New Release ~ Royally Mine Anthology: One Night by KL Kreig ~ Sarah A’s Review

Powerful kings. Dirty-talking princes. Insatiable dukes.

They’re ready to rule your heart.

Royally Mine is a sexy collection of bad boy romances featuring HOT royal heroes, brought to you by twenty-two New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors. This deliciously naughty bundle of ALL-NEW standalone novellas stars panty-scorching kings, princes, and dukes who are used to being in command. Charge up your e-reader, clear your schedule, and put on your best tiara, because these royal bad boys are ready to conquer your heart while making you blush oh so hard.

 

Featured authors: Susan Stoker, Annabel Joseph, Katy Regnery, Nikki Sloane, Renee Rose, Molly O’Keefe, Alta Hensley, Nora Flite, Natasha Knight, Sue Lyndon, Jenika Snow, Maggie Ryan, Celeste Jones, Lee Savino, Livia Grant, Alexis Alvarez, Rayanna James, Ava Sinclair, Addison Cain, Jennifer Bene, Becca Jameson, Mikey Lee

 

Publisher’s Note: The stories included in this smoking hot box set are MF and MFM pairings. Some contain kink. All will leave you breathlessly panting for more.

22 Royal BAD BOYS are only 99c!
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ONE NIGHT BY KL KREIG

GAH!!  I wish this was a full-length novel!  It was a great novella, their story was complete, but I feel like there was so much more to explore beneath the surface.  The hints we had at the depths of Saine and Bennett left me wanting so much more.

I have a love/hate relationship with novellas, especially stand-alone novellas.  I always appreciate a story I can read in less time than it takes to get ready in the morning, but I am also usually left wanting.  Novellas aren’t designed for in depth exploration of all of the things that make up each character and their relationship and that is fine.  I have come to an understanding with myself to consider novellas more like really long synopses than anything else.  I almost always find myself hoping that the author will either write more in the world that the novellas are based in or use the novella as the bones for a more fleshed out story of the characters included.  That is exactly how I felt about One Night.  My experience with this book was oddly reminiscent of Saine and Bennett’s feelings after the night they shared in the prologue.  I can only hope that the end of my love affair with this book ends as pleasantly as theirs did and I get more of them.

Though I felt there was so much more to know about Saine and Bennett I deeply appreciated their relationship.  It was completely obvious, from the time we did get to spend with them, they cared deeply for one another.  Ms. Kreig was also able to make me want to know more about the secondary characters in the brief pages of this novella.  So, this will serve as my desperate plea to her to PLEASE give us more of this world.  I need to know so much more about everything we found out in One Night!

NEW RELEASE ~ Mercy by Debra Anastasia ~ Sarah A’s Review

He taught me to kill. Murder is in my blood now. It runs through my veins and though I hide the monster I see in the mirror with ink, it doesn’t keep him from coming out.

My street name is Mercy, but I never show any. Except for her. I watch Becca, though she doesn’t know. She saved me a long time ago; the day my father killed my mother. Her bravery turned her into a target.

My father holds a grudge and knife with the same proficiency, and Becca is the focus of his hatred. And I’m the only monster who can save her.

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Poughkeepsie was one of those books that stuck with me for ages, I recommended it to everyone who asked.  I loved everything about it.  I don’t read comedy, I just don’t, so I haven’t read any of Ms. Anastasia’s raunchy comedies.  After the paragon of romance that was the Poughkeepsie series, I was so happy to see she was again writing something in my wheelhouse and I jumped at my chance to read Mercy.  Poughkeepsie is a pretty high standard to be held to, Mercy was good and enjoyable, but just didn’t quite have the same magic as it did.

I don’t think that the synopsis does this book justice.  I was expecting Mercy (Fenix, Nix) to be a cold, callous, heartless person, he was anything but that.  To his enemies, sure, he was merciless, to everyone else he was the best kind of person they could hope to have in their life.  I felt a particular sadness for Nix and the way he viewed himself, the things he put himself through, the pain he carried like a shield.  It was evident from the first interaction he had with Christina, underneath all the layers he hid his heart under he was just a little boy who needed someone to love him unconditionally.

I didn’t fall in love with Becca like I did Nix.  I appreciated how strong of a woman she was but there was something about the way she seemed so wishy-washy about most things I found off-putting.  I was happy that, by the end of the book, she had grown enough to know what she wanted and stand up for herself.  I just wish we could have witnessed more of that transformation, as I think seeing her go from the girl putting up a tough front to a truly strong person would have been important.

For the most part, I really enjoyed Mercy.  It was, thankfully, light on comedy – though there were a few cringe-worthy moments that seemed to only be included for comedic relief, I could have done without those.  I enjoyed the intensity that Nix and Becca shared.  Their relationship may have seemed crazy and fast to some people, but it felt like perfection while I was reading.  They each seemed to fill all the holes the other had without even trying.  I loved them together, they were the epitome of a whole being better than the sum of its parts.

