Category Archives: romantic suspense

Romance Book Review! ~ Chance (The Broadway Series) by Allie York

Title: Chance
Author: Allie York
Release Date: 11/15/2022
Publisher: Self-Published
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Broadway Series, Book 1

Synopsis: 

Jovie

Between running a successful business and attempting to pen a best-selling novel, I don’t have the time or energy for the kind or romance I love to write about.

So, I let it fall to the wayside.

The thing is, life has a funny way of delivering what you need when you least expect it. And trust me, I was not expecting a poodle to be the one delivering a sexy Brit into my world.

Ewan

A tragic accident left me with time for only one woman in my life – my little sister, Amelia. Raising a teenager is enough work without adding in the hassle that comes with relationships.

But when my disobedient dog, Clark, crashes into a sexy dog trainer and practically bows at her feet, the attraction is immediate.

The chemistry between us is hard to fight and Jovie fits comfortably in my life with Amelia.

It’s all or nothing when someone else decides they want to change the game. Someone deadly, who has their sights set on what’s mine.

Continue reading Romance Book Review! ~ Chance (The Broadway Series) by Allie York

Romance Book Review: Too Complicated by Ajme Williams

ABOUT:

I’m in love with the man that was hired to keep tabs on me.
Turns out, I’m the one keeping tabs now because he’s my neighbor

…and he’s hot!

I was still able to think straight until I found out Noel had a son.
All my common sense went out the window when I watched him care for the kid.
The kid that his psycho ex just left at his door.

Yes, the last thing Noel wanted was another relationship.
And the last thing I wanted was heartbreak.

So I made a deal with myself that I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep.
Three words were all I needed to remember: No strings attached.
I was prepared for everything except… the two pink lines on a stick.

Noel was about to be a father again.
Was the hot single billionaire ready for another shock of his life?

Get your copy here —> https://amzn.to/3O7KfEZ

Continue reading Romance Book Review: Too Complicated by Ajme Williams

New Romance Book Release!!! ~ Lost to Us (The President’s Daughters Series) by Kathryn Shay

Title: Lost to Us
Series: The President’s Daughters #5
Author: Kathryn Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: November 8, 2022


Why is this woman a look-alike of one of the president’s daughters?

Set in a beautiful island country in Italy, Bianca Lucchese and her husband Joe work hard at their veterinarian practice, raise their kids and keep their marriage vibrant. But two interfering mothers bring them to the brink of separation. When Bianca meets Andraya Manwaring, her life falls apart and Joe isn’t there for her. He’s left her at the worst possible time in her life—when she discovers she’s the long-lost daughter of a US president.





The end of August  

“We have to talk.” Joe made the statement in the office of their veterinarian practice before their workday began. It was a light, airy space, with carefully chosen wooden desks, file cabinets and a long couch on the far wall. She’d brought in fresh flowers so the scent of calla lilies surrounded them.

Bianca’s eyes narrowed in feigned anger. “Is it about those secret meetings and phone calls you’ve been having? I swear Giuseppe Nicoli Lucchese, if you have a woman on the side, I’ll castrate you.”

“As if, Tesoro.” For a moment, his dark eyes danced. “I haven’t looked at another woman since you fell into my arms coming down the steps of the administration building at college.” 

Bianca knew that was true. The same thing happened to her. Love at first sight. And lots of lust, too. They couldn’t keep their hands off each other and were together every minute they could manage. “All right. Tell me.”

He got that shadowed expression on his face that usually meant he had bad news. “I accepted a request from Veterinari All’estero to inoculate wildlife in Africa.”

What?”

“I’m going to work with the vets over there.”

She frowned. “We were planning to do that together, sometime later, when the kids were older.”

“I have to go now. Running our home and practice throws us together too much.”

Merda, this was so unlike the past where they skipped classes to make love and he moved out of the dorm and rented an apartment for privacy and convenience.

She stared at him. She loved him. But… “So you’re going to run away from our problems?”

He stood, came around his desk, leaned against the edge and jammed his hands into his jeans pockets. Damn him for looking so good. “You’re not listening, amore mio. We need a break from each other. I know I need a break from the pressure our Mammas put on us. We fight all the time about them.”

It was painful to hear what he was saying. There had been a lot of pressure and it had affected their relationship. Her voice was hoarse when she answered, “So I get to stay here and deal with them all by myself?”

Joe’s brows knitted. “Mamma will leave you alone if I’m not here. Maybe me being gone will make her listen to me about interfering in our lives. But, yes, you’ll have to deal with your mother.”

Carlotta Ricci was a force to be reckoned with. Since Bianca’s papà was never in the picture, she and her mother had been close. Very close. Too close. And Carlotta never liked Joe, but down deep Bianca knew she wouldn’t approve of any man her daughter had chosen.  

She made herself sound strong. “I’ll handle Mamma. What about the practice?”

“Christopher will take on more responsibility.” The fresh-faced, sweet man, Christopher Messina was just out of vet school when they asked him to join their team and had been a joy to work with.

