Review: The Lucky Ones by Tiffany Reisz

35083342They called themselves “the lucky ones.” They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.  Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night–was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?  But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.

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Source: Netgalley and Purchase          My Rating: 5 HUGE stars

Dear Tiffany Reisz,

Is it absolutely necessary and/or mandatory for you to break my brain every damn time I read one your luscious, sick, twisted books? Yes?  Really?  FINE!  Then I shall continue to buy your books and know my brain is going to be melted at the end, and you shall be giggling manically somewhere in the world 😊

Sincerely,

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Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way . . . .

I always know Tiffany Reisz’s books are going to be dark and twisted, but even I didn’t see this business coming.  At its core, The Lucky Ones is a morally squishy tale of an ethically squishy medical doctor whose intentions may have been good and right, but his actions, well, ethically squishy. 

To all the world, Dr. Vincent Capello is a saint, a doctor/surgeon who often works for free to help the less fortunate.  Additionally, Dr. Capello has taken in several of his charity cases over the years, adopted more than a few, and fostered many others.  Oh, yes, to the world, Dr. Capello is a saint.  To his adopted children, Dr. Capello is no different, and perhaps even more; to his adopted children, Dr. Capello is a savior, a man selfless and giving, kind and caring, and patient beyond belief. 

But there are two sides to every story . . . .

Allison was meant to be one of Dr. Capello’s adopted kids, but thanks to a freak accident, she was taken away and raised by her aging aunt far, far away from the home and foster siblings she had come to know and love.  In the years since, Allison has often wondered about her foster family and the accident that took her away from the one place she thought she would always be safe and loved.  It isn’t until her “boyfriend” dumps her and her favorite of the foster siblings reaches out with devastating news that Allison considers going home.  But, going home is never easy, and Allison has some serious questions and concerns about her time in her former foster home. 

As soon as Allison arrives at her former home, she is forced to face not only her feelings from the past, but the irksome feeling that she has forgotten something vitally important about her past, her time in the Capello’s home.  Every encounter with her former foster siblings answers a few questions, but leaves her with many, many more.  In fact, it doesn’t take more than a day for Allison to figure out the Capello home is full of inconsistencies and lies, a situation she just can’t tolerate.  Not one to let a lie go, Allison begins poking around in the past, asking questions Dr. Capello would rather never have asked.  With every new path of inquiry, Allison discovers sinister goings on that involve her far more deeply than she could have ever imagined.  In fact, when the truth comes to light, Allison isn’t at all sure she’s safe in the home she once loved so dearly.

The Bottom Line:  I knew this story was going to be twisted, but I had no idea it would be the kind of twisted it is!  I listened to this book on Audible and am fairly certain my mouth was hanging open the whole time the big, ugly truth was being revealed.  Here’s the real dirty secret: like the fictional serial killer, Dexter, you know you’re meant to disapprove of the information being given and the actions that have been taken, but you also understand the logic and reasoning behind the actions.  In fact, by the time I finished this book, my own sense of morality over the information and actions in this read felt squishy.  I’m fairly certain that was the author’s intention and ultimately loved every second of this read.  I have said it before and I am saying it again, Tiffany Reisz doesn’t just write, she crafts, she weaves, she winds, she twists and turns, and she leaves you wondering what the hell just happened by the end of the read.  By the way, you LOVE every second, every minute of her madness and often can’t put the book down.  Hands down, Tiffany Reisz is one of the most gifted and twisted among her contemporaries and I am absolutely certain I will be taking many, many more trips down the rabbit hole with her.

P.S. Tiffany Reisz and Colleen McCullough are the only two authors out there who can make sleeping with a man of the cloth not only acceptable, but also sexy 😊

P.P.S. I bought this book three times over, ecopy, Audible, and a signed paperback . . .  once again, I am a slave to the awesomeness that is Tiffany Reisz

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Beneath by Maureen A. Miller

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Beneath300An overnight fishing trip on the Atlantic Ocean…

It was Stella Gullaksen’s final break before starting her freshman year at college. Joining her best friend, Jill, and Jill’s family aboard the STARKISSED, Stella wakes to a violent storm that capsizes the boat over a hundred miles off the New Jersey shore.

