Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Demand (Book #2: Careless Whispers Series) by Lisa Renee Jones

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demand cover

Title: Demand Series: Book #2: Careless Whispers Author: Lisa Renee Jones Format: Kindle Edition, 320 pages Published: May 31, 2016 by Gallery Books ASIN: B010MH1DE2

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Still struggling with amnesia, Ella questions everything she’s known about Kayden Wilkens—the alluring stranger who claims to have found her unconscious in an alleyway a month earlier. But was he truly a stranger—or did Kayden know her before his supposed rescue? Tormented by the potential betrayal he denies, with fleeting memories of a bombshell in her recent past, Ella must face a hard reality. Every action has consequences . . . and trusting Kayden, the one thing she most desires, might result in the direst consequences of all.

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Excerpt from Demand (Book #2: Careless Whispers Series):

Crossing behind the couch toward the kitchen, I find myself remembering those naked, intimate moments with Kayden only a short time ago. The passion. The trust I’d felt for him. And then his words: “We both want more. Until we don’t.” The words send a surge of adrenaline and nerves through my body.

The scent of freshly brewed coffee teases my nostrils as I reach the kitchen, where I immediately find Kayden standing behind the island. But it’s not him that makes my heart lurch, as usual. It’s my gun that’s lying on the counter between us.

And when I should perhaps step backward I find myself charging forward to claim the other side of the counter.

“What is that for?”

“You thought you needed it earlier,” he says. “I want you to have it now.”

My fingers curl on the tiled counter. “Do I need it?”

“That’s for you to decide.”

“That isn’t the answer I want.”

His jaw sets hard. “If you’re expecting an answer you’ll want, you’d better pick up that gun.”

We stare at each other, a push and pull between us that has nothing to do with fear or intimidation, and everything to do with a bond we both know is being tested. “I know what you’re doing.”

“What am I doing?”

“The same thing you did outside that church, when you helped me hold the gun to your chest.”

“Which is what?”

“Offering me the façade of control.”

“You holding a loaded gun on me in no way equals a façade.”

“I know you now,” I counter. “You don’t give up control, even when you say you are.”

He rests his hands on the counter, one turned just enough for me to catch a glimpse of the hawk inked on his wrist, its wings spread, the mark of a man whose rules of many must dictate his actions. “There are two sides to this coin,” he says, his words drawing my attention, his pale blue eyes piercing mine. “The me with you, and the me with everyone else.”

“We barely knew each other at the church.”

“I’d already decided you were mine. You just didn’t know it yet.”

demand teaser 3

Denial (Book #1: Careless Whispers Series):

Demand (Book #2: Careless Whispers Series):

About the author and where to find her:

lisa renee jones bioNew York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed INSIDE OUT SERIES, and is now in development by Suzanne Todd (Alice in Wonderland, Austin Powers, Must Love Dogs) for cable TV. In addition, her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series, both spent several months on a combination of the NY Times and USA Today lists.  Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.  Prior to publishing, Lisa owned multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.  Lisa loves to hear from her readers.

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Spotlight: Only for the Night (Book #2: If Only Series) by Ella Sheridan

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Only-for-the-night-CustomDesign-JayAheer2016-ebook

Title: Only for the Night Series: Book #2: If Only Author: Ella Sheridan Format: ebook, 182 pages Published: May 31, 2016 ASIN: B01EKJMAWC

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Can a brave submissive show a rock star that accepting his true nature will be nirvana for both of them? Letting go with her may help him put the pieces of himself—and his band—back together again.

Struggling with the death of her mother, Sage Lyndsey turned to her Dom for comfort, but his impatience led to a humiliating scene in front of their club. Devastated, she runs to a small town on the Cali coast. Buying into Citrus Pointe’s bakery may be her best decision ever—if she can overcome the embarrassment of having her new landlord’s dog steal her towel right in front of him. It gets worse when she realizes he’s none other than rock bassist Hank Nash, and despite the problems it would cause, she wants nothing more than his talented hands on her, bending her to his will.

Hank is an ex-cop who knows all too well what dominance looks like when it turns to abuse—he saw the consequences on another cop’s wife. After turning the man in, Hank left that life behind to start a rock band, Weekend Washout. Now he’s fighting to keep the band together, and to deny his urge to dominate pretty, spunky Sage. But when Sage’s ex-Dom reappears, Hank is forced into a life-changing decision: Accept both their needs and gain more than one night with Sage, or retreat to the safe life he’s built so carefully.

