Tag Archives: romance book reviews

New Release & Book Review!! ~ Meet Me At Midnight by Melissa Toppen

Title: Meet Me at Midnight
Author: Melissa Toppen
Release: April 29, 2022
Genre: Friends to Lovers Romance
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60470884-meet-me-at-midnight

Blurb:

Meet me at midnight– whispered words from drunken lips.
Lips that I had spent years wanting to kiss.
Lips that I had dreamt about night after night, waking to wonder what if.
What if he noticed me?
What if he wanted me?
What if
But I quickly learned some things are better left to wonder. 
Especially where Levi Mills is concerned.
He didn’t just steal my innocence that night. 
He broke every part of me.
Dismantled me from the inside out until there was nothing left of the girl I used to be. 
Years passed. Moments faded into the background. Until eventually he became nothing more than a distant memory- a dream that almost didn’t seem real. 
But then suddenly he’s there, standing in front of me again like he never left. And in that one heartbeat, in that one breath, I relive it all over again. Every touch. Every word. Like frozen snippets of time suspended in front of my eyes.
And then he smiles that all too familiar smile, meet me at midnight moving soundlessly across his lips.

Melissa Toppen’s Meet Me At Midnight is a good read. The thing I loved most about this story is the fun cast of characters. Olive’s best friends, Josie & Lizzie were great and meddlesome but their lifelong friendship and sense of sisterhood really helped push the story forward. The details of the friendship and their lives really helped build out Olive & Levi’s world in Warren, RI.

I am a sucker for a good second chance romance and I enjoyed pretty much every aspect of this story. Just about.

Except Levi.

Yeah sure he’s hot and smoldering and that’s fine but I just didn’t like him at all. He was selfish and in my eyes he never redeemed himself. The only reason he got what he wanted was because Olive wanted him, not that he did anything to deserve it throughout the story. I wanted him to turn around and I even rooted for him…until the office incident.

I’m happy that Olive got what she wanted. For now.

Aside from Levi’s unworthiness I really enjoyed Meet Me At Midnight.

Buy Links (kindle unlimited):

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kpyVpN
Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/3rXtQZS
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3EUyxc8
Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/3OKDGI8

Giveaway: $10.00 Amazon Gift Card

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Direct Link:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/81aa78942491

Author Bio:

Melissa Toppen is a USA Today Bestselling Author who specializes in New Adult and Contemporary Romance. She is a lover of books and enjoys nothing more than losing herself in a good novel. She has a soft spot for Romance and focuses her writing in that direction; writing what she loves to read. 

Melissa resides in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two children, where she writes full time.

Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.mtoppen.com
Author Facebook: www.facebook.com/mtoppenauthor
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/melissatoppen
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Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mtoppenauthor
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Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mtoppenauthor
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/melissatoppen
Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/authors/melissa-toppen
YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCTuq7fyAW4h_XYcNsJUkJtw
Newsletter: http://mtoppen.com/keep-in-touch/

New Release & Book Review!!! ~ The Bastard Heir by Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh

Title: The Bastard Heir
Series: Winter Harbor Novel #1
Authors: Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh
Release: April 9, 2022
Genre: small town, second chance, estranged brothers, family mystery, grumpy/sunshine, fighting a developer

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60492019-the-bastard-heir
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/the-bastard-heir-by-ember-leigh-and-whitley-cox

Blurb:

I’m the heir to a secret family fortune, facing down brothers I hate, and trying to get back the one that got away….

Callum

Eight years ago, she broke me. 

Her secrets drove a wedge between me and my brother that can never be fixed. 

Now, with my life in shambles, I’m forced by the ludicrous demands of my dead father to face the one woman I ever loved, and the brother I can not stand. 

I need the money. But a year is a long sentence to serve in a house with people I hate, and in a town that hates me.

A year is a long time to dodge Harlow Jackson and the eyes and smile that made me fall harder than I’ve ever fallen before. 

But it only takes days to show me that what happened eight years ago was a mistake. Now I need every last second of the year ahead  to convince her to take a second chance on us. 

This is the first book of the Winter Harbor series which features a quirky small town, secrets galore, and three estranged brothers who find the key to healing comes from the women who steal their hearts.

Continue reading New Release & Book Review!!! ~ The Bastard Heir by Whitley Cox & Ember Leigh

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!!!

