Review: Hawke (Book #5: Cold Fury Hockey Series) by Sawyer Bennett

Hawke

Title: Hawke Series: Book #5: Cold Fury Hockey Series Author: Sawyer Bennett Format: ebook, 275 pages Published: March 15, 2016 by Loveswept ISBN: 1101968109

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Off the ice, elite defenseman Hawke Therrien enjoys his fair share of booze and good times. And why shouldn’t he? He’s worked his way up from the minor leagues and made himself a star. The only thing Hawke misses from that life is the pierced, tattooed free spirit who broke his heart without so much as an explanation. She’s almost unrecognizable when she walks back into his life seven years later—except for the look in her eyes that feels like a punch to the gut.  Vale Campbell isn’t the same girl she was at twenty. As crazy as she was about Hawke, her reckless behavior and out-of-control drinking were starting to scare her. She had to clean up her act, and that would never happen with Hawke around. Cutting him loose was the hardest thing Vale ever had to do—until now. Because she’s still crazy about Hawke. And if he could ever learn to forgive her, they just might have a future together.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

The Cold Fury’s new season is just about to start and with each new season comes new additions to the team.  Hawke Therrien has played hockey since he was a kid with the singular goal in mind of playing for a team like the Cold Fury.  His game has never been better and with the Cold Fury coming off a Stanley Cup win, the team’s enthusiasm and motivation are at an all-time high.  Hawke is living the dream and it is a pretty perfect dream until the new team trainer is introduced.  In an instant, Hawke’s dream life becomes something of a waking nightmare.

Seven years after pushing Hawke Therrien out of her life with no explanation, Vale Campbell finds herself face-to-face with the one man who can crush her soul.  The interceding years have been good Hawke but Vale can’t risk getting involved.  Her dad is sick and needs her, she has a long-distance boyfriend, and working two jobs leaves little time for socializing.  Unfortunately, Vale’s heart, mind, and body aren’t all on the same page and from the moment she locks gazes with him, all of those parts begin warring with one another.  Just being near Hawke stirs up feelings Vale thought were long gone and she finds herself questioning every decision she has made about him since the very beginning. 

Vale Campbell is the one woman Hawke never got over.  Oh, sure, he has spent many a night (and day) in other women’s beds but none of them have ever been able to extinguish memory of Vale.  For four glorious years in their late teens, Hawke and Vale burned hot and bright but then, Vale kicked him to the curb and never contacted him again.  For seven long years, Hawke has wondered about that night, why Vale broke things off, and what could have possibly gone wrong to end such an affair.  With she and her dad back in his life, Hawke has every intention of getting some answers and getting Vale back in his bed.  In order to do that, Hawke has to get to know this new, more mature Vale and that isn’t going to be easy given her skittish nature.

With her dad’s illness and Hawke’s presence, Vale feels constantly on edge.  Hawke is very different than he was seven years ago but in some ways he is very much the same.  As they grow closer to one another, Vale finds she likes both the changes and the sameness of Hawke and she begins to think maybe they can get beyond their past, all the anger and hurt feelings.  In order to do that, Vale has to come clean about the night she broke up with Hawke and hope he can forgive her.

The Bottom Line:  I’m still very much enjoying the Cold Fury series and while Hawke doesn’t have quite the same heat or urgency as the previous books in the series, it is still a very good read.  Hawke and Vale have such a complicated and sad history that is laced with passion and intense sexual chemistry.  Their lives were irrevocably altered in a single night and getting back to some semblance of happiness takes so much time and so much effort.  Navigating life isn’t easy and with all the pressures surrounding Hawke and Vale, it is a wonder they can find the time to be together.  This truly is a second chance at love story but it is also a past meets present read.  In the end, everything comes together as it should with Hawke and Vale finding their long-awaited happily ever after.

Amazon | B & N | Kobo | iBooks | Amazon Audio CD

About the author and where to find her:

author - SawyerBennettNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and three big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.  Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, Cold Fury Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series.

