really loved that he truly cares for his job and takes it so seriously. I also loved the way he was with Ellie. He was kind and really listened to her and put her needs first. *sigh*

I really enjoyed the relationship between Ellie and Brett. I loved that they they didn't jump into bed with each other right off the bat. They go from enemies to friends to eventual lovers and it was great to watch their progression. You really get a sense of their feelings for one another and the feelings feel honest and true.

My only complaint is that is took a bit too long for them to finally hook up. Don't get me wrong, I love a great build up but theirs seemed to take a bit too long and then when it finally does happen the book is just about over. I would have loved to see more of these two as an actual couple. The chemistry was there and they have so much sparks that I just wanted to see more of the sizzle.

All in all, Accidentally in Love was a great story. It's sweet, cute, funny and I just couldn't get enough. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more from Laura Drewry in the future and plan on picking up the previous books in this series.

**ARC provided by NetGalley**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes |



Guest Post with Author Laura Drewry and Giveaway


Laura Drewry had been scribbling things for years before she decided to seriously sit down and write. After spending eight years in the Canadian north, Laura now lives back home in southwestern British Columbia with her husband, three sons, a turtle named Sheldon, and an extremely energetic German shepherd. She loves old tattered books, good movies, country music, and the New York Yankees.

Feature and Giveaway: Dirty Thoughts by Megan Erickson


Some things are sexier the second time around.

Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art...all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna MacMillan--his biggest mistake--walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.

Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she'd once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever... and this Cal is all man.

Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she's always been his light, and it's getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone or if it's exactly what they need for the future of their dreams.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes |

CHAPTER ONE

Cal Payton sighed and braced himself as the opening guitar riff of “Welcome to the Jungle” reverberated off the walls of the garage. Sure enough, several bars later, his brother, Brent, began his off-key rendition, which didn’t sound much different from his drunken karaoke version.

Which, yes, Cal had heard. More times than he wanted to.

He growled under his breath. Brent kept screeching Axl Rose, and if Cal wasn’t stuck on his back under this damn Subaru, he’d be flinging a wrench at Brent’s head. “Hey!” Cal yelled.

There was a blissful moment of silence. “What?” Brent’s voice came from somewhere behind him, probably in the bay next to him at the garage.

“Who sings this song?”

“Are you kidding me?” Brent’s voice was closer now. “It’s Guns N’ Roses. The legendary Axl Rose.”

“Yeah? Then how ’bout you let him sing it?”

There was a pause. “Fuck you.” His brother’s footsteps stomped away. Then the radio was turned up, and Brent started singing even louder.

Cal blew out a breath and tapped the socket wrench on his forehead, doing his best to tune out Brent’s increasingly loud voice. Cal vowed to buy earbuds and an iPod before he murdered his brother with a tire iron.

He turned his attention back to the exhaust shield he was fixing. The customer had complained of a loud rattle when his car idled. Sure enough, one of the heat shields covering the exhaust system under the car was loose. It was an easy fix. Cal used a gear clamp to wrap around the pipe of the exhaust system to prevent the shield from making noise.

It didn’t necessarily have to be done, but the Graingers were long-time customers at Payton and Sons Automotive. And they always sent those flavored popcorn buckets at Christmas. He and Brent fought over the caramel while their dad got the butter all to himself.

He finished tightening the hose clamp onto the pipe and then banged around the exhaust system with the side of his fist. No rattle.

He slid out from under the Subaru and patted it on the side. He squinted at the clock, seeing it was almost quitting time. Their dad, who owned half of the shop—Cal and Brent split ownership of the other 50 percent—had already gone home for the day.

Cal put away the tools he’d used, purposefully ignoring Brent as he launched into a Pearl Jam song. Cal rubbed his temple, wiping away the bead of sweat he could feel rolling down his face. The back room had a small table and a refrigerator, so Cal made his way there to get a water.

In the summer, they kept the large doors of the garage open, but the air was thick and humid today. The American flag outside hung like a limp rag in the still air.

Cal wore coveralls at work and usually kept them on to protect his skin from hot exhaust pipes and any number of sharp tools lying around. But as he walked back to the lunchroom, he stripped his upper body out of the coveralls so the torso and arms of the clothing hung loose around his legs. Underneath, he wore a tight white T-shirt that still managed to be marked with grease and black smudges from the work day.

