Review & Excerpt: LIGHTING GAME (A GhostWalker Novel Book 17) by Christine Feehan

FBC8DDE2-FE2F-4213-9F33-8A97BEE42A8ELIGHTING GAME (A GhostWalker Novel Book 17) by Christine Feehan

Publication Date: March 2, 2021

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

F0F2F15B-9972-48BC-8A90-CE5391BEABE1Danger and passion fuse in this electrifying GhostWalker novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

GhostWalker Rubin Campo’s rough upbringing made him into the man he is today: strong, steadfast and wary of outsiders. When he and his brother return to their family’s homestead in the Appalachian Mountains, he can immediately sense that a stranger has taken up residence in their cabin—a woman who just happens to be a GhostWalker too.

Jonquille looks deceptively delicate but is clearly a fighter. She also doesn’t seem to care that Rubin could kill her where she stands. She sought him out, wanting to connect on their shared interest in electrical charges. As one of the first failed GhostWalker experiments, Jonquille can produce lightning with her body—but she can’t control it.

Their connection is magnetic, their abilities in sync. Rubin knows she’s his match, the answer to a lifetime of pain and intense loneliness. But Jonquille came to him with hidden intentions, ones that threaten to destroy their bond before it can truly begin.…

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I’ll admit upfront that although I have enjoyed this series, it had become a bit predictable. I am happy to say that this installment felt new and fun. Even Jonquille’s flashbacks had a different feel that I liked.

For those that read my reviews, you know that I love group camaraderie and easy banter. I think that is why I loved this book from the start. Rubin and his brother, Diego have an easy banter with a give-and-take relationship that pulled me in. I wondered how Jonquille would mesh with that but needn’t have worried. She fit right in and they became a group of three that made me want to join them.

The romance part moved slowly and culminated in a sparking sexual encounter late in the book. I honestly didn’t miss it as it moved in a logical pace for all the background story going on. Most of the book was just the three of them which helped with their bonding. Happily, the rest of the Ghostwalkers made an appearance later. (I just love the group.)  The storyline kept me wondering and guessing at what was happening and who was the bad guy in play. I do wish the resolution of that part of the storyline wasn’t so easy. It was a bit of a letdown after the buildup. Not enough to make me lower my score, but it is a point I want to make.

I loved it and can’t wait for the next book. I hope its about Diego and includes some of the new players.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Rubin turned to look at his brother, not knowing how to feel about someone invading their cabin and actually working on it. No one had ever done anything to the Campo cabin other than a Campo. He stepped into the middle of the room and took a long, slow look around, taking in everything. His brother took his back, doing the same. It was a familiar position, but they were looking at a very unfamiliar cabin.

Their cabin didn’t even smell the same. Coral honeysuckle was rare to find in the mountains and yet the cabin definitely held the subtle fragrance mixed strangely enough with the scent of daffodils. His mother called them jonquils. All along the neighboring holler where they grew freely, they referred to them as Easter lilies. There was no hint of a musty smell at all. The loft held a new mattress. He could tell because it didn’t stink of the usual rodents that had burrowed their way inside the foam. A sleeping bag covered the top of the mattress.

Someone hadn’t been taking things from their cabin. Someone was living there. That someone was female. There were no flowers, but that fragrance told both men the occupant was a woman.

“I’ll get rid of any sign outside that we were anywhere near the place,” Diego said.

Rubin nodded. He was uneasy. When he was uneasy, it usually meant something was very wrong. “Be careful, Diego. I’ve got a bad feeling.”

“I’ve got the same bad feeling. Stay away from the windows.”

Rubin didn’t need the warning. He waited until his brother had slipped outside. Once Diego was out of the cabin, he felt better. He had never seen anyone who could match his brother’s ability in the forest. At least he knew Diego would be safe. He crouched low, squatting, the way his father had taught him, relieving pressure on his spine while he studied the interior of the cabin, inspecting every corner.

The floors were spotless. There was a handwoven rug at the foot of the ladder leading to a loft where the bed was. Four years earlier, they had roughed in a shower and toilet. It had been very rough. They had been used to an outhouse and an outdoor shower when they came to the mountains. The shower was still open, but it was much nicer. The floor of the shower had been set in smooth, polished stones over the plastic around the drain they’d roughed in. They had packed in a brand-new porcelain toilet when they came that year and it was spotless.

The kitchen sink was immaculate. The small gas stove had been thoroughly cleaned. That had been brought up only last year. Ordinarily, they made do with a small grill they kept in the shed around back. The woman who was living in their cabin believed in cleanliness. She hadn’t made things worse, but she had made changes to the kitchen and the bathroom, and even fixed the ladder going to the loft.

Rubin glanced up at the ceiling. They were planning on reroofing this trip. There had been water damage and they hadn’t been able to do more than patch the roof before they had to leave last time. There were no water marks on the ceiling. The wood had been replaced. That wood had been there since he was born. Even with water stains, his father and brothers had hauled that wood from the forest, trimmed it, notched it and put it in place. It had lasted all these years. An outsider had taken it down and replaced it. It didn’t matter that she’d done a damn good job. That was part of his family legacy—all he and Diego had left other than the graveyard behind the cabin.

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Kindle | Hardback

Amazon Series Link

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image#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has over 40 novels published, including four series. Each of her four series has hit #1 on the NY Times. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature for 1999. Since then she has been published by Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards.

