BOOK REVIEW: The Fable of Us by Nicole Williams

Her heart can’t be destroyed by the same person twice. At least that’s what Clara Abbot finds herself hoping when she runs into Boone Cavanaugh less than an hour after returning to Charleston.

As kids, Clara and Boone had been each other’s firsts, and no one or nothing could stand in the way of their forever. But all kids have to grow up sometime. The troubled son of the town drunk winding up with the firstborn daughter of the local royalty was a happy ending even the most imaginative of fairy tales couldn’t make believable.

Their fable came to an end as most do: tragically. Boone might have done the leaving, but it was Clara who got away and made a new life for herself in California. But after seven years of dodging her hometown, she’s only back in Charleston for seven days to celebrate her sister’s wedding. She won’t let her overbearing family or her run-in with Boone rattle her—though rattling her is obviously Boone’s primary objective.

Boone is her past and her past is behind her, a mere speck in the rearview. So why does she feel it coming back every time she looks at him? Why does she see it every time he looks back?

Just when Clara’s life can’t possibly get more complicated, the ground shifts, and she discovers just how far her family was willing to go to keep the wrong boy out of her life. Was it really Boone who left her? Or was it Clara who left him?

The truth will be hard to face. Especially when she discovers most of her life has been built on lies.

review

“What had we been thinking as kids pretending we could chase forever? Stupid. That’s what we’d been.”

There’s something very special about an author whose every new book makes you feel like a kid on Christmas morning, and Nicole Williams is one of those authors for me. Never one for depicting human nature or matters of the heart in broad strokes, Ms Williams’ stories tend to focus on the small things in life, the everyday and the often unnoticed, weaving them into breathtaking, hopeful, tender romances that never fail to inspire. And with each new book, she leaves us brimming with positivity and faith in mankind, showing us that often the simplest of stories contain the most profound truths. The mere premise of a second chance romance between two teenage sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks had all the makings of a compelling read in my eyes, but in Nicole Williams’ hands, it was guaranteed to become an epic one.

“It was only a week. Seven days. I’d endured eighteen years; what was one week?”

As the eldest daughter of an affluent Southern family, Clara Abbott was always expected to follow a set script in life. But ever since she was a child, Clara has felt at odds with her highbrow family, rebelling against everything they stood for and everything that was required of her as an Abbott. Seven years after leaving her old life behind and making a new one far enough from the reaches of her overbearing family, Clara is called back to her hometown for the wedding of her younger sister. But with every breath she takes in a city she hoped to never see again, she finds herself drowning in memories she’s desperately tried to erase. And all of a sudden, facing the very object of them all.

“This woman’s taken enough from me for this lifetime and my next ten. I’m not giving her anything else…”

Clara might have put a whole country between herself and her memories of Boone Cavanaugh, but one look at the only man she’s ever loved stirs in her all she’s worked hard to forget. Yet when faced with the prospect of facing her family on her own, she puts her heartbreak aside and makes him an offer he is unable to refuse—to pose as her ‘plus one’ for one week.

“All I need from you is for you to pose as my plus one for the week. Nothing more. One week, ten grand.”

But Boone is no longer the vulnerable young man Clara left behind, and even at one of the lowest points in his life, he refuses to be her dirty little secret again. He does not hesitate to accept Clara’s offer, but from the moment they walk through the doors of her childhood home, Boone is set on playing the role his seventeen-year-old self never had the courage to own. And rubbing it in her family’s faces any chance he gets. Bringing home a ghost from her past, however, one they had never accepted or welcomed into the family fold, sets off a series of small chain reactions intended to collectively derail Clara from making the same mistakes again.

“It will be okay, Clara. They can’t ruin your life twice.”
“That won’t stop them from trying.”
“Well, I won’t let them ruin my life twice.”
“It won’t stop them from trying.”

As the wedding nears and Clara’s family obstinately plots to pull them apart by drawing attention to their very obvious class differences, Clara and Boone remain determined to present a united front against their schemes, this reminding them of another time they depended on each other for strength, and of all the reasons why they once loved one another dearly. But each good memory brings a bad one to the surface too, and soon they are forced to confront a past they both hoped to forget, as well as acknowledge their own roles in the demise of it all.

