Hazel McCallister loves her life. Perfect grades. Perfect best friend. Perfect boyfriend. Until her perfect boyfriend cheats on her with her perfect best friend. Now Hazel’s in free fall—until her best friend’s brother, Felix, gives her the perfect idea. Reclaim her power by taking revenge on her cheating ex. Felix James loves his life. Casual relationships. Loads of surfing. He’s as drama-free as they come. But he can’t stand by when his sister steals her best friend’s boyfriend, and the dude insists it was Hazel’s fault. So Felix vows to help turn Hazel into a girl her ex can’t resist—so then she can break his heart. With an alliance in place, Hazel’s revenge is all but assured. But with each piece of payback, she feels a stronger attraction to Felix, even though revenge will turn her into a girl Felix could never be with. And soon Hazel has to make an impossible choice: revenge…or Felix, the boy who’s stolen her heart.
Felix James has a pretty fantastic life. He is just good enough without much effort to get through his classes, he is a wicked good surfer and surfs often, the ladies love him and he totally likes the ladies, and his reputation is solid. Felix stays out of the drama that seems to constantly surround his friends and every chance he gets, he mixes it up with his sister’s best friend, Hazel. Since they were kids, Felix and Hazel have taunted and teased one another mercilessly and neither would have it any other way.
Hazel McCallister’s life runs perfectly right down to the minute; her every action, her every plan is scripted. Hazel is top of her class and according to her life plan she will get into her first choice college, her damn-near perfect boyfriend will, of course accompany her, and at the appropriate time (see the schedule!) they will get engaged, married, and have children. The world, according to Hazel is meant to run with precision and accuracy and Heaven help the fool who dares mess with the plan. Enter, Hazel’s damn-near perfect boyfriend, Jay and her best friend, Kimmy.
Publicly and quite humiliatingly, Jay and Kimmy decide to announce their new relationship to the world. As Hazel’s world crumbles around her in the middle of the cafeteria, it is Felix who comes to her rescue. Felix, the flirt, the never takes anything seriously guy boldly stands by Hazel as her boyfriend and best friend rise to the top of her, those who must not be named list. Heartbroken and reeling, Hazel agrees to Felix’s crazy plan to fake their own relationship in order to get back at Jay and Kimmy. The goal, make the betrayers so jealous and upset that they will feel as awful as Hazel.
Because this is a YA read, Hazel and Felix keep the revenge on the lighter side and as you would expect their friendship (established long ago) and fake relationship blossoms into real feelings which leaves each wondering how to navigate the change in their relationship. Again, as expected each initially tries to deny his and her feelings and, once accepted refuses to talk to the other out of fear of rejection. Of course, this causes more drama which continues until it is almost too late. Just in the nick of time, Hazel and Felix realize sacrificing a potentially awesome relationship for the sake of a little revenge just isn’t worth it.
The Bottom Line: Not Okay, Cupid is exactly what it is advertised to be, a sweet contemporary YA romance with few surprises and an HEA. That is exactly what I was looking for when I sat down to read J I love the unconventional names, Hazel and Felix and both characters worked really well for me. Hazel evolves as she learns more about Felix and Felix evolves as he begins to accept his feelings for Hazel. Their banter is witty and spot on especially when they are firing back at Jay and Kimmy. Their revenge plans are just right for the age group and the HEA ties up almost everything in the end. The only thing that didn’t get resolved for me is what happened to Jay and Kimmy. With that being said, I put Not Okay, Cupid on the recommend list though it should be reserved for that time when you are maxed out on the heavy reads and looking for something light and easy.
I watched in horror as Kimmy’s lips grazed Jay’s ear. He leaned back and laughed. What the heck was going on?
“Oh God!” Hazel said, grabbing my hand. “Look at her hand.”
Kimmy’s hand was riding high up Jay’s shorts. High, high. Like top of thigh high. The kind of move that usually let me know a girl was ready to get down to business.
“Dude,” I said, because what else could I say?
Hazel swallowed. “Did you know about this?”