“We hired him so we could open a second office.”

“That can wait.”

Her eyes filled. “I can’t believe you’d do this to me, Joey.” 

“Bianca, cara, we need time away from each other!”

“At least you do.”

“You do, too. And this way, we won’t have to explain a separation to the kids.”

“And you won’t look bad.” She stilled as another awful truth came to her. “You were thinking of a separation?”

“No, no, that came out wrong.” He took in a deep breath. Stared at her with midnight eyes that made her weak in the knees. “I’m going, for three months, starting in September.”

She tried to calm herself. “Not with my support.”

“Cazzo! You don’t give an inch anymore. What happened to the girl I married?”

“She was deliriously happy when she met you. You promised life would stay that way for us. We opened a successful practice, had two kids we raised together. Then you got distant.”

“Things change, Bianca.”

“Apparently.”

“Please do this for me. I need it.”

She loved this man above all else. She often consented to what he wanted to do in their life together. But she was mad! “All right, Joey, go ahead. Leave the three of us alone.” Even to her own ears, she sounded totally rejected. In the past that would have killed him.

“Will you give me your blessing?”

“What do you think?”

#

Joe couldn’t concentrate all day. Even though he’d had several wellness checks, two sick puppies and a consultation about surgery, he was distracted. Not only had he hurt the only woman he ever loved, he’d sounded like a selfish bastard. 

I need to get away…I want to go…

But deep inside he knew that his marriage was heading for disaster if he didn’t shake things up. And he wasn’t sure he could live without Bianca in his life. 

The fights had been epic. 

First Carlotta…

“You are subservient to him, figlia mia. I warned you against this.” Still tall, imposing and statuesque at sixty-plus, her silvery gaze was cold.

“I am not, Mamma. We compromise.”

“He always gets what he wants.”

“Because I want it too.”

Her mother stared her down. Bianca knew an ace in the hole was coming. “Did you want another child?”

“I wanted to talk about it.” And Joe didn’t. So the idea got dismissed.

“Not that I thought having another was the right thing for you, but you had no choice when he objected. He takes that away from you.”

“Joe likes our life as it is.”

“I do.” His comment came from the doorway. “And Carlotta, I don’t appreciate how you hound your daughter. I’ve told you this before.”

“Do not speak to me like that.”

“This is my home. I’ll speak however I want in order to keep you from hurting your daughter.”

Bianca said, “Joe, I can stand up for myself.”

Angry, he’d whirled on her. His eyes burned. “Then why don’t you?”

Then there was his mother, Rosalina…

“You work too hard, Joey, and afterward, you run around with i figli. Your wife should stay home and take care of them and the house.”

He’d crossed to the woman who’d raised him. Who he loved dearly. “Mamma, I know that’s how you did things in your marriage, but that’s not us. Not most people in Italy these days.”

She touched his face and he could see the veins of age in her hand. Small in stature, a bit overweight, she had the same dark eyes and hair as Joe, though hers was graying. “You need more sleep. More relaxation. If she quit, you’d have peace.”

It was as if he hadn’t spoken. “Santa Maria, you don’t listen to me. Bianca’s not going to give up her career. I don’t want her to. Now, I won’t talk about this again.”

But they had. And more than once he’d found her pressuring Bianca. His wife didn’t cower in front of his mother, but Rosalina triggered something in Bianca that made her not fight back very hard. That probably had to do with her own mother’s strong personality. He and his wife became more and more estranged.

A breaking point came for him the night before he was leaving…

They were getting ready for sleep. He noticed lately she’d been changing in the bathroom. He was stretched out on the bed, with his hands linked behind his head, wearing only his boxers, watching the overhead fan whir around. She came out in a nightgown buttoned up to her neck.

He said simply, “I want to make love.”

“I don’t feel like it.”

“You haven’t felt like it in weeks.” Even now after nearly twenty years of marriage, sex had been frequent and imaginative. 

“I know I haven’t.” She walked to a dressing table, sat down and began to brush her blond hair. She saw him in the mirror when he came up behind her. Put his hands on her shoulders. “You won’t make love with me because I’m going to work with Veterinari All’estero.”

She held his gaze in the glass. “That’s right, Joe. This chasm between us opened up when you said you were abandoning us.”

Fury rose inside him. “You always said you hated when women used sex to manipulate men.”

She turned around forcing him to step back. Her gaze narrowed on him. “I know. And I never thought I’d feel this way about you.”

“What are you saying, that I killed our sex life?”

“Harsh, but probably true.” She stood and didn’t meet his height by six inches. “It’s not my fault that I no longer want you. It’s yours.”

He was so angry he didn’t know what he’d do if he stayed. He stalked to the hamper, redressed in his clothes from the day, and stormed out of the room. He walked over to the street where his childhood friend, Tommaso Galati, lived and slept on his couch on the porch. He left the next day when he and his wife weren’t speaking to each other.




 

A NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction. One of her firefighter books hit #20 on the NEW YORK TIMES list. Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over ten million copies of her books in print and downloaded online. Readers call her work heartwarming.


