BOOK REVIEW: Sebring by Kristen Ashley


Nick Sebring has issues. Born feeling like an outsider in his own family, growing up under the shadow of a brother who could do anything, Nick isn’t that great of a guy. But when this culminates with Nick lashing out to hurt his brother through the woman he loves, Nick turns inward and makes some decisions about the man he intends to be.

And as he does this, he falls in love and truly learns the man that he’s grown to be.

When his love is murdered right before Nick’s eyes, Nick knows he has to avenge her. He knows how he’s going to avenge her. And he has no qualms using Olivia Shade to exact that vengeance.

Olivia Shade has grown up on the outside of her family too. Her problem is that they don’t want her outside. They want her all the way in, right under their thumbs. She pays the price for seeking escape and learns her lesson—she’ll never see a dawn where she wakes up free.

Then she meets Nick Sebring, and even as she fights it, the hope that died years ago starts to blossom. She can find love. She can have a man of her own. She can be happy. She can be free.

Olivia hopes while Nick schemes.

However, as Nick peels back the layers of all that is Olivia Shade, he finds something surprising. He understands its fragility. He falls in love with its beauty. He seeks to protect it.

But he forgets to protect his Livvie from one thing: Nick Sebring.


“I live in dark. Dawn never comes for me. There will be no new day where I wake up complete. Happy. Loved. There is no other side to make my way to. There is no believe. It just isn’t for me.”

It only seems fitting that a series about ‘antiheroes’ should come to a close with the story of the darkest horse of them all—a man we distrusted, feared, even hated at times, but whose every conflicting action up to this moment has also led us to believe there was more to his story, more to the man he could be. A splendid conclusion to the series, quite unexpected in its twists and turns, this is a story about redemption, hope, trust, resilience of the human spirit, and the healing power of love. Kristen Ashley brings out the big guns this time around, gifting us with a story that is as bold as it is shocking at times, immersing us into a dark underworld that keeps us on our toes page after page, and making us connect with two characters whose flaws are their most compelling features. I did not expect this story, I didn’t even hope for a story like this, but we were given everything this story needed to be…and more.

“Back in the day, Nick Sebring had been known as the incompetent, unprincipled wastrel younger brother of a successful man. Nick also was known to have a fondness for cocaine and a mind filled with nothing but getting laid and living large off his brother’s back. He was no longer any of that.”

Nick Sebring’s ill-spent youth might be behind him, but there’s a whole new set of demons tormenting his dreams and deciding his every move. His past mistakes have forced him to work on re-building the family bonds his careless actions put into jeopardy and to do all in his power to make his loved ones proud. But the agony and helplessness he felt while being forced to watch the brutal killing of his girlfriend have also shaped the past two years of his life, turning him into a man single-mindedly focused on revenging her and completing the mission that ultimately cost her her life. And that mission has led him to a woman whose blood makes her an ideal target in Nick’s quest for retribution.

“I breathe. I’m here. I take up space. I eat. I drive. But I have no brain. No will. No strength. No opinions. I do not matter to the point I do not exist.”
“You exist for me.”

Olivia Shade is a prisoner of her birthright. Born into a life of crime and violence, she’s never had any other choice but to join it, all freedom to make decisions taken away from her and any disobedience on her part punished severely. She is a woman profoundly unhappy with her life, but she has learned to keep all her emotions tightly locked inside her and to accept the hand that life her served her in silence and with no objections. Olivia’s only sanctuary, the only safe place she can just be her in a world where she can be everything but herself, is a very private and discrete sex club that no one in her family knows about—the perfect place for a man seeking revenge to gain access to a woman like Olivia.

“He had no idea. No f*cking clue. No f*cking clue that before dawn hit the sky on a new day, he wouldn’t be in over his head with Olivia Shade. He’d be drowning.”

With the setting just right and the perfect opening in place, it is Olivia who takes the first step, but from the moment they bodies converge, from the moment their eyes lock while panting against each other’s lips, they both know they are over their heads. And that they want more. They keep meeting and with each new encounter, their connection deepens. Under Olivia’s emotionless façade, Nick discovers a woman who yearns to feel safe and loved, a woman who never smiles because she believes emotions to be her greatest weakness, a woman who needs to exert control in the bedroom because she has none in her daily life. In Nick’s arms, however, Olivia blossoms, and as her walls start crumbling, she allows herself to believe in a better life.

“I believed. For one magnificent second, connected to Nick Sebring, I believed. I believed in a better world. I believed I could feel complete. I believed I could have someone by my side. I believed I could feel safe. I believed I could be happy. I believed I could be loved. I believed in a dawn coming where I would open my eyes and have all of this only for it to lead to another day dawning where I’d have it and then another day… And another… And another… And another…”

But with secrets on both sides, and Nick’s ulterior motives threatening everything they’ve slowly built between them, their worlds inevitably collide, putting into question every moment, every touch, every word, and pulling the two lovers apart.

A heart-wrenching story of finding hope even when darkness is all one has ever known, and of letting go of the past in order to embrace a brighter future—this is a book that put my poor heart through the wringer, and then left it brimming with glee. It is the perfect conclusion to an unconventional series that never stopped challenging the very definition of an ‘antihero’, giving us characters who don’t always follow the rules of society, yet live their lives by their own strict, albeit more cynical moral codes. Tales of redemption and second chances in life are my personal weakness, and Olivia and Nick’s story was beyond anything I could have hoped it would be.

“Dawn is coming, honey. Open your eyes.”




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Unfinished Hero – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
(standalone stories with interconnected characters
knight2 creed2 raid2 deacon sebring

KnightAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
CreedMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
RaidMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
DeaconMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
SebringAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Play It Safe by Kristen Ashley

No connections. Play it safe. These were the rules Ivey lived her life by.

Until she hit Mustang, Colorado, a perfectly imperfect town where the citizens were welcoming and one of them included the tall, beautiful, macho man rancher cowboy, Grayson Cody.

On the run for a decade, Ivey knew she was supposed to play it safe. But she was tired of being on the run. She wanted a normal. She wanted real. She wanted a home.

