Review: Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

25686927 Summary: They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Review: When I found out that two of my more recent favorite authors were going to be co-authoring a book together I may have squee-ed out loud. A lot. Sarina Bowen writes The Ivy Years series which I love and Elle Kennedy writes the Off Campus series which I also love and many other books as well. Then I realized it was going to be m/m – which is one of my newest genres that I’ve been reading more and more. So to say I was excited was an understatement and I’m so happy that I wasn’t disappointed at all!

I don’t really get how co-authoring works because it sounds hard to me but these two pulled it off really well. I didn’t get overwhelmed by either of their voices at all – not that that would have been a bad thing since I like both of their writing styles, but instead I found that this read as one cohesive voice. I found that there was a fluidity to the book so much so that I would never have suspected there were two authors if I hadn’t known. Recently the authors shared that they didn’t even switch POV’s or write one particular person which blows my mind. Even funnier to me is that they can’t particularly point out which parts of the book which one of them wrote – and I can definitely tell!

I can’t pick out which hero I loved more – Wes or Jamie. Wes knew exactly who he was. He was sure of his sexuality, knew he was gay and didn’t want to have to hide that from almost anyone. Wes has been in love with Jamie since he was 13 years old, but Jamie is straight. Watching Wes struggle with his feelings was heart breaking. He had felt so incredibly guilty over the years because he felt that he almost forced Jamie into a hookup with him and that loss of their friendship had kind of broken Wes. He had a balance of such confidence and vulnerability that it tugged at my heart strings!

Jamie was just as wonderful – he was so incredibly hurt that Wes has cut off their friendship after their drunken hookup and he could never figure out why. I loved that about him, he never assumed it was because of the hookup, he just missed his best friend. He’s so self assured in a different way that when Wes tells him he’s gay Jamie doesn’t even blink, just accepts it. And when Jamie starts to question his own sexuality he becomes more vulnerable and realizes he is definitely attracted to Wes.

Why hadn’t anyone ever told me the prostate was some kind of magical pleasure zone? Are there unicorns and orgasm fairies dancing around in there?

Jamie and Wes kind of evolve together over the book with their relationship becoming deeper. I love romance books because I love watching two people falling in love and these two falling in love slowly was both hilarious and romantic.

His laughter sends my heart soaring. Which is the most confusing thing of all, because it adds an element to the sex I didn’t expect. I’m comfortable with him. I have fun with him. I’m not trying to impress anyone. It’s…easy. Like splashing in the lake. But with orgasms.

Oh and honorable mention goes to Jamie’s amazing family! They were a hidden gem in this book, they cracked me up and I loved them so much. Everyone deserves a family like that!

Everything about this book is what I’ve come to love about m/m books in general – the incredible sweetness of this relationship combined with how hot it was completely worked for me. If you haven’t read any m/m before but love either of these authors and are hesitating because of the genre, it’s a great entry point for anyone.

ARC provided by the authors in return for an honest review.

5 Stars.

Melinda

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Blog Tour: The Veil by Chloe Neill

Out August 4! 

 Blurb:

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates us from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle.

Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused…

Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack — in full view of the French Quarter — Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs—even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head.
As more and more Sensitives fall prey to their magic, and unleash their hunger on the city, Claire and Liam must work together to save New Orleans, or else the city will burn…


The fun doesn’t stop here. The fun doesn’t stop here. Want more chances to win? You can also enter THE VEIL Grand Prize Giveaway, which runs July 27 through August 7 on Chloe Neill’s website.

What is the Grand Prize Giveaway prize?

  • Fleur de Lis Amulet Pendant Necklace from New Orleans jewelry designer Mignon Faget
  • $50 Amazon Gift Card
  • THE VEIL 5″x5″ cloth screenwipe
  • THE VEIL tote bag
  • THE VEIL bookmark, sticker, and pen

Chicagoland Vampires bookmark, sticker, pen, keychain, and lanyard.
Pre-order:

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Exposing Justice by Misty Evans and Adrienne Giordano

Exposing Justice

As a Public Information officer for the US Supreme Court, Hope Denby knows how to spin a story. A journalist at heart, she loves being in the middle of a juicy scoop and has her sights set on future Press Secretary for the White House. When the Supreme Court Chief Justice is accidentally killed in a road rage accident, and a high-profile conspiracy blogger claims it was premeditated murder, Hope has to shut down the paranoid blogger—which she has more in common with the secretive, hard-hitting investigator then she’d like to admit.

 As a former ATF agent who blew the whistle on his superiors, Brice Brennan is no stranger to government cover-ups and scandals. An anonymous tip on the Chief Justice’s death sends him searching for answers. What he finds is a sexy, young idealist about to blow his private, behind-the-scenes world to pieces.

