Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Q&A with Barbara Wallace and International Giveaway

Barbara Wallace has been a life-long romantic and daydreamer so it’s not surprising she decided to become a writer at age eight. However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed her a romance novel that she knew where her stories belonged. For years she limited her dreams to nights, weekends and commuter train trips while working as a communications specialist, PR freelancer and full-time mom. At the urging of her family, she finally chucked the day job and pursued writing full time and couldn’t be happier.

Barbara lives in Massachusetts along with her husband, their teenage son, one spoiled cat and one very spoiled dog.

Book Description

All advice columnist Zoe wants this summer is some time to heal her post-divorce wounds in peace. That is, until she crosses paths with her neighbor, ex Army captain Jake Meyers. With battle scars both inside and out, Jake just wants to disappear from the world. Zoe knows she should leave the man alone. But she just can’t help herself….

Barbara, welcome to Romance Author Buzz. Is there a back story to The Heart of a Hero?

Backstory no. But this story does mean a great deal to me since it involves a hero with war-related PTSD. When I learned this book would be out in September – the tenth anniversary of 9/11 – I got nervous. After all, what Jake suffers is nothing compared to the real-life heroes who are battling to rebuild their lives. I only hope I did the issue justice.

Do you plot your stories or lead your characters lead you?

I am very much a character-driven writer. Doesn’t matter how much plotting I do in advance, the characters will always end up telling their story in their way. What’s most frustrating is when a character will reveal a facet of their personality or back-story halfway through draft one. All of a sudden you’re on chapter seven and the heroine says “Hey- I had a controlling mother I forgot to tell you about.”

How long have you been writing and what was your call story?

I love to tell this story because it’s a great advertisement for perseverance. I wrote my first story before my son was born. I submitted it to my first agent when I was seven months pregnant. I got the call two days before that same son’s fifteenth birthday. In between there were a lot of starts and stops – including a span of time where I did a lot more “mommy work” than writing. Then there was a dubious small press experience that in hindsight was a bad decision.

I would say my career truly took off in 2005 when, I finally decided to make writing a priority. I finaled in the GH that year. I finaled again in 2007 and won. That led to me working with Jenny Hutton at Mills and Boon who helped me write a publishable manuscript.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on another Harlequin Romance. This one involves an older heroine and a younger hero.

Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?

I’m not sure there’s one particular character I identify with. I will say that there’s a little bit of me in every heroine. But I think that’s the same for many authors.

What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?

The best part of being an author is actually being paid to write stories! The hardest part is actually writing the stories. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the best I absolutely can. I’m continually aware of the fact that there are so many things about my craft and industry I still need to learn. In my mind, I’ve still got a long way to go before I can see myself as in the same league as a lot of my fellow Romance authors. Then again, they set the bar pretty damn high.

What kind of daily schedule do you have? What types of things interrupt your writing? Describe a day in the life of

My schedule is still evolving. When my son was younger, I would make a point of going to Starbucks for two hours a day to write. An associate suggested I do that because being outside the house took me away from familial distractions. (As an aside, I wouldn’t have sold if not for that advice.) Aftwards, I would be free to take care of other business like car pooling him to gymnastics, soccer, etc. Back then writing wasn’t so much about word count as it was making sure writing was a priority.

Now that I’m published, I spend a good chunk of my morning doing business and social networking. Then I write for a few hours until my son comes home. Then it’s fixing an early dinner for him before he leaves for gymnastics practice and catching up with household work. I try to aim for a minimum of 1K and a maximum of 2K – though I’m working diligently on upping that amount.

Next year I become an empty nester, so that schedule will change again. I’m hoping to start logging far more time actually writing.

If a movie was made about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?

I’m pretty sure no one would want to watch a movie about my life as it is incredibly dull. Unless that is, I could rewrite my life, cast someone like Josh Duhamel as my love interest and portray myself as a gun toting soccer mom. If that was the case, then I think I’d like Sandra Bullock.

What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?

That I’m not nearly as sure of myself as I sound. Deep down I’m really a shy, introverted, insecure person who struggles to write every damn word. Oh, and that I have a total shameless crush on a soap opera actor named Jake Silbermann who no one has ever heard of.

When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?

That I wrote a good story. That I was someone who respected the craft and knew what she was doing.

What are you currently reading?

Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello. I’m on page 1. Literally. I just picked it up from my TBR pile this morning.

Favorite song?

I don’t have an absolute favorite. I’m currently in an 80s flashback mode. We got satellite radio awhile back and I’m reliving my big hair band days which means a lot of Quiet Riot and Loverboy. That and show tunes. Can’t have enough Broadway show tunes.

Favorite color?


Before I let you go though, is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?

I love feedback! I want to know good and bad and how I can create stories that they want to read! I also want to say Thank You to all those people who have posted on my FB page, reviewed my books and especially those who read them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Barbara, thanks so much for making time to do this interview!

Where you can find Barbara:



Twitter @barbaratwallace
One lucky commenter (US or International) will win my recent release and my March release, Beauty and the Brooding Boss and The Heart of a Hero and a special surprise.   Please don't forget to leave your email address.  This contest will end September 30th.  Since Barbara is so generously giving away (2) books, please follow her on Facebook.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Cathy Maxwell Talks About Seduction and Scandal.......but mostly about writing! (North America Giveaway)

You’ve written more than twenty novels, several novellas, your stories have become New York Times best sellers, and you’ve set all of them in or around England in the Regency era, including your new book THE SEDUCTION OF SCANDAL. What fascinates you about this time and place?

I just like men in tall boots. Is that a crime? I think not! Actually, the Regency era, the early 1800’s in England, fascinates me because it is the beginning of many ideas we accept as common sense now.

How did you learn so much about the Regency period?

Books, books, and more books. I have a super research library. However, the point of a romance is not the history. It’s the dynamic between two people who are falling in love—and that doesn’t change whether we are talking about ancient Rome or light years into the future.

What attributes do you share with your protagonists—especially Corinne and Thorn—in the Scandal and Seductions novels? Humor? Resilience? Intellect?

Impetuousness? All my female characters share a common trait—they are not happy with their lives and they realize if there is to be a change, it is up to them. I believe each of us has the power to make our lives better if we are willing to toss expectations to the wind and seize living with everything we have.

How do you manage to keep the wonderful traditions of the genre fresh and exciting?

Highwaymen, forced marriages, virgins…Listen, this isn’t just me keeping these traditions alive. Readers play a hand in this as well. The veil of history softens some things. For example, I don’t know that I would write a contemporary romantic comedy about a convenience story robber.

It seems as if Thorn is a true alpha male. How about Corinne—alpha woman? Did you plan them that way or did they surprise you?

I don’t buy into the alpha/beta debate. I think most people have elements of each in order to be well-rounded and I think fake people i.e. characters in books should be the same. Thorn does have his alpha moments, but he has plenty of beta ones as well. That’s what makes him interesting. As for Corinne, she’s getting her alpha on. Women take on life when they takeover their lives. Did that make sense?

I’m interested in women who decide to buck the status quo, who want to shake up their family tree.

You write really wonderful intimate scenes in your novels. How do you manage to keep the sexual tension high throughout a book?

Sex is just another form of communication. When writing an intimate scene, I try and keep in mind what these people really are saying to each other. I find it fascinating how we can be alone and independent and then meet someone special and in the matter of hours, days, weeks, our whole lives are turned inside out. Love has that power. It breaks down barriers, overcomes disabilities, inspires and renews. And that is what we are writing about.

What compels you to write?

I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was a kid, I used to spend the day on the backyard swing set telling stories to myself. I’d start swinging and develop my own world based on books I was reading, television shows, and movies. Anything that captured my attention. I was really taken with the Roman Empire and the Civil War. Trust me, it was very odd behavior! But I turned out okay. I also wore out three swings.