As the waves haul her under Stella knows that she is going to die. Instead, an unusual current drags her deep into the underwater canyons of the Atlantic Ocean. Powerless against the raging waters, she is suddenly sucked into a ventilated cave. One by one, Jill and her family also emerge in the sunken cavern.

With only a faulty diving flashlight to keep oblivion at bay Stella and her best friend’s brother, Colin, search the cave in hope of finding a way back to the surface. What they discover, however, is that they are not alone. There are other survivors in this subterranean grotto–survivors spanning decades of maritime disasters.

Will this discovery prove salvation, or have they all been condemned to the same fate? A grim finale at the bottom of the sea?

On an alliance forged by friendship and attraction, Stella and Colin battle to escape the danger that lies beneath.

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BENEATH Excerpt:

She was going to vomit.

Stella Gullaksen looped her arm through the tuna tower ladder. The LED spotlights cut through the storm, revealing a pool of seawater on the cockpit floor of the sport fishing boat. The brine was creeping up to her calves now. Across from her, Col, her best friend’s brother, wrapped a rope around his arm like a boa constrictor. Dark hair was pasted to his forehead and his eyes were lost in the night, but the bright red coil in his free hand was visible enough. He nodded at her and tossed it.

Stella clawed at the darkness, squinting against the blinding fusion of rain and saltwater. The rope unraveled, winding through the water, eluding her grappling hand. Finally, she latched onto it and read his encouraging nod to secure it around herself. Trembling fingers attempted the task, but another black wave smashed into the hull, cascading against her hip and nearly tossing her over. She clung to the aluminum rigging.

This was to have been a weekend fishing jaunt, a last respite before her freshman year in college. Stella’s best friend, Jill Wexler, was also a freshman at the same college. They met each other as freshmen in high school when Stella moved to Monmouth County from Pennsylvania. They were polar opposites in personality, but somehow it worked, and they had been attached at the hip since.

Jill’s parents owned the STARKISSED, a 32’ Topaz Express saltwater fishing boat. It was a tight squeeze to fit Donald and Anne Wexler, their eighteen-year-old daughter, Jill, their twenty-year-old son, Colin, along with Stella. It was only for a night, though. It took too long to reach the New Jersey underwater canyons, where yellowfin tuna fishing was at its best. They had to spend the night out at sea and were due back into port late tomorrow evening.

Inside the cockpit, she saw Don Wexler hunched over the steering wheel, smacking the radar display. His curses were loud enough to carry over the maelstrom.

“I checked with the Coast Guard. I checked the satellite. The weather was clear!”

The defense seemed lame given their current predicament. Did it matter what the weather report claimed? They were over a hundred miles off the coast of New Jersey in the center of a mean tropical storm. The fact that it was the middle of the night was just a cruel bonus.

Stella cast a frantic look at the cabin hatch now submerged under several inches of water. Jill was down there, along with her mother. Only a few moments ago Stella had been with them. When the storm struck, her stomach was the first to protest. She rushed up to the cockpit in search of air, and instead, emerged into chaos.

Copyright © 2018 Maureen A. Miller

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About the author and where to find her:

maureenamillerphoto.pngUSA TODAY bestselling author, Maureen A. Miller worked in the software industry for fifteen years. She crawled around plant floors in a hard hat and safety glasses hooking up computers to behemoth manufacturing machines. The job required extensive travel. The best form of escapism during those lengthy airport layovers became writing. 

Maureen’s first novel, WIDOW’S TALE, earned her a Golden Heart nomination in Romantic Suspense. After that she became hooked to the genre. In fact, she was so hooked she is the founder of the JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE website. 

Recently, Maureen branched out into the Young Adult Science Fiction market with the popular BEYOND Series. To her it was still Romantic Suspense…just on another planet!