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

 

I loved the contrast between Hope and Brice. Hope is serious about her job but also fun and can let loose, Brice is uptight and not so much, is paranoid and rightly so. Hope was a firecracker in this book. She was fearless and lured Brice out of his stick in the mud ways. She was the first to make a move on him, much to his surprise. The turnaround in the characters was a first for this series, the woman was the one who did the pursuing and she was the one to take things on the case further and consequences be damned at times.

Like I said this book was different than the previous two books and it was refreshing for Hope to take the reigns in hand and lead the way for a while. The dynamic worked well and it was Brice who took things slow and careful. Trust issues made him like that and it was interesting to see him break down the walls to let someone in. Hope and Brice made a great investigative team and while she blew his world to pieces she gave him the strength to move past trust issues and to move on.

I must say that I was surprised by this book, the change in character dynamics, the story taking more or a journalistic feel than the previous books and that I had loved Brice in the last book and was glad to see his character get a story of his own.

What I also love about this series is the seamless writing styles of Misty and Adrienne. I have read quite a few books that they have written together and have a hard time telling who wrote which part. In other collaborations of two writers you can pick up the different writing styles chapter by chapter but not with Misty and Adrienne. I am a big fan of these writers and haven’t been disappointed yet. If you love a good conspiracy/undercover journalism/romance book, pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed!

This is book three in the Justice Team book and can be read as a stand alone but it would be better if read as part of the series as to get a feel for the background of the other characters.

ARC provided by authors in exchange for a fair and honest review

5/5 stars

Crash

 

Don’t forget to enter the raffle for a $25.00 e-gift card, found below the authors bio’s. Also check out the other blogs invloved in the tour, also found below.

 

Buy: Amazon

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Buy: Amazon UK

 

About the Authors

Misty Evans:Misty Evans Photo

 

USA Today bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty: Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Pinterest

Giordano Author Photo

 Adrienne Giordano:

 USA Today bestselling author Adrienne Giordano writes romantic suspense and mystery.  She is a Jersey girl at heart, but now lives in the Midwest with her workaholic husband, sports obsessed son and Buddy the Wheaten Terrorist (Terrier). She is a co-founder of Romance University blog and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, a reading series dedicated to romantic fiction.

Connect with Adrienne: Website / Newsletter / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Street Team

 

 

Giveaway Details

There is a tour-wide giveaway of a $25.00 eGift Card to an online book retailer of winner’s choice and three audiobooks (codes) of Cheating Justice!

 

 

Rafflecopter Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/1c9cd1c922/

Exposing Justice Excerpt 1 – Hope’s POV

“Denby! Get in here!”

Ooh! Hope Denby shot up, sending her rickety government-issued chair sailing against the back of her cubicle. She peeped over the wall in front of her at her cubemate, Rob. “Ohmygod, she’s insane today.”

Rob didn’t bother looking up from whatever he was reading on his computer. “Seriously fucking deranged. You’d better get in there.”

Because experience dictated she had thirty-point-two seconds to appear in front of her boss or she’d be bellowed at once again.

“Coming!”

Hope scooped up her legal pad and a pen and hustled to the boss’s office just twenty-five feet away. Working at the Public Information Office of the U.S. Supreme Court meant each day brought something new. It could be working with reporters wanting to cover a case, preparing transcripts, or press releases, all of it fascinating and tedious and ripe with possibilities.

Today was no different. Eight hours earlier, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court had been accidently gunned down on the Gaynor Bridge while trying to resolve a road rage dispute.

And now, it was all over the news and her boss, Amy Ripling, the Public Information Officer, had been in full-blown crisis mode all day.

“Denby!” Amy screamed again.

Hope kicked off her sky-high heels, left them sitting in the corridor—no time to stop—and picked up her pace. She swung around the doorway, grabbing the frame to slow her down. “I’m here. Sorry.”

Amy sat at her desk, random files and papers and notes strewn across the top. Two ringing cell phones sat on top of the mess joined by the incessant beeping of the desk phone. Amy picked up the handset, tapped the hold button and handed Hope a note. “Call this guy. He’s bugging the shit out of me and I’m trying to deal with the networks.”

She glanced down at the name. The First Amendment Patriot. Interesting. But, woohoo! Finally, her boss ponied up an assignment on a major case, albeit a tragic one. “Yes, ma’am. Who is he?”

“He’s a blogger.”

A blogger.

The Journalism major in her wailed.

“Damned, bloggers. I am on it, Amy.”

“I knew you’d love it. You’re an animal, Denby.”

“Thank you. I think.”

Amy waved it away. “Yada, yada. He wants a statement, but be careful. He’s one of the those conspiracy theory nutcases. Tell him something that won’t hurt us. Until we have more on what happened on that bridge, we’re going with what we know.”