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About the author and where to find her:

Writing has been my passion since childhood, but like many writers, life got in the way. After earning a BA in English Literature, I married and started a family. But the worlds and characters that swirled through my mind just wouldn’t go away, and at a particularly difficult time in my life, I picked up pen and paper (or laptop) and tried to release some of that difficulty onto the page. I’ve been writing ever since. Now I’m a member of Romance Writers of America, run an accountability blog to help writers reach their goals, and am pursuing publication with the same passion I feel for writing.  Nothing pleases me more than sharing the stories of my heart with you, the reader, and I hope, in some small way, these stories will touch your heart too.

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Spotlight: Crossing the Barrier (Book #1: The Gray Eyes Series) by Martine Lewis

crossing the barrier martine lewis

Crossing the Barrier eRev09-eBook

Title: Crossing the Barrier Series: Book #1: The Gray Eyes Series Author: Martine Lewis Format: Paperback, 380 pages  Genre: Upper YA Coming of Age Contemporary Romance with a touch of Paranormal  Published: March 22, 2016 by BMJ Chanapi Press ISBN13: 9781944940003

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High school student Malakai Thomas, star wide receiver of the varsity team, collides with band member Lily Morgan on his way to football practice. As days go by, Malakai cannot get the petite clarinetist out of his head.  Lily Morgan can feel everyone’s emotions. She loses her ability to shield herself against them the day Malakai runs into her. Now she must try to maintain her sanity in the emotional jungle that is high school, as well as deal with her growing feelings for Malakai.  Can Malakai get over the social stigma and his own internal struggle to be with Lily? Is Lily’s secret too big to accept, even for him?

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About the author and where to find her:

_JEF6320Martine Lewis is a forty something who was born and raised in the French speaking province of Quebec, Canada. She spent her childhood looking forward to her summer vacations at the farm, which were a nice escape from the suburbs where she lived.

Her first written endeavor was a 200-page handwritten Duran Duran bandfiction which she wrote when she was eleven years old. Of all her written work, this is the only one she no longer has.

All throughout high school, Martine wrote more bandfictions and some original work, then she went to write fanfictions in the Star Wars, Buffy and Harry Potter universes. Her fanficiton in the Potterverse are mostly centered on characters of her own creation and can be found on fanfiction.net.

Following her viewing of Roswell on Netflix in 2012, Martine wrote book two and three of the Gray Eyes Series, then went on to create the Gray Eyes Series universe in which she has been playing ever since. She writes contemporary coming-of-age romance fiction (young adult/new adult) with a twist.

Martine is an avid reader and rollerskater. She loves sushi, hot chocolate on a cold day, and the beach. But what she loves above all else is to curl on her chair with her computer and write more stories for her readers.

Martine currently lives in Houston TX with her two cats.

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Review: 30 Nights (Book #2: 30 Days Series) by Christine d’Abo

30 Nights

Title: 30 Nights Series: Book #2: 30 Days Series Author: Christine d’Abo Format: Paperback: 320 pages Publisher: Penguin Random House Publisher Services Publication Date: May 31, 2016 ISBN-10: 1617739561 ISBN-13: 978-1617739569  ASIN: B01501H4O8

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Baring your body is simple–but baring your soul might just change everything… 
The last thing Glenna O’Donald expected to stumble upon in a cemetery was a pack of index cards. And not just any cards–each one contains instructions for a seriously kinky, no-holds-barred sexual encounter. Glenna, an over-analytical research assistant by day, is suddenly tempted to conduct some nocturnal experiments of her own. Especially when gorgeous university professor Eric Morris offers to be her lab partner.   Soon Glenna begins meeting with Eric once a week to try out the suggestions that intrigue her most. In between those daring nights of sensual exploration are work days filled with laughter and flirting…until Glenna fears she’s getting in too deep. For all the pleasure she’s giving and receiving, Glenna wants more than skin-on-skin interaction–and Eric realizes he’s about to lose the intimate connection he didn’t know he needed. Can they find the courage to take this game to the next level?   As hot as it is heartwarming, Christine d’Abo’s fresh, witty novel proves that practice makes perfect, and that some games are worth playing…

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

By her own admission, Glenna O’Donald is a coward.  At just 28-years-old, Glenna lives a safe life.  Though she is an immensely talented researcher, Glenna has chosen the safe route working for a tenured professor who takes advantage of her skills, intellect, and kind nature.  Though she is young and attractive, Glenna has shied away from committed relationships following several early, failed attempts.  Well, you see where this is going . . .

Everything changes for Glenna the day of her beloved great-grandmother’s funeral.  At the cemetery, Glenna discovers a stack of 30 notecards with the most outrageous suggestions – wild and varied sex.  The discovery of the cards leads Glenna to some wild and crazy fantasies but it is only at the very loud and overheard suggestion of her best-friend, Jasmine that Glenna takes the steps necessary to complete some of the suggestions with an actual partner. 

