Cover Reveal and Sweepstakes: Criminal Kind (Book #3: Charlie McClung Mystery Series) by Mary Anne Edwards
It’s the perfect setting for a romantic getaway at sea: Caribbean breezes, clear blue skies, passionate nights, and murder? Not exactly what Detective Charlie McClung and Marian had in mind for their honeymoon. When one of their fellow passengers is murdered on her 35th wedding anniversary, Charlie and Marian get pulled into the investigation. Who would want to kill poor Tammy Ferguson in such a brutal way? As Charlie uncovers more sordid details about Tammy and her husband, Peter, it becomes clear that someone else has found the same skeletons in the Ferguson’s closet and Tammy has paid the price. Is Peter next? Trapped on the ship with a killer, shadows seem more ominous and even the most innocent faces seem sinister. Has Charlie inadvertently put Marian in harm’s way? How long does Charlie have before the hunter becomes the hunted?
For Charlie McClung, going home to Virginia with Marian was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but upon arrival at his childhood home, he’s met with a note instead of his family. “Don’t worry, Love, we’re all okay. Come to the shop. A dead girl was found in an armoire delivered just now. Huggies, Ma” Charlie is quickly recruited to help solve the murder of a young girl who was on the path to becoming a nun. The suspects begin to mount as Charlie delves deep into the girl’s life revealing a sordid and ugly side of the town’s good girl. “Is there anything more fun to read than a book that’s equal parts captivating mystery and charming romance? A GOOD GIRL will keep you on the edge of your seat guessing and will warm you to your bones as Marian and Charlie, meant for each other, race to the end.
Detective Charlie McClung no longer finds his job fulfilling and has given up finding that “someone” his granny promised he would find. So he leaves behind the big city and his close-knit family and takes a job in a small town police department in Georgia, resigned to live a quiet life in solitude. Things change when he meets Marian Selby while investigating the mysterious death of her best friend. But Marian swore never to love again after the death of her husband 11 years ago. What seems to be a suicide turns into a tangled web of deceit, corruption, and complicated shadows. Can the two of them come to grips with their feelings for each other before the killer closes in on them?
About the author and where to find her:
Mary Anne was born in Mercedes, Texas, but has lived in Georgia most of her life. She has had a variety of experiences in her life. Some were great and some, well let’s just say Mary Anne has learned many lessons the hard way. Mary Anne has been married for nearly 35 years to the most practically perfect man. They have a newly adopted Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. They enjoy traveling and watching mysteries on TV. Mary Anne is active in Sisters in Crime Atlanta Chapter, Mystery Writers of America and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, Inc., a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged. Although Mary Anne began writing in high school, she didn’t get serious about it until 1999. She writes traditional mysteries that are influenced by some of her favorite authors: Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters. Her first book in the Detective Charlie McClung mysteries, “Brilliant Disguise” was released on January 21, 2014. The next book in the series, “A Good Girl”, was released on September 23, 2014. Mary Anne is currently working on the third book in the series, “Criminal Kind”; there are seven more to follow.
A King Rises
A Fate Seals
Eve Collins has set in motion a chain of events that could destroy everything she’s ever loved. Surrounded by dangerous creatures, dark worlds, and the struggle to become who she was meant to be, Eve must complete her ascension and accept her destiny. War has begun. Losing is not an option. With dangers lurking around each corner, and everything against her, will Eve sacrifice her own happiness in order to tip the scale of balance? Which side will rise to power, and which fall to fate? In this fourth installment in The Revelation Series, Eve must risk everything she loves in order to prevent a centuries old war. Everything comes with a sacrifice, even love.
Excerpt from Revolution (Book #4: Revelation Series):
The Midnight Temple
FROM DARKNESS, COMES LIGHT. I whisper the assertion in my head, over and over again, as a form of reassurance. Distracted eyes take in my surroundings, seeking out a focal point of luminosity. Nightfall shrouds the ill-omened forest I’m standing barefoot in.
My gaze lifts toward the heavens, searching for light. There is nothing. No stars shining brightly to guide me. No flush of the moon’s silver rays caressing the ominous tree lined confinement I find myself in. Panic begins to claw at my throat.
Everything is unnaturally still. The trees are motionless. There’s no breeze to embrace me. No woodland creatures at home to calm me. Only silence. It’s eerie and yet, oddly familiar.
“Hidden within the darkness, the unseen will eventually be divulged. Revealing the true purpose of your existence.” Gage’s deep, masculine voice penetrates my trepidation.
I shift my body and tilt my head, meeting a pair of sea-green irises. The gargoyle clasps his warm fingers over mine in a soothing gesture while the scent of cigarettes and spice drifts over me. His presence rescues me from the shadowed corners my mind finds itself in.
I inhale, for what feels like the first time tonight. A small smile appears on my lips at the sight of the good-looking protector. Gratitude washes over me, because I’m not alone on this self-imposed journey.
The moment of reprieve passes quickly when I remember who I am and what I’ve done. At the thought, a sharp, unyielding pain presents itself deep within my heart. The sting causes my breath to hitch as my hand moves to cover the twinge.
In the distance, a faint, familiar sound floats over me. “Come back to me, siren,” it whispers. The memory of how much hurt I’ve caused seeps in. “I will protect you, always.” The voice, belonging to Asher St. Michael, my gargoyle protector, and now my mate, promises. My stomach lurches at the recollection of my actions this evening. My treachery.
Instantly, I fold at the waist and vomit into the plant life lining the forest’s floor. Gage steps closer to my uncontrollable, trembling body. Releasing my hand, he gently holds my hair back, allowing me to empty the contents of my stomach into the undergrowth. Shit.
“You’re okay, love. It’s just the adrenaline wearing off. Take deep breaths,” he soothes.
I close my eyes, trying to block it all out, as my body hums from the protector blood bond. In rapid fire, images of this evening flash through my mind. Each one cutting my soul like the dagger I used in my deception. All I can see is Asher. My dark prince. My everything.
Asher’s gentle hand is wrapped around the lower portion of my throat, showing dominance. The feel of my gargoyle’s body pressed against mine, pushing me into his stone state bed. The stunning and blissful expression he had as he slid into me for the first time. His scent. His touch. His declarations of forever, all marred by my deceit.
I’ve ended us by showing my disloyalty. When his indigo eyes met mine, my dagger fell into his heart, forcing him into a healing sleep. Protecting him. Then, I walked away from my love to save another who I hold dear to me. My sacrifice.
A shiver passes over me and my breathing becomes ragged. My stomach churns again and my knees buckle. If it weren’t for Gage’s large hands wrapped around my waist, I would collapse in despair on the dirt-covered pathway. Crap. Pull yourself together, Eve.
“Are you alright, love?” Gage questions quietly into my ear, holding me close.
Once the visions dissolve, so does the nausea. I open my eyes to meet Gage’s troubled ones. Taking a step back, I allow for some distance from his protective arms. Then I center myself before pushing back my shoulders and lifting my chin.
“Yes,” I say firmly.
