Calmly, Carefully, Completely by Tammy Falkner

Wow! I’ll admit, I had just a lukewarm reaction to books 1 and 2 in this series, but this 3rd book was just outstanding!

What’s it About?

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She’s been locked up even longer than he has. Peter Reed is fresh out of jail, fresh out of excuses, and ready for a brand new start. Reagan Caster needs to thank Pete for an act of kindness, but he wants more than just her thanks. Reagan knows how to protect her body, but not her heart. And her traitorous body responds to Pete in a way it hasn’t with anyone else.When Pete’s innocent flirtation becomes more, Reagan’s ready to accept what he has to offer. Pete assumes Reagan needs to be loved carefully and calmly. But Reagan knows she needs to be loved completely. Can he give her what she needs?

First Impressions

This is one of those books where our couple falls in love after spending just a week together in each other’s company. Now, normally I roll my eyes heavily at the unrealistic nature of such a thing, to the point where I even start to get a headache. However, when it comes to this novel I was shocked to find that it really didn’t bother me all that much. The reason for this is because their connection goes back two years, and has been building throughout that entire time, even if they weren’t physically together.

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Pete first came across Reagan when she was at her most vulnerable, in the immediate aftermath of her rape. Whether or not either was truly aware of it, this moment influenced their entire relationship, as it tested Pete’s true character in a way. He could have left her to fend for herself, or just handed her off to her friend and gotten the hell out of there. But he stayed. He comforted her. Protected her. In that moment an intense amount of trust was established. When they reconnect years later, they get to know each other beyond what happened that night, and it’s oh so wonderful.

Lovable and Loving Characters

Heavy subject matter to be sure, yet I was surprised to find myself laughing and smiling my way through most of this read. Pete and Reagan have had a rough two years. He’s been in jail for having made a stupid mistake in an attempt to help his family, and Reagan has been trying to live her life again in spite of her fear of being touched by others. In each other they find they can just be themselves. They can be carefree. Reagan’s father, who carries a hatchet to cuff off the balls of any guy who gets close to his daughter, also means you can’t help but chuckle when he finds Reagan and Pete alone together so many times.

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Personally, I couldn’t help but completely fall in love with Pete myself. It’s not hard to understand how Reagan fell for him so quickly. From his interactions with Reagan, as well as his caring nature with the other boys at the camp who need his help, he constantly exhibits patience, kindness and warmth.

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Through his point of view we discover his utter fascination and attraction to Reagan, but he knows what she’s been through. He never tries to rush her in taking their physical relationship to the next level, and even takes a step back when Reagan voices that she wants more. He wants to ensure she truly knows what she wants, and isn’t just taking things further because she feels comfortable with him. I will say though I do wish the book took place over a longer period of time than just one week, so that it really would have felt like they were taking their time, rather than just saying they were.

Communication is Key

Some of the interactions between Reagan and Pete almost felt like they were engaged in a high school romance, even though both are in their early 20s. This was especially true when it came to their physical relationship, as Pete introduced her to things she had never experienced before. However, I will say they do have open communication, which I absolutely love about this author! Her characters actually talk to each other! I know, seems like such a novel idea. Both Reagan and Pete share their frustrations and concerns when they happen in real time rather than letting them ruminate over long periods to eventually explode in a giant argument of misunderstanding.

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I will say it can remove any sense of struggle or any problems in the plot, but I do appreciate it. For example, in this book we see that because Pete knows about Reagan’s past, he can sometimes treat her with too much fragility, as though she’s going to break. This especially comes out when they’re being intimate. So, Reagan opens up and tells him that she’s not made of glass, and he can be a bit more handsy in bed. And this leads to yet another aspect of Pete that I absolutely love: the man listens!

How Can I Have S’more If I Haven’t Had Any?

Now for my one complaint about Pete. It might seem small, but it just goes to show that nobody’s perfect. The man doesn’t know what a s’more is. What…the…fudge and marshmallow?! Ok, I know the guy grew up in the city, so I totally understand if he’s never eaten one, but how could he have no inkling of how they’re made, or what they contain? We’re only talking three ingredients here!! Has he missed every pop culture reference to their structure/design, or just ignored every s’more flavored candy or pop-tart?! How is this remotely possible?! You’re killing me Pete! (PS: if you understand The Sandlot reference here we can officially be best friends).