She is pleased to have made numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Bookscan, B. Daltons, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Waldenbooks, Ingrams, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, Washington Post, and Walmart. She has received numerous honors throughout her career including being a nominee for the RWA’s RITA. She has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

She has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including large print, palm pilot, e-book, and hardcover. In October of 2007 her first manga comic, Dark Hunger was released in stores. This was the first ever manga comic released by Berkley Publishing and it made #11 on Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller’s List. Her ground-breaking book trailer commercials have been shown on TV and in the movie theaters. She has been featured on local TV, appeared on the The Montel Williams Show, and her book Dark Legend was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine.

Christine Feehan has also appeared at numerous writers’ conventions and book signings including: Romantic Times Convention, Get Caught Reading at Sea Cruise, Celebrate Romance Conference, Emerald City Conference, and numerous Romance Writers of America Conferences.

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Review & Excerpt: ENJOY THE VIEW by Sarah Morgenthaler

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ENJOY THE VIEW (Moose Springs, Alaska Book 3) by Sarah Morgenthaler

Publication Date: January 19, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

CB6DB48E-4AD1-4D83-84B7-A35537DFC5F7A grouchy mountaineer, a Hollywood starlet

And miles of untamed wilderness…

What could possibly go wrong?

Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.

Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.

Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.

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He’d just been trying to be nice. In the future, Easton was going to stick with aloof, unapproachable, and downright surly. 

Nice was a pain in the ass. Nice earned him a redhead with a permanent marker and a mischievous look on her face. 

Don’t stop, River had written on her makeshift sign. Filming movie. 

Which was how Easton Lockett, one of the most respected men in Moose Springs, found himself standing on the side of the road with a pizza box sign, telling everyone not to stop for the woman walking down the road. 

If only he’d made the same choice for himself. 

The absolute last person Easton wanted to see coming down the road at this moment turned around the bend, the heavy off-road tires of her sleek black Jeep slapping the pavement. There was nowhere to hide. And knowing his sister, there was nowhere he could hide to keep her from finding him in a pride-compromising position. 

With a groan of dismay, Easton waggled the sign at her as she slowed down, then pulled off the side of the road behind his truck. 

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” 

“I’ve been thinking the same thing for the last hour,” Easton replied, bemused. 

Ashtyn Lockett had been a thorn in Easton’s side since the day she was born fifteen seconds before him. At some point since he’d seen her yesterday, she’d decided to dye her pixie cut a vibrant aquamarine with pink tips. Next week, it would be something different but equally bold. 

She must’ve been taking the day off by the water, because only half of the piercings she normally sported jewelry in were filled. Her nose piercing and eyebrow were adorned, but the multiple holes in her ears were piercing free. Unlike River, his twin was dressed for the weather. A ribbed tank top showing the extensive and expensive tattoos on her arms. Shorts and sandals with bright nail polish from her morning pedicure. Even brighter colors on her fingernails. 

Easton had spent a lot of his life glaring over his sister’s head at the guys who were interested in her, but there really was no need. Ash had never needed anyone to protect her. She was perfectly capable of handling her business all on her own. 

“What the hell are you doing?” Brown eyes the exact same color as Easton’s eyes widened. 

Sighing, Easton lifted his pizza box up in the air, turning it toward the oncoming traffic. 

“I’m being a Good Samaritan.” 

“Are you? Because it kind of looks like you’re making an idiot out of yourself for some tourists.” 

“They’re not tourists.” Deep denial was as good a coping mechanism as any. “They’re filming some sort of movie around the bend. And before you grill me, I don’t know anything about it. I saw a woman walking down the road, and I stopped to see if she needed help. She nearly skinned me alive for interrupting her shot.” 

Ash rolled her eyes. “Why would they pick here to film? Don’t they know everyone’s going to slow down and see what’s wrong?” 

“That’s what I said, but she’s…well…determined.” 

Gorgeous. Fiery. Way more trouble than he needed on any given day. 

“How long are you planning on standing here?” 

Easton didn’t know, but he’d been out there for long enough; even his arms were starting to get sore. Finally, a familiar SUV drove past and performed a highly illegal U-turn, pulling right next to Easton. River stuck her head out from the passenger seat, her face lighting up as she took in him and his sign. 

“No wonder no one stopped,” she said. “You look like you want to kill someone.” 

“That’s resting Easton face.” Ash smirked at him. “He’s normally worse.” 

He wasn’t speaking to either of them. Nope. Not a word. 

“Hey, thanks for the help. Sorry we forgot to tell you we got the shot. Here, dinner is on us.” Leaning out the window, River tucked a twenty-dollar bill in his shirt collar, not giving Easton a chance to refuse before Bree, the driver, pulled away. 

Ash lost it, leaning back against her Jeep, laughing so hard, her mascara started to run. 

“If you could see your face,” she all but cried. 

“I feel dirty,” he murmured, taking the twenty and stuffing it into his pocket. 

“You are dirty.” Gasping for breath, she wiped her eyes. “I think I love her, whoever she is.” 

The feeling wasn’t mutual. 

With an annoyed grunt, Easton tossed the pizza box in the back of Ash’s Jeep. “Compost this, please.” 

Since his services were no longer needed, Easton decided there was no reason to stand there any longer, giving his sister ammunition. 

“You never saw this,” he warned her. 

“Oh, everyone saw this.” 