Debra Anastasia writes gritty, angsty romance like few others.  While I’m not sure anything will ever hold a candle to Poughkeepsie, I did really appreciate her approach to this story and the style with which she writes.  I am excited to see more about the secondary characters we met in this book and to spend some more time in this world.  Animal was such an enigma in Mercy, I can’t wait to see what he has waiting for us in his book.



Direct Link: https://youtu.be/vrBwiMqBNOI

Debra Anastasia likes to write from her heart, her soul or her butt. The genres she dabbles in are examples of that. There are two paranormal romances in the Seraphim Series and now four contemporary romances in the Poughkeepsie Brotherhood Series and a stand alone in the same genre, Mercy. Fire Down Below and Fire in the Hole, Booty Camp Dating Service and Beast complete her comedy repertoire. The Revenger, a dark paranormal romance, is finally in the light, and the last, a novella called Late Night with Andres, is special because 100% of the proceeds go to breast cancer research.

Debra lives in Maryland with her two kids, husband of twenty years and two dogs. The king of the house is clearly the tuxedo cat that is the size of a small donkey. Find about her latest adventures on DebraAnastasia.com

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All of You, All of Me by Claudia Burgoa ~ Sarah A’s Review

One heinous tragedy changed my entire family forever.
That morning, my world crumbled. I lost my parents.
Now, I live by certain rules.
Don’t let anyone know what goes on inside your head.
Stay away from crowds.
Never fall in love.
Though, that was until her. She has me questioning everything.
It’s the haunted eyes.
The sultry voice.
The sweetness under her armor.
Everything about her captivates me. The surge of energy we create with one touch has me searching for her, even when there’s also something dark underneath her bright smile.
Unable to resist the desire toward her, I break my rules giving her all of me while expecting all of her.

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THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS!!  If you know me at all, you know I tend to be pretty passionate about mental health.  I regularly rate books lower when they use portray mental health issues incorrectly, particularly when those issues are magically solved by falling in love.  That’s not how it works, that’s not how any of it works.  It is a daily fight and there are days when having someone to fight by your side helps and there are other days when it can become a hindrance; Claudia Burgoa illustrated those struggles brilliantly in this book.

While I don’t have much personal experience with the types of mental illness portrayed in this book, I do have experience with others as well as a functional knowledge of what the types of things Willow and Hunter were dealing with can be like, through my training as a crisis counselor.  I absolutely loved seeing the way those intense mood swings and anxiety attacks were portrayed in writing.  I have a hard enough time explaining what an anxiety attack can feel like to people I’m physically in front of with all of the words and body language at my disposal, it was amazing to see how Ms. Burgoa was able to shift the tone of thought so thoroughly almost mid-sentence.

My hands down favorite part of this book was that Willow and Hunter both took the necessary steps to get well by themselves before committing to anything together.  Love can look like a bandage that will heal anything, but if you don’t treat the wound correctly it will only fester and get infected under that bandage until you can no longer ignore it.  The fact that they had the strength and foresight to see that they needed to work on themselves alone before they could work on being an ‘us’ was wonderfully refreshing in a romance novel.  Honestly, I would have loved to have seen a little more of their actual treatment, as I always find that fascinating, but not including it did not take away from the story in the least bit.

There were a few times in the book I had a hard time knowing when a passage had transitioned from present to recent past back to present.  Paragraphs would seemingly be in the present, then recap off-page events, then continue on in the present; I found myself, on more than one occasion, confused by how we’d ended up in certain a place or time.  It didn’t detract much from the story, it just made a few moments more confusing than they needed to be.

This is the first time I’ve read anything by Claudia Burgoa.  If this book was indicative of her other writing I’ll be checking out her backlist as well as anything she has coming up on her release radar.  I will most definitely be waiting to see more of the secondary characters from this book.  Willow’s sister was very intriguing, as were the other Everhart brothers.  I can’t wait to see how things play out for all of them.

Claudia grew up with a childhood that resembled a caffeine-injected soap opera.She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, her geek husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

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Perilous Trust by Barbara Freethy ~ Sarah A’s Review

In PERILOUS TRUST, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author Barbara Freethy brings you the first book in a new romantic suspense series! OFF THE GRID: An FBI Trilogy offers three breath-stealing books filled with action-packed plot, heart-stopping romance, and page-turning suspense.

It was one dark night that brought Damon Wolfe and Sophie Parker together. They were two tortured souls, looking for escape, and they weren’t supposed to see each other ever again…

Four years later, Sophie’s FBI father, who is also Damon’s mentor, is killed in a suspicious car crash after leaving Sophie a cryptic message to trust no one from the agency. When Damon shows up looking for her, she isn’t sure if he’s friend or enemy, but she knows he could easily rip apart what is left of her heart.