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Series: The Reed Brothers, book 3. Hands down my favorite book in the series so far. Can’t wait to continue on!

Should you read it? Fantastic read. These two have a connection that is so pure and deep. The novel is really an exploration of their developing relationship, so it doesn’t have the most dramatic plot, but you can’t help but fall in love with these characters. You’ll laugh, and by God if I didn’t get tears in my eyes one day listening to this on my walk to work. Also, my main complaint about the male lead is he doesn’t know what a s’more is. Not too shabby.

Smut Level: Actual sex doesn’t come  until the very end. He introduces her to other delights slowly throughout the entirety of the novel.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Night Shift Publishing. 264 Pages.

Beautifully Forgotten by L.A. Fiore

A note to all the authors out there: if you’re gonna use flashbacks, for the love of God please do so carefully. I love me a good flashback, but this book had such a plethora of 16 years earlier, 14 years earlier, 16 years earlier, 23 years earlier and 16 years earlier again that it was damn near impossible to keep them in any sense of chronological order.

What’s it About?

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Successful restaurateur Lucien Black’s blue-green eyes and unattainable attitude drive women wild. But his abandonment issues and criminal past have left him emotionally closed off. When a familiar face shows up for a job interview at his nightclub, the ache he has tried to forget tears at his heart—it’s the girl who once healed him… and then abandoned him.

Darcy MacBride still remembers Lucien’s delicate touch when they were both wildly in love teenagers. His gorgeous eyes had soothed her hurt after she’d been dumped off at the orphanage where Lucien lived. Darcy felt his jagged edges fit perfectly into her own, and she’d planned to spend the rest of her life with him—until a mysterious man warned her away. Now, fourteen years later, she’s ready to endure the torture of Lucien’s indifference and having him as her boss…just to be near him. But when it seems that they might finally take up where they left off, a devastating secret buried in their past threatens to tear them apart again.

First Impressions

This is the second novel in the Beautifully Damaged series, and apparently I read the first book back in 2013. I have read hundreds of books since then, and I mean that literally. I’ll admit that I don’t always remember the specific details of a novel, or even necessarily how it ended if it’s been a while since I read it. That being said, I can usually remember the basic premise, main characters, and whether or not I liked it. However, when it comes to this series, I shockingly remember absolutely nothing about book one. Even as I progressed further into this second book, and the characters and events from book one are brought to the forefront, I can honestly say I have zero recollection of what transpired. All I have to go on is the rating I gave it on Goodreads, which was an underwhelming 2/5 stars. So…yeah…not off to a very good start.

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Oh the Flashbacks

This romance is between two people who reconnect years after they went their separate ways as teenagers. Needless to say, you can kind of expect there to be a few flashbacks to when they first fell in love at an orphanage in their younger years. Unfortunately, there’s such a multitude of flashbacks which take place out of sequence at the start of the novel, that it’s kind of hard to connect with the characters in the present. Sure, the flashbacks do help you understand more about the history and dynamic of the characters, but I feel it could have been handled a bit differently.

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Disjointed

As a whole, I felt the novel was rather disjointed, and not just in terms of the timeline of flashbacks. There were also multiple story lines at play, and some of those really focus on the two lead characters from book one, who I couldn’t for the life of me remember. This made it kind of hard to tell at times who was the main focus of the book. It sort of seemed like it could have been two different novels taking place at the same time.

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As it stands, we basically have four different lead characters, each with their own drama, side-plots and supplemental characters. Towards the end, all of the elements started coming together in one confusing jumble. There was an attempt to intertwine all of the events from this novel, book one, and all the characters, but I think it was incredibly difficult to keep everything straight. Let’s just say at the end when there was a big reveal of who was behind all the drama and blackmail I found myself exclaiming, “Now who the hell is this?”

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Series: Beautifully Damaged, book 2. Not gonna continue on with this series.

Should you read it? There were some interesting factors at play, but in the end I felt like it was hard to really connect to the story because it was so disjointed. There were so many different cases of blackmail going on I couldn’t always remember who was blackmailing whom, or even why.

Smut Level: Pretty saucy. We even have a detailed 69 scene.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Montlake Romance. 366 Pages.