“Me? No way. Hell no. I’ve been looking for her all day, too. Look, Baze, don’t overreact. We don’t know anything. Who knows. He might have…lost a match and she’s…comforting him. Or his turtle died and they’re planning a eulogy together?” I was grasping and we both knew it, but I couldn’t stand to see that pained look on her face. “I once heard the best eulogy for a frog. It was amazing. It was all about the life cycle from tadpole to amphibian to…”
“Shut up, Felix.”
Hazel brushed past me and barreled toward them. It was no turtle eulogy, and I knew it. I mean, I didn’t know I knew it, but I knew the look of two people who were digging on each other, and those two were certainly all about the other one. God, poor Hazel.
Oh no. There she goes.
I had to follow her. I had to help.
“Excuse me,” I said to a group of three ladies in my way. Two of them grinned at me, one glared. The glaring one was a girl I’d forgotten to call back. I ducked, sheepishly, with a little apologetic wave, and came out on the other side.
I’d never even heard Hazel raise her voice, never mind cry. Never mind cry in public. But I didn’t need to use my astute Sherlock skills to see Hazel was on the verge of doing all three. She stopped close to Jay and Kimmy, like she was verifying what she was seeing was real.
One more intimate touch from Kimmy on Jay and that was it. Hazel moved in for the kill.
After earning her BA in Literature & Creative Writing Literature from UC Santa Cruz and finding her voice in YA, Heidi went on to earn her MFA in Writing for Children from The New School. She has directed and written children’s theatre on both coasts and lives with her husband and two children in Palo Alto, CA.
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As the president of the Sin City Outlaw Motorcycle Club, I fuck as hard as I ride and rarely go to bed alone. The women are fast and the violence is intense.
I excel in both. People either respect me or fear me. I’m not arrogant. It’s just the truth. I was a king, reigning over Vegas without complication, until one gorgeous sheriff made everything fall apart. When I saw her, I became a Neanderthal, wanting nothing more than to be between those legs. I guess that’s where I went wrong, because my reality was shot to hell real fucking fast. One kiss caused her to step over that blue line. One night in her bed made me a traitor. And now… we’re both screwed.
“Fuck you, Zeek! I am an officer of the law, and you!” I point at him, words starting to slur. “You’re a criminal, one everyone around here seems to pussyfoot around—”
“Everyone except you,” he interrupts. “Why aren’t you afraid of me?” he whispers, his head leaning back, eyes gleaming down at me. His question is laced with so many emotions, and I’m not sure how to answer.
Truth is, I am afraid of Zeek. I’m afraid of him for so many reasons.
“Who says I’m not? You’re a bad guy, Zeek,” I mutter. Citizens and law enforcement are conditioned to fear him, what he represents.
He steps forward, his hands slipping into his jeans pockets.
“I could be a good guy,” he whispers, looking at me as if he’s trying to tell me something.
M.N. Forgy was raised in Missouri where she still lives with her family. She’s a soccer mom by day and a saucy writer by night. M.N. Forgy started writing at a young age but never took it seriously until years later, as a stay-at-home mom, she opened her laptop and started writing again. As a role model for her children, she felt she couldn’t live with the “what if” anymore and finally took a chance on her character’s story. So, with her glass of wine in hand and a stray Barbie sharing her seat, she continues to create and please her fans.
In Book Three of the Billionaire Brotherhood, Ryan Eastham appears to have it all—fame, fortune, and legendary good looks—but injury has ended his high-profile professional football career and he’s at loose ends. After years of living, breathing, and training for football, he’s searching for something meaningful to do with his future. He expects nothing but boredom from the on-air sports announcer job he’s been offered, and his so-called love life is more tabloid fiction than fact. Due to the shattering betrayal of her late husband, Jenna McCall is wary of men and their meaningless promises. Isolating herself from friends and family while she reexamines her goals and dreams, her one year old daughter is her sole focus. Ryan’s unscheduled intrusion into her life leaves her irritated, edgy, and a little intrigued. Family commitments throw this pair together as reluctant companions on a cross-country drive from Massachusetts to Missouri. Despite a wrong turn, stolen car, and fussy baby, they find unexpected pleasure in one another’s company. Amid wedding chaos and intense family drama in St. Louis, they each proceed with plans to start new careers in different parts of the country, but their attraction continues to build. When it’s time to say good-bye, Ryan challenges Jenna to remake their lives and plan a future together instead.