He knits his brows together, running a hand through his golden-blond hair. “Are you sure, Eve?” he questions with worry lining his voice.
I’m actually taken aback by his apprehension. Normally, Gage doesn’t show signs of unease. It’s unnerving and making me question my resolve. I straighten and nod once.
“I said I am.” My voice is strong, even though inside, I’m terrified.
The undecipherable gargoyle’s eyes just search mine. His face is strained in disbelief.
“I really am,” I assure him and attempt to turn my attention to the fog-covered fortress in front of us. I don’t want to see his troubled expression.
Gage doesn’t let me twist though. Instead, he snatches my chin roughly and tilts my head back. His gaze roams over my face before locking onto it with a raw intensity. “With every moment that goes by, they turn a deeper shade of indigo, love,” he whispers.
My breath hitches and I slam my lids down, hiding the irises. Asher and I triggered our mate bond and fulfilled the divination of redemption. My light ignited and awakened his soul, protecting him from stone petrifaction. I was so concerned with his safety, I failed to remember his mate mark wouldn’t be the only change to my body. My eye color changed from hazel, to blue, the clan’s hue. I really should have read more paranormal books. Crap.
Opening my eyes, I take in a deep breath through my nose. The memory of my intimate night with Asher disappears. His mate mark angrily pulses on my lower back, alerting me to Asher’s emotional state. He’s pissed. Of course he is. Why wouldn’t he be?
Gage sighs in annoyance. “One look at you, love, and the Declan clan will not be able to overlook the fact that you are the dark prince’s mate.”
My eyes narrow in response. “Not fully. Abby told me that the mark and eye color are temporary until my new mark is infused with Asher’s blood. If that doesn’t happen, with time, both disappear and release him of our soul connection. That’s what needs to happen, Gage. I only did this to protect him from the council and Dark Army.”
Gage releases a hollow laugh that sounds more like a bark. “You’re naïve, daughter of Heaven, to think you gave yourself to him in the name of protection only.”
My teeth clench in aggravation. “You said you would help me. I need to extract my aunt Elizabeth from Lucifer before he kills her. I’m the one he wants. It’s my role to save her. By any means necessary. Asher wouldn’t have let me do this, you know that.”
He holds my gaze for a moment in contemplation. “Don’t you mean your mother?”
“Ever since finding out that Elizabeth and Michael are your biological parents, you continue to refer to her as your aunt. She’s your mother, love. You are her flesh and blood.”
I pull my chin out of his grasp. “Fine. I need to save…my mother.” As the words fall out of my mouth, my stomach sinks at the recollection that both the archangel and my guardian, whom I’ve known since birth as my aunt Elizabeth, lied to me for years before recently coming clean about our biological lineage.
“Are you going to help me or not?” I snip impatiently.
Gage’s focus shifts from me, down the haze-filled path, toward the ominous castle that belongs to Deacon, the leader of the Declan clan. Since Gage was the half-demon, half-gargoyle’s right hand man for a short time, Gage is the only one who knows of its location, which is why I entrusted him to assist me with this plan.
My eyes follow his line of sight, landing on the stone fortress, as unease trickles down my spine. The last time I was here, Deacon was holding me hostage. Despite the bad blood between the two, Gage had helped Asher and his family, the London clan, with my rescue.
Deacon’s entire focus has been to hand me over to Lucifer and the Dark Army. He killed Aria, my best friend and college roommate, while she was protecting me. After which, both Deacon’s brother Kaiden, and his mother Dimia, died doing his bidding.
I shudder at the thought of what he’ll do to me this time, knowing that Asher and the St. Michaels won’t save me. Stabbing Asher, the future king of the gargoyle race, in the heart with my daggers was the ultimate betrayal. I’ve ended the protection the clan offered.
Releasing a slow breath, I remind myself that I’m the weapon, created by Heaven, to tip the scale in their favor and bring redemption to the world ending this centuries’ old war. Heaven sees me as a pawn, but for Hell, I’m a threat to their very existence. It’s why they’re hunting me. If not restrained, I have the power to destroy the Dark Army. This time, though, I’m going to make it easy and surrender, exchanging my life for my Elizabeth’s.
Chewing on the inside of my cheek, I wait for his answer. Deciding then and there, with or without his help, I’m still doing this. It’s my fault that Deacon and Lucifer kidnapped my mother to get to me. Gage faces me with a soft look. I can tell he’s made his decision.
Silently, he extends his hand for me to take, and I do, as relief floods through me. The grip he has on me tightens, almost painfully, as he yanks me harshly to his chest. Without warning, his grey wings snap out from his back. Gage’s face morphs into one of regret.
My expression turns to one of confusion at his sudden coldness, wordlessly questioning him.
“Sorry, love,” Gage whispers in my ear before disappearing with me in his possession.
If I stand any straighter, I think it’s possible my spine might snap in two. Of their own accord, my hands clench and unclench at my sides in agitation. I fear if they stop, I might land a hard smack on the cheek of the sexy gargoyle watching me with his unimpressed eyes.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” I scream and throw my hands up in dismay.
The protector ignores my outburst. Instead of responding, he takes out a cigarette, rolling it between his thumb and index finger, momentarily distracting me. Damn, he’s alluring when he does that.
“I said I was sorry,” Gage offers unapologetically, yanking me back to the present.
“Take. Me. Back,” I demand.
“No,” he says with finality then pulls out a lighter from the front pocket of his black dress pants. Once the nicotine stick is lit, he drags in a hard inhale, relaxing his face and shoulders.
“Now, Gage.” I narrow my eyes at him.
He pins me with a hard glare and he lets out a long exhale. A cloud of smoke is directed at me, forcing me to fan my hand in front of my face like Miss America does when she starts crying after she’s found out she’s won. Jerk.
“I understand the word no is not something you’re used to hearing, love, since Asher bows at your every whim, but I mean it. So stop arguing with me.” His voice is rough.
“She will die,” I seethe.
His shoulders drop at my statement. “Elizabeth is not under my protection. You are.”
I scoff. “Unreal. NOW you decide to step in and protect me?” What the hell? “What happened to, I don’t babysit, love. You’re a big girl, Eve. Spread those wings and fly, daughter of Heaven.” I mock his previous statements.
He shrugs and places the cigarette in his mouth again. “It pleases me to do so now.”
I fold my arms over my chest and attempt to take on an even angrier stance. He just continues to stand there, unaffected, sucking on his cigarette. Letting it dangle over his infuriating perfect lips. Damn gargoyles.
“Gage,” I fume.
“This wasn’t the plan.”
Gage throws the remains of his cigarette on the concrete sidewalk before stomping on it with his black designer shoes. “No, love, it wasn’t. Plans change. Isn’t that what’s so wonderful about free will, daughter of Heaven?”
We hold one another’s irate glare before a deep tone cuts through our childish stand off.
“In or out?” the gruff, accented voice asks in a short manner.