And she wanted Grayson Cody.

And Grayson Cody wanted Ivey.

No one who looked at them couldn’t see they belonged together. There was one man in this world for Ivey and one woman in this world for Grayson Cody.

So they fell in love.

But just as quickly as they fell together, they were betrayed and torn apart. Separated for years, Ivey was certain her life would not include her rancher cowboy. Until the town of Mustang reached out to her when Gray was in trouble. Even though she thought he broke her heart, she charged in to help. Then Gray and Ivey discovered they were betrayed and, not only that, Gray had an enemy who would stop at nothing to defeat him.


“Say you love me, Ivey.”
“I love you, Gray.”

You know what happens when you have a craving for a great book, one that you know will rock your socks off, but you feel like giving an ‘oldie’ a chance? You dive into your overflowing list of books to read and aim straight for a Kristen Ashley classic. Stories of second chances are my personal weakness, never failing to engage the ol’ ticker, and this one did not disappoint. In her distinctive and utterly addictive style of storytelling, Ms Ashley delivers another truly compelling, and oh-so romantic love story that made me want to re-read it over and over again.

“No connections. Play it safe. Still, if I could connect, if I could let go, if I could take a risk, I’d do it with him. In all my wandering, all I’d seen, all the people I’d met, he would be the one I’d smile at and do it without a guard up. He’d be the one I’d want to smile back at me.”

Ivey Bailey has spent most of her young life on the run from a past that taught her to protect her heart by never forming any attachments. At twenty-two, Ivey has never known the comfort of a home, the thrill of a first love, or the spark of that first kiss, always moving from town to town and never stopping anywhere long enough to connect with anyone. The only permanent fixture in her life has always been her older brother Casey, her protector since she was a child, and now her partner in crime as they travel the country hustling people and never putting down roots anywhere. But from the moment Ivey arrives in the quiet little town of Mustang, Colorado, she knows she would be happy living there forever, especially when a blue-eyed rancher lowers her guard and gives her a taste of what it would feel like to finally belong to someone.

“In this town. With him in it. Roots. Connections. Wake up every day and know where you are and go to bed every night knowing you’ll wake up that way. I would love that.”

Grayson “Gray” Cody might be Mustang’s favourite son, but life has never been a walk in the park for the young rancher. Groomed since birth to continue his family’s legacy, his future has always been tied to the land that has been passed down through generations of Cody men, and he is determined to continue that tradition by one day raising sons of his own with the same reverence for that land. Ivey might be the prettiest girl Gray’s ever seen in his life, but his immediate attraction to her runs much deeper, recognizing in her eyes the hardships she’s had to endure in life. Their pull is magnetic, visceral, meaningful from the very first touch, and for a brief moment in time, Ivey allows herself to dream of finally having a home, a family, a man who’d love her every single day of his life…until all is taken away from them all too quickly, and all they’ve found in each other is tragically lost once again.

“You weren’t just my first lover, Gray, you were my first everything.”

Seven years go by, and while Gray has kept living life just as before, he has never gotten over losing Ivey, or truly understood why she left him in the first place. Ivey, on the other hand, has settled down in a big city and worked hard to put down roots, but her heart still longs for Gray and the promise of a life they could have had together. So when she suddenly hears of Gray’s troubles, she does not hesitate to run to save the man she still loves from losing everything he holds dear. But the last thing she expects to find in Mustang is the knowledge of a betrayal that has cost them seven years of heartbreak. Or that Gray has never stopped loving her either.

“I loved you then. I love you now. I’ve loved you every day for seven years.”

A heart-wrenching, and yet truly uplifting second chance romance, this is one of those unforgettable love stories I just knew from the very beginning it would crush me emotionally, and while the tears kept coming…and coming, I never lost faith in Ms Ashley’s extraordinary ability to give us powerful endings that more than make up for all the heartache. It’s a story of a young girl who never had anything, yet all she ever dreamed of having in life was a place to belong to and the love of a good man. And it is a story of a man whose birth right gave him all he ever needed in life, but it is the love of a woman like Ivey that made it all worth fighting for. Whether you have a fondness for second chances at love, or a craving for a heart-warming romance to put your heart through the wringer, look no further because Ivey and Gray’s story will inevitably embed itself into your heart as an all-time favourite.

“There was nothin’ better than you.”




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BOOK REVIEW: Walk Through Fire by Kristen Ashley

The flame never dies . . .

Millie Cross knows what it’s like to burn for someone. She was young and wild and he was fierce and even wilder-a Chaos biker who made her heart pound. They fell in love at first sight and life was good, until she learned she couldn’t be the woman he needed and made it so he had no choice but to walk away. Twenty years later, Millie’s chance run-in with her old flame sparks a desire she just can’t ignore. And this time, she won’t let him ride off . . .

Bad boy Logan “High” Judd has seen his share of troubles with the law. Yet it was a beautiful woman who broke him. After ending a loveless marriage, High is shocked when his true love walks back into his life. Millie is still gorgeous, but she’s just a ghost of her former self. High’s intrigued at the change, but her betrayal cut him deep-and he doesn’t want to get burned again. As High sinks into meting out vengeance for Millie’s betrayal, he’ll break all over again when he realizes just how Millie walked through fire for her man . . .


“You love a man, Millie, you believe in him, you take him as he is. You go on his journey with him no matter what happens, even if that means you have to walk through fire.”

Never underestimate the power of a great writer because the moment you step into one of their books, your every emotion is at their mercy, but when that writer also happens to be one of your favourite contemporary authors at present, their every single word has the power to annihilate you. And this book did just that. I have never cried so many times and so desperately as I did while reading this breathtaking story, every aspect of it touching everything that I am, everything that I dream of, everything that I fear the most as a woman. Ms Ashley’s unparalleled insight into the female psyche and her ability to infuse a woman’s innermost vulnerabilities as well as strengths into her stories, celebrating both in equal measure, is the very reason I keep coming back for more, the thrill of diving into one of her stories never wearing off, never dimming, never becoming anything less than a true craving. Whether you’re a fan of MC romances or not, it does not matter in this case—this is a story that first and foremost celebrates women for their resilience, for their selflessness, for their ability to love without limits, all the while underlining the meaning of true love.

