Saturday, August 1, 2015

ARC Review: Just One Lie by Kyra Davis

There are two things that I personally hate in a book: excessive angst and love triangles. This book had BOTH of those things and that is a personal problem for me. So I had to decide what to do with my rating of this book. There are a lot of people who enjoy both angst and triangles so I don’t want to punish the author for doing a rather outstanding job writing a book about things that give me a migrane. I’m going with 3 stars because this book was good-really good, and includes some really poignant writing and character moments. I think, even despite the ick factor for me I would have given this book at least 4 stars if the beginning had not been so slow and the end so quick. There was something about the character introspection and their interactions that just didn’t do it for me at the beginning of the book. It took a while to get into where the book was going and by that time it went to the bad place (for me).

I highly recommend this book for those of you who really enjoy an agonizing emotional journey because boy was this ever one of those books. This book is about Mercy and even though there is definitely a romance, it’s Mercy’s story that is being told in this book. And it is some story. Mercy has had some seriously messed up things occur in her life courtesy of parents that never should have been allowed to be parents. Mercy’s actions and reactions to the events of her life are tragic but understandable, she has been a drug abuser and was promiscuous as a way of punishing herself for the sins of others. When Just One Lie starts out, Mercy is really starting out. It’s the beginning of a new millennium and it’s the beginning of Mercy (who was previously Melody). There were times during Mercy’s story that I wondered if she was going to make the healthy choice for her life, there were other times when I was frustrated because she did not make the right choice but through everything, Mercy was one of the stronger heroines I’ve had the pleasure to read about.

So what about the romance? There were two romantic interest in this book, Ash the badboy and Brad who is 100% certified book boyfriend material. Although I was rooting for one more than the other based on my perception of each man’s impact on Mercy, they were both important to the story. Again, I hate love triangles but I did think the author used the triangle in a way that moved the story forward and illuminated Mercy’s strength and growth. Through Mercy’s interaction with both Brad and Ash, we get a better look at who she is and how she is coping with discovering herself. Her choice in the end reflects her progress and her fortitude.

I have to say again, I don’t know if my rating for this book is an accurate reflection of the book. I personally found it to be a little heavy at times. I could almost feel myself drowning in the depth of the angst BUT it wasn’t pointless filler. This was a heartfelt story that you simply can’t forget and if angst and triangles don’t bother you, this should be on your MUST read list.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

I could not wait to get my hands on Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. When I first heard about this book I immediately emailed my friend and told her how excited I was, and from that point until I got a copy I pretty much stalked these two online for any possible news. I have to say that this book was everything and more when it came to my expectations and excitement, and I honestly could not put it down. This is hands down one of the best collaborations I have ever read and I hope that this is just the first of many for these two brilliant authors. 

As the Frozen Four approaches both Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley want nothing more than to see their teams come out as the winner. They were once best friends, but one night and one bet changed everything between them. Now four years later and set to possibly face each other in the rink, they both begin to think about the past and the friendship they once shared. But Ryan knows what happened all those years ago, and has kept his distance ever since. He knew that his crush on Jamie was one way and that Jamie was straight. But when they are once again spending time together, the connection between them comes right back and soon things begin to get complicated. Ryan will do whatever it takes for a little more time with Jamie, even knowing that it will be torture. So when he shows up to coach alongside Jamie for the summer and Jamie starts showing some interest in him, will he find that maybe his feelings weren't so one-sided after all? 

I absolutely loved these characters! Jamie and Ryan (Wes) were so unique and different, and I have never read anything similar to these two. They had such a strong friendship and connection as well as chemistry from the very first page, even with years spent apart. These two were so much fun to read about, and I could not get enough of them together. Wes was the wild and outgoing one, he was always getting himself in trouble and the one that instigated everything. Jamie was more quiet and reserved, the one who was a natural leader and a great coach to the kids at the camp. But when these two were together, they really balanced one another out and took on some similar qualities and I found that so interesting. Seeing Wes with the kids and showing them that you could have fun and still be a good player and teammate was something I really enjoyed. I also loved seeing Jamie become more vocal and take some initiative when it came to being with Wes, since that seemed completely out of character for him. These two were smoking hot together, and might have been some of the hottest characters I have ever seen.