“Sure. But—”

Amy glanced at the still beeping phone, beep-beep-beep, then came back to Hope, her taut skin barely restraining her impatience. “What, Denby? What?”

Ignoring Amy’s tone, she stood a little straighter. “Yes, ma’am. What is it exactly that we know?”

All day long, Hope, like everyone else in the office, had been monitoring the news channels to see who was saying what. For their part, the Public Information Office had released very few details. Mainly because they’d been given very few details.

The police and the FBI were handling the press on this nightmare.

“What we know,” Amy said, “is that the Chief Justice and his security detail, consisting of one Supreme Court police officer, were en route to work today and got stuck in a traffic jam on the bridge. The FBI is looking into that. Apparently, there’s some confusion as to why that lane was closed. They’re talking to DDOT. Anyway, two cars ahead of the Chief Justice some whacko jumped out of a cab and started arguing with the driver of the car next to them. The argument became heated and the judge’s officer got out to diffuse the situation. Justice Turner—God rest his soul—defied his security officer’s order to stay in the car and got out to see if he could help. While the officer tried to convince the judge to get his ass back in the car, the guy who jumped out of the cab fired a gun; the shot missed and accidentally hit the judge. The shooter ran. That’s what we know. But you’re not telling our blogger friend that. For him, you’re keeping it simple. Road rage, two men arguing, gunshot. D.C. Metro and the SC police are handling it from here.”

“Got it. No problem.”

“Good. I’m heading into a meeting with the Justices. I’m guessing it’ll be a while. Make sure everyone knows they should only disturb me if the building is on fire. Or someone else is dead.”

Ew. “I’ll handle it.”

She spun toward the door.

“Denby?”

“Yes?”

“Where the hell are your shoes?”

Exposing Justice Excerpt 2 – Brice’s POV

Brice Brennan sat alone at his computer watching a blinking cursor. He needed a story. A kick-ass story that no one else had.

And time was running out.

It was only three o’clock in the afternoon, yet he sat in the dark, courtesy of his blackout curtains. Today’s blog had to be up by nine. Fifty-five thousand and sixty-three fans, and six new advertisers, were waiting for it. After he’d exposed the United States’ deputy attorney general and the ATF’s collaboration on a gunwalking scandal recently, his readership had exploded.

His readers wanted scandal. Real journalism, not sugarcoated updates running ad nauseam or ratings-whoring gossip passed off as investigative reporting.

Tick-tock.

Brice tapped his thumb against his desktop. Three big news stories had flooded the blogosphere today. Each held potential for him, but none yet had generated any calls from his covert, and oftentimes dissident, sources.

Knowledge was power. Once he hit on a story, he became engrossed in it. He wouldn’t let it go until he exposed the truth.

As if summoned by his sheer desperation, his phone rang—the private tip line running through his computer. Brice’s pulse jumped. This could be it. The tip he was waiting for.

“‘The duty of a true patriot is to protect his country from its government.’ This is Hawkeye. Go.”

The Thomas Paine quote was his motto and what he founded the blog on. He recorded all his tip calls through the computer, which meant all of them ran through the speakers since he never used headphones. When you were always alone, what did you need headphones for?

“Hawkeye, this is Lodestone.”

Lodestone was a government employee who seemed to enjoy being Brice’s informant. He’d never said as much, but Brice knew the type. Knew the man had connections Brice could only dream of, and best of all, Lodestone never asked for money. “Go ahead, Lodestone. I’m listening.”

“I have information about the death of Chief Justice Raymond Turner this morning.”

A spurt of adrenaline shot through Brice’s limbs. “The road rage accident?”

“It’s no coincidence that he got held up on that bridge.” A pause—Lodestone deciding how much he could share? “A sensitive case was on the docket for Turner to decide whether the Supreme Court would hear it or not. Look into it. You never know what you might find.”

The line went dead.

Brice disconnected and stared blankly at the screen. If Turner’s death wasn’t an accident…

The screensaver had appeared on his computer. The Patriot Blog’s logo of an eagle. He tapped a key to wake the computer up, ready to start digging, when three loud knocks on his door interrupted him.

The first three were followed by a single knock.

Brice hung his head.

The coded knocks meant only one thing.

The Justice Team had arrived.

Maybe if he didn’t respond, they’d go away.

“Open up, Brennan,” Justice “Grey” Greystone called from the other side.

Brice swore under his breath. If he played possum, pretended he wasn’t even there, Grey would…

“Or I’ll have Mitch pick the locks. Either way, we’re coming in.”

How long was this going to go on?

Jumping up from his office chair, he hustled to the door, unlocked the three deadbolts and doorknob, and cracked the door open two inches.