The last thing Damon wants is to get involved with Sophie again. It was hard enough to walk away the first time. But she’s in trouble, her father’s reputation is under attack, and the lives of his fellow agents are at stake if there’s a traitor in their midst.

When someone starts shooting at them, they have no choice but to go on the run and off the grid. Everyone in their world becomes a suspect. They want to uncover the truth, but will it turn out to be the last thing they expect? Proving her father’s innocence might just cost them their hearts…and their lives…

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This was a great suspense novel.  If I were to give percentages on what made this book up it would be 90% suspense, 10% romance and the romance could have easily been left out and not made too much of a difference to the novel as a whole.  In fact, there were times when I felt like the romance should have been left out in favor of everything else going on.

I did enjoy the chemistry between Sophie and Damon, while they were working together, trying to figure out their next step in staying safe, it was the moments that were just about their relationship that were lacking.  They felt strange and forced, and, honestly, it seemed as if the author wasn’t completely comfortable writing about a relationship with no other outside forces affecting it.  Ms. Freethy was much more in touch with her characters when they were dealing with traumatic situations than she was when they were safe.

The suspense in this novel was definitely the thing that kept me reading.  While I was able to figure out most of twists and turns, the motives behind what was going on were lost on me until the very end.  It was obvious that Ms. Freethy’s talents lay far more in the realm of secrets, lies, and action than in romance.  Her suspense writing in this book will keep me coming back for the rest of the books in this trilogy.

Had I not gone into Perilous Trust expecting the type of romantic suspense I’m used to reading – relatively equal parts romance and suspense – I would likely have rated it higher.  My rating of this novel was primarily based on my preconceived notions and, had I not gone into it with them, I probably would have enjoyed the book much more for what it was than been let down by what I felt was missing.

“Why did you run away from your apartment, your friends, your father’s coworkers? Why did you just disappear, Sophie?” Damon asked.

“Because someone killed my dad.”

“It’s possible it was an accident.”

“You don’t believe that any more than I do.”

“Maybe not, but I think something specific spooked you.”

“You mean like the two men I saw going into my apartment building?”

“You saw the men who broke into your apartment?” he asked in surprise.

“I don’t know if they were the ones, but they could have been.”

“What did they look like?”

“Law enforcement, maybe—I don’t know.”

Damon stared back at her, and she could see him running through her words in his head. “Why would you be afraid of law enforcement when your father is FBI?”

“Gut instinct,” she lied, knowing she wouldn’t have been afraid at all if her father hadn’t told her to be. “And it looks like I was right to run. If I’d gone to my apartment, who knows what would have happened?”

His lips drew into a hard line. “Look, Sophie, I want to help you.”

“Why? Why on earth would you want to help me?”

His gaze darkened, and the air sizzled between them as they found themselves back in a place probably neither of them wanted to revisit, but they were there all the same.

“We’re not friends,” she said quickly, needing to break the tension. “We’re not anything. We haven’t seen each other in four years. Why do you care where I am, what I’m doing? Is it because of loyalty to my dad? That has to be it, right? Nothing else could have made you drive all the way up here.”

“I should have called you after that night,” he said.

“I’m not looking for an apology.”

“Aren’t you?”

“No. Maybe. No,” she said, hating to sound so uncertain. “None of that is important now. I have bigger problems.”

“Then let’s talk about now,” he said, relief in his eyes as he changed the subject. “I respected your father. He was a mentor to me. I owe him for that, and I know that he would want me to help you. He trusted me, and I hope you can trust me, too.”

“I don’t know if my father trusted you,” she said, shaking her head.

Surprise and anger flared in his eyes. “Why would you say that?”

“Because he told me not to trust anyone from the bureau, and since you’re an agent, that includes you. Please, just go. Just leave me alone,” she pleaded, desperate to get him out of the cabin before she did something even more stupid—like start to trust him. “I’ll disappear. I’ll go somewhere no one else knows about. You don’t have to worry about me. You’ve done your duty. You came after me. You did that for my dad. Now do something for me—leave me alone. You’ve managed it for four years. You can keep going.”

His mouth tightened. “I’m not leaving you alone. You won’t be safe. You can’t get help from a friend, because you’ll put them in danger, and even if you are very careful, you’ll make a mistake. You don’t know how to stay off the radar, but I do. You’re going to have to trust someone at some point. You’re going to have to put your anger aside and let it be me.”

Before she could answer, she was suddenly hit with a shower of glass from the nearby window.

What the hell had just happened?

Another pane blew out, and something whizzed by her ear.