Honestly, once I started this book I never wanted it to end. It was everything I look for in a good story, and had me experiencing all the feels. These guys were cute and sexy, and laugh out loud funny. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy did a great job with these guys and with showing up both of their POVs. I really thought that was what made this book so great, as it really allowed the reader to get a peek at what they were both going through. I honestly can't say enough good things about this book, and if you are a fan of the male/male genre this is definitely one that shouldn't be missed. If you are new to the genre, I highly suggest still giving this one a chance though. It was well written and a great story, and one of my favorite books I have read this year.

**ARC Provided by Authors**

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Interview with Author Kyra Davis and Giveaway

Meet Kyra Davis author of Just One Lie.

Kyra Davis is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Just One Night, Pure Sin and Sophie Katz series as well as So Much For My Happy Ending. Just One Night has been optioned for television by Anonymous, (the producers of True Detective)

Before publishing her first book, Sex, Murder And A Double Latte in 2005 Kyra supported herself and her son as a marketing manager for a sports club and before that was a department manager at Nordstrom’s Savvy department. She studied at The Fashion Institute Of Design and Merchandising and Golden Gate University.

Kyra now lives with her husband (director and screenwriter, Rod Lurie), her teenage son (proud science-geek and Hawaiian-Shirt-aficionado), dog (champion eater and guardian of the backyard…no squirrel will dare set foot in it) and gecko (the gecko doesn’t do much).

Feature and Giveaway: Lady Emily's Exotic Journey by Lillian Marek

From sensible, sheltered girl

Safe in the embrace of her loving family, Lady Emily Tremaine longs to feel more intensely alive. Surely the magic and mystery of Assyria and the fabled ruins of Nineveh will bring about the transformation she seeks.

To the woman his heart desires

Scarred by his past and estranged from his noble grandfather, French adventurer Lucien Chambertin desires neither a home nor the chains of emotional attachment. He seeks only to explore the far reaches of the world. But he did not know the world contained the likes of Lady Emily—whose curiosity and sense of wonder match his own.

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Friday, July 31, 2015

Review: Dreamer's Daughter by Lynn Kurland

I was extremely disappointed in this book. At the end of River of Dreams, I had the feeling like the action was about to begin and I was pumped for it. What ended up happening was a whole lot of the slow, sameness from the previous two books.

Aisling and Runach have decided to get married. So the love story really doesn’t progress from the end of the previous book. This book really focuses on getting into Bruadair and finding answers to their questions of Aisling’s past. They travel from place to place, talking to people who don’t usually give straight answers and reading in libraries. Aisling’s mood changes at the tip of a hat from terrified to determined constantly.

The villain that Kurland builds up throughout the entire trilogy had such a weird turn at the end. I felt supper choppy and it was not well done. AIsling’s magic still leaves me mystified. I really don’t like that its oddities were never explained, nor its root existence.

I’m sad to say that there really isn’t more for me to say. Not a whole lot really happened here. I am absolutely shocked because normally I really love Lynn Kurland’s work. I know she could have done much better. It is also sad for me to say that because of this ending, I would not recommend this series. Hopefully, Kurland will turn around from this.

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ARC Review: Exposing Justice by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano

Exposing Justice is a part of a series but each part of the series is a standalone that focuses on members of the Justice Team. When the book begins, Brice/Hawk, the Hero in the story is not quite a member of the Justice Team but as the book progresses he gets sucked in. Just in case you're like me and you started the series here, from what I can glean, the Justice Team is a group of men who investigate high level conspiracies and crimes. The issues in which the Justice Team involves itself are those that our elected officials pass on because they tend to be a direct or indirect part of the wrongdoing. And now you're up to speed.

Hope is the female lead in this story. She works in the office of public information for the US Supreme Court and receives a call from Brice about what could be a conspiracy to murder the Chief Justice of the High Court. As the story progresses, Hope goes from trying to prevent Brice from running a story about the alleged conspiracy on his investigative blog to being wild attracted to Brice and his partner in hunting for the truth of what happened to the Justice.