For more than a year, Glenna has secretly lusted after Professor Eric Morris.  He’s handsome, quiet, sexy, studious, and has no idea Glenna exists.  Or, so Glenna thinks.  In a bold and seemingly uncharacteristic move, Eric approaches Glenna about her sex cards after hearing Jasmine loudly discuss them.  Eric doesn’t just want to see the cards and what’s written there, he wants to engage in the wild and varied activities, with Glenna!!  The only caveat to the arrangement is no emotional involvement.  Though he won’t speak at length about his past, Eric is unwilling to engage in anything more than a friends with benefits arrangement.  Glenna’s attraction to Eric is so intense, she agrees to the arrangement never considering he may be far, far more than she bargained for.

With Eric, Glenna finds she is more adventurous, more daring, and far more willing to experiment sexually.  Her past encounters have been satisfactory but with Eric, she feels safe and sexy and wants to try absolutely everything.  For his part, Eric is just as willing to experiment sexually and is a kind and considerate lover.  Coupled with the kindness and consideration is an intensity that makes him damn-near perfect in bed.  Though he wants to remain emotionally detached, Eric finds it hard to resist Glenna which causes him to send a lot of mixed signals and become emotionally conflicted.   The sex is good but the emotions that just keep leaking in from both sides are causing problems, and then there’s Jasmine, the best-friend from hell who isn’t satisfied until the proverbial sh*t hits the fan.

Hit the fan it does!!  In what can only be described as a sh*tstorm, Glenna’s life falls completely apart in the span of roughly 12 hours.  In the immediate aftermath, Glenna is sure her brief time as an adventurous and brave woman is to blame for her current situation.  Upon further reflection, Glenna begins to realize the falling apart is only the beginning and if she can hold on to her bravery for just a bit longer, she may be able to have the life she has always dreamed of.  All it will take is a little bit of courage, a whole lot of luck, a banana, and some help from some unexpected sources. 

The Bottom Line:  Last year’s 30 Days was one of my favorite reads of the year so I dove into to 30 Nights with some seriously high expectations.  While I didn’t love 30 Nights quite as much as 30 Days, I still really enjoyed this sweet and naughty read.  In order to end on a high note, let’s deal with what I didn’t like about this read first.  Jasmine!  What a miserable effing character and best-friend she is!!  Every encounter with Jasmine has me cringing and wondering what mess she would create next.  I disliked the fact that Glenna didn’t speak her mind in one of the later and more dramatic scenes (NO SPOILERS!)  In the spirit of the Great Glenna, I wanted younger Glenna to unload on the people who truly deserved her wrath and ire.  To be fair, that would have been out of character for her but it sure would have been satisfying for me.  The things I loved about this book are as wild and varied as the sex cards themselves.  Though you don’t have to have read 30 Days, there is a bit of crossover in this book that I was completely delighted with.  The same cards getting another chance to come out and play with two new and completely delightful characters is fabulous.  Though the cards say the same thing as they did in 30 Days, the sexcapades in 30 Nights is completely different and appropriate to Glenna and Eric and those scenes are steamy, intense, funny, and inventive.  Eric is my favorite character in this read and though he is often a dumbass, he is sincere, kind, caring, and just looking to do the right thing by Glenna.  In all, I am totally smitten with the 30 Days series and can’t wait for the next installment!

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Review: Undecided by Juliana Keyes

Undecided

Title: Undecided Author: Juliana Keyes Format: ebook, 300 pages Published: April 4, 2016 by Julianna Keyes ISBN13: 9780995050709

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Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.  Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.  But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Nora Kincaid has two speeds, all on or all off and last year, she was so all on that she managed to fail most of her classes, lost half her scholarship, hooked up with way too many random guys, and got arrested.  This year, Nora isn’t just turning over a new leaf, she is going into all off mode and that means some serious changes in her life.

First up in operation Nora Bora is finding a new place to live and with only one real prospect, Nora is going to take the offer.  The apartment is clean, the space is quiet, the roommate, Kellan is hotter than hell, and happens to be one of Nora’s last year hook-ups who doesn’t remember her.  Well, beggars can’t be choosers and Kellan, has rededicated himself to a straight and narrow path and Nora is just the right influence to keep him honest.  Nora has no intention of reminding Kellan of their hook-up especially after she officially meets his roommate, Crosbie Lucas. 