“Zoey? Baby?” Ryan mumbled, snagging Jenna’s wrist and pulling her forward.
Caught off-guard, she found herself breast to chest with an implacable male form for the first time in eleven months, two weeks, and three days. Not that she was counting.
Before she could spring away, his other hand burrowed into the hair at the nape of her neck and turned her face toward his. It happened so swiftly that she didn’t—couldn’t—react fast enough to evade the maneuver. Unwelcome goose bumps quickstepped down her spine.
Her first thought was that he smelled male, woodsy, and slightly medicinal—like the great outdoors infused with a hint of anesthesia.
But then, along with the shock of having her chest pressed against his, came the panicky sense of suffocation. His breath mingled with hers. Sweat beaded her forehead. For a second, she couldn’t breathe. Her eyes crossed at the nearness of his mouth, just inches away. Before his lips touched hers, she pinched his nose between her fingers and twisted. Hard.
Jerking back, he somehow clipped her mouth with his chin. Jenna’s incisor sliced into her lip. She yelped and tried to escape his grip, but his fingers remained firmly clasped around her wrist. His arm muscles bunched with all the expected strength of a professional athlete. If he chose to, he could sail her across the room like a Frisbee. Luckily, he didn’t.
Squinting at her, confusion clouded the depths of his silvery gray eyes until the puzzlement cleared. He nodded in recognition.
“Jenna.” The word held a whisper of accusation, low and pulsing. He rubbed his chin. “That was uncalled for.”
“No kidding.” She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. “Dang, I think I’m bleeding.”
“Here,” he said, lifting a corner of the sheet to dab her lip.
“No, thanks.” She held up her hand to block the gesture, plucked tissues from the box on the bedside table, and passed him one. “You don’t have any infectious diseases, do you? STDs? Anything?”
“Clean as a rookie at his first training camp.”
“Good, ‘cause you’re bleeding, too. I hope we haven’t mixed and mingled bodily fluids. Blot your chin,” she instructed, but sat on the edge of the bed and did it for him. “Didn’t anyone teach you to look before you kiss?”
“Must’ve missed that lesson when my dad was teaching me the exact opposite.” Covering his mouth with his free hand, he yawned so wide his jaw cracked. “Why are you here? Someone send you on a little guilt trip?”
Like most writers, I’ve always been an avid reader. I always knew I wanted to write, too, but I kept that tidbit to myself for a very long time. What does a reader who secretly wants to write do? She works in a library. My very first job, and maybe my favorite, was in my hometown public library. I loved everything about the grand old building and was fascinated by the people who came and went every day. But mostly, I loved the books. Seeing them, handling them, checking them in and out, shelving them, and, of course, reading them. To have access to books that contained so much knowledge, history, and tradition was a pleasure that never grew old.
In my spare time through the next few years, I continued reading and began learning how to write. I accumulated stacks of completed manuscripts and an increasing determination to get them published. Happily, my sixth full-length novel has just been released. I would describe my books as fresh, flirty, and fun contemporaries about strong women and men who deal with relatable situations in familiar settings. They’re also emotionally rewarding with a liberal helping of humor, because, really, what point is there to life without laughter?
After living my childhood and adult life in a variety of Midwestern cities, I was always an island girl at heart, yearning for white sands, perpetual sunshine, and crystal blue waters. This past year I turned that dream into reality by abandoning my snow shovel along with my day job and moving to Florida to write full-time. The view from my lanai is great, the wildlife is interesting, and my handsome and heroic husband handles all of my IT issues and regularly prods me to interact with actual living, breathing people, not just the ones I invent and put on the page.
When fantasy becomes reality… The last thing nanny Alice Sommers needs is to be caught skinny-dipping by her sexy, cranky-pants boss—in his pool. Her sister owes a crap-load of money to a slimy loan shark and Alice really needs this job if she has any hope of saving her family. Fortunately, her boss is richer than sin and needs her just as much. Art dealer Lorenzo Baldi will lose his prestigious career if his anarchist father’s paintings are revealed to the art world. He’s determined to persuade the paintings’ eccentric owner to sell them to him, even if to pull it off, he’ll have to blackmail his daughter’s nanny—a woman with the sexy curves of a Botticelli masterpiece—into being his fake fiancé. The gorgeous island of Capri inspires some major misbehaving. But even as the loan shark breathes down Alice’s neck and the paintings move closer to the art scene, Lorenzo drops one more bomb that will change everything.