“I met my perfect man at age eighteen and I had him for three years. Then I sent him away.”

Millie Cross once had it all—a man who adored her, a man she adored in return, the kind of future she’d always dreamed of within her grasp—but the course of her life changed with a single sweep of fate’s cruel hand, spending the next twenty years simply going through the motions of living, her heart never even beginning to recover from losing its other half. So, when a chance sighting of the man she never stopped loving suddenly brings back all the memories she’s fought hard to suppress, she becomes convinced that only facing him would heal her wounds, and perhaps even give her a chance to move on in life. Because the one thing Millie never told him was why she left him.

“I needed to right that wrong. He needed to know. And I was the only one who could tell him.”

Logan “High” Judd was only a young recruit for the Chaos motorcycle club when he met an eighteen-year-old Millie at a party, but it took him merely an instant to know down to his soul that she would be the only woman he’d ever love. After three years of blissful happiness, however, his heart was torn out of his chest when she sent him packing, throwing all their dreams away. For the next two decades, High moved on, settled down, tried to build all that he once dreamed of having with Millie, but the hole in his chest never went away, never allowing him to forget the pain he felt from losing the love of his life.

“Millie,” he called.
I kept my gaze to the yard and replied with a, “Hmm?”
“Safe with me.”
My attention cut back to him.
“Never won’t be, babe,” he went on softly. “Not ever. Hear?”

When High finds himself suddenly facing the woman who broke his heart, he channels all he’s ever felt for her into anger, wishing to hurt her over and over again for all the pain he’s had to endure since she left him. He uses her body’s reaction to him to punish her, to humiliate her, to make her feel as insignificant as she’d made him feel all those years ago when she pushed him away without an explanation, and she suffers every blow, every hit to her dignity, starved for his touch, for his love, for his tenderness, knowing there is nothing of her left to break. Until there is and she is forced to tell the man she never stopped loving why she left him when they seemingly had it all.

“I’m done walking through fire for you, High! I’m done not because I’m done but because there’s nothing left of me to burn. You have it all! You’ve always had it all! I gave up everything so you could have it all! Please! God! Leave me to my nothing! And if you gave one single shit about me, ever, make them let me have my nothing!”

And this is where my own heart broke into smithereens, crying for a heroine who never deserved the fate life served her, or the punishment she endured as a result of it, and hurting for a hero who spent twenty years of his life never really knowing why he lost it all, or how much he had truly been loved all those years. This is a story of second chances at love, at happiness, at a happily-ever-after that was theirs from the beginning and it always remained theirs, showing us that time cannot touch true love, and that great sacrifices often bring even greater rewards in life. This is also a story of forgiveness, of acceptance of what we cannot change. In true Kristen Ashley style, we are given two characters who are so multi-faceted and compelling that their journey very much becomes our own, and I felt every up and down right in my gut.

“I love you. Loved you then. Love you now. Never quit lovin’ you in a way I know I never will. You were it for me, the only one, the only woman I ever loved, and you never quit bein’ it.”

With a colourful plethora of secondary characters from previous instalments in the series very much playing a vital role in Millie and High’s story, and proving once again the unbreakable bond connecting them all to one another, Ms Ashley has given us another unforgettable tale that will undoubtedly be added to the ‘re-read pile’ for many. I was drawn to re-visit several scenes right after I first finished this book, unwilling to bid farewell to this story and to these characters…because if you keep re-reading a book, it never really ends, right?

“If we can walk though fire, baby, we can do anything.”




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Chaos – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
ownthewind fireinside2 ridesteady copy

Own the WindMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Fire InsideMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Ride Steady: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Walk Through Fire: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UKAmazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW & EXCERPT: Hold On by Kristen Ashley

Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for her.

In love for years with the last bastion of the ‘burg’s eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia’s children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett “Merry” Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett’s back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.


“Hold on tight, Cherie… Don’t let go.”

When you open a new book and you find yourself gasping for air, your chest clenching only a few pages into the story, you know you’ve hit the mother lode of great reads. Once again, in true Kristen Ashley style, we are given a story that owns us from the start, our hearts fluttering to the rhythm of the powerful emotions driving every scene, every sentence, every word exemplifying this author’s distinctive and truly remarkable prose. I always take my time reading a KA book, but I gave myself even more time to savour this particular story, to absorb every hidden layer, to fully appreciate every facet of these two characters that are so unlike any of her others, because I knew she had saved some of her best work for last. A truly splendid conclusion to a phenomenal series, if you haven’t ventured into it yet, it is time you pay The ‘Burg a visit.

“I was the kind of girl who’d never dreamed because, even when I was little, I always knew I was the kind of girl who’d be stupid to dream.”

Cherie “Cher” Rivers stopped dreaming of a knight in shining armour a long time ago, learning very early in life that the only person she could ever truly depend on was herself. A single mum in her mid thirties, a hard worker, a loving parent, a woman confident in all that she is and all that she would ever be, she lives her life unapologetically and true to herself, knowing that all the sacrifices she has ever made were done in good conscience and for the good of one person and one person alone—her beloved ten-year-old son Ethan. Having pushed all her dreams of finding a good man and being loved by such a man aside, all Cherie now dreams of is giving her son a good life, teaching him how to be a decent man, and making him feel loved every single day of his life. But as closed off as Cherie’s heart might appear to be, it secretly pines for a man who’s only ever seen her as a friend—a good man, a loyal man, a trustworthy man, the kind of man she would fight with all her might to keep in her life. Just not a man who’s ever showed any signs of loving her back.

“A man who liked me. A man who laughed at my jokes. A man who smiled at me regularly. Who teased me often. Who shot the shit with me. A man who liked me a lot. A man who was my friend. A man who thought of me as a friend. The man I loved more than breath.”