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New Romance Book Release & Book Review ~ One Kind Soul by Christine DePetrillo

Title: One Kind Soul
Series: One Kind Deed Series
Author: Christine DePetrillo
Release Date: August 25, 2022
Genre: Steamy Contemporary Romance
Goodreads: https://bit.ly/3SfMkA7 

Tagline: When hot farmer Christian Henley agrees to give her a ride to Maplehaven, bartender Nicole Travers can’t help noticing everything about him. It’s going to be a long drive. 

Blurb:

Christian probably attracted the attention of supermodels. Nicole was no supermodel.

She isn’t enough. She isn’t worthy. No one will ever want her. Nicole Travers believes this to her core. Her older sister made sure to remind Nicole of these truths on a daily basis when they were kids. Now, many years later, her sister’s voice still rings in her ears every time a guy catches her eye. She’s better off focusing on waitressing and tending bar. At least she knows how to do those two things. Attracting a soul mate? Forget it. Although watching her best friend meet her true love makes Nicole wish for the same. Too bad she doesn’t have what it takes.

When her only option to get to her best friend’s wedding is to accept a ride with sexy farmer Christian Henley, Nicole’s self-doubts heckle her from the back seat. Loudly. But she promised to be the maid of honor, and she’s not going to bail on the bride. Besides, a handsome Vermont mountain man with a body full of muscles won’t even notice someone like her. Except he does, and when Christian comes to her rescue on a busy Boston street, Nicole can’t help noticing everything about him. It’s going to be a long drive.

Is one kind soul enough to quiet the voices?

One Kind Soul is a one-night-stand, forced-proximity, small-town, contemporary romance that features a bartending heroine and a farmer hero who rescue each other in every sense of the word.

Buy Links: 

Universal link: https://books2read.com/One-Kind-Soul   
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3zLoeGn 
Nook: https://bit.ly/3BsASLN 
Apple: https://apple.co/3NTY3B2  
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3zMIGqc 
Google: https://bit.ly/3OWmNds  

Teasers:

He was, apparently, a nice guy in playboy’s clothing. He’d gone so far as to try not being so nice, but it went against everything inside of him. 

Mostly inside his heart.

****

The moment Nicole’s hand slid against his palm and the rough skin there scraped along hers, her libido took note. It’d been a while since her libido took note of anything.

****

Christian Henley was a great surprise.

****

“It might be hard for you to believe, but you are extraordinary.”

****

“Just because I have a penis—a stunning one—doesn’t mean I’m a barbarian.”

****

His body was stiff and sore. His brain was a scattered mess of thoughts. His heart bled. Only Nicole could fix that last one.

****

 He kissed her as if his survival was in jeopardy. Quite possibly it was.

 ****

“Let it all out, baby. Leave it all on the floor in here and then we’ll figure out a way to sweep it all away. Together.”

****

Excerpt #1:

“Tell me you’re not going back to Room 513.” Christian sifted his fingers through Nicole’s hair, fanning it out on the bed beneath her. “Tell me you’ll stay right here with me.”

Nicole rose to her elbows then sat up, nudging Christian off her. She slid off the bed and walked, naked, to the adjoining door that was still open. She peeked into her hotel room then looked back to Christian, whose pout was absolutely adorable. As if he might throw a tantrum if she left him alone.

“I’m thinking we ought to see if that bed is as good as this one.” She pointed into her room then at his bed. “I didn’t only buy a single condom, you know. Those things come in boxes.”

The smile that bloomed on Christian’s face was something Nicole would never forget. She couldn’t remember a time she’d ever made a man that happy. When he got up from the bed and stalked toward her, his naked body drool-worthy in every sense of the word, she knew they’d make excellent use of both rooms tonight.

One Kind Soul is the story of two people who have not met their person, the one who just gets them. Who loves and accepts them for exactly who they are. Nicole and Christian may not seem like great partners at the start. He’s confident and flirtatious and she is not confident—at all—and kind of put off by his confidence.

Why?

To put it simple, family issues. Nicole is plagued by self-doubt through not fault of her own mostly and at times it is painful to read but at other times it is just downright annoying. I liked them together, as a couple they worked well together. I even liked the bit of mystery that was wholly unexpected based on the book description. It was a nice hint of confusion through a story that sometimes was a bit too sweet.

This is a good romance and the thing I liked/appreciated most was just how capable Nicole was, how much they both changed and grew as the story came to an end. The secondary characters were fun and endearing, and it was wonderful to watch Nicolle finally found her niche.

Her place in the world.

Excerpt #2:

“Technically, I didn’t give you a choice. I kissed you first. Remember?” Nicole nudged Christian to his back and climbed onto his lap. Boy, did he wish he hadn’t put his sweats back on.

“Oh, I remember. I remember in vivid detail.”

“So I don’t need to remind you then? Okay.” She inched back, but he grabbed her around the waist, keeping her in place.

“Remind? No. Re-kiss? Yes.” He caught her lips with his and his anger quickly dissipated. How could anyone stay angry at Nicole when she kissed like this? 