In the back room, he grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and leaned back against the wall. After unscrewing the cap, he tilted it back at his lips and chugged half the bottle.

After the Graingers came to pick up their Subaru, he was free to head home to his house. Alone. That was a new luxury. He used to live with Brent in an apartment, and it was fine until he realized he was almost thirty years old and still living with his younger brother. He was tight with his money, which Brent teased him about, but it’d been a good thing when he had enough to make the deposit on his small home. It had a garage, so he could store his bike and work on it when he had free time. Which wasn’t a lot, but he’d take what he could get. If his father would quit dicking him around and let him work on motorcycles for customers here, that’d be even better. But Jack Payton didn’t “want no bikers” around, ignoring the fact that his son rode a Harley-Davidson Softail.

Cal’s phone vibrated in the leg pocket of his coveralls. He pulled it out and glanced at the caller ID. It was Max, their youngest brother. Cal sighed and answered the call. “Yeah?”

“Cal!” Max shouted.

“You called me.”

“What’s going on?”

“Workin’.”

“You’re always working.” Max huffed.

Cal took another sip of water. “That’s what people do.”

“Hey, I work.”

“You play dodgeball with a bunch of teenagers.” Cal knew Max did a hell of a lot more than that at his physical education teaching job at a high school in eastern Pennsylvania, but it was fun as hell to get him worked up. Cal smiled. One of the first times that day.

“Hey, I had to hand out deodorant and condoms to those teenagers this year, so don’t give me that shit,” Max said.

“Condoms?”

“Yeah, they’re kinda liberal here,” Max muttered.

“Huh,” Cal said, scratching his head. They sure never handed out condoms in school when he was a teenager.

“Anyway,” Max said.

“Yeah, anyway, what’dya need?”

“How do you know I need something?”

“Why else do you call?”

“I want to hear your pleasant voice?”

Cal grunted.

“I just wanted to know if you had any plans for your birth—ouch!” There was rustling on the other line, some mutters, and a higher-pitched voice in the background. Then Max spoke again. “Okay, so Lea punched me because she said I’m doing this wrong.”

Cal smiled. Lea was Max’s fiancĂ©e, and she was a firecracker.

“We wanted to come visit you and take you out for your birthday. All of us.” Max cleared his throat. “And you can bring a date too. If you want.”

A date. When was the last time he’d introduced a woman to his family? Hell, when was the last time he’d had a date? “The five of us should be fine.”

“So that’s okay? To celebrate? I mean, you’re turning thirty, old man.”

Cal let the old man comment roll off his back. “Yeah, sounds good.” He paused. “Thanks.”

Max seemed pleased, chattering on about his neighborhood and how he was enjoying being off work for the summer. Cal drank his water and listened to his brother ramble. Max hadn’t always been a happy kid. Cal had tried his best after their mom left the family shortly after Max was born. Their dad was pissed and bitter and immersed himself in working at the garage. So as the oldest brother, Cal scrambled to hold the reins of his wild brothers.
He hadn’t done such a great job, he didn’t think. His brothers survived in spite of him, not because of him, he was sure. Brent was still a little crazy, and it had taken Lea to straighten Max out in college. Cal tried not to dwell on his failure and instead appreciated that at least they were all alive and healthy.

It was why he valued his own space so much now. His alone time. Because he’d been a surrogate father at age six, and he was fucking over it.
Although, by the time he hung up the phone with Max and slipped his phone back into his pocket, he had a warm feeling in his gut that hadn’t been there before his brother had called.

He was flipping the cap of the water in his fingers and finishing the last of the bottle when Brent poked his head in the back room. “Hey.”

Cal raised his eyebrows.

“Someone’s asking for you.”

Cal tossed the empty bottle in the trash. “The Graingers?”

“Nope, they just came and got the Subaru and left. This is a new customer.”

Cal threw the empty bottle in the recycling bin, turned off the light to the back room, and followed his brother out to the garage. “We’re closing soon. Is it an emergency? Are they regulars?” He pulled a rag out of his pocket and began to wipe his dirty hands. He thought about washing them first in case this customer wanted to shake hands.

Brent didn’t answer him, didn’t even look at him over his shoulder.