Which was so true. In a place like Moose Springs, memories were long. The town would never—ever—let Easton live this down. 

“Destroy the evidence, Ash. If you love me, destroy the evidence.” 

“Don’t get your hopes up,” his twin teased. As he headed for his truck, she called after him. “I might frame it instead!” 

Excerpted from Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler. © 2021 by Sarah Morgenthaler. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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This was my favorite Moose Springs, Alaska novel. It can be read as a stand-alone, so no need to read the others first to know what is going on. I wish there were more interactions with the townspeople, they are a hoot…but this story didn’t really need them to keep the feel of the other books.

We meet Easton first, an introverted mountain man – or that’s what he portrays. Soon you realize he is a real nice guy. One with a sense of humor, that feels deeply, and cares for those around him. I love the fun camaraderie with family and friends. River herself has a snarky and fun personality. She could have so easily gone caustic and unlikeable…but she and her crewmates made me laugh and chuckle quite often, letting me know her better.

I enjoyed watching River and Easton’s attraction grow into a friendship and ultimately love. It blended nicely with the outdoor action of climbing a mountain. Yes, River made a few dumb decisions, but that was part of the story, so I can forgive her. Overall, I loved this story with all it’s quirky humor, characters unexpectedly learning about themselves, the hysterical wildlife, and a sweet happily ever after. I can’t wait for the next book!

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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About the Author

Geologist and lifelong science nerd, Sarah Morgenthaler is a passionate supporter of chocolate chip cookies, geeking out over rocks, and playing with her rescue pit bull, Sammy. When not writing romantic comedy and contemporary romance set in far-off places, Sarah can be found travelling with her husband, hiking national parks, and enjoying her own happily ever after.

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Review: NO HOLDING BACK by Lori Foster

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NO HOLDING BACK (The McKenzies of Ridge Trail Book 1) by Lori Foster

Publication Date: January 26, 2021

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

C16242C7-81F9-4D79-AF35-6BFAC07C9799Not needing him won’t stop her from wanting him…

Trucker Sterling (Star) Parson is no stranger to the challenges a woman faces, both in her industry and in life. But she can take care of herself. She’s never needed—or wanted—a man around…until she meets Cade McKenzie. The take-charge bar owner sets off all kinds of alarm bells for Sterling, but he also sets her heart racing.

Cade’s lived in Ridge Trail long enough to know trouble when he sees it, and the moment Sterling—Star—walks into his bar, he knows trouble’s come to call. Secrets run deep in the small town and Cade can tell Star’s got as many as he does, leaving him itching to uncover every last one. But finding common ground will mean trusting one another, further feeding an intense attraction that’s growing impossible to resist.

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I enjoyed the first book in this new series. I was hesitant due to the human trafficking angle but found that it wasn’t too graphic for me to handle. The storyline was exciting and filled with tension – keeping me guessing on a few particulars until the end. Some parts seemed to drag a bit, but I chalked that up to being the first in a new series and learning about the McKenzies’ mission in life.

As for the main characters, Sterling is strong, assertive, and confident while still being likeable. Cade was reluctant to be forced into a way of life, but darn good at what he does. He is protective with alpha tendencies, yet still able to appreciate Sterling’s abilities and intelligence. They made a believable and good couple. The romance built to a nice sexy love story.

Cade’s family dynamics built through the book and culminated into the camaraderie that I love in a series. I’m anxious for the next book, hoping it’s about Cade’s brother. That should be fun.

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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Synopsis

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Lori Foster is a New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of more than 100 titles. She’s known for her fun, very sexy contemporary romance novels revolving around alpha males and meet (and fall in love with) strong, independent women. Lori’s been a recipient of the prestigious RT Book ReviewsCareer Achievement Award for Series Romantic Fantasy, and for Contemporary Romance. Even more fun, Lori’s been a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle, a clue in the USA Today Quick-cross puzzle, and the sensual and sexy Too Much Temptation was Amazon’s 2002 top-selling title in Romance.

Lori has a super-active Facebook page where she regularly gives away reader goodies like books (of course), T-shirts, ARCs (advance reviewers’ copies), tote bags and lots of fun swag. LIKE her Facebook page so you never miss out!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Review: SPECIAL OPS SEDUCTION by Megan Crane

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SPECIAL OPS SEDUCTION (An Alaska Force Novel Book 5) by Megan Crane

Publication Date: January 12, 2021

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

ADD46281-42E6-4D39-A8FD-DA746BA7AC0EShe’s the last woman he ever wanted to see again…

After an official operation turned deadly, Jonas Crow began a new life in Grizzly Harbor with Alaska Force. But when fellow soldier Bethan Wilcox joins the group, she forces him to remember things he actively prefers to forget. That’s unforgivable enough. But now the two of them are forced together on a mission to uncover deadly secrets tied to their complicated past, and with the heat between them at a boil, forgiveness is the least of his worries…

And the only woman he needs.

Bethan Wilcox, one of the first women to make it through Army Ranger school, didn’t join Alaska Force to deal with Jonas’s foul temper. Or her own errant attraction to him. Thrown together in a race against the clock, they have to pretend to be a couple and play nice to throw the enemy off their scent. She knows better than to let their pretend love feel real…especially while time is running out.

Jonas has always been good at saving the world. But it’s Bethan he needs to save this time around—if she doesn’t save him first.

