Behind the Bars by Brittainy C. Cherry ~ Sarah A’s Review

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.

I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.

Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.

Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.

Caged.

Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.

When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, she was the darkest storm.

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It’s no secret I love books deeply emotional, make my soul weep, destroy me, and put me together books; Behind the Bars fit that bill wonderfully.  It included all the things I love most when I’m reading: horrific loss, destructive coping methods, dubious characters using the main characters for their own gain, and ultimately the thing every reader wants, hope, healing, and happiness for the characters we’ve come to know and love.  Add to that a heavy musical theme and this hit almost every bullet-point I could list for a book wishlist.

Behind the Bars is the first book in what looks to be a promising start to a new series from Brittainy C. Cherry.  Based on the series title, Music Street, I can only assume that music will be the string that holds the series together – and that makes me eternally thankful, I don’t get enough books that hit on the musical parts of my soul.  Behind the Bars is written in dual first-person perspective by Jasmine and Elliot.

Music played such an important role in this book I would be remiss to not speak about it.  I know there are music people and non-music people, and Behind the Bars may not speak to non-music people the way it spoke to me.  Music is the language of my soul, I’ve been playing for most of my life, so I deeply connected with the characters and how they related to music and let it speak for them when words were not enough to convey the depth of their emotions.  When a musician doesn’t have that outlet, it causes an essential piece of who they are to become untethered, so it hurt my heart when the music of Elliot and Jasmine’s souls wasn’t available to them.

Jasmine and Elliot both suffered unimaginable heartbreak and loss, though it was served to them in vastly different ways and I’m not sure which was more painful.  The loss of a loved one, no matter what the circumstances, causes a shift in a person, one that can make them stronger or destroy them, occasionally the destruction comes as a prelude to the strength; both Jasmine and Elliot dredged through both outcomes before they found the way back to their happiness.

I could wax on about this book for ages; there were just so many things I absolutely loved about it.  So many things that spoke directly to my heart and soul; this is a book that I’m sure I’ll come back to time and again when I need to read something that moves me in a way few things are able.

Brittainy C. Cherry won me as a loyal reader with The Air He Breathes, and she just keeps showing me new reasons to keep her on my must-read list.  She writes from the depths of her soul, and you can feel each part of her heart she lays bare in her books.  I only hope she continues to give us, her readers, the privilege of looking into her soul and seeing the world in the way she views it.

By the way, what happened to Todd’s nose?” I asked.

“I broke it,” Elliott said matter-of-factly.

“What? How? Why?”

He shrugged before turning to look out the window. “He called you a bad name.”

“What was it?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Eli,” I started.

He turned my way and locked his hazel eyes with my browns. “Jazz…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t true.”

I swallowed hard, a big part of me certain Todd’s words held some form of truth.

Elliott saw it in me—my fear. He kept shaking his head and whispered, “I don’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you look at me like you think I feel sorry for you, and I want you to know I don’t. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”

I quietly laughed at him repeating the words I’d told him earlier. A few tears rolled down my cheeks. “I’m a little messed up.”

“I know.” He nodded. “That’s why I like you.”

He went back to staring out the window, and I kept staring at him.

And there it was.

So small, so tiny, so real.

Love.

It wasn’t love, but it was the beginning of it.

I knew I was young, and I knew it was stupid, but in that moment, I began to fall in love with the quiet boy who quietly cared for me. The boy who was scared and still strong. The boy who stood up for me when he was surrounded by reasons not to do such a thing. I hadn’t known much about love. I hadn’t known how it looked, felt, or tasted. I hadn’t known how it moved, how it flowed, but I knew my heart was tight and currently skipping a few beats. I understood the goose bumps covering my arms. I knew this stuttering boy who was sometimes so scared was someone worth loving. He was worth being the first one I gave my heart to.

I knew Elliott Adams was love.

And I was falling into him so fast.

Hi! I’m Brittainy! Join me as we travel through my mind as a Romance Author. This includes such things as my random thoughts, tricks, tips, things I’m learning, things I’m re-learning, things I’m forgetting, and my weird ways of crafting stories.

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Torrid Little Affair by Kendall Ryan ~ Sarah A’s Review

The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. And I have the perfect candidate all picked out.

My new assistant is tempting beyond belief with her curvy body and take-no-shit attitude. All those luscious curves, and a juicy ass I’m already in love with. God, the things that I would do to that ass…

But it’s the haunted look in her eyes that speaks to me. Like she’s taken just as much shit in her past as I have—maybe more. We both deserve a little fun.

Love can’t fix everything. Mind-blowing sex and a few killer orgasms, on the other hand?

I have a feeling those might do the trick.

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I was so looking forward to Cooper’s book.  He was so sweet and lovable in the first two books; I was desperate to see him get his happy ending.  I had such high hopes for his story and had built it up so much in my mind; the actual experience didn’t quite measure up to my imagination.  The story was still fantastic; it was my own preconceived notions that spoiled it for me.

Torrid Little Affair is the third book in Kendall Ryan’s Forbidden Desires series.  It is the only book, thus far, that can be read as a standalone, but Cooper is a major player in the first two books so reading them would be beneficial to understanding the place he’s in when this book begins.  Torrid Little Affair is told in dual first person – by Corinne & Cooper.

I was a little surprised by how quickly this story moved.  Ms. Ryan hit the ground running with Cooper’s story and kept up that fast pace until the end.  I particularly enjoyed how effortlessly Cooper and Corinne’s arrangement evolved into something they both needed but didn’t think they were ready for in any way.  The way they were able to open up to one another and trust each other with most of the broken parts of themselves was lovely, as it seemed like they both needed someone to be wholly invested in them with no expectations.

The only wish I have for Torrid Little Affair is that it had delved farther into Corinne’s past and rehashed Cooper’s a little more for the readers who hadn’t read the first books and for those of us who maybe didn’t have total recall of all he’d been through.  I felt as if there was a significant build-up to a few major events that had colored Corinne’s timidity and fears, but the traumas she’d experienced didn’t seem to mesh with what was hinted at.

I’m in love with this world Kendall Ryan has constructed in her Forbidden Desires series.  All of the brothers captivate me, and I can’t wait to find out more about them.  While Cooper’s story didn’t hit me as hard as Gavin’s did, I still loved getting to see him find happiness and his own true love.  I can’t wait for Quinn’s story; he’s been a bit of an outlier in the first three books and that air of mystery that surrounds him has me fully intrigued.