Release & Review Tour ~ Our Best Shot by A.M. Williams

My life seemed perfect until he came back to town. With his sights set on me, he’s ready to settle down and face any challenge. Fans of Briar U by Elle Kennedy will devour Our Best Shot by A.M. Williams, a small-town, forced proximity, hockey romance.

Read Now! 

Amazon https://amzn.to/37lFHcC

Rory

On the outside, my life seems perfect. I have my friends, family, and quirky small town to keep me satisfied plus my secret writing career that’s done better than I ever dreamed. What’s not to love?

There’s just one thing missing. But I don’t know what it is.

At least until he comes back to town. The man I crushed on so hard in high school, I couldn’t talk in full sentences around him.

He’s back, he’s ready to settle down, and he’s set his sights on me, the wallflower.

Every time I turn around, there he is. He wants to know about me. And no matter how hard I try to ignore him…I can’t. He’s everything I wanted as a teenager.

And as an adult? I’m discovering that he’s the total package and is ready to sweep me off my feet.

Alex

Deciding to retire from my professional hockey career was easy. I miss my family, friends, and hometown. I crave a slower lifestyle so I can finally settle down.

What isn’t easy? Figuring out how to coach teenaged boys in how to play hockey and win over the woman I can’t stop thinking about.

I think about her constantly and am constantly finding ways to run into her ‘by accident’. I want to know everything about her, but she’s hesitant and I have my work cut out for me to convince her to step outside her comfort zone and date me.

But I’m up for the challenge. I’m ready to show her what being with me could be like and that she doesn’t need to be scared.

With outside forces working against us, can we get it together for our best shot at a happily ever after?

Add to Goodreads!

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Excerpt 

Copyright 2022 @A.M. Williams

 “You want to sit for a little while?” Alex asked, pointing to a bench just ahead of us and off the main path.

I nodded, hoping that the bench would be enough out of the way that people wouldn’t notice us sitting there and stop staring.

We settled in and I sipped my coffee, looking the park over.

Compared to the weekend before, the park looked totally transformed.

There were bright tents throughout the trees with local crafters and artisans, and loud chatter filled the air from people walking around.

“This festival looks no different from when I came as a kid,” Alex said, pulling my attention to him.

I glanced at him and watched as he looked over at what I’d just been looking at.

“Are you surprised? You know we like tradition here.”

Alex chuckled. “Not really. I guess since it’s been so long since I was here, that I expected something to have changed. But nothing has. The same tents, same vendors, same atmosphere.”

I made a noise low in my throat. “There are some new vendors. They’re just peppered throughout. Some ones you’re thinking of don’t come anymore.”

What I didn’t say was that some owners had died because of how old they were and their businesses closed. The town had to get some new life for the vendors, otherwise this festival would have dwindled.

“Still. This is the same. If I close my eyes, I bet I could recall where everyone is and the order of the games at the rink. I feel like no time has passed.”

I said nothing at first. Then I asked, “Are you happy to be here at least?”

Alex met my gaze and nodded. “I am. It’s weird how I didn’t think about so much related to town while I was gone. I came home for holidays and brief visits, but everything else was just background. But now that I’m here, I can’t help remembering coming as a kid with my mom and sister. Hanging with my friends before our games. And all the other shit that the town does throughout the year.”

I thought about what he was saying. I didn’t have any experience not coming to the town events, considering I went to college close by and returned to town the minute I could. I’d kept coming to everything, even throughout college.

Where do I begin? I just really loved Rory and Alex, separately and together. She is one of those teachers that you love but not in a brown-nosing sort of way, just like a cool teacher you don’t feel ashamed of saying ‘Hi’ to in the halls or around town. Oh and she’s an undercover author, so I mean what’s not to like about her?

Alex is a former professional hockey player who has returned home to his small town to live a normal life, no matter how strange others think his choices are. I loved that he had to work to get Rory to go out with him. Even though he had no idea it was because of her past baggage, he didn’t ask what her problem was, he just worked harder to charm her.

And he did.

Together they were fun and flirty and sure, a little bit steamy too. I had a good time reading Our Best Shot, smiling nearly the whole time I was immersed in the story.

The Harpy was terrible and even after finding out why, I still didn’t care and I hope she gets what’s coming to her. I really loved Bea, Rory’s best friend. We all need friends like that and I hope everyone has at least one. I really hope she gets the story I think she’s going to get.

Our Best Shot was a really fun and romantic read. I love a good small town romance and this was a really good time.

