Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: "His Wicked Heart" by Darcy Burke


It’s hard to be respectable… 

Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with the devil—his father—to marry in one month's time. But instead of declaring his intentions for an acceptable debutante, he indulges his long-buried baser needs by joining a fighting club and pursuing a delectable woman who may not be what she seems. Soon he finds himself battling addictions that threaten his already wicked heart.

When you’d rather be wicked 

Orphaned seamstress Olivia West wants the chance to lead an honest, respectable life, but the arrogant Earl of Saxton launches a daunting campaign to make Olivia his mistress. Destitute and desperate, Olivia agrees to one night with the dangerous peer, and draws upon her mother’s courtesan experience to seduce him. After binding and blindfolding him, she brings him to the edge of release, only to switch places with an actual prostitute. However, Jasper detects Olivia’s deception and vows to claim what he's owed— not his money, her.

Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)
My Review:
In "His Wicked Heart", Darcy Burke provides us a story of a broken man who feels trapped by his station, and his father; and a woman who feels burdened by her poverty and her own troubled childhood. They meet by happenstance - a misunderstanding, actually - and Jasper (Duke of Saxton) is intrigued. Even in their meeting, though, we see the sensitive side of Jasper when he interrupts an aggressive suitor. Jasper is a truly sensitive character and throughout the book, we see him picking up "strays". We didn't spend much time at his home in this book, but I feel certain it's completely staffed with people down on their luck who need a hand up - and Jasper provides it. Jasper is definitely a complicated character, because while we see him trying to change the world, one hard-luck case at a time, we also see how he deals with the tension in his life - through fighting. He spent much of his life on the receiving end of violence, so I find it interesting that his method of dealing with the stress and tension in his life is violently - but controlled violence in the fighting club. But, you never see him display that violence outside of the club unless when warranted (i.e. when he is attacked). He uses his helping of those in need, and his fight club, to soothe the life-long hurts he has experienced. He may seem fierce but I actually think he's very gentle. I know he doesn't expect a woman to ever do more than fill his needs sexually and in society - and he fully expects those needs to be met by different women. Until he meets Olivia and struggles with his feelings for her.
Poor Olivia. I loved her but it is clear that she is trapped in a vicious cycle dictated by her station and her lot in life. She is an honorable woman and works hard to meet her meager needs honorably. Ironically, she meets Jasper when he mistakes her for exactly what she never intends to be - a prostitute. I think he sees her as a challenge - something for him to strive for - but knows that nothing can come of his relationship with her. Olivia is a strong woman - at least as strong as a woman can be in London of the time. But beneath that strength is the 14 year old girl who is still seeking approval from her aunt and uncle, and love from her mother. She finds that love in an unlikely place - a dear old woman who embraces Olivia into her family - and Olivia comes willingly because I think its the first real unconditional love she's felt from another. Olivia also understands her lot in life and even though she is being embraced by Louisa, she doesn't believe this will secure her a place in society. It does, however, secure her the love of a wonderful widow in Louisa, and puts her right in the Jasper's sites - and in his bed. Throughout the book, Olivia struggles with balancing what she knows is proper behavior for a woman of the time with her overwhelming feelings towards Jasper, even as she knows they are wrong. Both Jasper and Olivia struggle to fight their feelings for each other, and what they know to be their duty to their station, and it creates a lot of angst as their relationship develops.
I think what I liked the most about this story is how Jasper, with Louisa's help, finally realizes that he has more power over his destiny than he realizes. Jasper feels trapped by his place in society and it takes Louisa to help him understand that his position in society can be a position of power and not just shackles on his life. Jasper is acting as though his father has all the power, but Louisa helps him see that he can leverage what he knows about his father's desires to achieve his own goals - a life with Olivia. We see a huge turnaround in his father's relationship with Jasper once Jasper turns his position into a position of power. I almost think that his father begrudgingly gains respect for Jasper when Jasper finally stands up for what he wants in life. In the end, we see a great transformation in Jasper as he realizes that happiness and love IS in the cards for him with Olivia, and he finds a way to have the life he wants with her. And she happily joins him in that life!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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About the Author:
I live on the edge of wine country in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with my devoted husband (my own hero), a daughter and son who illuminate my world, and two Bengal cats. My first completed book was called The Magic Swan. Dedicated to my grandmother (who adored swans), I wrote and illustrated it in sixth grade. My daughter loved to have me read it to her when she was younger. The story is about a guy (swan, of course), Albert, who goes on a magic kick, much to the annoyance of his girlfriend, Gwen, who loves him just the way he is. Seeking to put an end to Albert’s newfound obsession, Gwen (with the help of her awesome pal Phyllis) pretends to need rescuing. Albert rushes to Ponderosa Falls to “save” her from certain doom! Gwen happily points out he saved her without magic…and Albert realizes he has everything he wants and needs in Gwen. Naturally they get married and have many baby cygnets. As you can see, by age 12 I was plotting happy ever afters (and demonstrating my inability to ever be an illustrator). Fast forward some number of years and I decided to get serious about writing a romance novel. Joining RWA was a huge step in attaining that goal, but understand: finishing a book is hard. And oh so rewarding. I’m thrilled to be represented by the brilliant Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management and excited for my books to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed!


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: "Finally His Bride" by Maisey Yates


As the whole town goes crazy over the celebrity wedding event of the century, Melanie Richards decides she's tired of blending in. It's time go after what she wants. Her to do list: 
  • Get a sexy dress 
  • A little liquid courage 
  • Lose that pesky virginity 
Luke Shuller can’t believe his eyes when he walks into Grey’s and sees his best friend trying to pick up some drunk cowboy. Melanie wants to start hooking up? She can practice on him. At least he’ll keep her safe. And as a bonus, their pretend relationship will help him deal with a family crisis.

But when pretend gets real, Melanie can’t tell where the charade ends and reality begins. When the dust settles, will she get thrown back into the friend zone, or will she finally get the man of her dreams? 