Carmen Falcone learned at an early age that fantasizing about fictional characters beats doing math homework any day. Brazilian by birth and traveler by nature, she moved to Central Texas after college and met her broody Swiss husband—living proof that opposites attract. She found in writing her passion and the best excuse to avoid the healthy lifestyle everyone keeps bragging about. When she’s not lost in the word of romance, she enjoys spending time with her two kids, being walked by her three crazy pugs, reading, catching up with friends, and chatting with random people in the checkout line.
American music mogul Teddy Wilson combines the beauty of opera with the marketability of pop and creates the pop-opera multinational singing group called “Bel Homme.” French for “Beautiful Man,” the four performers he chooses are much more than that. Gabriel Grenier is already a huge celebrity in his native France, but even at the height of his career, he’s bored and lonely and still wants more, so he accepts Teddy’s offer, hoping it will become his redemption. American music teacher Annie Morgan is brought into this venture by her Aunt Harriet, who’s Teddy’s executive assistant. Annie becomes Teddy’s special emissary in this new undertaking—but she’s not prepared for her instant attraction to the charismatic Gabriel. And he’s blindsided by the life-altering effect of Annie’s very first smile. It doesn’t matter, anyway, because Teddy wants nothing personal mucking up this gig, and he forbids the two to get involved. Gabriel has never had to answer to anyone, and he’s not sure he wants to start now. Annie is still mourning her deceased husband’s memory, and she’s not sure of anything. What happens when beautiful music meets predestined love? Seduction always wins.
Cloaked in darkness, Gabriel thought he was dreaming when she floated past him like a sweet phantom: filaments of timorous light. He didn’t make a sound because he didn’t want to lose this, whatever it was. Stopping at the keyboard, she played seven notes that made him smile: Mary Had A Little Lamb. Why, it was Little Bo Peep, he thought, charmed right out of his trance.
His parents had been very progressive people. They’d wanted him to learn many different cultures and languages, so he’d been tutored in English since he’d been quite young. Childhood memories bombarded him as he remembered one of his favorite nannies, an American woman who used to sing this song to him.
Something awakened inside him then. It felt like happiness.
When she moved toward the window, moonlight caught her just so, and Gabriel lusted. He stopped his groan before it hit the air, but his groin had a mind of its own. He hardened, the urge to thrust nearly overpowering as she crawled up onto the pillowed seat. She opened a locket hanging around her neck and sighed. Then she closed it and let it drop back to her chest, wrapped her arms around her knees, and sighed again.
He started at the sound of her voice.
“What lovely music I heard coming from up here tonight—but it made me cry in my sleep. The music was crying, too.”
Dieu, he wondered, was she talking to him?
“A beautiful man whose melodies weep. How can someone like him be lonely? But I felt his pain all the way to my bed, and I wanted to take him inside me and kiss him until it went away.” She covered her face with her hands. “I can’t believe it’s you I’m telling this to.”
Gabriel asked himself again. Who in the world was she talking to?
She knelt and placed her hand on the window. “I was so lucky to be married to you, Stephen, but I need you to help me say my real last goodbye. Do it for me from your side of Heaven. Push me away, because I’m too weak to do it alone. Please let me go.”
Cindy Irish writes Contemporary, Paranormal, and Speculative romance fiction. She’s a member of The Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America, as well as the Mid-Michigan and Greater Detroit RWA chapters. Cindy lives in Michigan with her family.
Theresa Drazen can have plenty of guys, but the one she can’t keep away from….the one she’s just about addicted to, is more than forbidden. With felony-black eyes and a mouth built for lies, loving him is one step away from illegal.
But her body keeps overriding her brain. Maybe it’s time to stop playing by the rules. Antonio is obsessed. Theresa’s the last woman he should touch. She’s going to get him killed. She’s dangerous. Poison. The wrong woman.