Motherhood—did you write and publish the entire time you were raising your children?

I started writing when my youngest was two. The poor child, she hasn’t known a time when I wasn’t talking to myself . . . and answering!

And how do you manage everything you’re doing now? You write full time. You raise horses, correct? Are there other animals? And you spend time working with new writers at conferences and workshops.

I own two horses, two dogs, and a cat. I have three children. My oldest is a nurse in West Virginia. My son is taking the scenic route through college. My youngest just graduated from college and accepted a commission in the Coast Guard.

I do give workshops and I like speaking to writers of all levels. Writing is also an on-the-job-training profession. We learn more from each other over a cup of coffee or a martini than we do in writing seminars. I’m blessed to have a host of wonderful writing friends.

Will we see Corinne and Thorn again? Are you working on your next book?

Corinne and Thorn wrap up the Scandal and Seductions series. I’m working on a trilogy involving an ancient curse and the family it is determined to destroy

What do you most want readers to take away from The Seduction of Scandal?

That loving well is the greatest adventure of all.

Where can readers reach you?

My website and on Facebook.

Back Blurb:

It’s never wise to blackmail a highwayman.

Lady Corinne, rebellious daughter of the duke of Banfield, refuses to marry Lord Freddie Sherwin. Yes, he’s the catch of the Season and the man her father chose for her. He’s also the most despicable male of her acquaintance. With her wedding only weeks away, she flees and finds herself a prisoner of the notorious Thorn!

Who says the devil isn’t a woman?

The rich and powerful tremble at the highwayman’s name, while England’s villagers rejoice in his bold exploits. His identity is a secret; his life a mystery— until Lady Corinne tumbles into his arms. If the Thorn wants her silence, he must hide her until her wedding day passes. It’s a devil’s bargain and one that can only lead to a hangman’s noose.

Corinne believes it the perfect plan—until her highwayman reveals a passionate lover’s heart, and she realizes that in the seduction of scandal, she may have found the hero she’s been waiting for her whole life.

 ~ one copy of a backlist title from the "Scandals & Seductions" series
U.S. and Canada only. 
Don't forget to leave your email address; contest will end Sept 30th
To win, follow Cathy on Facebook and tell her what you thought of the interview.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Too Proud to be Bought - Sharon Kendrick

Too Proud to be Bought was just that and such a clever love story.  I adored Sharon Kendrick's heroine, Zara Evans a proud and hardworking young woman.

Zara at a very young age went to live with her Godmother after her parents died.  In later years, Zara nursed her until she died and gave up her education to do so.  She was a loyal daughter and very loyal to her friends.  So much so that when her friend asked her to attend an embassy ball  wearing one of her dress designs, she did so with the understanding that she would give her friends business card to the famous and sexy Russian billionaire, Nikolai Komarov.  Usually at these sort of social events, Zara acted as a waitress, as she worked for her friends mother who owned a catering business.  When she arrived at the ball, she recognized some of her co-workers and was a bundle of nerves.  So much so, that when she realized he was coming after her, she retreated.  However, this alpha Russian was determined, asked her to dance, flirted with her and offered her a ride home in his limo.  That not all he did in that limo!

From across the room Nikolai immediately watched the lovely Zara arrive.    She was lovely and curvy and he wanted to meet her.  Women usually fell at his feet and they always had an  He knew that first hand and had learned the hard way when his mother left him behind in Russia to live with his sister and boyfriend.  His mother never returned and he definitely had issues with women and he was very cynical.   His mother was beautiful and she ended up with a rich man as his mistress.   All I can say is their meeting was tense, Zara kept him at arms length and in the end retreated and returned to her home.  Nikolai was so intrigued he found out who she really was, went to her employer and hired her for one of his personal events.  Shocked didn't even describe the feelings Zara felt when she looked up and saw him again.  Embarrassed would also describe her feelings because at their first meeting he had offered to take her home in his limo and  let's just say there was more than kissing going on in that limos back seat.

She was like a "drug"  and Nikolai wanted to bed her and would do anything to make that happen.  Money of course, he would offer her a job, make her an offer she couldn't refuse and invite her to his French villa to work as a waitress for a business meeting.  What he didn't know was the reason why Zara would accept.  She needed the money to pay off her Godmother's medical bills and to keep her home.  Of course, things in the end, ended up with them making love.  All I could think was this man didn't have a clue what a wonderful person Zara was and that he would misjudge her.  Zara, well would her heart get broken because it was obvious while reading this beautiful love story, they couldn't get enough of each other.  She captivated him.

So much for a light and easy affair.  It became so complicated, and Zara remained so strong, so proud and in the end she had to walk away.  Could and would she survive?  How about Nikolai,  would he get over his issues about women and their need to take him to the cleaners?  Would he realize what he had lost when she walked away?  You'll just have to read this beautifully written romance by one of my favorite authors, Sharon Kendrick and you'll love their happy ending which was quite the surprise!

Sharon Kendrick talks about her "complicated" Russian billionaire at I(heart)Presents

Back of the Book

The humble waitress and the Russian billionaire…

Waitress Zara Evans doesn't belong in glittering high society. That is until she finds herself unexpectedly at an exclusive party, and manages to captivate the most sought-after man in the room—Russian oligarch Nikolai Komarov.

For Nikolai, there's something about Zara's beauty that makes her stand out from the first-class crowd. Experience has taught him all women have their price, but he has never encountered anyone like Zara—a young woman who is too proud, too independent, too willful to be bought…

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mystical Warrior - Janet Chapman Giveaway (US Residents only)


Book Description

An eleventh-century lass with a stubborn streak unleashes the red-hot hero inside her modern lover in bestselling author Janet Chapman’s irresistible new Midnight Bay adventure.

Trace Huntsman’s peaceful life has headed to hell in a hand-basket ever since stunningly beautiful Fiona Gregor moved into the vacant apartment above his house. Kidnapped centuries earlier and transformed into a red-tail hawk, Fiona is human once more and must learn how to be a modern woman. But damned if Trace is going to be the one to teach her. Not when her mere presence ignites a fiery passion deep within his cautious heart.

Fiona longs to overcome the painful memories of her tragic past—to let down her guard and become a mother again. But so far her handsome landlord is not exactly thrilled with the stray animals—and suitors—that keep following her home. When the wizard Maximilian Oceanus shows up, Trace reaches the end of his rope. Weird things happen when Mac is around—raging storms, snarling demons—but this time, Midnight Bay is at the center of a fierce battle, and Fiona is the primary target. Only Trace can save her, but first, the lovers must set aside their fears . . . and open up their hearts.

About the Author:

A native of rural central Maine, Janet Chapman lives there in a cozy log cabin on a lake with her husband. Three cats and a stray young bull moose keep them company. The author of the hugely popular Highlander time-travel series, she also writes contemporary romances.

To see my interview, read here

Publishers Weekly says "a romantic, funny, quietly intense story of wounded survivors relunctly finding love"

Romantic Times Book Review says, "mysterious, supernatural danger enlivens......a poignant tale of acceptance and developing love.  It also contains the perfect set-up for the next promising installment of the Midnight Bay series."

Janet Chapman on Facebook
Janet's website

I just realized I didn't have a winner for this, so I'm going to offer it again;  if you want to win, please remember to leave your email address..

Thanks to Pocket Star Books, I can offer a copy of Janet's Mystical Warrior to one lucky US resident. For chances to win a copy, follow Janet on Facebook and/or follow Romance Author Buzz and Reviews on Facebook or this blog.  Contest winner will be announced September 30th.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Who are Your Favorite Harlequin Presents Authors? - August/September Contest

I'm so loving this Harlequin Presents series.  Two of my favorite authors, one resides in England (Sarah Morgan) and the other in Ireland (Abby Green) have written stories for this series.  They have very kindly sent me two autographed books and I would like to share  them with you.  Thank you Sarah and Abby! xxoo

To learn more about the Notorious Wolfes, here was a post at I(Heart)Presents.