Author Bio:

Christine DePetrillo can often be found hugging trees, conversing with dragonflies, and walking barefoot through sun-warmed soil. She finds joy in listening to the wind, bathing in moonlight, and breathing in the fragrances of things that bloom. If she had her way, the sky would be the only roof over her head.

Her love of nature seeps into every story she tells. As does her obsession with bearded mountain men who build, often smell like sawdust, and know how to cherish the women they love. Today she writes tales meant to make you laugh, maybe make you sweat, and definitely make you believe in the power of love.

She lives in Vermont with her husband and cat who defend her fiercely from all evils.

Author Links:

Giveaway: 

Direct link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81aa78942513

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BOOK REVIEW ~ Heinous by Yolanda Olson

I just finished reading Heinous by Yolanda Olson and it is a duet (I think, I hope) and Book 2, Hideous comes out 9.11.2022

ABOUT:

Someone once said that if you talk about the devil, he’s bound to appear.

Most would keep silent, hoping that they’d never be found by such a monster, but I prayed for his touch every night.

I knew the devil when I was a child and fell in love with him the first time he taught me that I wasn’t as damaged as I was led to believe that I was.

He cared for me, helped me learn how to smile, and see the world in a different way even though he didn’t realize that he had done so.

But they feared him; hated him.

So seventeen years ago, they ripped him away from me.

What they didn’t know was that he had already created a monster in his very image.

I thought I’d never see him again—I finally resigned myself to that. But then he came back, just like he promised he always would through that smile of his.

We’re together again.

And now, no one will be able to keep us apart ever again.

Continue reading BOOK REVIEW ~ Heinous by Yolanda Olson

New Release & Review! ~ Stirred Up by a SEAL by Kait Nolan

ABOUT:

Can a SEAL without a mission and a widowed baker help each other learn to live again?

Jonah Ferguson never wanted to be anything but a Navy SEAL. But after an injury sidelines his military career, he finds himself back home in small-town Tennessee. Opening a bakery with his best friends and daring to re-imagine his life is a whole new mission, but his biggest challenge yet is sticking to the friend zone with the woman who helped give him new purpose.

Two years after losing her husband to a traumatic brain injury, baker Rachel McCleary needs a change. With the proceeds from the sale of her business, she’s exploring what a new life would look like. For the short-term, it means helping one of her former students make his fledgling business thrive. And hopefully adding some benefits to the friendship that helped bring her back to life.

All Rachel wants is temporary, and that’s the one thing Jonah can give her. But when the trouble that’s stalked his business from the start lands her in its crosshairs–and the hospital–he can’t deny that there’s nothing short-term about his feelings. Determined to protect her at all costs, he enters into a dangerous race to neutralize the threat before it torpedoes everything he holds dear.

Bad Boy Bakers Book 3 – Stirred Up by a SEAL
Continue reading New Release & Review! ~ Stirred Up by a SEAL by Kait Nolan

New Release & Book Review!! ~ Wrapped Up with a Ranger by Kait Nolan

ABOUT:

Can a grumpy former Ranger find lasting happiness in a marriage of convenience with a sunny single mom?

After losing his leg, former Army Ranger Holt Steele is building a new life and a new business with his friends. Sure, he never expected to put small-town baker on his resume, but he finds he likes the quiet, simple life. If only he didn’t like the sunny single mom who works across the street–or her adorable kid–quite so much.

After escaping a controlling husband, event planner Cayla Black has one focus–growing her business and maintaining a safe, happy home for her daughter. She has no time or interest in a man. Not even one who charms her child with Disney songs and keeps turning up like a mind-reader to help without being asked.

But when her ex’s conviction is overturned on a technicality, and he shows up intending to reclaim his wife and child, Holt intervenes with an outrageous lie. The only way to fix it is to make his falsehood the truth. As they struggle to convince everyone that their marriage of protection is real, these two reluctant hearts fall deeper, until the lines between the fiction and the dream begin to blur, and they have to risk it all to protect the family they didn’t know they wanted.

Kait Nolan Bad Boy Bakers book 2

Cayla and Holt…where do I begin? He’s hot and noble and she is a fierce single mother. Together they are hotter than sin and so adorable that I can’t even.

What I loved most was Holt. Period. He was attracted to Cayla and there was no doubt about it, but he kept his distance because he believed she deserved better…as if there’s something better than a hot former servicemember who jumps in to be the hero with no questions asked. I mean, seriously. He did what needed doing which we all know is super hot in a man, and he didn’t pressure her for the benefits of marriage.

If I wasn’t already married I would’ve taken Holt for myself!

He’s great with her kid, relieves some of her stress and burdens and then rocks her world? Um, yeah, where do I sign up?

The sexual tension was off the charts and it definitely satisfied and I’m very glad that the whole ex-husband thing didn’t take over the story. I thoroughly enjoyed Wrapped Up with a Ranger, the second book in the Bad Boy Bakers series.

Kait…keep it up honey!