 

Fever by Maya Banks

I compared the first book in this series to a combination of 50 Shades and a Hallmark Christmas movie. With this second novel, it has elements of Cinderella, but instead of a fairy godmother we have a sexual dominant, and the glass slippers are replaced by f*ck me heels and a threesome. Ok then.

What’s it About?

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Jace, Ash, and Gabe: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Jace, it’s a woman whose allure takes him completely by surprise…Jace Crestwell, Ash McIntyre, and Gabe Hamilton have been best friends and successful business partners for years. They’re powerful, they’re imposing, they’re irresistibly sexy, and Jace and Ash share everything—including their women.

When they meet Bethany, Jace begins to feel things he’s never experienced before: jealousy, and a powerful obsession that threatens him, overwhelms him—and excites him beyond control. Jace isn’t sharing Bethany—with anyone. He’s determined to be the only man in her life, and it’s jeopardizing a lifelong friendship with Ash. Bethany will be his and his alone. Even if it means turning his back on his best friend.

First Impressions

I must admit, this book was actually pretty good! Our main female character, Bethany, is homeless, and Jace sort of rushes in as her alpha knight in shining armor. And this is after spending just one night together! Bethany makes herself scarce the next day, and Jace’s desperation to locate her was kind of endearing. Almost like Prince Charming’s eagerness to find Cinderella after just one dance. I do wish we had learned a bit more about Bethany’s background, and how she came to end up on the streets with no family in the first place, but what can you do?

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The Tantalizing Threesome

Shockingly, I found the most compelling aspect of this novel was that Jace and Bethany’s first sexual escapade together was during a threesome with Jace’s best friend, Ash. Jace and Ash have always shared their women, yet after that first night with Bethany, Jace decides to break off all future possible threesome escapades with Ash. Now, normally I’m not a fan of threesomes in romance novels. Too many limbs flopping around. However, Jace and Ash have such a strong connection that they are pretty much like brothers, and it was such an emotional scene when Jace has to tell his best friend and pseudo-brother that Beth is off limits from here on out. Poor Ash needs a hug.

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Series: Breathless, book 2. Maybe lonely Ash will find someone to spend time with in book 3?

Should you read it? Definitely an interesting read. I will say though after a while it felt like Bethany and Jace were having the same argument on repeat about how she doesn’t feel worthy of him, Jace trying to convince her to trust him, yada yada.

Smut Level: Bethany is happy to give up control in the bedroom since she’s been fighting so hard to survive on the streets for years. It’s almost a way for her to reach internal peace. But when that expands out of the bedroom I question what kind of life she’s really living, as Jace is the one making all the decisions for her.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $12.99 Kindle Price. Berkley Publishing. 418 Pages.

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Nowhere to Hide by Louise Lyndon

This has got to be, hands down, one of the most intense and thrilling books I’ve read so far this year. Simply amazing!

What’s it About?

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Forty years ago the Australian rural town of Burrawang Bend was the scene of a brutal murder, and the townspeople are still calling for justice. Marlee Moore, the suspect’s and victim’s granddaughter, is fighting to clear her grandfather’s name. And no one is going to stand in her way. But when things take a dangerous and deadly turn, Marlee must turn to the one man she was determined to run out of town.

Devon Reilly, investigative journalist for his hit TV show, Justice Served, is in Burrawang Bend to solve the forty-year-old cold case murder. But, he didn’t bargain on Marlee keeping him from investigating the case and he soon questions where her loyalties lie. With the living? Or with the dead? But when Marlee and her son’s life are put in danger, Devon knows he is the only man who can keep them alive. But what happens when he soon realizes he is the bigger threat to the woman and kid he loves?

First Impressions

Goodness gracious, where to begin?! I don’t really know what I was expecting from this book before going into it, but let’s just say I got a whole hell of a lot more than I bargained for. Before you know it the plot takes on a life of its own, sucks you in, and I found myself having to remember to breathe a few times from holding my breath in anticipation. Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I’ve found it really does take a lot to surprise me when it comes to romance novel plot lines. This one? Left me absolutely floored and took off in a direction I never saw coming.