Back of the Book

Nathaniel… Icon. Celebrity. Heartthrob.

But underneath his movie-star good looks, he's battling with the demons of his past. No one knows the real Nathaniel, they only see the pinup, the illusion he pretends to be.

Then one night he is forced to rely on Katie Field, an ordinary young woman from a very different world. She may be starstruck but she isn't blinded by the bright lights of fame. Can Nathaniel trust her enough to reveal the real man behind the mask?

Let the seduction begin….

The following Abby Green book is A Mills and Boon version, Bad Blood series in the UK and The Notorious Wolfes in North America.



Ruthless in business, Sebastian is at the top of his game professionally. Emotionally he keeps himself alone, aloof and almost untouchable. Escaping her wedding, it takes one look at ice-cool Sebastian for Bollywood star Aneesa Adani to be hooked!

Letting Aneesa in could ignite the fire that melts even the hardest of hearts…


Monday, August 22, 2011

An Inconvenient Obsession - Natasha Tate (debut author)

Never, ever would I have guessed this beautifully crafted romance was written by a debut author.  It was that exceptional.  I personally know Natasha Tate, I met her a few years ago when we both attended a conference in Seattle. I've followed Natasha career and couldn't wait to read her debut book.  In fact, I've actually read it twice it was that exceptional.

This powerful romance starts out with the extremely handsome billionaire Ethan Hardesty wanting pay back from Cate Carrington because he had loved her ten years earlier and she sent him away.  Now Cate's father has died and she's selling his "private" island, the very same one where Cate and Ethan fell in love.   Ethan and his father both worked for the Carrington's.  He wanted to purchase this as a gift for his, before his own father passed away, Ethan wanted to prove to his dad that the Hardesty men even though had been born poor, now they were just as good as the Carrington's.

I wondered if they could mend fences because it was obvious to me they still shared mutual attraction.  Could they rekindle their love for each other and why in the end had Cate broken Ethan's heart?  In a way, now Ethan believed due to his wealth and now owning the island, he held the power over her,  He had a plan and I knew it would lead to heartbreak for Cate.  Because Ethan did indeed have a plan and he was going to lure her close, close enough to crush her, until he left her trembling, vulnerable and wanting just as she had done to him, all of those years ago.  Then, maybe he could find peace, or would he?

Confession time came and went with Cate trying to explain her reasons for sending him away from their private island.  Yet I wondered if there was more, more lies and truths to be revealed.  He was ruthless with his touches and kisses until she finally gave in because not to would have killed her and possibly Ethan as well.  Reading the rest of An Inconvenient Obsession was somewhat painful because in order to move forward they both had to forgive the past yet could they?   Be prepared for shock, anger and revenge with this emotional romance.  However in order to get their happiness, they have to go through the pain together and it was so worth it in the end.

Natasha's next book will be Once Touched, Never Forgotten and I look forward to reading this one as well.  Congratulations to Natasha Tate and your debut book! 

Book Description:

He loved her, lost her…and now he’ll have her once more…

The Carrington family’s island is up for auction… Now, that’s an invitation Ethan Hardesty just can’t refuse. This caretaker’s son turned global entrepreneur has it all… All, that is, except a piece of the Carrington estate – the island that holds all his most pleasurable and painful memories…

Ethan doesn’t count on the beautiful Cate Carrington handling the transaction – providing him with the perfect opportunity to take her into the bargain. But toying with the woman who was once the girl he loved and lost soon turns from a game into an all-out obsession…

Reckless Night in Rio - Jennie Lucas

Ruthless billionaire Gabriel Santos always knew he could count on his personal assistant Laura Parker.  He more than needed her to seal the deal on a business deal that would finally put some closure on his life.  After his parents and brother died in a car crash, he had made some poor decisions he regretted; he'd sold his father's business.  Now he had the chance to purchase it back.  However, the owner of the company was engaged to a woman he had once bedded.  He had to prove to  Felipe Oliveria who now owned Acoazul  that he was settling down and of no a threat to the man's future happiness.  Thus, it would be safe for him to "play" at being engaged and soon to be married.  That way Oliveria would sell the company back to him.

Beginning with her younger sister's wedding in her hometown located in New Hampshire, Jane was celebrating with family and friends when who should arrive on her door step but her ex-boss Gabriel Santos, the very man she had loved and had once devoted her life to.  The very same man who had broken her heart.H was also the father of her baby son Robby.  What was she going to say or do and how could she keep from him he was the father of her child?  Talk about tense and then he said three words, "I need you"  and I wondered  would she resist?   However, it was not what you think; it was for his own personal gains.  When he offered her one millionaire dollars to pose as his fiance she couldn't turn it down.  Because with her father dying, things needed to be done to the family farmhouse.  With that much money she could also help to send her siblings to college, so how could she refuse?

At least he didn't suspect he was Robby's father. The baby unsettled him. He was mad at Jane because she had left his bed, resigned and walked away. How could she so quickly go to another man's bed, he thought. Smiling, I couldn't wait to see how he would react to hearing the news concerning him being the father. However, do to loosing his parents and brother, his outlook on life, I knew it wouldn't be good. He also couldn't help remembering the only time he took her on his desk, how he didn't care and then she had the nerve to quit her job the next day and move back home? So now, he felt he owned her, she needed to show confidence in herself and needed to give the performance of her life for the next 24 hours.

Laura had bigger problems than coming back to work for him. She wanted to keep their child a secret from him because she feared due to his wealth, what if he tried to take Robby away? However, I wondered in this small town, in this farmhouse, would Robby be revealed and would he recognize the child to be his? How would he react? Would he be angry? He was angry because she wouldn't tell him who the father was but he'd do anything to regain his legacy, so he also included taking Robby with them. As he pointed out, the Laura he knew always put other persons needs before her own and her family disparately needed the money.

Not only ruthless, Gabriel was reckless.  Yes he had lost his father's company twenty years earlier and he wanted it back.  He was so close to getting it back and he needed Laura to pretend to love him.  The only way Felipe would believe their engagement to be real would be for Laura to pretend to be his fiance.  He just had to make sure Felipe and his fiance Adriana, Gabriel's ex, believed he loved Laura.  As for Laura, Adriana had always been threatened by her and never understood why Laura lived in his home. On top of that, Adriana had told Gabriel she wanted him back.  Did he honestly think she'd jump at the chance to come back to work for him and fly away to Rio?  Why did it need to look real?  Because Adriana wanted Gabriel back; she had told him so.

I wondered how this could end well?  It couldn't, because she loved him without a doubt.  Yes he lusted after her but at the moment all he needed was to get his legacy back and she was the key.  The baby was a distraction.  The parties they were required to attend, parading her in front of the rich and famous, was she strong enough because of her past position as his PA?  On top of that, the secret she was keeping from him and their mutual sexual attraction?  It was more than a roller coaster mess, it was insane.  Gabriel "craved" Laura like no other woman and was determined to keep her in Rio, at any cost.  There was one love scene I'll never forget due to their shared passion.  I felt the book should have been renamed "One Hot Night in Rio", because it was that "steamy".

A roller coaster romance is all I can say with such a surprising ending because I couldn't see how they would get their happy ending with him being so focused on getting back his father's company.  Also, I wondered would she tell him that Robby was his, that she loved him and how would he react?  Well, there's one thing for sure, have a huge box of tissues ready because you're definitely going to need it while reading Reckless Night in Rio, because it was just that, a highly emotional read  and sensual journey, thanks to the extremely talented Jennie Lucas.

Book Description:

"All you need to do is… pretend to love me."

