Talking Dirty with the Player by Jackie Ashenden

Dammit! I need to remember that if I like a book in a series, I shouldn’t immediately read the next one. I’m always disappointed.

What’s it About?

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Up-and-coming photographer Judith Ashton is pretty sure she has everything in her life under control. That is, until a blast from the past comes back to taunt her, in the shape of Caleb Steele, her older brother’s best friend…and the man who broke her heart eight years ago. Their chemistry is combustible, but she’s been fooled once by this player, and she’s not going there again. To pro rugby player Caleb, Judith has always been his Kryptonite. But his former playboy lifestyle is the last thing she wants to be involved in. In the midst of her brother’s threats to back off, and the deal of his career sending him far away from her, he knows he’s playing with fire. And this is one game he’s going to lose.

First Impressions

Compared to book one in the series this novel seemed to be missing something, and I think it was that sense of silliness. Sure, Judith and Caleb have a flirtatious banter going on back and forth, but there always seemed to be an underlying sense of hostility due to how their relationship ended years beforehand. I felt the couple in the first book had more of a light-hearted chemistry that you couldn’t help but love. This couple just sort of made you feel nervous for their possible future.

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Abandonment Issues

Judith and Caleb seemed to have more arguments back and forth rather than flirtatious quips, and I’m not gonna lie at times I had trouble following their line of reasoning. Both characters fear being abandoned by the ones they love, especially seeing as Caleb left Judith behind years ago. Even though he left, Caleb swears they can make their relationship work now, but she doesn’t fully trust him. Understandable all things considered. But then when things get a tad too intimate between them Caleb is the one to pull away. Dude! You totally implied you were ready for a relationship. Make up your mind man.

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Series: Talking Dirty, book 2. I am interested to read the next book, but I’ll probably read something else in between, just as a safety precaution.

Should you read it? Not as enjoyable as book one, but it did have it’s moments. My favorite aspect was the idea of the calendar that Judith is photographing of men in the business world. She is able to capture the individual personalities of those she’s filming, making it something more than just a sexy calendar featuring half-naked men. I’ll take one! Or 5.

Smut Level: The first time they do it is on a velvet chaise lounge. I feel like this would be George Costanza’s dream sex locale on Seinfeld.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Entangled: Indulgence. 193 Pages.

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Call Me Cat by Alex Lux

I swear, more often than not it seems like the quick romance reads that I assume will be mainly sexy but lacking in substance that end up surprising me the most. Just goes to show, you can’t always judge a book by its synopsis!

What’s it About?

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“Make me forget about everything except you.” Catelyn Travis is a good girl who gets good grades in law school, doesn’t date and never gets into trouble. But when a run of bad luck threatens to destroy everything she’s worked for, she’s forced to become Cat, phone sex goddess who fulfills the fantasies of her clients night after night. When she meets Ashton Davenport the Third, bad boy biker billionaire, she knows to stay away. But when he calls her alter ego, Cat, she has no choice but to fall for the sexy stranger. Now her life is spiraling out of control as she struggles to keep her two identities separate, but there’s one person who knows her secret. And he’ll stop at nothing to destroy her, just like he destroyed her parents. Threatened at every turn, her life crumbling around her, Catelyn must decide who she can trust, because the wrong choice could end her life. Contains mature content, recommended for adult readers. Trigger warnings: Sexual assault and animal abuse.

First Impressions

So, we have a young college girl down on her luck financially who needs to make some cash, and fast. Sounds like the set-up to an average porno, doesn’t it? After reading the synopsis and downloading this book for free off BookBub, I figured it would be a nice, mindless read to enjoy in between my romance author review requests. However, before you know it you’re quickly enthralled by a cold case murder mystery, a sadistic stalker, and a blossoming romance shrouded in secrets. Well smack my ass and call me Judy! Actually, please don’t do that.

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What to Do?

Something that I really enjoyed about this novel, other than the unexpected suspenseful plot, was our main character Catelyn, or Cat, as she is known to her naughty callers. This isn’t the first novel I’ve come across where a female character has turned to phone sex in order to pay the bills. However, I think I can honestly say this is the first one where I felt like she legitimately had no other options. Hear me out!

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Catelyn has already maxed out on her student loans during her undergrad at Harvard, and she is unable to take out any more for Harvard Law School due to the fact that she has no living relative who could possibly co-sign a private loan for her. She’s sought in vain for additional fellowship opportunities (which are already being reduced), her professor is already paying her out-of-pocket for her TA duties, and campus jobs are few and far between. Short of dropping out of school, this seemed like a viable option.