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Finally His Bride is a fun story. It is part of the Montana Born Brides series, each written by a different author. I haven't read the other books in the series, but that didn't prevent me from enjoying this story. There are references to things that have happened prior to the beginning of this book, but they are included in such a way that makes this book easily stand alone, and at the same time, makes me want to go back and read the previous books in the series. Luke is a gruff character, seemingly never happy, but he is fiercely loyal to his friends and family. Except when he feels betrayed. Luke loves Melanie as a friend, and I love how he didn't realize he wanted more from Melanie until he had her. But things in Luke's background make him too scared to hold on once he has her. 
Melanie and Luke are more alike than they both realize and I loved seeing Melanie blossom and find her strength through her "non relationship" with Luke. She turns to Luke in her "time of need", but the transformation she experiences results in her realizing she wants more for herself; needs more for herself. In true hero fashion, it takes Luke a bit longer (and a figurative smack upside the head) for him to realize how he feels about her. Both Melanie and Luke are operating from a place of fear and both feel the need to control what's happening in their life as a means of belaying the fear. It just takes a while for each to realize that their control is just covering up the fear and not overcoming it. Through each other, they are able to find their way through their fears and to find love on the other side! Ultimately, this is a sweet story with a happy ending. Luke's love for Melanie transforms him into a better man, and the perfect man for her!
Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.


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About the Author: 
USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances  set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Reviews: The Remingtons: Kindle World

What is a Kindle Worlds?

Simply put, it’s fan fiction inspired by some of the best books, movies and televisions shows out there!  Fans get the chance to write a story that spins off of the series and submit it to Amazon. Amazon then publishes it and BAM! Fans can download it and find out more about a certain world. Sometimes one of those small characters you might have seen in one of the series stories will come to life in their own story, or new characters are born that are friends of main characters.  There are all kinds of ways for these worlds to grow.

The Remington World

Now this is where it gets really exciting! Melissa Foster has written many wonderful romance novels in several series. One of them is the Remingtons, and it is joining the Kindle World! The Remingtons are a wonderful family of 4 brothers and a sister who grew up outside New York City. They have each met their happily-ever-after, and each traveled a different road to get there.

Love in Bloom: The Remingtons (by Melissa Foster)
Click on each image below to go directly to the Amazon page for each book.

Welcome Back to the world of the Remingtons!
Melissa's Website:

Think back on one of your favorite books and remember. Remember feeling like you're missing out on what may be going on with your favorite characters while you are away. Well, the Remington Kindle World gives you a chance to check in with your favorite Remington characters while meeting some of their friends. Thanks to Melissa Foster for giving us such wonderful characters in The Remingtons and for eight fantastic authors for bringing us back into their world, if only for a minute! This series of novels and novellas have loose tie-ins to the Remingtons, where each book will introduce a friend of one of the Remingtons, and that Remington will have a token appearance in the book. Below, I have included a synopsis of each book in the Remington World, as well as my review. I invite you to read each book as I know you'll enjoy them as much as I did!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of each of these books in exchange for an honest review.

Spotlight on Love by Kaira Rouda
Tie in: Siena Remington from Flames of Love

Synopsis: Since childhood, Olivia Larson has dreamed of becoming a top fashion model. Recruited by an elite New York agency, she’s about to board a private plane to fly to the Big Apple. As a promise to her dedicated mom, she’s focused on her career, and nothing else, but that determination is challenged when a sexy and secretive celebrity arrives for the same flight.

Bad boy pop star Reed Ralston has been famous since he was a tween, pushed into the spotlight by an overbearing stage mom and appearing on a popular kids’ TV show as a singer/songwriter. Against the odds, and with dark secrets from a troubled childhood hidden from the press, Reed has transitioned into a successful adult star with a carefully manufactured image designed to keep him on top of the charts and in the pop-culture media.

Sometimes opposites attract immediately, as Reed and Olivia discover during their spark-filled, hour-long flight to New York. But what happens when that attraction is exposed to the harsh spotlight of fame will make all the difference.

My Review: Spotlight on Love is a perfect title for this story. Reed, the hero, has been in the spotlight, and Olivia, our heroine, is just finding the spotlight in New York. Reed is wary of thrusting Olivia into the spotlight because he has seen the worst of it - the underbelly of everything negative about fame and fortune. It is clear early on that Reed is interested, and I love a story where the hero is confident in his feelings and acts on them. Reed does what he needs to do to start a relationship with Olivia and doesn't let "propriety" and "norms" dictate how his relationship with her proceeds. He's a refreshing character who is surprisingly grounded considering his famous background. Reed is, however, clearly torn by his feelings for Olivia and his feelings about the spotlight. His sensitivity to that is delightful to read since most of what you see in today's pop-culture is celebrities who eat up the spotlight and are changed for the worse because of it. I also enjoyed seeing Olivia's innocence as she is transitioning from small town to big city, and from small time to big time modeling. We see Siena Remington in this story as she meets Reed when he is introduced to a group of models at the promotional agency. Siena is the only friendly one in the group and this story continues to depict her as completely down-to-earth. This story provides a good mix of dialog and "mind speak" that enables the reader to get a good glimpse into who the characters think and feel, and the sex scenes, while descriptive, create a good balance with the rest of the story. This is the first book in the Remingtons Kindle World that I read and a great introduction to the concept of Kindle Worlds.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Spotlight on Love

Pulled by Love by Amy Manemann
Tie in: Leanna and Kurt Remington from Read, Write, Love

After years of paying her dues, Ava Sweet finally owns the taffy shop of her dreams. Her grandmother's signature taffy recipes are beginning to make a statement in Soho, NY, and with the help of her friend, Leanna Remington, she has her eyes set on the upcoming Big Apple Sweets Convention to put her shop on the map. The only problem, she's been accused of stealing a recipe by the hunky Boy Scout from the fudge and candy shop next door.

Hudson James is always ready and willing to lend a helping hand, especially at his family's fudge and candy shop. They're looking to showcase some new recipes at the upcoming sweets convention in the hopes of regaining the notoriety their shop has always been known for. Until the owner of the taffy shop next door creates a recipe so similar to theirs that Hudson doesn't hesitate to call her out on it.

In a world of sugary creations and high pressure candy making, adding a dash of romance isn't part of the recipe. With the sweets convention only a week away, Ava and Hudson will need to try and keep their eye on the prize, even while their hearts are being pulled by love.