“I don’t just stop loving someone because they make a mistake, or the same mistake every other night. When you love someone, do it right and love them forever. Don’t leave them wondering the whole time when it’s going to run out or expire.”

With a truly thought-provoking perspective on second chances in life, Ms Williams gifts us with a touching tale of a love that survived against all odds and of a family whose actions often hurt the ones they loved the most, whose good intentions often turned into mistakes, but whose ties to one another never wavered. Clara and Boone might have been star-crossed lovers in their youth, but life has taught them never to give up on those who matter the most or throw away a chance to correct the past. And the power of their connection never fails to make our hearts beat a little faster.

“I’ve only ever had one someone special, Clara, and she turned me off to the whole idea of ever having another.”

I loved every single word of this splendid tale, genuinely connecting and understanding these characters even when their actions would not have been my own, and letting go of them in the end was sweet agony. Nicole Williams’ stories always offer a refreshing change of pace, their slow-building tempo and the empathetic quality to her character development continuing to be the key feature of this author’s extraordinary voice. I always walk away from her stories with a heavy heart, because once you’ve lived in one of her realities, you always want more.

“It doesn’t seem to matter how far away I go or how many years go by. I’m starting to accept that there will always be some part of me that is going to hold on to some part of you.”

5stars

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BOOK REVIEW: Appealed by Emma Chase

When Brent Mason looks at Kennedy Randolph, he doesn’t see the awkward, sweet girl who grew up next door. He sees a self-assured, stunning woman…who wants to crush the most intimate—and prized—parts of his anatomy beneath the heels of her Louboutins.

When Kennedy looks at Brent, all she sees is the selfish, Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue–worthy teenager who humiliated her in high school in order to join the popular crowd. A crowd that made those years a living hell for her.

But she’s not a lovesick social outcast anymore—she’s a Washington, DC, prosecutor with a long winning streak. Brent is the opposing attorney in her next case, and Kennedy thinks it’s time to put him through a little hell of his own.

But things aren’t exactly working out the way she planned. Brent has his sights set on Kennedy, and every fiery exchange only makes him want her more—and makes her wonder if he’s as passionate in the bedroom as he is in the courtroom. In the end, they may just find themselves in love…or in contempt of court.

review

“Once upon a time she was my best friend. For a hot minute she was more. After that, she hated me. And then she was just . . . gone.”

I simply adored this book! This sexy second chance romance was an absolute delight to read, with two characters I couldn’t get enough of and so many unforgettable scenes that made me giggle and swoon all at the same time, I was smitten cover to cover. The story of two estranged childhood best friends who suddenly find themselves on opposite sides of a courtroom, this book was the perfect blend of sizzling sexual tension and heartwarming romance, and with a charming brand of nerdy humor lacing every single page, it was positively one of the most uplifting stories I’ve read of late. A great conclusion to a fantastic series, and a top recommendation from me.

“What’d you do to your face?” she asks, folding her arms.
I touch my chin. “I grew a beard.”
“Well ungrow it. It looks like a vagina from a 1970s porn film.”

Brent Mason might have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth and with a family name that could have opened any door for him in life, but he has worked hard to step out of the shadow of all those who came before him and to make a name for himself in his chosen profession. At thirty-two, Brent is at the top of his game—a partner in a thriving law firm and a successful defense attorney—but, much to his mother’s despair, a confirmed bachelor. He likes to live life in the moment and avoids long-term romantic attachments by keeping an emotional distance from the women he dates, until a striking blonde in a ravishing red dress walks into one of his parents’ parties and gets his undivided attention.

“I’ve never forgotten you, sweetheart. Not even close.”

Kennedy Randolph is a ferocious public prosecutor with a long winning streak and a reputation for being ruthless and unbending, but her stoic façade is shaken from the moment she meets the appraising eyes of the man who broke her heart fourteen years before. As a child, Kennedy used to believe her best friend hung the moon and the stars, but all she sees in him now is the very reason she no longer trusts men or allows herself to care for one. And his every cocky attempt at flirting with her only strengthens her resolve to best him in every possible way.

