Saturday, February 14, 2015

ARC Review: Beneath This Ink by Meghan March

Beneath This Ink is the second book in the Beneath Series by Meghan March, with each book being about a different couple. These books can be read as standalones, but I would definitely recommend reading them in order because they are so good and because you really get to see so much more of how these characters are all connected. I was really excited to get Con's story after I read the first book, and it was even better than I expected. I cannot wait for more in this series!

Con has always wanted Vanessa, but has also known that he wasn't good enough for her. She has always hated him and made it known except for the one night that they spent together a few years back. Unfortunately for Con, he doesn't remember any of it except for her leaving the following morning. So when Vanessa walks into Con's tattoo shop wanting something from him, he views it as his second chance and he will do whatever it takes to make sure he remembers everything this time.

I loved Con. In the first book we really didn't get to see much beyond the surface with him, but I knew he would have so much more to him. He was so caring with Charlie, and it was clear that he protects those that he lets in. He was so much more though, and I loved that what you saw with him was what you get. He was comfortable in his own skin and didn't make apologies for who he was. But he also didn't let many people see who he really was, and I enjoyed seeing that side of him. I thought that he fit so well with Vanessa, even though they were complete opposites on the surface. Vanessa was strong and smart, and exactly who Con needed. She challenged him and was able to put him in his place when he needed that, but she was also able to let go with him as well. These two were a great balance for one another, and the chemistry between them was intense. I loved seeing them learn more about each other and see that they had both always been drawn to one another even if they had never acknowledged it before.

Overall, this was a great installment in this series. I liked Con and Vanessa a lot and it was great to see some familiar faces as well. I have to say that I honestly can't wait to get more of these characters in the series. I wasn't so sure about Lucas at first, but towards the end of this book he won me over. I am really curious to see what more there is to him. Same goes for Lord. He intrigued me from the start, but after finding out who he was at the end made me really want his story now! I just know he is going to have a lot about him that will make for an interesting read. I highly recommend this series, and I love these books. They are so easy to get lost in and I find myself just getting lost in these stories. I definitely will be looking for more from Meghan March in the future, and I can't wait to see which character gets their story told next!

**ARC Provided by RockStarLit PR**

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Sealed With a Kiss Event with Jess Michaels

Jess Michaels writes erotic historical romance set in the Regency period. She lives in Tucson, AZ where she hangs out with her awesome husband and does geeky things in the desert.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Obligation by Aurora Rose Reynolds

Obligation is the second book in ARR’s “Underground Kings” series and I would venture to say that this is Reynolds at her best. “Reynolds at her best” means a dominant alpha male, insta love, beautiful heroine with a little bit of a bite and a reasonably entertaining story. It’s got everything most of the ARR faithful love about Reynolds’ writing and omits some of the issues that made me wish I had a V8 instead of reading Assumption (the first book in the “Underground Kings” series).

ARR is good at building mystery and suspense into her stories and Obligation is no exception. Obligation is the story of Myla and Kai. Myla and Kai meet at a young age, there’s instant…well something, and years later when Myla is in trouble, Kai sweeps in and marries her to keep her safe. I don’t think I’m spoiling anything if I tell you that the “fake” marriage quickly turns into a real…something. Honestly, I’m not at all clear on why Kai needed to marry Myla to protect her. I promise I read the whole book and I still don’t get the marriage thing but I do not care. I love Myla and Kai together and if he needed to turn into a leprechaun and grant her three wishes so this story could happen, that would be fine with me.

Myla is the kind of heroine that you can root for or at least not hate. Myla is depicted as being reasonably intelligent and emotionally stable. She comes to rely on Kai and need him without being needy or weak. Kai is our favorite flavor of alpha male. He is brooding, possessive and focused on Myla (of course he is also well endowed because who wants an alpha male with an average package? Right, nobody.). Kai and Myla experience the typical sort of conflict that arises when you have male heroes who think communication consists of nothing more than telling people what to do. There is also conflict external to the relationship surrounding the mystery of why Myla is in danger that keeps the story moving forward. The sex scenes are steamy and will satisfy your craving for stuff that everyone would need a lot of rest and vitamins to accomplish on a daily basis.