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Review: Polar Opposites (Book #2: Super Villain Academy) by Kai Strand

 

Polar Opposites

Title: Polar Opposites Series: Book #2: Super Villain Academy Series Author: Kai Strand Format: Kindle Edition, 226 pages Published: June 1, 2014 by Whiskey Creek Press ISBN: 161160835X

 Purple Goodreads

 Synopsis:

The supers are balanced. Academies have altered their curriculum to teach both sides of the super power spectrum. All’s well in the super world. Right?   When Mystic kidnaps Oceanus, Jeff learns it isn’t all right. Turning to the newly balanced supers for assistance, he panics to find they’ve done nothing to rescue Oceanus. When no ransom request follows, he worries Mystic’s plan never included returning his girlfriend. Frustrated, he’s forced to work with the only super willing to help. Oceanus’ ex-villain, ex-boyfriend, Set.  Mystic isn’t the only one hiding something. Nothing about Jeff is balanced. Temper flares result in scorched clothing or flying furniture, and his charm has become an indiscriminate people-magnet.  Jeff is convinced, or maybe just hopeful, that his lack of control is directly related to Oceanus being gone. But will he and Set find her before Jeff loses control completely and will they find her alive?

 Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

When Jeff Mean (aka Polar) finally got a chance to kiss his crush, Oceanus something amazing happened, they stopped the world, twice.  When everything rebooted, it seems that kiss balanced the world of supers.  Cool!  Kind of . . . .

Since the balancing all of the super academies have totally revamped their curriculums, there are no longer designations like villain and white hat, and everybody is playing nice with one another.  As long as Jeff has Oceanus by his side, the world will stay in balance and everyone is happy.  Kind of . . . .

Mystic is still running around at large and she isn’t happy about the loss of Jeff.  Inexplicably, Mystic seems to still be all kinds of evil and in that spirit, she takes Oceanus.  Instantly, Jeff is ready to rally the troops and find his girlfriend but he seems to be the only super willing to do anything.  Even his mom and dad, two of the greatest supers in living memory don’t seem too excited about tracking down Oceanus.  With each stall, Jeff gets more and more angry and interestingly, his powers seem to be getting more and more out of control.  When Oceanus was with him, Jeff’s powers were totally under control but since she’s been gone something seems to be seriously off and he can’t seem to get anything under control.  With his options for finding Oceanus running out, Jeff turns to the most unlikely of sources for help, her ex-boyfriend, Set.

Yeah, Set, the one guy Jeff never, ever thought he would have to turn to for help but here he is, on the jerk’s front porch.  Though the clues to finding Oceanus aren’t plentiful, Set has sources and he eventually tracks down some promising information.  As more time goes by, Jeff becomes even more unstable and finding Oceanus becomes as much about her safety as everyone else’s safety.  With this in mind, more supers close to Jeff become involved in his search and when they finally, finally track down Oceanus and Mystic, it is far worse than any of them could have imagined. 

The Bottom Line: You know what?  I am kind of digging this whole Super Villain Academy series!  Round two has just as much action as round one but the stakes are even higher this time.  Not only is Oceanus’s life in danger but so is the world’s.  Jeff’s out of control powers aren’t the only result of the balancing and in fact, the balancing seems to have had some interesting side effects that no one could have predicted.  The unpredictability makes the race to save Oceanus all the more exciting and when they finally find her, the results are explosive.  The book doesn’t necessarily end with a huge cliffhanger but it does end with some unanswered questions which leaves the reader with a clear desire to dive right on in to book three, Super Bad.  I dove right on in . . .

3 book bundle

Amazon | B & N | Whiskey Creek

About the author and where to find her:

Kai StrandWhen her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.
 

Review: Super Bad (Book #3: Super Villain Academy) by Kai Strand

Super Bad

Title: Super Bad Series: Book #3: Super Villain Academy Series Author: Kai Strand Format: Paperback, 252 pages Published: May 6, 2015 by Whiskey Creek Press ISBN: 1633557707

 Purple Goodreads

 Synopsis:

The world is in chaos. Violence and thievery reign. And with the supers still balanced, it’s only getting worse. Without good versus evil, the supers care less and less. In order to restore purpose, the world needs its super heroes and its super villains, but the one who balanced them in the first place is missing.  Sandra’s concern over finding her brother, Jeff, isn’t her only problem. Her pathetic excuse for super powers has left her needing a new ankle. And though she’s still very much committed to her boyfriend, Source, she’s growing unreasonably attracted to Set, the boy who double crossed Jeff by stealing his girlfriend.   When Sandra is taken and held as bait by some kids who want to unbalance the super world, it becomes the inciting event that changes things for supers everywhere and forces them to answer the question, “Hero or villain?”