Lieutenant Garrett “Merry” Merrick has only ever loved one woman in his life, but he’s never believed in happy endings. Losing their mother as young children has marked the Merrick siblings deeply, leaving them both terrified of loss, and thus prone to self-sabotaging their own happiness while in pursuit of emotional numbness. But while his sister conquered her demons and got her second chance at finding happiness, Merry’s hang-ups have led him to watching the love of his life getting engaged to another man and not wanting to do anything to stop it. Except drowning his sorrows in an expensive bottle of whisky with a friend, and opening his eyes to the possibility that the one who’s been in front of him all along might be exactly the kind of woman he didn’t even know he was looking for.

“You got good, you don’t let it go. It lets you go, you hold on. It slips through your fingers, you pull out all the stops to get it back. You got somethin’ worth fighting for, you fight for it. You do not sit on your ass waitin’ for it to come back to you. You show whoever that is they mean something and you go all out on that, and the only way you go down is doin’ that shit swinging.”

With their inhibitions lowered and their bodies aching to seek comfort in one another, Merry and Cherie share one night of unrivalled passion, a small taste of the bliss to be found in each other’s arms that neither of them can deny, but a new day brings them two very different outlooks on the night they’d shared—one of them daring to dream of more, and the other dismissing it as a one-night stand that should have never happened.

“It wasn’t walking out of a house into a taxi or your car in your clothes from the night before that was the walk of shame. You wanted what you wanted, you went after it, you got it, then you left it and went on with your life. There was no shame in that. None. The shame was lying naked in your own bed listening to a man be quiet while dressing because he woke up next to you not wanting one thing to do with you.”

Cherie’s pain from allowing herself for one fleeting moment to hope a man would want to look after her, share her load, love her and her son, and then seeing that dream vanish even before it took shape, leaves a deep scar in both her pride as well as her fragile heart, only strengthening her conviction that she is just one of those girls who would never find that kind of happiness in life, even though she would give anything to have it.

“… he’d never give me what I wanted. I forgot. I forgot I wasn’t the kind of girl who got what she wanted. Not once. Not in my whole f*cking life. Yeah, I’d forgotten that.”

But the moment Cherie’s heart closes off again, Merry’s suddenly becomes wide open to falling for a woman who now spends equal time fighting her attraction towards him and plotting his murder for making her feel everything she refuses to feel for him. And when a Kristen Ashley alpha male sets his eyes on a woman, get the popcorn ready and make yourself comfortable, because resistance is futile from the get-go and it’s going to be a ride like no other.

“What I want is more good times with you, Cher. I wanna f*ck wild and I wanna laugh hard, and while we’re doin’ that, I’m gonna look out for you. More, I can’t promise.”

A woman scared of any more heartbreak in her life, reluctant to let a man see her vulnerable side and trust him not to hurt her, and a man who didn’t even know that all he ever needed in life in order to let go of his past was a woman who would stick by him through thick and thin—Merry and Cherie are two damaged, lonely people who find everything they’ve ever dreamed of in each other, if only they can see past their fears and embrace the rare beauty they’ve uncovered in each other’s arms.

“That’s life. You have no clue what you’ll get along the journey. But you won’t get dick you stay in one place, spinning your wheels.”

I have loved all the stories in this epic series by an author who never fails to rock my world, and this was not just another great addition to the series—it was the perfect finale, the perfect conclusion, the perfect send-off to a remarkable group of characters whose stories have become some of my favourite re-reads. The epilogue alone acknowledging all the other couples in the series was far more than just the proverbial icing on the cake, the closure gained from seeing their lives fast-forwarded before our eyes leaving me in a happy daze of nostalgia laced with bittersweet tears. Each one of these stories touched me deeply in its own right and in its own way, and the beauty of Merry and Cherie’s story did not disappoint. Not by a long shot.

“God, did he know? Did he know that he was the dream come true a girl like me would never dare to dream?”




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Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.

I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.

“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”

My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.

“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.

“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.

“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.

“Step back,” I demanded.

“No,” he denied.

I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.

They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.

I glared at him from closer.

He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.

He was getting off on this.

I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.

I wanted this done.

“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.

“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”

I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”

I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.

I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.

And doing it better.

He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”

I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.

I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”

“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”

I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”

That didn’t get me fire.

That got me ice.

“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”

That made me ice over.

“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”

He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.

“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”

I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.

But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty-ass life I’d ever received.

“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”

I could stand.

I could stare.

But I couldn’t breathe.

Merry could.

He could also speak.

“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”

His words were lost on me.

I continued to stand.

I continued to stare.

But my lungs had started burning.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.

“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”

“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick-up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”

That was kind of funny as well as hot.

I still said nothing.

Merry fell silent and stared at me.

Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.

“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”

After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.

“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”

He closed the door on that.

I stood where he left me.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

What was I worth?

What was I worth to Merry?

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The ‘Burg
(standalone stories with interconnected characters)
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For YouAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
At PeaceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Golden TrailAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Games of the HeartAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
The PromiseMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA
Hold OnAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW: Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley

The ride of her life . . .

Once upon a time, Carissa Teodoro believed in happy endings. Money, marriage, motherhood: everything came easy—until she woke up to the ugly truth about her Prince Charming. Now a struggling, single mom and stranded by a flat tire, Carissa’s pondering her mistakes when a vaguely familiar knight rides to her rescue on a ton of horsepower.

Climb on and hold tight . . .

In high school, Carson Steele was a bad boy loner who put Carissa on a pedestal where she stayed far beyond his reach. Today, he’s the hard-bodied biker known only as Joker, and from the way Carissa’s acting, it’s clear she’s falling fast. While catching her is irresistible, knowing what to do with her is a different story. A good girl like Carissa is the least likely fit with the Chaos Motorcycle Club. Too bad holding back is so damned hard. Now, as Joker’s secrets are revealed and an outside threat endangers the club, Joker must decide whether to ride steady with Carissa—or ride away forever . . .


“Jesus, you do it for me.”
“I do…what for you?”