And that was when a small sliver of apprehension trickled down his spine. “Brent—”

His brother whirled around and held his arm out as they walked past a Bronco their dad had been working on. “I think it’s better if you take this one.”
Cal squinted into the sun and when his eyes adjusted to the light, her legs were the first thing he saw. And he knew—he fucking knew—because how many times had he sat in class in high school staring at those legs in a little skirt, dreaming about when he could get back between them? It’d been a lot.
His eyes traveled up those bare legs to a tiny pair of denim shorts, up a tight tank top that showed a copious amount of cleavage, and then to that face that he’d never, ever forget as long as he lived.

He never thought he’d see Jenna MacMillan again. And now, there she was, standing in front of his garage next to a Dodge Charger, her brunette hair in a wavy mass around her shoulders.

Fuck.

Okay, so admittedly Jenna had known this was a stupid idea. She’d tried to talk herself out of it the whole way, muttering to herself as she sat at a stop light. The elderly man in the car in the lane beside her had been staring at her like she was nuts.

And she was. Totally nuts.

It’d been almost a decade since she’d seen Cal Payton, and yet one look at those silvery blue eyes and she was shoved right back to the head-over-heels in love eighteen-year-old girl she’d been.

Cal had been hot in high school, but damn, had time been good to him. He’d always been a solid guy, never really hitting that awkward skinny stage some teenage boys went through after a growth spurt.

And now . . . well . . . Cal looked downright sinful standing there in the garage. He’d rolled down the top of his coveralls, revealing a white T-shirt that looked painted on, for God’s sake. She could see the ridges of his abs, the outline of his pecs. A large smudge on the sleeve drew her attention to his bulging biceps and muscular, veined forearms. Did he lift these damn cars all day? Thank God it was hot as Hades outside already so she could get by with flushed cheeks.

And he was staring at her with those eyes that hadn’t changed one bit. Cal never cared much for social mores. He looked people in the eye, and he held it long past comfort. Cal had always needed that, to be able to measure up who he was dealing with before he ever uttered a word.

She wondered how she measured up. It’d been a long time since he’d laid eyes on her, and the last time he had, he’d been furious.

Well, she was the one who’d come here. She was the one who needed something. She might as well speak up, even though what she needed right now was a drink. A stiff one. “Hi, Cal.” She went with a smile that surely looked a little strained.

He stood with his booted feet shoulder width apart, and at the sound of her voice, he started a bit. He finally stopped doing that staring thing as his gaze shifted to the car by her side and then back to her. “Jenna.”

His voice. Well, crap, how could she have forgotten about his voice? It was low and silky with a spicy edge, like Mexican chocolate. It warmed her belly and raised goose bumps on her skin.

She cleared her throat as he began walking toward her, his gaze teetering between her and the car. Brent was off to the side, watching them, with his arms crossed over his chest. He winked at her. She hid her grin with pursed lips and rolled her eyes. He was a good-looking bastard but irritating as hell. Nice to see some things never changed. “Hey, Brent.”

“Hey there, Jenna. Looking good.”

Cal whipped his head toward his brother. “Get back to work.”

Brent gave him a sloppy salute and then shot her another knowing smirk before turning around and retreating into the garage bay.

When she faced Cal again, she jolted, because he was close now, almost in her personal space. His eyes bored into her. “What’re ya doing here, Jenna?”

His question wasn’t accusatory. It was conversational, but the intent was in his tone, lying latent until she gave him reason to really put the screws to her. She didn’t know if he meant, what was she doing here at his garage, or what was she doing in town? But she went for the easy question first.

She gestured to the car. “I, uh, I think the bearings need to be replaced. I know that I could take it anywhere, but . . .” She didn’t want to tell him it was Dylan’s car, and he was the one who had let it go so long that she swore the front tires were going to fall off. As much as her brother loved his car, he was an idiot. An idiot who despised Cal, and she was pretty sure the feeling was mutual. “I wanted to make sure the job was done right, and everyone knows you do the best job here.” That part was true. The Paytons had a great reputation in Tory.

But Cal never let anything go. He narrowed his eyes and propped his hands on his hips, drawing attention to the muscles in his arms. “How do you know we still do the best job here if you haven’t been back in ten years?”