My eyes shift to the large Samoan man glaring at Gage and I. His thick, tan arms are covered in tribal tattoos and folded across his heavy body. The stranger is guarding a black door with no sign on it. His sudden presence triggers the realization that we’re standing in a back alley, in a city.
“Where are we?” I ask Gage, finally coming to my senses.
“The Midnight Temple,” Gage says cryptically and walks over to the intimidating bodyguard. “Issac, it’s good to see you again, brother.”
Issac doesn’t smile, or move for that matter. To be honest, he looks like he’s about to kill Gage. That unto itself makes him my new favorite person.
“Ua leva tele ona o’u le toe va’ai ia oe,” Issac grunts out in what sounds like Samoan.
“It has been a long time, man. I need to see him,” Gage says. “I’m owed a favor.”
Issac slides his guarded attention toward me before motioning to me with his head.
“O ai lou igoa?” he asks me.
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand,” I state.
“He wants to know your name, love,” Gage explains.
“Oh. Eve. Eve Collins,” I answer and put out my hand to shake his.
Isaac doesn’t take it. His dark brown eyes skate back to Gage. “E le o inei le tama.”
Gage stands straighter and leans in. “Don’t lie to me. I know he’s here. I sense him.”
“E na’o ‘oe?” Isaac questions frostily.
Gage’s expression turns lethal. “Do I look stupid, ma a’u o?”
After an awkward few moments, Issac tilts his head toward the door but doesn’t make any effort to move. Gage grabs my hand and yanks me around the large man. As we pass, my arm briefly brushes Isaac’s, causing the hair on the back of my neck to tingle. He just smirks.
Gage drags me through the steel door into a dark, long hallway. A loud buzzing sound emits from the one small, circular overhead light that’s tinted red, basking the corridor in a burgundy hue. Immediately, the smell of sulfur assaults my nose. I dig my heels into the old, thin black carpet on the floor. Crap. I’m still not wearing shoes.“Where the hell are we?”
“That’s a pretty close assessment, love.” Gage sighs before turning to face me. “At the risk of sounding like the dark prince, in here, you stick by my side. Don’t speak. Don’t move. Don’t breathe, unless I permit it. This place is where darkness comes to play. Understood?”
I hold his intense gaze before giving in. It’s not like Gage to go all protector bossy on me.
“I’m not wearing shoes,” I point out.
Gage ignores the statement. Instead, he roughly snatches my hand again and continues to pull me along, forcing us further into the hall’s darkness.
“Why are we here?” I whisper.
“Christ. Don’t speak unless I speak to you, love,” he growls. “You want Elizabeth back? We do it my way. This is my way.” Why do I get the feeling his way sucks?
This was not at all how this was supposed to go. Aggravated at the change in plans, I stop and rip my hand out of his hold so he’s forced to turn and look at me again. He does.
“Gag—” He cuts me off. With supernatural speed, Gage is in front of me, pinning me to the wall and caging me in with his arms. A shrewd smile crosses his lips as he dips his chin.
“I mean it, love. Not one word unless I give you permission,” he orders.
After a brief moment of defiance, I press my lips together to prove I can behave. Satisfied, Gage pushes off the wall and continues to maneuver us through the shadowy passage and up several flights of stairs.
As we walk, the dim vibrations of a bass flow through me, prompting my curiosity. There must be a nightclub on the other side of the wall.
I keep my eyes trained on Gage’s back while we make our way up the last set of stairs. A snow-white door sits at the top of the landing. The color seems out of place given all the deep burgundy and blacks from the stairwells and hallway decor. Upon approach, I read Media Nocte In Templo spray-painted artistically across the entry. Before Gage knocks, the door swings open and my eyes meet a familiar pair of wild emerald green ones. What the hell?
“I’ve been waiting for you,” she rasps out.
“Sorry we’re late, buttercup.” Gage feigns an apology.
Confused, I look to Gage and then to the pale girl blanketing her face with her long raven hair. The new purple highlights mixed into the glossy dark strands make Nassa, Sorceress of Prosperity, look effortlessly cool. They match her deep purple eyeliner. Longing for my own clothes, I take in her black converse sneakers, black skinny jeans and vintage band t-shirt.
What in the world is going on? I’m about to ask, but a loud squawking noise interrupts my curiosity. At the sound, my focus stops on a black crow sitting on the sorceress’ shoulder. Its wings are silky with sleek deep cobalt streaks running through the raven feathers.
“Noir, meet Eve, daughter of Heaven. Eve, my familiar, Noir.” Nassa introduces us.
I smirk awkwardly at the bird while it tilts its head, assessing me. My life just keeps getting more and more absurd. “You have a pet crow?” I stare at the animal in astonishment.
Gage shoots me a menacing look, probably for speaking out of turn. My eyes widen at him in apology as I motion with my hand that I’m zipping my mouth closed. Fuck, he’s bossy.
“You don’t have to be afraid of him.” She enlightens, reaching up and petting the creature.
“Isn’t he sort of a symbol for death?” I snort, causing the bird to caw at me.
“Christ, love.” I get an aggravated warning from Gage.
“Actually, crows are keepers of the sacred law. They can see our true soul self, representing transcendence. They’re also extremely smart and loyal.” Nassa shifts her focus to me.
I arch my brow in skepticism. “Pretty sure Alfred Hitchcock would disagree.”
At my reference, she rolls her eyes. “If it helps you sleep at night, they mate for life, sunbathe, and can count to six.” The quirky girl explains these points as if they will win me over.
“Fascinating,” I reply warily.
“Noir is simply my familiar, like Malefica, aunt Lunette’s spotted panther,” she adds.
I’d forgotten Nassa was the niece of the eccentric Sorceress Lunette. A member of the Sorceresses of the Black Circle, and one of the Supernatural Royal Court members, as well as, the guardian of the scroll of divination. Oh, and a tantric sex hobbyist who pierced my mate in the most private of spots. My lips tilt at the vision of the slim, blonde haired witch.
“Are you going to invite us in, buttercup?” Gage winks seductively from the doorway.
Nassa glares at him, irritated at the nickname, before stepping aside and motioning us into another hallway. Odd. Before we enter, Nassa steps up to Gage angrily.
“For the record, Gallagher, your mere presence makes me want to puke,” she quips.
Gage just stares at her with a blank expression before leaning toward her ear to speak quietly.
“Gallagher, huh? It’s nice to see you got my name right this time, buttercup. I loathe being confused with God. Oh God…please,” he says in a low, seductive voice.
My eyes slide closed. Well, crap. That can’t be unheard.
Nassa releases a raspy, deep laugh. “Don’t flatter yourself, Gallagher. I was just surprised. Oh God, is that all there is,” she mouths off as I beg the floor to open up and swallow me.
Gage rolls his neck, allowing the loud cracks of his straining bones and muscles to echo off the walls. He ignores her smart remark and snatches my hand, yanking me hard into the corridor as I stumble over my feet.
“Eve needs to clean up. Maybe an outfit and some shoes. Can you help before she meets him?” Gage grits out.
“If you’d release your overprotective grip on her, I’ll get right on that,” Nassa retorts.
