Spotlight: Blue Bayou by Jiffy Kate

The road to self-discovery leads Maverick Kensington deep into the heart of New Orleans. The colorful characters, beautiful scenery and a hot mess of a woman he finds along the way offer him the perfect place to reinvent himself. 

 
The French Quarter and Blue Bayou are exactly the change of pace he’s looking for, helping him escape the soul-sucking work he does for his father’s company. 
 
Carys Matthews is young and inexperienced. Having her family’s hotel dropped in her lap after her mother’s untimely death, she’s struggling to keep her head above water and keep the hotel’s doors open. She doesn’t have time for relationships, but Maverick Kensington is worth an exception. Besides, his stay is temporary and a fling never hurt anyone, right? 
His passion and business know-how is exactly what she needs. 
 
Her carefree spirit is what he wants. 
 
Their whirlwind relationship is one for the books until truths are untold and assumptions are made. Everything comes to a screeching halt just when they were getting to the good part. 
 
There’s always been a saying around the hotel: eventually, everyone comes back to the Blue Bayou. Will Maverick be the exception again?
Jiffy Kate is the joint pen name for Jiff Simpson and Jenny Kate Altman. They’re co-writing besties who share a brain and a love of cute boys, good coffee, and a fun time. 
 
Together, they’ve written over twenty stories. Their first published book, Finding Focus, was released in November 2015. Since then, they’ve continued to write what they know, which is southern settings full of swoony heroes and strong heroines. 
 
You can find them on most social media outlets at @jiffykate, @jiffykatewrites, or @jiffsimpson and @jennykate77.

 

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Spotlight: Taxed by Love by AJ Renee

Love was in the air and Gabrielle wasn’t interested. Even if she was willing to risk her heart again, which she wasn’t, any man would have to get past her overbearing brother first.
Andrew was unashamed of his love of women… until he found himself yearning for what his friends had found—love and family. When a gorgeous woman caught his eye at a buddy’s wedding reception, he blindly followed, unable to resist her allure.
Their encounter was meant to be no-strings fun, but months later, Gabrielle couldn’t get him out of her mind. Andrew regretted never getting her name or number, leaving them both with only memories and unanswered desires.
An unexpected reunion brought the couple to St. Fleur, where trouble had been stirring for their friends and family. Can Andrew persuade Gabrielle to take a risk on a playboy? Or will tragedy jeopardize their chance at love?

AJ Renee is the author behind the St. Fleur series, Beauty Unmasked, Winter’s Surprise, Surviving Paris, and Finding Love at the Falls…. She’s a military wife and mother to three young girls. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with her Master of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology while working at the library.
 
She loves to write steamy romance with suspense and a happily ever after. When she isn’t writing or interacting with her readers, you can find her spending time with her family or reading. AJ enjoys traveling, researching family history, and all things New Orleans.

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Excerpt: With Every Goodbye (Book #1: Winter Beach Series) by Renea Porter

Title: With Every Goodbye
Series: Book One in the Winter Beach Series
Author: Renea Porter
Genre: Standalone Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 29, 2018
MAX: I knew I wanted her the moment I saw her. But it was selfish.
 
I was selfish.
Because I was only going to be in Winter Beach, Texas for three months. Long enough to find out that Grace Summers would be my muse. Just enough time to get another collection of paintings ready. As much as I wanted Grace, I couldn’t commit to a relationship. I wasn’t ready. And neither was she.
GRACE: After just ending a relationship, and losing myself completely, there was no way I was prepared to begin again. Then came Max who made me question everything I thought I knew.
 
My art gallery was featuring a collection of his paintings for the next three months and then he’d be gone. Surely, I couldn’t fall in love that quickly…or could I?
 
Like the saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.