I was intrigued by the set up for this story. The opening scene is gripping and pulls you right in. At the beginning it feels like this is going to be a high level conspiracy theory type of read. But as the book goes on, the story loses steam instead of gaining steam. The suspense drags a bit because there aren't enough revelations close enough in time. At some points it feels like the suspense side of things is just a throw in to provide context for the relationship between Hope and Brice....Which brings me to my next point.

I didn't feel the chemistry between Hope and Brice. I got that Brice wanted Hope because she was hot but I didn't get a sense of what drew him to her beyond that. In fact, Brice seemed totally cynical about Hope's entire optimistic outlook on life. Now maybe he was cynical and yet drawn to it because he needed some "hope" in his life (see what I did there?). I dunno if that's true or not, it wasn't clearly depicted in the story line.

And then there was Hope, I jusssst didn't like her. She is supposed to be smart but she does some stupid stuff. For example, the whole bridge investigation in the middle of the night. I was just staring at my Kindle going 'but why though?' And then I know this is petty but Hope's semi narcolepsy and consequent snoring was just not doing anything positive for me. Finally, Hope kept saying stuff that annoyed the sh!t out of me like "wowser." And she also referred to her attraction to Brice as her inner Hormona. Get it, like hormones...I HATED that. And that's all I have to say about that.

Also sex, there wasn't enough and it took too long to get there.

One side note: I didn't get why Toni Gerard was thrown into the investigation plot. I thought he stole some scenes that should have been just Hope and Brice.

So at the end of the day, this was a well written book that had a good premise and a strong beginning but didn't carry the day in terms of romance or suspense. I've read reviews that suggest the other books in this series are good and that this may not be the strongest representation of the series. I believe that. These authors are good enough that I would give them another chance.

**ARC provided by Authors**

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Feature and Giveaway: Exposing Justice by Misty Evans & Adrienne Giordano

Fans of the Justice Team Series will love this action-packed third installment!

As a Public Information officer for the US Supreme Court, idealist Hope Denby knows how to spin a story. A journalist at heart, she loves being in the middle of a juicy scoop and has her sights set on future Press Secretary for the White House. When the Supreme Court Chief Justice is accidentally killed in a road rage accident, and a high-profile conspiracy blogger claims it was premeditated murder, Hope has to shut down the paranoid blogger—which should be a slam dunk until she discovers he’s not as crazy as she thought and she has more in common with the secretive, hard-hitting investigator then she’d like to admit.

Cyber resistance against government corruption isn’t just a theory for Brice Brennan on his blog, The First Amendment Patriot. As a former ATF agent who blew the whistle on his superiors, he’s no stranger to government cover-ups and scandals. An anonymous tip on the Chief Justice’s death sends him searching for answers. What he finds is a sexy, young idealist about to blow his private, behind-the-scenes world to pieces.

Brice and Hope couldn’t be more opposite, but exposing justice makes them partners—and puts them on the track of a ruthless killer. As their investigation takes them into the dark underbelly of Washington politics and murder-for-hire, it also takes them into the bedroom where passion erupts and emotional walls crumble. But when the killer makes an attempt on Hope’s life, will Brice be able to keep her safe? Or will blowing the whistle on corruption and greed mean losing the one person he’s allowed himself to love?

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Review: Cowboys Never Fold by Lexi Post

I was given a copy of Cowboys Never Fold by Lexi Post as part of the judging process for the National Excellence of Romance Fiction Award contest for the Erotica Category. This book was my first by Lexi Post, and I was looking forward to reading about some sexy cowboys. I have to say though that this wasn't what I was expecting at all, and I wouldn't actually classify this as an Erotic read at all. If I was going to pick a genre for this it would be Contemporary or Western with a few sexy scenes thrown in. 

When former professional poker player Kendra Lowe decides to open a new nudist resort, the problems seem to come one after the other. Kendra will do whatever it takes to make her dream happen though with the help of her group of misfit employees. When her fourth stable manager shows up, Kendra is only concerned with if he can get the job done in enough time to make the opening. But Kendra finds herself drawn to Wade Johnson though she knows that it's best for her to ignore the distraction that he is. But when a series of unfortunate events begin and threaten the resort, Kendra and Wade will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of who is behind it. But can they also figure out what is going on between them and find a way to make it work, or will whoever is behind the events find a way to keep Wade and Kendra apart as well?