“I’m not interested, Grey,” he told the leader of the Justice Team standing on his front porch looking like the Federal agent he used to be. Dark clothes, fake smile. Batman in his Bruce Wayne persona. “We’ve already had this discussion. Six times by my count.”

The weak smile on Grey’s lips struggled to stay in place. The man never smiled unless his fiancé was in spitting distance. He was trying to appear friendly and inviting. Mostly, he looked constipated.

“There are perks.” Grey glanced at Mitch, aka, Robin, and nodded.

When all else fails, go to your wingman.

“Like what?” Brice asked, chewing on the side of his thumbnail. “Being shot at? Having to send your girlfriend undercover as a stripper? Oh, yeah, that sounds better than medical insurance and vacation days.” He switched his gaze to Robin. “Oh, and how about being framed for your best friend’s murder? It’s hard to top that as a perk.”

Grey’s hard eyes turned to pure steel. Although the Justice Team’s past operations had all ended successfully, each one had put the members in extreme situations where things could have gone south in a hurry. Brice had been in on one of them in New Mexico with Mitch and his girlfriend, Caroline. Brice was lucky he was still breathing. They were all lucky they weren’t in jail.

Mitch grinned and shoved his way inside. His coat was unzipped and it fell open to reveal a T-shirt that read, I put the Hot in psychotic. He took up residence in Brice’s leather recliner with a big plop and Grey followed. “Jesus it’s dark in here. Are you a vampire or something, Brice?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “As far as perks, you get to look at my handsome face every day, Brice buddy. Best. Perk. Ever.”

Psychotic did not begin to describe Mitch Monroe. Brice left the door ajar and went back to his chair. He didn’t like people in his space. Especially not Batman and Robin.“I’m sure Caroline enjoys that, but it takes more than a pretty face to make me want to give up my blog.”

“You don’t have to give up your blog, right, Grey?” Mitch nodded without waiting for his boss to agree. “Investigating conspiracies is exactly what we want you to continue doing.”

Cyber resistance against government corruption wasn’t just a theory for Brice. The First Amendment Patriot blog was his life. While he valued his privacy and didn’t like to call attention to himself, he had a strong internal sense of right and wrong and had no trouble blowing the whistle on corrupt politicians and government agencies. Others appreciated what he did. Donations to the blog paid his bills and he cared little about material wealth or possessions. As long as he kept his lifestyle lean, he’d be fine.

Tick-tock.

Grey didn’t look all that happy about Brice keeping his blog “We have nine open cases right now that involve crooked politicians, lobbyists, and potential cover-ups. Your skills and contacts would help tremendously.”

Brice’s ego did indeed like it, too. He was damn good at running his blog, and he’d once enjoyed being part of a taskforce. Lived for his job as an undercover ATF agent. The commendations in his folder had proven his worth, and the team of men he’d worked with had always had his back. Failure had never entered his mind.

Until his boss—his former partner—and the ATF sent him down in flames. The men he’d been closer to than his three brothers turned on each other.

Those days were over. Lesson learned. Never trust anyone.

Facts were more trustworthy than people. Detachment and autonomy were important to doing a good job.Exposing government coverups and bringing dirty cops, politicians, and even heads of the most powerful agencies in the world to heel from the safety of his computer was what he excelled at now.

“I’m no longer a team player.” Truer words had never been spoken. Swinging his chair around to emphasize his point, he turned his back on the two men he had let into his personal circle and now regretted. The safety of his computer beckoned. “I just got a lead on a breaking story, and I’m not coming to work for the Justice Team. Show yourselves out, ladies.”

Behind him, the leather chair squeaked as Mitch stood. An uncomfortable silence followed, complete with strained murmuring—Batman and Robin trying to figure out their next move.

Let ’em talk.

“What story?” Grey asked.

“Chief Justice Turner. The road rage accident that killed him may not have been an accident at all.”

“Murder?” Mitch slapped him on the back. “Make you a deal, Brice, ol’ buddy. You join the Justice Team, and I’ll help you investigate your lead on Turner.”

He was grinning like his offer was an obvious slam-dunk. Brice stood, grabbed Mitch’s arm and hustled him to the door. “I don’t need your help, Mitch, ol’ buddy, and I can investigate Turner’s death on my own.”

Mostly true. If there was anything worth investigating.

Grey stood at the computer, looking at the screen, one hand cupping his chin. “What makes you think Turner’s death was murder?”

“I got a tip from a very reliable source.” Brice didn’t need to prove anything to these men, and yet, the investigator in him liked the credibility. “Claims Turner had a sensitive case on his docket that he was deciding on whether the court would hear it or not. Maybe nothing, but he told me to look into it.”