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

**REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!!**

Well, crap!!  Super Bad opens weeks after the end of book two, Polar Opposites and the scene isn’t pretty.  Jeff has been missing since the explosion, his sister is still recuperating at an exceptionally slow rate, and the crime rate around the world is on the rise.  The situation is beyond bleak and none of the supers seem to care one way or another.  In fact, it’s not even the villains (if they were still villains) committing the crimes but normals who aren’t being contained by the police.  The police aren’t able to contain the growing crime rate because the white hats (if they were still white hats) can’t seem to muster the will to jump in and help.  Yeah, the world is kind of going to hell in a handbasket. 

On the other side of the world, Mystic finally has what she wants, Jeff Mean (aka Polar) and he has no clue who he really is.  Under Mystic’s influence, Polar begins committing crimes and finds he likes being bad but something inside him tells him not to trust Mystic.  Another not-so-happy discovery is that Jeff’s powers still aren’t in control and they seem to be growing at an almost exponential rate.  Though he isn’t sure, Jeff’s gut points him in the direction of home and so, with the evil as ever Mystic in tow, he returns to his hometown in the hopes of getting help.

In the meantime, Jeff’s sister, Sandra is facing her own issues.  One the one hand, she made it through surgery with flying colors but on the other hand, her powers seem to be diminishing and there is no explanation as to why. As if the diminishing powers weren’t enough, Sandra also seems to have developed an unnatural attachment to Set.  Yeah, I said Set.  Interestingly, as the days go by Sandra’s attachment to Set becomes so strong that she has to maintain physical contact with him.  To say this is troubling doesn’t even come close and if someone doesn’t find a solution quick, the world is going to be in even more trouble than it already is. 

As Jeff, Sandra, their parents, Set, Source, and a few others work to solve a whole lot of problems all at once, the world is falling apart faster than they can solve problems.  As if it couldn’t get worse, it does get worse when Sandra is taken.  Her diminished powers and her separation from Set make her both particularly vulnerable and an excellent bargaining chip.  The dumbasses who took her want the balancing reversed and since Jeff caused it, they are using Sandra to encourage him to reverse his work.  Trouble is, Jeff has no idea how to undo the balancing but if he doesn’t figure it out quick the world may quite literally come to an end.

The Bottom Line:  Well, who the hell saw this coming??  Kai Strand really did put together something kind of fantastic here.  For almost the entirety of the book the drama continues to escalate until just before the end when it all comes to an end in a most astonishing way.  Though I would have liked to see a few more characters get what they deserve, on both the good and bad sides, I was generally satisfied with the end of this book and series.  The action throughout is fun, the drama is just right, the characters are interesting and engaging, and the romance is just right for a YA+ read.

3 book bundle

Amazon | B & N | Whiskey Creek

About the author and where to find her:

Kai StrandWhen her children were young and the electricity winked out, Kai Strand gathered her family around the fireplace and they told stories, one sentence at a time. Her boys were rather fond of the ending, “And then everybody died. The end.” Now an award winning children’s author, Kai crafts fiction for kids and teens to provide an escape hatch from their reality. With a selection of novels for young adult and middle grade readers Kai entertains children of all ages, and their adults. Learn more about Kai and her books on her website, www.kaistrand.com.
 