He smiled wide at me. “Hey, babe.”
“Hey,” I said, noticing he had a paint brush in his hand. I walked over to him and wrapped my arms around his waist while peering over his shoulder, and I lightly kissed his bare skin.
He twisted in my arms to face me. “You know I can’t work if you’re in here in this short thing, kissing me. I can’t resist you.”
He took his paintbrush and brushed it on my arm and chuckled.
“Oh my god, you painted me.” Somehow, he got the blue ink on my face and my thigh.
Thankfully, the dress I was wearing was old. “I think you should strip and we’ll see where this goes,” he suggested.
I backed away from him so he could come get me. I laughed as I ran away from him, but the space wasn’t big enough as he caught me, wrapping his arms around my waist. Catching my breath, he bore his eyes into mine and I held his hooded stare. When his hands skimmed the hem of my dress, I knew what was happening and I felt dizzy. Reaching under my dress, he felt my bare flesh and his eyebrows peaked upward.
“Oh, already naked underneath.” He grinned as he gripped my ass and pulled me flush against him, allowing me to feel the erection he had. “You do wicked things to me, woman.”
“You make me dizzy,” I replied, meeting his lips with mine.
“And you look even sexier with paint on you.”
 
Renea Porter is best known for writing realistic stories with realistic characters. Her stories may even cause you to shed a tear or two. 


She mainly writes New Adult and Contemporary Romances. However, she’s not afraid to venture into other genre’s like Paranormal Romance.

She enjoys spending time with her husband of fifteen years, and step son. She calls Pennsylvania home, but loves to travel and try new things. In her free time you can catch her reading books, watching reality tv, and baking.

 

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Spotlight: The Butcher by Celia Aaron

I had her once. Or at least I thought I did. But that was a long time ago. Before prison. Before I became the Butcher. Seeing her now shouldn’t make me feel anything. It’s been too long. She forgot about me as soon as I was sent away. But all those truths can’t break the connection that links me to my Angel. No matter how hard I try, I’m still drawn to her, damned to want her even though she’s promised to another man. Being assigned to serve as her bodyguard is a torture so ingenious that I have to respect it. If I don’t deliver her to the altar, my life is forfeit to the Genoa family. But if I do, losing her again may kill me surer than a hitman’s bullet.
Author’s Note: This is the third novel in the Dark Protector world, David Raven’s story, and a standalone.

Celia Aaron is a USA Today bestselling author and recovering attorney who loves romance and erotic fiction. Dark to light, angsty to funny, real to fantasy–if it’s hot and strikes her fancy, she writes it. Thanks for reading.
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If the Coffin Fits (Book #2: A Funeral Parlor Mystery Series) by Lillian Bell

CoffinFuneral director Desiree Turner deals with death by natural causes all the time. Death by unnatural causes? Not so much. Yet, she and her boyfriend Nate have heard some not-so-dear things about the recently departed. A suspicious remark by the late Frank Fiore’s daughters sparks some concern. And when Violet Daugherty faints behind the wheel of her car, Desiree suspects she’s got a front seat to murder.

Desiree can’t help but look into Violet’s untimely end, but soon after, rumors begin to spread that she’s accusing her clients of murder, which quickly spurs a mass cancellation and Desiree is on the verge of going out of business. What began as an effort to do due diligence for her client turns into a wild goose chase for Violet’s murderer. Desiree must find her proof before everything she works for is lost. But that’s easier said than done, because while everyone else in town is looking to take their business elsewhere, the killer sets sights directly upon Desiree.

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Source: NetGalley          My Rating: 4/5 stars

Death is certainly a tragedy, but it’s also good news for Desiree Turner and her family’s funeral home business.  What isn’t good for business?  Asking your clients if the death of their loved one really was from natural causes.  What’s even worse for business?  Asking the medical examiner to dig deeper into another death and poking around into what looks to be an open and shut car wreck. 

Relying on her reporter’s instinct, a wonky finding by the medical examiner, and a request from a client’s distant relative is how Desiree finds herself involved in the death of Violet Daughtry.  To understand Violet’s death, Desiree first must understand her life and who may have wanted her dead.  As it turns out, about the only “person” on earth who legitimately liked Violet Daughtry was her dog Orion.  With the discovery of Violet’s stash of surveillance photos, Desiree begins to understand why no one liked Violet.  With keen observation skills and absolutely no sense of boundaries and/or personal space, Violet made it her mission to confront people with their misdeeds and blackmail them.  Yeah, there’s a whole host of people who had reason to see Violet dead.  Or, did they?