Over the last fourteen years I’ve thought a lot about what it’d be like to see Kennedy Randolph again—but I never thought it’d be on the opposite side of a courtroom.
“You realize this makes us mortal enemies? You’re now the Lex Luthor to my Superman, the Magneto to my Professor Xavier.”
“With your comic book obsession obviously still in full effect, I’d say I’m more the Wendy to your Peter Pan complex.”

But so much of their past together has shaped both the people they have become, and when every memory has two sides, it soon becomes clear to them both that they might have lost fourteen years of new memories made together due to a simple misunderstanding.

“We’re soul mates. Destined to be together, written in the stars, Bogie-and-Bacall perfect. Kennedy doesn’t see it yet—but that’s all right. Because I’m patient. And relentless.”

As opposing counsels on a case, Brent and Kennedy are now forced to remain adversaries in court, but each private moment spent together brings them one step closer to the carefree kids they once were—free to be themselves, free to be each other’s pillar of support, and feeling safe for the first time in their adult lives to love freely. But a decade of misplaced anger and heartbreak has turned Kennedy from a cheery, funny, socially oblivious teenager into a hard-hearted young woman who struggles to trust her own heart not to get broken again. Luckily for her, she’s met her match in and out of the courtroom, and nothing can stop a man in love, not even a fourteen-year-old case of cold feet.

As the elevator starts to rise, I feel his eyes on me. “My supervisor called, told me to get you upstairs straight away.”
I nod. “Yeah.”
“He said the director called him personally.”
“That sounds about right.” 
He pauses for a beat and then asks, “Who the hell are you?” 
There’s only one way I can answer. I lower my voice and look him in the eyes. “I’m Batman.”

Books like these can pull you out of any dreaded ‘reading funk’ that comes your way, and every second spent reading this enchanting enemies-to-lovers romance ‘fed’ the desperate seeker of feel-good stories in me. Ms Chase’s remarkable ability to paint even the most dramatic of scenes with dry humour and wit only heightened my enjoyment of this story, setting it apart from many in its genre and making it an instant favourite for me.

“It’s one thing if I want to screw Kennedy ten different ways. But to think of my mother cheering us on—sitting on the sidelines with a flag in one hand and a foam cock in the other—is just wrong.”

5stars

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Legal Briefs
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
overruled sustained appealed

OverruledAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Sustained: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
AppealedAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: The Score by Elle Kennedy

He knows how to score, on and off the ice…

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she’s going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over…

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

review

“You’re going about this the wrong way, you know. The best way to get over someone is to hook up with someone else. ASAP.”
“I’m not ready to be with anyone else yet.”
“Sure you are. Seriously, just find yourself a rebound.” Dean whips up his arm. “I volunteer as tribute.”

Just when I thought this series could not get any better, we are given another delectable instalment in this witty, sexy, flawlessly written series about opposites attracting. We saw the cocky team captain fall for a sassy geek in The Deal, the star defenseman fight for a second chance in The Mistake, and now we get to properly meet another star of the Briar hockey team—the team’s resident party animal and the biggest player on the planet—and the spirited blonde who ends up rocking his world. These stories are such guilty pleasures of mine, a fun and utterly addictive reading experience beginning to end, and Dean and Allie’s story did not disappoint in the slightest.

“So I’m…what, your relationship sponsor? I’m the one who makes sure you don’t fall off the wagon?”
“Yep. Congratulations, you finally get to do something worthwhile with your time,” I say sarcastically.
He tips his head. “What do I get in return?”
“The satisfaction of knowing you’re helping someone other than yourself?”
“Naah. How about a BJ? I’ll do it for a BJ.”
I give him the finger. “You wish.”
“Fine, an HJ.”