Our Best Shot – A.M. Williams

About A.M. Williams 

A.M. Williams is just a simple girl from the south that found herself living abroad. When she’s not annoying her cat or reading, she’s spending time with her husband and traveling as much as possible. She has a serious case of wanderlust and wants to go as many places as possible while she can. She loves Cheerwine, sweet tea, and North Carolina (eastern style) BBQ as well as those crystal clear waters on the North Carolina coast.

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BOOK REVIEW!!! ~ Love to Hate You by Whitley Cox

Title: Love to Hate You
Author: Whitley Cox
Release Date: March 12, 2022
Genre: enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience, best friend’s brother, road trip, forced proximity, romantic comedy, high heat, erotic romance
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-to-hate-you-by-whitley-cox
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60402988-love-to-hate-you

Blurb: 

She needs arm candy, he needs her insurance, but first, they need to drive across the country without killing each other.

Eli

Since the first day of kindergarten, I have hated Alexandra Hartford.

And twenty-something years later that hasn’t changed.

But she has.

She’s still a tomboy with a chip on her shoulder, but now she’s a hot tomboy with a chip on her tattooed shoulder who can fight like a badass.

I’d still rather have a bath with fire ants than spend ten days in a car with her, but she has something I need.

Once the deal is done, we can go our separate ways.

That is … if I want to.

Alex

Eli Evans is my nemesis.

He blames me for his sister’s death, our parents’ divorces, and probably global warming, too.

Why on Earth would I help him?

Because he’s as easy on the eyes as he is the bane of my existence and I need a hot date to a wedding in San Diego.

Can we drive across the country without me leaving him at a truck stop somewhere? I doubt it.

But, I’m willing to try.

Ten days in a car, a wedding, and a marriage of convenience, then I’m done with him forever.

Right?

Love to Hate You is an enemies to lovers romance and holy cow are these two enemies when this story begins. Eli and Alex have known each other–a term I use loosely–since they were in kindergarten. She was best friends with his twin sister and he was her bully, her tormentor.

They were hardcore enemies who found themselves living in the same small Maine town years after their lives were blown apart by tragedy and circumstances.

The story itself is mostly entertaining.
Mostly.

My major problem is that I just could not warm up to Eli. I understand where his misdirected anger came from, but those first few chapters just soured me on him and I never recovered from what he said about Alex. I just couldn’t. Not sorry.

But they make a deal which I won’t spoil for you except to say it’s a fake relationship/marriage of convenience which mostly takes place on a road trip. I appreciated the growth shown by both throughout the trip and the heat between them was HOLY SMOKES OFF THE CHARTS!! Together, they burn up the sheets and my kindle.

The story itself was good even if I didn’t like Eli all the way to the very end. I loved Alex though. She was scarred and tough and brilliant and managed to find ways to navigate her pain that were healthy and positive. She is exactly the kind of heroine you can and want to root for, and I did. She wanted Eli and I wanted her to get what she wanted, it’s as simple as that.

Good read, meh hero and awesome heroine.

Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited

Universal: http://mybook.to/love2hateyou
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3JgqRT6
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09R18H3JH
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09R18H3JH
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B09R18H3JH

New Release!! ~ Love to Hate You by Whitley Cox

Title: Love to Hate You
Author: Whitley Cox
Release Date: March 12, 2022
Genre: enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience, best friend’s brother, road trip, forced proximity, romantic comedy, high heat, erotic romance
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/books/love-to-hate-you-by-whitley-cox
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60402988-love-to-hate-you

Blurb: 

She needs arm candy, he needs her insurance, but first, they need to drive across the country without killing each other.

Eli

Since the first day of kindergarten, I have hated Alexandra Hartford.

And twenty-something years later that hasn’t changed.

But she has.

She’s still a tomboy with a chip on her shoulder, but now she’s a hot tomboy with a chip on her tattooed shoulder who can fight like a badass.

I’d still rather have a bath with fire ants than spend ten days in a car with her, but she has something I need.

Once the deal is done, we can go our separate ways.

That is … if I want to.

Alex

Eli Evans is my nemesis.

He blames me for his sister’s death, our parents’ divorces, and probably global warming, too.

Why on Earth would I help him?

Because he’s as easy on the eyes as he is the bane of my existence and I need a hot date to a wedding in San Diego.

Can we drive across the country without me leaving him at a truck stop somewhere? I doubt it.