Time to Study

The other thing I loved about Catelyn was that she was a student, through and through. She’s never had sex before, or a long-term boyfriend, so she doesn’t exactly have the necessary dirty talking skills to be a phone sex operator. Does that stop her? Hell no! Catelyn hits the library and checks out as many romance novels and sex guides that she can get her hands on. After taking avid notes, she has multiple script options ready to go. She stumbles a bit at first, and it was actually kind of funny to see her try and find her rhythm, but by God ya gotta love the girl’s tenacity.

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Can’t Put it Down

Best piece of advice I can give you when it comes to this book? Be sure to read it on a lazy day at the beach when you have about three uninterrupted hours to spare. That’s about how long you’ll need to finish it. I made the mistake of starting it pretty late in the evening, thinking I’d just read a few chapters before bed. Next thing I know it’s 1:00am and I have work the next day. I had to stop reading 82% of the way through, or else risk showing up to work looking like a zombie. Not only does the book itself end on a cliffhanger, but so does every…single…chapter! I kept telling myself, “Just one more!” Yeah, that didn’t happen.

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Keeping Secrets

Catelyn finds herself in a difficult situation with our main male lead character, Ash, as she starts to fall for him in real life, yet he also happens to be one of her late night callers. She’s hesitant to reveal her true identity to Ash as his local phone sex operator, fearing that he might prefer her sexy alter ego, Cat, to her true self. She wants to think she’s nothing like Cat, but in reality Cat is just the hidden, sexy, carefree side to Catelyn’s own personality. Cat may seem the confident phone sex operator while Catelyn is the serious academic, but they are truly one and the same. Pretty deep for a short romance read!

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Series: Call Me Cat Trilogy, book 1. I got this first book for free, but I immediately went and bought the rest of the trilogy.

Should you read it? I always say the sign of a good mystery novel is when you suspect just about every character in the novel of being the killer. That definitely happens here! I think we still have a lot to learn about Ash, especially when he discovers that Catelyn is actually Cat. Can’t wait to find out more in the next book!

Smut Level: Some of Cat’s clients are raunchier than others. Dirty talk guaranteed. The calls with Ash were surprisingly romantic as he creates sex scenes for them all over the world.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. FREE. Daring Books Publishing. 200 Pages.

 

Tall, Tatted and Tempting by Tammy Falkner

You just gotta love a novel that starts out with the male lead having to rearrange his junk because of a massive hard-on. Literally nowhere to go from there but up. And yes, pun absolutely intended.

What’s it About?

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She’s locked up tight. But he might be the key. Logan Reed is tall, tatted and tempting. Kit’s a woman with a mean right hook and a secret. Kit wants a tattoo, but Logan sees more than she intends to share in the drawing of the tat she wants. He sees her in ways no one ever has. Logan’s not disabled; but he hasn’t spoken in eight years. He hasn’t needed to. Until he meets Kit. Logan doesn’t know everything about Kit. Kit doesn’t know anything about herself, until she has to sacrifice all she ever wanted to save what’s most important to him.

First Impressions

In spite of the rather unorthodox start to this novel, it really does draw you in with some unlikely characters who fall for each other. One is a deaf tattoo artist living with his many brothers. The other is a young girl living on the streets, playing her guitar to survive. He hasn’t spoken to anyone in years, yet when it comes to the mysterious Emily, he’s willing to let the words flow if it means spending more time with her. This novel also has a powerful ending as characters sacrifice their own happiness for others, and ends on a slight cliffhanger that will leave you wanting more. As for that big middle part of the novel? That’s where I was left feeling less than impressed.

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Putting Up with Secrets

Emily is hiding something big from Logan. Something important. Her very identity. Logan quickly realizes that Emily isn’t sharing everything with him, including her real name. Yet he is so enamored of her that he puts up with her secrets if it means she won’t run away from him and return to a life on the streets. Personally, I found her continual secrets and hiding the details of her past to be rather annoying. In addition, it made a large majority of the plot seem to be slow moving and kind of boring.

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Normally with books like this I feel as though we as the audience are privy to the secret details of the characters even if others aren’t aware of them. However, when it comes to this book, by keeping us in the dark as well for so long the story just sort of dragged on. Also, the fact that Logan was so open about his own past and family troubles, yet Emily remained close lipped made it kind of hard to like her at times.

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Series: The Reed Brothers, book 1. I’ll continue with this series. Can’t wait to get to the books featuring Logan’s many brothers.

Should you read it? There’s one main reason I’ll continue with this series, and that would be Logan. He got off to a rough start in this novel, yet he quickly redeemed himself as a sweet character with a penchant for sex. Unfortunately, Emily wasn’t my fav. Hopefully things will improve in the next book, as details of her true identity are now known to all.