Well, then. Couldn’t he just nod and take her keys? She held them in her hand, gripping them so tightly that the edge was digging into her palm. She loosened her grip. “Because when I did live here, your father was the best, and I know you don’t do anything unless you do it the best.” Her voice faded. Even though the last time she’d seen Cal, his eyes had been snapping in anger, at least they’d showed some sort of emotion. This steady blank gaze was killing her. Not when she knew how his eyes looked when he smiled, as the skin at the corners crinkled and the silver of his irises flashed.

She thought now that this had been a mistake. She’d offered to get the car fixed for her brother while he was out of town. And while she knew Cal worked with his dad now, she’d still expected to run into Jack. And even though Jack was a total jerk-face, she would have rather dealt with him than endure this uncomfortable situation with Cal right now. “You know, it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. I’ll just—”

He snatched the keys out of her hand. Right. Out. Of. Her. Hand.

“Hey!” She propped a hand on her hip, but he wasn’t even looking at her, instead fingering the key ring. “Do you always steal keys from your customers?”

He cocked his head and raised an eyebrow at her. There was the smallest hint of a smile, just a tug at the corner of his lips. “I don’t make that a habit, no.”

“So I’m special, then?” She was flirting. Was this flirting? Oh God, it was. She was flirting with her high school boyfriend, the guy who’d taken her virginity, and the guy whose heart she’d broken when she had to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life.

She’d broken her own heart in the process.

His gaze dropped, just for a second, and then snapped back to her face. “Yeah, you’re special.”

He turned around, checking out the car, while she stood gaping at his back. He’d . . . he’d flirted back, right? Cal wasn’t really a flirting kind of guy. He said what he wanted and followed through. But flirting, Cal?

She shook her head. It’d been over ten years. Surely he’d lived a lot of life during that time she’d been away, going to college, then grad school, then working in New York. She didn’t want to think about what that flirting might mean, now that she was back in Tory for good. Except he didn’t know that.

“So, you think the bearings need to be replaced?” Cal ran his hand over the hood. From this angle, all she saw was hard muscle covering broad shoulders, shifting beneath his T-shirt.

She shook herself and spoke up. “Yeah, it’s making that noise—you know, that growl.”

He nodded.

The only reason she knew was because she’d spent a lot of weekends and lazy summer afternoons as a teenager, lying in the grass, getting a tan in her bikini while Cal worked on his car, an old black Camaro, in his driveway. She’d learned a lot about cars and hadn’t forgotten all of it. She wondered if he still had that Camaro.

“Want me to inspect it too?” Cal was at the passenger’s side door now, easing it open.

“What?”

He pointed to the sticker on the windshield. “I can do it now, if you’d like. You have to get it done by end of next month.”

She opened her mouth to tell him sure, but then she’d have to give him the registration and insurance card, and then he’d know it was Dylan’s car. “No, no, that’s all right.”

He frowned. “Why not?”

“I just . . .”

He opened up the passenger’s side door and bent inside.

“What are you doing?” She walked around the car, just as he pulled some papers out of the glove box. She stopped and fidgeted with her fingers, because he’d know in three . . . two . . .

He bent and tossed the papers back in the glove box. “I’ll have it for you by end of the day tomorrow.” He started walking toward the office of the garage.
He had to have seen the name, right? He had to have seen it. She walked behind him. “Cal, I—”

He stopped and turned. “Do you need a ride?”

“What?”

“Do you need a ride . . . home, or wherever you’re going?”

She shook her head. “I’m going to walk across the street to Delilah’s store. She’ll take me home.”

His gaze flitted to the shop across the street and then back to Jenna. He nodded. “All right, then.”

She tried again. “Cal—”

“You picking it up or your brother?”

The muscle shift in his jaw was the only indication that he was bothered by this. “I’m sorry, I should have told you . . .”

He shook his head. “You don’t owe it to me to tell me anything. You asked me to fix a car—”

“Yeah, but you and Dylan don’t like each other—”

That muscle in his jaw ticked again. “Sure, we don’t like each other, but what? You think I’m going to lose my temper and bash his car in?”

Uh-oh. “No, I—”

He shook his head, and when he spoke again, his voice was softer. “You didn’t have to keep it a secret it was his car. I’m not eighteen anymore. I got more control than I used to.”