Get your copy today!

Amazon ~ https://amzn.to/3NW9BV8

Kait Nolan ~ https://kaitnolan.com/wrapped-up-with-a-ranger/

Book Release & Review ~ Mixed Up with a Marine: A Small Town Second Chance Military Romance by Kait Nolan

BLURB:

Can a Marine turned baker and a jaded contractor find their way to a second chance?

Braxton Whitmore needs a change. After leaving the Marines, he’s free to build a new life. But is he gonna be a baker? Really? When his buddy inherits a decrepit bar and proposes they partner up to turn it into a bakery, Brax figures why not? Until his ex comes walking in.

Mia Whitmore has built a new life for herself, far from the heartbreak and secrets that tore her marriage apart. The last thing she expects is for her estranged husband to be business partners with her latest client. Or for Brax to think they’re already divorced.

As they’re forced into proximity on the renovation, truths come to light, and Brax and Mia get a second chance. But when past secrets become present danger, Brax puts everything on the line to protect the woman who’s always held his heart.

Bad Boy Bakers series Kait Nolan

This is Mia & Brax’s story and after reading their background story, Rescued By a Bad Boy I was really looking forward to see how they got their happy ending.

This is not your usual Kait Nolan romance, not at all, but it such a fun story. A good story that sucks you right in from the beginning. Mia and Brax grew up together in foster care and they formed a bond, a close and loving bond that was torn apart by Mia’s inability to trust and forces outside both of their control. Devastated, Brax joined the Marines and got on with his life.

Mostly.

After serving is country he ends up in the same town as Mia and their re-introduction does not go well. At first. But this is a bit of a romantic suspense so events happen to bring them together, events beyond their undeniable attraction and bond. Knowing what they went through and how much they’d loved in their younger days, it was a wonderful journey to go on with them.

So much happens in Mixed Up with a Marine that I’m almost at a loss about what to say. There’s action, there’s steam and there’s a lot of brotherhood which gave the story the perfect amount of fun to counteract the seriousness of Mia and Brax’s life before the book, and the parts that follow them into the present.

There was a lot of hurt to work through and they did it, and thankfully it didn’t take them forever to get there. I loved this story and I can’t wait to see what Wyatt gets up to in the next story.

Get your copy of Mixed Up with a Marine TODAY!!!

New Release & Book Review ~ Lie With Me by Kathryn Shay

Title: Lie With Me
Series: The President’s Daughters #2
Author: Kathryn Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release: April 5, 2022
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/59848003-lie-with-me
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/lie-with-me-the-president-s-daughters-book-2-by-kathryn-shay

Blurb:

She’s too good to be true and he’s her worst nightmare…

Sasha Masters Manwaring, the youngest president’s daughter, is satisfied with the path she’s chosen: she lives in picturesque upstate New York, teaches dance, is close to her sisters and stays out of the public eye. But it’s love at first sight for Dan Lawson and when he sweeps her off her feet, there’s nothing she can do about it. Even if her feelings tell her something isn’t right about him.

Buy Links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Jj9Dnd
B&N: https://bit.ly/3DC2PQj
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3DBZe4T
Google: https://bit.ly/35ziq6w
iTunes: https://apple.co/3u3T6ix
Smashwords: https://bit.ly/3r0sgFY

Excerpt:

Chapter 1 

The phone shrilled into the darkness. Sasha startled awake. With shaky hands, she grabbed it from the nightstand. 

“H-hello.”

“Is this Sasha Masters, the owner of DanceWorks?” She’d chosen to use her mother’s last name for privacy when she moved to Rockford.

“It is.” She glanced at the clock. Three in the morning. This wasn’t going to be good.

“Lieutenant Liam Murray here, from The Rockford Fire Department. Your building caught fire, in the bakery. It’s contained on the first floor.”

“Is Mrs. Bruni hurt? Anybody?”

“Nobody’s hurt. But her shop is a mess with a shitlo—oops, sorry, a whole lotta water damage.”

“Oh, no.”

“She’s at the site, now. She gave us your contact information. There’s smoke damage in your studio but you’re one lucky dog. The sprinklers stopped the fire from reaching the second level.”

“Just so no one was hurt. I’ll be right there.”

“Thank you. Mrs. Bruni’s all alone.”

“I’ll hurry.”

Throwing on clothes, Sasha thought about calling her sister Hannah, but she was still recovering from her arm surgery and she’d want to come, too. Sasha could handle this by herself. 

She took a moment to breathe in and out deeply for calmness, then dashed out to the car. On the short drive she uttered the mantra, “No one’s hurt. No one’s hurt.”

Flashing red lights from police vehicles blocked off the entrance but they let her through. More red lights and the loud rumble of firetrucks greeted her as she arrived at the building and hurried out of the car. A man in tan-and-yellow gear approached her. “Ms. Masters?”

“Yes.”

“Liam Murray. I called you.” He angled his head. “Mrs. Bruni’s over there.”

“Can you tell me how the fire started first? And the extent of the damage?”