Smut Level: The problem living with 4 brothers? Finding privacy to woo your girl. Guess the bathroom sink will have to do!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. FREE. Night Shift Publishing. 201 Pages.

The Rest of Forever by Carrie Pulkinen

What to do when you start to fall in love with your guardian angel? Well, if he’s as deliciously fine as Damian, I’d take him back to my place!

What’s it About?

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A guardian angel who’d rather die than fall for a human must come to terms with his tragic past when he learns his Charge is more than she seems. April Carter is a high school history teacher who dreams of finding the perfect man to whisk her away from her small-town life. She wants it all—the husband, the house, the kids, the car. But her dreams of living the perfect life are shattered during a school shooting. Now she must learn to accept her fate if she’s ever going to find the life she loves.

Damian Perkins is April’s Guardian Angel, though no one would guess that based on his attitude. A tragic event in his past has left him bitter and resentful, and he won’t let anyone get close enough to care about him. He’s tried to make April hate him, but she sees through his abrasive exterior and awakens a part of his soul he thought had burned out long ago. Damian must let go of his past and accept his responsibilities or he’ll spend the rest of his existence alone and miserable.

First Impressions

This romance is about a woman who falls in love with an angel, and even though said angel tries his damnedest, he can’t help but fall for her as well. Not gonna lie, when I first started reading this book I had one immediate thought in mind, and that would be Mr. Nicholas Cage. Kind of frightening. Although the plot of this novel is initially reminiscent of City of Angels, it quickly becomes more elaborate as Damian aims to protect his charge, April, in the face of a school shooting.

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Forever Changing

When it comes to the main characters of this novel, I must say they were unbelievably dynamic. I felt like one minute I could find them both to be quite frustrating in their stubbornness and naivete, but then in the next they were both quite admirable as they faced the realities of their lives together following immense hardship.

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Let’s start with April. At the start of the book, she was incredibly materialistic, and wanted nothing more than to move out of her small Texan town for a larger city. She was even willing to marry someone who treated her like crap, and who everyone else hated with a passion if it meant she could get a ring on her finger and the wedding of her dreams. But as the novel progresses, we also see her character start to evolve. She learns to speak for herself and act according to what she thinks is right. Sure, sometimes there are unforeseen consequences to those actions, but at least she starts to live life her way.

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Then there’s Damian, a guardian angel intent on keeping his distance from the one woman he’s meant to protect, mainly because another woman broke his heart 600+ years ago. That’s right, 600 years! Talk about not being able to move on in life. But when he starts spending more time with April, he realizes she is someone worth changing his rules for. In a way, they are kindred spirits in that neither truly plays by the rules. Once Damian admits to himself that he does in fact feel something for April, he can finally start to move on from his past and live in the present with someone he truly cares for.

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Bringing these two characters together was sometimes like trying to mix oil and water, especially when they refused to be open and honest with each other. They were also interrupted from sharing their true feelings one too many times for my taste, as it got pretty frustrating after a while for their romantic coupling to be continuously delayed. However, once they do finally come together in a tangle of limbs, it was oh so worth the wait.

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*A copy of this book was provided for an honest review*

Series: Stand-alone

Should you read it? Definitely an interesting story, and one that I’ve never truly encountered before. The story pulls you in at the beginning and has an exciting end. There were a few times in the middle which were a bit stagnant as Damian and April’s stubborn sides are at war with each other. I would have enjoyed some more scenes of Damian explaining to April what it’s like to be an angel, and some more detail of the powers involved, but it’s definitely a unique read.

Smut Level: Sex with an angel has its benefits. Mainly that he can make your clothes dissolve away with just a thought. So convenient!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 235 Pages.

 

 

Worth the Fight by Vi Keeland

The button-up lawyer falls for the ripped MMA fighter. A girl has to fall for a bad boy at least once in her life. It’s sort of an unwritten rule after all.

What’s it About?

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It didn’t matter that the ref called it a clean hit. Nico Hunter would never be the same. Elle has a good life. A job she loves, a great apartment, and the guy she’s been dating for more than two years is a catch and a half. But it’s boring…and she strives to keep it that way. Too many emotions are dangerous. Her own past is living proof of what can happen when you lose control. Then Nico walks into Elle’s office and everything changes…for both of them. But what can the tattooed, hard-bodied MMA fighter and the beautiful and always steady attorney have in common? A lot more than they bargained for.