Damon grabbed her arm and pulled down as a third window exploded.

Someone was shooting at her!

 

Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of 60 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women’s fiction. Traditionally published for many years, Barbara opened Fog City Publishing in 2011 and has since sold over 7 million books! Twenty-three of her titles have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today Bestseller Lists, including one title, SUMMER SECRETS, which hit #1 on the NYT. In 2014 Barbara was named the Amazon KDP Bestselling Author of all time! She was also the first Indie writer to sell over a million books on Barnes and Noble.

Known for her emotional and compelling stories of love, family, romance and suspense, Barbara is a six-time finalist and two-time winner in the Romance Writers of America acclaimed RITA contest for her novels DANIEL’S GIFT and THE WAY BACK HOME.

For more information, visit her website at www.barbarafreethy.com

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The Brightest Sunset by Aly Martinez ~ Sarah A’s Review

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Bullshit.

Words destroyed me.

“I’m sorry. She didn’t make it.”

“Daddy, he can’t breathe!”

“There’s nothing more we can do for your son.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Lies.

Those syllables and letters became my executioner. I told myself that, if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and the fear, they would have no power over me. But, as the years passed, the hate and the anger left behind began to control me.

Two words—that was all it took to plunge my life into darkness.

“He’s gone.”

In the end, it was four soft, silky words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Charlotte Mills.”

Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Screw Brady.  Seriously, that guy is a jerk.  I get that he was in pain, but there was no excuse for how inhumanely he treated everyone else involved with the horrific situation they’d all found themselves in at the hands of a severely mentally disturbed woman.  Whew. I feel better having got that off my chest.

The Brightest Sunset was the perfect counterpoint to The Darkest Sunrise.  While Sunrise was based primarily on the destruction of the lives of Charlotte and Porter, Sunset was about them rising from the ashes of the hellfire that had consumed them.  It was about them learning to step into the light while still allowing the darkness to exist as it needed to.  It was about healing and becoming whole people who deserved so much more than what they’d learned to live with.  It was the perfect way to end this story that was built on all the worst fears a parent can have.

I loved watching Charlotte come into her own in this book.  As strong and amazing as she was in The Darkest Sunrise, she was still only a shell of a person.  Seeing her stand up for herself and her family against the people who had guided every moment of her life, regardless of their intentions, for ten years, was marvelous.  Seeing Charlotte in the light was staggering.  Equally awe-inducing was watching the journey that Porter went on in tasting an iota of the pain Charlotte had feasted on for ten years, then fighting to get back the family they both deserved with reckless abandon.

I love this duet, I have often found that duets struggle to retain the intensity of the first book all the way through the second.  That was not the case with these books.  While the tenor of The Brightest Sunset changed and morphed into something softer around the edges than the jagged beauty of The Darkest Sunrise, it was equally impactful in its message.

The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #1)
Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

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Trust by Kylie Scott ~ Sarah A’s Review

Being young is all about the experiences: the first time you skip school, the first time you fall in love…the first time someone holds a gun to your head.

After being held hostage during a robbery at the local convenience store, seventeen-year-old Edie finds her attitude about life shattered. Unwilling to put up with the snobbery and bullying at her private school, she enrolls at the local public high school, crossing paths with John. The boy who risked his life to save hers.

While Edie’s beginning to run wild, however, John’s just starting to settle down. After years of partying and dealing drugs with his older brother, he’s going straight—getting to class on time and thinking about the future.

An unlikely bond grows between the two as John keeps Edie out of trouble and helps her broaden her horizons. But when he helps her out with another first—losing her virginity—their friendship gets complicated.

Meanwhile, Edie and John are pulled back into the dangerous world they narrowly escaped. They were lucky to survive the first time, but this time they have more to lose—each other.

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Trust did not hit the mark, for me.  It wasn’t bad, far from it, but it was lacking the ‘it’ factor that makes me need to continue reading the story.  There were moments that were wonderful, but there were also a lot of things that just didn’t quite deliver.  The first few chapters of the book hooked me enough to read the entire thing, if it had started a scene or two later I may have written it off and missed some of those truly great moments.

One of my favorite things about this book was how both John and Edie reacted to living through a hostage situation that others didn’t live through.  It was lovely to see how severe trauma can affect two people in such different ways, while still having the same underlying desire.  Both simply wanted to live to their full potential, even if they took vastly different approaches to expressing that desire.

My greatest wish for this book would have been to have John’s POV for some of the chapters.  Since we only see what Edie observes it was hard for me to understand how their relationship evolved.  I could easily believe their friendship, but John’s apparent disinterest made it hard for me to understand how it developed into more than that without seeing what was going on in his head.  Maybe that was the point and I missed it, that we don’t always know what a person is thinking until they act on it.  Once they moved beyond the bounds of platonic friendship it was easy to see that he cared for her in that way, it was just his journey to that point that seemed to be missing.