My Review: This book was a sweet and funny addition to the Kindle Worlds. I really enjoyed how we met Hudson - he comes storming in to Ava's shop and accuses Ava of stealing their recipe. It sets the stage for fun as two hard-headed, strong-willed people get to know each other. It was fun watching Ava and Hudson get to know each other. I did think that Ava's reaction to Hudson's "lie" was a bit out of proportion and that aspect of the story felt a bit manufactured to create turmoil in their relationship. The circumstances weren't quite as cut-and-dry as she was making them out to be. I am just glad that Hudson is as stubborn enough to see through her bluster and stick it out until he shows Ava that he isn't like she thinks. In this book, Leanna Remington is friends with Ava. The author includes a funny scene where Hudson's friend found about his escapades from a sister of a cousin of a friend talked to so-and-so and there was Leanna and Siena, right in the middle! It was a funny little "six degrees of separation" from the Remingtons. We also check in with Kurt and Leanna at the sweets convention that served as the primary issue of contention between Ava and Hudson. In true Kurt and Leanna fashion, Kurt is humbly trying to fend off fans at an event intended for Leanna. It was fun to check in with Kurt and Leanna.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Pulled by Love

Love on the Record by Zoe York
Tie in: Siena Remington from Flames of Love

Synopsis:  For NYPD detective Griffin Sark, it’s lust at first sight when fashion reporter Tessa Ramirez crashes into his life. But she’s also featuring him in a puff piece that he hates from the moment he first hears about it, and criticizing a woman’s job is never a great way to land a date. Opposites attract, wills clash and hearts (eventually) melt in this standalone romance by the NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the SEALs Undone series.

My Review: Griffin perfectly fit the image I would have of a New York detective. He is honorable with a bit of an edge. I love how the hero and heroine meet - typical 21st century dating where the Griffin sends over a drink and his business card - and she texts him a thank you. It was fun to see a relationship start that way, before either of them realizes how intertwined their lives are about to become. Griffin is confident in his attraction to Tessa from the beginning, and I like how he doesn't jump to conclusions when it appears she's betrayed him. He really dislikes the "intention" of her article from the outset and manages to piss her off from the very beginning, which just seems to fit his personality perfectly. Tessa surprises me. I guess, coming from a small town, I expected her to be a bit more wary of a pickup in a bar, and riding the subway, and working in a cutthroat NY publishing environment. She was a refreshing surprise and I really enjoyed getting to know her. The sex scenes are a bit more prevalent in this book than some of the others I've read, but they didn't overwhelm the story or take away from Griffin and Tessa finding their love story and their happily ever after! Of all of the Remington World books, this one probably has the least connection to the Remingtons. Tessa consults with Siena Remington at the beginning of the book, before meeting our hero, but that is the extent of the tie in to the Remingtons. Nevertheless, this was a great love story between two potential opposites - a cop and a reporter. This book also provides us the best look at New York City through these eyes of two working-class characters, from hailing cabs and the subway, to the Mets game, and the depiction of the suburbs vs. the city. I think I got my best picture of New York City from this installment in the Remington world.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Love on the Record

Love on the Rocks by Elle James
Tie In: Kurt Remington from Read, Write, Love

Synopsis: Grieving software engineer, John Decker, commemorating the two-year anniversary of the day he lived and his wife died, is dragged back into life by a riptide and a bartender he can't get out of his thoughts. Plagued with survivor's guilt, he's reluctant to enter a new relationship, until he meets a feisty bartender with attitude and curves to go with it.

Roxi Lanier was the typical young teen in the city, happy, full of life and bulletproof, until she became the victim of a violent crime. Her mother moved her to Wellfleet on Cape Cod, away from the scene of her misfortune to start over. Fourteen years later, she's still afraid to date and be intimate with a man, the scars of her past overriding the happiness she craves. Though she's an independent owner of a thriving beach bar, she has yet to find success in love. Tides change when she witnesses a suicidal widower diving headfirst into a riptide.

Decker and Roxi struggle to stay afloat through the wreckage of their pasts and the storms of the present to sail into a future together.

My Review:  As this story begins, we get a glimpse into the relationship Decker has with the Remingtons, as Kurt has returned to Cape Cod to help commemorate Decker's "alive day". It may be called "alive day", the day that Decker survives a car accident while his wife died, but Decker doesn't seem alive to me. He may be breathing but he is not living. He has hidden himself away on Cape Cod because he can't face the memories in New York. He has been mourning her death since the accident. The author masterfully depicts his grief and guilt over the loss of his wife. As "alive day" comes to an end, we see Decker heading out to swim in the rough surf and I'm not sure he hasn't decided that "not living" wasn't living at all and he has nothing left for him here.

Roxi is living on Cape Cod - hiding really - after being traumatized as a child. Roxi has come out of the trauma a strong woman except when it comes to men. She sees Decker heading into the sea and goes in after him and together they return to shore. I think that scene really demonstrates the true nature of their subsequent relationship - saving each other together. Throughout the story, the author draws parallels between the struggles that both Decker and Roxi are facing and they find that through each other they can come successfully out the other side. The author's character development is strong and the dialog and storyline is well balanced. I thought the subject of rape was sensitively addressed and Decker shows amazing sensitivity towards helping Roxi move forward in a healthy way. Through that, Decker is also able to move forward with his own life and admit he's ability to love again - with Roxi.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Love on the Rocks

Cured by Love by Stacy Eaton
Tie In: Ellie Parker and Dex Remington from Game of Love

Synopsis:  Dina Greene and Ellie Parker met during their college years and on the night that they meet at NightCaps to reconnect, Dina’s life begins to change. For six years, Dina has closed off her heart, moving from one man to another, trying to feel something other than her own pain and guilt.

 Ryan Wilde is a plastic surgeon who strives to give people a better quality of life, especially children. The night he watches Dina leave the bar with another one-night stand, he resolves to offer up a challenge to get her to view herself in a new light.

 Little does he know that the challenge will change both their lives, but when Dina’s secret is exposed, will Ryan be able to accept it and trust her, or will Dina go back to her old ways and leave Ryan broken?

My Review: I think of all of these Remington World books, I enjoyed the connection in this book the best. In the very first book of the Remingtons - Game of Love - we meet Dex Remington and his former love Ellie. He sees Ellie across a bar, sitting with a friend.  Well, Dina in Cured by Love is that friend.  In Cured by Love, Dex is referred to as a guy coming over to see Ellie in the bar Nightcaps. I love it. You also see this story come back around to Dex and Ellie at the end - nice "book end" connections to the Remingtons.

In Cured by Love, Ryan quickly recognizes in Dina that she is medicating herself with sex, and quickly decides he wants to help her see herself for more than that. While many may think it presumptuous how Ryan approaches his idea, I find it endearing that he is able to see through her well-crafted exterior to see that she was clearly hiding something below. Dina is a complex character and I love how Ryan is able to peel back the layers and find the real woman underneath.

I also liked how both Ryan and Dina have meaningful tattoos. That's clearly a theme in the Remingtons series and is continued in this book. It takes most of the book to learn the underlying meaning behind Dina's tattoo, and I also really love how Dina explores and interpretes Ryan's tattoos - they are just so fitting in with who he is as a person and a doctor. And Whitney - not sure there is much to say about Whitney. She's the kind of character that you love to hate...and I do hate her. But, it takes Whitney for Ryan to really understand what's staring him in the face.

