Forever in a Moment by Charlotte O’Shay

A snowy holiday romance just in time for spring! It has so many feels that you’ll find yourself wishing for snow.

What’s it About? 

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A stormy encounter… Samantha DeMartino’s Christmas wedding is two weeks away when her fiancé calls the whole thing off. Word on the street: his cold feet are being heated by an old flame. With her well-ordered world in complete disarray, Sam’s friends convince her to go on her honeymoon—alone. A week at a charming Vermont inn away from the city and her demanding corporate career could be just what she needs to figure out her next steps.

Between his twenty-four seven work schedule on his family’s dairy farm and teaching tourists to ski, Jed Armstrong’s too busy to think about how lonely he is…until Sam sings her way into his life during a Christmas blizzard. Now he has to figure out a way to convince her to stay. Can a vivacious city girl find forever with a reclusive farmer? Will her secret keep her from trying?

First Impressions

Taking a break from the pressures of the city, and whisking yourself away to a snow-covered inn located on the edge of a small and picturesque Vermont town. Man oh man, this sounds like a dream vacation, doesn’t it? There’s just one little problem. This was actually supposed to be Samantha’s honeymoon. Her fiancé, make that ex-fiancé, broke up with her just a few weeks before their wedding because he fell in love with somebody else. Then on the drive up to this snowy retreat Samantha’s car runs out of gas. In the middle of a snow storm. Which she has to trudge her way through in the dark in order to find said snow-covered inn. Mkaaayyy, so make that a butt-load of problems rather than one little problem. I guess this doesn’t sound like the dream vacation after all! However, to be rescued in the midst of said trudge through a snow storm by a sexy, dashing, muscular local dairy farmer/ski instructor? Well…Samantha might just have a bit of Christmas luck following her after all!

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Short Mourning Period

Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. This woman was just jilted by a fiancé she had every intention of marrying up until just a matter of days ago, how can she already be falling in love with someone new? Talk about a short mourning period for an engagement that lasted for several years. You also can’t help but wonder if this connection with Jed is the real deal, or if she’s simply on the rebound following a painful break up. The beauty of this time away from the hustle and bustle of her regular routine is that it allows Sam to look back on her previous relationship with her ex, Ben, and realize that her seemingly perfect life wasn’t as perfect as she had initially led herself to believe.

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In the peace and quiet of this small town Sam comes to the startling conclusion that back in New York she was stuck in a rut in almost every aspect of her life. She’s always had a strong relationship with her parents, but realizes that she came to work in their law firm immediately after graduating from law school because it was the easy and expected route for her to take. This path of least resistance was also true when it came to her relationship with Ben. Their romance made sense. He was handsome, hard working, and in a similar line of work as her mother. Why wouldn’t they end up together? When she looks back on this though she realizes that what they had wasn’t necessarily love. They fell into a relationship of convenience.

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At one point during Sam’s reflection of the weeks leading up to her wedding and honeymoon, she wearily admits that she didn’t even look upon it with excitement, but rather it “…was more like a finish line I was determined to cross. More like an obligation.” Prior to this moment, Sam never really had the opportunity to question if this life path she was following was one she actually wanted, because on the surface it seemed like something she should want. Only when Ben left her did she finally have a chance to look back at the decisions and dissatisfactions of her life and realize that she’s never really decided anything for herself. She just sort of fell into what made sense. Now she can figure out what she really wants out of life. Previously she’d always seen her future in New York, working with her parents. But now? Maybe now she has the chance to do something different with her career. Maybe now she has the chance to uproot herself to a little snowy Vermont town. With a new man on top of it.

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The Timetable of Love

Samantha’s engagement may have just ended in a somewhat embarrassing fashion, and she may have just met the handsome town local in the midst of a terrible snow storm, but she can’t deny that the mere presence of this man fills her with butterflies. She quickly comes to the realization that what she feels for Jed isn’t simply physical attraction, and that if she had come to this serene inn with her fiancé as originally planned she still would have realized that her connection with Jed was significantly stronger than what she ever felt for Ben. As the two spend more time together on the slopes and on his family’s dairy farm the simmering sexual tension between them continues to grow.

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However, the logical part of her brain continually questions if it’s worth pursuing this immediate attraction she feels for him. Aren’t things moving too fast? She just met this man after all, and she was engaged to another man just a few weeks ago. But then another character asks her a very important question, “Is there a timetable for falling in love?” Sure, things are moving quickly between Sam and Jed, and she’s heading back to New York in simply a matter of days, but why should she delay the possibility of joy? Sam remains wary about the possibility of opening herself up to heartbreak once again. A one-night stand with Jed would certainly satisfy both of their desires, but also has the potential to open a Pandora’s box of emotional hurt when she must inevitably return to the city. The prospect of letting Jed into her life so quickly and so fully terrifies Sam to her core, but he just might be worth taking a chance on.

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

Series: Deerbourne Inn, book 1. You bet your snow-covered booty I’ll be continuing on with this series. I’m keeping my fingers crossed we’ll see some tales of romance for a few of the local townsfolk we saw in this first book. From the former girlfriend of Jed’s deceased brother, to the sassy front-desk clerk at the Inn, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Final Impressions: Lemme tell you something, all month I have been begging for the cold wind of winter to leave us behind for the warm weather, budding flowers, and chirping birds of spring. Reading this short romance in the span of two days had me reminiscing about snow and a cup of hot cocoa. If that’s not the sign of a good romance, then I don’t know what is! This is a feel-good romance in every way imaginable. Beyond that it’s a story of figuring out what’s important in life, and realizing that sometimes taking a chance in life will be worth all the happiness it inevitably brings.