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: The Highlander’s Gift (Book #8: The Stolen Bride Series) by Eliza Knight

 

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An injured warrior… a lady who won’t let him fail…

Betrothed to a princess until she declares his battle wound has incapacitated him as a man, Sir Niall Oliphant is glad to step aside and let the spoiled royal marry his brother. He’s more than content to fade into the background with his injuries and remain a bachelor forever, until he meets the Earl of Sutherland’s daughter, a lass more beautiful than any other, a lass who makes him want to stand up and fight again.

As daughter of one of the most powerful earls and Highland chieftains in Scotland, Bella Sutherland can marry anyone she wants—but she doesn’t want a husband. When she spies an injured warrior at the Yule festival who has been shunned by the Bruce’s own daughter, she decides a husband in name only might be her best solution.

They both think they’re agreeing to a marriage of convenience, but love and fate has other plans…

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An excerpt from THE HIGHLANDER’S GIFT

Dunrobin Castle, Scottish Highlands

Fall, 1306

“I want to be knight for the day.” A petulant lass with golden locks crossed her arms over her chest and glowered at the line of grubby lads with their wooden swords tucked into the corded belts of their plaids. For the first time in her short life, she had the chance to prove something.

“Ye canna. Ye’re a lass. Go back to the keep and help the maids with their chores.” Several of them snickered and rubbed elbows at that.

Snorting, another added, “Aye, go and milk a cow.”

“Or knead the bread.”

The list of chores typically delegated to females continued on for several minutes. All the while, the young lass’s face grew redder and redder, her fists tighter and tighter, until one particular lad stepped forward.

He opened his mouth to say something, but she didn’t let him get further than that. She tugged her arm back as she’d seen her brothers do, and let her tiny fist fly, landing hard on his chin.

Zounds, that hurt.

Her knuckles were instantly red and stinging. She thought the whole point of hitting a lad would be to hurt him, not herself.

Surprised, the lad stumbled back a few paces, eyes wide. “What the hell did ye go and do that for? I was going to tell these raven-gut idiots to give ye a shot.”

She was immediately contrite, but being as stubborn as she was, and feeling more than mildly embarrassed, she pursed her lips in a frown and refused to say anything at all.

The other lads were laughing, doubled over as they slapped their knees and rolled around on the ground, clearly not taking her seriously.

“Ye’re on your own then, wee chicken,” the lad said, backing away and rubbing his reddened jaw.

“Wait,” she whispered, stepping forward and looking at him nervously. “Ye’ll really let me try?”

He smirked, green eyes flashing with some emotion she couldn’t understand. “I’m not so sure anymore after the way ye just walloped me.”

The lass stiffened her spine, knowing exactly what mocking was when directed at her. “Why’s that? Ye think I fight like a lass?”

“Nay, just the opposite.”

Most of the lads had stopped laughing long enough to listen, surprised perhaps that the older lad had just admitted her blow had hurt.

“What do ye say, lads, are we scared to have her join in our tournament?”

“Scared?” They laughed. “Not on her life.”

“All right then,” the one she’d given a good smack to said. “We’ll let ye join us.”

She’d not planned for them to actually allow her. Och, she had all sorts of plans involving revenge and sneaking in dressed as a lad, but not once had she thought they’d welcome her. “And if I win?”

His smirk widened. “We’ll let ye be knight for the day.”

Thrusting her chin forward, she gave him a righteous smile. The other lads balked, because it wouldn’t be right for a lass to be the knight for the day, given that she was…well, a lass.

The lad, a little taller than his friends, raised his hand for their silence. “But laddies, ye recall what happens to the knight for a day?”

They narrowed their eyes, unsure what to say, for there was an ominous tone to his voice.

The lass wasn’t certain of what he spoke, either. She only wanted to prove she was good enough, show her da she could beat the lads at their own game, that sewing and wearing dresses wasn’t all she was good at. To prove that her brothers weren’t the only ones who could help defend their castle. But…what else happened?

“The knight has to choose his lady. Who will be your lady?” the lad asked her, his grin growing wider.

Well, she wasn’t going to be sucked into whatever trick he was trying to lay on her. Crossing her arms over her chest, she looked at him confidently. “Why ye of course.”