The task should be easy for Laura Parker— after all, Gabriel Santos is outrageously good-looking, it's for one night only and he is offering her a million dollars.…

There are just three things to consider, however:

1. They've already had one steamy, unforgettable night together in Rio.

2. Laura's been in love with Gabriel ever since.

3. Gabriel's never wanted children, but he's not aware he's the father of Laura's baby

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cowboy Up - Vicki Lewis Thompson (Sons of Chance)

In earlier books in the Sons of Chance series, one learned that cowhand Clay Whitaker was a foster kid and he came to Last Chance Ranch,  He considered the ranch and cowhands his friends and home.  He also had love and respect for his boss Emmett Sterling the ranch foreman.  He considered Emmett like a father and the Chance's his family.  When he was also encourage by Emmett to attend college, he had majored in Animal Science.  He worked his way through school and was now in charge of the stud program at Last Chance using a new procedure of collecting horse semen and shipping it all over the world, for other rancher's breeding programs.

Now who should show up after all of these years was Emmett's spoiled and very sexy daughter Emily.  Most of the ranch hands had little respect for Emmett's daughter.  However, her father was thrilled to death that she was paying him a visit.  The cowhands all believed that for years, after his wife left the ranch and divorced him, he had monthly sent Emily money, leaving him very little to live on. So now after few and far between visits she showed
up looking like some sort of California "Barbie" in her short shorts; looking very sexy!

Could Clay survive her flirtations, could he take a chance to be with her and ruin his relationship with
Emmett and the Chances?  All I can say is it was a whirl wind romance, with some hot, sexy lovemaking
everywhere they could find the time or place on the ranch.  She tempted him every step of the way.  He was determined not to betray the man he loved and respected so much, Emmett the man who had encouraged him to be the man he was today. However, when they shared a kiss, it was like dynamite went off.  However, they knew their attraction for each other couldn't go any further because it would hurt her father.

So who was Emily Sterling?  Not the spoiled brat everyone thought she was, that was for sure.  Sure she took the checks but she didn't spend them, she invested and was quite successful at it.  However, she wasn't ready to tell her father that; so only shared the facts with Clay.  Life at Last Chance Ranch as we learned in the other books in the series was amazing.  Their mother Sarah, their cook, the Chance brother's and their wives and the ranch hands were all an incredible family.  They took their lunch meal all together and it just seemed so warm and wonderful, I could just picture it all.  Everyone was planning a surprise birthday party for Emmett, including his girlfriend Pam who owned a local bed and breakfast.  Everyone was pitching in, planning a huge party, with music, presents, a barbecue with all sorts of the trimmings.

Emily settled into the ranch assisting with the party planning, secretly made love to Clay and even did some horse training with her father.  She loved the ranch, the people and watching Clay and his horse breeding program.  There was a lot of "sneaking" around at the Last Chance Ranch.  Planning of Emmett';s surprise birthday party and Clay taking advantage of bedding Emily every chance they got and I wondered when would they all get caught?  Emily thought about her mother walking away from her father because she hated ranch life.  Since she had been a child, her mother had brainwashed her.  Now, she found she loved it at the ranch, and that "ranching" was in her blood.  She wanted to move here and learn everything she could.about horse training.  However,   Chance thought she was looking at things through "rose colored glasses" and that she might be making a mistake, especially during the Winter months, when there was snow and blizzards.

The last two chapters were unbelievable tying everything together with one exception, Sarah Chance.  She seemed to not only have a ton of respect from the ranch hands, her sons, their wives and her friends, she had power.  In the end, she had the power to make Clay and Emily's dreams come true and I suppose Emmett's as we learned Emily was determined to stay.  Cowboy Up was a beautifully crafted romance with a beautiful ending. Thanks to the very clever and extremely capable Vicki Lewis Thompson for providing this fan with this wonderful series, one I will remember for a long time.

Back of the Book

"Never fall in love with a cowboy." These words were drilled into Emily Sterling's head since her parents divorced over twenty years ago. But now Emily has returned to her father's ranch…only to find herself face-to-face with jaw-droppingly hot rancher Clay Whitaker.

Clay is the resident stud expert at the Last Chance Ranch and isn't so keen on "spoiled" city slickers…until Emily arrives. Now he's showing Emily just what a ranch—and a cowboy—has to offer. And luckily for him, it's an offer Emily can't refuse…

One Night, Two Heirs - Maureen Child (Texas Cattleman's Club: The Showdown)

"Texas Cattleman's Club:  The Showdown
They are rich and powerful, hot and wild.  For these Texans, it's showdown time!"

Can you imagine dedicating your life to serving your country in the military?  Well that's what Marine First Sergeant Rick Pruitt had done and he was now back in Texas on leave.  Plus the fact that he had thirty days leave to decide what to do with the rest of his life!  He had loved serving his country and was proud to wear the uniform of a United States Marine.  However, Rick realized something on his first days home, he had missed a lot and he hadn't been home when either of his parents had died.  He also remembered something else, a night spent with a beautiful woman in his arms, just before he left.  Memories of  Sadie Price had gotten him through some very tough times over the past year.

I loved a romance which starts out with an "explosive secret" and Maureen Child didn't let me down.  Talk about a secret, one that Sadie Price had carried for a few years......twin daughters.  Oh yes you guessed it, her one night making the most spectacular love with Rick Pruitt, he was the father.  Only a few people knew, her father and brother and Rick's mother and ranch manager.  Oh, how I couldn't wait until he saw her again and how would this honorable man react?  You guess it......explosive.

I wondered how Sadie and Rick would reconnect.  She had been at a meeting at the Texas Cattleman's Club and fuming mad and stormed right out the door and into Rick's chest.  Shocked didn't even describe Sadie's reaction to seeing him back home in Royal, Texas.  For Rick, Sadie had been his dream girl and untouchable.  She was popular, beautiful and wealthy.  He'd joined the Marine Corps and Sadie had married a wealthy guy thanks to her family.  The marriage had ended badly.  After her divorce, he had just been on leave and getting ready to return to duty.  By chance they ran into each other, shared dinner and drinks and a night of making beautiful and passionate love.  Then he shipped out.

How would she tell him?   Definitely not through idle "chit chat" and the phrase erupted......"Oh, God Rick, we really do need to talk".  How does one tell a man he's a father of darling twin baby girls?  All I could think of is this is going to be good.  All Sadie knew while riding back to her father's home was her day wouldn't end well, she was sure of it.  However, she also knew she owed him the truth, he deserved it.  Hearing him tell her on the drive home that the night they spent together he hadn't been able to forget and it had stayed with him, didn't help the situation.  And then it seemed to me that everything started spiralling out of control when they reached her family home.  First the housekeeper telling her "they're sleeping like angels", to Sadie telling Rick to come with her, that she had something for him to see.  Can you imagine how a proud Texan would be confused and demand some answers?  Well it got them with two adorable little twin daughters and what a surprise......he didn't like surprises.  Shock, then anger but he wasn't going to show any emotions in front of his children, their children.

Now being home, reconnecting with the residents of Royal, meeting his daughters, seeing Sadie again, Rick realized he couldn't go back into the military.  He wanted to get married, Sadie didn't.  He knew he had responsibilities to his daughters.  His girls, his family needed him and as far as Sadie was concerned, his feelings went deep for her.  Being home, staying at the ranch also made him realize a lot of things, things he had missed and of course he missed his parents. He certainly had a lot to think about.  Royal held a special place in his heart.  I enjoyed reading about all of Royal's residents, from Sadie's stern brother, to her women friends, especially Abby.  I could see how future books it this series were brilliantly being set up by the very talented Maureen Child.