Crosbie Lucas is known all over campus.  Most guys envy him and every girl wants to be with him.  In case you want to know just who Crosbie has been with, just check the girl’s restroom in the Student Union L  Nora has no intention of becoming a Crosbabe (yes, that’s what they’re called!) but she quickly discovers that Crosbie isn’t all his reputation would make him out to be.  In fact, Crosbie is generally kind, quite funny, dedicated to his studies, and totally interested in Nora.  Despite her best efforts, Nora is interested in Crosbie but being with him would threaten her new boring, studious, good girl life.  Trouble is, Crosbie is always around and Nora is finding it harder and harder to contain her feelings for him.  The only thing left for a girl to do is start up a secret affair with Crosbie and pray no one finds out about them and blows her current good girl cover.

For weeks, Nora and Crosbie carry on as stealthily as possible and with each passing day, each becomes more attached to the other.  With the exception of the sneaking around, everything seems to be going well right up to the moment Kellan drops a bombshell which will require him to uncover and contact every sexual partner he has had in the past year.  In one fell swoop, every bit of last year that Nora has worked so hard to move past and forget is going to be exposed the moment Kellan figures out which mystery woman on his extensive list Nora is.  Even more horrifying, as soon as Kellan figures is out, his best-friend, Crosbie is going to know too. 

The Bottom Line:  Undecided is all kinds of back story heavy and I do love a good back story.  Nora had one hell of a good time last year and now she is paying the price.  All the drunken nights, all the skipped classes had serious consequences and Nora is working so hard to overcome her mistakes.  Crosbie is actually quite perfect for Nora and helps her figure out how to find a balance between full on and full off.  Crosbie works hard, cares for Nora, and does his best to stand by her when the proverbial sh^t hits the fan.  In addition to their sweet romance are the hot naughty bits, and minor characters that round out the cast of Undecided.  In all, this is somewhat angsty read with some moments of funny, some moments of aawww, and lots of moments of WOW!! so that happened.

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Review: Be Careful What You Witch For by Thomas Hoobler

Be Careful What You Witch For

Title: Be Careful What You Witch For Author: Thomas Hoobler Format: Paperback, 192 pages Published: February 2016 by Booktrope Edition ISBN13: 9781513704708

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Magic is a tricky thing. Especially when it comes from an ancient book of spells that jumps off a shelf into Olivia’s hands. Bad news for the popular girls in her new school who don’t like Olivia. But hey–now she can get the attention of her crush who’s more interested in comic book superheroes. And when she finds out her aunt is a witch, she imagines all her problems are solved. Unfortunately, not quite–what she conjures up is trouble. And the only one who can help her is an 800-year-old woman.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3/5stars

My Review:

Most kids would find it pretty spectacular to be the daughter of not one but two world-famous actors.  Olivia is not most kids and she certainly finds it far, far from spectacular being the child of two world-famous actors.  What the world doesn’t know is how much her parents fight, how much they drink, and how much they ignore her in order to pursue their own interests.  Yeah, being the kid of two world-famous actors isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. 

When Olivia’s parents both sign on for a film in Egypt, Olivia is meant to be left behind.  Rather than going to some swanky boarding school, Olivia chooses to live in New York with her eccentric aunt, Tilda and her beyond-curious cat, Julius.  From the moment Olivia arrives in New York, she suspects there is something quite different about Tilda.  She warm, charming, kind, and people seem to always do what Tilda needs done.  Additionally, Tilda seems to always know what Olivia is thinking and often answers questions that have only just popped into Olivia’s head.  Finally, there is the school Tilda has enrolled Olivia in, the Knickerbacker. 

The Knickerbocker is a weird school that is populated by the wealthiest kids from in and around New York.  To say these kids feel and act entitled is a harsh understatement and Olivia immediately understands, she is an outcast.  Olivia has no intention of telling everyone who her parents really are which means she is relegated to the lowest of low on the social ladder.  Olivia couldn’t care less and immediately befriends Paul and Dulcimer, the schools two biggest outcasts.  As Olivia gets to know her new friends and sees how they are all treated by the schools’ popular kids, Olivia looks for ways to improve their lives.  Enter, aunt Tilda and her weird Wiccan ways. 

Tilda and her most ancient and delightful friend, Eva begin to instruct Olivia in the ways of Wicca but, like most kids, Olivia is impatient.  She and her friends need help and the popular kids, especially Madison need to pay for their bad behavior.  Without her aunt’s knowledge or consent, Olivia begins to dabble in witchcraft.  Though her intentions are pure (sort of!) Olivia just isn’t knowledgeable enough about the craft to really understand the harm she can and does cause.  Spells have consequences and before she knows it, Olivia has caused a significant amount of damage and managed to lose the only two friends she had. 