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET
Forbidden Desires Book 1

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DIRTY LITTLE PROMISE
Forbidden Desires book 2

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TORRID LITTLE AFFAIR
Forbidden Desires book 3

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TEMPTING LITTLE TEASE
Forbidden Desires book
 4
RELEASE DATE: March 19, 2018

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NAUGHTY LITTLE SCANDAL
Forbidden Desires book
 5
RELEASE DATE: May 2018

iBooks

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen titles, Kendall Ryan has sold over 1.5 million books and her books have been translated into several languages in countries around the world. She’s a traditionally published author with Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins UK, as well as an independently published author. Since she first began self-publishing in 2012, she’s appeared at #1 on Barnes & Noble and iBooks charts around the world. Her books have also appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than three dozen times. Ryan has been featured in such publications as USA Today, Newsweek, and InTouch Magazine.

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Ford by Samantha Chase ~ Sarah A’s Review

There are three things Ford Garrison wants more than anything: to build, to report to no one, and the chance to live his life without the prying eyes of the good folks of Eagle’s Ridge. Having spent ten years in the Navy as part of their construction battalion, he was able to live out most of that dream. Two out three wasn’t bad, right? Now that he’s out of the service, things aren’t falling into place quite as easily as he hoped and he ends up back home with all eyes on him.

It wasn’t as if Callie had gone out of her way to end up in Ford’s path, but somehow that happened all on its own and the town gossips were having a field day! Could she help it that she was living in the house Ford had hoped to claim as his own or that the work on his grandmother’s ranch meant they were living not fifty-feet away from each other?

Ford was determined to come home, do a job to help his grandmother and leave. Callie James is a distraction and she represents everything he has spent years running away from. Now he’s at odds with his friends, his family and himself about where his home and future are going to be.

Could he walk away from Eagle’s Ridge a second time?

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Super bummed that this is how the series ended. I was hoping for something more intense, and this just didn’t deliver the impactful ending I was hoping for. Ford was not a bad book, it was sweet and light, and Callie and Ford were endearing, it was just too light for me. This series has been up and down for me, and I was hoping the final book would be a high, so that expectation certainly influenced my rating.

Ford is the seventh and final book in the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series. Each book can be read as a standalone, but there are recurring characters, and the stories build on one another, so I would highly suggest reading the series in its entirety, in order. Ford, like all the books in this series, is told in dual third person POV, by Ford and Callie.

Ford was an interesting, frustrating character. He was so stuck on this idea of what he wanted to achieve, of what moving back to the town he was born in would be like, of how stifled he was by the opportunities afforded him by his family’s legacy, he never appreciated all the things he had going for him. Nor did he ever stop to consider the things he wanted from life had evolved from what they’d been when he was barely an adult. Witnessing his slow realization that e wasn’t the same and his needs and wants weren’t the same, was interesting – he fought was his heart and soul knew at every turn.

Callie fell a little flat for me. She didn’t have much of a growth arc and other than being one of the catalysts for Ford’s awakening (and obviously his love interest) she didn’t add much – regarding her own story line – to the book. I always hope for a strong female lead, and she just didn’t quite stand up to the challenge, she spends little time on page where she isn’t completely focused on Ford, and I hoped for more from her.

I wish that Callie had been a more dynamic character. I felt like the only parts of her we got to know where the pieces that would affect Ford and I’m sure there was so much more to her than that. I also would have loved to have seen a little more conflict in the climax; there was so much foreshadowing as to what did happen I felt like it was lackluster.

Samantha Chase is a new to me author. While I wasn’t deeply impressed with the story of Ford, the writing was good. If the cover copy of another book of hers were to pique my curiosity, I would give her another go to make a more well-informed opinion of her as an author.

“What are you working on out here? More wreaths?”

With a soft laugh, she pulled back and stepped out of his arms. “I am. Doing something like this is normally very soothing for me. When I got home, I came right out here rather than going into the cottage.”

“And did it help?”

Callie shook her head. “Unfortunately, it was so quiet out here, and I’ve already made four of these wreaths so I didn’t even have to think about what I was doing.”

“So your mind immediately went to your mom.”

She nodded. “Exactly.”

Stepping around her, Ford examined the wreath. It looked exactly like the one she had given him for his grandmother’s front door, but now he took the time to look at the details. It seemed so simple at first glance, but when he realized how much time went into weaving the lights and how tedious that could be, he was more than a little impressed. The vine was fragile, and he knew he’d more than likely crush some of it if he tried to do it himself.

Unable to help himself, he reached for one of Callie’s hands and studied it. It was small and delicate. Her fingers were slim and smooth. No wonder she could do work like this. He looked at her face and saw her studying him, her expression serious.

And Callie rarely looked serious or intense. Her features were always relaxed or smiling. This was…different.

He brought her hand to his lips and kissed her palm. “I was just noticing how intricate this work is,” he said gruffly. “I’m a little in awe of what you do.”

“Me? But…what you do is so much more—”

Ford placed a finger over her lips and shook his head. “I’m in awe of you,” he repeated, and slowly pulled her in close again.

Callie’s lips parted on a soft gasp as her eyes met his. And those beautiful eyes seemed to have a million questions in them, and Ford only had one answer.

He kissed her.

Slowly. Sweetly. He savored her as she melted against him. She hummed as her arms wrapped around him and in that instant, Ford knew what he had to do.

He lifted his head and looked down at her. Her lips were wet and her cheeks were flushed and she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. So many nights over the last week they’d been like this, and right now, Ford knew he wanted more.

“Come home with me, Callie,” he murmured against her lips before resting his forehead against hers.

“Yes.”

Never had a single word sounded sweeter.

Ryder (#1) – Barbara Freethy
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Adam (#2) – Roxanne St. Claire
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Zane (#3) – Christie Ridgway
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Wyatt (#4) – Lynn Raye Harris
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Jack (#5) – Julia London
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Noah (#6) – Cristin Harber
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Ford (#7) – Samantha Chase
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Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.

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NOW AVAILABLE!! Wanted Kindle World by Kelly Elliot & Guests ~ Adored by Georgia Cates: Sarah A’s Review

Mason is a place where love can be found in every pasture and small-town hopes meet big city dreams. A world filled with love, angst, and plenty of chances to find your soulmate. So whether you’re a cowboy dedicated to your family’s ranch or a young woman from the city looking to start a new life, happiness can be found in Kelly Elliott’s Wanted Kindle World. Come take a stroll and get lost in this charming Texas hill country town.

 

WANTED WORLD READER GROUP: https://www.facebook.com/groups/310622329412788/

 

ADORED by Georgia Cates

My name is Judd Mathews and I have it all: money, good looks, success. Fans buy my music and scream my name. My life is a charmed one… until my world is turned onto its head by a girl. Scarlett Mathews.

A baby girl.

My newborn daughter.

Her mother is gone, and she has no one in this world but me. This delicate little girl couldn’t have been born to a more unsuitable father… until Leighton Mitchell opens my eyes and makes me see things differently.

Leighton is not my typical kind of woman. She does not get drunk on whiskey or chase country music stars for a chance at a one-night stand on a tour bus. She’s nurturing, wholesome, respectable… and easily the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. She loves my daughter. Adores her. And that makes it very easy to see that she belongs in Scarlett’s life. And mine.