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Donna 4 stars

Another exciting edition to the Alaska Force series. I wondered how the author would handle the surly Jonas, sure that Bethan would be up to the task…and she was. I like her. She’s strong and capable, an over-achiever in a “man’s world”, yet human and likeable. Too many times a woman is made out to be a bit witchy to show strength, Bethan held that line quite well. Although they made a great couple, I couldn’t understand her feelings for him until almost midway into the story. He was such an ass to her, and his reasons never made sense to me. Thankfully, his inner self showed through and made him worthy.

The suspenseful story was intriguing and provided some fun action. I completely enjoyed how their romance blossomed during their joint mission to her family home. That was my favorite part of the book and had me wondering quite a bit about the antagonist. I must admit that I never did figure out the bad guy’s motivation regarding Bethan and Jonas…but I enjoyed the read none-the-less.

One of my favorite aspects of this series, is the group dynamics of the Alaska Force Team. The camaraderie seems effortless and pulls me into them, caring about them, and wishing I were part of it all. It was a fun read, leaving me anxious for the next installment.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.  

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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About the author

USA Today bestselling, RITA-nominated, and critically-acclaimed author Megan Crane has written more than eighty-five books, and counting. She’s won fans with her romance, women’s fiction, chick lit, and work-for-hire young adult novels as well as with the Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Dare, and contemporary cowboy books she writes as Caitlin Crews. These days her focus is on contemporary romance in all its forms, from cowboys to military heroes and beyond – including her take on futuristic Vikings, outlaw bikers, and fairy tale princes. She has a Masters and Ph.D. in English Literature, has taught creative writing classes in places like UCLA Extension’s prestigious Writers’ Program, and is always available to give workshops (or her opinion). She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her comic artist husband, though, at any given time, she is likely to either be huddled in a coffee shop somewhere or off traveling the world. Preferably both.

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Review: HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING by Denise Williams

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HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING: A Novel by Denise Williams

Publication Date: December 1, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

23540829-C04E-4246-AF2A-D5DECAB849A6One daring to-do list and a crash course in flirtation turn a Type A overachiever’s world upside down.

When her flailing department lands on the university’s chopping block, Professor Naya Turner’s friends convince her to shed her frumpy cardigan for an evening on the town. For one night her focus will stray from her demanding job and she’ll tackle a new kind of to-do list. When she meets a charming stranger in town on business, he presents the perfect opportunity to check off the items on her list. Let the guy buy her a drink. Check. Try something new. Check. A no-strings-attached hookup.  Check…almost.

Jake makes her laugh and challenges Naya to rebuild her confidence, which was left toppled by her abusive ex-boyfriend. Soon she’s flirting with the chance at a more serious romantic relationship—except nothing can be that easy. The complicated strings around her dating Jake might destroy her career.

Naya has two options. She can protect her professional reputation and return to her old life or she can flirt with the unknown and stay with the person who makes her feel like she’s finally living again.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I genuinely enjoyed this debut novel by Denise Williams. I must note that it was not exactly as I expected from the blurb. Yes, it mentions that she had an abusive ex, but it made it seem more like a romantic comedy about someone with a dark past. So, I must warn the readers that her ex comes back into her life, and it isn’t good. There are threats, intimidation, gaslighting, and attempted rape. That ultimately gave this fun romance a depth of character, enhancing the joy of Naya finding her HEA.

Naya is someone I could relate to immediately, so I was pleased when she met Jake and I found I liked him as well. Neither are perfect, but they are real. Their banter was fun and fast-paced…some of the puns and jokes made me groan, but that was who they were. The easy camaraderie was present with Naya and Jake’ friends as well. I love when the side characters are as much part of the story’s vibe, as the lead characters. It makes you wish you were a part of it all.

The underlying tension in the story kept be riveted. The romance itself was a joy to read. Fun, romantic, and sexy. I cannot wait to see what Ms. Williams gives us next.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

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About the Author

Denise Williams wrote her first book in the 2nd grade. I Hate You and its sequel, I Still Hate You, featured a tough, funny heroine, a quirky hero, witty banter, and a dragon. Minus the dragons, these are still the books she likes to write. After penning those early works, she finished second grade and eventually earned a PhD. ​After growing up a military brat around the world and across the country, Denise now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and two ornery shih-tzus.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

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Review: BUTTERFLY DREAMING by Lexi Blake

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BUTTERFLY DREAMING (Butterfly Bayou Series Book 3) by Lexi Blake

Publication Date: December 1, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

81605C93-48D2-42F4-A15A-D4C1377672D4New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake’s heartfelt contemporary romance set in Louisiana’s Butterfly Bayou

Roxanne King left the big city looking for a simpler life, but after years of proving herself on a SWAT team in New York City, being deputy in a sleepy Louisiana parish is something of an adjustment. She’s settling in, but she knows she made some mistakes in the beginning–Zep Guidry being the worst of them. Zep drifts through life on his looks and Cajun charm. Roxie learned the hard way he’s not for her.

Zep is a man who knows what he wants, and what he wants is Roxie. He’s just not sure how to get her. They spent one hot night together a year before and now all the lovely deputy seems interested in doing to him is arresting him. He’s not used to a woman he can’t charm, but Roxie seems immune. He’s determined to win her back by any means necessary. Including becoming the kind of man she desires.