But, I’m willing to try.

Ten days in a car, a wedding, and a marriage of convenience, then I’m done with him forever.

Right?

Buy Links: Kindle Unlimited

Universal: http://mybook.to/love2hateyou
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3JgqRT6
Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B09R18H3JH
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B09R18H3JH
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B09R18H3JH

Excerpt:

The sound of the curtain in her changing room being pulled open echoed into my changing room, so I made sure my dick wasn’t visible, then pulled back my own curtain. 

Jamie was zipping up Alexandra’s dress—the royal blue bandage strapless one—but she whipped around to face me when Jamie was finished. 

Her eyes widened, pupils dilated, nostrils flared. It was a primal reaction that I would have to be an idiot to miss. 

I had a primal reaction of my own—in my pants. 

“Holy fuck,” I breathed. 

She glanced away, but the smile that lifted one side of her mouth was dead sexy. 

“You’re getting that one,” I said. 

She smoothed her hands down the sides, turned on one foot, and glanced at herself in the mirror. “Yeah, I like it, too.”

“You can’t wear those two together, though,” Jamie said. “The blues are too close in color, but not close enough. If you know what I mean?”

Alexandra and I nodded. 

“He should just wear a dress shirt and maybe dark gray pants when you wear that dress.”

“I have dark gray pants in the room,” I said, hooking a thumb toward my changing room and a stack of pants on the bench.

I stepped out and away from my room to get a better look at myself in the mirror outside the changing rooms. “What do you think?”

“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Jamie said. “Doesn’t even look like you’ll need tailoring.”

Alexandra nodded. “Looks good.” I caught her checking out my ass and grinned, but when she saw me see her, her eyes whipped up to the ceiling as if a flock of geese had just flown overhead. 

“You guys got any brown wingtips?” I asked, focusing my gaze on Jamie. 

He nodded. “Sure do. Size?”

I glanced back at Alexandra and smiled as I said, “Thirteen.” 

I did not miss the flare of her eyes or the way they drifted down to the front of my pants. 

“Eyes up here, lady,” I said, catching her gaze back in the mirror. 

Startled, she ditched the surprised look and went with a glare before returning to her changing room and dramatically pulling the curtain closed again. 

“What is the dynamic of your relationship?” Jamie asked, glancing back and forth between me and the closed changing room curtain. 

“She’s my fiancée,” I said chipperly. “But she’d rather not be.”

Short Quotes: 

1 – Tomorrow, I would be embarking on the greatest challenge of my life. Ten straight days in a vehicle with my enemy—who was now frustratingly gorgeous and also technically my fiancé.

This was going to be my Everest. 

I only hoped that I could make it to the top without losing a limb to frostbite or pushing my climbing partner off the side of a mountain. 

2 – “We’re on vacation. If you want two pies, get two pies. No regrets on this trip, right?”

3 – “All set,” he said, zipping up the tent and standing in front of me. “Now for the fire.” I stood there like a complete tool, watching him transform into this sexy, rugged mountain man. Okay, maybe that was a bit of a stretch, but his ability to just take charge and handle any situation that came to him was seriously hot. He’d also located a flannel shirt in his bag, and although a little wrinkled, it was just adding to this lumberjack, camping-man image he was personifying nicely. My mouth was dry. My panties were not.

4 – His words and the way he spoke were doing things to me. I wanted to open the door and drag him into the shower, take his mouth and let him do anything and everything he wanted to my body so long as he kept talking to me the way he was now.

5 – “How drunk are you?”

“Drunk enough to have a lot of dirty thoughts parading around in my head. Sober enough that you wouldn’t be taking advantage—and to know with immense certainty that we’d regret not doing this in the morning.”

“We’d regret not doing this?”

6 – There was nothing I could do but take. He had me helpless against the door as he mercilessly pounded up and into me, over and over again. His mouth found the other nipple, and he sucked hard enough a gasp snagged at the back of my throat. I tilted my head against the door and moaned. 

Every thrust had his pelvic bone grazing my clit. Every thrust had me seeing stars. Every thrust catapulted me closer to another sweet, glorious release. 

He lifted his head from my breast and took my mouth again, his tongue pushing possessively inside. 

7 – Did there need to be a winner, or could I hand out gold medals to every part of his body that made me feel this good?