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Small Towns Can Be Deceiving

Marlee lives in a small town in the middle of nowhere Australia. It’s a quiet town, and nothing ever happens there. Except of course the murder of Marlee’s grandma 40 years ago. The prime suspect? Marlee’s own grandfather. But it’s now a cold case, and her grandpa was never arrested for any crime. Marlee has spent the last few years trying to sway public opinion and convince the town that her caring grandpa is truly innocent. Just when she feels like she’s starting to make some progress, Devon comes rolling in. He’s the host of a crime TV show, and he’s intent on finding out who the real killer is behind this cold case.

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You Can’t Fight Chemistry

Marlee is determined to hate Devon with every fiber of her being. Here is this outsider, dredging up painful memories and accusing her grandfather of the most heinous of sins. But, she’s inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. I’ll admit, it did seem kind of strange how often these two would blatantly check each other out when having such intense arguments about her grandfather’s innocence. But on the other hand? Hell, we’re all human! Sometimes you can’t easily tell your body to simmer down!

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Who Do You Trust?

This novel was like a psychological puzzle of mayhem. Marlee is convinced of her grandfather’s innocence, but when Devon arrives he presents her with some other possible scenarios of what went down 40 years ago. Could it be possible her grandfather isn’t as harmless as he appears? Who should she trust? A good looking stranger, or her beloved relative who took her and her son in when nobody else would? Has she been blinded by family loyalty, or is Devon merely presenting her with false information that would make for a good TV episode? So…freaking…amazing! You’ll question everything and everyone!!

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Mr. Protector

And then there’s Devon, a TV personality who’s drive for success links back to his past, and the unsolved murder of his twin brother. He still hasn’t brought his brother’s killer to justice, so he strives to help other families find peace where his could not. Then he meets Marlee. He’s trying to find justice for her grandma, but his main suspect is also her own flesh and blood. He finds himself being drawn closer and closer to the enchanting Marlee, as well as her young son Max, who by the way is the most adorable freakin’ character everrrr. Anyway, Devon is drawn to them, but believes if he gets too close he’ll fail to keep them safe, since he failed to keep his brother safe as well. Such depth! Such inner struggle! Such awesomeness!!

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Getting Down and Dirty

Alright, let’s talk whoopie. Believe it or not, this was the one part of the novel which kind of…confused me. You see, Devon likes to walk on the wilder side. Apparently, Marlee was aware of some of his secret desires because of a magazine article published by his ex. Hey, as long as we’re dealing with consenting adults, I’ve got no problem.

My confusion however was two-fold. One: for pretty much the first half of the novel, Devon is extremely hesitant to start anything physical with Marlee, believing it could compromise his investigation. He’s constantly pushing her away, yet when they finally cave to their baser desires, it was like, well holy hello Mr. Dirty Talker!! You wanna put what where exactly?! I guess it was just a rather jarring switch to go from 0 to 120 mph in the span of a page.

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Then there’s Marlee’s reaction to it all, which was my second area of minor confusion. She craves more. She wants him to be even rougher, and delights when he tugs her hair, and even grasps her neck. Marlee claims it’s because in those moments she can live in oblivion and find peace from all the drama and craziness going on with her grandpa’s investigation. Ok, I kind of get it, but considering how much was actually going on in her life I probably would have settled for a bubble bath and a good back rub.

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

Series: Justice Served, book 1. What’s next?! Gimme, gimme!

Should you read it? I just loved this one, and had trouble putting it down! You can feel Marla’s inner dilemma at how she should view her grandpa. Loving caregiver, or sick killer? Then we have Devon, who feels like he has to protect everybody, and solve every case to make up for failing his brother. A thrilling read with some sexy times thrown in too.

Smut Level: The primary focus of the novel is on the cold case, so actual romps don’t come until after the halfway point, but there are quite a few smoldering looks beforehand. They both like it rough, yet nothing too outlandish. Most out there thing they do is anal, and there’s quite a bit of description involved.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $4.99 Kindle Price. Loose Id LLC.

Fair Game by Monica Murphy

Oh come on now people, let’s make good choices!

What’s it About?

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Bad enough Jade Frost’s boyfriend drags her to a boring poker game. Even worse that he actually threw her into the betting pot during an intense round…and lost. Talk about the perfect excuse for Jade to make him her ex-boyfriend.