“Looks like an electrical outlet sparked in the bakery near the deep frier.”

“That’s terrible.”

“We got here fast and put it out with a special extinguisher. The flames did damage, but the water is the big culprit.”

“Did you explain this to her?”

“Uh-huh. She asked if she did anything wrong.”

“Aw. Poor woman. I’ll go over to her.”

The stalwart widow of a war veteran, Angela Bruni was slump-shouldered and pale. When she saw Sasha, she started to cry. “Cara. My shop.”

It was dark so Sasha couldn’t see inside. “Mi dispiace tanto.” Mrs. Bruni had been teaching her Italian so she knew the words for I’m sorry.

Dio mia. This is all I have left of Gus.” She and her husband started the bakery together. “That nice firefighter said it was not my fault.”

“Apparently the electrical outlet was old and sparked.”

Mrs. Bruni shook her head. “Your studio?”

“Smoke damage. Easier to clean up.” But water damage? That was huge.

“He said I can rebuild. But how?”

“The building’s insured. I promise, you’ll have your store back.” If Sasha had to pay extra for repairs herself. She owned the structure and was up to code on her inspections. This must have been a fluke.

Another woman approached them. “Angie, dear Angie, I’m so sorry.” Sasha had met Mrs. Bruni’s sister, who often helped out at the bakery.

They hugged then Mrs. Bruni said, “Coso posso fare, Millie.”

“We’ll figure out what we can do.” Mildred looked over her sister’s shoulder at Sasha. “There’ll be a way.”

“Excuse me.” Lt. Murray stood behind them. “Ms. Masters would you like to go up and see your studio? The private entrance staircase’s intact.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant.” She said to the women, “I’ll be right back.”

He handed her something. “I got some goggles from the truck and some gloves. Put them on. And don’t touch anything.”

He went ahead of her to the door. “I’m afraid we had to break your lock.”

“I’m glad you didn’t have to break down the door.”

They climbed the steep staircase and he opened the studio door. Immediately, she began to cough.

“We should go back.”

“No, I’ll be all right.” She pulled out a scarf she’d grabbed at home and covered her mouth and nose to dilute the acrid, putrid smell.  

The symptoms dwindled and her eyes adjusted. Everything was intact—the two dance barres, the set of mirrors. She saw the door was closed to the office so that might have helped to keep it cleaner. 

“We can’t stay, but I wanted you to know it’s just smoke damage.” When she didn’t respond, he went on, “There’ll be soot everywhere. But luckily no water damage. The alarm went off and we got here fast.”

“I had a layer of fireproof compounds and mortar laid between the floors when I remodeled upstairs.”

“Good thinking. Let’s go back to the street.”

Ironically, it was a lovely July night, with stars twinkling and the streetlights glowing. Too lovely, for what had happened here.

Sasha had a thought. “I forgot to ask how I go about cleaning all this up.”

“Call Pro Serve. They’ve worked with us a lot. You’ll have to wait to do anything inside, though, until the arson squad checks things out.”

“Arson? This could be arson?”

“Doesn’t seem like it to me, but for most commercial fires, the squad comes to make sure. I already told this to Mrs. Bruni.”

“Oh. My heart stopped there for a minute. But, again, thanks.” 

Sasha walked over to Mrs. Bruni, who now sat on one of the benches that lined the street. Mildred’s arm circled around the shoulders of her sister’s flowered house dress. Sasha joined them. As soon as she sat and took the old woman’s hand, she felt gutted by her pain. 

Sasha ignored it. She would be here for her friend.

#

Dan stood across the street on the sidewalk as he watched Sasha come out of the studio entrance with a fireman and head over to a bench. Amidst the noise of the trucks and officers shouting orders, Dan crossed to where she sat with Mrs. Bruni. Her curly brown hair was back in a ponytail and she wore a light purple workout suit. “Sasha, are you all right?”

“Danny? Um, physically, I’m fine. What are you doing here?”

“I have a small apartment down the street and heard the commotion outside my window.”

“I forgot where you lived.” 

“Mrs. Bruni, I’m so sorry about all this,” he said. 

The older woman stared at him with bruised eyes. He tried not to react but she was so sad even his hardened heart softened. “Danny. Thank you.”

“You two know each other?” Sasha asked.

“I go to the bakery almost every day.”

“You’re a nice boy,” she said squeezing his hand. 

Ha! He was anything but that.

“What can I do for you?” he asked Sasha

“We don’t know yet.” 

When Mrs. Bruni turned to her sister, Dan dropped down next to Sasha. Taking her hand would be too forward, so he made sure their hips and shoulders touched. Her face was ragged, her violet eyes turbulent, something else that elicited unwanted emotion from him. “This is so awful.”

“I know. You’re insured, aren’t you?”

“I am. But Mrs. Bruni has a high deductible. She won’t be able to cover all the repairs.”

“There must be something we can do.” He used we intentionally. 

“The town has to help.”

“I agree. How bad was your studio damaged?” 

“Smoke damage. The flames didn’t reach it so the sprinklers didn’t go off.”