Copyright © Eliza Knight 2018

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About the author and where to find her:

ElizaKnightAuthorPhotoEliza Knight is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of over fifty sizzling historical, time-travel and contemporary romance novels. Under the name E. Knight, she pens rip-your- heart-out historical fiction. While not reading, writing or researching for her latest book, she chases after her three children. In her spare time (if there is such a thing…) she likes daydreaming, wine-tasting, traveling, hiking, staring at the stars, watching movies, shopping and visiting with family and friends. She lives atop a small mountain with her own knight in shining armor, three princesses and two very naughty puppies.

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Spotlight: A Riesling to Die by J.C. Eaton

 

A Riesling to Die
by J.C. Eaton
Series: The Wine Trail Mysteries, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: March 27, 2018

 

A deadly search for sour grapes . . .

Norrie Ellington is a successful screenwriter living in New York City. She’s also been a silent partner for her family’s winery upstate—until her sister and brother-in-law take a year-long sabbatical. With an experienced staff doing the work, Norrie figures Two Witches Winery will run itself while she enjoys the countryside and writes in peace and quiet.

Unfortunately, there’s a sour grape in the town of Penn Yan who doesn’t care for vineyards. Bed and breakfast owner Elsbeth Waters complains to everyone who’ll listen that the local wineries are bad for her business. But when Elsbeth’s body is found on Norrie’s property, the victim of foul play, the screenwriter-turned-vintner dons a sleuthing cap to uncover the identity of a killer who told the B&B proprietress to put a cork in it—permanently . . .

 

Coming September 25, 2018

 

 

J.C. Eaton is the wife and husband writing team of Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp who reside in Arizona.

Ann I. Goldfarb: New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) set for release in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at: http://www.jceatonauthor.com and http://www.timetravelmysteries.com

James E. Clapp: When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder (Kensington) is set for release in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching. Visit the website at http://www.jceatonauthor.com

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Kiss Me Back (Book #3: Panic Series) by Sidney Halston

35034613Lola: I’ve seen the way women in line behind the velvet rope look at William Fox, like he’s an Armani-clad St. Peter at the pearly gates. Except Panic isn’t heaven, and this bouncer is no saint. He’s been tempting me to sin ever since I started working here, but Fox’s slick smile and bad-boy swagger tell me everything I need to know about him. Still, a girl has needs. And Fox looks ready to fulfill every last one—at least for a night. . . .

Fox: I’m not used to being ignored—especially by women—but Lola Daye is different. The pretty bartender with the red lips and icy blue eyes seems perfectly happy pretending I don’t exist. Too bad, because the more she ignores me, the harder I fall. So I’m floored when she answers my drunken, flirty text with a yes. Lola claims she only wants a fling, but after one kiss, our bodies are speaking the same language. And I’m ready to prove that what we have could be forever.

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Source: Netgalley and Purchase          My Rating: 4/5 stars

William Fox is all kinds of interested in Lola Daye and has made no attempts to hide his interest.  At every turn, Fox politely expresses his interest and privately tries to work out why the sexy bartender won’t give him the time of day. 

Lola Daye is keenly aware of Fox’s interest in her, but she isn’t looking for a relationship of any kind.  In fact, Lola makes a concerted effort to remove herself from groups, friendships, and entanglements of all kinds.  In a few short months, she’s leaving her life in Miami behind for the completion of her Master’s degree.  If she’s lucky, the final semester will turn into a permanent position and the realization of a lifelong dream.  Leaving means losing any relationships she may have, so it’s best, logically speaking, to avoid relationships.  Oh, and relationships would mean revealing the secret she works overtime to hide from everyone.

The trouble with no relationships or entanglements is the lack of human contact, and by human contact, I totally mean sex 😊 Fox is dead sexy, and if Lola can convince him of the wisdom of a no-strings-attached arrangement, she may just get to have some human contact before she leaves it all behind.   Knowing Fox will eventually approach her again for a date means an opportunity to proposition him will most certainly arise.  As long as she’s clear and concise about her intentions and plans, there shouldn’t be a problem.  Right?  Right?  Oh, and she’ll have to tell Fox her secret.