My criticisms of this book are that first, ARR needs to immediately discontinue referring to her characters eyes and faces as “going soft.” Language diversity is what makes writing interesting. Nobody wants to read your one pet phrase 60 times in a book that’s less than 300 pages. Second, everything was kind of murky. Like, I don’t really know know what Kai did or how he was involved in it or how he had the capacity to be a stone cold killer. There is similarly almost no information on Myla’s life pre-Kai. For example, there are no references to Myla having contact with a single friend after she is with Kai. Maybe she didn’t have any friends, I don’t know because it isn’t clear. Last, I don’t understand the “resolution” of the main conflict in the story. I think the end of the main conflict was left open to make room for the next installment in the series. Again, it’s just not clear and so it could feel a little anticlimactic.

If I had to sum up this reading experience I would say that this is a light weight, entertaining read with an enjoyable romance. It’s got enough action and suspense to add a little flavor to the romance but not enough depth that you’ll be able to mentally distinguish it from several other books after a couple of months. I certainly recommend reading it especially for those of you who are already in the ARR fan club.

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ARC Review: Be Mine Forever by Kennedy Ryan

Be Mine Forever is the third Bennetts book by Kennedy Ryan, and I was a little apprehensive going into this story. While I was really curious about Jo and Cam, I have to say that I have had moments where I didn't really care for either of them. That was especially true for Cam. While I had felt for him and everything he had been through, I also hated his actions at times. I have to say though that this book was better than I had hoped for, and Cam definitely redeemed himself. While this book probably could be read as a standalone, I would recommend starting at the beginning of this series. I really think that the first two books add so much more to the understanding of the characters and you really get to see more of their history that makes them who they are.

Jo Walsh has loved Cameron Mitchell for most of her life. She has loved him through him pushing her away for years and even through him marrying someone else. After his marriage fell apart and he suffered a horrible loss, Cameron left town in order to find himself again and that meant cutting ties with those that he was closest to. He has turned his life around and has been pursuing a career in the art he has always been passionate about. When he returns home, he knows that he will have to confront Jo. Cameron has always pushed her away, believing that she deserved someone better than him. But when he pushes her away yet again, Jo decides that it is finally time to give up and actually move on. If Cameron wants to be with her then he will have to prove to her that he is willing to go all in. But Cam isn't ready to fully let her in and share the past that he has always hidden from her, and that could be the one thing that makes her run from him.

Cam had so much ground to make up for in this book, and I was so glad that he did. He was better than I was expecting, and it was good to see him not being a complete jerk. He had a horrible childhood and then had suffered a horrible betrayal by those he was closest to. But it was so good to see him finally start to move forward and heal with the help of Jo and those around him. He was always meant to be with Jo, and I was happy that he finally stopped getting in his own way. He deserved to be happy and he was the best thing for Jo because of their history and how much he cared about her. He would do anything for her, and it was clear just how deep his feelings went. Jo had always been sort of an ice queen to me in the first two books. We finally started to see her thaw a bit though, and I couldn't wait to finally get more of her as well. She really opened herself up in this book and I felt like for the first time we really got to see just how vulnerable she was. Jo was proof that even the most well maintained facade can be hiding so much underneath it. She had loved Cam forever, and she would have stood by his side through anything. She was one of the strongest heroines I have ever seen, and I admired her for always knowing her feelings and not being afraid to repeatedly put herself out there. She never gave up on Cam, and it was so good to see that finally pay off for her. Cam and Jo had so much history, but it was great to see the chemistry and passion between them this time around. They also were surprisingly fun and playful, and I really enjoyed seeing that side of them too.