“Love, go with Nassa. You have ten minutes.” He releases my hand.
I go to say something snarky, but Gage’s face morphs into one of caution. Damn my promise to keep my mouth shut. Instead, I follow the sorceress into a backroom, where she roughly throws a duffle bag at me. Rummaging thought it I find it’s filled with my own clothes and products, as well as my favorite shoes. My eyes meet hers in question.
“How did you get my things?” I ask.
“Gallagher told me about your little escape plan, so I packed some items I thought you’d need.” She points a dark purple, polished index finger behind me. “There’s a bathroom through that door to freshen up. No offense but you smell like vomit,” she states as a matter of fact.
“Yeah…well, you smell like crow,” I retort.
Her face scrunches. “That isn’t even an insult. You need to spend more time with Kenna.”
I ignore the dig and snatch the bag off the floor then head into the bathroom to change. Ten minutes later, I’m clean and in my own clothes, shoes and all. I open the door to see Nassa sitting on a couch, magazine in hand. Noir stares at me with his beady bird eyes. Creepy.
“Why didn’t you have that thing with you when you were at the summit in London?” I ask.
“Noir doesn’t like flying,” she answers in an even tone, not looking at me.
I study her for a moment to see if she’s joking. She’s not. Is she serious? She has a pet bird that doesn’t like to fly. Awesome. “Where are we?” I change topics.
“Didn’t Gallagher warn you not to speak or ask questions?” Her head tilts, watching me.
“He did. I thought since we know one another, you might be a little more forthcoming with information. My mistake.” I shift uncomfortably, while she focuses on the glossy pages of the fashion magazine. “Are you and Gage an item now, or something?”
Nassa sighs. “New York. You’re in Manhattan. And no we’re not.”
I drop the bag holding my dirty outfit and nod in appreciation. “Thanks.”
She studies me for a moment. “For what it’s worth, I think what you did to Asher was pretty shitty. I’m willing to bet he kills you. Painfully. That said, I respect why you did it. I would do anything to keep my mom safe. So we’re cool. You and me.”
I swallow the painful lump forming in my throat. “Good to know,” I whisper.
Her eyes float around the storage room. “This is my uncle’s club, The Midnight Temple. That’s what the Latin graffiti on the door translates into.”
“Why did Gage bring me here?” I sit down on the worn couch next to her.
Twisting so she can see me, Nassa shrugs. “Probably because my uncle’s a demon lord.”
I knit my brows. “A what?”
“Demon lord. It’s the same as an archangel only for the other team.”
“Your uncle is a demon? I thought you were a sorceress?” I accuse.
“My mom is a sorceress. My dad, Mammon, holds a high position within the demon world. To avoid the look you’re giving me now, I tend to play up the sorceress side. It’s less…freakish. I make more friends that way,” she deadpans with a look of irritation.
“Mammon… Your dad is the demon of greed?” I question in a high-pitched voice.
“You’re in no position to judge. Your dad is the warrior of Heaven,” she throws back.
“Sorry,” I murmur. “Wait, how do you know about Michael?”
“Noir can see your true soul. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me,” Nassa ensures.
“Forgive my mistrust but my ability to read people’s motives isn’t what it used to be.”
“I have nothing to gain by ratting you out, Eve. I live with my mother and the Sorceresses of the Black Circle. My allegiance is to them. I haven’t seen my dad, or my uncle, in a very long time. Nor do I care to engage in what their side believes to be truth,” she explains.
“If your dad is Mammon, who’s your uncle?” I question, not really wanting to know.
“The King of the Nine Hells, one of the original seven princes of Hell. Known to most as the demon of lust,” Nassa answers, holding my eyes.
“Actually, my dear niece, my claim to fame is that I penned the contract of creation,” a baritone intonation cascades over us from the doorway.
At the interruption, both Nassa and I become rigid, shifting our focus to the voice.
“Eve, meet my uncle, Asmodeus.”
About the author and where to find her:
Randi Cooley Wilson is a “New Adult” Paranormal/Fantasy and Contemporary Romance author. Randi was born and raised in Massachusetts where she attended Bridgewater State University and graduated with a degree in Communication Studies. After graduation she moved to California where she lived happily bathed in sunshine and warm weather for fifteen years. Randi makes stuff up, devours romance books, drinks lots of wine and coffee, and has a slight addiction to bracelets.
In my world, there is no such thing as love. It is just a lie we whisper into our client’s ear. Love is foreign and hazardous. What I did not expect was to bare my soul to a man who is as egotistical as he is dangerous.
His name is Landon. Despite his blackened soul, he tried to save me, but what he didn’t expect was my torturous fate to catch up with me.
To your father, I’m the escort.
To your mother, I’m the whore.
To the legal system, I’m the prostitute.
In the end, I’m just the other woman.
I have no idea if I will continue to survive, if I will ever find my path aside from the gritty streets I know so well. There is a good chance I will wind up in the ditch like most women in my position. Surrendering to my fate is the only choice I have. I must relinquish it all.
About the author and where to find her:
M.N. Forgy was raised in Missouri where she still lives with her family. She’s a soccer mom by day and a saucy writer by night. M.N. Forgy started writing at a young age but never took it seriously until years later, as a stay-at-home mom, she opened her laptop and started writing again. As a role model for her children, she felt she couldn’t live with the “what if” anymore and finally took a chance on her character’s story. So, with her glass of wine in hand and a stray Barbie sharing her seat, she continues to create and please her fans.
Simon Watson, a young librarian on the verge of losing his job, lives alone on the Long Island Sound in his family home, a house perched on the edge of a bluff that is slowly crumbling toward the sea. His parents are long dead, his mother having drowned in the water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, works for a traveling carnival reading tarot cards and seldom calls.
On a day in late June, Simon receives a mysterious package from an antiquarian bookseller. The book tells the story of Amos and Evangeline, doomed lovers who lived and worked in a traveling circus more than two hundred years ago. The paper crackles with age as Simon turns the yellowed pages filled with notes, sketches, and whimsical flourishes, and his best friend and fellow librarian, Alice, looks on in increasing alarm. Why does his grandmother’s name, Verona Bonn, appear in this book? Why do so many women in his family drown on July 24? Could there possibly be some kind of curse on his family, and could Enola, who has suddenly turned up at home for the first time in six years, risk the same fate in just a few weeks? In order to save her–and perhaps himself–Simon must try urgently to decode his family history while moving on from the past.
My Rating: 2½/5 stars
Every reader has a stack or list of books titled “The Ones I Wanted to Love but Didn’t” and Erika Swyler’s The Book of Speculation now finds itself on my list.
What I Liked:
The concept of this book is pretty sweet: a mysterious book with little to no identifying information makes its way into the hands of librarian, Simon Watson. Simon is drawn to the book and once he begins to research it, he discovers his family is intimately tied to the book and its history. Simon’s family has a long and tragic history he is desperate to not only understand but overcome. If Simon can pull all of the puzzle pieces together, he just might be able to save himself and his sister from a tragic fate that has befallen so many before them.