Fox is both blown away and totally accepting of Lola’s proposal and secret.  He’s a good man with honorable intentions and has no plans to disrupt Lola’s life or her future.  In fact, Fox wants only the best for Lola and that means accepting everything about her, including her deadline on their “relationship.”  The trouble is, Fox is a good and honorable man and the more he gets to know and understand Lola, the more he wants to keep her.  Fox wants forever, and he wants it with Lola!  Telling her he wants forever would only complicate matters and if it weren’t for a couple of unexpected and somewhat traumatizing events (one for each of them!) Fox likely would have kept his mouth shut and let Lola trot off into the sunset. 

The Bottom Line: I’m not in love with this book like I was with the first two in this series, but I liked it. I really liked Lola’s secret and how well she has managed to hide it from everyone for so many years.  Halston does an excellent job of setting up this aspect of read so it is as much a surprise to the reader as it is to Fox.  With that being said, I didn’t feel much of a connection to Lola.  Throughout the read, Lola exhibits very little evolution; I appreciate her desire to follow her dreams, but she expects everyone else to fall in line with her plans and make changes to their lives.  With that in mind, by the end of the read, I was slightly sad for Fox.  Fox is the one of the two who gives up everything to follow Lola, and I wanted more for him.  All the sacrificing, all the compromising is done by Fox leaving Lola with everything with no compromising.  Overall, I did like this book, but it just doesn’t have the same intensity, the same heat as the previous books.  Fox and Lola are tame compared to the previous couples which left me at serious liking rather than loving 😊

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About the author and where to find her:

sidneySidney Halston lives her life with one simple rule: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”–Mark Twain. Or even simpler, “Just Do It”—Nike.  And that’s exactly what she did. After working hard as an attorney, Sidney picked up a pen for the first time at thirty years old to begin her dream of writing. Having never written anything other than very exciting legal briefs, she found an outlet for her imaginative romantic side and wrote Seeing Red.That first pen stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing.  Sidney lives in South Florida with her husband and children. She loves her family above all else, and reading follows a close second. When she’s not writing you can find her reading and reading and reading. She’s a reader first and a writer second.  When she’s not writing or reading, her life is complete and utter chaos, trying to balance family life with work and writing (and reading). But she wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Excerpt and Sweepstakes: Her Perfect Affair (Matched to Perfection Series) by Priscilla Oliveras

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Her Perfect Affair high resRosa Fernandez doesn’t act on impulse—she’s the responsible one, planning her career with precision, finally landing a job as the librarian at conservative Queen of Peace Academy, confining her strongest emotions to her secret poetry journal. But she’s been harboring a secret crush on dreamy Jeremy Taylor, and after one dance with him at her sister’s wedding, Rosa longs to let loose for the first time. She deserves some fun, after all. So what if she doesn’t have a shot with Jeremy, not with his wealthy pedigree and high profile lifestyle. But one dance leads to one kiss, and soon Rosa is head-over-heels . . .

The adopted son of a prominent Chicago lawyer, Jeremy has a lot to live up to—especially with his birth father in prison—the perfect example of a bad example. With a big promotion and a move to Japan in the works, Jeremy is worlds away from settling down. But sweet, steady Rosa is a temptation he doesn’t want to deny himself, at least for now. Yet when their simple fling turns complicated, everything they’ve both worked for is threatened—except the red-hot intimacy they’ve found together. Can forever really grow from just-for-now?

Excerpt from Her Perfect Affair: 

“Buen provecho,” the old man murmured.

She gave him a shy smile of thanks as she reached for the proffered champagne flute, then sidled away from the bar.

Jeremy fell into step alongside her and her heart rate blipped with glee.

“What did he say when he handed you your drink?” he asked. “Good something, right?”

She nodded, remembering Jeremy’s recent decision to start learning Spanish. “Literally it means, ‘enjoy your meal,’ but in this sense, it’s more like, ‘enjoy.’”