The complex characters and storyline make this an interesting book to read, and the tie in to the Remingtons makes this a charming addition to the Remingtons World.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Cured by Love

A Texas Kind of Love by Melissa Storm
Tie in: Siena Remington from Flames of Love

Synopsis: Louise Stark left her small Texas home town during high school and vowed never to look back. Unfortunately, she has no choice when she is called in to settle the estate of a great aunt she hardly knew. With her best friend Siena Remington in tow, she reluctantly takes a trip across the country and back into her past—planning to return to her fast-paced Manhattan life as quickly as possible.

Brady Williams leads a life filled with adventure, danger, and fame as the star bronco rider in a traveling rodeo. Proud of his reputation as the sexiest bad boy in Texas, he knows he can have any woman he wants. So why can’t he get his mind off straight-laced Louise, the girl he shared his first kiss with back in elementary school? And, more importantly, how can he convince her to stay in Jefferson long enough to give him a chance?

Louise and Brady are about to find out that no amount of distance can stand in the way of two hearts that fit perfectly together. So saddle up and get ready to fall in love with this sweet Western romance inspired by Melissa Foster’s Remington series.

My Review: This book, unlike the others, is set in Texas instead of New York. I always love a good cowboy / rodeo story and this one doesn't disappoint. Siena Remington makes more than a token appearance in this book; as the best friend of the heroine, Louise, she plays a prominent role as Louise travels to Texas. This book flows comfortably and is a quick read. I really enjoyed the Texas setting. I appreciated that Louise is willing to spend time with Brady even though she believes he'd wronged her as a child. After the number of years in New York, I somewhat expect Louise to be "snobby" about Texas. But Louise embraces Texas and her history, which makes her a refreshing character. I love Brady too. I love to see when a guy is "knocked off his feet" by a woman, or in Brady's case, knocked off his horse. I audibly gasped when his rodeo competition was cut short because Brady couldn't focus after seeing Louise. But he knows what he wants and he isn't afraid to pursue it. I like how he even considers how he can make things work in New York to be with Louise.

Its hard to tell you my favorite part of the story without giving away a spoiler, but I can just tell you that just when the reader believes the heroine has made the wrong decision, you hear a story that makes you smile. I didn't see it coming but love how the author weaves the story in and makes the reader believe the story is heading one direction when in reality it is headed the opposite. I love that literary construct and it really made the book for me.

There is no intimacy in this book but I didn't miss it. The hero and heroine were authentic and the lack of sex in the book was actually realistic considering the context and timeline of the story.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Texas Kind of Love

Leap, Laugh, Love by Rachelle Ayala
Tie in: Dex Remington from Game of Love and Siena Remington from Flames of Love

Synopsis: Kerry Mills is a professional surfer who travels the circuits of the world’s surfing competitions until a broken heart and a shark encounter send her reeling to a tiny beachfront cottage. Focusing on her recovery, she has no interest in a rebound relationship. That is, until a tattooed hunk she spies in an outdoor shower asks her to teach him to surf. Suddenly, romance doesn’t look so bad.

Finn Meriwether used to be the life of the party and the class clown, but years of war in the Middle East have replaced his smile with a deep frown. He’s overdue for a vacation and heads for his friend’s seaside cottage for some well-deserved R&R.

Kerry soon discovers that sharks are the least of her worries. Her heart is at risk of being swallowed by a man whose grief and guilt overrides his ability to live and love. Can Kerry and Finn rise above their fears and take a leap for true love?

My Review: The book establishes itself early on as an intensely sexual read, much more so than most of the other books in this Kindle World. This book is an extremely sexual read. I smiled when I read the first chapter because even without a synopsis, I could tell where this book was headed.  Head-long collisions like that are always fun to watch as they unfold, and I wasn't disappointed. Both Dex and Siena have tie-ins to this story as the chance meeting occurs between Siena's friend Kerry and Dex's friend Finn.

Kerry is a woman who is comfortable in her own body, but not comfortable with who she is. Finn is a warrior who is searching for the perfect place to distribute his comrade's ashes, but really what he's looking for is his own happy place. He is surprised when he finds it in Kerry. Finn's character undergoes a much bigger transition than many characters I've read recently. He starts out only looking for a fling with Kerry, and within days, realizes that Kerry is his happily ever after. He decides right then that how he treats her, and their relationship, should reflect his deeper feelings for her. Kerry struggles with his feelings for her because she's never experienced someone that has liked her for who she is and not what she can do for them, or what they can do for her. She even accuses Siena of that in this story. I thought that Kerry's reaction was a bit over the top but it lent itself well to the storyline. I really liked Siena's reaction to Kerry's implication that she was just "pranking her" or "using her for promotion". It is a very realistic reaction - Siena didn't just smooth it over and let it go. Siena is hurt and reacts accordingly and it is a very realistic depiction of human interactions. The author doesn't just "gloss over her reaction for TV" but provides a realistic human reaction.

This book also provides laugh-out-loud scenes as Kerry impersonates Siena's mother and sneaks onto a military base to declare her love for Finn. It seems only fitting after the turmoil of their relationship. But in true fashion, Kerry and Finn find their happily ever after and even find a fitting end for Finn's comrade in arms in the turbulent surf of Long Island.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Leap, Laugh, Love

Love Me, Love Me Not by Elena Aitken
Tie In: Jayla Stone from Slope of Love

Synopsis: For Daisy Dickson, The Daisy Chain is more than just her namesake - it’s her entire life. Running a successful business has consumed her focus for years; especially since a major development company has started buying up her neighborhood, threatening her existence.

The last thing she needs is a man - even one as hot as Ben Wallace with a smile that just won’t quit and sexy dark eyes that see right through her defenses. Surely one coffee won’t hurt? And it might just be the distraction she needs to take her mind off her problems.

But when one date turns into two and a connection stronger than either of them ever expected, the reality of their lives and who they are, threatens to destroy everything—and this time there’s more than just their hearts at stake.