The Bottom Line:  Be Careful What You Witch For is decent YA read that I can certainly see appealing to actual young adult readers.  With the exception of her über-famous parents, Olivia is a pretty typical kid who just wants to help her friends and fit in at school.  She is young, naïve, impatient, and ultimately, impulsive.  Olivia’s actions have very real consequences and you can clearly see the pattern of escalation as the novel moves ever closer to the end.  Though the book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, you can clearly see there is room for more story, perhaps a trilogy would do it.  I didn’t jump up and down and rave about this read but I got through it easily and at under 200 pages, it isn’t a hardship to read.

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Review: The Wedding Pact (Book #2: The O’Malleys Series) by Katee Robert

The Marriage Pact

Title: The Wedding Pact Series: Book #2: The O’Malleys Author: Katee Robert Format: Paperback, 352 pages Published: April 26, 2016 by Forever ISBN: 1455590509

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Carrigan O’Malley has always known her arranged marriage would be more about power and prestige than passion. But after one taste of the hard-bodied, whiskey-voiced James Halloran, she’s ruined for anyone else. Too bad James and his family are enemy number 1.   Hallorans vs. O’Malleys—that’s how it’s always been. James should be thinking more about how to expand his family’s empire instead of how silky Carrigan’s skin is against his and how he can next get her into his bed. Those are dangerous thoughts. But not nearly as dangerous as he’ll be if he can’t get what he wants: Carrigan by his side for the rest of their lives.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4½/5 stars

My Review:

**REVIEW IS SLIGHTLY SPOILERISH**

If ever there was a series of books that deserved the word “saga” in the title, The O’Malleys series would be the series.  The Wedding Pact picks up where The Marriage Contract left off.  There is a tentative peace between the three major mob families and if peace is going to continue, another alliance needs to made and made quickly.  This time, the lucky bargaining chip is Carrigan O’Malley, eldest of the O’Malley daughters and least likely to be happy with anything her parents want. 

Carrigan is 29 years old and according to her parents she is dangerously close to being too old to produce an adequate number of O’Malley heirs.  Being the respectable mob family that they are, the O’Malley’s must have a marriage before there can be talk of heirs.  With this in mind, Carrigan is instructed by her father to choose a husband from the list he has compiled so she can be officially engaged within the month.  Unfortunately, none of the men on the parent approved list are anywhere near as desirable as James Halloran, current head of the Halloran mob family.  Yeah, that would be the same Halloran family responsible for the death of Carrigan’s youngest brother and Carrigan’s kidnapping several months prior. 

James Halloran never intended to be the head of his family but after the death of the heir and the arrest of his bat-shit crazy father, the onerous task has fallen on James broad shoulders.  Oh sure, James could chuck it all and walk away but that would leave his youngest brother, Ricky in charge and if recent events are any indication, Ricky would cause an all-out war just for funsies.  As if running a mob family weren’t hard enough James is also hiding a huge secret, Carrigan O’Malley.  After a blazing hot one-night stand, James hasn’t been able to get the ballsy broad out of his head and he wants her no matter the consequences.

Contact between Carrigan and James is limited at best but with each encounter the two grow dangerously closer.  James is unlike any man Carrigan has ever been with and is most certainly the first she has ever considered offering more than her body.  For James, Carrigan is everything.  She is classy and elegant while at the same time sexy and brash.  With James, Carrigan is as close to her true self as she ever is and that freedom is worth every risk.  If James and Carrigan lived in a perfect world, their families wouldn’t hate one another and they would be free to openly pursue their relationship.  Unfortunately, their worlds are far, far from perfect and being caught together would be seen of nothing short of betrayal and likely cost at least one of them their lives.  Yeah, mob bosses get awfully pissy where their enemies are concerned. 

The Bottom Line: I generally enjoyed The Marriage Contract but I was all up in The Wedding Pact.  Katee Robert outdid herself this time around with Carrigan and James’s story.  From the very beginning, Carrigan is desperate to escape her pathetic life and the stranglehold her father has on her.  For the majority of her life, Carrigan has known she was nothing more than a pawn and until James, she mostly accepted her fate.  James, with his deliciously foul mouth, his crass ways, and his insistence of going straight is the exact opposite of what Carrigan is used which makes him the perfect partner for her.  In so many ways, Carrigan and James are a perfect balance for one another and it takes a hell of a lot to get to their HEA.  The danger, the drama, the naughty bits, and the family entanglements are taken to the next level in this read and I was all kinds of wrapped in it all.  Furthermore, there are loads of little nuggets of information about the remaining O’Malley siblings and what’s to come in the final installment of the series, An Indecent Proposal.

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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.

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