The alternating time periods/chapters is a favored writing device for me. The Book of Speculation moves back and forth between the present and the past as described in the book Simon has been given. The alternating time periods allows the author to weave the past and the present together into one cohesive story and I generally find this a most entertaining form of storytelling.
What I Didn’t Like:
I really struggled with the pacing of this book and it took me a lot longer than necessary to get through this read. The pacing is very slow and even in moments when there is considerable action, the pace barely picks up. I found myself only able to read 2-4 chapters at a time because of this.
In most books I like the majority of the characters (and dislike those the author wants me too) but I found it very difficult to like any of the characters in this read. Every character in this read is seriously depressed (or angry) over one issue or another and as the plot unfolds and the past and the present begin to merge, the sadness (and anger) becomes overwhelming. Yes, I totally appreciate these characters are dealing with a tragic past and current set of circumstances but even in the darkest of times, something good happens once in a while. This is not the case with this read.
Repetition makes me crazy and The Book of Speculation is riddled with repetition. In nearly every chapter at least a portion of the information is repeated and while that is sometime necessary (in a very complicated plot, for example), it certainly isn’t necessary in every chapter nor is it necessary for this read. At some point I realized I could skip over parts of the chapter because I already knew what was coming. Did this in any way cause me to miss a part of the read or not understand some aspect of the story down the road? No.
Finally, though there is no cliffhanger to this read I still found the ending to be thoroughly unsatisfying. Yes, all of the major questions are answered and the mystery is solved but the fate of the characters doesn’t feel at all settled, as if there is something more that needs to be explained about their circumstances.
The Bottom Line: The synopsis for this book drew me in instantly but I found it very difficult to stay with this read. To be clear, I finished this book but I found it hard to want to read and that is generally a very good indicator regarding how much or how little I like a book. Based on the book’s concept, The Book of Speculation should have been a book I was sucked into and only spit back out of after a single marathon read. Unfortunately, too many issues kept this book from being something I enjoyed and will keep it from being a read I would recommend to others.
Triple Review and Sweepstakes: In Bed with Mr. Wrong, His to Keep and, Falling for His Best Friend (Books #1, #1.5 and,#2: Out of Uniform Series) by Katee Robert
Brianne Nave is never doing her friends a favor again. When they begged her to go on a blind date, she didn’t expect someone so perfectly gorgeous. She’s a mousy librarian—totally not in this man’s league. And judging by his odd reaction when she opens the door, he knows it, too. Air Force Pararescuer Ryan Flannery avoids his hometown at all costs. He’s not thrilled about the date until he’s shocked silent by the prickly little librarian’s sweet curves and kissable lips…and her smart mouth. But then an argument leads to a kiss that spirals out of control. How can two people have so little chemistry outside the bedroom when they fit together so perfectly in it? When their friends strand them in a cabin to “work things out,” Bri’s not sure whether to kill him or put the industrial-sized box of condoms they find to use. Bottom line—Ryan’s career military and hates the tiny town she loves. He’ll leave, just like everyone else in her life. And if she’s foolish enough to give him her heart, he’ll take it with him.
My Rating: 4/5 stars
Ryan Flannery moved out of Wellingford at the first available opportunity and hasn’t been back for any extended length of time for ten years. Tired of being known as a delinquent and the youngest son of the town drunk, Ryan has spent a decade in the military and achieved far more than the town gossips would have you believe. His current stay in his hometown is meant to be a sort of mini-vacation before diving back into active duty, what it turns into is something wholly different and quite unexpected. At the absolute insistence of his older brother, Drew, Ryan agrees to a blind date with Bri Nave. Based on his brother’s description, Bri is an adorable girl with an excellent personality and someone Ryan should have a really good time with.
From the moment Ryan and Bri meet it is like oil and water with claws and sharp teeth. Every word out their respective mouths is an insult to the other and if each weren’t doing a favor for a friend, the date would have ended before it ever got started. Dinner is no better than their initial meeting and after a most uncomfortable hour or so, both are ready to be done with the disastrous night. Ryan is determined to remember he is a gentleman and sees Bri safely to her front porch. With one final insult meant to be a taunt and nothing more, Ryan is sort of blown away when Bri calls his bluff and pulls him in for a world-altering kiss. In about 0.000001 seconds, Ryan realizes kissing Bri is not where he wants to stop and before either can get their heads on straight Bri is screaming out Ryan’s name right there on her front porch.
Bri certainly didn’t see that coming but come is exactly what she did and despite her best efforts, she can’t get Ryan Flannery out of her head. Within just a few days’ time, Bri finds herself once again face-to-face with Ryan and once again the two insulting each other. Yet again, the insults result in making out and this time, the whole town knows about it when a street light and mail box are taken out as a result of their passion. At this point, everyone in town except Ryan and Bri can see how perfect they are for one another and someone has to take action before more public property is damaged. :)
The only two people brave (or stupid!) enough to pull off what needs to be done for Bri and Ryan are Ryan’s brother, Drew and his best-friend, Avery. Known for their stunts and pranks, Drew and Avery conspire to strand Bri and Ryan in a fully-stocked cabin for three days with little more than a text to “Work your shit out!” Both Bri and Ryan are furious with Drew and Avery but quickly figure out they have no choice but to ride out the three days . . . .alone. It doesn’t take either long to figure out that three days of fighting and f*&%*@g is not going to work out so little by little each begins to open up and actually listen to the other.
Ryan learns why Bri loves Wellingford so much and Bri learns why Ryan was so quick to get out of town. Their respective pasts are filled with sadness and neither is interested in creating anything other than happy memories. Though it takes some time and more than a little trust, Ryan begins to realize that Bri may just be able to make him love his hometown once again. All he has to do is convince a woman terrified of being abandoned that he won’t ever leave her and he is this thing for the long haul.
The Bottom Line: You know, I sort of really enjoyed this read!! Bri and Ryan are both quite delightful and their initial meetings had me laughing so hard. Their initial sexual encounters are just as passionate as their dislike for each other and that certainly enhanced the naughty bits. Make no mistake, this read is more than just the sex and once the two are trapped in the cabin, they are forced to get to know one another. Revealing both their secrets and their fears allows Bri and Ryan to better understand the other and love to grow between them. Sure, it is fast and furious but nothing about their relationship feels rushed in this read. Robert deals with all the emotional issues just as handily and before you know, Ryan and Bri are more than on their way to a beautiful HEA.
He’s always wanted her. Now’s his chance to claim what’s his.
School teacher Marceline Bellini gave up everything—men, sex, anything resembling a social life—to raise her young daughter. To be the perfect parent. But when she attends an engagement party in her standard stick-in-the-mud mode, her friends begin plying Marcy with shots. Just enough to convince her that a little fun doesn’t sound like a bad idea… and having some naughty fun is an even better one. Like finding herself deliciously pressed against a dark alley wall by the very familiar and very hot body of her best friend’s older brother. After years of waiting in painful silence, police officer Aaron Robinson finally has Marcy’s attention. And man, does he have it. But nothing could have prepared either of them for the rush of fiery lust between them. So he’ll just have to convince Marcy he’s for real. And that a rainy, lust-fuelled romp is the first step to a lifetime of completely imperfect happiness…
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
Round two of the Out of Uniform series is a novella-length read featuring Marcy Bellini and police office, Aaron Robinson.