My Review: Flowers play a huge role in Love Me, Love Me Not. It was really neat how the theme of flowers was woven into many aspects of the story - from the title of the book, Daisy's name, her store name, and even how the store plays such an important role in the story. Flowers are even woven into how Ben uses flowers and the messages with them to give his apology and propose his solution to Daisy. I loved how the two meet over a flower delivery to Ben's sister and how Ben and Daisy both know what they felt - it truly is love at first sight for Daisy and Ben. The author does a wonderful job of creating a love story - angst, heartbreak, and reunion in a short novella, including everything you find in a full-length novel in a small package. The book is well written with good balance of dialog and "mind speak", as I call it. There is a single intimacy scene but it is tastefully done and fits well into the overall flow of the story.

Author's Website:
Click here to buy → Love Me, Love Me Not

Buy The Remingtons Kindle Worlds
Check them all out here → The Remingtons: Kindle Worlds
or individually

Monday, May 25, 2015

Review: "When Love Happens" by Darcy Burke

Tori Archer is married…well, on paper anyway. She hasn’t actually seen her husband since the disastrous morning after their impulsive Vegas wedding. The memories of their intense passion may still make her weak in the knees, but Tori knows their marriage was a mistake.

After six months filming abroad, television producer Sean Hennessy wants nothing more than to track down his sexy, captivating wife and get her into bed… fast. So when his boss sends him to Oregon to persuade the famous Archer sextuplets—the former stars of a reality TV show—to do a reunion special, Sean sees the perfect chance to win Tori back.

Only, Tori wants nothing to do with him and is determined to push him away. But their attraction is as hot as ever and Sean will do anything to prove their relationship was more than just a fling…because he knows that when real love happens, it changes everything.

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:
When Love Happens is another emotional installment in the Ribbon Ridge series. The author invites the reader back to Ribbon Ridge, where Tori is hiding a big secret from her family - her marriage to TV producer Sean Hennessy. I really enjoyed how the author brings Sean back into Tori's life. I could feel Tori's discomfort when Sean arrives and it was clear she and Sean weren't on the same page with regards to their relationship.
I love Sean. The author did a fantastic job of "making him British". I usually don't like reading novels written by Brits or set in Britain because the terminology is different enough from American English to make it difficult for me to understand.  That was not the case here. Sean has a few expressions and things that he says that are clearly British (brilliant is a common phrase for him), but its not overwhelmingly British. It's enough to help me hear Sean's voice with a gentle, British accent, but not overwhelm me with terms that I don't understand. Sean's got a great sense of humor and a very likable personality, and there's no question as to why Tori's family likes him immediately, even as she was trying to get rid of him. But, he's no pushover. Sean tolerates great deal from Tori as they attempt to navigate their current relationship but when she pushes too far, he protects his own integrity and leaves her to wallow in a life of her own making.
And that was probably the one part of the story that I didn't like. I've read other reviews that enjoyed the "Operation Divorce Me" section of the book, but I really disliked that part of the book. I understand why Tori has decided that her marriage to Sean shouldn't continue, but the way she went about it was juvenile. Her attempt to create a hostile living environment for Sean was immature. I wanted to reach into the book and smack Tori upside the head. Sean is a good sport and recognizes quickly what she is trying to do, but as a mature adult, Tori should have been honest with Sean instead of continuing to lie to him, and manipulate him with childish games to get him to give her a divorce. I was happy when Sean decides that he's had enough and leaves. But of course, we know that's not the end. Tori redeems herself somewhat in my mind by the end of the book, but she lost a few points in my book due to her behavior with Sean. My 4 star rating is primarily based on my dislike for how Tori handles her relationship with Sean.
Alex's legacy continues in When Love Happens. I think I felt more urgency around knowing his thoughts about his suicide in this book more than the others, perhaps due to Tori's connection to his final moments. Tori is driven by extreme guilt that Alex reached out to her before the end and she has spent most of the time since his death living in grief, but not really living. Alex's death affects everything she has done since and it took Sean, and her family, to dig her out of the hole of grief she was slowly burying herself in. I like that each sibling is getting a letter from Alex when its most important in their story, and I feel like I'm getting to know Alex through these stories. Despite my overall concerns regarding how Tori handles her relationship with Sean, When Love Happens is another great chapter in the story of the Archer family and Ribbon Ridge.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:
I live on the edge of wine country in Oregon’s Willamette Valley with my devoted husband (my own hero), a daughter and son who illuminate my world, and two Bengal cats. My first completed book was called The Magic Swan. Dedicated to my grandmother (who adored swans), I wrote and illustrated it in sixth grade. My daughter loved to have me read it to her when she was younger. The story is about a guy (swan, of course), Albert, who goes on a magic kick, much to the annoyance of his girlfriend, Gwen, who loves him just the way he is. Seeking to put an end to Albert’s newfound obsession, Gwen (with the help of her awesome pal Phyllis) pretends to need rescuing. Albert rushes to Ponderosa Falls to “save” her from certain doom! Gwen happily points out he saved her without magic…and Albert realizes he has everything he wants and needs in Gwen. Naturally they get married and have many baby cygnets. As you can see, by age 12 I was plotting happy ever afters (and demonstrating my inability to ever be an illustrator). Fast forward some number of years and I decided to get serious about writing a romance novel. Joining RWA was a huge step in attaining that goal, but understand: finishing a book is hard. And oh so rewarding. I’m thrilled to be represented by the brilliant Jim McCarthy of Dystel and Goderich Literary Management and excited for my books to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Review: "Taken" by Dee Henderson


Abducted at the age of sixteen and coerced into assisting the Jacoby crime family, Shannon Bliss has finally found a way out. She desperately wants to resume some semblance of normal life, but she also knows she has some unfinished business to attend to. She has enough evidence to put her captors behind bars for a very long time.

When Shannon contacts private investigator and former cop Matthew Dane to help her navigate her reentry into society, she quickly discovers that gaining her freedom doesn’t mean her troubles are over. For one thing, her brother is the leading candidate in the race for Illinois governor, and news of her escape will create a media frenzy. For another, the ransom her family reportedly paid years earlier appears to have been a scam; no one knows what happened to the money. And then there’s the fact that Shannon’s escape involved faking her own death. If the Jacoby family learns she is still alive, they’ll stop at nothing to silence her.

If justice is to be done, and if Shannon’s life is ever to get on track again, Matthew will need to discover exactly what happened to her–even if it means stirring up a hornet’s nest of secrets.