Edie was pretty great, it was nice to see a girl who wasn’t the typical Barbie doll type as the heroine in a romance.  I loved seeing her stand up for herself and her friends against people who didn’t even deserve one second of her attention.  It was also nice to see her internal turmoil about the things she didn’t appreciate about herself, how she combatted those feelings, and slowly learned to love herself.  Her character arc was important and interesting.  Her growth made the book worth reading.

“You were going to give it up to Duncan Dickerson?” he sneered. “Are you serious?”

I halted, staring at him. This was not good. “How do you know about that?”

“Anders overheard you and Hang talking.”

“Bastard.”

“Well?” he demanded, acting all authoritarian. Idiot.

“To be fair, I didn’t know his last name was Dickerson,” I said. “That’s unfortunate. Though, I wasn’t actually planning on marrying him, so . . .”

“Not funny.”

I shrugged.

“You barely know the guy.”

“Um, yeah. None of your concern. We’re not talking about this.” How mortifying! My face burned bright. People should just gather around and cook s’mores. “I appreciate that we’re friends. You mean a lot to me. But this is going to have to fall under definitely none of your damn business, so go away please.”

“We’re talking about it.” He advanced a step.

“No we are not.” And I retreated.

“You were going to let a complete stranger touch you.” Advance.

Retreat. “People do it all the time. You do it all the time.”

“But you don’t,” he said, taking the final step, backing me up against the side of his car and getting all in my face. “Edie, this is your first time we’re talking about. Isn’t it?”

“Yes, and it’s going to be messy and painful and probably horribly embarrassing and I just want it over and done with.” I tried to meet his eyes but failed, settling for a spot on his right shoulder. “You’re not a girl; you wouldn’t understand. Also, last time I checked, you’re not the gatekeeper of my hymen, John Cole. So back the fuck off.”

He said nothing.

Deep, calming breaths. “Look, someday I’ll meet someone I really like and we’ll have a deep and meaningful relationship and go at it like bunnies. But I don’t want to be the dumb virgin in that scenario.”

He slowly shook his head.

“Also, I do not want to die a virgin.”

“What? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, you and I both know death can occur at any time.”

“This is crazy.”

“I’m seeing a therapist!” I told his shoulder. “I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m a little bit messed up these days. It’s hard for me to trust people. That’s not going to change anytime soon.”

He screwed up his face at me. “Wha—”

“I’m just trying to be practical.”

“Well, you’re being ridiculous. None of this makes sense.”

“It does to me.”

Again, he said nothing.

In fact, he said nothing for so long that I finally looked him in the eye. The anger had left him, replaced by an emotion I didn’t recognize. Worst of all, he still smelled like summer. A little sweat and the open night air, everything I loved. Liked. I meant liked.

“What?” I said, finally.

He let loose a breath. “I’ll do it.”

 

TRUST by Kylie Scott (Official Book Trailer) from FILM 14 on Vimeo.

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/

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Firefly by Molly McAdams ~ Sarah A’s Review

As the Princess of the Irish-American Mob, there’s no shortage of men ready to help guard and protect me. To slowly suffocate me to the point of seeking freedom—a place where I can breathe.

Kieran Hayes has been saving me for as long as I can remember. It’s in his blood, and one of the many reasons I fell in love with him. Until my favorite trait became his biggest flaw, making me resent the man I love. An unwavering warrior, his love for me has been shrouded by those instincts.

Save Lily. Protect Lily. Hide Lily. Cage Lily.

What I wasn’t prepared for was Dare—the man who would set my world on fire with just one touch. He saw straight through to my soul, as though he knew I was desperate for freedom, and silently demanded my heart from the beginning.

And I didn’t expect Dare to be Demitri Borello—the reason for so many deaths in my family. A man who will take my life the moment he finds out who I am.

Despite it all, I’ll love him until that moment comes.

A fire will die if there is no oxygen for it to consume. Ours is rapidly stealing every last breath we can sacrifice to it.

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

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This book was a slow burn.  When I was reading I found it somewhat frustrating but upon completion of the book, it was well worth it.  Gah.  I am not quite sure how to explain what the experience of reading Firefly; all I can really say is that it was fascinating and worth the singed nerves.

Firefly is the second book in Molly McAdams Redemption series.  You absolutely do not need to read both books to understand what is going on.  While they occur in the same world they are only tangentially connected. No character crossover, no (real) storyline crossover, no cliffhangers. Each book is a complete standalone. The only relation between the two is that they both deal with the seediest parts of the underworld.  And they do that well.