I had a very tough time connecting with these characters. It wasn't that they were unlikable or that there was anything wrong with them, but I just didn't ever feel invested in their story. I didn't really care what would happen to them, and I just couldn't relate to them. As much as I wanted to like Kendra and Wade, there didn't seem to be much depth to either of them and I just didn't understand them. They did have their hot moments together which I enjoyed, but otherwise I just didn't really feel anything for them as individuals or a couple. 

I also felt like there was so much going on here with all the different characters, and the focus was more on the resort and the issues surrounding it. I think that is part of what made it hard to ever really get behind Wade and Kendra as a couple. I felt like the focus wasn't on them, so I didn't really care what happened to them. Because of everything going on, my mind would wander and I found myself bored and losing interest. I wanted to skim just to find out what would happen in the end, rather than actually enjoying the entire story. For me this wasn't what I had thought it was going to be going in, and with everything going on, the characters and the few sexy scenes this one just didn't work for me. Unfortunately this one was a miss, but if you are looking for a western with a group of misfits and a side of romance this one might be one you want to check out.

**Review Copy Provided by NERFA**

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Thursday, July 30, 2015

ARC Review: All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue by Sophie Jordan

All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue - Sophie Jordan
I’ve been waiting for “All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue” by Sophie Jordan since I read “A Good Debutante’s Guide to Ruin” which is the first in the “Debutante” series. I really enjoyed that book and I was instantly hooked on Lady Aurelia and on Max, Viscount Camden. I could not wait for their story. Sometimes anticipating a story is not the greatest because it can lead to disappointment but I’m glad to say that “All the Ways to Ruin a Rogue” was fantastic. I was completely engrossed in the story and loved reading Lady Aurelie and Max’s story.

Although this is part of a series it can easily be read as a standalone. I read the previous book in the story so I knew about the every present feud between Max and Aurelie, however anyone that has not read the previous book won’t have any issues (although I really enjoyed that story too).

Jordan starts off when Lady Aurelie was fifteen and she falls in love with Max. She also explains clearly how their friendship broke apart. Since that fateful day when Lady Aurelie’s heart was broken her and Max became enemies and spent their time together arguing. This causes some friction in their lives because Max is Lady Aurelie brother’s best friend and is considered part of their family. When Max and Lady Aurelie meet up at a dinner party they continue to bicker but things quickly change for Lady Aurelie when her brother, Will, and his wife (Violet) announce that they will be having a baby. Although Aurelie never worried about marrying before she realizes that she will either have to marry or move to Scotland with her aunt and mom, neither option is appealing to her. She realizes she can no longer continue to live with her brother and his wife.

Max immediately notices the change in Lady Aurelie’s attitude and he is not happy that she is looking for a husband, but he doesn’t want to fill the position. Max knows Aurelie and he knows her very well. He knows what she really likes and her deepest secrets. Max is determined to keep Aurelie in line but he is not able to keep himself in line. When she visits a notorious pleasure club he goes running after her to protect her. Max was an interesting character. He was through and through a rogue.

Once I started this book I could not put it down and was completely engrossed. I loved the tension between Max and Aurelie. Their verbal barbs were fantastic. My heart really went out to Aurelie. She was really stuck because she wanted to be free and do as she pleased but she really couldn’t because she was a women. Even when it seems that things are going badly for her she never backs down. Finally, I loved the angst between these two characters so much. I had tears in my eyes because they seemed determined to make each other miserable even though they really loved each other. I thought the dialogue was funny and witty. Not to mention that I cannot wait to see what Jordan does with Struan Mackenzie. He was a great challenger to Max for Aurelie’s hand. Book’s like this are why I love to read and why I love historical romance. I could not recommend it more!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Inside Game by Collette West

Inside Game is the newest book in Collette West's New York Kings series. This book like the rest are all standalones, and it isn't necessary to read them in order though I would recommend it. I have really enjoyed this series so far, and each book seems to be better than the previous. I really thought that I might have some issues with Drake here though after reading the previous books since he was such a cocky jerk. I have to say though that I liked him instantly here, and he might even be my favorite of the series! 