Of course, I could. I made the rules here. This was my award ceremony. Gold stars, blue ribbons, and gigantic trophies to his tongue, cock, and fingers

Praise for the novel: 

“There was certainly some emotional moments in Love to Hate You and a few times where I was on the edge of my seat whilst reading. This book is a little gem and one I thoroughly enjoyed.” 

– Erin Lewis (Goodreads Review)

“Their story is intense and poignant at times but it also has a lighter side to it as well. The authors words draw you into a storyline that holds hard and fast to your heart. Love to Hate You is an exceptional love story.” 

– Kylee (Goodreads Review)

“The sexy times between them are nothing to sneeze at either: hot, steamy, sensual and drool-worthy. This book made me laugh one moment and cry the next.” 

– Silke (Goodreads Review)

“An irresistible blend of emotion, angst, drama, heat, heart and humor was super enjoyable and made this book a true delight to read.” 

– Gladys (Goodreads Review)

About the Author:

A Canadian West Coast baby born and raised, Whitley is married to her high school sweetheart, and together they have two beautiful daughters and a fluffy dog. She spends her days making food that gets thrown on the floor, vacuuming Cheerios out from under the couch and making sure that the dog food doesn’t end up in the air conditioner. But when nap time comes, and it’s not quite wine o’clock, Whitley sits down, avoids the pile of laundry on the couch, and writes.

A lover of all things decadent; wine, cheese, chocolate and spicy erotic romance, Whitley brings the humorous side of sex, the ridiculous side of relationships and the suspense of everyday life into her stories. With single dads, firefighters, Navy SEALs, mommy wars, body issues, threesomes, bondage and role-playing, Whitley’s books have all the funny and fabulously filthy words you could hope for.

Social Media Links:

Website: WhitleyCox.com
Twitter: @WhitleyCoxBooks
Instagram: @CoxWhitley
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/CoxWhitley/
Blog: https://whitleycox.blogspot.ca/
Multi-Author Blog: https://romancewritersbehavingbadly.blogspot.com
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Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/whitley-cox

BOOK REVIEW ~ Sparkle (Enigma Models INC Book 2) by Alyne Hart

About:

I walked away from the one girl I’ve ever really loved. The most painful thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never been good enough for her, and keeping my distance is hard. But it has to be done. For her. For me. For us.

She’s everything I’ve ever wanted. Miley and her sunshine sparkle. When I close my eyes, I can still see her spinning beneath the stars, laughing and eating cotton candy. It’s the only thing that keeps me going.

When I come back a better man, healing from my own personal hell…the only question is…is she mine? Or is she his?

Sparkle (Enigma Models INC, Book 2)

Miley and Kellan are back and this time…well this time is even better than the first go round! The first book, Glitter, was a wild ride of emotions, highs and lows, happiness and sadness, breakups and makeups and a wicked love triangle. Glitter was like your first rush of love and lust, hot and fast and out of control.

Continue reading BOOK REVIEW ~ Sparkle (Enigma Models INC Book 2) by Alyne Hart

New Release & Book Review!!! ~ Never My Love by Kathryn Shay (The President’s Daughters #1)

Title: Never My Love
Series: The President’s Daughters #1
Author: Kathryn Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 1, 2022


He finally finds a woman he can love but she plans to be the President of the United States…

Annalise Masters Manwaring, one of the twin president’s daughters, knows what she wants and how to get it. But when she meets cranky, arrogant Luke Branson, she’s derailed in a big way. She has to choose between him and her political career. Luke, wounded by his brutal past, knows he’ll never fit into her life. Both have impossible decisions to make.


Never My Love is a classic enemies to lovers romance story. Luke and Annalise start out as coworkers but he doesn’t like the former President’s daughter and makes no bones about it. Her response to Luke is exactly what endeared her to me as a character, because Annalise is a real class act. She doesn’t let his bad attitude or snide remarks get to her, she keeps her head held high, putting him in check with a smile on her face.

Annalise wants to be President someday which means she can’t be involved with her boss, no matter how much she wants to be.

I enjoyed this story even though it moved slower than I would have liked at times. I love politics. I studied it in college and I am a political junkie, but the whole scandal avoidance thing really rubs me the wrong way. Despite that, I was on board for whatever Annalise and Luke came up with and following them was a fun journey.



Chapter 1

President James Manwaring sat across from Annalise in her swank Foggy Bottom condo, looking youthful at sixty-seven. His face sported only laugh lines around his eyes and mouth. “I like your place, but I wish you’d listened and chosen a big building so you could be on an upper floor.”