I always say it—there’s nothing like a Kristen Ashley book, my heart skipping a beat at the mere act of turning that very first page, but a love story set within the realm of the Chaos Motorcycle Club is a reading experience like no other, a thrill ride that leaves our hearts blazing in its wake from the sheer emotion present in every single word. A story of second chances in life, of two people who find all they’ve ever dreamed of having in each other, but also a story of families, of people who might not share the same blood but who would do anything for one another—this is in many ways the ‘quintessential’ Kristen Ashley novel, her unmistakable style and tone of storytelling present in every word, letter, and comma, and yet there was something quite unique about this story, and its powerful message of never losing hope, and the true meaning of family. I’ve loved every book in this series, but I lost my heart to Joker and Carissa’s story, and no amount of re-reading would give it back.

“It’s you. It’s always been you. It’ll always be you. F*ckin’ always.”

Carson “Joker” Steele’s childhood was not an easy one, raised in an abusive home by a drunken single father, but he eventually found his path in life by becoming a patched member of the Chaos Motorcycle Club, a brotherhood of men whose unbreakable bond and loyalty make them family. And even though he worked hard at leaving his painful past behind and only forging forward, he never forgot those who showed him kindness when his life had been a living nightmare, cherishing in particular the memory of a beautiful cheerleader who was never his but whose smile could light up even the darkest of his days.

“One day, Carson Steele, you’re going to be a magnificent man… And one day, you’ll see past what you’ve been taught and you’ll believe it too.”

All Carissa Teodoro ever wanted in life was a family of her own, to be a good wife and a great mother, and while she once believed she could have it all, her life steadily moving in that direction since her high school days, she finds herself divorced in her twenties, with a baby, no friends, no family, no money, a dead-end job, and her self-confidence in smithereens. The only bright light in her otherwise glum life is her little baby boy, a child she would do anything for, and whose happiness and wellbeing remain her only objectives in life.

“I hadn’t been about me. Not for a long time. Maybe never. I had been coasting in life for so long. I actually didn’t know who me was.”

When Carissa finds herself stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire, the last person she expects to come to her rescue is a man from her past who never knew all that she had felt for him before he up and left. And although Joker’s feelings for her have not changed in the eight years since he last saw her, he is now convinced more than ever that a woman like Carissa deserves a better man than him, so he fights her pull at every turn, prepared to protect her and her child, but unwilling to claim her as his own.

“She doesn’t need dark. She never shoulda had it and she’s had a lifetime of it. What I got in me gets loose, it’ll engulf her.”

As Carissa’s troubles only intensify, Carson finds himself falling even more in love with the young mother whose selflessness and determination never waver, never lose focus, and eventually giving himself permission to do so too. Her honesty and compassion start melting his frosty disposition, revealing a man who has waited all his life to love unconditionally, and to become someone important to a woman like Carissa. They fill each other’s lives with the kind of happiness they both dreamed of finding in life, supporting one another and feeling something they had long forgotten how to feel—hope.

“It was always you. Only you. I was into you back then, Carissa, in a big fuckin’ way. And that hasn’t changed.”

But as their past and present start colliding, Joker and Carissa’s bond is put to the test, showing us how unfaltering true love can be and how much the support of those we love the most can empower a person to cope with any curveball life throws our way. Against her trademark backdrop of charismatic secondary characters we already know and love, Kristen Ashley has given us another ‘badass’ alpha male who wastes little time to claim his leading lady, and a ‘kickass’ heroine who might have always dreamt of a knight in shining armour riding in to save the day, but whose strength and resilience make her pick herself up and then fight never to be brought down again. This was the kind of story that I had a hard time letting go of, certain scenes replaying in my mind over and over again, and filling me with an overwhelming sense of hope and positivity. It’s a story that tells us never to throw in the towel in life, to keep fighting for happiness, and when we find it, to never let go of it. A true Kristen Ashley classic, perfect beginning to end.

“I’ve loved her since high school, man. She means everything to me. You gotta drag her down, that’ll suck, but I’ll pick her back up. You gotta rip her apart, I’ll f*ckin’ hate watchin’ it, but I’ll put her back together. Do what you gotta do to make you feel like you got the bigger dick. But know this, in the end, it’s gonna be her and me.”




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Chaos – Recommended Reading Order and Purchase Links
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Own the WindMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Fire InsideMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Ride SteadyMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Walk Through FireMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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BOOK REVIEW & EXCERPT: Soaring by Kristen Ashley


American heiress Amelia Hathaway needs to start anew.

Her husband cheated on her, and when everything she wanted in life slipped through her fingers, she fell apart. When she did, she took another heart wrenching hit as she lost the respect of her children.

When her ex took her family from California to live in the small town of Magdalene in Maine, Amelia decided it was time to sort herself out. In order to do that and win her children back, she moves to Cliff Blue, an architectural masterpiece on the rocky coast of Magdalene.

Her boxes aren’t even unpacked when she meets Mickey Donovan, a man who lives across the street, a man so beautiful Amelia takes one look at Mickey and knows she wants it all from him.

The problem is, she finds out swiftly that he’s friendly, he’s kind, but he doesn’t want everything back.

Amelia struggles to right past wrongs in her life at the same time find out who she wants to be. She also struggles with her attraction to the handsome firefighter who lives across the street.

But Amelia will face a surprise when her friendly neighbor becomes not-so-friendly. As Amelia and Mickey go head to head, Amelia must focus on winning back the hearts of her children.

She soon discovers she also must focus on winning the heart of a handsome firefighter who understands down to his soul the beautiful heiress who lives across the street is used to a life he cannot provide.


“All my life, I was the girl who everyone thought had everything or could get it. But the only thing I ever wanted was a man like you.”