When the bad boy of the New York Kings baseball team, Drake Schultz, gets suspended for taking performance enhancing drugs, the team lets him know that he has no choice but to clean up his act. In order to not lose his contract with the team, he reluctantly agrees to work with a sober companion to get and stay clean. Eva Sloane has always been a fan of Drake's, but as her first celebrity client she knows she has to tread carefully. After losing her friend to addiction, she is determined to get Drake the help he needs. But as Eva gets to know Drake, she finds herself drawn to him as more than just a client. But in order to get him to face his past, she has to find the balance between getting close to him and remaining professional all while keeping herself from becoming his newest drug of choice. 

I really liked Drake and Eva. Drake was so much more than the facade that he showed to everyone, and I knew for him to be the way he was there had to be a lot beneath the surface. I never expected for his story to be what it was though, and it was clear to see why he had become the man he was. I felt so badly for him, and yet I was so glad that he had Eva to help him. She understood where he was coming from having had some experience with coming from a similar background. Eva was able to reach Drake when no one else could, and I loved her approach to getting him to open up. She was supportive and encouraging, but she knew her limits when it came to how hard to push him. She was smart and positive, and was the perfect match for Drake. These two also had really great chemistry, and they felt so natural together. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. There were some parts that were a bit frustrating to get through, and there were times that I definitely didn't like Drake's actions. But I really thought that this story was a great one and Evan and Drake were some of my favorites from this series. I thought that these two had great communication, which is really rare to see. I loved that they could be honest with each other and were able to confide in one another. It was really refreshing to see Drake make such positive changes, and I liked seeing the progress that he made as he faced his past. I would definitely recommend this series, but especially this book. Drake and Eva were really special, and I think that their book is definitely worth the read. I look forward to reading more from Collette West.

**ARC Provided by IndieSage PR**

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Guest Post with Author Megan Crane and Giveaway

Meet Megan Crane author of Make You Burn.

Megan CraneMegan Crane is a New Jersey native who had great plans to star on Broadway, preferably in Evita, just like Patti LuPone. Sadly, her inability to wow audiences with her singing voice required a back-up plan. Accordingly, she graduated from Vassar College and got her MA and PhD in literature from the University of York in England. She wrote her doctoral dissertation on AIDS literature, mostly so she could wallow in her obsession with the remarkable multimedia artist David Wojnarowicz and her idol, the bitter and hilarious David Feinberg. After many years in the rain and subject to the whim of seasons, she followed the sun to Los Angeles, where she lives with too many pets and an artist named Jeff. She is still plotting her Broadway debut.

Feature and Giveaway: Every Last Breath by Jennifer L. Armentrout

every last breath tour banner

Every Last Breath - Cover

Some loves will last 'til your dying breath

Every choice has consequences—but seventeen-year-old Layla faces tougher choices than most. Light or darkness. Wickedly sexy demon prince Roth, or Zayne, the gorgeous, protective Warden she never thought could be hers. Hardest of all, Layla has to decide which side of herself to trust.

Layla has a new problem, too. A Lilin—the deadliest of demons—has been unleashed, wreaking havoc on those around her…including her best friend. To keep Sam from a fate much, much worse than death, Layla must strike a deal with the enemy while saving her city—and her race—from destruction.

Torn between two worlds and two different boys, Layla has no certainties, least of all survival, especially when an old bargain comes back to haunt them all. But sometimes, when secrets are everywhere and the truth seems unknowable, you have to listen to your heart, pick a side—and then fight like hell…

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

ARC Review: And Then He Kissed Me by Kim Amos

And Then He Kissed Me is the second book in the White Pine Series from Kim Amos. This is my first book by her, but it can standalone with no problems though the characters are interconnected. This one had its sweet moments and I enjoyed this story for the most part. There were a few things that kept this one from being great for me though. 

Audrey Tanner got her heart broken five years ago when the man she was falling for up and left her with no explanation. She thought that she had found the one in Kieran Callaghan, and hasn't been able to forget him since he left. Now five years later she has lost her job as a high school gym teacher and is forced to find whatever work is available. When she takes a job at the local Harley Davidson dealership, she never expects for her new boss to be none other than Kieran Callaghan. Though the chemistry is still strong between them, Audrey doesn't trust him to not break her heart again. Kieran has spent the last five years turning his life around, and though he tries to stay away from Audrey he can't help but want to fix their relationship. But Kieran knows that he needs to be honest with her if they have any hope of a future, and he isn't sure that she will still be willing to give him a shot when he tells her why he really left her all those years ago. 