Marcy’s life for the past three years has been ensuring her three-year old daughter, Claire has a good and stable life. As an elementary school teacher, Marcy’s job provides a steady income and with no social life at all, Marcy is always home and always available for her daughter. Marcy has no intention nor plan to change her routine until the night she ends up at a party for her neighbor and good friend, Bri Nave. With a sitter at home, the encouragement of her friends to let loose and, a few shots in her, Marcy finds herself face-to-face with her long time crush, Aaron Robinson. And by face-to-face I mean getting down and dirty in the alley behind the bar. :)
Aaron Robinson has long carried a torch for his sister’s best-friend, Marcy Bellini. Wellingford is a small town and Aaron knows every obstacle Marcy has overcome to establish a stable and secure life for herself and her daughter. With every intention of finally making Marcy his, Aaron is taken completely by surprise by Marcy in the alley behind Chilly’s. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Aaron goes right with Marcy for one hell of a ride that he instantly wants a repeat of. Aaron is gentleman though and is determined to treat Marcy like the lady he knows her to be and so, he asks her out. Mind you, it takes Aaron more than a few phone calls and one more seriously hot encounter before he can get Marcy to agree to a proper date.
Marcy has resigned herself to a relatively lonely life that is born out of her intense desire to protect her daughter. Not dating means not exposing Claire to any uncertainty or instability but also means Marcy has no true companionship in her life. Her past experience with Claire’s sperm donor has made her incredibly wary but if there was ever going to be a man to trust, Aaron Robinson would be it. She has known Aaron for more than a decade and in every encounter she has had with him, he has proven himself to be an honorable and good man with nothing but good intentions toward her. Aaron is a kind man who is willing to go slowly for Marcy’s sake but in a moment of pure, unadulterated panic brought on by her daughter catching them in the act, Marcy pushes Aaron away and makes it clear there is no room for him in her life.
The Bottom Line: His to Keep is a short and sweet read that fits in so nicely with the Out of Uniform series. Marcy is such a sweet girl who has worked so hard to provide for her daughter that is absolutely understandable why she has such a hard time allowing any man into her life. I love that Aaron is the man she chooses to trust and it makes perfect sense that he is one given their long history. Aaron’s kindness is matched by his determination and patience and he doesn’t give up on Marcy even when she makes it clear he should. This quick read is just perfect but it is the epilogue that really takes it over the top. In all, a fine addition to the Out of Uniform series.
Avery Yeung’s biological clock just went off early. Thanks to her family’s medical history, she’s running out of time to get knocked up. And the only guy within donating distance? Her overprotective—and irritatingly hot—best friend. So clearly she needs an anonymous donor… Anonymous donor? Over Sheriff Drew Flannery’s dead body. While daddyhood will never be in the cards for a man with his past, Drew won’t let Avery shop for a “popsicle pop.” He’ll do what’s right for his best friend by doing his best friend. But only if they do it properly. But there’s nothing “proper” about it. Between the bed, the kitchen counter, and against his squad car, Avery and Drew are having the hottest sex ever. They can’t get enough of it—or each other. And without knowing it, they’ve crossed the one line that could ruin their friendship forever…
Source: ARC from Author
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
For twenty years citizens in Wellingford have wondered when Drew Flannery and Avery Yeung will pull their heads out of their asses and realize they are so much more than just best-friends. Seriously, the entire town can see how perfect these two are for one another but denial is a powerful thing and Drew and Avery both have it going on in spades.
What every good romance needs to get started is a catalyst, a moment or event to convince all involved of the rightness of their relationship. In Drew and Avery’s case, the catalyst is Avery’s decision to have a baby before she is forced to have a preventative hysterectomy. Avery’s family has a sad history of cancer and her own medical testing has indicated she has the same genetic markers as her mother and sister. The hysterectomy is a foregone conclusion but there is still just enough time for Avery to make her dream of a biological child come true. When Avery announces her plans to her circle of close friends, Drew is wicked pissed and storms out. Avery is both completely confused and completely hurt by Drew’s response but she doesn’t have to wait long for an explanation.
For years Drew has wondered what it would like to be with Avery but her friendship is too important to risk losing. When Avery announces her intention to have a baby, Drew’s blood pressure boils at the thought of her being with another man and he offers his services. After twenty years of friendship, Avery knows Drew will be there for her and would never leave alone with their child. After the initial confusion over exactly how Avery is going to be impregnated, Avery and Drew embark on an adventure each has wondered about for years. Their first sexual encounter is, according to Drew a moment when the heavens open up and angels sing and something he is more than interested in repeating. For Avery, the experience was equally satisfying but the aftermath left something to be desired. What both Avery and Drew have feared for twenty years has come to pass, it got awkward.
Over the next week, Avery and Drew try their hardest to keep the awkwardness out of their situation but emotions are high and each is forced to face a truth that everyone but them seem to know, they are meant to be together. In addition to the personal awkwardness, Avery also has to face her incredibly judgmental family. Avery’s grandparents have all their hopes their family resting firmly on Avery’s shoulders. She is the family’s last chance to continue the family line and she must do so with a Chinese man. When Avery announces her decision to her family and who the father will be her grandfather calls her a whore and banishes her from the family. Yeah, because this situation can’t get any worse.
Both Avery and Drew are all over the place and in truth, their biggest obstacle is refusing to admit their true feelings. The idea of having a baby together is something that should bring them nothing but closer together but in fact, it ends up tearing the apart. Until one or the other is willing to say – OUT LOUD – what it is they are feeling, the situation will never be resolved and Avery will end up exactly where Drew never wanted her to be, out of his life and alone with a baby.
The Bottom Line: Drew and Avery are just perfect and their awkward attempts at a no-strings-attached relationship is just comical. Of all the people in the Out of Uniform series, Drew and Avery have the most solid past and foundation for building a romance on. Avery was there for every minute of Drew’s messed up childhood and Drew has been by Avery’s side for every moment of her life. They have been through some serious ups and downs and never once considered abandoning the other. When sex is on the table things certainly get muddled and messed up but once everyone gets their heads on straight, Avery and Drew’s path is clear and headed toward an HEA. My only real complaint about this read (and it carries over from the first two reads) is the frequent use of the word God****. I will proudly admit to being a lady with the mouth of a sailor but that is one word even I won’t use and find it used so often in this read (and the previous two) is a bit off-putting. With that being my only complaint, I can adjust my reading habits by skipping over that word and therefore continue to enjoy this naughty and fun series!!