Now she supposedly belongs to the ultra rich, extremely gorgeous Shep Prescott. He could have anything he wants yet he seems to be in hot pursuit of her. No matter how rude, how snarky, how impossible she acts, it doesn’t stop him. More like her horrible behavior seems to make him want her more.

When she finds herself starting to fall for him, Jade’s confused. There’s more to Shep than the carefree rich charmer he portrays. No way could he want a serious relationship with her…or could he?

First Impressions

Mkay, so full disclosure moment here: I have never done cocaine in my entire life. Now, I know the ole saying, “don’t knock it til you try it”, although I have a feeling whoever came up with that saying didn’t necessarily mean it in reference to trying cocaine. What can I say?! I just never understood the appeal. Personally, I’d rather spend my money on going to the movies and buttered popcorn. I also have the irrational fear that if I did try it I’d immediately sneeze it out in a cloud of white powder. Kind of ruins my street cred.

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In this book, our female lead claims that she’s never been swayed by peer pressure, yet in the next scene she’s accepting a mirror of coke from some dweebs she just met at a college party. She then proceeds to blame her close call of snorting cocaine on the fact that our main male lead, Shep (who wasn’t present at all during this exchange), gets her all confused. Sooo…yeah, not my favorite character.

Some Imperfect Lead Characters

I can’t help it, I thought Jade was a pretty annoying character, and Shep wasn’t exactly a peach himself. He wins her from her boyfriend in a card game, which I’ll admit, was the main intriguing factor that moved me to pick up this book in the first place. The fact that the next day Jade is somehow the one apologizing to Shep kind of made me lose respect for her. I know violence is never the answer to life’s problems, but Jade slapped Shep after he won her. Honestly, can’t say I would’ve done anything different if a guy treated me like a commodity to be bartered. And yet, Shep manages to make her feel guilty for the way she treated him, without any acknowledgement of how he treated her like an object. Dude, not cool! On either of their parts!

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An Imperfect Plot

So the characters obviously weren’t my favorite aspect of the novel, but there was actually a much bigger reason as to why I didn’t enjoy this particular read. It had to do with the plot. Mainly, there wasn’t much of one. At all. What we have here is a classic tale of boy meets girl, she pushes him away despite her obvious attraction to him, they find some alternative ways to pleasure each other when she’s on her period, he runs, she teases, and eventually they have sex. Boom, there, you’re done. The only real struggle of the novel came when Shep introduced Jade to his parents, and his mom proceeds to call her a gold digger. No resolution to that little issue. Their relationship seems to be purely physical, as they never really manage to have a meaningful conversation.

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Series: The Rules, book 1. I miiiiiiiight read the next one.

Should you read it? Although well written overall, I felt it was a pretty boring read. The whole novel sort of leads up to…well…nothing. Basically just them having sex, and her baking him cookies. Sad to say I don’t see them as a forever couple.

Smut Level: Jade goes from never having an orgasm during sex to having 3-4 a night. Lucky girl.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 474 Pages.

Luke’s Redemption by Anni Fife

A romance that blossoms over some beignets. Might not seem like the most sensual of baked goods, but when they’re from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, I must say I get it.

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What’s it About? 

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Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart and the only leverage she has against her father. She is left with no choice except to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.

Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he’s in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It’s a promise he can’t keep. When Katya’s past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.

First Impressions

One of the more prominent features of this novel is definitely the timeline of Luke and Katya’s relationship, which I will say felt a bit disjointed to me. Technically, their relationship spans six years, but they’ve only spent a total of 5 days together in all that time. When they first meet, Luke assumes an undercover identity in order to obtain a flash drive which Katya stole from her mob boss father. Sparks fly, they do a little dance (both on the dance floor and in the bedroom), their condom breaks, and the next morning Luke says he has to leave, but that they should meet up one year later in NYC.

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One year later and Katya travels to NY to meet Luke, but he’s so far undercover that he can’t meet with her, or explain his absence. Fast-forward another five years, and Katya returns to NY with her daughter in tow. She gets caught up in some mob drama and Luke is the only one who can protect her. This is also when he discovers for the first time that, surprise! He’s a daddy!!