When Rick Pruitt saw something he wanted, he went after it and that was Sadie.  She was stubborn, a warm and wonderful mother, and loyal to her friends.  I so wanted to see them come to terms with their relationship, their respect for each other and to become a family.  It was so heartwarming reading about Rick and how he assumed his responsibilities as the twins "daddy".  As for Sadie holding out for marriage......well she wanted to be wanted for herself, not out of duty.  Would this Marine figure that out?  Well he figured one thing out, he wasn't going to re-enlist.  He like it in Royal.   He had a chance there and he was going to take it.

The final Chapters of One Night, Two Heirs was marvelous reading.  Sadie and the girls had become essential to him over the weeks he'd been home.  He wanted marriage, for all of them to be together and live on the ranch but Sadie continued to hold out and the women from the town of Royal, were on Sadie's side.  Because there had to be more to marriage than duty, there had to be love and I wondered when the "light bulb" would go on for Rick?  In the end, it had always been there, the love he felt for Sadie, it was very sweet and pure.  As for the ending chapters, very "romantic" to read, plus setting up for the next books in the series.  The town of Royal, Texas it think will have a few more surprises coming their way and I for one, can't wait. 

The Rebel Tycoon Returns - Katherine Garbera
An After-Hours Affair - Barbara Dunlop
Millionaire Playboy, Maverick Heiress - Robyn Grady
Temptation - Brenda Jackson
In Bed with the Opposition -p Kathie DeNosky

Book Description:

Duty is his world. And upon seeing Sadie Price with twin girls, marine Rick Pruitt realizes he has some proposing to do. He never would have left Royal, Texas, if he'd known Sadie was carrying his babies.

Yet the feisty single mom has no intention of agreeing to a loveless marriage. True, she and Rick share a bond, as well as undeniable passion. But Sadie believes vows should last a lifetime, not be declared out of obligation. Making it Rick's new mission to change her mind….

The Wedding Charade - Melanie Milburne (The Sabbatini Brother's)

"The Sabbatini Brother's.....three powerful playboys from the richest dynasty in Europe!  Ruthless, irresistible....impossible to tame?"

The above doesn't even describe Nic Sabbatini.  Like his brother's he's sexy as sin and mad as hell because his grandfather made provisions in his will, ones that include a red haired siren by the name off Jade Summerville.  A young woman desperate because her trust fund has been cut off.  A young woman who wants the money now because Nic's grandfather wanted to see them married and to receive the money depended upon them getting married by a certain date.  So what does she do when Nic throws her out of his office?  She follows him to Venice, posed as his fiance and leaked it to the press.

What a little vixen I thought and a brilliant one at that because they had to stay married for a year.  She could do this or could she?  As Nic pointed out when she was sixteen she'd had a crush on Nic and he had turned her down.  What was it that his grandfather saw in her to want this union to take place.  Would Nic agree to this sort of marriage, I wondered?  Would he fall for her like his brother's fell for their wives?  Well they did get married with family and friends in attendance and settled into the family villa.  The same villa where the Sabbatini baby girl had passed away at an early age from crib death.  A lot of bad memories for their mother and his two older brother's.

When Nic finally realized everything said about Jade by the press was false and also realized how much he wanted her in his bed, their relationship moved forward.  They dined out, he realized how talented she was as an artist, he encouraged her to do something with her talent.  Nic couldn't seem to get enough of Jade and he began to realize one of the most important things about Jade.  Due to loosing her mother at such a young age and the death of her brother in later years and a father who did nothing to encourage her, who only mourned the loss of his son, all Jade wanted was to be loved.  He also realized something else, when they finally divorced, who would be around to protect her?  However, most importantly, who would protect her?

And then like a lightening bolt, her realized she had been carrying around a secret, one that had also shaped her life, she couldn't read.  He realized this in the end, when she asked to take some time away from him and go to London.  He had missed her and it made him think that his crafty grandfather by putting them together had done it for a reason.  He had hoped that Jade and Nic would fall in love.  When Nic realized he had always loved Jade and gave her all of the explanations for not wanting to be vulnerable, trust me, have a box of tissues ready.  The Wedding Charade and Jade and Nic's story will melt your heart.  Melanie Milburne did such an incredible job with this three book series.Giorgio, Luca and Nic's individual stories were amazing.

Back of Book:

Her trust fund is dwindling. If Jade Sommerville is to continue living in the manner she's become accustomed to, she has only one option…make the notorious Nic Sabbatini marry her!

The youngest of the Sabbatini brothers, Nic doesn't suffer fools, or respond well to ultimatums—especially those in his grandfather's will! But when the stunning, willful Jade breezes into his office and announces their upcoming nuptials to the world's media, Nic might have finally met his match.

He's turned Jade down once before. But this time?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How to Seduce a Billionaire - Kate Carlisle

Kate Carlisle has written an incredible series about the "Duke" brothers and their wonderful adoptive mother, Sally.  I have so enjoyed reading Adam and Cameron's story but Brandon's I think is my favorite because he seemed to have the most tortured childhood. To be saved by his adoptive mother and the bond he had with his adoptive brother's was such a joy to read.

I had to giggle when Brandon looked up to welcome his secretary back from her vacation and his eyes didn't even recognize her and his body physically responded to her new makeover.  Kelly had a mission, especially when she learned that her ex Roger and his staff would be hosting a seminar shortly after the grand opening of the Mansion on Silverado Trail located in Napa Valley.  Kelly worked for Brandon as his personal assistant and at times for the two other Duke brothers.  She was an invaluable employee and was loved and highly respected by the staff.  She was a treasure and Brandon appreciated her both personally and professionally.  What he didn't understand was why the new look until Kelly explained that she wanted to knock her ex's socks off.  She had a plan to seduce him and then walk away.  Would Brandon be willing to help her?  Oh, oh here comes trouble.......

No way, he thought until she explained that Roger once told her she didn't properly know how to kiss or make love.  She asked and he obliged.  So simply in the end, Brandon kissed Kelly but it backfired because they both enjoyed it.  This handsome ex-NFL football player, the one all women adored, the man that the word marriage and would never settle down kid of guy, kissed his PA.  Enjoy it?  Well let's just say he enjoyed it so much, he took the "schooling" to the next level, the bedroom and he "really" enjoyed it, they both did.  Kicking it up another notch, they had secret dinners, secret nights making love and I thought to myself, this is getting very dangerous.  They had their ground rules and Kelly knew the score as he dated woman after woman and the relationships didn't last long.

When Kelly had her makeover, she went to the very same spa as Sally did, Brandon's mother.  Secretly Brandon wondered if Sally had anything on her mind concerning he and Kelly.  The reason being, because it was Sally who had played matchmaker for his other two brother's.  At the grand opening of the hotel, his family all arrived along with Sally's girlfriends.  It was a glorious gala, a very successful one and Kelly shined, especially with their VIP guests.  Brandon was amazed and very pleased and I could see the web building up for both Brandon and Kelly and then Roger arrived on the scene a  few days later.  But let's not forget Roger because you'll die laughing at Brandon's concern and when Kelly and Roger hook up, it was sensational with Brandon literally charging in to save the day.

I love family stories, especially ones with happy endings and Kate gave this couple a few bumps in the road but in the end, cupid struck Brandon's heart making him realize how much he wanted this lovely young woman.  The ending, with all of the family and friends  attending Sally's birthday was warm and incredible to read.  Thank you Kate Carlisle for this wonderful trio of Dukes and I'm hoping you'll give your fans more family series; I sincerely loved this one!

Back of the Book

New hairdo? Makeup? A dress? Where did his efficient secretary go? Because the woman in front of Brandon Duke is not the Kelly Meredith who left on vacation two weeks ago. He is shocked—and curiously enchanted—by her transformation.

She says this makeover is all part of her plan…to become more seductive. And this billionaire is just the man to give his suddenly sultry assistant a few lessons in love. He'll go slow, savor every moment and then say goodbye—as long as he can remember just who is seducing who!