“Sounds far-fetched to me. The Chief Justice probably had a long list of possible cases for the Court to hear.”

Mitch jerked his arm out of Brice’s hand. “Yeah, and every one of the plaintiffs believes their case is sensitive. It’s going to take a lot of work to dig into each and every one of them.”

A smile—the genuine thing—crept over Grey’s face. “How about I make you a deal, Brice? We help you get Turner’s list and do the digging. Save you a lot of time. If, of course, you help us out with a few of our cases.”

He itched to jump on this right away, but he didn’t need help. What he needed was for these two to leave him alone. “I’ll think about it and let you know my decision in the morning.”

Grey seemed unfazed by his delay. “Fair enough.”

After Batman and Robin left, Brice dropped back into this chair. A few clicks of his keyboard and he had the phone number for the Public Information Office of the Supreme Court.

He’d do his own investigation, like always. If that lead nowhere, he’d consider Grey’s deal.

As the phone rang on the other end, he smiled to himself. Nothing like a good conspiracy to get the adrenaline flowing.

Blog Tour Stops

Visit the blogs below to read reviews and excerpts!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Nerdy Dirty and Flirty

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Joyfully Reviewed

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

So Many Reads

Friday, July 17, 2015

Peaces of Me

Monday, July 20, 2015

SOS Aloha

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Amy Manemanns’s Blog

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Cricket’s Chirps

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Romance Junkies

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Happiness is a Book

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Renee Entress’s Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Becky on Books

Em & M Books

Friday, July 31, 2015

Brooke Blogs

Ramblings From This Chick

 

 

 

Review: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

24338317 Summary: All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town’s irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.

Gabe MacKenzie’s heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future’s tied up in his family’s Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there’s just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

Review: This is the latest in Victoria Dahl’s Jackson: Girls’ Night Out series. If you like contemporary, humorous romances and you haven’t read these you really, really should. What I enjoy about Dahl’s books is that they’re actually both funny and relatable. When I’m reading them I feel as if I could be listening to a friend telling me some of these stories, obviously with some embellishments, but still. She also doesn’t leave out any saucier details, which I appreciate, even in my romantic comedies.

Veronica Chandler is a great heroine, she was flawed and real without seeming helpless – which is a personal pet peeve of mine. She’s terrified when her boss pretty much forces her to do a live version of her Ask Veronica advice column at a local bar. She feels like a complete fake in general in her life in Jackson and in her career so to do this in person on stage makes her completely overwhelmed. I enjoyed seeing this character so off kilter so early in the book, we get to see why she feels so overwhelmed and why she feels like such a fake. I think generally many people feel that way in their careers so I know I could relate in some small way to that and definitely to the stage fright as well. I found Veronica’s flaws endearing.

The hero, Gabe MacKenzie, is a male librarian. Male librarian, with a beard. In my head he also had sexy glasses but I can’t actually remember if that’s in the book or not so don’t take that as gospel. Gabe is in Jackson for a limited time, not that anyone knows that, and that’s the way he wants it. He wants to enjoy his life in Jackson before he has to return to his real life that he doesn’t want. His initial impression of Veronica is exactly the opposite of what he is looking for – too polished and put together. I really loved to see Gabe’s impression of Veronica – on the stage and off and as he got to know her. Dahl did a great job of capturing how what you see is definitely not always what you get.

As things go on their relationship deepens in a variety of ways and of course there are outside factors that contribute issues to the relationship. I liked the secondary characters and how previous characters from the prior books came back to make appearances in this one as well. There are a few other plots that come into play that are important too and Dahl handles the weaving of those into the main issue of the relationship very well.

Overall this was a great book, Victoria Dahl is definitely one of my favorite contemporary romance authors! Oh and this is to be released on this upcoming Tuesday, 7/28.

ARC provided by Netgalley via the publisher in return for an honest review.

4 Stars

~Melinda

Amazon

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Deadly Intent by Misty Evans

Deadly Intent

Book Summary:

She’ll do anything to find her sister…

Deep undercover with a Tijuana drug cartel, FBI agent Sophia Diaz is two days away from making the biggest bust of her career…and tracking down her sister who went missing ten years ago. But when a rival cartel puts out a hit on her, there’s only one man who can keep her alive.

He’ll do anything to keep her safe…

Immigration enforcement officer, Nelson Cruz, has his hands full with his own operation while undercover as a member of the Savages motorcycle gang. When orders come down that he has to protect the sexy, but oh-so-aloof, Agent Diaz without breaking his cover, Nelson must put his skills to the ultimate test. Especially since a previous relationship with Sophie compromised his career and wreaked havoc on his heart.