Review, Excerpt, and Sweepstakes: The Bad Boy’s Gift (Book #1: The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow Series) by Sara Daniel

The Bad Boy's Gift Tour Badge

The Bad Boy's Gift

Title: The Bad Boy’s Gift Series: Book #1: The Bad Boys of Regret Hollow Author: Sara Daniel Print Length: 72 pages Published: March 29, 2016 ASIN: B01BHBKZEQ

Purple Goodreads

His gift is the only thing left from the love they shared…and she plans to sell it.  Former bad boy, now famous artist, Zane DeMonde laughs off an engraved invitation to return to Regret Hollow, the same town that booted him out fifteen years ago. When he discovers the woman who once broke his heart is putting his professional reputation at risk by selling his old paintings, he’s no longer laughing. He’ll do anything to stop her, even return to town … even put his heart in jeopardy again.  High school art teacher Julianne Truman’s last chance to save her beloved art department from budget cuts is to sell the old artwork Zane gifted her. Her heart breaks to remove the final traces of him from her life, but she needs to finally move on from the love she never got over.  Julianne’s life belongs to her students, and Zane’s only goal is to protect his art. But the moment they wrap their arms around each other, their old attraction flares to life hot enough to incinerate them and their best intentions.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Oh, Zane DeMonde never had any intention of returning to his hometown, Regret Hollow.  Once the love of his life, Julianne Truman chose her family over Zane and the rest of the town labeled him a bad boy, well, the decision to leave and never return was easy to make. For years, Zane’s decision has been easy to live with but when the engraved invitation to an art auction arrives, Zane is compelled to go home.

Julianne Truman has spent the majority of her adult life fighting to keep her job as a high school art teacher.  When budgets are being cut, the arts are always the first to go and Julianne can’t bear to see her kids suffer because of a lack of funds.  In order to save her program and her job, Julianne has agreed to auction off her four most precious works, four early and original Zane DeMonde’s.  Each of the four works catalogues a moment in Zane and Julianne’s relationship and though they are tremendously special, Zane is gone and her students are not.  Except, she invited Zane to the auction.

When Zane discovers exactly which of his works Julianne is auctioning off, he has no choice but to return to Regret Hollow and talk her out of the madness.  Zane isn’t embarrassed to have his early works shown but he is livid that Julianne would part with something so personal.  Intent on talking her out of selling, Zane sweeps into town determined to get his works and get out.  What he doesn’t count on is how quickly his feelings for Julianne come rushing back to the surface and dominate his thinking and decision making.  If Zane wants his cake and the opportunity to eat it too, he is going to have to make some big decisions and this time, he isn’t willing to walk away.

The Bottom Line:  This is a short and sweet, second chance at love read.  Both Zane and Julianne are decent people who gave up everything when they were much younger and dumber.  When Julianne’s circumstances change, Zane is forced to return to Regret Hollow and face a whole lot of crappy from his past.  Once the awful is faced and dealt with, the way is paved for Julianne and Zane to have the happily ever after they both deserve.  The drama, the naughty bits, and the backstories are all appropriate to the length of the read.  There is even enough space to lead the reader into the next novella in the series, The Bad Boy’s Guilt.

Teaser for Gift

Excerpt from The Bad Boy’s Gift (B00k #1: Regret Hollow Series):

“Do all those things I confided in you years ago mean nothing to you?”

“Family’s important,” she whispered. She hadn’t imagined he’d see her actions as a betrayal of trust.

“I remember exactly how important family is to you.” Sarcasm crept into his voice. “A hell of a lot more important than me, definitely more important than this.” He hooked his arm around her shoulders and hauled her across the console, slamming his lips against hers.

Hard, angry demands from a man who no longer cared about pleasing her contrasted sharply with the memories of teenage sweetness and gentle tentativeness he’d once shown. He thrust his tongue between her lips, plundering her mouth. Instead of pushing him away and ordering him to stop, she leaned into him and tangled her tongue with his, meeting him stroke for stroke.

The hands gripping her shoulders relaxed, and the demanding thrusts of his tongue turned to languid strokes. She sifted her fingers through his soft black hair. Oh, how she’d missed being held in his arms, touching him, exploring him, and being one with him.

But they were hardly on their way to becoming one when he kissed her as a punishment.

She jerked away.

A car horn blared.

She straightened. Damn. She’d forgotten about Len, forgotten everything but Zane’s hands and mouth and sweet exploration.

Blinking out the windshield, she braced for the sight of Len laying on the horn of his pickup. Instead, he stood across the yard, wearing padded headphones and maneuvering a weed whip.

“If you’re looking for the honker, I believe you’re the culprit.” Zane nodded to her elbow resting on the steering wheel.