She felt like a heel. And a jerk. She wasn’t the same person she was at eighteen, so she shouldn’t have treated Cal like he was the hothead he’d been then. “Cal, I’m so sorry. I—”

He waved a hand. “Don’t worry about it, Sunshine.”

That name—it sent a spark right through her like a live wire. She hadn’t heard that nickname in so long, she’d almost forgotten about it, but her body sure hadn’t. It hadn’t forgotten the way Cal could use that one word to turn her into putty.

He seemed as surprised as she did. His eyes widened a fraction before he shut down. “Anyway”—his voice was lower now—“we close tomorrow at six. Appreciate it if you’d pick it up before that.” He jingled the keys and shot her one more measuring look, and then he disappeared into the garage office, leaving her standing outside the door, her mind broiling in confusion.

She should have known Cal Payton could still knock her off her feet.

Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

ARC Review: Falling Fast by Tina Wainscott


Falling Fast is a second chance romance and I have to say up front I normally don’t like second chance stories.  So you may assume going forward that I began this book with some bias. Ultimately, I don’t think that effected my rating as much as the actual story and the pace of the plot.

The premise of the book is that Mia and Raleigh had some epic romance when they were teenagers (another issue of which I am automatically skeptical).  Prior to the teen love, Mia had spent years battling cancer.  She meets Raleigh when the cancer is in remission and she is spending the summer with her grandmother.  The teen portion of the romance concludes in a car accident that leaves Mia…disfigured.  Mia leaves town and doesn’t return until 7 years later.  Raleigh has been agonizing over his role in the car accident but has never recovered from his feelings for Mia.

Ok, so the premise is interesting and kind of ok.  The problem is that….ok well there was more than one problem.  The first problem is that the story of Mia and Raleigh’s teen romance is related to us by the narrator but not via the actual events.  We are just told what happened.  So the readers don’t experience the intense connection Mia and Raleigh had, you just read a line that says “Mia and Raleigh had an intense connection.” I don’t know if that is an actual line in the book but you get my point.  The next issue is the conflict level in the book.  To keep a plot moving forward authors need major conflict and sub-conflicts that make turning the pages enjoyable.  There just wasn’t enough conflict in this book for that.  I thought the big issue was going to be whether Mia would forgive Raleigh for the role he played in her car accident but nope.  That issue is resolved pretty early on in the book so then there just isn’t much there.  I think the author was trying to develop conflict over the issue of Raleigh accepting Mia’s forgiveness and forgiving himself but it just didn’t work for me because it went on too long.

Let me throw in a couple of good notes, the characters in this book are well developed.  There is a lot of time spent on describing Mia and Raleigh and their present day connection.  Do NOT read this book if you are looking for sexual content, just don’t do that to yourself.  But if you like a lot of story, this might be ok for you.  The writing of this book is also pretty decent.  It can verge on being bit melodramatic because I just don’t know if a man of Raleigh’s description would say some of the things he says but it might work for you sappy readers out there.

If you are going to read this book you just need to be aware that the plot moves turtle slow.  Don’t read it if you’re sleepy or like, medicated because you might find yourself losing consciousness.  If you can hang in through the really slow parts there is some drama near the end of the book that gives it kind of an extra spark.  It came too late to really pull me back into the story but it is there.  In case you’re wondering Falling Fast is a standalone, you don’t need to read anything else before or after this one.  The story is told in third person dual POV.

P.S. The blurb about this book says that it is perfect for fans of Jasinda Wilder and Colleen Hoover.  I have no clue where that reference comes from.  I’ve read books by both of those authors and this book did not remind me of either of them.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |


ARC Review: Hard To Let Go by Laura Kaye

 

Hard To Let Go is the fourth book in Laura Kaye's Hard Ink series of standalones. This one centers on Beckett Murda and Katherine Rixey. While this one can be read as a standalone, I would highly recommend reading these in order as the story continues from one book to the next. It isn't necessary to read the previous books to understand this one, but it does increase the reader's enjoyment and this book builds upon what has previously happened. 

As Beckett Murda and the rest of his time start to get to the bottom of who their enemies are that took out half their team and ended their time in the Army, things begin to heat up when Nick's sister Katherine Rixey shows up. Beckett and Kat don't seem to be able to have a conversation without sparks flying, and yet they also find themselves drawn to one another. But when Kat volunteers herself to help the team and puts herself in danger, Beckett finds out that he doesn't like it and realizes that his feelings for her are more than he ever expected. But can Kat and Beckett put aside their differences and work together as well as stay out of danger long enough to figure out what is going on between them? 