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GAH! I want so much more of this book!  Adored was phenomenal, particularly when you consider it’s a novella and all of those feelings it provoked were done in such a short time.  Judd and Leighton were wonderful, and baby Scarlett made my heart burst with love and affection.

Adored is a novella set in Kelly Elliot’s Wanted (Kindle) world.  It absolutely stands on its own; you do not need to have read the other books in the world to understand this one.  I’m sure having that knowledge would have given a little insight into some of the characters mentioned in the book, but not having that knowledge didn’t take anything away from the experience to me, as the whole book revolved around Leighton, Judd, and Scarlett.

While this book was short, it packed an emotional punch.  From the first page, when Ms. Cates shattered my mommy heart with her description of poor sick baby Scarlett in the NICU to the final pages full of hope and love, every word in the entire book was carefully chosen and arranged to elicit deep and powerful emotions from the reader.

I loved Judd, I loved Leighton, I loved Scarlett, I just loved this entire novella.  Leighton’s past destroyed my heart, she’d been through so much and carried on with such grace I admired her strength.  I felt like there was so much more of Judd under the surface that we weren’t able to explore, because of the brevity of the book, that I’m sure would have made his desire and care for Leighton – and Scarlett – even more poignant.

My only wish for this book is that it was longer, at least a full-length novel.  I loved the brief time we spent with Leighton, Judd, and Scarlett and wish we’d been able to have more of them.  I’m not saying the story wasn’t complete because it was, I just wish we could have had more story.  I want more of these characters!

Georgia Cates knows how to construct a story for maximum emotional impact.  Her writing always leaves me reeling – in the best way.  I continually return to her books because I know she’ll deliver a wonderful romance while still putting my heart through the proverbial wringer.

 

BLURRED LINES by Nazarea Andrews

When Ethan is called home for an unexpected wedding, all he can think about is the well-meaning women in his life trying to set him up with someone that will entice him to move back Texas. Settle down and get married and live a nice quiet life.

Which is why he ends up asking Spencer, his best friend and roommate, to go as his date. Never mind that they aren’t dating, that Spence is definitely not interested in dating—his sisters have heard enough about him over the years that they might buy it.

A week at home, pretending to date a guy he’s been in love with for three years? What could possibly go wrong?

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MERCY by Andrea Johnston

At eighteen years old, Mercy Warner packed up her little hatchback and set out for bigger and better things. Determined to put small town life behind her, Mercy had dreams –  big cities and bright lights were her destiny.

Four years later, Mercy finds herself drawn to the small town of Mason, Texas. With strangers who embrace her like family and a local cowboy with dimples offering her happiness, it’s hard to resist what the town has to offer.

Will her dreams of living life under the bright lights of a big city overshadow the small-town life under the stars she’s drawn to?

Only Mercy has the answer.

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FOUND by Kristin Mayer

I thought I knew him.

I didn’t.

One night he was in my bed; the next, gone like a ghost. But the memories of us together were branded on my soul.

Now he stands before me, a stranger with a different name.

The worse part is I still want him.

One thing is for certain: He isn’t stopping until he gets what he wants—me.

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portrait of cute young couple hugging outdoors

City Girl’s Cowboy by Kahlen Aymes

He might desire her, but he’ll be damned if he’ll ever let her hurt him again.

Thea Andreas left behind her cowboy boots, the dusty trails of Texas, and first love, River King for the bright lights and big city dreams of the Big Apple and a big-time modeling career.

When Thea inherits part of her great Uncle Leonard’s sprawling ranch, she goes back to settle the estate, but gets more than she bargained for when the majority owner refuses to buy her out, and no one else will either. See, the locals know the story, and their loyalty is clear.

River is cockier and sexier than ever and it’s not easy to resist when he makes it clear he’d be more than happy to oblige her with a roll in the hay, for old time’s sake. He’s the catch of the county and every single woman within a hundred miles wants him, rousing old feelings of jealousy and pain. What’s worse, River seems to revel in making her suffer.

The beauty of the ranch where she grew up and and hauntingly intense memories of their first love might convince her to stay, but even if she wanted to give up her career and move back to Texas, it won’t matter if River can’t forgive her for chasing her dream.

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Beyond the Lights By Casey Peeler

She’d do anything for her best friend.

Hollywood makeup artist, Addie Mae Turner will never forget where she came from.  And when her childhood friend is having her first baby, Addie runs back town to throw the most memorable baby shower to date.  Getting her friend’s older brother to help is just icing on the cake.

He’s not impressed with her glitz and glory.

Sawyer Jackson is small town—and that’s exactly how he likes it.  As the high school football coach, he has one thing on his mind: winning.  But when Addie Mae waltzes back in town, he refuses to get lost in her money and beauty.

Together, there’s more than meets the eye.

Teaming up to plan the event, Sawyer and Addie discover more than diapers and bottles. Addie might just be using her career to hide who she really is. Can the high school coach show her that behind the facade is where the really beauty lies?

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Church Bells by Jennifer Rebecca

Tanner Savage is a Texas Ranger with a strong sense of right and wrong and a love of country and duty with no room for shades of gray. The battle hardened former Marine lives to protect his hometown, Mason, Texas and the people who live and love there.

Abigail Williams did a bad, bad thing. Trapped in a dangerous situation with no end in sight, Abigail made a difficult choice and now she is living with the consequences, and those consequences are a life on the run—a new name in a new town.

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Another Round of Whiskey by S. Moose

 

At first sight.

At first taste.

 

I never thought Whiskey would become my addiction. We melted together as one. He was my world. I was his everything. Our love was consuming. Every time we touched, we ignited.

One dream.

One choice.

Seven years later, I’m back home and the beautiful man standing before me still has the power to set my body on fire. The desire is overpowering. But the pain of the past keeps him away.

When he leaves me standing in the middle of the bar, I sit on his stool and come up with some sort of plan. Anything that’ll bring back the piece of my heart I left behind. So, when the bartender asks what I’m having, I let him know..

Another round of Whiskey.

What happens when the law man finds himself attracted to the woman on the run?

Have you visited Mason yet?

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MY UNEXPECTED COWBOY by Kenzie Rose

He’s a playboy, working his way to the top at a local recording studio. When a free recording session is the prize for one lucky lady, he knows her voice is the one to seal his fate at the studio.

She’s a country girl, having fun with her sister in Nashville, but has no plans to stay. She misses the Hill Country of Texas, and her horses. After recording her CD, she heads home and never looks back, even though the man behind the glass caused her heart to flutter as she sang.