“Well then”—leaning closer to her, he clinked his flute against hers—“buen pro-pro—”

Provecho,” she finished, her belly flip-flopping at his chagrined smile.

They walked a few more steps before she worked up the courage to ask, “So, um, where’s your date?”

The tall blonde who’d been his plus-one was the epitome of old money and high class, a glaring reminder that Jeremy came from a wealthy, established Chicago family. Rosa, on the other hand, came from a small town on the Island, her parents having transplanted from Puerto Rico to the Humboldt Park area of Chicago when they were first married, then later to Oakton in the suburbs.

She and Jeremy, not to mention his date, weren’t quite the same pedigree.

“Cecile?”

“Uh-huh. Is she your . . . ?” Rosa let her voice trail off, wondering what his response might be.

“Family friend. I mean, we dated years ago, but decided we’re better as friends.”

Rosa breathed a soft sigh of relief.

“Anyway, she ditched me a while ago.” Jeremy brushed it off like his date leaving him behind didn’t bother him. “Her parents are hosting a charity event over on Michigan Avenue and she wanted to put in an appearance.”

“You didn’t want to go?”

“And miss this fun?” He jutted his chin out at the people dancing to a well-known merengue hit. Couples packed the floor, some more seasoned and coordinated than others, but all having a great time.

They reached an empty table and Jeremy pulled out a chair for her.

“I haven’t seen you out there,” he said. “How come?”

He sat down to join her, his muscular thigh inadvertently brushing against hers. Tingles of awareness danced a cha-cha down her leg.

“Um, well.” Hyper-attuned to his nearness, it took Rosa a second to find her words. “This is more Yazmine and Lilí’s scene. I guess I tend to be a much better party planner than a partygoer.”

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that.” Jeremy’s lips quirked as he slid her a teasing glance. “I seem to recall you play a mean game of charades.”

Rosa laughed, remembering Lilí’s birthday this past spring. It’d been their first family celebration since Papi’s death, so Lilí had kept it an intimate affair at home with the three sisters; Tomás; his six-year-old daughter, Maria; Jeremy; and a few other close friends.

She and Jeremy had wound up on the same charades team. That night, they’d been on a similar wavelength or something, quickly guessing each other’s clues before anyone else.

Lilí had cried foul play.

Yaz had dubbed them the dynamic duo.

Rosa had soaked up the shared moment, their uncanny connection. Later, she’d composed a few verses about it in her private poetry journal.

“By the way, Yaz mentioned how you stepped in to help so she wouldn’t stress as much today. Everything turned out great.” The pleasure in his bright smile, directed right at her, made Rosa’s pulse skip.

She ducked her head, embarrassed by his praise. “It wasn’t that much.”

“Right,” Jeremy answered, his tone dripping with disbelief.

She peeked at him from under her lashes. At some point in the evening, he’d shed his suit jacket and rolled up his shirt sleeves, revealing his muscular forearms. As always, she was drawn by his ruffled dark blond hair and square jaw. But even more so by his friendly eyes and the easy camaraderie they shared.

He took a swig of his champagne, eyeing her over the rim.

What did he see when he looked at her?

Copyright© 2018 Priscilla Oliveras

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About the author and where to find her:

Priscilla Oliveras Headshot 1PRISCILLA OLIVERAS writes sweet contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. Her debut release, His Perfect Partner, and the second book in her Matched to Perfection series, Her Perfect Affair, both earned Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Since earning an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, she serves as English adjunct faculty at her local college and teaches an on-line course titled “Romance Writing” for ed2go. Priscilla is a sports fan, a beach lover, a half-marathon runner and a consummate traveler who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock. To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at http://prisoliveras.com/, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras or on Twitter via @prisoliveras.

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Double Review: DI Pereira & DS Bain Series by Douglas Lindsay

Cold CutsRevenge is a dish best served … sliced.

The new cold meat option in the sandwich shop isn’t chicken, and it isn’t pork. It’s Kevin Moyes, missing for two weeks, now presumed dead.