She kissed his cheek. “I know, Dad. I wanted a deck. A backyard.” She handed him coffee. “Let’s sit.”

“So, sweetheart, how are you doing?”

She took one of the other white leather couches across from him. “I’m good. You? How’s the foundation?”

Her parents had set up a foundation to eradicate human slavery. They worked parttime on an awareness campaign and fundraising.

He watched her with those searing green eyes that she’d inherited. “We’re well. Our work is satisfying. Tell me about your new job.”

“I love it so far. I’ve always been interested in The Justice Project.” A national political action organization that supported candidates for their party’s elections. “And I’ve donated to it for years.”

“But?”

He could always tell when something was wrong.

“One of the founding members, Luke Branson, voted against me. The women on the project told me to be careful around him. He’s not a founder, but started there seven years ago, and is technically my superior.”

“Why would he do that? Your qualifications are impeccable.”

She shifted in her seat. “People tend to think I’m unqualified to do anything but cut ribbons and be pretty.”

“That’s not fair. After you got your law degree from Georgetown, you clerked for two years with Tom Anderson.”

“Who is a judge you appointed.”

“I’m sorry then, honey. I regret my part in his veto.”

“Don’t be. I’ll never apologize for being the president’s daughter.”

The former president chuckled. “I like your pride in our family.”

Sighing, she sat back. “As for the job, I signed on for four days so I can still take pro bono cases on Fridays at my old firm.”

“That’s a boon.”

She stood. “I think the banana bread you love is cooled by now.”

As she passed him, he grabbed her hand. “You don’t have to pretend everything’s going well with your life, honey.”

“I’m not pretending. I want to follow in your footsteps and this is the path. I’ll be right back.”

Annalise went to the kitchen and cut the bread. The sweet scent of sugar and bananas was heavenly. When she returned, her father was staring out at the D.C skyline. He sat again when she did. “Now, give me a slice.”

She bit into one, too. Contrary to Hannah, her younger sister, who ate organic foods, Annalise wasn’t that rigid, though she did use all-natural ingredients for baking. She envied her sister, who’d chosen a different path than she.

“What are you thinking about?”

“Hannah.”

A smile spread across his tanned face. “I heard from her yesterday.”

“Yeah, she’s called me twice and both times, I couldn’t get back to her. How is she?”

“She was fixing her furnace.”

Annalise grinned at that. Hannah had said no to college, a scandal for the president’s child. Instead, she went to trade schools—got an electrician certification, one in plumbing, another in carpentry and one in construction, for which she was required to work on a building site. Annalise remembered seeing a picture of the Secret Service standing by in their suits and hard hats. “She’s something, isn’t she?”

“Always was. She’s busy but sees Sasha frequently.”

Both of those sisters had moved to upstate New York. Hannah used her trust funds from her mother’s parents to buy the farm and Sasha used the money to buy a dance studio in downtown Rockford. Annalise had purchased an estate in Maryland where she planned to move sometime in the future. Andraya had saved hers.

“Well, that’s why Sasha opened her dance studio in Rockford. I wish my twin hadn’t gone halfway across the world to work.”

“Andraya loves Casarina and teaching. She got close to the Gentileschis when she spent her senior year at the Marcello schools.”

“I know. I’m going over to Italy to see her when I get some time off.”

“I adore the fact that you’re all so different.” Her father was the only person she knew who used the word adore naturally.

She checked her watch. “I’m afraid I have a meeting in a half-hour.”

“On Saturday?”

“Said the man who sat in the Situation Room on a number of weekends.”

An expression which had charmed America when he first ran for state office, then the House of Representatives, then the Senate and finally the presidency spread across his face. “I know. So, I won’t harp. But your mom and I will be more available to you now.”

“Give her my love.” Annalise and Karen Masters were very close.

She stood with her father and walked him to the door. Hugged him fiercely. “I love you, Daddy.”

“Ah, Daddy,” he said as he drew back. “I love you too, Annie.”

She opened the front door to find his two Secret Service agents standing at attention. Eddie Cramer and Milt Smith had been and still were her father’s guards, as her dad was entitled to protection for life. And now that he wasn’t president, all three of them had loosened up somewhat, were friendlier and wore casual clothes.

“Hi, guys.”

“Ms. Manwaring.”