About the author and where to find her:
New York Times & USA TODAY Bestselling Author Katee Robert learned to tell stories at her grandpa’s knee. Her favorites then were the rather epic adventures of The Three Bears, but at age twelve she discovered romance novels and never looked back. Though she dabbled in writing, life got in the way—as it often does—and she spent a few years traveling, living in both Philadelphia and Germany. In between traveling and raising her two wee ones, she had the crazy idea that she’d like to write a book and try to get published. Her first novel was an epic fantasy that, God willing, will never see the light of day. From there, she dabbled in YA and horror, before finally finding speculative romance. Because, really, who wouldn’t want to write entire books about the smoking-hot relationships between two people? She now spends her time—when not lost in Far Reach worlds—playing imaginary games with her wee ones, writing, ogling men, and planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.
Trouble big as all hell.
Retired sheriff’s detective Al Quinn hasn’t spoken to his brother, Maury, in twenty years. When Maury lands in the hospital under suspicious circumstances, though, Al reluctantly abandons his quiet country seclusion to look into the matter. A second attempt to take Maury out drives the brothers back to Al’s lakeside home, where Al knows the territory, but they’re not alone for long. ICE agents demand that Maury rat on his silent partner, city cop Fergie Jergens comes investigating the murders of Maury’s lady friends, and someone takes a match to Al’s house. Al soon learns his problems are only getting started—his brother’s in trouble on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Caught in a ruthless power struggle between the ICE and Los Zetas, a vicious Mexican mafia bent on ascendancy, Al learns the hard way who he can trust—and who’s willing to do whatever it takes to succeed. With everything he loves on the line, Al will learn just how far he’ll go to protect his own.
About the author and where to find him:
Russ Hall is author of more than twenty books: mysteries, thrillers, westerns, poetry, and nonfiction books, most in hardback and subsequently published in mass market paperback by Harlequin’s Worldwide Mystery imprint and Leisure Books. He has also co-authored numerous non-fiction books, most recently Do You Matter: How Great Design Will Make People Love Your Company (Financial Times Press, 2009) with Richard Brunner, former head of design at Apple, Now You’re Thinking (Financial Times Press, 2011), and Identity (Financial Times Press, 2012) with Stedman Graham, Oprah’s companion.
His graduate degree is in creative writing. He has been a nonfiction editor for major publishing companies, ranging from HarperCollins (then Harper & Row), Simon & Schuster, to Pearson. He has lived in Columbus, OH, New Haven, CT, Boca Raton, FL, Chapel Hill, NC, and New York City. Moving to the Austin area from New York City in 1983, he now lives on the North Shore of Lake Travis with a front yard herd of deer that has adopted him. He fishes, hikes, cooks, has way too many books, and has friends in Austin’s live music scene.
He has a web site (www.russhall.com), appears in book festivals, does store signings, and give writing workshops. He is a long-time member of the Mystery Writers of America, Western Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime. He is a frequent judge for writing organizations.
In 2011, he was awarded the Sage Award, by The Barbara Burnett Smith Mentoring Authors Foundation—a Texas award for the mentoring author who demonstrates an outstanding spirit of service in mentoring, sharing and leading others in the mystery writing community. In 1996, he won the Nancy Pickard Mystery Fiction Award for short fiction. In 2014 he won First Place in the Austin International Poetry Festival.
Succubus Kenna Blake has been infected by a wraith…
The infection is just the beginning. As the wraith slowly gains control, Kenna must fight to keep a firm hold on her succubus nature, before she disappears completely. Following the only clue her mother has to offer, she tracks down the infamous Luke Bloom, owner of Love Potion #9, hoping for the answers she desperately needs. Unfortunately, Luke doesn’t harbor the magic that could rid her of the wraith and save Kenna’s soul…but his twin sister, Lexy does. The problem: Lexy Bloom relinquished her magic five years ago and went into hiding. As Kenna finds herself plagued by nightmares created by the wraith, she vows to do whatever necessary to rid herself of its darkness. Until she learns her only escape comes in the form of a rare spell requiring a shocking cost…
My Rating: 4/5 stars
**CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BOOK #1**
Balls!! Kenna Blake is in trouble and the trouble is only getting worse as the days go by. At the end of book one, Kenna found herself infected with a wraith, her friends willing to stand by her side and help in any way they can and, her vampire boyfriend nowhere to be found. Well, crap!
Knowing she is all kinds of screwed and having no idea what to do about her wraith issue, Kenna gets a single and totally cryptic clue from her mother. With nothing but a note that says Love Potion #9, Kenna begins the hunt for a cure. With a few well-placed questions, Kenna figures out Love Potion #9 is a supernatural hangout and the owner, Luke may be able to help her out. As Sage and Dex gear up for a big night out, Randal decides to reappear (after apologizing for being a wuss!) and Kenna is slipping further and further toward losing control. The wraith is beginning to exert itself in both her dreams and in her waking hours. In her dreams, the wraith is taunting her and coming far more tangible and in her waking hours, the wraith is increasing Kenna’s hunger and weakening her ability to pull away before killing her host. Could it get any worse?
Yep! It can totally get worse and it certainly does when Kenna finds out the person best suited to help her is Luke’s twin sister, Lexy, a powerful witch who quit using magic. Lexy lives at least six hours away and given the level of magic necessary to expel a wraith, she may be totally unwilling to help. In an every-increasing bad situation, Kenna’s best-friend, Bree shows up for an unexpected stay. With absolutely no valid excuse for asking Bree to leave, Kenna does her best to keep herself under control and hold off Randall and the trip to find Lexy. Given the gravity of the situation, Kendall looks for any excuse to get rid of Bree and get on the road. As fate would have it (and maybe Randal but I can’t prove that!) Bree’s house is burglarized and Kenna is once again free to go on a road trip.
Lexy is a witch of uncommon power and when she gave up the practice of magic, she gave it up completely. Lexy has spent the last five years building a quaint little business in a town where no one knows who she is or what she is capable of doing. When Kenna, Dex and Randal show up at Lexy’s shop the reception is frosty to say the least. Though Kenna is able to appeal to Lexy’s sense of goodness what Lexy tells Kenna is beyond comprehension and not at all something Kenna is sure she can go through with.
The Bottom Line: It certainly does suck to be a wraith-infected succubus but it sure does make for good reading. Just when Kenna was finally getting a handle on being a succubus, her life gets turned upside down by a seemingly vengeful wraith. Her control is shaky at best, her boyfriend is taking things to the next level and, the witch who can help her is reluctant. As if that weren’t enough, the solution to Kenna’s problem has stakes higher than she ever could have imagined. Snyder moves the story along in a believable fashion and throws just enough obstacles into everyone’s path to keep the reader on edge. Additionally, with the evolution of Kenna and Randal’s relationship, the story has become a little spicier and that is always a good thing. My only complaint about this read is the same complaint I had in the first read, Bree. Bree is one totally unlikeable character and I am nominating her right her and now for the thing Lexy tells Kenna she must do in order to be wraith-free! That may seem a bit cold-hearted but I really, really dislike Bree :) Other than Bree, I am still all over this series and looking forward to the next installment.