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Timeline Dilemmas

I will say I wasn’t a huge fan of the year long gaps in between their meetings, not to mention the fact that these happen so early on in the book. It makes it harder to really develop a close first impression of the characters when there’s so much jumping around. In addition, you can’t help but wonder what happened to both characters during such a long interlude apart.

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When they do reconnect in person after six years, they are quick to pick up where they left off, which was kind of surprising to me. After all, their first meeting was under false pretenses, as Luke lied about his true identity, and their second planned meeting never came together. Although Katya does express her reservations about this to Luke when they reconnect, I couldn’t help but feel she forgave him a bit too quickly considering they only spent one night together. Perhaps their emotional connection went deeper than you’d think because he was her first lover?

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I will say I liked that after this six year period apart they really do open up to each other about their pasts, and are able to connect over conversations of actual substance. That being said, this is also the point in the novel where I wish they had spanned things out over a longer period of time so their re-connection didn’t seem so rushed. I mean, this span of the book takes place in just 4 days! That’s not even an entire business week.

Fathers and Daughters

Although this book is primarily about Luke and Katya’s relationship, there was actually another relationship type that received a lot of attention, and I personally found it to be much more compelling! That would be the father/daughter relationship. We have Katya, who has to try and reconcile the fact that her father is a criminal mob boss on the one hand, yet on the other he’s also been looking out for her all the years he’s been in prison. It was such a complex relationship, and I must say it was probably my favorite feature of the book.

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Another father/daughter relationship at play was between Luke and his daughter with Katya, Lily. Luke didn’t know she existed for the first 5 years of her life, yet when he first realizes that he’s a father he immediately jumps in as her protector. There wasn’t an ounce of hesitation, even though it must have come as quite a bit of a shock. Luke and Lily have a scene together which was so endearing you can’t help but love it. If anything, I wish Lily could have been featured more prominently. It seemed like in most scenes where she was present she was quickly handed off to somebody else for safe-keeping.

The Edge of Your Seat

There are three primary scenes of suspense in this novel, and I gotta say each one keeps you on the edge of your seat. They were written very well, and you feel like you’re actually there with the characters. The first is when Katya returns to New York with her daughter, and kidnappers infiltrate the hotel where she’s staying. Luke swoops in, and the search for their daughter throughout the hotel as shots ring out was simply nail-biting. The second scene involves Katya actually being kidnapped, and you can’t help but wonder if she’ll successfully escape to see Luke and her daughter again.

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The final scene of suspense was probably the most gripping, but unfortunately it was also the most unnecessary. It only came about in the last 10% of the book, and seemed like something of an afterthought. Although intense, it really didn’t relate at all to the rest of the story line. I think it could have been worked into the plot earlier on in the book so that it meshed with the rest of what was happening, but as it stands it felt too random, and sort of threw off the flow of the book right at the end.

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

Series: King Security, book 1. The supplemental characters were great, and I absolutely loved the one who will be featured as the lead in the next book.

Should you read it? I did enjoy the suspenseful elements of the book, as well as the multiple complexities of the father/daughter relationships. I will say I found the timeline of the novel to be rather distracting, and various elements of Luke and Katya’s relationship to be unrealistic. Mainly how they’ve only spent a total of 5 days together in 6 years, and how Katya forgave him so quickly after so much time apart.

Smut Level: How to get intimate when you have a young one at home? Call a babysitter, and check-in to a motel. Bow chica wow wow!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 311 Pages.

 

Assumption by Aurora Rose Reynolds

You know what they say happens when you assume, right? You make an ass out of you and me. Well, that doesn’t prevent these two characters from jumping into bed together and making some sweet sweet whoopie after making a few assumptions of their own.

What’s it About?

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[as·sump·tion:]a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof

They say when you assume that you make an ass out of you and me. Kenton Mayson learned this lesson firsthand when he made assumptions about Autumn Freeman and the kind of woman she is based on what little information he had. What he finds out is she’s not only beautiful, but also smart, funny, a fighter, and exactly the kind of woman he wants to share his life with. Autumn made assumptions of her own about Kenton, and now he needs to prove her wrong in order to protect her and their future.