And when Roxie’s past comes calling, it might be the opportunity Zep needs to show Roxie that the town bad boy might just be the man of her dreams.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

This is a lovely romance between Zep, the town’s supposed playboy, and Roxanne, the standoffish new deputy. Their relationship may have started out with a physical encounter, but the slow burning romance brought out their true selves. Not only to each other, but town and family as well. I loved watching them take a chance on being open and honest about their feelings, hopes and dreams. It was heartfelt and romantic.

One of the best parts to this series is the side characters. Papillon is the perfect place for a small-town romance. It is full of colorful characters, nosy neighbors, and just enough normal to round it all out. Wait until you read the town hall meeting. I’m still giggling. This combined with a sweet romantic story makes this a great book to curl up with.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Buy Links

Kindle | Paperback

Amazon Series Link

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About the Author

imageNY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

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Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: RIDE THE TIDE by Julie Ann Walker

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RIDE THE TIDE (The Deep Six Book 3) by Julie Ann Walker

Publication Date: November 24, 2020

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

9089FFDF-FA32-44A9-906E-C8F0F156928AOnce a fighter, always a fighter…

Former Navy SEAL Mason McCarthy is done being a fighting man. Now he and the Deep Six Salvage crew are working feverishly to find the wreck of the Santa Cristina and its legendary sunken treasure. Unfortunately for Mason’s peace of mind, chatty, brilliant historian Alexandra Merriweather has joined the hunt and there’s no avoiding her. Alex is exactly the kind of distraction Mason can’t afford right now…or maybe ever.

When a murderous enemy from Mason’s past threatens the Deep Six, he must rely on old instincts and the skills he honed from years of running black ops to make sure nothing touches Alexandra. But with their lives on the line and the adrenaline running high, it’s inevitable that sparks will fly.

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Donna review 4.5 stars

I enjoyed this long-awaited installment in the Deep Six series. Four years is a long time to remember everyone and back stories, so I wish I had re-read them first. Not that you need to, the story is easy enough to follow and figure out, but it would have been easier to slip back into their world.

I loved Alex and her quirky, nerdy ways. Especially when she rambles while trying not to. I was able to identify with her on most things. The whole virgin thing and throwing herself repeatedly at Mason got a little old and came across as desperate. I began to feel sorry for Mason. Thankfully they figured out their problems….finally, providing a lovely HEA.

As with all Ms. Walker’s books, it’s the group dynamics and camaraderie that keep me reading. She has a way of making us believe these are real people who have history, friendship, and common goals. Add in danger and treasure hunting, and you have an exciting romance. I do wish more time was spent on the treasure hunt, but the threat confronting them was riveting enough to keep my mind off the ship. Danger, battles, sex, romance, humor and tenderness abound. I sure hope we don’t have to wait so long for the next book!

*Review copy provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

Mason “Monet” McCarthy had a problem. 

She was five feet tall. Had curly red hair that was only fifty percent tamed under the best of conditions, and one hundred percent out of control this early in the morning. And she was sitting at a table by the window watching the multicolored ships of the shrimp fleet as they rocked precariously with the wave action out near the horizon while her fingers absently fiddled with the corner of a book. 

Oh, and she was also studiously ignoring him. 

She was wicked good at that last part. Was making a frickin’ hobby of it, as a matter of fact. Not that he could blame her, considering what she’d offered him. 

And what he’d turned down. 

Her name was Alexandra Merriweather. Alex for short, which was a ridiculously masculine moniker for such a tiny wisp of a woman. One with skin like porcelain, eyes the color of Colombian emeralds, and a laugh as sweet and tinkling as a music box. 

She was his problem because…well…he liked her. Like, liked her liked her. And if his cheating ho of a wife… Scratch that. Rewind… That would be his cheating ho of an ex-wife—had taught him anything, it was that he wasn’t fit to like a woman like Alex. 

Not anymore. 

All the years schlepping his ass through countless missions, maiming and killing in the name of the flag, had turned him into something…not normal. 

That was the phrase Sarah had used when he came home early to surprise her for her birthday, but instead found her screwing his ex-best friend in their marriage bed. Surprise! 

“What d’you expect, Mason?” Sarah’s expression had been so sincere. “You’re gone all the time, and when you’re here, you’re not normal.” 

Copy that. When it came to a life of violence, the effects were biological, physiological, and psychological. It was the price of being a warrior. 

So even though he’d been heartbroken by her betrayal, he’d never worked up much anger over it. Then and now, there was no way to deny the truth. Mason McCarthy was no longer capable of living an ordinary life with the house, the wife, and the two-point-three kids. 

The only reason he was sitting in this hotel bar now, a bona fide civilian, was because of a deathbed promise he and the rest of his teammates had made to Rusty Lawrence, the eighth man in their SEAL unit. Barring that, Mason figured he would’ve kept on running and gunning until he found the bullet with his name on it. 

With a fingertip, he traced the scrolling black letters inked on the inside of his left forearm. For RL they read. Picturing Rusty’s craggy face, he tried to determine whether to curse the sorry sonofabitch or thank him for forcing them all to make that vow and wave their fond farewells to the navy. 

A call of “G’morning, asshole!” cut into his thoughts. Turning, he found Ray “Wolf” Roanhorse standing behind him. 

Since he’d yet to determine how good the morning was or wasn’t, Mason grunted his reply. Wolf, used to Mason’s wordless responses, bent to scratch Meat’s exposed belly. 