Determined to find the girl with the perfect voice, Jeremy heads to Texas to try to convince her that she’s the next big thing. But when he sees her in her own world, as more than just a pretty face and a beautiful voice, he realizes that maybe his life in the big city isn’t what he really wants. Maybe the Hills of Texas and in the arms of sweet Kennedy is where he truly belongs.

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EVERYTHING I NEED by Ellie Wade

Leni Turner

I learned very young that love has the power to destroy us, and so I’ve stayed clear, vowing to never lose myself to love another. I escaped Texas and broke free from the life that tried to destroy me. Yet here I am, five years later, my dreams shattered, on a bus back to the place I never wanted to be.

Liam Moore

I spend my days on the ranch, doing what I love, in my favorite place on Earth. After years without contact, I’m startled to find her green eyes staring back at me, making me realize how much I’ve missed her. She doesn’t want me in her life, and yet now that she’s back, I don’t know how I’ll make it without her in mine.

Sometimes, everything you need is right where you left it. It’s finding the strength to embrace it that’s the hard part.

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Kelly Elliott is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling contemporary romance author. Since finishing her bestselling Wanted series, Kelly continues to spread her wings while remaining true to her roots and giving readers stories rich with hot protective men, strong women and beautiful surroundings.

Her bestselling works include, Wanted, Broken, Without You, and Unconditional Love, to name just a few.

Kelly has been passionate about writing since she was fifteen. After years of filling journals with stories, she finally followed her dream and published her first novel, Wanted, in November of 2012.

Kelly lives in central Texas with her husband, daughter, and two pups. When she’s not writing, Kelly enjoys reading and spending time with her family. She is down to earth and very in touch with her readers, both on social media and at signings.

To find out more about Kelly and her books, you can find her through her website.

www.kellyelliottauthor.com

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ABOUT WANTED

18-year-old Ellie Johnson always believed she would never be loved or wanted by anyone. She focused all of her attention on her grades and getting into the University of Texas to start a new life away from her mother.

The last thing Ellie expected was to fall in love with Gunner Mathews, a starting linebacker for the University of Texas football team and not to mention, her brother’s best friend.

Gunner only has two passions in life, football and his grandfather’s ranch, until he falls for his best friends little sister. He will stop at nothing to show Ellie how much he wants her, even if it means he has to move faster than she would like.

Gunner knows they are meant to be together forever, but Ellie keeps denying her feelings out of fear of being hurt again. Every time he gets close to winning her love, something pushes her away again. Will Ellie ever be able to let go of the past and let him into her heart, and will Gunner be patient enough to wait for her?

This is a new release of an edition originally published by K. Elliott Enterprises, INC.

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Noah by Cristin Harber ~ Sarah A’s Review

Navy SEAL Noah Coleman knows how to do two things well: underwater demolition and hand-to-hand combat. So renewing his enlistment is a no-brainer until he receives a message about his cousin’s aggressive terminal cancer. A quick trip home confirms the worst, which means his niece Bella will become his responsibility.

Elementary school guidance counselor Teagan Shaw has known Bella since her son announced the two were best friends. The shy little girl is also on Teagan’s radar because of Bella’s early signs of gifted aptitude. But Teagan is more concerned about the military man thrust into the role of single parent.

While Noah adjusts to civilian life and Eagle’s Ridge, he and Teagan begin forging a friendship. But Teagan has a secret, a shadowy figure from her past who is intent on returning to torment her.

Fall in love with seven sexy and irresistible soldiers who find their courage and heart tested like never before in the battle for love! This multi-author collaborative series of contemporary romance novels is brought to you by bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase. You won’t want to miss a single one!

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Noah didn’t quite have the heaviness I was expecting, considering what Noah had been through, but it was still a wonderful, moving story.  It had a touch of suspense and was poignantly sweet.  The addition of the children, Bella and Will, made it that much more special.

Noah is the sixth book in the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series, each book from a different author.  They are all interconnected standalones, each one building on the world of the previous books.  They can all be read without having read any of the others, but I would highly suggest reading all of them, in order, to get the full experience and history of Eagle Ridge.  There are also mentions of things that have happened in other books Noah, so it makes those situations more easily understandable.

I’ve been looking forward to Noah’s story since we first saw him with Bella in Zane.  His story seems so sad, his loss so difficult, his new responsibility so great, I hoped his story would be equal parts devastating and healing.  While we did get a little of the healing, most of the devastation happened off page.  I’m surprisingly okay with it, because Noah’s love and concern for his niece, Bella, completely engulfed my heart.  For a man who was admittedly scared and unprepared for raising a child, he was an amazing guardian. I think we can all admit there is something about a big, military man tending to the needs of a bright, beautiful little girl – especially one who has just lost her mom – that melts the hardest of hearts.

Teagan added an interesting layer to Noah’s story.  Her job as a school counselor gave her unique perspective into helping Noah and Bella deal with their loss and transition into their new life together.  Add to that her son and his relationship with Bella, and it made for a delicate and significant dynamic the four of them had to figure out.  Teagan past also added to the precarious balancing act they were performing, in a way no one had expected.

The only thing I wish for Noah is that it had included more of Lainey, Noah’s cousin, and Bella’s mom.  I would have loved to see her with both Noah and Bella.  She was such a significant person in both of their lives; I think that the addition of some flashbacks with her or adding a few chapters between the prologue and chapter one would have given this the emotional punch I’d originally hoped for.

Cristin Harber delivered a sweet, somewhat emotional layer to the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series.  She did a great job of making me love a story about a war veteran that isn’t in keeping with the things I usually love about those kinds of books.  With only one more book in this series, I hope Ford is able to send the world of Eagle Ridge out with a bang.

Noah drew in a slow breath, searching for the right words. But they didn’t come. Who knew what those were supposed to be when they’d gone through the heartache that had pitched them together.

“Teagan.” He pressed them forward until her back met the cedar wood wall. “I have no idea what I’m doing.”

Her chin tilted up, her lips parting with tiny breaths he wanted to capture with a kiss.

“And that’s foreign to me.” He towered over her, but he gave her enough space that she could roll away, plenty of room so he could take in more than just her face. But she smelled like flowers. Not sweet but strong and wild. Noah ducked his cheek to hers, brushing his lips close to her ear.

Her palms smoothed the front of his Henley. Not pushing away, not grabbing for more.

Together they were back at the same line as in the kitchen earlier. The one they’d both eased away from. But this time they toed the line, savoring and wondering, testing whether the Do Not Cross was a figment of their imagination, a simple cautionary tale that they’d concocted for no good reason, or if hormones and arousal were calling the shots.

Teagan slid her cheek against his mouth, and he stifled a groan.

“Neither do I,” she whispered. “No clue.”

He chuckled quietly, leaning his weight against her. “It’d be easier if one of us knew.”

Pressed between them, her fingernails scratched down his stomach, and he nuzzled his nose against her neck, breathing against her skin and memorizing how she smelled. Teagan’s soft murmurs made the hairs on the back of his neck stand, and he let his lips drift to her cheek.