“Oh.” She yanked her arm back, settling into the passenger seat and pulling the seat belt strap. After three tries, she managed to lock the buckle into place. If Zane noticed her shaking hands, he didn’t mention it as he pulled away from the curb and left her house and his father behind.

If he’d kissed her to teach her a lesson, she’d learned one thing. She still wanted him, now more than ever.

Regret Hollow Series

The Bad Boy’s Gift – Released March 29, 2016: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks

The Bad Boy’s Guilt – Releasing April 12, 2016 Available for pre-order from:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks

The Bad Boy’s Guarantee – Releasing April 26, 2016 Available for pre-order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks

The Bad Boy’s Goodness – Releasing May 10, 2016 Available for pre-order from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks

About the author and where to find her:

SaraDanielSara Daniel writes what she loves to read—irresistible romance, from sweet to steamy and everything in between. She grew up in a small town and was once a landlord of two uninvited squirrels. She has no regrets about turning her back on her accounting degree to write romance, but she deeply regrets her inability to keep track of her car keys.  Find out more about Sara: Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

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Review: Leaving Yesterday (Book #1: Laurel Falls Series) by Zoe Dawson

 

Laurel Falls #1 - Leaving Yesterday

Title: Leaving Yesterday Series: Book #1: Laurel Falls Series Author: Zoe Dawson Print Length: 268 pages Publisher: Loveswept Published: February 9, 2016 ASIN: B00X2FE4R0

 Purple Goodreads

 Synopsis:

Rafferty Hamilton doesn’t plan on putting down roots anytime soon. With her divorce final, the hotel heiress has left Manhattan behind to scout new locations for her family’s chain of resorts. Which is why it’s so frustrating to be stranded in Laurel Falls while a good-looking, slow-talking, Stetson-wearing mechanic takes his sweet time with her overheated coupe.  A decorated vet who paid his dues in Afghanistan, Trace Black can fix anything with an engine and get it revving—even Rafferty’s ridiculous sports car. He couldn’t say the same for the knockout driver, who looks like she’s never gripped a gear shaft in her life. Women like Rafferty don’t usually stick around in Laurel Falls, but Trace finds himself showing her everything his hometown has to offer before she cruises on down the road.  As the days pass, Rafferty finds herself charmed by the pace of life and the openhearted warmth of the residents. She’s even tempted to trust again—and it’s all thanks to Trace. He’s not the kind of guy she’s used to falling for, but he just might be the man she needs.

Source: Netgalley and Purchase

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

I seem to be on a roll with strong, character-driven reads lately and I am loving it!!  Zoe Dawson never disappoints me when it comes to well-developed, totally real characters that just suck me in and won’t let go.  Here’s the skinny:

Rafferty Hamilton:  Total business bad ass, total personal relationship fail.  Rafferty is damn good at her job, always closes the deal for her father, and never looks back once a job is done.  Unfortunately, her mad business skills haven’t transferred to her personal life and Rafferty finds herself recently divorced and completely lost on an emotional level.  To clear her head, Rafferty bought a shiny new British import (a car, not a dude) in order to drive across the country on a scouting mission for her dad.  Just outside of Laurel Falls, Montana, that shiny new British import (still the car!) broke down.  Of course, it did.  While most people would embrace the suck and wallow in self-pity, Rafferty looks at the detour to Laurel Falls as an opportunity especially when Trace Black shows up to haul her broken down car to his garage for repairs.  Rafferty has no intention of becoming involved with Trace Black but that man is hard to resist especially once she sees him in action with both her car and his family. 

Trace Black:  Holy hotness, Batman!!  There aren’t enough synonyms for smokin’ hot to adequately describe Trace Black.  Make no mistake, his hotness isn’t all on the surface.  In fact, Trace’s true hotness lies in his character (and his pants); he is devoted to his family, he is devoted to his home town, he is kind and caring, funny and smart, witty and playful.  Trace is really the total package but his family is quite demanding of his time and he has issues where commitment to a wealthy woman like Rafferty is concerned.  The problem is that Rafferty is unlike any woman he has ever met and it takes no more than a hot minute for Trace to become completely smitten.  Over the course of the weeks Rafferty is in Laurel Falls, Trace proves himself to be a very, very good man time and time again.  His concern and care for his brother, Harley and his little sister is absolutely endearing and his respect Rafferty and her need to take things slowly is damn-near saintly.  It is only when Trace feels betrayed that his ugly side comes out and, unfortunately, Rafferty makes that happen.