She rolled her eyes. “You didn’t call me that when one of the boys I dated took me out on his motorcycle, Eddie.”

He smirked. “Okay, Shining Star.” The code name she’d been given by her protectors.

“Goodbye, everyone.” She went back inside and her cell rang. She clicked on. “Hello.”

“Annalise. Where are you?” Luke Branson’s tone was annoyed.

“What do you mean?”

“You’re late for the meeting.”

“It isn’t for another half-hour.”

“The meeting started at nine!”

Hell. “I’ll be right there.” She didn’t live far from the Lincoln building. “I’m sorry, Luke.”

“Just get here.”

“I said I would.” She disconnected abruptly. That guy got under her skin. He did it intentionally, but to be fair, she was late, and she might have been as impatient as he. Grabbing her briefcase, she headed out.

Fifteen minutes later, Annalise walked into a large conference room of the building where The Justice Project was housed. Housed on two floors, it spread out in offices to hold fifty employees and several large and small conferences rooms.

“Annalise, hi.” Harold Franklin, a founding member and elected as chair, said the words kindly.

“I’m sorry, Harold. No excuses.” Except that she was with the former president.

“Not to worry. It happens. We’re divvying up some projects. You and Luke are taking candidate assessment for the 204th district in Pennsylvania.”

Damn, she was going to have to work with the man after all.

#

Luke Branson watched Annalise Manwaring walk into his office with all the confidence in the world. She’d handled her lateness with aplomb. Once inside, she glanced around at the two desks adjacent to each other and a small table and chairs by the window on the streets of D.C. Recessed lighting made the area ideal for working. “Where’s everybody else?”

“It’s you and me. Harold assigned us.”

“Why didn’t you object?”

“Because I’m a team player.” He held his temper. “You heard I was reluctant to hiring you.”

“I did.”

“It’s important that The Justice Project remain impartial. I didn’t want your appointment to seem like nepotism. But I was outvoted, so here we are.”

“I assure you,” she said, coldly. “I’m fully qualified.”

“That’s true.” He motioned to the small conference table. “Would you like coffee?”

“No thanks.”

She sat, pulled down the skirt of the sage-green suit she wore and took her slim laptop out of her briefcase.

She was a beauty, all right and, unfortunately, he’d been mesmerized by it for years. He’d envied her when they were both at Georgetown. She’d sailed into law school, while he had to delay a law degree to save up for tuition. In the end, he got a masters in marketing and finance which he excelled in. He was embarrassed by still, at thirty-six, having remnants of negative feelings about her.

“Do I have banana bread on my face?”

“Excuse me? Banana bread?”

“I baked some this morning.”

Ah, he got it. Rumor had it President James Manwaring loved his daughter’s banana bread, a story leaked to the press to underscore his happy family life. That didn’t sit with Luke at all, since his family was never much a part of his life.

“You were late because you were baking bread for your father?”

“No, I was late because I got the time wrong.” She held his gaze. “Can we get to work?”

“If you’re finally ready.” He grabbed his tablet. “I’ll send you the candidates we have to choose from.”

Quickly, her tablet pinged. Four candidates were in the running for congress in the November primary in Pittsburg. She read the notes on all of them.

“Hmm, they certainly have different agendas. From a quick scan, I think it’s going to be between Meredith Long and Mark Dawson.”

Meredith was running on LGBT rights, social security and Medicare. She also favored environmental issues and education. Those were the issues Annalise would have chosen, too. Mark Dawson was for steelworkers, ran on his experience in science and technology, highways and transit and the economy. She looked up. “At first glance, I gravitate toward Long’s agenda.”

“Let’s take our time, consider the others and if we chose Long and Dawson, we’ll vet both of them. Then we’ll present them to the rest of the members.”

“Whatever you say.”

Man, she was a sassy one. Too bad he liked spunk.





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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BOOK REVIEW!!! ~ The Sweetheart Deal by Miranda Liasson

Happy Release day to Miranda Liasson! The Sweetheart Deal is LIVE!

ABOUT

Pastry chef Tessa Montgomery knows what everyone in the teeny town of Blossom Glen says about her. Spinster. Ice Queen. Such a shame. It’s enough to make a woman bake her troubles away, dreaming of Parisian delicacies while she makes bread at her mother’s struggling boulangerie. That is until Tessa’s mortal enemy—deliciously handsome (if arrogant) chef Leo Castorini, who owns the restaurant next door—proposes a business plan…to get married.