“I’m going to kiss you on one condition,” he whispered.

“What’s that?” Teagan’s breathlessness made his heart pound harder.

He let the rush roll through him then teased her lips with his, not making contact, keeping them a breath apart. “That neither of us will be sorry.”

“Promise.” Teagan’s fingers tightened against his chest. “I won’t be.”

Ryder (#1) – Barbara Freethy
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Adam (#2) – Roxanne St. Claire
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Zane (#3) – Christie Ridgway
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Wyatt (#4) – Lynn Raye Harris
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Jack (#5) – Julia London
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Noah (#6) – Cristin Harber
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Ford (#7) – Samantha Chase
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Cristin Harber is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author. She writes sexy, steamy romantic suspense and military romance. Readers voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was both a #1 romantic suspense and #1 military romance bestseller.

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GIVEAWAY!! The Sounds of Secrets by Whitney Barbetti ~ Sarah A’s Review

I’ve been in love with him forever.

But to him, I’ve always been off-limits. Until the night that changed everything.

Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the secrets we shared. Maybe he finally opened his eyes and saw me.

By the time the sun rose, I’d lost him again, my heart shattering on his parting words: “It was a mistake.” So I ran. Ran until I was thousands of miles away, in a country I didn’t know, surrounded by people who only made me miss him more.

I never expected him to follow me … or to pry more secrets from my soul. In exchange, he gave me more of his secrets too.

How was I to know it was the secrets we didn’t share, the words we didn’t dare utter, that would tear us apart?

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When I first started reading this book, the story felt so familiar I went through the books I’d read this year to see if I’d read something similar, it turned out I was just remembering Lotte’s storyline in the book this is a spin-off of.  I’d mentioned in my review of that book I found the secondary characters more compelling than the primaries, so I was excited to read this book.

The Sounds of Secrets isn’t technically part of a series, but there is a book in this same world that includes the characters of this book, The Weight of Life.  If you’re thinking of reading both, I’d strongly suggest reading Weight first, as the timeline is before this one and you get a glimpse of what Lotte had gone through to get to the point she is in this book.  Most of that story is recapped in The Sounds of Secrets, but her story was so powerful in the first book it’s worth reading just for it.

While I love the story that was included in this book, I felt like Lotte and Samson’s real story was just beginning as the story ended.  There were a few secondary characters whose storylines that seems as if they’d be important but were never seen after the initial build-up of the conflict they’d likely cause was established.  I also felt like the most important part of Lotte and Samson’s lives, perhaps the biggest struggles they’d ever face, were just about to happen and we’re left to wonder if they each made it through.  I can only hope that we are able to revisit them later in their life, either with a follow-up book of their own or in a book set in their world, so we can see if they triumphed over their demons or not.

For people who just love the love story, the romance, the fluff, this story is wonderful.  It’s angsty, and they have fantastic chemistry.  Lotte and Samson are able to find something in each other they don’t have with anyone else.  It was blatantly obvious they were two people whose souls were made for one another.  For people like me, who want to see the people they’re reading about be whole and happy and healed, it just lacked that element.  Sure, we knew they were taking steps to begin the process, but none of the actual process and that’s the part that feeds my soul.  I struggle to rate this book for precisely that reason; ultimately, however, it’s based on my wants and desires in a book, and it just didn’t quite give me the satisfaction I would have liked.

I was going to throw up from the nerves.
No, I told myself. No throwing up. Not when you’re expecting Sam to come into your room any second. 
But the feeling was so strong. I popped a mint from my bedside table in my mouth, rolled it around my tongue a few times, but the urge was still there.
Oh, shit. Was this a mistake? Was inviting Sam into my room a big fat problem? I was leaving for America tomorrow.
The printed itinerary, neatly stacked on my chest of drawers laughed at me. What was I going to do? I couldn’t let Sam come up here.
My hands fisted in my hair as I berated myself for telling him to come. What was I thinking? I wasn’t some sexual nymph, skilled in the way Sam surely was. I wasn’t a virgin, but I hadn’t actually messed around with a bunch of guys.
I didn’t know what to do.
I walked to the door, pressed my palm flat to it. I’d lock it. Then he couldn’t come in. He’d walk away, and we’d forget this ever happened.
Look how well that happened the last time you kissed him, my memory taunted me. Three years later, and you’re still wondering ‘what if.’
There was no reasonable escape from this situation. And, if there was, there was no escape that would make me not obsess over the ‘what if.’
It’d be okay, I told myself. Of course it would. Sex was nothing, right?
But I didn’t even believe my own thoughts. My nerves battled with my own desire. I couldn’t process a single thing.
I ran my fingers over my eyebrows or, what was left of them that wasn’t colored in, at least. I’d pulled so many out in the days leading up to the trip, needing some control over this impending trip.
I trailed my fingers to the sides of my face, tugging on my earlobes to ground me, and then, in tandem, I pulled out a hair with each hand. The immediate relief was nearly as intoxicating as the alcohol I’d consume in how it numbed my fears.
It would be okay.
I took in a cleansing breath, looking around my room for anything potentially embarrassing.
The blinds were open, so I closed them, leaving my room in soft, muted grays aside from the yellow lamp that lit up my dressing table.
My hand was on the back of the lamp to turn it off when my door creaked open.
Sam stood in the threshold, nearly taking up the entire space.
I switched the light off.
It was only a few loud heartbeats before he said, “Turn it back on.”
I hesitated.
I couldn’t see him, but I heard the creak on the floor by the door. “Turn it on, Lotte.”
Swallowing hard, I did.
The room was illuminated again in soft light, casting shadows into the angles of Sam’s face—making him look exactly as he was: dangerous.


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I am a wife to one and a mom to two humans and one cat. I have a deep and abiding love for nachos – especially the kind with the liquid cheese, like from Taco Bell (sorry). I run on less than four hours of sleep thanks to copious amounts of Diet Coke. (Note: this paragraph is not sponsored by anyone except my hungry stomach.)

As a Navy brat, I grew up all over the country, from California and up the east coast from Florida to New England and Colorado. I currently live in Idaho, where we have lots of potatoes and windmills.

I write character-driven contemporary romance novels, heavy on the emotional connection. I LOVE love. I love writing about broken characters who find their soul mates.

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GIVEAWAY!! Scarred by Willow Winters ~ Sarah A’s Review

She made me a better man, but I still wasn’t good enough to keep her.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, with sleeve tattoos, ripped muscle and a cold-hearted stare, I am who I am.  The bad boy she knew to stay away from.
I knew we were never supposed to last.  But the way her lips tasted, the way her curves felt under my hands…  I couldn’t let go. I did everything I could to keep her.
I put on a ring on her finger and straightened out my life.  All for her.
I should’ve known better.
One mistake tore us apart and I don’t know what I can do to salvage what we once had.
I knew it wasn’t supposed to last, but if I could make her stay with me once…  I can do it again.
Watch me. I love my sweetheart; I’m not losing her again.