Overall, this was a great book. Jo and Cam were truly meant to be together, and it really showed. I was excited to see how things would play out for them, and Kennedy Ryan definitely didn't disappoint. These two were so complicated, and yet when they stopped fighting everything and just let things happen between them it could not have been more simple and natural. Jo and Cam were some of my absolute favorites this time around, and I know that their story will be one that I read again in the future. I loved getting to see familiar faces again as well, and couldn't have enjoyed this series more. I highly recommend this series, and I think that it really has something for everyone. I look forward to more from Kennedy Ryan in the future, and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

**ARC Provided by Forever (Grand Central Publishing)**

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ARC Review: Rise by Karina Bliss

Rise is the first book that I have ever read by Karina Bliss, but I wanted to give this one a shot since I am such a sucker for rockstar romance stories. For me, while this story was good, the book just didn't work for me. I know that is kind of confusing to say, but I will do my best to explain. I think that a lot of people will like this book, as I said the story was a good one. But my problems were more about the style it was written in, and that is a personal preference.

Bad-boy rockstar Zander Freedman needs someone to write his memoir. He has already fired two writers and needs to get his story out there. He wants Elizabeth Winston to be the one to do it. Elizabeth is used to writing historical biographies though and prefers her subjects to be long gone. She spends years researching and writing her books, and isn't interested in rushing a biography on a rockstar just because he wants her to. After the two come to an agreement though, Elizabeth begins to see that there is more to Zander than meets the eye. As the two of them spend more time together, they begin to grow closer and find themselves drawn to one another.

I liked both Elizabeth and Zander, but I honestly felt like I never connected with them. For some reason I just never really felt like I was truly invested in their story. Zander had so much more beneath his surface, and I liked that Elizabeth was able to reveal more as she began to dig deeper for the book. The more she learned and fell for Zander, the more I liked him as well. Elizabeth was smart and dedicated to her work, I really loved her integrity. She didn't want to just put something out there with her name on it if it wasn't the right story, and I really admired that about her. Zander was more than a handful, and Elizabeth was the right person to be able to deal with it. I liked that she challenged him, and I thought that they were good for one another.

I will say that this story was really slow for me and that was a really big reason that this story wasn't for me. I found myself bored easily and kept wanting to walk away. This is unlike any rockstar story I have read before, and I just thought it was unfair to really label it as a rockstar romance because of that. It didn't feel like a rockstar romance, but more as a romance that just so happened to have a hero that was a rockstar if that makes sense. I also found it hard to get behind the writing style of the author, and it just didn't gel with me. It wasn't bad, but I just didn't care for it. Part of that was that the author uses a lot of terms and phrases that didn't make a lot of sense to me seeing as how she is from New Zealand. Most I was able to figure out by context clues, but it was a bit disorienting while reading to have to try and decipher what they were talking about. It made me lose interest in the story, and any connection I had been feeling would be severed. I will say that while this book just wasn't for me, I do think that others will like it. If you are looking for your typical rockstar romance, I probably wouldn't recommend this one. But if you are looking for something deeper and different, you might try giving this one a chance. It wasn't a bad story, it just wasn't for me.

**ARC Provided by AToMR Promotions**

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Sealed With a Kiss Event with Theresa Romain

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Review: Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens by Melanie Karsak

I became a fan of Melanie Karsak's writing when I read about Lily Stagazer in her Airship Racing Chronicles. Therefore I knew I would probably enjoy Lady Macbeth. It has elements of historical and paranormal romance, both of which I love to read, plus it is by a favorite author.

Enjoy it I did! Book 1 in a planned series of 3, Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens tells a very dark, compelling tale about Gruoch, the future wife of Macbeth, king of Scotland. History, literature, stage, and screen have depicted Lady Macbeth as ruthlessly ambitious and possibly insane. In Lady Macbeth, I read about a young woman, struggling to claim some control over her own path in life.

Gruoch is the daughter of a nobleman, so her place in life is determined by those in power. On the day she was born, her father marked her for the gods to use to someday destroy his enemies. In her teens, she waits for King Malcom to determine her husband.

Before others have a chance to enforce their will on her life, Gruoch becomes a sister, one of nine, in a coven, learning the mysteries of the old ways and of the Goddess Cerridwen, who's name she assumes. She learns of magic. She learns of her past life. She finds there are so many more mysteries in life that she can pursue. It is a life that is far removed from what King Malcom would have her live. And as Cerridwen, she finds her soul mate.

But in a great story, nothing good last forever. Cerridwen finds her control over her own life's direction is soon circumvented.