Leo knows that the Castorinis and the Montgomerys hate each other, but a marriage might just force these stubborn families to work together and blend their businesses for success. The deal is simple: Tessa and Leo marry, live together for six months, and then go their separate ways. Easy peasy.

It’s a sweetheart deal where everyone gets what they want—until feelings between the faux newlyweds start seriously complicating the mix. Have they discovered the perfect recipe for success…or is disaster on the way?

The Sweetheart Deal, for me, started off a little bit slow. I wasn’t a fan of anyone really at the beginning of the story. Both Tessa and Leo have very selfish parents who would rather see their businesses fail than give paying customers what they actually want, but expect their children to stick around until the business inevitably implodes.


That was my first thought during the first quarter of the story.


Once The Sweetheart Deal became more about the deal and the romance between Tessa & Leo, the story picked up and grabbed my interest. I liked their banter and the way they’d both kind of gotten the wrong impression of one another. It allowed for just the right amount of lack of communication to push the story along, while giving me a reason to root for this couple.


Overall the story was fun and an easy upbeat read.

Get your copy TODAY!!!

New Release Book Review ~ Glitter by Alyne Hart

Title: GlitterSeries: Enigma Models INC #1
Author: Alyne Hart
Genre: Contemporary/New Adult Romance
Release Date: January 4, 2022
Cover Design: Alyne Hart

SYNOPSIS

I’ve loved Kellan Bellarose since we were ten.
He’s beautiful, damaged, and toxic AF. But he’s mine.
Four years after tragedy tore us apart, we found each other again.
Together we moved to LA to do something crazy and defy our humble beginnings.
Our worlds were flipped on their axis when we both got signed by Enigma Models INC.
Then I met Luke St. James.
He’s sexy, slightly dangerous, and older than me. Like, a lot older than me, and will do anything to make me his
…and I am feeling things for him I thought I’d reserved for Kellan.
When Kellan’s growing addictions get out of control, and my past gets exposed, I turned to Luke.
One night. One kiss. One tabloid. And none of us will ever be the same.

Trigger Warning: domestic violence, abuse, drug use, cliffhanger

Glitter (Enigma Models Inc.) by Alyne Hart

Oh, the start of this book sucked me right in with its teenage friends who secretly crush on each other tale. It touched my Dawson’s Creek loving heart down the core and from those first few chapters, I could not—and would not—put Glitter down.

There was this depth of sadness that both Miley and Kellan carried as kids that was so heartbreaking and it only made me love Miley more because she hoped for more, wished for more and as soon as she got the chance, went after more. Kellan didn’t handle his as well, then again their pain was NOT the same. Not at all. My emotions were all over the place in the first few chapters and that emotional chaos continued through to the very end.

“I always see you first, Shooting Star.” With that one line, I was a goner and I knew that no matter how bad things got for Kellan, I would root for him.

What do you do when the boy you’ve always loved turns into a beautifully scarred man with hints of that boy still lurking beneath the surface? Miley doesn’t know, especially when Kellan is spiraling and she feels things for someone who isn’t Kellan.

Glitter is a powerful story about love and friendship, loyalty and addiction. It’s the good, the bad and the ugly of lifelong friends and the modeling industry and I am here for it!

This is just Book 1 in the Enigma Models Inc., series and I’m not sure how author Alyne Hart is going to top it, but I’m here to be convinced!

Buy GLITTER Today!!!!

Universal: https://books2read.com/u/mYGxeM
Amazon: https://amzn.to/3qgjC6g
iTunes: https://apple.co/3eH6fFN
Barnes & Noble: https://bit.ly/3pIIkMoKobo: https://bit.ly/3mN2xyX

Author Bio:

Alyne Hart is a contemporary romance author living in the mountains of Eastern Washington. She’s known for writing stories that pack an emotional punch and get you right in the feels.

She loves writing very real and deeply flawed characters and writing about honest, gritty, and raw romance. She’s a romance junkie and happy endings addict, and if you’re a lover of deeply emotional reads with lots of delicious angst, her books are for you. Alyne’s stories involve characters with bigger problems than just finding love. She writes stories about making peace with the past, rekindling old flames, and healing old wounds. She loves small towns, men in uniform, and alpha males with a heart of gold.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alynehartnovels

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thatgirlamyhart/

TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@authoralynehart?

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alyne-hart