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I love this book.  I hated this book.  I was irritated by this book.  I was sad and happy and all of the things while reading this book.  If I were rating purely on the depth and breadth of feeling a book evoked this would easily be five stars, as it is, I consider many other factors in my review, so it doesn’t quite reach that height of perfection for me.

Scarred is the fourth book in Willow Winters’ Sins and Secrets series and the second book in Kat & Evan’s duet.  While reading the first book of the duet, Damaged, is vital to the understanding of this book, reading the first two books of the series, is not.  I haven’t read those books, but after seeing the characters from Imperfect and Unforgiven in these books, I will be adding them to my TBR.

I found both Kat and Evan to be highly infuriating in both books of this duet.  While I couldn’t imagine being in either of their shoes, it seemed as if they were going out of their way to disappoint one another.  For people who love angst for the sake of angst, I’m sure it would have been a profoundly satisfying book; I’m not one of those people, so it just made me angry, because it all seemed so unnecessary.  I have no doubt knowing more of their story before Damaged would have made their actions more understandable, but as the story was it just felt excessive.

I honestly can’t tell you if I loved Kat and Evan or if I hated them.  They were very complex characters, full of flaws and pain.  They were well written and sympathetic characters.  While I did find their actions maddening at times, it was part of what made them feel so real.  When stress is high, and emotions are on edge, people react in nonsensical ways, and that was demonstrated perfectly with both Kat and Evan.  Ms. Winters did an excellent job of writing characters that elicited intense reactions from her readers.

I wish the timeline of this book were more structured.  I had a hard time knowing how much time had passed, while it didn’t always make a huge difference, there were times when knowing whether things were happening simultaneously or days or weeks later would have made a huge difference.  Since a lot of Kat’s anger was based on the time Evan was taking to tend to his situation, knowing how much time was elapsing between scenes would have made her anger and his frustration more pertinent.

Willow Winters has been on my radar for a long time, but I hadn’t made the time to read her work.  I have a feeling that, had I been reading her books all this time rather than just admiring her from afar, she would easily be one of my top authors.  Her prose is highly evocative, while still intimately relatable.  She was able to wring out more emotions over the course of a relatively short novel than some authors can in epic tomes.  I was highly impressed with her writing, even as I was having mixed emotions about her characters, and that proves to me she is an author to keep on my must-read list.

Evan

Damn me for what I’ve done,
Hate me for the lie.
Let the web weave and thread,
But don’t let what we have die.

I know it in my blood,
She’s mine to keep and hold.
I’ll stop fighting only once,
When I’m dead and cold.

The piles of dirt are getting larger. The metal shovels pierce the frozen soil. The sound cuts through my bones, one and then another and another.
It’s been constant as I stand here, helpless. I’ve never been colder, the wind and bitter snow beseiging my body, but I still don’t move.
I can’t take my eyes from the two graves.
The shovels spill the dirt, the piles mounting as my eyes drift to the tombstones.
The first my father, a man who died before his time. A death of tragedy.
And then to my wife’s. My love’s. Gone before her time. No one believes me. He put her there. James killed her.
My eyes pop open wide when I hear Kat whisper, “It’s all your fault.”

I wake up breathless, my heart pounding and I swear I can feel Kat’s hot breath on my neck even though I’m alone. My eyes dart around the room as I slowly lift my body into a sitting position on the bed.
Just a terror. The same as last night.
I’m quick to grab the video monitor for the security system from the nightstand and flick the button on to bring it to life. I had it installed after the break-in.
It’s only when I see Kat in our bed, that my heart starts to calm, and my heated skin seems to succumb to the chill of reality.
She’s okay.
I close my eyes and when I open them, it’s an image of her rolling over in bed. To my side. My fingers brush the glass where she is. I’ll be there soon. I’ll be with her and it’ll all be over. I won’t let her down.

#1 Imperfect
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#2 Unforgiven
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#3 Damaged
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#4 Scarred
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#5 Vindictive – Releasing March 13, 2018
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#6 Vendetta – Releasing April 15, 2018
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#7 Depraved – Releasing July 12, 2018
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#8 Disgraced – Releasing August 14, 2018
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Willow Winters is so happy to be a USA Today, Wall Street Journal and #1 Contemporary Bestselling Romance Author. She likes her action hot and her bad boys hotter. She certainly doesn’t hold back on either one in her writing!

Willow started writing after having her little girl, Evie, December 2015. All during her pregnancy with Evie she continued to read and she only wanted to read romance. She was reading a book a day — sometimes two.

In January 2016 Willow was staying up late with Evie and just thinking of all these stories. They came to her constantly so she finally sat down and just started writing. She always wanted to do it so she figured, why not? Today Willow cannot be happier for making that decision!

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4 sets: Signed paperbacks of Imperfect & Unforgiven
4 sets: Signed paperbacks of Damaged & Scarred
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NOW AVAILABLE ~ Jack by Julia London ~ Sarah A’s Review


Fall in love with seven sexy and irresistible soldiers who find their courage and heart tested like never before in the battle for love! This multi-author collaborative series of contemporary romance novels is brought to you by bestselling authors Barbara Freethy, Roxanne St. Claire, Christie Ridgway, Lynn Raye Harris, Julia London, Cristin Harber and Samantha Chase. You won’t want to miss a single one!

Former Marine Jack Carter has left Afghanistan behind, but after a close encounter with a suicide bomber, he now battles a hidden enemy. Ashamed that he succumbs to heart-stopping panic attacks, he refuses to leave his house and makes excuses for failing to meet up with his best friends. He’s got the perfect set up—his job allows him to work from home, he hires out the dog walking and grocery shopping and he has subscribed to a meal delivery service that comes complete with a cook. Jack expected a lunch lady, but he gets Whitney. She’s bubbly, she’s way too chatty, and his dog loves her more than him. But he forgives her all of that because she’s sexy as hell and a bright spot in an otherwise lonely day.

Whitney Baldwin has been groomed to follow a long line of highly successful lawyers into an equally successful family law firm, but she’d rather bake a cake than read a tort. Her dream is to open her own patisserie. To say her father is disappointed in her career path is an understatement—if she can’t pull this off, she’ll have to head home with her tail between her legs. In a last bid to make her dream a reality Whitney accepts a job with Dinner Magic and lands an insanely handsome client in Jack Carter. His crazy good looks captivate her, but it’s something about his hyper-awareness of her combined with a vulnerability that is an irresistible recipe.

The smoldering attraction between Jack and Whitney quickly turns molten. But when he makes an important promise that he can’t keep, Whitney can’t fathom how this relationship is going to work. Will Jack ever be able to conquer his worst fears for true love?