An incorrigible ladies’ man who always gets whatever he wants, whenever he wants it, Dean Hayward-Di Laurentis’ lighthearted attitude gives the impression that he doesn’t have a worry in the world, but behind the team’s star defenseman’s confident swagger lies a man who has not found his true direction in life. Born to privilege and expected to follow in his parents’ footsteps, Dean passes his college days focusing on hockey, random hook-ups, and spending time with his friends, his innate intelligence hidden behind a careless, live-in-the-moment stance on life. But when an unexpected one-night stand turns into the greatest sexual experience of his life, Dean finds himself in uncharted territory, unable to stop thinking about the first woman in his life who’s left him craving for more.

“The memories come crashing back in vivid Technicolor. The terrible movie. The tequila shots. The…rest. I slept with Dean last night. Twice. My heart beats faster as I stare up at the ceiling. I’m in Dean’s room. There’s an empty condom wrapper on the end table. And…yep, I’m naked. Maybe it was a bad dream, a voice in my head tries to assure me. I draw another deep breath and find the courage to turn my head. What I encounter seizes my lungs again. A very naked Dean is stretched out on his stomach. His bare ass taunts me, not just with its sheer perfection, but because of the red scratches on his tight butt cheeks. My nails had left those scratches. I lift a weak hand and notice the fingernail on my index finger is broken. I broke a nail while clawing at Dean’s ass.”

Allie Hayes cannot believe she let the biggest flirt on the planet seduce her, but a night of wild, drunken monkey sex is exactly what her heart needed to get over a painful breakup. She might feel disgusted with herself the morning after, and determined to never let it happen again, but Allie is not a woman who lingers on regrets, and moving on is exactly what she plans on doing from the moment she flees the ‘scene of the crime’. Unfortunately, the man in question does not happen to be on the same page.

“Hey. What’s up?”
I let out a ragged breath. “I want to f*ck you again.”
“Is this a thing now? You’re going to call me every night and say that?”
“Maybe?” Shit. I’m cranky and horny and as confused as she is. “Say yes, baby doll. Just say yes and put me out of my misery.”

So a tantalising game of cat-and-mouse begins between two people who have very little in common at first, but the more they get to know about one another, the more they realise that appearances can be deceiving. Allie’s feisty personality and blind ambition are no match for her selfless heart, and she soon discovers that Dean’s confident, well-adjusted façade hides a vulnerable young man whose unconditional love can also become his greatest downfall.

As always, this story was the perfect blend of heart-warming romance and amusing, engaging dialogues, woven through a well-balanced plotline that entertains and touches our hearts in equal measure. I loved these characters, I loved how multi-layered they got as their story unfolded, and I never wanted to part with them. The premise of a notorious womanizer falling for the first woman to resist his charms might appear cliché at first, but there is nothing cliché about this story, there is nothing cliché about the way these characters are brought to life, and there is nothing cliché about this author’s extraordinary ability to deliver a story that always feels fresh, unique, and exciting. A great addition to the series and a top recommendation from me.

“A blond Adonis with his golden chest and sculpted muscles and perfectly chiseled face. If the hockey thing doesn’t work out for him, he ought to consider going into modeling. Dean Di Laurentis oozes sexuality. He could slap his face on a laxative label and every woman in the world would be praying for constipation just to have an excuse to buy it.”

5stars

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Off-Campus – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)

The Deal: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The Mistake
: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks
The Score: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Built by Jay Crownover

builtSayer Cole and Zeb Fuller couldn’t be more different. She’s country club and fine-dining, he’s cell-block and sawdust. Sayer spends her days in litigation, while Zeb spends his working with his hands. She’s French silk, he’s all denim and flannel.

Zeb’s wanted the stunning blonde since the moment he laid eyes on her. It doesn’t matter how many smooth moves he makes, the reserved lawyer seems determinedly oblivious to his interest—either that or she doesn’t return it. Sayer is certain the rough, hard, hot-as-hell Zeb could never want someone as closed off and restrained as she is, which is a shame because something tells her he might be the guy to finally melt her icy exterior.