The Untamed Argentinean - Susan Stephens

Bella Wheeler had quite a bit resting on her shoulders.  She had finally succeeded in restoring her father's reputation, one that had once been tainted.  She was a sweet and lovely horse trainer for the British Polo Club and was highly respected in her profession.  She was well liked by her co-workers and taken back when she met Nero Caracas, the famous and gorgeous Argentinean polo player.

Susan Stephens took my breath away with The Untamed Argentinean especially with her hero Nero.  He was not only rich and famous, he was definitely sexy and whatever he wanted he went after it.  Bella definitely he wanted and so with the help of the Prince of England, he worked out an arrangement similar to the program Bella ran in England for children.  At a palace dinner, the Prince requested Bella and the horse she loved Misty, travel to Argentina.   Once there, she would set up a program for under privileged children, teaching them to ride.  She was furious being used that way by Nero.  Yet I think secretly she "tingled" all over at the thought of spending time with him.

His palatial ranch was magnificent.  His staff Bella fell in love with and they fell in love with Bella and so did the children.  The attraction between Bella and Nero was magnificent and their love story such a pleasure to read.  I could just picture everything, the horses, the wealthy polo players who came to play against Nero.  His horse trainer who adored Bella, his cooks and staff loved her as well.  As for Bella, well she fell hard for Nero.  It wasn't all hearts and flowers for them.  Their passion was amazing but in the end, yes it had to end with Bella returning to England, leaving behind her beloved horse.  I cried buckets at their parting.

Magnificent, doesn't even begin to describe this love story.  Past hurts for them both concerning their childhoods but in the end, Nero realized his love for this woman was simple and pure and returned to fetch her back home to Argentina in a most romantic and lovely way, thanks to the very talented Susan Stephens.

Back of the Book

What Nero wants, Nero gets - doesn't he?

Reigning polo champion Nero Caracas bows to no man…and certainly not to women! With red-hot Latin blood coursing through his veins, what he wants he gets…

Bella Wheeler has followed in the footsteps of her horse-trainer father—though, determined to eclipse his disreputable legacy, she remains professionally distant from everyone! This aloof beauty has two things Nero wants—the best horse in the world…and a body as pure and untouched as her snow-white ice maiden's reputation!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August Recipe of the Month - Finn's Salmon from Susan Mallery's Only Mine

In Only Mine, Finn, the hero, was an Alaskan pilot who was furious with his twin brothers because they left college a semester before graduation.  What did they do?  They went to Fools Gold, CA to star in a dating reality show and their angry brother followed them.  I had a feeling that Finn resided in Southeast Alaska and it reminded me of an old recipe that was shared with me years ago. 

An old boyfriend of mine, after high school became an Alaskan fisherman.  This is Ed's recipe, a sauce to put on salmon, whether you barbecue it or make it in the oven.

Ed's Barbecue Salmon Sauce

3/4 cup melted butter
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 cloves crushed garlic
1-1/2 Tablespoon soy
1 T Dry mustard
1/3 cup Sherry
3 Tablespoon Ketchup

Melt butter, add ingredients, simmer 10 minutes.  Pour over fish, skin side down and place in foil boat, sprayed with PAM.  Can be barbecued or baked in oven.  Ready when fish flakes.

The Man She Loves to Hate - Kelly Hunter

The Man She Loves to Hate was so full of anger, hate and revenge.  Anger for what Jolie Tanner's mother did to Cole Rees' family.  Thanks to her mother Rachel  and Cole's father. James. because he took Rachel as his mistress.  As a young girl and that fateful day she learned the truth, everything changed for her.  She lost her best friend Hannah, was shunned by her other school friends as well.  However, she also lost the young teen, Cole, who she had always adored and had a crush on.

Now, ten years later, James Rees died, leaving her mother alone and broken hearted and she's had to pack up her mother's things left behind in a cabin on the mountain slopes.  All Jolie could think of was getting off the mountain and back to her life in Christchurch as an artist.  However, fate was not kind to Jolie because who should her long time friend Hare, reveal.......Cole was up on the mountain saying goodbye to his father.  A horrible storm was brewing and he would also be on the gondola going back down the mountain.  Jolie was shocked but not before disguising herself as a boy so that Cole wouldn't recognize her.  Let the games begin!

God had a sense of humour because in the end and thanks to mother nature they were thrown together and almost died in that horrible snow storm.  However, not before Jolie saved them both and got them safely to a mountain shack and warmed them both up.  In the end, it was shear torture for them both, reliving the past and so being attracted to each other.  Jolie like her mother, was a siren, with her lovely white skin and red hair and she attracted men just like her mom.  She and Cole were like oil to water.  Cole self confident and clearly used to socializing.  Jolie on the other hand, used her art to express herself.  She had learned  to put up a mask and hide her emotions.  There was one thing for sure, Cole wanted Jolie in his life and in his bed and he'd do anything to make that happen.  He even go against his mother and his sister for the chance to be with her.

Cole needed to make business decisions due to his father's death and because he was in charge of the company.   His mother was trying to unseat him from being in charge of his father's company.  On top of that, Hannah was pitching a fit because Cole was seeing Jolie.  But Cole didn't care, he only wanted to be with Jolie, she was like a "drug".  As for Jolie, she had proved how strong she was by getting them both to the mountain shack.  She  had  courage and fortitude and that was what he had admired in her, plus her beauty and her sensual pull.

In the end, everything ended up in a mess and it seemed like James Reese from the grave was going to cause Jolie, her mother and his own family grief.  He left Jolie a house among other things and quite an amount money to her mother as well.  It was a shock to him, them and his family and it only made things worse.  However, Jolie didn't want any of it and she was upset.  In the end, she hired an attorney to give it all back to Cole and his family.  Could his friends, business partners and family forgive the past?  All I can say is that it was a pretty rough road for Jolie and Cole.  However, with Cole's determination and love for this very special young woman, they did get their happy ending thanks to the very talented Kelly Hunter.

Book Description:

Three reasons to keep away from Cole Rees...

1. My mom had a scorching affair with his dad—just think how awkward that "meet the family" would be...

2. His arrogance drives me mad—he might be a gorgeous billionaire, but I hate how he knows it!

3. Every time he touches me I go up in flames...and it's utterly terrifying.

Come on, a fling with the man I love to hate? Like that would ever work out...

The Sicilian's Passion - Sharon Kendrick

I adored Kate Connors, Sharon Kendrick's heroine in The Sicilian's Passion because she not only had spirit, she had spunk and at times, a loose tongue.  And when she set eyes on Giovanni Calverri at his godmother's estate she was breathless and at that moment is when I sincerely believed she fell in love with this proud and ruthless Sicilian.  At first it didn't seem he liked her, he corrected her and made her feel uncomfortable.  She was at the estate because she was the interior decorator.

Giovanni Calverri I knew would be challenged by Kate but I had no clue how much  because as a Sicilian he would be a man of honor, a proud man.  However, I didn't realize his shocking secret, one that would torment him especially after he made love to Kate.  I was sure of it.  Not all readers of romance will understand Giovanni's betrayal.  However, the way the author revealed it and made him accountable, I personally could forgive him because we all make mistakes in life and Giovanni was no different.

Kate was very close to her sister Lucy who was extremely happy in her own relationship.  She also gave her sister sound advice.  She obviously thought after Kate explained her relationship with Giovanni, Lucy believed Kate to be in love.  However, Kate wasn't so sure.  Poor Giovanni, he struggled with himself.  If you read this exceptional romance, you'll understand why.  It was obvious that what they both shared was not only passion, it was also pure and profound and I knew they were meant for each other, even though their journey would possibly hurt others.