Reece, Cadie, and Harley: The other three members of the Black family and the focus of much of Trace’s time and attention.  Reece is by far the most self-sufficient of the group and a perfect example of still waters running deep.  As a firefighter, Reece constantly risks his life for others and that carries over into his personal life as well.  He is as devoted to his family as Trace is and will do anything necessary to help them.  Reece doesn’t play a huge role in this read but it is clear he has a story all his own and most assuredly involves the pretty town doctor, Eden. 

Cadie is quite passionate about a great many things (her mango bra and panty set!) but her two greatest loves are cooking and local hottie, Brooks Gill.  Cadie has grown up under the watchful eyes of her brothers and rarely gets away with much in the shenanigans department.  That’s OK though since shenanigans would just take away from her passion for cooking.  Cadie is focused on her dream of going to culinary school and spends much of her time and energy planning for that very dream.  As with her brother, Reece, Cadie (and Brooks) has her own story that most definitely play out sometime in the near future. 

Finally, there is Harley Black.  Harley is, for now the most tragic of the Black siblings and is in need of serious help.  Harley’s tours in Afghanistan didn’t go well and he is left with a large number of physical wounds and a spectacular case of PTSD.  Harley is just barely hanging on and knows his situation is weighing heavily on the rest of his family.  Though Harley wants to be better, his road to recovery is going to be very long and very painful but he has not only his family but all of Laurel Falls behind him.  Interestingly, I think Harley is destined for a most surprising romance but it is going to have to wait for quite some time . . .figure that one out, dear reader 🙂

Anzu and Eden:  Talk about a mismatched pair!  Eden is a big-city girl who has managed to thrive in a very small community.  No one really seems to know precisely what brought Eden and her daughter to Laurel Falls but they sure are glad to have her and Eden is more than happy to live and work in such a small and inviting community.  In this first read, Eden doesn’t show much interest in romance but I’m fairly certain her heart is going to belong to Reece Black whether she knows it or not.  What a wonderful pair those two are going to make!  Anzu is Eden’s daughter and is by far one of the highlights of the read.  Anzu is Asian-American and was adopted by Eden when she was just an infant.  Anzu loves Eden dearly but finds it hard to fit in when she is so clearly different from both her mother and most of the people in Laurel Falls.  With Rafferty’s help, Anzu slowly begins to find her way and become more comfortable in her own skin.  Anzu’s passions are working on cars, art, and Harley Black, one of the few people who ever accepted Anzu for exactly who she is and encouraged her in every aspect of her life.  Anzu’s heart breaks for Harley and she is determined to be there for him as he has always been for her. 

The Bottom Line:  As you can clearly see, the characters carried this read for me and were only enhanced by all the other bits like the plot.  🙂  There are a lot of characters in this read but Dawson has done such an excellent job of clearly defining each one that it is easy to keep everyone straight even in this first book that is launching the series.  The plot most certainly revolves around Rafferty and Trace but their stories really couldn’t be told without the cast of supporting characters.  This relationship really describes Laurel Falls as much as it does Rafferty and Trace.  Laurel Falls is a small, united community that clearly comes together and takes care of their own yet is also open and welcoming to newcomers.  I love this community and truly can’t wait for the other members to tell their stories.  In all, I am pretty smitten with Laurel Falls and see a ridiculously bright future for the community and this series. 

 Amazon | B & N | Kobo

About the author and where to find her:

Zoe DawsonZoe Dawson is the alter ego of Karen Anders, award winning, multi-published author. Her writing journey started with poetry and branched out into fiction. With a couple of college English courses under her belt, she penned a historical, then moved onto contemporary romance fiction. Today, she is happy producing romantic suspense, romantic mystery, urban fantasy and paranormal novels. The words feed her soul and the happily ever afters feed her heart.