But just as things start to heat up, Zeb is blindsided by a life altering moment from his past. He needs Sayer’s professional help to right a wrong and to save more than himself. He can’t risk what’s at stake just because his attraction to Sayer feels all consuming. But as these opposites dig in for the fight of their lives, battling together to save a family, the steam created when fire and ice collide can no longer be ignored.

review

“Now you have two choices: we can sit down and eat this awesome spaghetti I just made . . . clothing optional, or we can go to bed . . . clothing not optional.” His eyebrows snapped low over his mesmerizing eyes and a muscle twitched in his cheek under his beard. “I’m good with either one as long as you realize the second option is happening regardless.”

What a truly spectacular read this was! A new author to me, a new fictional world to now obsess over—this was a story that hooked me in from the very first page, and I never wanted it to end. From the impeccable characterisation of its key players—fascinating, realistic, and perfectly imperfect—to a heart-warming, multi-layered storyline that tugs at every last one of our heartstrings, I rarely find myself enjoying a book so completely, so fervently, and with such abandon, but everything about this story ‘got to me’, and made me fall in love with this author’s competent writing style. A great start to a new reading year, an automatic addition to my all-time favourites.

“When you’re made to feel like the worst sort of idiot, the biggest kind of failure, for showing any time of emotion—even tears at your mother’s funeral—you learn pretty quickly that if you don’t have feelings, then they can’t be destroyed.”

Raised by an emotionally abusive tyrant of a father and an absent mother, and conditioned to believe she would never be worth time or effort from anyone, Sayer Cole has had a lifetime of being made to feel lacking in every aspect of her personality. Being taught from birth that showing emotions was the ultimate sign of weakness has left Sayer entrapped in a carefully crafted shell of self-control and perfection that serves to distance her from everyone around her. But when she learns of the existence of a long-lost brother, she does not hesitate to uproot her entire life in order to find him, leaving behind a structured and predictable existence in favour of the mere possibility of finding someone who has the power to make her feel a little less alone in the world.

“Control was everything to me, and Zeb Fuller made me want to lose it even when he was sound asleep in his own bed all the way across Denver.”

But nothing prepares Sayer for Zebulon “Zeb” Fuller, her brother’s lifelong friend, their immediate attraction leaving her flustered and unable to stop fantasising about him. The owner of a successful construction business, Zeb is a ‘fixer’ by nature and a firm believer in second chances—both in relation to old buildings that without his restoration skills would be left to decay, as well as giving people a chance to correct past mistakes—and he has spent the past seven years trying to prove to himself and to others that his own past does not define him. Until that very past suddenly comes knocking at his door and changing his life forever.

“I would craft her, mold her into something that was made up of nothing more than desire, want, need, and satisfaction if she gave me the opportunity.”

Now forced to work together and spend more and more time in each other’s company, it remains as clear as day that they are each other’s opposite in every single way, yet their attraction never dims or becomes anything less than visceral on both sides. But while Sayer fights that attraction by locking her feelings in and hiding them under a façade of cold professionalism and emotional distance, Zeb is a man used to knocking down old walls, and Sayer might very well be the greatest and most rewarding project of his life.

“She was like the best treasure, the greatest gift I had ever been handed, and I absolutely planned on appreciating every single part of her.”

A stunning love story, complex and emotionally satisfying cover to cover, this book is the full package. The perfect balance of steamy romance and engaging plotline, I never stopped feeling while reading this book, and could not put it down even for a second. The author excelled in giving these characters life, their every trait jumping off the page and instilling itself into our hearts. Their every vulnerability, their every hang-up and flaw serves to make them even more ‘real’ and compelling in our eyes, and we never stop feeling invested in their story. I adored this book, absolutely loved every word in it, and would recommend it unreservedly.

“You are more than one thing to me and I want all of them.”

5stars

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Saints of Denver – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
built

Levelled (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
BuiltAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
ChargedAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Out of Plans by Stylo Fantôme

OOPTHE NEW PLAN:

* Find Marc
* Don’t find Marc
* Take down a Russian Brava boss
* Don’t have sex with Kingsley
* Find Marc
* Take down a Colombian drug lord
* Don’t fall for Marc again
* DON’T FIND MARC
* Kill every
*
*
*
* SCREW THE PLAN AND JUST WING IT

This is the story of what happens when best laid plans fail, and a vengeful woman is forced to find her own way once again. A bond broken, trust shattered, and too many lies to keep track of find Marc and Lily all out of plans and running out of time. Can they find their way back to each other before trouble finds them first, or is it really the end of their journey?

review

“You left me! I trusted you and you left me! I believed in you, but you never believed in me. You left me in some country I’d never heard of, with nothing. You just left me.”