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Jack is another bright spot in this series.  It’s a tough call between this and Wyatt for the top book in the series, to this point.  They were completely different, yet both held things I love when reading about veterans.  Where Wyatt held the suspense, Jack’s story leaned more toward the emotional fallout that war veterans often have to deal with.

Jack is book five of the Seven Brides for Seven Soldiers series.  It holds the fewest links to the other books in the series, therefore the easiest to read as a standalone.  There are a few cameos from the other soldiers, but nothing that gives away any part of the previous books.  Jack is told in dual POV, in third person limited.

Jack may be my favorite of all the soldiers whose stories have been told.  He had a great storyline in the work he was doing, one that I think sheds light on an all too common problem, and his character arc was fabulous.  He’d had so much trauma to deal with, and I loved that he was actively working on it, even if he struggled with genuinely having a reason to work through his fears in the beginning.  His growth from the man who couldn’t walk through his hometown to the man he was by the end of the book was tremendous, in every sense of the word.

Whitney, while vitally important to Jack’s character arc, didn’t have much of one herself.  I’m surprisingly okay with it because she did find her own strength, though most of her journey to finding herself was completed before Jack started.  Her strength was an integral part of Jack’s growth, and in helping him, she also found the final push she needed to the what was best for herself.  I was delighted to see how Whitney and Jack truly made each other better people.

My only wish for this book would be the first and final few pages be a little more in keeping with the rest of the story.  It seemed the author struggled a little with exactly how to start Jack’s story and where was an appropriate place to end it.  Unlike the other books in this series, I would have liked to have seen this book end a chapter earlier than it did, as the final chapter didn’t really add anything to the story but felt like a hasty addition to show the characters enjoying their HEA.

Julia London is obviously a skilled writer, with the exceptions previously stated, I was wholly engrossed in Jack and Whitney’s story.  She made me care deeply about the characters, their struggles, and the people they were fighting for. Given a chance to check out some of her contemporary romances, I’d give them a shot.

Ryder (#1) – Barbara Freethy
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Adam (#2) – Roxanne St. Claire
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Zane (#3) – Christie Ridgway
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Wyatt (#4) – Lynn Raye Harris
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Jack (#5) – Julia London
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Noah (#6) – Cristin Harber
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Ford (#7) – Samantha Chase
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Julia London is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the popular Secrets of Hadley Green series, the Cabot Sisters series and The Highland Grooms historical romance series. She also wrote the Pine River and the Lake Haven contemporary romance series. She is a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA Award for excellence in romantic fiction, and RT Bookclub award recipient for Best Historical Romance for Dangerous Gentleman. She lives in Austin, Texas.

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**GIVEAWAY** The Outpost by Devney Perry ~ Sarah A’s Review

The Outpost by Devney Perry is out now! Check out our blog tour post and be the first to read this sexy new romance from Devney—grab your copy today!

 Trapped in his tiny mountain cabin, she didn’t expect to fall for his big heart.

Exposing a prominent criminal family with an investigative news report didn’t exactly work out the way Sabrina had hoped. Instead of basking in the glory of her article’s success, she’s on the run from a powerful man who wants her dead. To stay safe, she’s forced to trade one bad situation for another. Stuck in the Montana wilderness, she’s secluded from anything resembling civilization or the modern-day world. The only good thing about her situation is the gorgeous mountain man assigned to protect her. Too bad he isn’t the slightest bit interested in a city girl like her.

Beau likes his life quiet and simple. Give him a peaceful day hiking in the woods with his dog, and he’s a happy man. He has no use for large crowds, noisy cities or dramatic women. So when a hotshot reporter rolls into town, dragging her big-time problems with her, he should have run for the hills. Instead, he volunteered to keep her safe. Bringing her into his world won’t be easy, but if he can convince her that Montana isn’t as terrifying as she believes, they might just be the perfect match.

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If it hadn’t been for the prologue drawing me into this story, I might have quit reading it. The first half of The Outpost seemed long, slow, and at time torturous. I didn’t connect with the characters and had to force myself to keep going because I was sure it would get better (and I wanted to know why she’d left ‘him’ if the months spent with him were so life-altering. I am glad I stuck it out, the last half of the book did redeem the first, although the rough start did affect my rating.

The Outpost is the Fourth in Devney Perry’s Jamison Valley series, although it can be read as a stand-alone. I haven’t read any of the books in the series, and I never felt lost in this book. There are a couple of characters I’d like to know more about, so I will likely pick up the previous books and read the series in its entirety, though. It is told in dual POV, Sabrina and Beau’s, but more of the book is told from Sabrina’s viewpoint than Beau’s

While I did feel empathetic toward Sabrina, I had a hard time connecting with her. It was definitely a ‘me’ thing, as I don’t think she was poorly written. It just seemed to me like a lot of who she was, in the beginning, was so superficial I think I wrote her off from that point forward. There were times she seemed too wrapped up in what her life used to look like to understand where her life was heading in the present. All in all, Sabrina was just a character I found difficult to relate to.

Beau was very much the opposite, and I desperately wish we would have had more scenes in his POV. He was such a quintessential ‘good guy’ and seemed to be a straight shooter; I think it would have been easier for me to connect with the book if I were in his head more often.

The Outpost did keep me on my toes for a good portion of the novel. There was a constant looming threat in the background and other moments of suspense thrown in to keep things interesting. Most of the on page happened in the final half of the book which helped me to enjoy the overall experience. I loved the glimpse of the other couples and tertiary characters; those scenes made me feel like I need to go back and read their stories too.

My wish for this book is just that the beginning of the book be more attention-grabbing. It started with a few big bangs and then fizzled for several chapters, that huge change in pace – while important for the character – was not great for the pacing of the novel. I also would have liked Sabrina to have been a more sympathetic character. While I did feel sympathy for her situation, I didn’t feel it for her as a whole.

Devney Perry is a new to me author. I’ve had several friends suggest her books since The Coppersmith Farmhouse was released, I just hadn’t taken the time to read them. After reading The Outpost, despite the slow beginning, I do see myself checking out her backlist. Her writing was good, and I enjoyed the journey she took me on. The fact she made me feel so much for secondary characters shows how good she is at drawing in her readers.

“Bryce,” the producer called from behind the row of cameras. “We’re all set.”

“Thanks.” She waved over the hair and makeup team. My blond hair got fluffed and placed while her skin was dusted and blushed. With both of our lips recolored, we settled in for the interview. The cameraman gave us his countdown and then Bryce did her introduction before turning to me.

“You’ve had quite the year, Sabrina. Just a little over one year ago, you wrote an article for The Seattle Times that shut down the biggest gun-smuggling operation on the upper West Coast. Then you disappeared for six months, only to reemerge as a best-selling romance novelist. You’ve just won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting and I’ve heard that there are talks of making your book into a blockbuster. How does it feel to have reached such success in your career?”