I relished seeing Cerridwen (for this is the name I now call her) grow in her belief and her abilities as a person of magic. Whether you call her witch, wizard, or enchantress, it does not matter. Cerridwen quickly matures into a woman of both ability and wisdom. Thought she still has much to learn, I found I was intrigued with her development - both as a person I would like to know and as a character I want to read about.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the Wyrd sisters. Yes, they are included in this story, as they are included in Shakespeare's play. Lady Macbeth describes a history of this Celtic Trinity, that I had not read about before. Fascinating, I hope to see more of them in Ms. Karsak's books.

Another engaging character is Sid. She is one of Cerridwen's sisters in the coven. Sid is amazingly connected with all things mysterious and unexplained. She has such a joyous and peaceful bearing that you can't help but want to listen to every word she says. Sid is a character that needs a HEA in this series - if you ask me.

Lady Macbeth, is pretty much driven by the character of Cerridwen. Luckily she is a complex and mysterious young women. And there is quite a tale to tell. If one is familiar with history or with Shakespeare's Macbeth, you know there is much more to come. I doubt it will play out anything like I might imagine. But I can't wait to find out! Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens is the first book of three in the planned series.

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ARC Review: The Reclamation by Lauren Rowe

I really loved The Club and was left wanting more, so I couldn't wait to start The Reclamation. I honestly cannot say enough how much I am loving this series by Lauren Rowe. Be aware though that these are not standalone novels, and absolutely need to be read in order. If you haven't read The Club yet, you should stop reading in order to avoid possible spoilers. Also, if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend that you check it out because it's fantastic!

The Reclamation picks up right after where The Club left off with Jonas and Sarah returning home to find that her apartment has been trashed as well as her friend Kat's. They know that The Club is behind it now that Sarah and Jonas have figured out the truth. Jonas and Sarah are determined to do whatever it takes to be together, but The Club will do anything to make sure that the truth doesn't get out. Can Sarah and Jonas make it out safe and together, or will the danger be more than they can survive?

I loved Jonas and Sarah in the first book, but after reading this one I love them even more. We got to know them both better in this book, and we really learned a lot more about Jonas and his past. Things have become much more clear as far as his actions and responses go. I wanted him to open up to Sarah more, but it was clear that he is trying. Sarah has been able to help him begin the healing process, and she couldn't be more perfect for him. These two are so connected on every level, and I really liked seeing them continue to strengthen their relationship. They are both dealing with new territory here and they both have issues and insecurities. But they also are learning more about each other and I was really glad that they didn't try to fight their feelings or run away from one another. These two were just as hot together as the first time around, but they also had so much more love and emotion between them.

Overall, this was a great second installment. I loved seeing more of these two as well as Kat and Josh. I love that the banter between Jonas and Sarah continued, and I really feel like these two challenge each other in the best way but yet they also know when the other needs support and encouragement. The love between them is clear, and I like that they are able to show it to one another without having to verbalize it. Music has been such a part of their relationship from the beginning and throughout their story I love finding out which song they will use to express themselves next. This series is well written and different, and I absolutely cannot wait to see what Lauren Rowe has in store for them next. I will warn you that there is a huge cliffhanger at the end of this book, but worry not because the third and final book in this series is already out.

**ARC Provided by Truly Schmexy PR**

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Sealed With a Kiss Event with Vicky Dreiling

Triple RITA finalist Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.” Vicky is a native Texan and holds degrees in English literature and marketing.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ARC Review: Jax by Jennifer Foor

I couldn't wait to read Jax as soon as I finished Jake by Jennifer Foor. Jax is the fifth book in the Mitchell/Healy Family Series, and it can be read as a standalone. I haven't read more in this series besides Jake, and I had no problems understanding these two books. While it isn't necessary, I would highly suggest reading Jake before reading Jax. These two books are best read together since the boys are twins and much of what happens in Jake's book really affects what happens for Jax. I think that the reader will get a lot more enjoyment and understanding by reading Jake first and then Jax.