The fat English bulldog slept on his back beside Mason’s barstool, dick and balls on display for the entire breakfast crowd, and his snores nearly drowning out the cries of the seagulls coming in through the hotel’s open windows. 

Meat was the only thing Mason had taken from the divorce. He’d let Sarah have their restored three-decker in Southie, along with the furniture and all the minutia that went with a “normal” life. But Meat? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but he’d have crossed hell with nothing but a bucket of ice water before he’d let her keep his dog. 

“A wise woman once said, ‘If you risk nothin’, you risk everythin’.’” With the unaffected ease that came with being supremely fit, Wolf settled himself onto the barstool next to Mason’s. 

The two of them had become instant friends when they’d been teamed up as swim partners way back in BUD/S—Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL—training. And through all the intervening years, Wolf had never run out of inspirational quotes. He fancied himself a scholar of the world’s philosophers and religions. 

There were times, including this one, when that could get damned annoying. 

Instead of answering, Mason kept quiet. He hoped his silence conveyed his wish for more coffee and less talk. 

“I said,” Wolf said louder, “a wise woman once—” 

“First off,” Mason muttered irritably, “what part of this face”—he pointed to his scowling mug—“makes you think I’m in the mood for morning convo?” 

“You’re never in the mood for conversation,” Wolf drawled, his Oklahoma accent making the words sound twice as long as they normally would. “Don’t matter what time of day it is.” 

“Second off,” Mason went on as if Wolf hadn’t spoken, “what’s that supposed to mean anyway? If you risk nothing, you risk everything? 

“It means you should pull your head from your ass and go for it. Take her up on what she’s offerin’.” Wolf stuck a cocktail straw between his teeth and hailed the bartender to put in an order for a Bloody Mary. Hitching his chin toward Alex’s table, he added, “Come on, man. You know you want to.” 

Mason hadn’t been kidding when he said he wasn’t in the mood to talk. But he sure as shit wasn’t in the mood to talk about Alex and her heart-stopping offer. 

Excerpted from Ride the Tide by Julie Ann Walker. © 2020 by Julie Ann Walker. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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3 sets of Hell or High Water and Devil and the Deep

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IMG_7397Julie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling Author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: WOLF UNTAMED by Paige Tyler

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WOLF UNTAMED (SWAT Book 11) by Paige Tyler

Publication Date: November 24, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Synopsis

AB71C818-0440-4844-8066-1DA0BA921A58The guys in the Special Wolf Alpha Team (SWAT) are hotter than ever.

SWAT werewolf Diego Martinez was on a mission to save lives when he walked into the hostage situation—he didn’t expect to find a newly turned teenage werewolf and the kid’s fiercely protective mother. For Bree Harlow and her son, Brandon, Diego is a godsend, and not just because he saved the day.

Bree has spent the years since her divorce trying to do her best by Brandon. But lately the boy who used to tell her everything has been keeping secrets. In the face of all the bizarre things happening at home, there’s something about Diego that Bree can’t resist—especially when he’s able to explain Brandon’s new abilities.

But the hostage incident was just the start in a wave of violence that no one can explain, and when Bree and Brandon are caught in the middle, Diego will do everything in his power to protect the family he wants as his own.

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This is an exciting installment in the SWAT Series and kept me reading to find out the mystery. As with the other stories, the background is full of danger, intrigue, and mystery. One of my favorite parts of the SWAT Unit is the camaraderie and banter.  Even if you read this as a standalone, you can pick up on their closeness and history.

Bree and Diego may have been destined for one another, but their relationship still moved at a believable pace. Thankfully without either of them delving into the “I don’t want a relationship” mode. Neither did it feel like a done deal because of “the one” tract. It was nice and fun to read. I liked them both and they were just a good fit, her son included. Watching Diego learn to be not just a partner, but a father figure and alpha, was heartwarming.

The story was fun and romantic, even though a part of it seemed a bit far-fetched. (Which I know, is an odd thing to say about a paranormal romance.) That strangeness didn’t detract from my enjoyment though, it just has me curious about book 12. I can’t wait.

*Review copy provided NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Excerpt

Bree had no idea if seconds—or hours—passed, but then she heard something so out of place with her surroundings that it immediately snapped her back to reality. 

Growling. 

Low, soft, pained…growling. 

And it was coming from Brandon. 

She looked down to find him gazing up at her with vivid-gold eyes, half-inch-long fangs visible over his bottom lip. 

Bree had always considered herself to be a strong person. She’d gone through a lot in her life and dealt with it. But she couldn’t ignore the obvious. The accumulated stress of this situation had been too much for her. She was having a mental breakdown. Because there was no way she was seeing what she thought she saw. 

Suddenly, the SWAT cop was at her side, pulling Brandon up and talking to him in a slow, calm voice, telling him to relax and breathe, that everything was over and he was going to be okay at the same time he used his big body like a shield, keeping other people in the diner from seeing her son’s face. His voice was the most soothing and calming sound she’d ever heard in her life, and even though he wasn’t talking to her, she found herself breathing in time with his instructions—in through the nose, hold it for five seconds, and out through the mouth. 

Bree watched in stunned fascination as the yellow glow slowly receded from her son’s eyes and the fangs disappeared. All at once, his panicked breathing and frantic features relaxed, and she realized it was the first time in months he didn’t seem tense. 