What a spectacular thrill-ride this series has been start to finish! For someone who rarely reads Romantic Suspense novels, this story has now turned me into a bona fide aficionado, and this author’s fan for life. Just as action-packed as its prequel, just as brilliantly written and masterfully executed, this was a book I was dying to get my hands on from the moment I knew it was coming, and it did not disappoint one bit. An unexpected love story, striking in its beauty, juxtaposed against a violent backdrop of deadly gun fights, sadistic mobsters, and hair-raising escapes—I felt like my poor heart was going to either burst out of my chest or give up on me altogether, and I loved every single exhilarating second of it. This is nothing less than one of my favourite reads of the year.

“She was quicker, faster. Lily 2.0. Her curves had been replaced by tone muscles, and her fiery passion had been replaced by ice cold anger.”

After surviving their diamond heist across North Africa, they might have found hope for a better life in each other’s arms, but we find our two mercenaries apart. In an attempt to spare her from risking her own life by going after the man who put a bounty on her head, Marcelle “Marc” De Sant has abandoned the love of his life on a beach in East Africa, telling her to find happiness without him. But as noble as his intentions might have been, Liliana “Lily” Brewster is all but moved by his actions, and determined now more than ever to prove to him and to everyone else what she’s made of. And then kill Marc for not believing in her.

“Do you see any of this, De Sant? Wherever you are, have you heard about me yet? You’re a coward, you’re spineless, you’re weak willed, and I’m going to prove who is the stronger one, once and for all.”

With the help of our favourite smooth-operating, suit-donning, motto-professing, deadly Englishman, Lily trains to become an unstoppable killing machine, channeling her heartbreak into an unquenchable thirst for vengeance and justice. She single-mindedly hunts the man responsible for her sister’s death, chasing him across two continents and using every resource at her disposal, but as she finally reaches her target, she finds herself in a face-off with the very man who broke her heart.

“You think I’m some delicate, fragile, little girl wandering around out here. I’m not. I wasn’t in Africa, and I’m even less of one now. You need to recognize that.”
“You’re delicate to me, and I would die if I broke you.”

And so we embark on a nail-biting adventure peppered with countless twists and turns, never knowing what act of death-defying insanity we’d find as we turn the next page. Yet, as wild and dangerous as their mission becomes, the love story between Marc and Lily never fails to take centre stage, driving the story forward and infusing it with a romantic softness that stands in stark contrast to the mayhem around them.

“You’re free. Go back to work. Get some jobs. Become Marcelle De Sant again.”
“Sweetheart, I haven’t been him since I looked into a pair of green eyes six months ago.”

Lily is quite possibly the most fearless heroine I have ever come across, a woman set on proving to everyone around her that she is no wilting flower and that she does not need a man to ‘save’ her, but her true courage is to be found in the way her heart refuses to stop loving even when giving her heart away is the riskiest act of them all.

“How could I have gone home? Home had become wherever he was.”

A brilliant marriage of gripping drama and gritty action, held together by phenomenal character development and mouth-watering chemistry between them, this is a book I devoured as quickly as I could, absolutely entranced by this author’s vivid prose and flair for effortlessly mixing action sequences and sexy romance. I hope one day to see this breathtaking story on the big screen since that is where it truly belongs, the role of Lily naturally played by Bruce Willis, in a red wig or something, because…Bruce Willis.

“I came out here so you wouldn’t have to.”