Genre: Inspirational Suspense
My Review:
If I had to use one word to describe Taken, the newest Christian fiction from Dee Henderson, I think it would be COMPLEX. I have read almost everything Dee Henderson has written and find myself amazed each time I read a new book - her ability to weave the complexities of a mystery, crimes, criminals, victims, survivors, and relationships continues to astound me. Taken is a completely stand-alone book with its own story, complexities, and primary characters; but as a reader, you'll enjoy visiting again with some of the characters from Full Disclosure and Unspoken. You don't need to read either of those books to be touched and affected by Taken, but your experience is certainly enhanced if you have background on the primary characters in those stories.
Ms. Henderson weaves a wonderful story of family dynamics, a crime family that rivals the mob, friendships borne out of necessity, a survivor who comes out stronger than anyone could ever expect, and a former cop who is the absolute perfect man to help our heroine re-enter her life.
The author develops Matthew as an incredibly insightful man, one who is secure in his faith but finds it tested as he helps Shannon navigate her re-entry. I felt I could literally hear his voice and I feel he always knows exactly what to say and when to say it to help Shannon. I was amazed at the depth of the situations that Ms. Henderson includes in the story, but at the same time, leaving so much up to the reader to infer. Matthew's ability to know how things should progress and his ability to understand what Shannon isn't telling him through her actions makes him a wonderfully endearing man. He's incredibly sensitive to Shannon's needs and has an amazing ability to analyze facts and situations and surmise cause and effect, and the impact on Shannon and her family.  I only wish I had the eloquence with words that Ms. Henderson has to adequately explain how wonderful Matthew is. He and Shannon create a simple but comfortable relationship quickly and while I wouldn't call this a romance novel, per se, the foundation of a deeper relationship between Matthew and Shannon is definitely laid.

Matthew and Shannon's faith both play a role in this story. God, and their faith, are just another character in the story and conversations about both are comfortable and delightful. A wonderful example near the end of the book really struck me.  During a scene where Matthew said a simply prayer over their lunch, Shannon pauses afterwards, remarking that Matthew is good at speaking his mind to God.  He remarks that he believes she is too.  Her response is, "Not out loud."  Matthew's response was "You can learn.  Because if you want to share a prayer with me, you'll either need to say it out loud or write it down and let me read it." Shannon asks if Matthew wants her to share her prayers, to which he responds, "Yes. Or at least tell me what you're talking about with God. He's your best friend, Shannon. It's kind of hard to really know you if I don't know what you and God are talking about." What a wonderful insight into a natural, comfortable relationship with God.
While Shannon's story is complex, and I often found myself re-reading certain passages to ensure I understood what was being discussed, there were also aspects of the story that were left up to the reader's imagination. I found that an interesting approach to writing a suspenseful novel. The author provides details to set the stage for certain circumstances but allows the reader to fill in the blanks of certain details of the story without it being spelled out. It enables the reader to feel a part of the story as I'm sure my experience reading Taken will differ from another reader's as our views on life will shape how we fill in those aspects of the story left to our imagination.
Ultimately, Taken is an emotionally wrenching Christian suspense novel with all the characteristics we've come to know and love from Dee Henderson. I found myself turning the pages faster and faster to see what came next, while also wanting to slow down and savor the story in the moment. I found myself finishing this book quickly, but knowing that I'll turn around and read it again and savor so many intricacies that can only be appreciated the second time around. Taken has a permanent place on my shelf, and in my heart.
Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review


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About the Author
Dee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O'Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA's RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers' Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Review and GIVEAWAY!! "Her Healing Cowboy" by Donna Michaels


Holly’s stay in Harland County Texas is limited. She’s only there to help run her uncle’s ice cream business while he recuperates from an operation. Her home is in Colorado. Her life is in Denver. Her dream job is in Denver but won’t be if she doesn’t get back before her leave of absence runs out. Everybody knows this, but apparently her heart and body didn’t get the memo because they spark to life whenever her uncle’s smoking, hot doctor is around.

Doctor Jace Turner has one goal: Join Doctors Without Borders. Ever since his father was in a car accident and became HIV Positive from a blood transfusion, Jace set his sights on the organization and plans to join, once his contract is up with the Texas National Guard. The last thing he needs is the crazy attraction he feels toward the beauty from Colorado.

The cowboy isn’t looking for a relationship. She isn’t staying. Perfect set up for a fling. What harm could there be?

Genre: Contemporary Romance
My Review:

Welcome back to Harland County. Her Healing Cowboy brings us back and introduces us to two great new characters - Holly and Jace. While this is definitely Holly and Jace's story, I really enjoyed how other characters from previous Harland County books make appearances - its nice to see how they're doing!  Her Healing Cowboy is a quick read. The dialog flows smoothly and the story is easy to follow. The author tells a fun story of two people who both see their relationship as short-term, and both find themselves shocked when they feel otherwise. Both characters are strong characters and extremely committed to their family obligations and that makes them well suited for each other.

There is a good balance of intimacy, seriousness, and laughter in Her Healing Cowboy. I liked that Jace and Holly were "adults" - their actions were mature and the language patterns and dialog were mature. The sex scenes are definitely explicit but I didn't feel they overwhelmed the story. And I found myself laughing out loud at times. Without giving away too much, can I just say "big, strong cowboy with sympathy symptoms" - enough said! In general, the book was well written and did a good job of conveying the characters thoughts and feelings through dialog and prose.  One of my favorite passages in the book is:
"He only knew he liked looking at her, liked touching her, liked being with her.  She made him feel good.  Happy.  And it had been so long since he'd been happy"
This is a nice romantic story of two people who start a "casual" relationship with an end date and both realize they want more. Each struggles with transitioning their relationship and what may have to happen in order for each of them to pursue their dreams - and each other. How they stop - and start again - is a surprising but delightful story twist, and the ultimate solution which enables them to have their "happily ever after" made my heart swell.  What a neat way to end - or begin - Jace's and Holly's story.

Disclosure: I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review

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About the Author:
It’s all my mother’s fault.

She read to me before I could read and opened up that magical world where I still reside today. Then came television and movies. Now I had three avenues that fed my imagination...and boy could I eat! As you no doubt figured out, this lead to my writing career. I’m a NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Award winning author. Phew, that was a mouthful! Multi-published in e-book and print with several publishers, I certainly have a ton of voices in my head.

I’m happily married to a military man for 28 years.  We have four children and several rescued cats. Michael’s been in the Army National Guard since before he graduated. The Guard has been a part of our lives right from the start. It was only natural for the military to spill into my writing.  God bless the military and their families. Thank you all for your sacrifices. ♥

You already know my mom inspired my love of reading,but it was my dad who got me hooked on movies. Even now, if I had the time, I could happily go from one movie to another all day long. They are the reason I love mixed genre and why I can’t just stick to just one in my writing, although, as you can tell, I have a soft spot for cowboys and the military.