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Review: His to Keep (Book #3: Beauty and the Brit Series) by Terri L. Austin

Book #3 - His to Keep

Title: His to Keep Series: Book #3: Beauty and the Brit Series Author: Terri L. Austin Format: Mass Market Paperback, 320 pages Published: March 1, 2016 by Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN: 1402291825

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Iain wasn’t just rough around the edges-he was uncivilized, despite all the elegant trappings and expensive suits. And Brynn wanted more of it. She wanted Iain in full-on barbarian mode.  She wanted to be taken.  Filthy rich British bad boy Iain Chapman made a name for himself as a ruthless businessman, but if he can secure an investment from Vegas powerhouse Trevor Blake, Iain could take his business to the next level. Solution? Hire beautifully timid corporate trainer-and Trevor’s sister-in-law-Brynn Campbell and seduce his way to success.  Brynn’s everything Iain is not: kind, delicate, decent. But she’s also got a taste for something a little beastly, and it doesn’t take long for Iain to break through her every inhibition. Brynn was supposed to be his pawn, but as Iain gets closer to his goal, he begins to realize he’s not ready to let her go, not now, not ever-even if it costs him everything. 

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

Last, but certainly not least in the Beauty and the Brit series is Brynne Campbell’s story.  The youngest of the Campbell sisters, Brynne is the most introverted, shyest, and most insecure of the Campbell girls.  Though Brynne is extremely good at her job, she allows her worthless boss to take advantage of her and can’t seem to say no when anyone asks her to take on some of their work.  Brynne knows she is a sucker but she just can’t seem stop helping people even if it causes her discomfort.  Which is exactly how Brynne feels when she is forced to work with Ian Chapman.  Totally. Completely. Uncomfortable.

Iain Chapman is a driven man and makes no apologies to anyone for his behavior, attitude, mouth, or actions.  When Iain wants something, it happens and it makes no difference at all who he has to steamroll over to get what he wants.  He has managed to suppress most of his own feelings which in turn means he has no clue about the feelings of others.  Nor does he care.  As far as Iain is concerned, everyone is expendable.  Enter Brynne Campbell, the only one of the Campbell sisters who is still single and the only one who can get Iain what he wants, access to Brynne’s brother-in-law, Trevor.  Iain has big plans for the future of his business and he needs Trevor’s backing and money to make the dream a reality.  In typical Iain fashion, Brynne is meant to be nothing more than a means to an end and if he gets to shag her, all the better. 

Until he meets Brynne Campbell.  Brynne is delicate, shy, intelligent, stunningly sexy, and the exact opposite of every woman Iain has ever shagged.  Though she is clearly uncomfortable in his presence, Brynne has a job to do and she takes her work very seriously.  If Iain could shut down his ginormous ego long enough to listen to her, Brynne might actually be able to make some positive changes in both his professional and personal life.  In fact, if Iain can manage to be even the slightest bit respectful, he may get to see all of Brynne in a way that no other man ever has.  The longer Brynne is in his presence, the more Iain likes her and for the first time in his life, he actually feels bad about his behavior and plan to use someone. 

Brynne is at once completely turned off and completely turned on by Iain Chapman.  He is brash, loud, uncouth, unapologetic, and domineering.  The first four of those characteristics fall squarely into the character flaw column while the fifth falls right on into the completely intriguing, totally surprising, and super-sexy column.  Well, what to do with that???  Turns out, Brynne decides to explore that domineering side of Iain and the results are explosive.  The sexual chemistry between Brynne and Iain is absolutely off the charts and the deeper they delve into the sexual side of their relationship, the more emotionally attached they both become.  While Brynne decides to embrace the good, Iain has to deal with his hidden agenda and how he will keep the awful from Brynne.  If she were to find out . . . .

The Bottom Line: WOOOOOO!  True to form and true to the series, His to Keep has a sexy Brit, a Campbell sister, a lot of crazy, some seriously hot naughty bits, and a story that has a blatant disregard for your commitments the following day.  Yes, I stayed up way too late to finish this book and have not a single regret, not one.  I have thoroughly enjoyed all three books in this series and love how interwoven all three books really are.  The Campbell sisters are absolutely connected to one another, each sister finds a hot Brit (living in Vegas not less!), and each sister must overcome serious personal issues in an effort to find their HEA.  The men are much the same in that they each have their own personal drama to sort through and each totally screws up his relationship before getting to his own HEA.