To encapsulate all the feelings that a Kristen Ashley novel stirs up in me is always an ambitious feat in itself, her stories being an extraordinary emotional journey beginning to end, and this book did not disappoint. Mickey and Amelia’s story moved me deeply, just as I expected it would, but the sheer beauty of their romance caught me by surprise. I never expected to relate so completely to two characters representative of this particular point on the age spectrum, and while their sizzling chemistry is truly something to behold, the emotional aspect of their connection, specked with just the right amount of heart-pricking angst, took my breath away on more than one occasion. This is a story about life, about the unexpected journeys that life takes us on, about the curveballs, about the direct hits and the pain they bring, but it is first and foremost a story about second chances at finding happiness, about finding the strength to be whole again and fighting for what matters the most in life. A truly splendid example of this author’s inimitable style of storytelling—I walked in these characters’ shoes, I felt all they felt, my heart roared every time they ‘soared’, and in the end, I did not want to say goodbye to them.

“There is nothing guaranteed in life. But the only leaps worth taking are leaps of faith on love. So look where you leap, beautiful, and happy landing.”

Amelia Hathaway is a woman in her late forties, an heiress, a mother, a scorned wife. The unexpected demise of her marriage made her lose herself in her anger and pain, turning her into the kind of vindictive individual her privileged upbringing taught her she should be, but while reeling in self-pity and fury, Amelia lost herself along the way, the ultimate cost being the affections and respect of her two beloved children. In a desperate attempt to start anew, to beat back the anger and bitterness that poisoned her mind for too long, and to give her children the kind of mother they could not only love again, but also be proud of and learn from, she moves to Magdalene, the small coastal town her ex-husband and their children made their new home.

“No matter what it took, no matter how much time, no matter that it made me bleed, no matter what it cost me, no matter that it would take everything I had and force me to find more, I had to do what I’d come to Maine to do.”

But a new house, new friends, a new purpose in life mean little when one’s confidence has hit rock bottom, and Amelia’s wake-up call arrives in the form of a handsome firefighter neighbour, whose striking looks and protective demeanour make her wish he’d see her the way a man sees a woman he wants in his life. But she soon realises that before anyone can see her that way, she needs to like what she sees in the mirror.

“He didn’t need me in his life. I didn’t even like me in my life. Alas, I couldn’t escape me.”

Mickey Donovan is a single dad, a natural provider, a man who works two jobs in order to give his kids the life they deserve, even when doing what he loves means living a more modest life than the one he was born into. The slow downfall of his marriage has made him question all he can offer a woman, especially a woman like Amelia Hathaway, knowing he could never give her all that she has been accustomed to having in her life. But Amelia’s insecurities put a different spin on Mickey’s reluctant behaviour.

“He didn’t want me, plain and simple. I was just his…‘attractive’ neighbor.”

When they finally take a leap and give in to their attraction, they inevitably connect on every level, but they don’t rush—they take their time, they show consideration for the people in their lives such a union would affect the most, and they give themselves time to get to know one another. The true beauty of these characters is that they are two formed, adult individuals who know what they’d gain by taking a chance on such a love, what they risk missing out on if they don’t, and who are now prepared to work their hardest to hold onto the rare magic they found in each other. The slow evolution of their relationship is as it should be, gradual and organic, each emotional milestone sinking deeply into our hearts and making us smile in delight. And there is so much to smile about in this story!

“… there is no safer place than in my arms and when you’re here, Amy, you can give me anything.”

This is the tale of a woman who always had a lot in life, and yet all she ever wanted was a loving family and a man to stand by her and accept her for all that she is. And it is the tale of a hard-working man coming to terms with the fact that some women are not looking for glitz and gold in life, but the simple joy of loving and of being loved by a man who understands them and provides for them in ways no money could ever buy. With so many aspects of this story designed to tug at our heartstrings, this was not a book I was able to read in one sitting, taking my time to fully absorb the magnitude of some particularly emotional scenes in the story. While this might be in essence a love story, this is also a tale of broken families, of healing families, of new families. And it is a story of redemption, showing that we are not defined by the mistakes we make, but by the steps we take to correct them.

“I am who I am. I have what I have. And one of the things I got that I wanna keep is you.”



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“Hello, Boston Stone,” I greeted because I had no idea what else to say.

“You are?” he asked as I put the bags to the ground and touched the button on the trunk that would open it keyless.

As it glided open, I opened my mouth, doing it uncertain if I’d share my name or continue to try to brush him off, but I didn’t have the chance to decide.

I heard the word, “Babe,” growled from behind me.

I turned and saw Mickey stalking our way.

Not sauntering.

Not simply walking.


And he didn’t look happy.

“Mickey,” I called tentatively as a greeting, uncertain at his demeanor.

I hadn’t seen him since he hadn’t seen me (I hoped) at the movies.

He was in his firefighter-not-fighting-a-fire uniform of blue khakis and tee. His eyes were moving up and down my body. He still was unbelievably beautiful (that uniform…seriously).

He didn’t greet me back.

When he stopped, his gaze cut to Boston Stone and it went flinty.

“You need somethin’?” he asked incomprehensibly inhospitably.

“I was just helping this lovely lady with her groceries,” Stone responded.

“I got it,” Mickey stated flatly and then he got it. As in, he carefully pulled me back, grabbed the bags I was perfectly capable of picking up myself and placed them in my trunk.

He then went for the bag Stone was carrying, caught hold, but Stone didn’t let go.

“I can put it in the trunk myself, Donovan,” Stone clipped.

So they knew each other.

“As I said, I got it, Stone,” Mickey clipped back.

Yes, they knew each other.

The handles flattened as they both kept hold and pulled.

“Please!” I exclaimed. “We already had a wine incident. The sidewalk of Magdalene has been anointed with one red, let’s not anoint Cross Street with four.”

Mickey instantly let go and stepped back, running into me but he didn’t apologize or move away.

He stayed close, the back of his left side touching the front of my right.

It was at that point I noticed Mickey gave off a lot of heat.

Stone put the bag in my trunk, shut it and turned slowly to Mickey and me.

But he had eyes on Mickey.

“Are you two seeing each other?”

“That’s your business how?” Mickey asked as reply.

“It’s my business because, if you’re not, I’d like to request you leave so I can ask her to dinner,” Stone returned.

My head jerked as my body locked in shock.

“That’s not gonna happen,” Mickey growled.