I liked both Beckett and Kat. Beckett was always a man of few words and you could tell that there was so much more beneath the surface with him. Though we had seen him throughout the series, I felt like we really didn't know much about him at all. It was good to finally learn more about who he was, and I felt bad for him with everything that he had been through. I loved him with Kat, and I thought that she was exactly what he needed. Kat was feisty and I loved how strong she was. She was easy to like, and I was glad that she didn't let the boys get away with anything. She was smart and contributed a lot. But the best thing about Kat was how great she was with Beckett. She was supportive and caring, and these two had a great connection and chemistry.

I have really enjoyed this series, and I love how different each of the characters is. They work so great as a team and I love the camaraderie between them. Each character has their strengths and brings something different to the table, and I have really liked seeing how things progressed from the start of this series to the end. It is sad that this series is ending, but I have really enjoyed it and I can't wait to see what Laura Kaye comes up with next.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository | iTunes





Guest Post with Author Tina Wainscott and Giveaway

Meet Tina Wainscott author of Falling Fast.

USA Today bestselling author Tina Wainscott has always loved the combination of romance and suspense, because nothing complements falling in love better than being hunted down. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas, Wainscott creates characters with baggage, past hurts, and vulnerabilities. They go through hell, find love, and, at the end, find peace in who they are and everything they’ve gone through. And isn’t that what everyone wants?

Feature and Giveaway: Hard To Let Go by Laura Kaye


Beckett Murda hates to dwell on the past. But his investigation into the ambush that killed half his Special Forces team and ended his Army career gives him little choice. Just when his team learns how powerful their enemies are, hard-ass Beckett encounters his biggest complication yet—a seductive, feisty Katherine Rixey.

A tough, stubborn prosecutor, Kat visits her brothers’ Hard Ink Tattoo shop following a bad break-up—and finds herself staring down the barrel of a stranger’s gun. Beckett is hard-bodied and sexy as hell, but he’s also the most infuriating man ever. Worse, Kat’s brothers are at war with the criminals her office is investigating. When Kat joins the fight, she lands straight in Beckett’s sights . . . and in his arms. Not to mention their enemies’ crosshairs.

Now Beckett and Kat must set aside their differences to work together, because the only thing sweeter than justice is finding love and never letting go.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N | iTunes | Kobo |

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

ARC Review: How to Marry a Royal Highlander by Vanessa Kelly


How to Marry a Royal Highlander is the last book in the Renegade Royals series, and I just about cried when I found. I love this series it’s not the kind of series you have to read but with this one it’s always it is helpful if read the previous book at least. Jumping back in to Vanessa Kelly’s series was like wrapping yourself up in a nice blanket. The Whitney sisters are as different as night as day and supportive of each other no matter what that’s why I love them. In the last book it was Evie, now its Eden’s turn.

Eden Whitney created a scandal, and now all her so called friends and suitors shunned her, her only hope is an extended vacation until the gossip dies down. Alasdair Gilbride has dreaded going home but when Eden needs some place to rusticate he offers his home in Scotland. Eden and Alec were always sniping at each other never guessing that it was because they were too afraid to admit they loved each other. The journey north spending so much time together they slowly began to realize what their true feeling were, but when Alec drops the bomb that his Grandfather expects him to marry the woman of his choosing upon his return. Alec wants Eden’s help to persuade his intended to cry off the wedding.

Alec’s family is dead set on him marring, it was a deathbed promise and to highlanders that’s a big deal. Alec and Eden love each other deeply but whenever one of them decides what the best course of action is the other does something to change their mind. Alec’s intended doesn’t help at all she has been convinced since she was sixteen that this is what she should want and won’t cry off until Alec and Eden are caught in a compromising position. Despite finally being relieved of his duty and marring Eden someone in his family isn’t letting go quite as easily.

I loved the slow realization of Eden and Alec’s feeling. I also love Mrs. Whitney she comes off so horrible in the last book but you see a different side of her and she comes off more likable by the end of this book. Also joyous news this maybe the last Renegade Royals but it’s not over the next books are going to be about the illegitimate girls of the royal family. YAY!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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