South of the border is no place to die…

Nelson’s never gotten over the time he spent in Sophie’s bed or the fact she double-crossed him on their last mission together. He can’t trust her…and she doesn’t trust anybody. As the two fight their red-hot, south of the border attraction, Nelson discovers a secret that could destroy Sophie’s world forever. Once again, he’s forced to put his job—and his life—on the line for her. Can he keep her alive and out of prison? Or will their careers, as well as their hearts, go up in the flames of desire?

 

Sophia Diaz is deep undercover in Mexico in a drug cartel’s home as a bookkeeper. She is an agent that has gone rogue and does things on her own. Her boss wants her back in the states pronto, there has been a threat against her life. Her assignment isn’t over and she wants to stay to not only break the cartel but also to get clues to her missing sister. Nelson Cruz is assigned to bring Sophia in. They shared a steamy hot night together a few years ago that neither can forget. As he struggles to rein her in things start to turn sour and he may just have to force her to leave before her job is done and she gets herself killed.

Sophia is strong willed and determined to not only finish her assignment but to find her missing sister and heal what’s left of her family. Nelson has to fight her ever step of the way to not only keep her safe but to not blow their covers before the job is done. I love these characters! Both are strong and try to not give into the raw chemistry that draws them together but fail miserably and it gets even hotter!

There are so many twists and turns in this story, you think you have it figured out and then, bam, you’re wrong. Plot and sub-plots galore that keep you up and reading when you should be sleeping!  Misty writes some amazing stories that are not only hot and steamy but detailed and fast paced action thrillers. Each book in this series gets better and better! If you have a thing against snakes, be warned, there are quite a few snakes in this book and our heroes have to deal with them.

I always look forward to a new book by Misty and I am never disappointed in the writing and the story that is told, she is one of my favorite writers and I can’t get enough of her action/romance books. If you love plenty of action and romance then this book, and the rest of the series are ones you should be trying!

While this is book four in the Southern California Violent Task Force it can be read as a stand alone book

ARC received in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5/5 stars

Crash

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About the AuthorMisty Evans Photo

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

 

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Deadly Intent Excerpt

Nelson Cruz thought he might throw up.

His left temple beat a violent staccato timed to AC/DC’s Hells Bells. His eyelids scratched like sandpaper against his corneas. The left eye was swollen shut; the right didn’t seem to want to obey on principal.

Swallowing past the dryness in his throat, he drew a deep breath and focused on the last thing he could remember. A humid, dark building. Body odor, cigarettes, the hiss of…

Snakes?

Someone had grabbed him. Threats had been yelled in his face. A fist had connected with his eye, another with his gut.

Interrupting the replay in his head, a floral scent brought him back to the here and now, teasing his nose and reminding him of something—someone—completely different. It smelled like…

Sophie.

Dreaming. He had to be dreaming.

Playing possum, he held still and finished his inventory. His aching head rested on something soft. Pillow. He was flat on his back, limbs splayed, his battered body cushioned. Bed.

The floral scent grew stronger. A low, seductive voice said, “You looked better last year in San Diego, niño. You really should have stayed there.”

That voice. Smooth. Almost a purr.

Sophie.

His body responded like it always did at the thought of her—his cock grew hard at the thought of her luscious curves in spite of the fact that he’d just had the shit beat out of him. Memories of warm nights, too much tequila, and an ocean of stars assaulted his brain.

Commanding his good eye to open, he realized it didn’t matter. Something covered his eyes. He brought a hand to his face.

Or tried to anyway. Both hands were held hostage, his wrists tied.

Metal rattled as he jerked at the restraints. Not tied. Handcuffed.

To the bed.

Correction: He was handcuffed to FBI Agent Sophia Diaz’s bed.

Ah, shit. “Uncuff me, Soph.”

His voice was rough. Too rough. Too many late nights drinking and smoking with the Savages Motorcycle Gang. This undercover assignment was going to kill him.

If Sophie didn’t first.

The mattress dipped from her weight as she joined him on the bed. Warm fingers played over his naked bicep. “Why are you here?”

To protect your ass and bring you home.

Better to keep that a secret. At least the part about the FBI believing she was a rogue agent. Diaz had a chip on her shoulder bigger than his dick. “Uncuff me and I’ll tell you.”

Her fingernail dug into his muscle. Just enough to remind him she was in charge. “Tell me first, then I might turn you loose. Or I might shoot you.”

Nothing with Sophie was ever easy. “You know what happened the last time you handcuffed me to your bed.”

“Yes, you had the night of your life.”

True. It had actually been two nights, but it could have been a thousand and it wouldn’t have been enough. “You enjoyed it as much as I did.”

“And then you left me.”

After he’d found out the truth. After she’d thrown her handcuffs at his head and given a nice scar. “If you’d told me who you were up front, things might have turned out differently.”