About the author and where to find her:
Jennifer Snyder lives in North Carolina were she spends most of her time writing New Adult and Young Adult Fiction, reading, and struggling to stay on top of housework. She is a tea lover with an obsession for Post-it notes and smooth writing pens. Jennifer lives with her husband and two children, who endure listening to songs that spur inspiration on repeat and tolerate her love for all paranormal, teenage-targeted TV shows.
When Raina Beck is given an invitation to The Players Club, all she wants is a night of decadence with a gorgeous, sexy stranger. The seductive, mysterious man she meets fulfills her deepest desires and most erotic fantasies, giving her a night she’ll never forget. But forgetting him isn’t quite so easy. Logan Cruz prefers his women submissive and compliant in the bedroom . . . everything the independent Raina is not. Yet from the first moment he lays eyes on her, he’s determined to make Raina his. Despite her resistance. When Logan is assigned to protect Raina from a stalker, everything between them changes. Sex becomes more than just physical, and emotions run deep. Falling in love was never on Raina’s agenda, but can she let go of the past and surrender the one thing he wants the most . . . her heart?
My Rating: 4½/5 stars
Though I haven’t reviewed Erika Wilde’s The Marriage Diaries novella series, I have been a follower and devoted reader since book one. Throughout the series, one sweet and somewhat sassy character, Raina Beck makes an appearance from time to time. In Playing with Temptation, Erika Wilde pulls her out of the shadows and gives Raina her own full-length novel and HEA.
As owner of Sugar and Spice, an adult boutique (don’t you dare say porn shop!) Raina Beck is used to helping others find the things they need to spice up their love lives. Her shop is upscale, her service is outstanding, her business is quite successful and, she has ceased caring about what others think of what she does for a living. Given her job and the large number of people she meets, one would think Raina’s love life would be full and exciting. Sadly, Raina’s love life is quite the opposite until she is given the opportunity to indulge in a single night of no-strings-attached debauchery at the Players Club. With just one night, Raina decides she is going to experience everything she wants with the man she feels an undeniable attraction to.
Logan Cruz doesn’t do long-term. Hell, Logan Cruz doesn’t do more than a night or two at the Players Club but when he has mind-blowing sex with one night with a delectable woman whose name he doesn’t know, Logan begins to consider more than one night. Now to find out the name of the only woman Logan Cruz has ever run after. Given his background and current position at Noble and Associates, Logan has no doubt he can track down his mystery woman and hopefully have more than a single night with her. Much to his great surprise, Logan walks into work on Monday morning to find his mystery woman is a new client in need of protection and Logan is just the man to provide help.
Logan sees protecting Raina as an opportunity to seduce her and Raina sees it as an opportunity to enjoy her bodyguard for the short amount of time their “relationship” will last. Raina has learned from several very painful experiences that men enjoy the novelty of dating an adult boutique owner but they aren’t interested in Raina for the long haul. As she has discovered, not too many men want to take her home to meet the family and so, Raina has learned to keep her emotions in check and only enjoy the physical aspect of relationships. Sexually, Logan is more than Raina could have ever hoped for. He is aggressive, inventive, selfless and, willing to concede (occasionally) to Raina’s need to be in control. Raina has never experienced the likes of Logan Cruz and it doesn’t take her long to figure out she is in way, way over head and if she isn’t careful, she is going to fall in love. Logan’s feeling toward Raina are unlike anything he has ever experienced and though he is somewhat unnerved by his emotions, he is willing to once again take a chance on love. He understands Raina is scared to become emotionally involved, she is freaked out by the threats to her well-being and, she is trying to let him in. Being by her side isn’t a hardship at all and with the exception of a few rocky moments, Logan thinks everything will work out until Raina pulls a runner and calls everything off.
The Bottom Line: I am a pretty big fan of Erika Wilde and was quite glad to see Raina Beck get her own novel. Raina has always come across as a nice girl who works hard but Playing with Temptation really gives the reader more insight into Raina’s life and her past. Raina’s life hasn’t been easy but she has overcome every obstacle and turned herself into a successful business owner. Though she is content with her career, Raina is missing a very significant piece to be truly happy, a partner to love and accept her and every aspect of her life. Sex with Logan was never meant to go beyond a one night stand but Logan’s persistence and presence as her bodyguard slowly dissolves some of the walls she has erected to protect herself. For as much as I like Raina, Logan is really the highlight of this read for me. Logan has long been wary of letting another woman close to his heart but he recognizes Raina as his mate almost immediately and accepts everything about her. Logan’s patience is commendable and due, in large part to his close observation of Raina and her behavior. Logan recognizes the fear in Raina and works to help her overcome it even when it overwhelms her and causes her to push him away. Another highlight of this read would be the naughty bits!! Erika Wilde writes some really fantastic sex scenes though she never allows the sex to overwhelm the characters or the story. Wilde writes erotica but she doesn’t write gratuitous sex; this story is about Raina and Logan and their HEA, a true romance.
P.S. Just a heads up for those of you who are chronological order readers like me, Playing with Him (Book #0.5: The Players Club Series) is just the first few chapters of this read but serves as a naughty teaser :)
TEMPTATION HAS NEVER BEEN SO HOT . . .
When Raina Beck is given an invitation to The Players Club, all she wants is a night of decadence with a gorgeous, sexy stranger. The seductive, mysterious man she meets fulfills her deepest desires and most erotic fantasies, giving her a night she’ll never forget. But forgetting him isn’t quite so easy.
When Raina Beck is given an invitation to The Players Club, all she wants is a night of decadence with a gorgeous, sexy stranger. The seductive, mysterious man she meets fulfills her deepest desires and most erotic fantasies, giving her a night she’ll never forget. But forgetting him isn’t quite so easy.
Logan Cruz prefers his women submissive and compliant in the bedroom . . . everything the independent Raina is not. Yet from the first moment he lays eyes on her, he’s determined to make Raina his. Despite her resistance.
When Logan is assigned to protect Raina from a stalker, everything between them changes. Sex becomes more than just physical, and emotions run deep. Falling in love was never on Raina’s agenda, but can she let go of the past and surrender the one thing he wants the most . . . her heart?
My name is Kendall Carrington—or so I thought. One night, a routine traffic stop turned the world I thought I knew upside down. I wasn’t who I thought I was. No one was. I had been kidnapped when I was young, and everything I had been told was all a lie. But the lies didn’t end there. If it hadn’t been for Lincoln Hunt, I might not have ever found out the truth. My real name is Danielle Tucker. This is my story of pain, betrayal, and finding the true meaning of home.
About the author and where to find her:
Leddy Harper had to use her imagination often as a child. She grew up the only girl in a house full of boys. At the age of fourteen, she decided to use that imagination and wrote her first book, and never stopped. She often calls writing her therapy, using it as a way to deal with issues through the eyes of her characters. She is now a mother of three girls, leaving her husband as the only man in a house full of females. The decision to publish her first book was made as a way of showing her children to go after whatever it is they want to. Love what you do and do it well. Most importantly Leddy wanted to teach them what it means to overcome their fears.
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