Except…she’s perfect. And they both figure…one more time. Just one more time. One more time and they won’t get caught.
One more time and they won’t get killed. One. More. Time…….
CD Reiss is a USA Today and Amazon bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up, she’s at the well, hauling buckets. Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere, but it did embed TV story structure in her head well enough for her to take a big risk on a TV series structured erotic series called Songs of Submission. It’s about a kinky billionaire hung up on his ex-wife, an ingenue singer with a wisecracking mouth; art, music and sin in the city of Los Angeles. Critics have dubbed the books “poetic,” “literary,” and “hauntingly atmospheric,” which is flattering enough for her to put it in a bio, but embarrassing enough for her not to tell her husband, or he might think she’s some sort of braggart who’s too good to give the toilets a once-over every couple of weeks or chop a cord of wood. If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.
My life is a secret. His life is dangerous. We’re both stubborn, calculating, and controlling. Mark Dixon doesn’t know what he’s getting into. He doesn’t know his games could cost us our lives. I have to do what is necessary to keep us alive, and that means guarding my heart. But I know I’m defenseless against him, and in the end, he’ll force me to surrender.
I look around because the hair on the back of my neck prickles. “We need to get out of here.” Someone is here, watching, listening, and now it’s time to do what I do best. “I’ve missed you.” I smile while I use the tip of my finger to trace his jawline.
Mark’s eyes shift over my head as he pulls me flush against his body. We’re both facing exits. “I’ve missed you more,” he plays along.
This might just work. He’s on alert as well and senses something awry. His fingers splay across my lower back as he holds me close. “Maybe we should head back to my place so you can show me just how much.” I glance over his shoulder. His blonde hair falls in his eyes as he dips his head into my neck. I know the move, but a shiver runs down my spine.
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” I release a very low moan, which I didn’t give permission to escape. Mark’s lips glide across my skin.
I’m not sure he’s acting.
I’m not even sure that I am.
Then Mark reminds me this is serious. “There are two guys behind you.” His voice is low enough that only I can hear him. To anyone passing, we’re two lovers reacquainting ourselves. “One at my two o’clock, and the other is out of my view.”
“One just passed behind you twice. I think going toward my exit is best.” I snuggle closer. “I’m ready when you are.” The double meaning is meant for anyone to hear, but Mark should know it means I’m ready to disappear. “You’ll have to keep up, though.”
He leans back while cupping my face. His lips hover over mine. “I don’t have any problems keeping you satisfied, princess.”
My pulse spikes. I know he can hear it, feel it, see in my eyes that I’m affected. My breaths are shallow as his hands slowly make their way down my arms.
“Arrogant prick,” I mutter.
I can tell he’d be an incredible lover. His overconfidence would only play to my benefit. We’re both cut from the same cloth, ready to fight for dominance. He’d win, though. I can see it in his eyes. There would be no battle, Mark has already won. Right now, he controls me. He determines whether we kiss, what it’ll be like, and for the first time in my life—I surrender.
His lips come closer. “They’re closing in,” he whispers, his eyes locked on me. “Charlie?” he asks.
“What?” My voice is barely audible.
“This will happen again when we don’t have to fight off people, and then you’ll be mine.”
I don’t have time to reply. His lips crash down on mine as he spins me around so he leads our exit. The second our mouths collide, my brain disconnects. My fingers tangle in his hair, grabbing it to pull him close. Mark’s hands hold my face to his and he continues to guide me. I know we’re moving but I have no idea to where. In this instant, I don’t care. Never has someone made me feel so desperate for them. I never lose control, never feel so lost, yet right now, I am. I’m raw, exposed, and completely vulnerable.
Corinne Michaels is an emotional, witty, sarcastic, and fun loving mom of two beautiful children. She’s happily married to the man of her dreams and is a former Navy wife. After spending months away from her husband while he was deployed, reading and writing was her escape from the loneliness. Both her maternal and paternal grandmothers were librarians, which only intensified her love of reading. After years of writing short stories, she couldn’t ignore the call to finish her debut novel, Beloved. Her alpha Navy SEALs are broken, beautiful, and will steal your heart.