“I was undercover.”

“As was I.”

She lifted the corner of the blindfold covering his right eye. Her long, dark hair, beautiful skin, and big hazel-green eyes swam into focus. “Why are you in Tijuana?”

Work was as good of an excuse as ever. Except that if he mentioned his original assignment—Chica Bonita—she’d probably shoot him in the balls for good measure and then throw him out.

Good thing he was a skilled liar. “Just joined the Savages. I’m patrolling the border for Morales.”

“You’re lying.” The blindfold slipped off his head. She sat back on her heels. “Rodrigo’s men are the ones who did this to you.”

Either his vision was screwed or the blow to his eye had messed with his head. Through the haze, it looked like Sophie was wearing nothing but her bra, some lacy black underpants, and a garter. Her breasts were pushed up and out, creating cleavage that made Nelson’s dry mouth water.

Apparently, she didn’t appreciate his ogling, even if it was only with one eye. She smacked him on the cheek. “Focus!”

Hard to do when she was mostly naked on the bed beside him. “God’s truth, Soph. I’m undercover to investigate the gang and some of their dealings along the border. Not all of Morales’s men, and certainly not Rodrigo, know me yet. Especially his personal security team. Who suck, by the way. I’m surprised he’s not dead already.”

“Why were you were sneaking around the grounds of the compound?”

“Can you please uncuff me so we can talk like rational human beings?”

“The only reason you’re alive at this moment is because I intervened and stopped Chavez and his goons from killing you. Rodrigo Morales happens to like me and Chavez knows it. It took some begging on my part, and a threat or two, but I got him to bring you here and let me handle you.”

“Chavez?”

“Rodrigo’s head of security. The guy who gave you the black eye?”

“Ah. Well, he needs a lesson in protecting an asset.”

“Look, I’m valuable to the Morales cartel, but I still had to lie and say you were…my lover.” She gave an exaggerated shudder. “It was the only way to explain how I knew you.”

“Lover, huh?” He grinned. “I’m happy to play my part.”

Leaning forward, she put her luscious cleavage on full display in front of his face as she stroked his jawline with a finger. He could see the sexy little gap between her front two teeth. “You owe me your life, Nels.”

Her full lips were covered in glossy, red lipstick. Her eyes danced with mischief.

Being a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent with the Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce had prepared him for many things in his undercover roles with gangs, drug cartels, and human traffickers. Physical violence, torture, possible death. Never had it prepared him for the force of nature contained in the five-foot-five, irresistible package known as Sophia Diaz.

Tied to her bed once more, it was fifty shades of Sophia all over again. Her beauty stunned him into silence. His cock was so tight against his zipper, it hurt.

She took his silence as stubbornness rather than speechlessness, and since she knew a thing or two about breaking his will, she straddled him.

Jesus, Joseph, and Mary. She was wearing spiky red heels.

Her curvaceous bottom nestled down on his hard cock and he moaned before he could stop himself. She planted her hands on his chest and arched her back, a blatant reminder of how she’d rode him the last time they’d spent time in bed together. “You’re wasting time, niño. Tell me the truth or…”

She ground herself into him slowly and deliberately, licking her lips and smiling down on him.

Torture. Brutal, beautiful torture like he hadn’t had since the last time they were in this exact position.

She was undercover, working on bringing down Rodrigo Morales. He was undercover, working a different angle, but on the same man and his cartel. They should be able to work together.

Regardless of the past lies and indiscretions.

In fact, working together would be better for both of them.

Except Special Agent Diaz wasn’t a team player. Never had been. She was the most fiercely independent agent in the FBI. She worked alone and always got her man—the only reason the Feds allowed her to be so independent. Their concern that she’d been under too long on this mission and may have gone rogue was ridiculous. Sophie was Bureau to her lovely bones. Her track record was spotless.

With one exception.

Chica Bonita.

He couldn’t tell her he was investigating the possible resurgence of the human trafficking operation that had been the only failure of her career.

So he told her the only thing he could. “Guido Ruiz.”

The sex goddess morphed back into FBI agent. She stopped undulating on top of him and gave him a hard stare. “What about him?”

Nelson took one last look at all the beautiful cleavage and sighed. “He put out a hit on you at 0800 hours yesterday.”

“What? Where did you hear this?”

“He hired me to do it.”

That gave her pause. “You?

“He doesn’t know I’m with the Savages and my backstop identity says I’ve done murder-for-hire quite successfully. At the bar the other night, Guido offered me a hundred-thousand to kill you—one of the reasons the FBI and the SCVC Taskforce want me to bring you home.”

She looked at him wide-eyed for a second and then threw back her head and laughed. Low and husky, the sound sent ripples down his spine, not to mention what it did to his already straining lower parts.