“That’s good to hear. At least it didn’t burn.”

“I have to remember that.” She gave him a small smile. “I like that you’re so optimistic.”

Again, the foreign twist in his heart. Which he couldn’t afford. He’d come to Rockford to do a job and he certainly couldn’t develop feelings for his target. After all, he was planning to destroy her life as she knew it.

Sasha and Danny are smitten. Completely and totally smitten with one another, but President Manwaring’s youngest daughter has a sense about people and she senses that something isn’t right with Danny.

Before she finds out the story is okay, it moves forward and gives you all the details you need moving forward. Once she learns about Dan, the story picks up. It’s interesting and fun, even if Sasha was a bit unbelievable at times. I had a hard time connecting to her and even liking her, which is odd because everyone who meets her seems to love her.

In fact, I didn’t care for Danny/Dan all that much either, but I loved the sisters and the family and the way they loved each other with everything they had. It could be smothering at times but it was always with the best of intentions. They were the best part of the story.

The plot with Danny and his past was interesting and there were some nice misdirects tossed in, which I appreciated.

I love a good happy ending as much as any romance reader, but I’m surprised this couple got one. Pleasantly surprised, but still.

In the Series – Available Now:

Never My Love

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3JbOkUB
B&N: https://bit.ly/3Hg6HYg
Kobo: https://bit.ly/3s6gv0D
Google: https://bit.ly/3s6kNF0
iTunes: https://apple.co/34njE40
Smashwords: https://bit.ly/3rfeYG4

In the Series – PreOrder:

Be Mine Again
Not For You
Lost to Us

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3ob4aXY
B&N: https://bit.ly/3rdonOH
Kobo: https://bit.ly/32HN1gK
iTunes: https://apple.co/3s1AIo7
Google Play: https://bit.ly/3rb37cm
Smashwords: https://bit.ly/3Hh4mvY

Author Bio:

A NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction. One of her firefighter books hit #20 on the NEW YORK TIMES list. Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over ten million copies of her books in print and downloaded online. Readers call her work heartwarming.

Social Media links:

Website: www.kathrynshay.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kathrynshay  
Twitter: www.twitter.com/KShayAuthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Kathryn-Shay/e/B000APY3GW
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Book Tour & Review ~ The Hart Sisters of Birch Cove Minnesota

Series: The Hart Sisters of Birch Cove Minnesota
Author: Alie Garnett
Genre: Small Town Romance
Cover Design: Designed with Grace






Zoey has no place left to go but home.
Her past makes that nearly impossible.

Zoey Hart is finally back in Birch Cove. In the years since she lived there, a lot has changed, her dad has passed and her sister now runs the farm that they were raised on. A farm she wants to be a part of. A dream she has held onto for so long. Except the army has changed her. No longer is she the outgoing, bubbly girl whose teen who couldn’t keep herself out of trouble. Now nightmares haunt her sleep and the fear of one misstep will get her sent away again. This time for good.
Gabe Watson’s not ready for the feisty red headed woman to kiss him minutes after laying eyes on her. But he can’t forget her either. Nobody can, but she isn’t the woman that everyone in town talks about. She hides the pain that he sees so clearly. Her past is far to present, and he is the only one who understands what she went through, and what she is going through.
Zoey needs Gabe, but will being with him be the last straw for her sister? Can she move past long buried secrets she has kept so long, secrets that will blow up her family if they came out. Because if they come to light, she will definitely be sent away forever. And Gabe won’t be able to keep her safe.

Seeing Her Pain is book one in the Hart Sisters Series, a heartfelt series about finding love with just the right amount of steam and stories that will stay with you after you’ve turned the last page.

I loved Zoey and Gabe from the opening bar fight. She’s tough and vulnerable and totally incapable of talking about her vulnerability. Gabe gives off instant protector vibes that never let up, and even better, he’s not overbearing about keeping her safe.

The instant attraction was perfectly written, not over the top, just two people recognizing sameness in each other. Seeing Her Pain wasn’t insta-love and Zoey & Gabe’s story didn’t move at hyper-speed but the connection between them felt that visceral. They were wonderful together and other than Gabe and Evie harping on it, the age gap never presented that big of an issue.

I am curious to learn who was in that photo and more about the Hart sisters’ father. And mother.

This series is off to a good start and I can’t wait to read book two.


Some neighbors ask for a cup of sugar.
But Evie’s going to ask for a whole lot more.

Seeing her sister fall in love warmed Evie’s heart. But she can’t help but wonder if she’ll get her own chance at happiness. Despite being a widow, she has little experience in the bedroom. She’s sure she’d disappoint any man she dated.
When her neighbor, Jasper, comes home for the harvest, Evie gets an idea. And she figures Jasper is probably too nice to turn her down. So she asks for a favor:
Would he, ever so kindly, mind taking her to bed?
Little did she know her request was like something out of Jasper’s dreams. He’s always known that Evie was the one for him, ever since he was a teenager.
Jasper is more than happy to oblige her. But he’d be happier still if she could realize he is the man for her.
In the bedroom, they’re a match made in heaven. But the rest of it may turn out to be more complicated…

Her Favor is book two in the Hart Sisters Series, a heartfelt series about finding love. There’s just the right amount of steam and stories that will stay with you after you’ve turned the last page.