I’m not sure if I should classify this as a love triangle or not.  For one person it definitely was, for the others, not so much.  It was an interesting dynamic to know how Lily was feeling about both Dare and Kieran, and how they were both feeling about her.  My heart for Lily because of how deeply hurt she’d been by all the people who were meant to love and protect her.  It was completely shredded for Kieran because he was trapped in a life, a role, a persona he absolutely loathed and no matter what he did he was going lose everything he wanted most.  Dare, however, was a bit of an enigma to me, he seemed to so easily compartmentalize the pieces of himself it was fascinating to see those different facets and how he dealt with his emotions in each role.

Firefly took a minute to find its wings.  The first half or so was full of tension building, of layering an intricate backstory for everyone involved in the book, and it was worth all that build-up.  Once the intense conflict began happening all those varied histories met and exploded in something that could have been easily devastating for all involved.  I appreciated how Ms. McAdams dealt with the fall-out and brought this story to a resolution that was appropriate for the characters.

Molly McAdams writing is always great.  She’s uniquely capable of playing her readers’ heartstrings like a virtuoso.  It’s in the way she’s able to convey what an emotion feels like, that unique physical reaction – one each person experiences in their own, slightly different way – with such accuracy, that makes her stories sing.  I love how her stories build in magnitude and complexity as they go on, until they reach a soaring peak, then resolve with a perfect harmony.

“Nothing’s getting past me,” I assured her.

Her breath washed over my lips as I leaned in to kiss her again when she whispered, “I thought we were talking about you.”

I paused for a few seconds, then looked up into her hazel eyes. “What?”

“I think I’m in danger from you.”

My brow pulled tight, and I forced out a low, frustrated laugh. “Me.”

She nodded again, the movement of her head so slow as her eyes explored mine. “I need you to let me go for so many reasons, but I easily forget why when you don’t. I think there was a reason neither of us crossed that invisible barrier before today. Because being in your arms?” She hesitated, her tongue quickly darting out to wet her lips. “Trust me, it’s dangerous.”

A weight pressed down on my chest, making it hard to breathe. Because damn it if she wasn’t right.

There were dozens of girls over the years who’d meant nothing more than a night. Maybe two. Not one could I remember the name of, most I couldn’t remember their face.

Then there’d been one who I would’ve sold my soul for if I could’ve had one more night with her.

My days with her had been everything. A slow burn that had built over time until I hadn’t been able to get enough of her. Until she’d meant too much.

And there hadn’t been a girl since.

Not a second glance. Not a thought. Nothing.

Until one morning at Brooks a few years ago.

But there was nothing slow about the thoughts and needs for the girl pressed against me. There hadn’t been since the very first morning I’d found her staring at a mirror like it had the power to destroy her world. Like that possibility fascinated her.

Fuck, if I didn’t need to find out why.

Dangerous was exactly what we were. Only she had no idea just how much.

My gut twisted as unwanted thoughts entered my mind, but I pushed them away. Because I knew what I needed to do. I needed to let her go and force myself not to follow.

But when there’s a flicker of light in your life after so much darkness, it’s impossible to stay away.

And this girl burned so damn bright.

Calling to me and beckoning me toward her, and I knew no matter how many times I let her slip away, I would follow her just to catch her again.

I brushed my thumb across her full lips. “Goddamn, firefly.”

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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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Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland ~ Sarah A’s Review

The first time I met Caine West was in a bar.

He noticed me looking his way and mistakenly read my scowling as checking him out.

When he attempted to talk to me, I set him straight—telling him what I thought of his lying, cheating, egomaniacal ass.

You see, the gorgeous jerk had wined and dined my best friend–smooth talking her into his bed, all along failing to mention that he was married.

He deserved every bit of my tongue-lashing and more for what he’d done.

Especially when that lazy smile graced his perfect face in response to my rant.

Only it turned out, the man I’d just told off wasn’t the right guy.

Oops.  My mistake. 

Embarrassed, I slunk out without an apology.

I was never going to see the handsome stranger again anyway, right?

That’s what I thought…until I walked into class the next morning.

Well, hello Professor West, I’m your new teaching assistant.

I’ll be working under you…figuratively speaking.

Although the literal interpretation might not be such a bad thing—working under Professor West.

This was going to be interesting…

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The levity of the blurb and the smirking, partially undressed man on the cover belied how moving and heart-wrenching this story actually was.  I thought I was picking up a bit of light reading after some pretty intense reads, but I was happily mistaken.  While it did start out with a fair amount of frivolity, it soon took on a much heavier tone than I had anticipated.

The chemistry between Rachel and Caine was amazing but it was their pasts, the things they were struggling with, that made this book for me.  I have long been a sucker for a book about people with devastating pasts, so as soon as there was a hint of what they’d each lived through I was completely hooked on this book.  I was so intrigued by Caine and Rachel I finished this book in a single afternoon.  I had to see how they healed and overcame the horrors of their pasts, in order to move forward with the futures they deserved.