Patting his chest, she gave another chuckle. “I’m not going anywhere with you, ICE boy. Feel free to run back to San Diego and tell the FBI, and your boss at the taskforce, to stay out of my operation. I’m not scared of Guido and I’m too close to bringing down Morales to blow this over an idle threat by a spoiled brat posing as a rival cartel leader.”

Guido was no spoiled brat. He was a six-foot-three monster with a shaved head and teardrop tattoos. Six of ʼem. He’d once worked for Rodrigo’s father and decided to take over. A bloody battle ensued, but Ciro Morales had deep pockets and loyal employees. He won the skirmish and Guido went underground.

For a while, anyway.

Now, with Ciro dead, the monster was back and he was coming after Ciro’s son. Killing off Rodrigo Morales was tough, even if his security detail wasn’t the brightest, and Guido liked to make his prey suffer first. Everyone knew Rodrigo had a thing for his accountant. Guido planned to kill her off first.

“It’s not an idle threat, Soph.” Nelson understood Sophie’s bravado. As an undercover agent, her life was always in danger, like his. Miss 99% Ball Buster wasn’t about to let a criminal of any type ruin her chance at a successful bust, regardless of the fact that Guido had once been the Morales cartel’s right-hand man and was the only serious menace to Rodrigo at this point. But that didn’t matter. The higher-ups wanted her butt back in the U.S. “Your life is in imminent danger. It’s time to pack it in.”

“I can’t leave. I won’t leave. Not yet.” She studied him, her eyes softening as she leaned forward, putting her face in front of his. “But maybe you can stay if you play along and pretend to be my lover and bodyguard.”

Once more through the fog in his brain due to her nearness, Nelson reminded himself that Sophie never worked with a partner. Which was why he’d ended up holding shit instead of evidence the last round he’d gone with her.

Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice… “What do I get out of it?”

Sophie grinned and produced a key from between her breasts. “For starters, I’ll release you.”

That was easy.

Too easy.

Something was wrong here but he couldn’t snap the pieces together when she was shoving her chest into his and her big smile encouraged him to forget his misgivings and consider her offer.

Freedom and Sophie in one package. What could he say?

“You have a deal, Agent Diaz.”

 

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Review: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

23341855 Synopsis: The ride of her life . . .
Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .
In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .

Review: I have a love/hate relationship with motorcycle club books. I have a love/hate relationship with Kristen Ashley books and even this series. I read the first Chaos book and gave it 3 stars, which for me usually means meh and that I won’t continue on with reading any more of that series either. In this case it meant I didn’t read the second book at all. I’ve read other MC books and some I love and some I hate. This book is strongly in the love category. This is a large book and I ripped through it pretty quickly and wanted to read it again as soon as I could.

A big overarching problem I have with these kind of books are how they deal with the male and female dynamics. While this book has its’ share of issues that can be seen in that category, the hero of the book, Carson Steel was abused as a child so he would be the last person to physically hurt a woman. The heroine, Carissa, has her fair share of issues to deal with in her personal life and doesn’t want to embroil Carson in her ugly life right now. What I liked about their relationship and how ti developed is that Carson tried to let Carissa be a strong woman on her own, even while it was difficult for him to sit back and watch her struggle – which seemed like a very realistic relationship issue to me.

Butterfly, I need you to get this,” he interrupted me firmly. “I’ve been in love with you since high school. I’ll be in love with you when you walk down the aisle to me, push out our first kid, our second, our third, cry when they go off to college, nag at them to give you grandbabies, and sit next to me on our couch in our pad in assisted living. I got that. I got my family. I got my brothers. I’m healed. You do not have to go off keyin’ my dad’s car. I’m good. Stop tryin’ to make me that way. You already got me there.

The secondary relationships here simply made me so happy from beginning to end. Carson’s, or Joker (his MC name), neighbors who watched over him as much as they could when he was young and being abused return later on in the story. Carissa’s friends in the club cracked me up throughout the book and there were a few scenes that were incredibly touching to me. For such a motorcycle club book with hardcore alpha men and tough old ladies there were some really sweet scenes. I love messages like this that include your family of choice is pretty much more important than blood family.

This was a great book from start to finish and I’d highly recommend it!

ARC received via Netgalley on behalf of the publisher in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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Cover Reveal – Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

We don’t do a lot of cover reveals here because in general I don’t care about cover reveals. But in this case I totally care because I’m really excited about this book! Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy is a book that’s coming out on July 28th and I am not patiently waiting at all. I’m a big fan of both of their books so I can’t wait to read it.  So here’s the wonderful cover! I can’t wait for actual release day!!

Profile portrait of businessman working on laptop  in black suit at studio

 

HIM1