Jax picks up where Jake left off, with Jax leaving town after his brother and Reese's betrayal. He has been in Kentucky staying with family for a month, and Jake sets out to bring his brother home. Jax isn't having any of it though and is determined to run Jake off. When Jake and Jax go out with family one night, Jax ends up meeting someone he never expected. Not only does he feel a connection to her unlike he has ever felt before, but he is finally able to keep Reese and Jake off his mind for a change. With her help, Jax begins to see that he was never meant to be with Reese and that it is time to move on from the past and repair his relationship with his brother.

I really liked getting to know Jax better. I felt like he was sort of made out to be someone else in Jake's book in order to kind of justify Jake and Reese's actions. So it was good to finally see beneath his surface. He was fun and playful and I really loved seeing him happy again. He really deserved to find his match, and she could not have been more perfect for him. I didn't expect his love interest to be who it was, but I have to say that I had wondered if it might be her after reading the first book. She was exactly what he needed and he was the same for her. I don't want to spoil anything, but this girl was such a great heroine and I liked her from the start. She was smart and strong, and had been through so much. I loved how she was with Jax, and these two had smoking hot chemistry.

I will say that I did not like Reese in this book at all. I felt like she was acting like a scorned and jealous lover, when it was her that had betrayed Jax. I didn't understand her bitchiness at all, and I honestly didn't like it one bit. I had always liked her throughout Jake's book even though her actions were not ones that I agreed with. But I felt like everything good about her had been destroyed in this book and I didn't understand the shift at all. Jake deserved way better, and if I was him I would have been super pissed about the way she was acting. I was glad that Jax got his happy ending though, and I thought that he found the exact person he was meant for. Their relationship was unique and fun, and I enjoyed seeing them heal each other and fall in love. I highly recommend this book and I can't wait to read more from this series and Jennifer Foor.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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Sealed With a Kiss Event with Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries (When the Rogue Returns) is the NYT bestselling author of 37 novels. With over 7 million books in print, the North Carolina author never regrets leaving her budding career in academics for the joy of writing fun fiction.

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ARC Review: Jake by Jennifer Foor

After recently reading and enjoying my first book from Jennifer Foor, I jumped at the chance to read more from her. I loved that she was releasing both Jake and Jax at the same time and that we would get to see what happened to the twins back to back. Although I had not read any of the previous books in the series before this book, I had no problem getting into this book or enjoying it. I will say that I probably would have had a better understanding of the history between all the secondary characters and the rest of the family, but it wasn't necessary for this story. I can't wait to go back to the beginning though and read the rest of the books to learn more about everyone in the Mitchell/Healy family world!

Jake Mitchell has always been close to his twin and best friend Jax Mitchell. The two of them have been inseparable and have always done everything together, even though they are very different from one another. But when they meet Reese Miller, things between them begin to change. Though Reese is more of Jake's type, she ends up with Jax. Jake and Reese form a fast friendship though because of the classes they share and her new relationship with Jax. But the closer they grown, the more Jake begins to realize that friendship with Reese will never be enough and he could never hurt his brother that way. When Jake begins to try to distance himself and push Reese away, both Jax and Reese begin to wonder what happened. But it isn't until Jake and Reese find themselves stranded in a cabin alone during a storm that the truth finally comes out. After all is revealed Jake and Reese quickly realize that things between them have changed, and it could ruin not only Reese and Jax's relationship, but the bond between the brothers as well.

I really loved Jake. He was interested in Reese from the start, and yet he fought so hard to stay away from her. He did everything that he could think of to put space between them, and push her away. But he never wanted to hurt Reese or Jax. He was an absolute perfect fit for Reese though, and they connected on every level. He was sweet and kind, and the exact opposite of Jax. Reese was harder for me to fully understand. I could see how she didn't pick up on Jake's feelings at first, and if I were in her shoes I would have probably thought that Jake hated me too. But I didn't understand why she would have stayed with Jax so long knowing that she had been into Jake from the start. I understand that after awhile she grew to care about Jax, but why didn't she do anything to begin with? Jake didn't because of his brother, but Reese's actions didn't make sense. The connection between Reese and Jake was clear from the start, and they had so much more chemistry than I ever saw between Reese and Jax.