Some of my favorite moments in Beautiful Mistake were Caine’s flashback scenes, so much so that I wish we could have seen some glimpses into Rachel’s past the same way.  It was a unique way of telling the story though, keeping the present almost completely in Rachel’s POV and all of Caine’s POV a glimpse at the past.  It made it much easier to delineate what was going on and keep things in correct time line.

I found myself wanting to know more about Caine both Caine and Rachel’s sisters, I did feel we were left unsatisfied there, especially with the situation Caine’s sister was in.  Several of the secondary characters were very intriguing to me and I could easily see an entire world being built around this book.  They all had rich backstories and I would love to know more about all of them.  Isn’t that what makes a great book though, being able to live with the characters long after you’ve closed that back cover?

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than 1.5 million books sold, her titles have appeared in over eighty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in sixteen languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.

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The Darkest Sunrise by Aly Martinez ~ Sarah A’s Review

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Whoever coined that phrase is a bald-faced liar. Words are often the sharpest weapon of all, triggering some of the most powerful emotions a human can experience.

“You’re pregnant.”

“It’s a boy.”

“Your son needs a heart transplant.”

Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.

Lies.

Syllables and letters may not be tangible, but they can still destroy your entire life faster than a bullet from a gun.

Two words—that was all it took to extinguish the sun from my sky.

“He’s gone.”

For ten years, the darkness consumed me.

In the end, it was four deep, gravelly words that gave me hope of another sunrise.

“Hi. I’m Porter Reese.”

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I don’t even know where to start with this book.  It was that intense.  Nothing I can say, no words held within the English language can adequately describe The Darkest Sunrise.  This is the kind of book I want to read for the rest of my life.  Dark, horrible, wonderful, extraordinary, EVERYTHING.  This book is everything I look for in a novel.  It tore me open and left my heart weeping.  The blood leached from my mind, body, and soul as the words carefully constructed on those pages flayed open the deepest parts of me.

I have read several excellent books this year, but none of them hold a candle to this book.  The heart-wrenching emotions brought about while reading The Darkest Sunrise are something I rarely experience while reading.  These weren’t your average sadness, anger, devastation; these emotions were beyond soul deep and I felt them in every cell of my body.  I know what devastating loss feels like and Aly Martinez was able to expertly find the strings that control those emotions and play them unlike many authors are able.

The Darkest Sunrise is a duet, so the story is not complete in this one book and it could not have been written any other way.  This book was constructed so flawlessly, so wonderfully, I can’t imagine trying to include more story in this book.  And all of those things, those acute feelings and experiences that made up The Darkest Sunrise, need time to come to terms with, to organize and understand.  I am dying to get my hands on The Brightest Sunset, but I know that the slow burn of waiting for it will make reading it all the more amazing.

 

The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise Duet, #2)

Coming July 27th

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You won’t want to miss this amazing series!

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

 

 

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Give Me Hell by Kate McCarthy ~ Release Blitz and Sarah A’s Review

Mackenzie Valentine is wilful, fiery, and determined to prove she doesn’t need anyone. Desperate to break free from the over-protective parents and three older brothers who dictate her every move, she runs away at the age of seventeen to hunt down the only boy who makes her feel alive.

Jake Romero has no choice but to leave the best thing that ever happened to him, taking him down a path that leads to notorious gang, the King Street Boys. When fate throws Mackenzie back in his life, he turns her away in her time of need, knowing he now lives a life in which she doesn’t belong. Except his decision has shattering consequences, leading to secrets, lies, and the ultimate betrayal.

Years later, their lives continue to entwine, and when his past returns demanding retribution, Mackenzie intervenes and gets caught in the crossfire, leaving behind a devastation that no one sees coming. Can their relationship withstand the hell it’s endured, or is it too late for love?

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I have been waiting for this book for years.  Literally.  When I was doing a series reread I saw that I had read Give Me Grace (book #3) in July of 2014.  It was worth the wait.  Also, if you haven’t read the series, or it’s been a while, do yourself a favor and read the other three books first; while the all focus on different couples, the plots cross over so much – particularly in Give Me Hell – that being familiar with the other stories will help with the understanding of this book.

I’ve been dying to know more about Mac and Jake’s story since their first antagonistic appearance together in the series.  I knew their story was going to be epic, but there was no way for me to guess just how crazy and intense and EVERYTHING this book was going to be.   The twisted and pot-hole filled path they had trodden in order to figure out the lives they were destined to live was insanely damaging, but these two were able to find a way to make that very road heal them.