There was a commotion behind her, and she glanced over her shoulder to see the other officers—dressed like Diego but with weapons and heavy-looking tactical gear strapped across their chests—quickly moving the rest of the hostages outside, herding them in such a way that they didn’t have time to look at the body on the floor…or Brandon. 

It was like they were all working together to keep anyone from seeing what was happening with her son. Like they all somehow knew something unexplainable was going on with him. 

“There you go, kid.” The SWAT cop’s deep voice made her turn back around, and she saw him standing there with his hands on Brandon’s shoulders. “Just a few more deep breaths and you’ll be good to go.” 

Diego was right. A few seconds later, Brandon was fine, and Bree found herself wondering if everything she’dseen was a figment of her confused mind. 

It could have been, right? 

She felt a gentle hand on her arm and looked up into the warmest brown eyes she’d ever seen, a little overwhelmed by the concern she saw there. Diego didn’t even know her, and yet he seemed genuinely worried. 

“I think we should get out of here,” he said, nodding toward Brandon. “This place is about to be crawling with cops, crime-scene techs, and general-purpose gawkers. I’d rather be somewhere else before they show up. We have a lot to talk about.” 

She was about to ask what he meant by that, but then it hit her. Everything she’d seen had been real. Diego had seen it, too. And now he wanted to talk about it. Because that’s what cops did. They dug into stuff until they knew everything. 

Bree’s heart began to thump hard all over again as she realized the danger her son might be in now. What if Diego revealed what he’d seen? Brandon would be treated like a monster. From the look on Brandon’s face, he realized the same thing and was on the verge of freaking out. 

“Relax,” the cop said softly, looking first at Brandon, then her. “I’m not a threat to your son. I promise.” 

Gaze locked with hers, Diego’s eyes flared vivid yellow-gold. The color was only there for a second before it disappeared, but it was impossible to miss. Or mistake it for anything other than what she’d seen in her son’s eyes. The cop looked at Brandon, earning a wide-eyed gasp. Bree had no idea what any of this meant, but it had to be a good sign…right? 

“Like I said,” Diego murmured. “We have a lot to talk about.” 

Excerpted from Wolf Untamed by Paige Tyler. © 2020 by Paige Tyler. Used with permission of the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Giveaway

3 sets of Wolf Rising, Wolf Instinct, and Wolf Rebel

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About the author image

Paige is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romance. She graduated from The University of West Florida with a degree in education in 2000, but decided to pursue a full-time career as a writer in 2004. Since then, she’s written over fifty books in several genres, including paranormal, contemporary, western, sci-fi and erotica. She loves writing about strong, sexy, alpha males and the feisty, independent women who fall for them. From verbal foreplay to sexual heat, her stories of romance, adventure, suspense, passion and true love will leave you breathlessly panting for more.

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review & Excerpt: LEOPARD’S RAGE by Christine Feehan

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LEOPARD’S RAGE (A Leopard Novel, Book 13) by Christine Feehan

Publication Date: November 10, 2020

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Synopsis

AE607595-8308-4732-9213-6D06DBAED040It will take more than desire to tame the animal within in this Leopard novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.

Leopard shifter Sevastyan Amurov has an anger inside of him that burns so hot it’s almost impossible to control. His barely leashed rage threatens to break free, until he meets a woman who soothes his restless soul.

Sevastyan wants Flambe Carver with every breath. He’s determined that the fiery-haired woman will want to be his completely. But his would-be mate comes with strings attached—a relentless stalker who intends to claim her for his own.

They barely know each other, but with a very real threat looming just out of reach, Sevastyan takes Flambe under his protection. And as their connection grows, the embers of desire sparking between them soon burst into an inferno that will consume them both.

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Another super-sexy addition to the Leopard’s Series. I don’t normally warm up to uber-alpha males, but Sevastyan got to me. His desire for love and a mate shone through right away. I also liked how hard he worked on the relationship. Flambe’ however, just didn’t hit it for me. We don’t learn enough about her motivation until late in the book, so I didn’t trust her and couldn’t warm up to her. It seemed he had to do all the work tiptoeing through emotional landmines. It finally worked out and I ended up caring about her. There is a lot of explicit sex involving Shibari. I enjoyed how the author described the rope play so that I could almost picture it and understand the artistic aspect of it.

The background story to the romance carries on from previous books, adding in how Flambe’ got there with her own troubles. The two stories blended well together and brought it to a suspenseful ending. I enjoyed the story and am glad that Sevastyan found his love.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

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Nonexclusive Excerpt #1 (Chapter 1, page 6-8)

Sevastyan was unprepared for Shturm’s furious reaction. The leopard leapt at him, raking and clawing for freedom as if he would go hunting right then and find Flambé’s stalker. Sevastyan remained absolutely expressionless but he couldn’t stop himself from stepping in to her and circling her the way his leopard would, inhaling as he did so. The moment he did, his leopard went crazy. He felt a little insane himself. Her stalker was leopard. He wasn’t Amurov. He wasn’t from Russia, or from one of the lairs Sevastyan was familiar with, but none of that mattered, he was leopard and he was stalking Flambé for a reason.

“He struck you. Hit you. Did he do anything else to you?” Sevastyan forced himself to take a step back when he wanted—no—needed—to yank her closer, spin her around and see for himself.

Flambé frowned and touched the swelling on the side of her head, her hand trembling. She looked confused. “The moment he tried to throw me against the car, I fought him. He punched me and I went down to the pavement and hit my head very hard.”