My body stayed locked in shock but that didn’t mean my eyes didn’t fly to Mickey’s stony-faced profile in more shock.

“So you are seeing each other,” Stone remarked.

“Again, not your business,” Mickey bit out.

Stone’s expression turned shrewd. “And that’s something that would lead me to believe that the beautiful woman standing behind you is free to go to dinner with me.”

“You forget English?” Mickey asked. “I already answered that too.”

I butted in, “I think I can speak for myself, Mickey.”

He moved nothing but his head (though his torso shifted an inch) so he could look down at me.

His eyes were communicating again.

This time they were communicating the fact that he really didn’t like Boston Stone.

Considering what I knew of Mickey, this would be something that, along with my own natural aversion to Mr. Stone, would have made me decline the man’s invitation.

Unfortunately, Mickey added words to his look so this didn’t happen.

“You’re not goin’ out with this guy.”

Was he being serious?

He couldn’t tell me what to do. He wasn’t my father, my brother or my lover.

Heck, he barely knew me!

All he knew about me was that he didn’t want me. I was his…“attractive” neighbor who he now did not even walk over to beg recipes from (okay, so Aisling didn’t know of any other recipes I had, but whatever).

He didn’t even return my email!

And he was off with beautiful, statuesque redheads, smiling at them, taking them to movies.

He couldn’t tell me who I could and could not see.

“I’m not?” I snapped.

“No,” he turned fully to me, an ominous fully. “You are not,” he enunciated each word clearly.

“Sorry?” I asked sarcastically. “When did you become my big brother?”

He was still enunciating clearly, and dangerously, when he stated, “I absolutely am not your big brother.”

“No, you’re not,” I retorted, tossing my hair, which I hoped was shining in the sun. And with my hair toss, I further hoped my fabulous highlights caught the rays and gleamed. “You’re my neighbor. And if I want to go out with someone, you can’t say boo to the contrary.”

“This guy is an asshole,” he bit off, jerking his thumb at Boston Stone.

I felt my eyes get big and I got up on my toes, leaning into him, hissing, “That’s insufferably rude, Mickey Donovan.”

“It isn’t rude if it’s the truth.”

“You may think so but you don’t say it in front of the man in question.”

“You do if he’s as big of an asshole as this asshole is,” Mickey shot back.

My eyes got wider and I leaned closer. “Stop being nasty!” I demanded.

“You been in town, what?” he asked then answered with another question he didn’t expect a reply to. “A coupla months? I lived here my whole life and trust me, I’m savin’ you from a load of misery, this guy gets interested in you,” he returned.

I rocked down to my stilettos. “I am a big girl, Mickey. All grown up and everything. I do think I can make such decisions for myself.”

“You do, and they’re not what I’m tellin’ you to do, you’d be wrong.”

I glared at him.

Then I pushed right past him, hand lifted and got in the space of Boston Stone.

“Boston,” I said as he took my hand, grinning arrogantly and more than a little obnoxiously at me. “A belated nice to meet you. I’m Amelia Hathaway.”

His hand tightened in mine as he murmured, “Amelia.”

I pulled my hand from his, asking, “Do you know Cliff Blue?”

“Of course,” he replied, inclining his head in a pompous way that actually was kind of creepy.

“I live there,” I announced, doing another hair toss and powering beyond the creepy. “And I have plans this evening but I’m free tomorrow. Are you?”

“I wasn’t,” he replied. “But I’ll be making a phone call and I will be.”

“Excellent,” I decreed. “Seven?” I went on to ask.

“I’d be delighted,” he said softly, his eyes dancing with humor and I could see that too was relatively malicious.

I didn’t care.

I’d go out with him once, just to stick it to Mickey.

Then I’d be done with Boston Stone.

And anyway, I had about seven new outfits that would be perfect for a date and I knew this even though I hadn’t been on a date in two decades.

“I’ll see you then,” I said.

“You will, Amelia.” He dipped his chin to me. “Looking forward to it.”

“And me,” I replied.

He gave me another arrogant grin then transferred it to Mickey.

“Donovan,” he murmured.

Mickey didn’t reply.

Stone looked back to me. “Until tomorrow, Amelia.”

“Yes, Boston. And please, feel free to call me Amy.”

Mickey grunted.

Boston smiled before he turned and sauntered away.

I whirled on Mickey and tipped my head to the side. “See? All grown up and able to make decisions for myself.”

“What I see is a pattern here,” he retorted unpleasantly.

“Oh?” I asked with mock interest. “Do tell.”

Then Mickey told.

“First time I laid eyes on you, your ex was up in your face, cursing at you, threatening you, shouting right at you and acting like a total f*cking dick. It’s obvious he’s rich and up his own ass and didn’t give a shit you were alone, and because of that, you probably felt unsafe. It was just as obvious you were lettin’ him use you as his punching bag. Even if no woman deserves the way he was speakin’ to you, he just kept right on punching. Now, you know that guy you just made a date with is a total asshole and you made that date anyway. So that’s your pattern. You open yourself up for assholes to shit all over you. And if that’s the way you like it, baby, then no way in f*ck I’m gonna get in there to show you there’s another way.”

Before I could retort, he turned on his boot and prowled away.

Read another excerpt

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Magdalene series reading order and purchase links
(standalone novels with interconnected characters)
Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00034]

The WillMy review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback
Soaring: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Paperback

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Soaring by Kristen Ashley


The 2015 Birthday Teasers Event continues, and today, I am sharing with you a never seen before excerpt from a book I loved in every possible way—Soaring by the magnificent Kristen Ashley—to be released on 16 March 2015. Mickey and Amelia’s story moved me deeply, just as I expected it would, but the sheer beauty of their romance caught me by surprise. And while this might be in essence a love story, this is also a tale of broken families, of healing families, of new families. And it is a story of redemption, showing that we are not defined by the mistakes we make, but by the steps we take to correct them. The excerpt I picked for you is not random, however, as it matches in a way the one I shared with you last year from The Will, both excerpts describing the kind of men these heroines are looking for in their lives. I hope you love it as much as I do and trust me when I say that Soaring will leave you speechless. I’ll have my review posted for you closer to the book’s release date… ♥

Pre-order book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | iBooks

American heiress Amelia Hathaway needs to start anew.