Well, that’s about it. Thanks for getting to know me a little better. Remember, keep reading to your children. The journey you’re igniting is precious. And the next time you’re at the movies, turn around. I just might be the person sitting behind you. No, not the one throwing popcorn (it’s too expensive to waste). I’m the one already imagining the sequel.



In honor of the newest release in the Harland County series, I'm offering a free copy of Her Healing Cowboy to one winner!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Tour: "All of Me" by Jennifer Bernard

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Love Between the Bases #1
Jennifer Bernard
Releasing May 26th, 2015
Avon Romance

Jennifer Bernard, the USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelor Firemen series, scores another homerun with a brand-new series about sexy, single baseball players.

Playing for the Kilby Catfish is hotshot pitcher Caleb Hart’s last chance to salvage his career after a major league meltdown. But the day of his opener with the minor league team, Caleb strikes out with the gorgeous woman who is delivering a petition to run the unruly Catfish out of town. Now to stay in the lineup, Caleb will need to score big with the feisty brunette he can’t keep out of his thoughts.

After the nasty lies Sadie Merritt’s rich ex-boyfriend spread about her all over town, she’s lucky to have a job at all. She can’t afford to screw it up by falling for the player who is supposed to be helping her change the image of the fun-loving Catfish. But that’s easier said than done when Caleb’s voice alone is enough to make her pulse race. And when he surprises her with a mind-blowing kiss, she knows there’s no turning back.

Amazon | B& N | BAM | iBooks | Kobo

My Review:
I was interested in reading All of Me because I love baseball - America's pasttime. This story brings in an interesting twist to a romantic happily-ever-after because Sadie is recovering from a scandal out of her control, and Caleb is hiding from a scandal, lurking in the shadows. I really enjoyed reading the baseball aspects of the story. The tussles that the team can't seem to help but get involved with brought a comedic facet to the story. The author also creates a group of characters that you hate - that you love to hate - the Wades. The Wades believe they "own" the town yet their own hubris becomes their downfall as Sadie, and the Mayor, and the Kilby Catfish together are able to bring them down, much to my delight. The characters were generally likable and the foundation has been laid for future books highlighting other residents of Kilby, TX.
I struggled with the writing style. The author enhances the primary aspects of her sentences by sprinkling in numerous superlatives, metaphors, and similes to provide emphasis to certain points.  Those writing techniques can be effective when used strategically and judiciously, but for this author, it seems to be a "go to" writing style and it became quickly overused. Some examples of this style include, "I could touch you until the end of time", "Because I want it more than life itself...", "chasing every thought to kingdom come", "had just screwed their brains out", "blown off the top of his head", "like the most beautiful flower in the world," "it could have been a house landing on him," and "like two survivors of a natural disaster".  Those cliches, similes, metaphors, and superlatives are all contained within about a 10 page span in the book, which in my definition qualifies as overused. There are long stretches of the book that flow well with a good balance of dialog, prose, and appropriate writing enhancements, but other parts which felt bursting with these cliches, it made it difficult to focus on the story.
All of Me is a sweet love story where, in typical fashion, the hero needs to be smacked upside the head to realize what he's got, or lost. I cheered for Sadie as she took back her strength and power, and know there are good stories lurking in the future for the supporting cast of characters from Kilby. A light, enjoyable read.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Jennifer Bernard is the USA Today bestselling author of the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriels series. She is a graduate of Harvard and a former news promo producer. The child of academics, she confounded her family by preferring romance novels to … well, any other books. She left big city life for true love in Alaska, where she now lives with her husband and stepdaughters. She’s no stranger to book success, as she also writes erotic novellas under a naughty secret name not to be mentioned at family gatherings.

Cover Reveal and Re-Release for Alexa Crushed by T. Cupak

Alexa Morgan lost her mother when she was two. At eighteen, her father and stepmother died when a devastating earthquake hit the Bay Area. Only one person has remained a constant in her life: Devin.

Devin has been Alexa’s best friend since childhood. The two are inseparable—or they were until Devin declared his love for her at sixteen. When Alexa can offer him only friendship in return, Devin retreats, brokenhearted.

Alexa, on the other hand, longs for Ethan, the boy next door. Four years older than her, and with an ever-changing roster of girlfriends, Ethan is everything Devin isn’t: wild, sensual, and unpredictable.

In the aftermath of the deadly earthquake, Ethan makes his move on Alexa, who reciprocates in a confused whirl of grief and desire. When Ethan leaves town the next day, Devin comes back into Alexa’s life, offering support and expecting nothing in return.

Alexa begins to see the advantages of Devin’s quiet, stable love. Can she get past the friendship hang-up while trying to forget bad boy Ethan? It’s a choice that will change her life forever.