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Review: His Kind of Trouble (Book #2: Beauty and the Brit Series) by Terri L. Austin

Book #2 - His Kind of Trouble

Title: His Kind of Trouble Series: Book #2: Beauty and the Brit Series Author: Terri L. Austin Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages Published: November 3, 2015 by Sourcebooks Casablanca ISBN: 1492623474

Purple Goodreads

Synopsis:

Monica Campbell may have a history as a wild child, but she’s changed her ways. She’s responsible, and most importantly, she’s sworn off bad boys. That is, until filthy rich Cal Hughes shows up with his sexy British accent and killer smile.  Cal remembers every steamy moment he shared with Monica years ago, but he barely recognizes the straight-laced woman she has become. Determined to lure her into dropping the prim and proper act, Cal uses every trick he knows to remind her of who she used to be back when she was his.

Source: Purchase & Netgalley

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review:

Balls and bugger!!!  I loved this read!!!!  Now that I have that business out of the way on to the why of it all.

Monica Campbell made her appearance in book one, His Every Need and she was a thoroughly unpleasant human.  At just 18 years old, Monica was a wild child on every level.  The drinking, the sex with virtual strangers, the drugs, and the frequent disappearances with no contact were all perfectly normal for Monica but one terribly tragic event changed everything. 

Flash forward five years and Monica Campbell is a whole new woman.  Gone are the revealing clothes, gone are the impulsive and crazy decisions, and the bad boys are most definitely gone.  Replacing all of the wild and crazy are a Master’s degree, ridiculously sensible clothing, and completely boring men who do nothing for Monica on any level.  But, these choices are conscious, responsible, mature, and have served Monica well for the past five years.  Too bad none of it is making her anywhere even remotely close to happy. 

Cal Hughes has made a life out of not sitting still, of traveling the world on a whim, building and rebuilding vintage cars, and never, ever settling down.  Women are easy to come by but there is one woman Cal has never, ever forgotten, Monica Campbell.  Imagine his surprise the morning she walks right back into his life.  Or, at least a version of her walks right back into his life.  The Monica Cal remembers is hidden behind a lot of awful and Cal determines immediately it is his mission and duty to bring the old and exciting Monica back out into the bright light of day.  And if he is very, very lucky, he’ll also get to see a whole lot of her during the night as well. 

Cal is bad boy through and through and Monica knows she has to avoid him at all costs.  Cal represents everything Monica has worked hard to overcome but damn, the man is some kind of sexy and knows how to play Monica like a well-tuned violin or a beautifully rebuilt car.  Speaking of cars and playing . . . . you’re going to like that scene, dear reader 🙂 

Little by little, Cal puts some cracks in the ice queen’s façade but those cracks seem to reseal after each and every sexual encounter.  Monica is warring with herself on every level and if she admits her true feelings for Cal, the world she has spent five years building and living in is going to come crashing down around her.  While Cal is all for the great crash, if and when it happens, there will be fallout and Cal isn’t quite sure he’s strong enough to handle the fallout.  The fallout may include having to consider settling down in one place and having to admit he has more than just the naughty feelings for Monica Campbell.  Trouble is, admitting those kinds of feelings will open up a whole other can of worms out of which will fall baggage and emotions that are generally best left stored away.  Yeah, both Cal and Monica have some issues they need to work out. 

The Bottom Line: Monica and Cal are fantastically hot and the back and forth between them is as funny and heartbreaking as it is steamy.  Monica’s “transformation” is commendable but it is when she finally realizes there is a middle ground in life that she becomes pretty amazing.  Cal is smoking hot and absolutely the best man in the world for Monica.  Though he has demons of his own to deal with (including his spectacularly wretched father) he still manages to work them out and be there, in every way possible for Monica.  Together, Monica and Cal just about perfect and it was hard for me to put down their story.  Many of the cast of characters from His Every Need make appearances in His Kind of Trouble and I generally liked them all with the exception of Allie.  I liked her well enough in book one but in this instance, I can do without that uppity bitch!!  Give me Monica any day 🙂  In all, His Kind of Trouble really upped the ante which means book three, His to Keep ought to be nothing short of outstanding!!

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