“Thank you. It’s been wonderful, albeit very busy.” I smiled and glanced at my lap to hide the flash of pain that crashed through my heart. Nothing about my successes gave me joy. Talking about my accomplishments just reminded me of how much I had lost.

“You’ve made some major achievements since you came back to Seattle,” Bryce said. “Most journalists, including this one, would kill to be in your position. How does it feel?”

I gave her my rehearsed answer. “It’s been incredible. Surreal, really. I’m still in shock at how much has happened over the last year.”

“I can imagine.” She flipped to a new note card. “Let’s talk more about the article.”

My cheerful face belied my true feelings. I was miserable on this television set. I was exhausted from talking about that damn article. I was done having people fuss over its success.

Everyone thought it was the article that had changed my life.

It wasn’t.

It had been the six months I’d spent in Montana.

It had been the six months I’d spent with him.

 

 

Devney lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories.

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Nightshade by Molly McAdams ~ Sarah A’s Review

My life has never been my own. From the time I could walk, I was trained to be the mob’s hardened assassin. To be a monster. I’ve been told what to do, when to kill, and who to love. The minute I strayed, I lost everything.

Then I met Jessica.

She swept into my life like a storm of heartache, seduction, and intrigue. She’s everything I hate, but with one look, I can’t stay away. With one touch, she ignites a craving unlike anything I’ve ever known.

But her secrets threaten to destroy everything closest to me. Including her…

Together we’re poison. A destructive combination of darkness and chaos. And I want to savor every drop in my veins.

 ***The Redemption series is a series of interconnected romantic suspense standalones***

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Once again, Molly McAdams proves she is the queen of rip-your-heart-out romances. My body physically aches after reading Nightshade; it kept me so tense while reading. My heart hurts, my lungs burn, my shoulders won’t relax; it was intense and amazing. This is the epitome of what I look for in a romance novel.

Nightshade is the third book in Molly McAdams’ Redemption series. These books are all interconnected stand-alones so you can read them independently, but I would highly recommend reading them all and in order as each book – especially the final two – is built on the world of the what came before. It’s told in dual POV, by Jessica and Kieran. Experiencing both of their fears, desires, demons, and love made this book outstanding.

I loved Kieran in Firefly; he was, and is, terrifying, but just underneath that frightening shell it was obvious he was damaged, destroyed even, by a life that wasn’t his. The delineation between Kieran and Nightshade, how it was demonstrated was fascinating. His growth arc, especially when you take into account who he was in Firefly, made this book. Watching him realize he was wrong about what he was sure he’d wanted and needed his entire life was incredibly healing.

Jessica nearly broke me; her story was beyond heartbreaking. I appreciated how delicately Ms. McAdams handled her character. She was hands-down one of the strongest, fearsome heroine’s I’ve read, while also being one of the most wrecked. Jessica could have easily made a thousand different choices which would have changed every aspect of her life, but she never strayed from her purpose.

Jessica & Kieran were phenomenal together. They each fulfilled a deep need in the other and were able to soothe the aching pieces of the other’s soul. Their chemistry was explosive, but it was the moments where they simply offered each other solace from the world that completely bowled me over. These two were perfect for one another in every way. Witnessing them learn how to be together, how to heal their gaping wounds, how to read every nuance of the other’s persona was beautiful and a little heartbreaking.

This book nearly broke me at several points. The plot was wonderful and suspenseful; it was intense and intricate, it was near perfection. There were so many moving parts, so many forces working against Jessica and Kieran and the people they loved; it was a wonder they were able to unravel the web that had been woven around them and find a way out. The final chapters of Nightshade shredded my heart; I absolutely was taken aback by what happened, by how they happened, by how devastated I was when the dust cleared.

Molly McAdams is a go-to author for me, she’s yet to disappoint me and writes emotionally charged, devastatingly beautiful romance unlike anyone else. Her prose is always perfectly matched to the characters and the world in which she is writing. Ms. McAdams knows how to rip her readers’ hearts out, fillet them and send them on the path to healing in a way that is uniquely hers. I know every time I delve into a new novel she’s written I will be wholly engrossed and deeply impressed, and she did a wonderful job of proving that, yet again, in Nightshade.

The muscles in Kieran’s jaw ticked, and the anger rolling off his body suddenly felt like a living thing. But his stare never wavered from mine as I soundlessly opened the knife at my side.

“Or did I hit a little too close for comfort last night?” I asked, my voice both seductive and mocking as I took another step closer to him and then another. “Could you just not satisfy her?”

“Enough.”

My brows rose at the growl behind his demand. “Is that right?”

His eyes held so much warning as I took the last step to press my body against his.

My body trembled and begged to get closer still, but I forced myself not to move.

I hated him for the way he felt.

I hated him for the way my body craved more and betrayed me.

I hated him for everything he was and for making me want him in a way I’d never wanted a man.

I hated him.

“Who knew the mob’s feared assassin was lacking.”

One second I was in front of him, staring into those wild eyes, the next I was pressed face-first to the wall with Kieran’s hard body caging me against it. His strong hands were pinning mine to the wall. My knife was gone.

His chest moved roughly against my back, his breath made my hair dance along my cheek and lips, and I ached to push against where I could feel his hardened length in his jeans.

Oh God.

What is wrong with me?

I tried to force a wild laugh from my lungs.

I tried to taunt him.

But there was nothing.

“How long?” he demanded, his voice hoarse.

I curled my hands against the wall and shivered beneath him when his body moved closer and he pressed our hands harder to the wall.

“What?” I asked breathlessly.

“How long have you been watching us?”

“Wouldn’t you like to know?”

A huff tumbled from my lips when his mouth met my ear. The sound ended on a whimper when the movement forced my butt against his erection.

I needed the heavy, sickening feeling weighing my body down. I needed the disgust and hatred at having a man so close. I needed the reminder of who I was and why I did what I did.

But all I could smell was the subtle hint of his soap.

All I could see was his tattooed arms twisting over mine.

All I could feel was his lean muscles crowding around me in a way that felt so foreign and good.

And I wanted more . . .

Weak. So weak.

“How long?”

My body tensed.

If he had yelled the question, it might have been easier. But there was something truly terrifying in the soft tenor of his voice. And for the first time, I was afraid to be in the same room as him.

But I wasn’t scared for my life.

I was scared for my soul.

I slowly looked over my shoulder and forced myself to hold his disturbing stare. “Nearly half my life.”


Blackbird
(book 1)
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Signed Paperback

 

Firefly (book 2)
Amazon US | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA
Signed Paperback

 

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband, daughter, and fur babies. When she’s not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies and fried pickles, and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm … or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren’t really happening.

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