Smut Level: Nothing too detailed or over-the-top erotic. We do get a few delightful pickup truck make-out scenes with foggy windows and straddling the driver moments that were definitely my favorite.

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $3.99 Kindle Price. The Wild Rose Press, Inc. 114 Pages.

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The Attraction Equation by Kadie Scott

Alright folks, it’s official, I am totally in love with this series, and all of the characters. Not to mention the iddy biddy widdle puppies!

What’s it About? 

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FBI agent Max Carter lives his life by a strict set of rules–rules that don’t allow for distraction, deviation…or a relationship. But tell that to his matchmaking mama. To avoid yet another set-up, he announces he has a girlfriend. And now has to produce said girlfriend at Christmas dinner. Maybe Santa has a suitable actress in that red bag of his…

Gina Castillo is about to break her building’s iron-clad “no pets” policy to give her little brother the perfect Christmas gift–a dog. Too bad Max, the most inconveniently sexy tenant in the building, catchers her red handed. Gina expects to be evicted, but instead finds herself blackmailed into playing the role of his girlfriend. Two lies plus one dog should equal a hot mess of a holiday, but attraction and Christmas magic might just defy the rules…

First Impressions

I can’t help it guys and gals, I love, love, LOVED this book! Let me put it to you this way, I absolutely hate New York City (psychotic, I know), and yet if it were in any way possible I would want to live in this world, and have a glass of wine with all of the characters. Maybe two glasses. Ok…a bottle. In my opinion, this is the perfect example of a quintessential beach read. Although, considering this novel takes place at Christmas time I guess it’s technically a better snowy cabin read. It’s quick, cute, funny, sexy and endearing. You can’t ask for much else. And did I mention there’s a puppy?!?! Squeeee!!! This was such a fun read I found it hard to put down. Seriously, the number of times I considered going in late to work with the excuse of “sorry, I was stuck reading a good book”, was too many times to count. Actually, come to think of it, it happened approximately three times, as I finished it in just as many days.

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A Colorful Fake Girlfriend

So let’s start with the premise of the novel; we’re dealing with a fake girlfriend tale here. When Max discovers Gina is keeping a puppy in a no-pets allowed apartment building, he blackmails her into being his fake lady love over the holidays to keep his matchmaking mother off his back. Honestly, fake girlfriend romance novels can really be hit or miss. Let’s face it, we all know how they’re going to end. Playboy guy will fall for said fake girlfriend, and before you know it their phony relationship isn’t so fake after all. But here was the absolute brilliance of this book; Gina fully acknowledges the ridiculousness of the situation.

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Gina even warns Max that according to every romance novel ever, if she accepts this ploy they’re bound to fall in love. In my view, the best sure-fire way to make a cheesy story line work is to highlight the fact that it’s cheesy. Don’t hide it people, revel in it! The other positive aspect of how this rather common romance novel trope was handled was the fact that it doesn’t take long at all before both Max and Gina admit they’re not only attracted to each other, but also that their feelings extend beyond the physical. Their continued hesitation to transition from fake to real deals with the mutual assumption that they’re too different to ever fit into the other person’s life. It adds another layer of depth to the traditional fake GF story line.

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Obsessively in Love

Now while I really enjoyed the approach to the blackmail story, the absolute standout feature of this novel was the incorporation of Max’s OCD. On the surface, that actually sounds really insensitive, and makes me sound like a weirdo, so let me delve deeper into why I enjoyed this aspect so much. I have read many a romance novel featuring a lead with OCD, and many of them default into treating it like a kind of humorous character trait. Only meeting the love of his life does the male lead magically learn to unwind and not be so obsessive. This novel sort of starts off that way in that Gina’s carefree and colorful nature is at odds with Max’s structured life, and their little arguments over it are kind of silly and quirky.

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However, after a while we see how deep Max’s OCD runs, and how it impacts his relationship with not only Gina, but his family as well. He knows that his need for organized structure is on the unhealthy side, and he feels Gina deserves better than that. He doesn’t want his obsessive nature to squash her zest for life, so he draws away from her. But the most heartbreaking moment had to be when Max finally confronts his family for all their teasing about his obsessive habits. He insists that he doesn’t need fixing, and that he’s not some sideshow to be laughed at. During this passionate scene there is one person who fully understands what he’s saying and is willing to stand by his side: Gina. That is why when push comes to shove this book is so much more than a simple fake girlfriend tale.

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

Series: Love Undercover, book 2. Yeah so I need an ETA on book 3 like, yesterday. Also, be sure to check out book 1 in the series, The Wrong Kind of Compatible, on sale for $0.99 on Amazon from Feb 12-16!

Should you read it? This is one of those few moments where I think I like the sequel even more than the first book in a series. And I liked book 1! I understand how fake girlfriend novels aren’t necessarily for everyone, and this one does have quite a few moments of cheesiness, but I definitely think it’s one worth reading. It starts off adorably silly, but as it goes on we uncover a surprisingly sensitive and vulnerable side of Max that is so heartfelt I couldn’t help but fall in love. As for Gina, she pushes Max’s buttons, but also brings out the best in him. Again, love, love, LOVE!!

Smut Level: Hot damn! I was wondering at first if this was going to stay mainly on the cutesy chick-lit side, but this baby is brimming with passion. We’ve got some action up against a door, in bed, and even a late night naked workout in the apartment building gym. Yummy!

Get it on Amazon: Click Here. $2.99 Kindle Price. Entangled: Lovestruck. 197 Pages.