Running parallel to the Violet investigation is Desiree’s strong sense that her father is still alive and well somewhere in the world.  As she digs deeper into Violet’s death, Desiree also finds more inexplicable clues related to her father which seemingly support her theory.  Unfortunately, Desiree’s efforts aren’t appreciated by everyone, OK, many, and her sister and uncle beg her stop investigating before she drives the family business right into the ground.  Though Desiree initially agrees to their request, circumstances arise which pull her right back into the investigation and, literally in the line of fire.  If Desiree doesn’t put all the pieces together, and soon, she’s going to lose her family, the family business, and likely, her life.

The Bottom Line:  I don’t normally like reporter characters, but there is something about Desiree Turner that just makes me happy.  Desiree isn’t all about getting the story at any cost, but about finding the truth even if it doesn’t result in an article for the local paper.  Desiree has a dogged determination that serves her well and pisses off a lot of other people.  In this installment of the series, Desiree’s determination threatens not only her life, but her family’s livelihood.  What’s more, her latest investigation uncovers a secret that will alter the course of her life for a very long time to come.  I think what I enjoyed most about this book were the parallel plot lines, Violet’s death and the fallout from that event and the search for Desiree’s dad.  The two are nicely woven together to create a cohesive and far more interesting read.  The characters feel a bit more solid in this installment and are beginning to show some growth, both of which are necessary to an ongoing series.  While I can’t this is my favorite cozy mystery series, I can say it’s a good series that is getting stronger, and I won’t be giving up on it anytime soon!

Pre-order now for the September 11, 2018 release: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Hardcover

Review: October Kiss by Kristen Ethridge

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He’s a brilliant businessman, but there’s one thing she can teach him: how to enjoy the moment.  Poppy’s tried a lot of things. Yoga instruction. Pizza making. So far, none of them have seemed like her thing. Still, she doesn’t have to know where her life is headed to live it with enthusiasm.  Ever since his wife’s death, Ryan’s thrown himself into his work. Launching a successful new app will secure his children’s future…even if it means he can’t spend much time with them now.  As a short-term nanny for Ryan’s children, Poppy brings some much-needed fun and laughter. She’s never been one to commit, so why is she feeling so attached to these children…and even more, to their dad? Could it be she’s found her place at last?

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: NetGalley          My Rating: 3½/5 stars

Here I am with, yet another book based on a Hallmark movie!  While I was completely smitten with the first two book I read, I wasn’t quite as in love with this one, but still enjoyed the read. Here’s the skinny:

Poppy is what one might call a free-spirit!  She’s not particularly good at any one thing, she hasn’t ever found a calling, and she’s not getting any younger.  Even Poppy realizes it’s time for her to find a “real” job, a career she can not only enjoy for the long-term, but commit to for the long-term.  Yeah, Poppy may also have some commitment issues which have thus far hindered the achievement of her life goals.

On the other hand, there’s Ryan, an admitted workaholic who is only trying to secure his children’s future in the wake of their mother’s death.  Though his business is a success, his current project would overwhelmingly secure the future for himself and his children.  Trouble is, that security comes at a cost and the cost is all the time he must give to work and take from his kids.  Oh, Ryan’s kids, Zach and Zoe know their dad loves them, but they would be so much happier if he were able to spend more time with them.  Instead, the kids have been saddled with one nanny after another, and Poppy is just the latest in a long line of quitters who can’t handle two spirited youngsters. 

To say Poppy’s first day with Zach and Zoe went badly would be something of any understatement.  Though her initial inclination is to quit, Poppy soon realizes Zach and Zoe need her as much as she needs them.  With a new-found determination and little begging from Ryan, Poppy sets out to make her temporary assignment the best it can possibly be . . . for the kids, of course.  Once Poppy dives in and commits to her plan, she sees wonderful changes in the kids.  What’s more, with just a bit of conversation and some light cajoling, Poppy also helps Ryan to see exactly what it is he has been missing.  In just a hot minute, Poppy, Ryan, and the kids begin to see what life could be like if they were a proper family. 

The Bottom Line:  While I have generally fallen stupidly in love with this series of books, I found this one just a bit harder to love.  I think my biggest issue with this read is the super high-speed nature of Poppy and Ryan’s relationship.  Because of the plot and how it plays out, this isn’t an insta-love situation, but a relationship that develops.  For me, it just went a bit too fast which made it far too unrealistic for me.  With that being said, there were parts of this book I truly liked including, Zach and Zoe, Ryan’s reactions and responses to his kids, and the epilogue.  I am true believer in not giving up when there’s a bookish speed bump, so I am very much looking forward to my next Hallmark read.