They were both powerless is all I can say.  They couldn't get enough of each other.  Giovanni felt guilt and at times Kate felt used because she couldn't say "no" to him.   Their relationship was crazy, it centered in the bedroom and Kate wanted more.  I wondered if Giovanni "would get it?"  In his own way, he tried and spent a couple of weeks in London but mostly in the bedroom.  However, as a woman myself, I wondered when would she "wise up" and realize she needed more?  Not so much a commitment but giving more of himself to their relationship, learning about each other, all of the important things.  However, in the end, Kate realized it was the end of their relationship.  But for Giovanni was it?  No, because three months later he called the now miserable Kate, asked her to join him in Spain.  Simply, she became his mistress.  They travelled all over, it was very beautiful but their situation was very false.  And Kate knew when she finally left him she wanted him to remember her with a smile on her face.

You'll have no idea how very intense this romance became, so intense I almost wondered if I could read more?  Esspecially when Kate  discovered she was pregnant.  How would she tell him and would he believe her?. So many emotions for them both, especially Giovanni......anger, remorse.  Over dinner she told him, in anger he made love to her and then she miscarried. Guilt  was the emotion Giovanni felt.  So much so, he ended up taking her home to Sicily to recuperate.  Since I had read this love story a few weeks ago, this  morning I reread the ending chapters. Blubbering doesn't even describe my emotions, my heart ached. You'll just have to trust me on this one. Yes there is a happy ending to The Sicilian's Passion and it's one you won't want to miss.  It's how this happiness was found by Kate and Giovanni.  What they had to  realize about their relationship and to get there which made this love story so very special.

Book Description:

An Italian affair to remember…

It was just plain old physical attraction. That didn't mean it was any "big love" or anything, did it? Kate was just mistress to a very passionate Sicilian man, Giovanni Calverri.

And sex was all it was ever supposed to be. Until the day when everything changed. When fate forced them to put their steamy arrangement on hold—and think about what they really had together…

Saturday, August 06, 2011

The Privileged an the Damned - Kimberly Lang

Everyone loves a Cinderella story and this certainly is one but it's also about second chances.  Kimberly Lang has written a spectacular romance with The Privileged and The Damned.  It's about an elite family, the Marshall's who are heavily involved in politics.  It's also about family, a family with secrets.  A father that deserted his son's and left their parents to raise them at the family estate, Hill Chase..

Ethan Marshall is one handsome and successful businessman.  He's visiting the "Grands" who raised he and his brother Brady and Finn when their mother died.  Like his grandfather, he father is running for Senator, the father who left his parents to raise his sons.  The father who disappointed his son's and I'm sure their Grands.  Now Ethan has returned to Hill Chase and all I can say is he meets Lily Black, a lovely young woman who works in the stables in a most unusual way (blush, blush), swimming in a pond, naked.

Lily Black has secrets, secrets she dearly paid for during her youth.  She has learned and grown because of it and has left her friends and horrible father behind back in Mississippi to begin a new life in Virginia at Hill Chase.  She works in the stables and lives above them in an apartment.  She loves Hill Chase, her boss Ray, the town and has a huge crush on Ethan Marshall.  However, Ethan asks too many questions, questions she doesn't want to answer.  Like his father, Ethan has a temper and when asked to go to a fundraiser to support his father's candidacy he refuses until his brother Brady and the Grands convince him to attend.  However, not before he asks Lily to be his date.  Of course, due to their wealth, his father and Brady are not too happy because of her status as a stable girl.  As his grandfather pointed out, "the Marshall family rises and falls together" and it was up to them all to help his father win the Senate seat".

Their friendship turns into a physical relationship with Lily still keeping quiet about her past.  Besides the fundrfaiser, Lily attends Ethan's brother's birthday party at a posh club.  Knowing her past, the Marshall's popularity, I wondered if the tabloids would pick up on them dating and would her father find her, because from an old friend, Lily was told her Dad was angry and looking for her.  Her father, a mean man and ex-con.  However, Senator Marshall had Lily investigated and threw the report in his son's face.  For Ethan, everything was in "black and white" and he exploded and then some.  Add to the mix danger, in the form of her blackmailing father and a break-up which sent Lily "packing".

I loved the Marshall brother's, the way author Kimberly Lang introduced her readers to the entire family and I could so visualize Hill Chase.  However, would Ethan wise up and see the truth about Lily before it was too late?    As his brother Finn pointed out to him, he could only see black and white and not the gray.  Could he forgive her the past and have a future with her?  You will love Lily, her determination to make a better life for herself, her strength and desire to leave her horrible past behind.  As Ethan pointed out to her when he finally calmed down and went after her, "you don't have to live it lived through it and came out great on the other side."    The Privileged and the Damned is part of the Dirty, Filthy Money series and a beautifully crafted romance, one you will definitely enjoy!

Kimberly Lang Talks about family dynasties and The Privileged And The Damned
at I(Heart)Presents

Back of the Book

Introducing The Marshalls… A rich, powerful family: if the U.S. had a royal family, this would be it!

Running scared, Lily needs a fresh start—and, fingers crossed, she's found one. After all, why would any of her new employers, members of the hot-shot Marshall dynasty, even think to look beyond her humble facade?

Until she catches the roving eye of infamous heart breaker Ethan Marshall…

A fling with one of the Marshall's is a bad idea—especially for a girl with a scandalous past. But Lily is terrifyingly susceptible to Ethan's lethal brand of high-class charm…

The Billionaire's Bedside Manner - Robyn Grady

Bailey Ross and Mateo Celeca met in a most unusual way.  Bailey had been backpacking and then eventually settled in Italy until she realized she needed to leave in a hurry.  Somehow, after working for an Italian family as a waitress in their Italian restaurant, she found herself in a predicament and realized she needed to flee Italy and return home to Australia.  A warm and wonderful woman, Momma Celeca helped Bailey escape by loaning her some money.  Now Bailey was on the door step of her wealthy and handsome grandson, Dr. Mateo Celeca and let's just say he was very sceptical of Bailey.  When he realized Bailey had nowhere to stay, he offered her his estate but he watched her like a hawk and that was putting it mildly.
Mateo Celeca was a wealthy obstetrician and one with a "huge" past.  One he only shared with close friends.  He was getting ready to leave on vacation but throughout the course of a few days, those plans changed due to his house guest Bailey.  They had reached an agreement that he would loan her the money, she would get a job and he would pay back Momma.  However, every year, Mateo would go to France, to the very orphanage where he grew up.  As a child, his caretakers did all they could for him.  He had always hoped his father would return for him but that never happened.  One day a man came looking for his own son, which he never found.  In the end, he adopted Mateo, giving him a warm home along with his mother, Momma Celeca.  It was time for him to return to see all of the new renovations that had occurred with the money he donated each year so he asked Bailey to come along.
Paris, the City of Love and I secretly wondered if it would be magical for this couple?  Their attraction was so strong.  Mateo knew Bailey had secrets because she held everything back.  She did confide some little things about her mother and the charm bracelet she wore.  As much as their relationship had changed to a physical one, Mateo still didn't fully trust Bailey.    All she knew is that she wanted to help him accomplish his goals while they were in France.  She also knew that their relationship couldn't last but while she was here she was going to enjoy every minute.  When she returned back to Australia she would continue to work hard at the job his best friend's wife got for her, cleaning and repay her loan.  Also, if possible, she would also look up her father, who had emotionally distanced himself from her after her mother died.
This couple were both tormented by their pasts, Bailey suffered so much when her mother died, she didn't finish school, she was a disappointment to her father and he reminded her of that, constantly.  Plus her dad emotionally distanced himself  Mateo, of course always hoping someone would take him home and adopt him, watching his best friend leave with his new family, no hope insight until the day a stranger told him he wanted him for his own son.  Bailey's and Mateo's time at the orphanage will warm you heart as will the children they encounter, especially one little boy and girl.  All I could hope was that this couple will fall in love, return to Mateo's country home in France and give these children a home.
Upon their return home a horrible misunderstanding took place based on circumstancial evidence.   However, that's not the only thing that happens.  Bailey's visit to see her father goes sour as well.  All I could think of was Mateo "wake up", see what's right before your eyes and reach out and take all of the happiness you both so deserve.  Their love story was sweet and really many happy endings for them all, including Bailey reuniting with her father.  You won't want to miss the ending chapters in The Billionaire's Bedside Manner because they were heartwarming and beautiful to read.
Book Description:

An unexpected visitor was not something billionaire Mateo Celeca wanted to deal with on his vacation. Especially one as beautiful and mysterious as Bailey Ross. She claimed his grandmother had sent her, so he offered her a place to stay. But there was no way he was leaving his "guest" alone at his mansion. If Bailey needed a refuge, she'd come with him…to Paris.