First Impressions

Before reading this book, I never gave a whole lot of thought to the title, but you quickly realize how important it is as our two main characters are quick to make assumptions about the other. Autumn has come to stay with Kenton after witnessing a mob hit in the strip club she worked at. Kenton initially tries to keep his distance from her, in spite of his intense attraction to her, thinking that Autumn must be a promiscuous stripper. What he doesn’t know is that she is also a nurse, and only strips to help pay the bills as she gets close to finishing her practicum. Autumn knows what Kenton assumes about her, yet she makes no attempt to correct him, making an assumption of her own that he’s a shallow womanizer, and that it’s not worth the effort or time to tell him otherwise. Oh, how these two realize their first impressions couldn’t be more wrong!

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The Classic Assumption

Normally, I’m not a huge fan when our romance leads are quick to make assumptions, and how it can inevitably cause a clusterf*ck of mayhem. However, in this novel I gotta say I didn’t mind it so much, as Autumn even admits to herself that she’s probably making an unfounded assumption about Kenton. It’s only because she’s on the run for her life that Autumn believes she can’t afford to gamble on feeling more for someone she’s just met. Also, when Kenton finally discovers Autumn’s true profession, he’s unbelievably quick to try and rectify the situation. His alpha-male personality turns on full-throttle, and he’ll do anything to protect his woman and get her into bed. All assumptions officially forgotten!!

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Sassy-ness and Alpha-ness

This novel definitely starts off with a bang, as Autumn is on the run for her life, and Kenton has agreed to take her in. Although they have a rather rocky start, you can’t help but love the development of their relationship. I’ll admit, I had trouble putting this one down at times, as it’ll make you laugh, sympathize, and even fear for our main characters.

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Autumn’s sass at dealing with Kenton’s crazy ex was hilarious, yet you also see her and Kenton grow closer and learn to trust each other. She even opens up to him about the child she had to give up years before. And ohhhhh my goodness, the sex! Seeing how Kenton initially tried to keep his distance, it was delightfully surprising how alpha and growly this man could be in the bedroom. Although, considering we’re dealing with the incredible Aurora Rose Reynolds here, who is a master expert at creating a possessive alpha male, I guess it shouldn’t have been too surprising!

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Disorganized

One slight problem I had with this book dealt with the organization of it. Firstly, although it starts and ends with a lot of suspense and intensity, the middle was completely lacking in pretty much any reference to the fact Autumn was witness to a mob hit. Although I absolutely loved the middle section as Kenton and Autumn’s relationship blossomed, it did feel rather disjointed. It was also slightly unrealistic considering Autumn is supposed to be lying low as she’s hiding from a mob hit-man, and yet she registers as a nurse at a local hospital. Pretty sure you just put a homing beacon on your back there!

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Varying Points of View

Another element which I considered to be both a plus and minus was the fact that we get to see certain aspects of the novel from both Autumn and Kenton’s point of view. Autumn is the main narrator, and although I enjoyed Kenton’s POV, it came at some rather haphazard times. It takes a while for us to see it at all in the beginning, and I remember being kind of shocked when it suddenly appeared. Then his POV disappears for a large majority of the novel before finally reappearing for a suspenseful portion at the end of the novel.

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It was pretty interesting and exciting to hear Kenton’s side of the story, yet also slightly disturbing as we see how he isn’t afraid to take the law into his own hands, and bring about his own form of justice when someone threatens his woman. Although this was in line with his possessive, alpha-male persona, it was also at odds with the caring protector he’s been for Autumn up until this late point in the novel. An action-packed, yet rather jarring ending all things considered.

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Series: Underground Kings, book 1. Technically this is a stand-alone, yet it takes place concurrently with the Until series. There are a few mentions here and there of characters and events from that series which was fun, yet also kind of hard to remember who they all were, not to mention the timeline of events.

Should you read it? I really did enjoy this one. We see some of the same elements from the Until series that we all know and love, from an alpha-male hero to a bit of suspense, and some fun supporting characters. This is probably one of my favorite heroines by this author, as she was a tough cookie who could look out for herself. Certain aspects of the novel could have been arranged a bit better, including the narration and suspenseful plot points.

Smut Level: Sexual attraction and intensity is immediately evident, yet it does take a while for our couple to seal the deal. When they do though?! Hot dog in the Tennessee heat, look out!!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. Self-Published. 222 Pages.