Review: Sugar Sweet (Book #1: Sugar Series) by Christine d’Abo

Sugar SweetMarissa Roy never thought she would do it. Until she finds herself overwhelmed by debt, college costs—and a vengeful ex-boyfriend determined to ruin her financially. But once she meets multi-millionaire Vince Taylor, the thought of sleeping with her hot benefactor is a major turn-on. Except Vince has one condition to their dating contract: he wants her by his side, but not in his bed. Finding sex was easy, he said, finding someone he could trust was not. Still, his hungry gaze tells Marissa otherwise . . .   She’s the perfect escort—a natural beauty with the kind of savvy discretion that will keep his personal life out of the tabloids. Only Vince doesn’t expect his body to pulse every time Marissa steps into the room, every time she stands close. Too close.  He doesn’t expect to find himself pulling her into his arms, night after night after night. Suddenly he can’t get enough of her intoxicating body. And once he’s broken that rule, it’s only a matter of time until he violates his vow to never, ever fall in love . . .

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Source: NetGalley          My Rating: 4/5 stars

I have such a soft spot for Christine D’Abo and feel like she is really one of my go-to authors when I’m craving a bit of naughty with a real plot and real characters enveloping that naughty.  Once again, I was rewarded with Sugar Sweet, the first book in d’Abo’s new Sugar series. 

Marissa Roy never saw her life becoming the hot mess that it has become.  Thanks to a kind and trusting heart, Marissa has found herself in a level of debt that is both overwhelming and not hers!  As it happens, the bank and the various other lenders don’t care that Marissa was a co-signer and not the original recipient of the money.  Between trying to get through school, the mailed notices, and the phone calls, Marissa is desperate to find a solution to her life.

Then, Marissa finds a website . . . .

As it turns out, men like Vince Taylor (or his skeevy dad) have a ton of money and no significant other because they work all the time (or are totally skeevy!).  For many of these men (except Vince’s skeevy dad), companionship in return for funds and/or gifts is a perfect business arrangement.  Though Vince doesn’t think he needs this type of arrangement, meeting Marissa changes his perspective and his plans.  Marissa doesn’t want to be a part of this type of arrangement at all, but her situation is desperate, and she is clear about that from the very beginning.  Vince is also very clear about their arrangement, he will expect Marissa to be available for a variety of social/work events, she will be expected to intelligently converse with colleagues and their spouses, and there will be no physical component to their arrangement. 

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA . . . . . . . .

Yeah, it takes both Marissa and Vince a hot minute to figure out there is an inevitable and undeniable attraction between them.  Their physical relationship is a matter of when, not if, and with each passing encounter, when gets ever closer.  What increases the attraction is the behavior Marissa and Vince exhibit towards one another.  Vince, though he wasn’t seeking a connection, feels strongly about Marissa and wants to not only help her, but protect her as well.  Marissa quickly discovers the skeevy and deceitful nature of Vince’s father, and steps up to run interference so Vince can further his business endeavors.  It is clear to all who meet the new “couple,” they are a strong partnership and work well together. 

Unfortunately, not all good partnerships are meant to last long-term, and due to circumstances beyond her control, Marissa’s life implodes even further.  Her crappy apartment floods, her ex comes back into her life and threatens both she and Vince, and Vince’s father is practicing dirty deeds behind the scenes that only Marissa has worked out.  Though they knew their arrangement was meant to be temporary, both Marissa and Vince had both been pondering the what if of long-term.  That is, before all awful showed up and some very hard decisions had to be made.

The Bottom Line:  I truly don’t feel like Christine d’Abo has ever let me down with her books.  I always know I am going to get solid characters, a good plot, and some seriously good naughty bits that enhance the read rather than overtake it.  I love naughty bits as much as the next girl, but I need them to be a logical part of a read and not just gratuitous sex.  That’s what I always get with these books.  One of the best aspects of this read for me is the twist of the Sugar Daddy website.  I like this as it’s a bit unconventional, completely interesting, and like nothing else I’m reading these days.  Using a fictional (I’m assuming) site like this allows for a whole host of characters and stories that can carry this series into multiple reads.  Onward and upward . . . .

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