The Serious Crime Unit are notified, and the hunt for the macabre butcher takes detectives Aliya Pereira and Marc Bain to the meat-processing factory where the human flesh entered the food chain. They are followed by a media frenzy, with Pereira’s boss demanding immediate results. But while the factory is clean and no one is talking, some of the players have gone missing, people are still dying, and the butcher’s work is not yet done.

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Source: Purchase          My Rating: 4/5 stars

**MINI-REVIEW**

The Bottom Line:  I can’t say I devoured (HA! Pun intended!) this book, but I can say I appreciated the read.  Lindsay uses this novella-length read to introduce two new characters, DI Pereira and DS Bain, as they work a strange case involving dismembered human bits and cold cuts.  Because of the shortened length of the book, the case moves quickly yet not so quickly as to lose anything in the reading.  DI Pereira is by far the most senior of the police pairing so much of the background information revolves around her; while Pereira is interesting, I would have liked to have had more (an equal amount) information about DS Bain as he seems to be the far quirkier of the two.  As I neared the end of the book, I was absolutely certain of the identity of the big bad and I was partly correct.  That partial certainty is what had me upping my star rating and that upping didn’t come until the very last page!  Yes, Cold Cuts has a creepy surprise twist at the end that had me all shivery and wanting to sleep with the lights on 😊 In all, I would recommend this read, but not a top of the TBR read; it’s a good (not great) introduction to two new characters that need more time and space to grow.

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Judas Flower

The Necropolis, Glasgow. A man’s body, in the shadow of the city’s ancient cathedral, sits propped against a gravestone. Held upright by a length of rope around his neck, blood weeping from his eyes, killed by a small metal cross hammered into his skull, the blossom of the Judas tree in his hands.

The Judas Flower is the second book in a gripping and realistic new crime series featuring DI Aliya Pereira and DS Marc Bain. Set in a grim, rain-soaked Glasgow, Pereira & Bain find themselves mired in a toxic mix of money, religion and revenge, as they begin the search for the killer of Archie Wilson, recent lottery winner, keeper of secrets, and now ritualistic murder victim.

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 3/5 stars

Round two of the DI Pereira and DS Bain series has the two intrepid detectives hot on the heels of a sick killer with a penchant for symbolism.

As with so many things in life (and books!) the whole mess Pereira and Bain find themselves a part of started with a secret and whole mountain of money.  Archie Wilson won the lottery, and by won the lottery I mean life-changing, never have to worry about anything ever again kind of money.  That kind of money brings out the crazies, and one of those crazies had an ax to grind with Archie Wilson.  When Pereira and Bain get called to the scene, Archie Wilson has had a very bad night and finds himself all kinds of dead in a cemetery with a Judas flower in his hands and a metal cross pounded into his skull.

As they should, Pereira and Bain begin their inquiries by following the money, all the money.  What they discover is a long, winding path leading them to the Catholic Church and an ill-fated day many, many years ago that left a young boy dead and three others safe and sound all telling the same story about a horrible accident.  Trouble is, the story the survivors have been telling for so many years isn’t quite the truth, and the truth has a way revealing itself, eventually.  What’s more, Archie Wilson was one of three survivors and as Pereira and Bain quickly discover, this case isn’t about the money at all, but about the righting of a terrible wrong.

The Bottom Line: At the end of the first Pereira and Bain book, I asked for more time and space to develop the characters, to give me more full-bodied characters I could feel invested in and connected to.  That sort of happened here . . . . As the plot of the Judas Flower unfolds, there is a great deal more information about DI Pereira and very little, once again, about DS Bain.  This isn’t a terribly fast-paced book, but it doesn’t necessarily drag either.  There is just enough weirdness and twistiness to keep one turning pages, but not so totally absorbing that you can’t put the book down and sleep.  As you can clearly discern from my comments, I wasn’t at all blown away by this book, but I wasn’t completely disappointed either.  At the end of the day, I am sticking with the assessment I had of the first book: I will recommend this book, but not recommend it be added to the top of your TBR list.  If I come across a third book in this series, I’ll likely give it a shot, but I’m not going to go searching for that third book either.  Yeah, I’m completely on the fence 😊

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