First Impressions

When this novel starts, you think you’ve got it all figured out. Goody two shoes chica falling for the tough fighter. The beauty of this novel though is that she’s not exactly America’s sweetheart with a warm and fuzzy upbringing, and he’s not the hard-ass you would expect him to be. They both have troubled pasts which help them connect with each other on a deeper level. His sordid past is well-known, as he tragically killed another fighter in the ring in a terrible accident. Elle’s misfortune is something she wishes to keep well under wraps, assuming Nico will think less of her if it ever becomes comes to light. Little do they know that it’s only when they both  open up that they can become strong and move towards a future together.

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Falling for the Fighter

This novel is all kinds of sexy. When Elle and Nico first meet, she is actually dating another man. But upon first meeting Elle quickly discovers what has been missing in her currently stagnant and boring relationship. Passion. Lust. Raw sexual magnetism. Oh my! It doesn’t take long for these two to put some burn marks on the sheets, but don’t you worry, she breaks things off with her former boyfriend before pursuing anything physical with Nico.

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Series: MMA fighter, book 1.

Should you read it? This book is unlike your typical fighter romance. Not only does the male lead have a sweet side in addition to the usual alpha male possessiveness, but he’s not involved with anything or anyone illegal. It seems like we always have some kind of underground circuit of shady dealings and characters in these types of novels, but in this instance we just have a troubled man and woman trying to move on from their pasts. Rather touching at times.

Smut Level: Testosterone overload needs to be worked off somehow!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 376 Pages.

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Owned by the Dom: Parts 1 & 2 by Sam Crescent

The only way I would ever refer to my man as “Master” would be if he called me “Empress”. I might let him get away with “Czarina”, but he better be one pretty good cook on top of everything else.

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James Castleden has had enough of the press surrounding him and his club. Ravage is his place to let loose. He is possessive and dominant. When the younger sister of the woman he used to date walks into his club, James is not ready for the instant attraction he feels toward her.

Prudence Star fell in love with James seven years ago. She is no shy virgin and knows what he is. James does not scare her. She’s read the reports about his association with club Possession and she craves what only he can give. When their flirting deepens, James cannot stop the craving inside him to own, to claim, and to take Prudence as his woman.

But Possession and Ravage are under serious threat. Dominic and Eugene were just the beginning. There is nowhere to hide and no way to keep his woman safe. The Owners have no idea who they’re really dealing with.

First Impressions

I’m sorry to say that I have officially decided to stop reading this series. I initially went in with the impression that part 2 was the last book of The Owners story line, but shockingly enough there is definitely a set up for a continuation of the series. Unfortunately, I’ve lost interest. If I had to describe these two novels in just one word it would have to be…meh. Nothing special, just like the rest of the series as a whole. But what can I say? They’re short, quick reads, and I thought I had finally reached the culmination of everything!

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Owned by the Dom: Part 1

Most of the drama in this novel felt pretty unnecessary to me. I mean, for two people who admit they’re totally into each other, they take forever to have sex. James claims Prudence is too young for him considering the age difference between them, but he won’t let others have her. Therefore, he ensures she is fired from her current job working in his club so that nobody else can lay eyes on her. His BDSM lifestyle is something he seems hesitant to introduce Prue to, yet she openly admits to him that she’s into the idea, and also has an intense desire to be possessed. So…what exactly is the hold-up here people?

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As for the rest of the drama in this novel, some of the characters from the previous novels are aware of a human trafficking scheme going on which is linked to all their BDSM clubs. However, they choose to hide the true identity of who is behind this scheme to the rest of the characters because…I honestly don’t know. At this point, you just know that sh*t is about to go down, and it’s pretty frustrating that those who know the truth didn’t think to warn everyone else about this threat.

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This book was sort of the nail in the coffin for me, as it had both expected results, yet an unexpected path. Part 1 ended with Prue being kidnapped by the same forces which were threatening the clubs in town. SPOILER ALERT: they get her back! Surprisingly, James and his posse rescue her fairly early on in the book, and the rest of the story primarily deals with Prue pulling away from him in the aftermath.

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It’s rather understandable that after surviving a kidnapping, and the possibility of being sold into human trafficking that Prue would experience difficulties adjusting to normal life again, not to mention being intimate with James. The most ridiculous part of the novel for me though was when Prue saw a therapist to help her with her PTSD. This therapist totally does a breach of confidentiality by telling James EVERYthing she talked about in her session with Prue. Her excuse was that Prue didn’t really need therapy, so it was ok to share all the details of their sessions with James. Like…what?!

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Series: The Owners, books 3 & 4

Should you read it? Meh. By no means terrible, but not worth rushing out to read either in my humble opinion.