Give Me Hell was an apt title for this book.  While every character in this series has experienced horrific things, it seemed that Mac and Jake had to walk through the fires of their personal hells before they were given a reprieve.  The amount of secrets, lies, losses, and pain that was contained within the pages of this book would have been enough to take a person any weaker than Mackenzie Valentine down, but Mac was able to withstand the tsunami of her life and come out stronger, with a better understanding of herself, on the other side.  She waged a war against the confines of her life and won.

Jake Romero was the shining light of this book.  A lesser man would have thrown in the towel with Mac before their second meeting, but he kept coming back, no matter what Mac put him through because he knew experiencing the beauty of Mackenzie was worth fighting through the thorns.   I’m not sure what Mac had ever done to deserve the kind of love she received, but we would all be so lucky to have someone love us the way that Jake loved her.

Kate McCarthy writes some pretty intricate and well-woven stories.  There are so many threads of story line it’s often hard to keep up with every single little thing that is going on, it’s even harder to deduce what the final tapestry will look like once she’s done weaving it.  She did not disappoint with this book.  I don’t often like books that start in present then go back into the past and slowly wind their way back to the present day, but there was no other way to tell Mac and Jake’s story.  All of those tiny moments of the past led them to one of the purest kinds of love a person can know.  I am happy that I was able to experience that journey and witness them finding their way.

With a low chuckle, I roll over on my bed to eyeball the stolen file that I’d slapped on my bedside table last night before crashing. I’m feeling rather pleased with myself until my gaze encounters Jake. My gleeful chortle dies a quick death.

He’s leaning against my bedroom wall, bare-chested, arms folded, and wearing nothing but a pair of black boxer-briefs and a furious glare.

My gaze drops to the bed where Jake has laid out the black beanie used to cover my pale hair and the black leather gloves that kept my fingerprints from any surface I came in contact with.

Fuck. The sun is streaming in through the blinds and I know it must be late morning already. Clearly, I’d forgotten to set the morning alarm. A rookie mistake. And now I need to get past the gauntlet that is Jake and somehow get the file to Casey before he enacts his own plan to retrieve it.

My eyes flick up, meeting his. “Morning,” I say coolly.

His jaw ticks. “Care to explain?”

Jake’s car keys rest on top of the report file and I know he’s seen them. Not only had I performed a break and enter last night, I had also added car theft to my criminal repertoire. Explaining that will likely cause my untimely death. I pretend to consider his question for a moment. “Not really.”

Jake pushes off from the wall and moves toward the bed, bringing him closer. “Well, you’re going to.”

“No,” I say, casually sliding across the mattress and away from Jake. “Not today. I have things to—”

Putting one knee on the bed, Jake leans across and grabs the back of my long-sleeved shirt in his fist. He yanks and the distinct sound of a riiipppppp renders the air.

“My shirt,” I gasp as I fly through the air, landing on my back on the mattress with a hard bounce.

“I don’t give a rat’s fucking ass about your shirt,” he growls, straddling my body.

His hard thighs trap me in place and his hands pin mine to the bed. Moving will likely end with a cracked rib.

Jake leans his face down until I can’t look anywhere but in his eyes. “You can start with why you’re dressed like a thieving little bandit.”

“Because I stole your car.”

“Why did you steal my car?”

“Because I couldn’t get a cab.”

I actually considered calling for a taxi but then my movements would be on public record, easily placing me at the scene. I’d had to rule it out.

“Stop leading me in circles, Princess, and spit it the fuck out. What did you do?

I huff deeply, letting my frustration out. Jake isn’t going to just let this go. It leaves me with two choices. Lie or be honest. I chose door number two, because while I sometimes keep things from Jake, he doesn’t deserve outright deceit.

I spill out my early hours adventure, rethinking my choice of honesty as he sits back on the bed, his fury a slow-building thunderstorm.

There’s silence for a tense moment when I finish speaking.

“You committed a felony,” he says in a soft voice. I’m not fooled by the tone. His anger is a barely leashed lion. “And you used my car to do it.”

My lips press in a thin line. I hadn’t thought that particular implication through, and now I’m angry at myself. “I’m sorry.”

His expression narrows to one of vengeful retribution. “Oh, you’ll be sorry.”

“I will?”

“When I paddle your fucking ass.”

“Jake—”

“Shut it,” he growls, his voice rising. “You broke into a detective’s house. You stole her property. You—”

“Casey’s property,” I mutter.

“Don’t interrupt me when I’m explaining your stupidity to you.”

#1 Give Me Love – FREE!
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#2 Give Me Strength
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#3 Give Me Grace
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Kate McCarthy is an Australian, living in the pretty sunshine state of Queensland with her two kids and two dogs, Rufus and Pete.

She loves to bake sweet stuff and eat it too. With an exciting degree in business, she works as an accountant by day, and an author by night. In between family life, she is most often found in bed reading, or at the beach, still reading.

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