I really enjoyed Jasper and Evie’s story but I admit that I did not connect to Evie at all. I felt she just created whole stories out of nothing. What she believed had no bearing on her situation with Jasper and he never once made her feel as if any of her negative thoughts were his feelings, which made her more annoying than a heroine I wanted to root for.

Even giving her plenty of latitude because of what she went through with her ex and all that, it was hard to say, “yeah, she totally deserved this happy ending.”

I mean, I am glad she got it because I think Jasper deserved it because he was great, honest and open with his emotions, while giving her the time she needed to figure her stuff out. The scenes between them were hot and sweet at the same time, which only made her actions and attitudes all the more annoying.

For that reason, Her Favor gets a 4.5 star rating from me.


Don’t look. Don’t move. Don’t even breathe.
Max Valentine is looking at me.

Yes, that Max Valentine. The tall, handsome and super successful lawyer that every woman at the firm is trying to get her hands on.
Well, every woman except Della. Okay, well, she does think he’s hot, but she’s more interested in making partner than making out with Max. Or anyone else. But that doesn’t matter. Because Max Valentine would never look at her.
Her career dreams are shattered when she gets fired unexpectedly. Della doesn’t know who she is without her work. With no clue what else to do, she moves back to her home town and rents an old Victorian home.
And she feels… free. She stops dying her hair. She wears whatever she likes. She starts finding a new kind of joy in her life.
Until she looks up and sees Max Valentine is looking at her. Really looking. But he couldn’t be, could he? She thinks maybe he wants a fling. Maybe she’s just the nearest woman.
But she’s wrong.
Max can see the real Della. And he would like to do much more than look. Because he’s convinced he’s looking at the love of his life.
If only he could convince Della of that.

Max Valentine is Looking at You is book three in the Hart Sisters Series, a heartfelt series about finding love with just the right amount of steam and stories that will stay with you after you’ve turned the last page.

Wow, I thought Zoey was the complicated sister but she doesn’t hold a candle to Della! I mean that in a good way, because Della’s pain and reservations were palpable and totally understandable. She did jump to conclusions the same way Evie did, but her reasons were crystal clear to me.

I loved Della and Max together. They were fun and flirty, but there was always that underlying tension of me just wondering when/if Della would blow up this amazing relationship she’d stumbled into. For his part, Max was supportive and kind, he thought she was brilliant and let her shine. I mean, what more could you want in a proper book boyfriend?

Watching Della grow beyond her professional achievements was truly a pleasure and I rooted for her all the way. I was worried that this story would go the ‘woe is me’ route but it didn’t. Della was a fully independent woman with demons and flaws that she—mostly—embraced. I loved this story almost as much as Zoey & Gabe’s.


Zoey and Gabe’s story was my favorite of the series but Zephyr and Zachary are a very close second. Zephyr’s pain was palpable throughout the story and the way she turned in on herself to stay safe was heartbreaking.

It took me some time, okay it took ALL the time to warm up to Zachary but I really liked them as a couple. He was just the right amount of protective and she was just stubborn enough to keep the story moving forward. The whodunnit wasn’t all that shocking but I’m not sure it was meant to be because the highlight was Z&Z together, actually getting to know each other this time around and unraveling her secrets.

It was great to make a trip back to Birch Cove and see everyone else again, and I admit to feeling as hesitant as Zephyr about the reception she would receive when she got there. This was a fun, rollercoaster ride of a story and I’m glad to say I enjoyed every step of the journey with the Hart sisters.

Zachary made two promises. To keep Zephyr safe. And to keep his hands off her.
But promises can be hard to keep.

The daughter of a hard-drinking mother who died too young, life has been tough on Zephyr. The one break she got was when local cop, Brian Wainwright, tried to adopt her and give her the better life she deserved. But his son, Zachary, put a stop to that.
Zachary might have stopped the adoption, but he made a deathbed promise to his father to keep her safe. And with threats made against her life, he knows it’s time to fulfil that promise.
In the dead of night, he steals her away to Minnesota, a place he knows no one will find them.
Despite ruining her chance for happiness, Zephyr has always had a crush on Zachary. One she’s finding hard to put aside when she finds herself in close confines with him.
So she asks him to make another promise: to keep his hands off her. And while keeping her safe is difficult for Zachary, staying away from the beautiful enigma that is Zephyr Hart is going to be downright impossible.

Keeping Her Safe is book four in the Hart Sisters Series, a heartfelt series about finding love with just the right amount of steam and stories that will stay with you after you’ve turned the last page.



Alie Garnett loves a little spice in her books. She lives on a small hobby farm in northern Minnesota with her husband and two kids. When she isn’t writing, she is doing everything that she didn’t ‘get to’ while writing.




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