Smut Level: This guy is possessive and into BDSM, what do you think? At the end of Part 2 James whisks Prue away to Italy and goes all caveman with her. They proceed to have so much sex I don’t know how they have any bodily fluids left.

Get it on Amazon: Part 1, click here. Part 2, click here. $4.99 each. Evernight Publishing. 180 Pages. 235 Pages.

 

Betting on Kincade by Devon McKay

You know, considering how proficient the main female character was at tying up goats during a rodeo, I’m surprised she didn’t take those rope tying skills into the bedroom with Dalton. Let’s just say they both employ their bull-riding capabilities though! Yee haw!

What’s it About?

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Everyone Cassie Wilcox loved is gone. And now, thanks to her drunken stepfather, her house and family business will be taken from her, too, unless she can find a way to buy back the ranch from the new owner. With less than two months to come up with money she doesn’t have, her options are running out, and apparently, her common sense as she rents out rooms to an eclectic group of strangers.

Returning home for Dalton Kincade is bittersweet. Not a damn thing has changed. Two years on the rodeo circuit weren’t able to shake free the memory of the feisty redhead who’d broken his heart into a thousand pieces. Nor the sting of her parting words…Never trust a Kincade.

Winning her beloved ranch in a drunken bet is the last thing he expected to happen, but at least he saved it for her. Now, he has to figure out how to break that news to a woman who never wants to see him again. Renting a room in the house he now owns might be a risk, but it’s nothing compared to betting his heart on winning back the love of his life.

First Impressions

Considering how many romance novels I’ve read over the years that feature a rodeo, I feel like one of these days I’m actually gonna have to go to one. Not only does it seem like you can admire some sexy-ass, Stetson wearing cowboys in tight jeans, but you can do so whilst stuffing your face full of hot dogs and funnel cakes. Sounds like a win-win from where I’m sitting!

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It’s All in the Plot

I must say, I positively loved the premise of this book! When Dalton returns back to town following a rodeo injury, he has every intention of staying as far away from Cassie as possible. She’s the one-time love of his life who always seemed one class above him. But when he wins the deed to her ranch from her drunken step-father in a lucky hand of poker, he can’t help but pay her a visit. When they meet again after so many years apart it doesn’t take them long to realize their chemistry is just as strong now as it once was, no matter how intent Cassie is on hating him for having left her behind.

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Dalton wants nothing more than to see the ownership of the ranch fall into Cassie’s deserving hands. However, rather than just hand it over, he intends to have some fun first. Why not place a few more wagers? Cassie begrudgingly agrees. After all, winning would mean Cassie gets back her ranch; losing means sucking face with the sexy Dalton. Again, win-win.

Funny Characters and Sexual Frustration

Cassie is determined to win back her ranch under any means necessary. Before she realizes Dalton was the one who won it, she intends to raise money to buy it back from the new owner by renting rooms out of her home. This allows for the introduction of some pretty entertaining characters, not to mention a new gal-pal to help dress up Cassie with the intention of making Dalton drool all over himself.

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The name of the game here is sexual frustration. Dalton is all about pushing Cassie to her limits so she can admit she still has feelings for her old beau. From whispering dirty nothings into her ear, to some clandestine horse stall make-out sessions, and even a sensual mechanical bull-ride, these two toy with each other to the point of insanity. Once they finally act on their urges in a romantic country inn, we are only privy to some of their foreplay. Talk about sexual frustration for the reader!!

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Fun Fact

This past weekend I was having brunch with some friends when one of the TVs at the bar started airing a bull-riding competition. My one friend couldn’t help but admonish, “How is this a sport?” Cue my explanation: “There’s actually quite a bit of talent involved. For example, some bulls will buck the rider, but others will spin to try and get the rider off. Depending on what the bull will do, the rider needs to adjust their grip, posture, and how they sit on the bull. A good rider can determine this before they get on the bull so they don’t get thrown off once the gate opens.” Cue the sound of crickets, and looks of open shock from my friends. So, thank you to the author of this book. I am now seen as the bull-riding expert in my friend group. Whoever said you couldn’t learn something from romance novels?!!

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Series: Nope

Should you read it? Loved the characters! From Cassie as a determined female lead to Dalton as a sexy cowboy who knows what he wants, and the various renters on the ranch. I do think it took a tad too long for the story to come full circle in regards to her step father, and even that felt kind of unfinished. Still a fun read on the ranch!

Smut Level: Loooooove the sensual flirtations going on. Not to mention all the waist grabbing and pelvic thrusting. Not a dirty read though!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 175 Pages.