Being with Mateo soon made Bailey forget all the reasons she'd vowed to avoid romantic entanglements. But falling into bed with him could lead her dangerously close to revealing all her secrets…and falling in love.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

ONLY MINE (Fools Gold series) - Susan Mallery

In the first three books of Susan Mallery's Fools Gold series (Chasing Perfect, Finding Perfect and Almost Perfect), one learned that the small town of Fools Gold, California had a shortage of men.  That was until a young woman wrote her thesis about the town and then all sorts of men and the media started showing up.

The first three books revealed a lot about Denise Hendrix, the triplets mother, the girls themselves and their brother.  They were such a close family, one any reader would wish for their own.  Every one's dream to be apart of a family like this, sharing in their joy, wanting to be there to help with any pain any of them would suffer.  They were simply a loving and caring family who lived in a small town where everyone helped each other.  Reading each of their stories has been a heartwarming experience for me and one hard to describe at times, because in each of these stand alone books, I have read some of the pages over and over, the stories are that amazing and comforting. 

The next three books in the series are Only Mine, Only Yours and Only His will be about the Hendrix triplets.  Many of the wonderful characters who appeared in the first books will also be a part of Only Mine, like Marsha the mayor, the triplet's mom Denise, Raoul, an ex-Dallas Cowboy quarterback and more.  This particular book begins with Dakota Hendrix being on loan to the film company who is in Fools Gold to shoot a reality dating show. Dakota was single, not really looking for that someone special because she has a lot on her plate.  Her regular job working with Raoul, plus the fact that over the past year she's had some health issues, she wanted  a baby and was not willing to wait for for a mansd to come into her life.  You know the old saying it will "happen when you least expect it?"  Enter handsome Finn Andersson, an Alaska pilot who had barged into Fools Gold to convince his brother's to return home to Alaska to complete their college education.  Demanding they return to Alaska and give up the idea of staring in True Love or Fool's Gold.

When Finn's parents died in an airline crash, it was Finn who took over and raised both of his twin brother's.  On top of that, he also ran an air cargo business.   He gave up most of his freedom and  he was furious because his brother's had left college a semester early to star in a reality dating show.  Their first encounters with their brother were very intense, and with her profession and a sympathetic ear, Finn and Dakota forged a friendship and began a sensual and emotional a journey which ended up in one "hot" romance.  However, Finn made it very clear to Dakota that he would return home to Alaska once he got his brother's sorted.

Ms. Mallery always delivers a message to her readers.  In this case it's about love, family, trust, acceptance, and friendship.   She also gave her readers a "miracle".  As Dakota's mother pointed out to her when she revealed her secret concerning her health issue which would mean she could never conceive a child,  There was always a chance she could meet someone and adopt.  However, she wasn't willing to wait, she wanted a child now.  That's exactly what happened for this charming young woman, a little girl came into her life because she was next in line on the adoption list to receive an infant.

Finn and the entire town stood behind her every step of the way.  A phrase Dakota's mother said stuck in my mind while reading Finn's and Dakota's story, "Loving someone and being loved was a gift".  And I only hoped if they both relaxed and got to know each other, would that happen?   So many wonderful Fools Gold residents, reminding me of the first books in the series.
Finn and Dakota spent a lot of time together. He wanted to be close to his stubborn twin brothers because they refused to go back to college and Alaska.  One brother, Sasha wanted to become an actor and that was why they had both dropped out of school, to star in the reality show.  The other twin, Stephen had dreams of his own, to become an engineer. Both boys and the ladies they were starring with drove Finn crazy.  And let us not forget the two women dating the twins on the show.  They also have a story; one who wants fame and one who wants to be free of her mother, who only desires her love and respect.  As for Finn,  he just couldn't sit around waiting for "stuff" to happen, so like Dakota, he worked part time for the film company, "ferrying" around passengers and sightseers using the Fools Gold Airport and renting a plane.

They spent time together due to the reality show but they also had dinners at her home  talking about their respective small towns and their family.  They actually liked each other, felt the sexual pull, became close and took their relationship to the next level.  The adoption went through, Dakota's little girl arrived in Fools Gold.
Finn and the entire town gathered and all pitched in to help.  From her own immediate family, to the Mayor, the entire town, it was so very heartwarming to read.  Especially Finn's help from feeding the little one, to changing her, and taking Dakota to LAX to pick up her new daughter, basically supporting Dakota. 

However, always there was the fact lurking in the back of my mind, after the series filming, would Finn stay in Fools Gold or go back to Alaska?  Because as he pointed out to Dakota and his Alaska partner, once the boys were settled it was "now his time", he had earned his freedom.  It didn't include Dakota nor her daughter.  So when the bombshell was dropped that on the first night they made love, a "miracle" child had been conceived, what would he do........stay or leave?

Only Mine at this very moment is my favorite book in the Fools Gold series.  The family dynamics of the Hendrix family and their extended family (the town folks) were incredible to read.  Add to the mix, a secret and the guilt Finn was carrying around.  There was also the fact that Finn was getting too close to Dakota and baby Hannah.  So many emotions for this man who had given so much of himself  for his brother's.  But now it was time for him to step away and "trust" that they would be OK and make good and sound decisions.

But the most important lesson for me was reading how the entire town came together, not just for Dakota and her daughter, they came together for each other as well.  Every town should be like Fools Gold, don't you think? Because as this author states, "Fools Gold is the Land of Happy Endings" and Dakota and Finn, plus a few others also got that........their happy ending!  Happy endings?  After watching the end of the Bachelorette last night bachelor had his heart broken and I thought would this happen to Dakota because she was so loving and caring?  In his own way, Finn was also honorable and he certainly cared for his brother's and Dakota.  But he didn't seem happy as her mother pointed out to him.  Would Dakota be OK if Finn walked away especially now that she had revealed to Finn and her family, her "little miracle. Most definitely she would survive because she had her family and a town full of caring residents.

In Only Mine, so much was shared.  It focused on the power of love and friendship.  Reading this marvelous book by one of my favorite authors, Susan Mallery, warmed my heart yet left me feeling some sadness because now I have to wait for Montana's and Nevada's stories which will be released in September and October.

Book Description:

You can't win if you don't play...

Her town's lack of men may make headlines, but it isn't news to Dakota Hendrix. The beautiful blonde has bigger problems to deal with, such as overseeing the romance reality competition filming in Fool's Gold. Screening eligible bachelors is a difficult enough task, but Dakota hits an unexpected snag when a sexy stranger comes to town.

Finn Andersson will do anything to keep his twin brothers— the perfect contestants— off the show. Despite Dakota's better judgment, she finds herself drawn to the mysterious outsider. Like her, Finn knows about heartbreak and how a family can fall apart, so she doesn't dare to hope for anything more than a fling. After all, even in the Land of Happy Endings, finding true love is never as easy as it looks on TV.


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