Her husband cheated on her, and when everything she wanted in life slipped through her fingers, she fell apart. When she did, she took another heart wrenching hit as she lost the respect of her children.

When her ex took her family from California to live in the small town of Magdalene in Maine, Amelia decided it was time to sort herself out. In order to do that and win her children back, she moves to Cliff Blue, an architectural masterpiece on the rocky coast of Magdalene.

Her boxes aren’t even unpacked when she meets Mickey Donovan, a man who lives across the street, a man so beautiful Amelia takes one look at Mickey and knows she wants it all from him.

The problem is, she finds out swiftly that he’s friendly, he’s kind, but he doesn’t want everything back.

Amelia struggles to right past wrongs in her life at the same time find out who she wants to be. She also struggles with her attraction to the handsome firefighter who lives across the street.

But Amelia will face a surprise when her friendly neighbor becomes not-so-friendly. As Amelia and Mickey go head to head, Amelia must focus on winning back the hearts of her children.

She soon discovers she also must focus on winning the heart of a handsome firefighter who understands down to his soul the beautiful heiress who lives across the street is used to a life he cannot provide.


“From the gentleman down the bar…for you,” the bartender said.

I looked from him down to the fresh cosmopolitan he put in front of me then down the bar at an attractive man with blond hair, a little gray at the temples, his smiling blue eyes on me.

“Holy shit,” Alyssa said, sitting on a stool at a nice restaurant with a respectable bar one town over called Breeze Point.

“Lovely,” Josie, sitting on my other side, murmured.

We were out “trolling” as Alyssa put it, or “having girl time with the possibility of something happening” as Josie put it.

I decided to think of it as the latter as well as an opportunity to wear another of my going out outfits.

But at that moment, when the possibility of something happening happened, I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t had a man buy me a drink in so long that I forgot what I’d done when they did.

Since my current drink was running low, I lifted it to my lips, finished it and put my fingers to the stem of the glass of the new, shifting my eyes back to the man.

I smiled.

He smiled back again.

“Pure cool,” Alyssa approved.

“Well done,” Josie did the same.

I looked to Josie and noted, “He’s only sent this because you both have huge rocks on your fingers.”

They did. Although Josie’s was a fair sight bigger than Alyssa’s, neither ring failed to state the giver’s intention that these two women were t-a-k-e-n, taken.

And they were far more attractive than me, both tall, both blonde and both stunning.

“You say shit like that again, I’m bitch slappin’ some sense into you and don’t you doubt it,” Alyssa muttered.

I looked to her to see her eyes squinty on me, but I did doubt it.

Alyssa would never do that. She’d threaten it repeatedly (if needed), but she’d never do it.

“You’re hot,” she went on to declare.

“I’m not a tall, built blonde,” I pointed out.

“No, you’re a petite, beautiful brunette with big knockers, awesome gams and a great ass even though you pushed out a coupla kids and the rest of you is still too skinny,” she retorted. “Now shut up or I’ll bring a catfight to Breeze Point, I don’t care how ritzy this place is.”

“She’s right, you know,” Josie said and I looked her way. “There are many varieties of…hot.”

Josie using a slang word, something she rarely did, made me giggle.

“Now grab that drink, sister, and get that great ass over to that hot guy,” Alyssa ordered.

I looked to her in surprise.

“Me go to him?” I asked.

“He laid it out,” she said by way of answer. “You got your bitches with you. Don’t make him come over here and lay it out in front of your bitches. It’s already hard enough to put himself out there, buyin’ a drink for a beautiful woman, settin’ himself up for a crash and burn seein’ as he’s cute but you’re all that’s you. Don’t make it harder.”

I saw her point (though I might not have entirely agreed about “all that’s me”) but I didn’t like this.

And it struck me that I didn’t like this because I was me.

I was greedy.

I wanted it all.

I wanted a man who had confidence enough in himself not to lay it out but to lay it out. I wanted a man who looked at me and was so drawn to me he’d put himself out there for me. He took the chance to walk over to me with my friends and show me how much he wanted me. I wanted a man who would demonstrate he wanted me so much, he’d do anything to have a shot with me.

He’d buy me a drink.

He’d walk over and speak to me.

He wouldn’t give one thought to “shitting where he lived” because he was my neighbor. Instead, he’d want me so badly he’d throw caution to the wind just for a chance to be with me.

That’s what I wanted.

And that was what I would get or I’d take nothing.

Shock of shocks, I was okay being alone in my big house with mostly me as my company. I wasn’t going to settle for just anybody so I’d be less lonely because I was no longer lonely.

I was just alone.

And I was fine with that.

“If he wants me,” I mumbled, lifting the drink he bought me to my lips and before taking a sip I finished, “He can come and get me.”

“Well, batten down the hatches, babe, ’cause here he comes,” Alyssa stage-whispered loudly.

My body locked.

“Ladies,” a smooth male voice said.

I took my sip, luckily not choking, and swiveled on my stool.

He was right there, smiling at me then he looked beyond me. “If you’ll get these other ladies a drink and put them on my tab.” He looked from the bartender to me. “I’d like a moment with you to introduce myself privately.”

He lifted his hand to me.

I looked into his blue eyes that were not as beautiful as Mickey’s but they were still handsome.

Then I looked to his hand, which was not as strong as Mickey’s, and not rough at all, but it was a nice hand.

And of its own accord, my hand lifted and my fingers curled around his.

He gripped them and helped me off my stool.

I took my drink with me as he kept hold of my hand and walked me back to where he had been sitting.

As I walked, I glanced over my shoulder to see Josie beaming and Alyssa mouthing, “Go get him, tiger.”

I grinned at them and allowed myself to be led away.

His name was Bradley.


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Magdalene series reading order and purchase links
(standalone novels with interconnected characters)
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