Sevastyan wanted to pull her close to him, even on the pretense of just steadying her, but the attack had shaken her. Shturm was acting crazy, one minute rolling over and the next struggling to get out. He had to be careful with her.

“He straddled me, grabbing me by my hair, and I kneed him hard, managed to get to my feet and ran for your property. I’d been here a few times with my father so I knew approximately where the trees were the thickest. He’d planted them when I was really young.”

Sevastyan swore to himself. “Is this man someone you know? Someone you were promised to by your father?”

She tilted her head and studied his face for long moment before answering him. “No. He didn’t know my father. Clearly, you’re aware of what we are or you wouldn’t have been so set on hiring our company.”

“Before we go any further, if I ask you inside, will you be uncomfortable alone with me? There is no one else here. I didn’t know how much you knew about shifters and I wanted a chance to tell you what I needed from you when it came to landscaping without anyone around, but I don’t want you to be in the least uncomfortable. We can discuss this and then business on the outside patio if that is easier for you, but you need to sit down.”

Flambé hesitated, faint color stealing up her neck into her face, surprising him. Sevastyan studied her averted face as she once again peered over her shoulder before looking back at him. He had the feeling this time her hesitation wasn’t because she feared whoever it was that had struck her. She was avoiding looking at him.

“I’m not afraid of you. Your family has a certain reputation and there is honor and integrity involved.”

There was the smallest hint of untruth in her voice. She wasn’t afraid exactly, more like intimidated and he was okay with that. Sevastyan had been intimidating people nearly his entire life.

“And criminal activity,” he prompted.

For the first time a faint smile lit her face, doing extraordinary things to her eyes. “That too.”

He stepped back and held open the door. “Come in then. I’ve had a lot of work done to the interior, but it’s by no means finished.” He stayed where he was, forcing her to move past him. He took up a lot of space and that meant her smaller body would have to slide next to his, touching his briefly. He wanted to see what reaction his leopard would have. He already knew what reaction he had to her.

Posted by arrangement with Berkley, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © Christine Feehan, 2020.

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image#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan has over 40 novels published, including four series. Each of her four series has hit #1 on the NY Times. Her debut novel Dark Prince received 3 of the 9 Paranormal Excellence Awards in Romantic Literature for 1999. Since then she has been published by Leisure Books, Pocket Books, and currently is writing for Berkley/Jove. She also has earned 7 more PEARL awards.

She is pleased to have made numerous bestseller lists including the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Bookscan, B. Daltons, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Waldenbooks, Ingrams, Borders, Rhapsody Book Club, Washington Post, and Walmart. She has received numerous honors throughout her career including being a nominee for the RWA’s RITA. She has received a Career Achievement Award from Romantic Times and the Borders 2008 Lifetime Achievement Award.

She has been published in multiple languages and in many formats, including large print, palm pilot, e-book, and hardcover. In October of 2007 her first manga comic, Dark Hunger was released in stores. This was the first ever manga comic released by Berkley Publishing and it made #11 on Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller’s List. Her ground-breaking book trailer commercials have been shown on TV and in the movie theaters. She has been featured on local TV, appeared on the The Montel Williams Show, and her book Dark Legend was featured on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine.

Christine Feehan has also appeared at numerous writers’ conventions and book signings including: Romantic Times Convention, Get Caught Reading at Sea Cruise, Celebrate Romance Conference, Emerald City Conference, and numerous Romance Writers of America Conferences.

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Review: WILDFLOWER ROAD by Janine Rosche

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WILDFLOWER ROAD (Madison River Romance Book 2) by Janine Rosche

Publication Date: October 13, 2020

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Synopsis

63F72EDC-3438-44C0-B032-9840FAA4DB46A young widow is tempted to love again after her heartbreaking loss in this new Madison River Romance. 

After her husband’s tragic death, Ryann Marie Ashcroft’s only remaining dream is to save her family’s struggling mountain resort. And the last person she wants to rely on is a brooding stranger with secrets of his own.

Nicknamed America’s rock-and-roll pastor, Shane Olson arrives in Montana after a viral video destroys his marriage, his ministry, and his reputation. Working side by side on the banks of the Madison River, he and Ryann get a second chance at love. But not everyone wants to see their happily ever after.

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Donna 4 stars

This is a lovely story of not only second chances but finding your way when the world seems stacked up against you. Shane was hiding from his past in shame. He never lost his Christian faith, yet he struggled with feeling unworthy. Ryann was also dealing with a past trauma, and an ongoing threat that would not let her move on. Somehow, they found each other and provided the strength and comfort each needed to find a way forward.

Ms. Rosche has an easy writing style that pulls a reader through the ups and downs of the character’s lives. I’m glad she has written a great community of friends and family to build the close-knit world of Madison River. That kind of setting grabs a hold of me and builds the hope of a happily ever after. The story is a combination romantic suspense and Christian faith novel that keeps a reader turning the pages.

*Review copy provided by Penguin in exchange for an honest review.  

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Buy Links

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About the author

Prone to wander, Janine Rosche finds as much comfort on the open road as she does at home. This longing to chase adventure, behold splendor, and experience redemption is woven into each of her rustic romance novels in the Madison River Romance series. When she isn’t writing or traveling, she teaches family life education courses to college students, takes too many pictures of her sleeping dogs, and embarrasses her four children and husband with boy band serenades.

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