Though I liked Kieran and Audrey okay, I didn't really feel connected to them. In fact in the beginning of this story, I wasn't sure that I would like Kieran at all. He had left Audrey with no explanation really, and when he showed back up he was instantly a jerk to her...never-mind the fact that he was the one in the wrong. But when we got his POV it was clear that he didn't even understand why he was being that way to her, and he actually seemed to feel bad about it. He started to change as the story went on though, and I did like seeing him be honest with Audrey. He was determined to turn his life around, and part of that was telling her everything. Audrey was kind and a great person, always looking out for others. But there was just something about her that made her hard to connect to for me. It wasn't that I disliked her, I just didn't really feel anything much about her. There were times that she frustrated me alone with Kieran, but I thought that they were good together when they were open and honest with one another. They had good chemistry, but I just felt like things between them took a long time to really get anywhere and at that point I was losing interest. 

The other thing for me that I had problems with was the fact that the author threw in some unnecessary drama. I won't spoil the story and say what happened, but I just didn't really feel like it was necessary or that it added anything to the story. It pretty much came out of left field and didn't make any sense to me. Not only that, but I really disliked Audrey's sister Casey. She was always saying how she was looking out for Audrey and that she wanted what was best for her etc. But she never really seemed to listen to what Audrey wanted or treat Audrey as the adult that she was. She was condescending and manipulative, and I frankly couldn't stand her. Her story is coming up in the series, and I think that Kim Amos definitely has her work cut out for her. I think that if you are a fan of small town contemporaries or second chance love stories, that this one might be worth giving a shot. It was a good light and easy read. But it also wasn't what I had really been expecting and the things I mentioned kept me from really being able to love it.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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ARC Review: Frisk Me by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne’s newest series New York’s Finest starts with a hate to love romantic comedy story between a NYCPD officer and an ambitious reporter. I love Lauren Layne and compared to her others this isn’t as angsty as some of her other books but just as good. The characters are easy to love they are not perfect and they work hard for their HEA; and Nonna is a hoot.

Luc Moretti is the youngest in a family of cops, well for the exception of his sister the defense attorney, his father is the retired Commissioner and all three of his brothers are officers of the law. They are a very close knit family Luc and two of his brothers live with their grandmother, Nonna, and whenever schedules allow they have a family Sunday dinner. Luc loves his job but he is torturing himself over something that he believes he could have prevented. When he becomes an internet sensation after getting caught on camera jumping into the East River to save a little girl and giving away his coat to a homeless man in the dead of winter the NYCPD isn’t shy about wanting to exploit his goodness to enrich the image of NYCPD, Luc just has to grin and bear it. That is until he is informed that a news reporter is going to start following him around for a three part feel good fluff piece.

Ava Sims is looking for her big break, she has worked hard in broadcasting to get the anchor position finally she has got her shot all she has to do is a feel good piece on a cop. Ava has had a run in with Officer Luc Moretti before and even after three years she still got that zing feeling down her back that she got the first time she argued with him over a parking ticket. Ava isn’t as immune to Luc as she pretends to be. Ava figured Luc would put up a good front about resisting the chance at his fifteen minutes of fame but she is surprised when he appears to really and honestly not want to do it; she is immediately suspicious that there is more to his story and she will find it.

The more time Ava spends with Luc the guiltier she feels about what she has to do if she wants the anchor spot. Luc has never had a woman affect him like Ava does but he still keeps the one thing from her just waiting for her to ask him about it not realizing it wasn’t common knowledge. Luc and Ava become intimate and their feelings grow to what is obvious to everyone except themselves. But when Ava makes the decision risk her relationship with Luc to further her career Luc pushes her away.

I loved the story and the relationship between Luc and Ava and the whole Moretti family. I can’t wait for the rest of the family’s story and for more of Nonna.

**ARC provided by Publisher**

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