5stars

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The Mercenaries – Reading Order and Purchase Links
OOP

Best Laid PlansMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Out of Plans: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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CHAPTER REVEAL & GIVEAWAY: Out of Plans by Stylo Fantôme

oop_banner

One of the most addictive, exciting, mouth-watering series I have ever read, The Mercenaries duet is one of my top reads of the year, and we are only a few days away from the release of the second and final instalment in the series, the sequel to the phenomenal Best Laid Plans. So five awesome Blogs have teamed up to bring you a whole chapter to whet your appetite. I cannot recommend this series highly enough!! Enjoy the excerpt and do not forget to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. An advance reading copy of Out Of Plans and a $10 Amazon gift card are up for grabs!! Enjoy! ♥

THE NEW PLAN:

* Find Marc
* Don’t find Marc
* Take down a Russian Brava boss
* Don’t have sex with Kingsley
* Find Marc
* Take down a Colombian drug lord
* Don’t fall for Marc again
* DON’T FIND MARC
* Kill every
*
*
*
* SCREW THE PLAN AND JUST WING IT

This is the story of what happens when best laid plans fail, and a vengeful woman is forced to find her own way once again. A bond broken, trust shattered, and too many lies to keep track of find Marc and Lily all out of plans and running out of time. Can they find their way back to each other before trouble finds them first, or is it really the end of their journey?

excerpt

She writhed on top of him, grinding her hips down while her fingernails raked across his scalp. He was still tied to the chair, so he just leaned into her as much as he could, pulling his lips away from hers so he could work them down her neck.

“God, you’re incredible,” he groaned, pulling at her shirt with his teeth. She leaned away and yanked the blouse off, then grabbed his head and shoved it into her cleavage.

“Why did you tease me for so many years!? We could have done this long ago, then you wouldn’t have to die,” she told him, pulling her skirt up even higher so it was above her hips.

“Hindsight is twenty-twenty,” he replied, then locked his lips over her nipple and sucked hard.

That did it. She shrieked, her whole body shimmying. Then she was moving, pushing him away. She rushed around the chair and soon enough, he felt her cutting his restraints off. She came back to his front and cut his legs free, then grabbed his belt, yanking him to his feet.

He grabbed her around the waist and pulled her close, his free hand pulling roughly at her hair while he plunged his tongue into her mouth. She fought with his buckle while they stumbled across the room. They fell into a large dresser, the items on top of it clattering and clanking together.

“I want you to tie me up. Use the whip – don’t be gentle,” she demanded. He chuckled and bit down on her lip.

“Oh, don’t worry baby. I won’t.”

The hand in her hair yanked back. Beyond sexy hair pulling; hard enough to make her shriek and forcing her to look straight up at the ceiling. His other hand grabbed one of the many knives that sat on top of the dresser and then he spun her around, letting go of her hair and circling his arms around her torso. He held the knife to her throat, pressing so hard that if she so much as shook her head, blood would spill.

See? This is so much better than foreplay.

To catch up on the rest of this chapter, make sure you check the following Blogs…

Part 1 – The Rock Stars of Romance
Part 2 – Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads
Part 3 – Shh Moms Reading
Part 4 – Schmexy Girl Book Blog
Part 5 – Natasha is a Book Junkie

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The Mercenaries – Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Best Laid PlansMy reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Out of Plans: My review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Misconduct by Penelope Douglas

Former tennis player Easton Bradbury is trying to be the best teacher she can be, trying to reach her bored students, trying to forget her past. What brought her to this stage in her life isn’t important. She can’t let it be. But now one parent-teacher meeting may be her undoing…

Meeting Tyler Marek for the first time makes it easy for Easton to see why his son is having trouble in school. The man knows how to manage businesses and wealth, not a living, breathing teenage boy. Or a young teacher, for that matter, though he tries to. And yet…there is something about him that draws Easton in—a hint of vulnerability, a flash of attraction, a spark that might burn.

Wanting him is taboo. Needing him is undeniable. And his long-awaited touch will weaken Easton’s resolve—and reveal what should stay hidden…

review

I held her cheek with my hand, turning her lips to meet mine. “Say you miss me,” I whispered against her mouth. “And that you won’t regret me. Ask me if I think about you and miss you every day.”