          I press play on the remote to the Blu-ray player and the beginning credits of Friday the 13th starts. We sit side by side for a while as the movie plays. It’s popcorn time, so I get up to go make us some Jiffy Pop in the kitchen. As I’m standing by the stove, moving the handle back and forth vigorously as the directions say to, Devin comes up behind me and rests his hands on my hips. The way he grabs me and the feel of his muscular body behind me send a shock wave through my body that I have never experienced when he’s touched me before. Then again, Devin has never touched me in such an intimate way.
         “That smells good,” he says as he leans over my shoulder, his breath warm by my ear.
         “Well, duh. It’s our staple popcorn for marathon movie watching,” I say in an effort to not sound affected by his close proximity and where his hands flex at my hips. 
         I’m not exactly sure how it happens, because it happens so quickly, but one second I’m making popcorn, and the next second I’m spun around, Jiffy Pop flying out of my hand, and I’m in Devin’s arms, held tight against his body. His left hand fists into my hair at the nape of my neck as his right hand presses firmly at the small of my back. His lips smash into mine as he tries to coax them to part with subtle licks of his tongue. My lips concede and part slightly. The tip of his soft tongue swiftly touches mine, taking advantage of my invite. For a brief moment, I actually find myself lost in his kiss. Because my first kiss was horrendous, I find myself enjoying Devin’s. His full lips are soft, his mouth is warm, and our tongues move effortlessly together. The hand that Devin had at the small of my back slides lower, resting on my backside. I can feel his erection pressing against my stomach. Just as his mouth leaves mine to trail light kisses down my neck, my mind snaps back to reality, and that reality is that I’m making out with my best friend. 
        I shove Devin back a step. “What in the hell are you doing, Dev?” My voice is shaky.
        “What does it look like, Lexi? I’m kissing you because I like you. I’ve always liked you. You’re beautiful, funny, and smart. We’re good together. I figured if there was any time to see if we have something more than friendship, that time was right now,” he answers unapologetically.
       “How can you do this to me, to our friendship?” I’m near tears at this point. 
       “You just kissed me back, Lex! You can’t deny you felt something more in that one kiss,” he snaps. 
       “Dev, you’re my best friend. Of course I’m going to feel something. Please don’t ruin this for us,” I plead.
        “Ruin us? I’m trying to make us better!” He’s shouting now as anger vibrates off his tensed body.         
        “Devin, I—”
        “Stop, Lexi! Just stop. I get it. You would rather have Mr. Joe College next door,” he says, sounding defeated. 
        “Wait…what? Where in the hell is that coming from? He has nothing to do with what just freaking happened here.” I’m completely shaking at this point. My vision is blurred from the tears that are now trickling down my flushed cheeks.
       “I saw the way you looked at him today. I’ve only dreamed of having you look at me that way. I had to kiss you, Lexi. I had to at least try,” he says, before he turns to leave. 
        Time is standing still as I bring my fingers to my lips, swollen from Devin’s passionate kiss. My thoughts are scattered. I’m trying to think of what to say to save this friendship, but nothing is coming to mind. I hear his car start, snapping me from my thoughts. My feet finally move as I run out the front door, yelling, “Devin, stop! Wait, dammit!” But I’m too late. He can’t hear me over the roar of his engine, and I’m sure he’s not looking in the rearview mirror to see me standing there. 
        What the fuck just happened? Why did Devin do this? I’m really beginning to loathe my birthdays. I’m crying tears of devastation, knowing I just lost my best friend. I sit down on the bottom stair, putting my elbows on my knees and holding my head in my hands as I sob uncontrollably. I must be crying really hard not to hear Ethan’s car drive down the street or hear him walk up and crouch down right in front of me.
         “Lexi, are you OK?” Ethan asks cautiously, using his index finger to lift my chin so I look at him.        
        “Do I look OK?” I snap back, turning my head, trying to avoid looking at him, not even caring how I must look to the gorgeous man in front of me.
        “Did he hurt you?”
        “Why do you care?” I squeak out between sobs.
        “I’ll go after him if he hurt you, Lexi. So I’m asking again, did he hurt you?” 
        Shrugging my shoulders, I answer, “Yes, he hurt me, but not the way you’re probably thinking.” I stand, wiping my nose with the back of my hand, which is very unladylike. “I’m gonna go inside.” 
        He reaches out and grabs my shoulder to stop me. I turn as he asks, “See you later, Lexi?” It’s a question this time, instead of a statement of fact. 
        “Yeah,” is all I can manage as I turn to head back into the house. 
        Once I’m inside, I head back to the kitchen, realizing the burner is still on. I shut it off and start to clean up the popcorn when I just fall back against the cabinet, sitting on the floor, putting my face in my hands, and begin to cry all over again.
         I’m not sure how long I’ve been sitting there on the kitchen floor crying, but I hear the garage door raising, signaling my parents are home. I am in no mood to try to explain why I’m a bawling mess, since I’m still unsure of what exactly happened today to even give an explanation. I hurry to my feet, throw away the popcorn, and run upstairs to my room. 
        Moments later, I hear my mom call up to me, “Lexi?” 
        I try to steady my voice before I answer. “Yeah, Mom?” 
        “You left the Blu-ray player and TV on with some slasher movie.”
        “Shit,” I say to myself. Louder, I say, “Sorry, Mom. Can you turn it off, please? I just got undressed to take a bath.” I lie, which is rare for me.
        “Sure. Are you hungry? I was going to make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.” 
        “No, thanks. I had a late lunch with Dev…in.” I barely croak out his name and pray my mom doesn’t catch it.
        “OK, sweetheart. How is Devin?” she asks.
        My voice is barely audible when I say to myself, “Oh, he’s a mess, and I’m pretty sure he hates me now.” But when I think I can answer her, I just yell down, “He’s fine,” and shut my bedroom doors. 
        As I start to fill my bathtub, I grab my cell phone and, with my hands still shaking, send Devin a text.

 Me: We REALLY need to talk Dev. Please call me. 

       I wait five minutes and still have no reply. He probably isn’t home yet. I strip out of my clothes and slide into my bubble bath. I’m replaying the events of today through my head over and over again. First, there was Devin and Ethan’s weird, testosterone-filled pissing match. Then Devin was ignoring the twins’ excessive flirting, and then Devin’s mouth on mine with the kiss that will forever change our relationship. Damn him!
       Then my thoughts drift back to Ethan, crouching in front of me after my failed attempt at stopping Devin from leaving. Ethan looking male model gorgeous while I sit there looking a hot mess as he offers me comfort and to go kick Devin’s ass for hurting me. I guess his big brother tendencies kicked in, because there is positively no other explanation that I can think of. 

        Seriously, what the hell happened today? Was today “Let’s Fuck with Lexi Day”?

 T.R. Cupak was born and raised in the suburbs of a Bay Area city in California. She was the closet nerd who hid her love of reading and writing short stories and poetry when she was younger. Back then it wasn’t considered cool to be into those types of activities for pleasure, whereas today you have TV shows, movies and books that glamourize that being a nerd is actually cool.

T. lives in a quiet, little, country town south of where she grew up. She is happily married to an amazing man who supports her in everything she does and spoils her rotten. They have a crazy little Shih Tzu named Harley. He's their fur-baby and even though he’s a pain in the arse most days, they love the little guy. She has an obsession with cars, especially fast ones.  She enjoys her music louder than anyone should. Admittedly it’s to drown out hearing her own singing voice, or lack thereof. When she’s not at work or busy writing you can find her curled up reading a book on her Kindle with a glass of wine or Dirty Shirley.

T. lost touch with her creative side and stepped off the path of all things written in her early twenties. Six years ago, her passion for reading was rekindled. She began to utilize reading as a way to escape everyday chaos. Late 2013 she began journal writing. After a couple of months of journaling T. realized that this form of writing wasn't keeping her interest nor was it helping her to relax. After that realization settled in she changed the direction of her writing. Her creative aspirations were flowing once again and she happily embraced it. As her fingers started to dance across her keyboard she began to see her fictional characters begin to breathe life. Writing was only supposed to be a way for the new author to relax, but a story was born and T.R. Cupak is excited to be re-releasing her self-published debut novel, Alexa Crushed.

Cover Designer and Formatter:
Deborah with Tugboat Design