While I don't support cheating, it isn't exactly a no go for me with books. But this book was sort of hard to take because of that and how much a part of this story it was. They were in a really tough situation, but I felt like things were handled wrong more than once. I wish that these two would have been more honest with Jax when they first discovered their feelings, and I felt like some of that was drawn out more than it needed to be. Reese had a tendency to flip back and forth, and I was ready for them to finally just be honest with everyone including themselves. I know they wanted to wait for a good time, but honestly there is never a good time for that and I think it would have been better for them to have told Jax themselves than the way it came out. I also wanted to feel badly for Jax, and I did to a certain extent. Don't get me wrong, he had definitely been betrayed by the two people closest to him. But I felt like the author went a bit out of her way towards the middle to end of this book to sort of make Jax out to be the bad guy. I understand she wanted the hero and heroine to be likable despite their actions and to sort of justify their betrayal. But I sort of felt like Jax was all of a sudden made out to be sort of a jerk and it didn't feel exactly true to his character. If he had been like that the whole time they were together, I don't see how Reese would have still been with him to begin with. Despite those issues though, I really liked Jake and Reese together and I felt like they were meant to be. Their love was something they fought and didn't expect, and yet it was undeniable. They never meant to hurt anyone, but you don't get to control who you fall in love with and that was definitely the case here. Jake is left with a cliffhanger and I am excited to see how the story continues in Jax. I really hope that Jake and Jax can find a way to repair their relationship and both wind up happy and with who they are supposed to be with.

**ARC Provided by Inkslinger PR**

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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Review: MILF: Wrong Kind of Love by Erin Noelle

I was immediately intrigued with this book when I saw the sexy cover, and I honestly knew I had to read it. MILF by Erin Noelle was even better than I ever expected though, and I really loved the story! I was a little worried because the heroine is so much older than the hero, and that usually just isn't my thing. But with Grayson and Mia, it really worked. These two were sexy and sweet, and I loved seeing them explore the passion between them.

After her husband of twenty years leaves her for her son's best friend's mother, Mia decides it is time to start living her life for her. She joins a gym, starts painting again and finds herself wanting to be more adventurous. But when Mia's son's best friend Grayson suddenly needs a place to stay, she immediately offers for him to live with her and her son Adam. Back from a year abroad in Spain, Grayson is no longer the young boy she remembers, but he is now a full grown man. The more that Mia and Gray start to get to one another again, the more they can't help the attraction between them. Both of them know that things between them should be wrong, and yet nothing has ever felt so right to either of them. When they agree to see where things go, they quickly realize that what they share goes beyond just sex though and soon they are beginning to wonder how they can turn their relationship into more. Can they turn their relationship into forever, or will there be too many obstacles for them to overcome?

I liked both Grayson and Mia a lot. Grayson I had a few issues with as he was first discovering his interest in Mia. I didn't like that he was with Jess and that he stayed with another girl on the camping trip, even though he and Mia weren't exclusive at the time. I just wish that he would have thought less of others and been more into Mia, but it didn't bother me enough to make me dislike him. But the more he fell for Mia, the more we got to see him grow up and become the man I hoped he would be. He was driven and smart, and he was also sexy and sweet. He was caring and protective and I loved seeing his alpha side with Mia. Mia was the one I was a bit worried about going into this book if i'm honest. I usually don't enjoy the whole cougar thing, but she wasn't like that at all! She was funny and flirty, and really discovering herself for the first time. This wasn't a coming of age book, but it had that feel. Because Mia was really finding out that she could still put her son as a top priority while also taking care of herself and finding her own happiness. I loved seeing her with Gray because he really brought her to life. These two were sexy and could really generate some steam, but they also had fun together and were able to make each other happy doing even the small things together. 

Overall, I really loved this book. I will say that the taboo nature of this one was what really drew me in, and I had worried that it would just be a bunch of sex scenes with very little story. But that absolutely wasn't the case here. It was a great story with some really great sexy times, but it was Mia and Grayson's love and relationship that made this book one that was worth reading. I will definitely be reading this again, and I know that I will also be looking for more from Erin Noelle in the future. If you are on the fence about this one, I really recommend giving it a shot. It is so much more than the title implies, and I really think that Mia's journey and her relationship with Gray is one that shows that it's never too late in life to find love and happiness.

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