It doesn’t happen too often that an author blows me away with two new books in such a short span of time, but Penelope Douglas is that kind of author, and her voice is always so fresh and unexpected, that I never know what kind of trill-ride she will take me on next. And while this book is so very different from any of her previous works, with somewhat older characters and new thought-provoking themes, her powerful writing style is ever-present, this time offering a forbidden love story that is so much more than it appears. I loved this book madly, finding myself addicted to its every mouth-watering scene, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone seeking not just a great book, but an unforgettable one too.

“I found myself not wanting this evening to end any way other than in his arms.”

Two strangers meet at a party. They flirt, they tease, they lose themselves in one another for a few stolen moments in time. But even as their bodies beg for more, their chance encounter all too soon comes to an end without them truly learning anything about each other. Six month later, their eyes unexpectedly meet across the empty rows of a classroom, but the excitement from seeing each other after so long disappears the moment they both realise they can never touch each other again.

“Easton was a woman I’d wanted in my bed, but Ms. Bradbury was off limits. The lines were there, clear as day, and not to be breached.”

A former tennis prodigy and now a newly appointed history teacher at an elite private school in New Orleans, Easton Bradbury’s tragic young life has turned the twenty-three-year-old into a woman whose daily little compulsions mask a much deeper need to control every aspect of her life, to never lose her independence, or put her fate in someone else’s hands again. She is reserved, emotionally aloof, and while she avoids intimacy and never allows herself to open up to a man long enough to connect with him, her heart aches to be more carefree, to laugh more, and to occasionally just let go of all control.

“Do you have any friends? Who was the last person to make you laugh? When was the last time you went to bed with someone more than once?”

When Tyler Marek walks into his son’s classroom expecting to meet his new history teacher, he cannot believe the woman standing before him is the same woman he’s been fantasising about for the past six months. A self-made billionaire and aspiring politician, Tyler is a man driven by his ambitions and his need to excel in all aspects of his professional life, but his race to the top has cost him his relationship with a son he barely knows and who cannot stand the sight of him. The only person who gets through to him is his new teacher, Ms. Bradbury, and while her progressive teaching methods might show him a way to communicate with his own son, everything else about the feisty, strong-minded young woman fails to fit into his life. Yet he cannot get her out of his head, drawn to her unpredictable personality like a moth to a flame, and thus brazenly pursuing her every chance he gets.

“With her, I had no idea what the next hour held, much less the next week or month.”

As they commence a secret affair that could potentially destroy both their careers, they discover that there is a lot more to their connection than either of them expected. The chemistry between them is undeniable, incinerating the pages with their scorching passion and need to completely lose themselves in each other, and for a little while, they allow themselves to pretend a short-lived fling is all they would ever want from one another. But when the time comes for Tyler to make an important choice in his life by finally setting his priorities straight, something has to give, and it might be what his heart wants to keep the most.

“I’ve never wanted anyone again and again. But when I think about you, I get excited.”

A truly splendid tale that might have started as a forbidden romance between two people who stood to lose everything by simply loving one another, but this book ended up being so much more than that. It’s a story of two people learning to accept and embrace their own vulnerabilities and limitations, and realising what was missing in their lives all along. It’s a story of a parent connecting with their child, learning how to communicate with them and earn their trust for the first time. And it’s a story about recognising what matters the most in life, and having the courage to correct one’s own mistakes. I have loved every single book by this extraordinary author, each story touching my heart deeply and always in a different way, but this book might just be my new favourite of hers. I never wanted it to end, nervously grasping onto each word, and wishing I could make them last longer on a page. This story had everything I always hope to find in a great book—explosive chemistry between the characters, a heart-warming romance, an engaging storyline that keeps me glued to the pages, a compelling backstory that showcases the many colourful facets of these characters, phenomenal writing—and I loved every addictive minute of it.

I don’t even know why I am still surprised by the way Ms Douglas’ books affect me time and time again, because even though I have come to expect greatness from her every single time I open one of her books, the way her stories hook me in is something I never want to get used to. An absolute must-read.

“So you count things. What’s your favorite number?”
“Eight… Eight is perfect. Two groups. Four in each group making two couples in each group… I’m crazy. That’s what you’re thinking.”
“I’m thinking you’re beautiful. And if you need everything in eights, it could be a long night.”

5stars

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