Review: The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes

Professionally, Dr. Alec Johnson has almost reached his goals. As this year’s recipient of a humanitarian award with his ex, Dr. Tyler Hall, Alec’s work with the homeless is about to be recognized. Unfortunately, his personal life sucks because now he has to attend several events alongside Tyler—with his ex’s new boyfriend in tow. In an attempt to lift his mood and break out of his rut, Alec purchases a motorcycle he has no idea how to start.

Dylan Booth doesn't have time for Dr. Clueless and his fickle 1964 Harley, but the cocky mechanic can’t say no to the request for help. Having spent his teen years on the streets, and losing his best friend to HIV, Dylan decides teaching the do-gooder how to ride is the least he can do. But watching Alec flounder in his ex's company throws Dylan into protector mode, and the confirmed hetero introduces himself as Alec's new boyfriend.

The ex suspects Dylan is lying.

Alec claims Dylan’s plan is insane.

And Dylan’s not sure he can fake being gay.


Alec is devastated when his long time boyfriend and business partner breaks up with him.  He just doesn't know what went wrong and he's not sure how to handle the overload of emotions that are coursing through his system.  Alec needs a distraction the day he finds out that Tyler, his ex, now has a new boyfriend, just 56 days after the breakup. He decides to buy a motorcycle but he really doesn't know a whole hell lot about them in the practical sense.  He can tell you when it was made, by whom and that kind of thing but he has no idea what a wrench is and how to use it on his new ride.

He seeks help from Dylan who is a mechanic that another friend recommended.  Despite Dylan's busy schedule he agrees to help Alec with his bike and to teach him how to ride properly. The two men end up becoming friends and have a great time together. At one point Tyler comes by Alec's house with his new man and Dylan is there.  Dylan hates the way that Tyler treats Alec and gets protective of him, eventually spewing the fact that he and Alec are having sex.  Tyler's a bit blown away but accepts it.

During a party where Tyler is in attendance with his new squeeze Alec doesn't handle things well and Dylan, as the fake boyfriend, tries once again to protect Alec.  Dylan ends up kissing him but instead of hating it her thinks it just wasn't long enough.  Alec, in his drunken state ends up making his move and their sexual relationship heats up from there.  

Unfortunately Dylan isn't interested in anything more than sex with Alec and Alec is really a long term kind of guy.  

This was such a great book.  I really wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't read this author before but she really delivered.

Alec and Dylan's relationship was so captivating.  I loved the many layers to both men and the way they discovered them in each other throughout the book.  

Dylan had had such a horribly rough life and had made himself into something.  I had to admire his strength and work ethic.  He really was a great guy, he was truly confused about who he was and what he wanted out of a friendship/relationship with Alec.

Alec was also a likable guy.  He made my heart hurt with the emotions that he wore out on his sleeve.  He tried to hide them but they were so out there.  I just wanted to give the guy a great big hug. I adored how they finally worked it all out and was more than happy with the ending. :0)

The book was fun, funny, heart wrenching, sexy and wonderful.  I can't say enough good things about it and highly recommend it. 

4.5 out of 5

What I Read Last Week

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I’ve had the last 5 days off and let me tell you I loved every minute of it. I love my job but it’s always wonderful to have time off. 

Today is a big day in Tracyland. My oldest daughter is 16 today! I can’t believe it! The time flies, doesn’t it? Well she’s a beautiful girl and I love her to pieces and I wish her a very happy birthday! Her boyfriend is taking her to get her nails done and then we’ll be going shopping later (as she requested) for clothes and a new purse. I think it will be a great day! Here she is over the past few years - what a change!

July 2008
August 2009
April 2012

Aug. 2013
Nov. 2013 acting crazy. :)
Yeah, she's changed a bit over the years! :)

Ok, on to what I read last week:

I started off the week with Let It Be Me by Bella Andre. This was Ryan’s book and told us about him and his high school best friend who he’s always had a thing for. He doesn’t want to ruin their friendship so doesn’t make a move. She feels the same way but makes no move either. It’s a good story and I loved reading it. I’ll post my review this week of this one. 4 out of 5

Next up was The Wedding Favor by Cara Connelly. This is a new author and this is her first full length novel, if I’m not mistaken. The story is about two people who really don’t like each other. They end up at the same wedding and as he doesn’t want to ruin his friends wedding by brawling with the woman he asks her to act like they’d never met. It was another great story! I’ll post my review of this one this week as well. 4 out of 5

Guilty as Sin by Jami Alden was a contemporary romantic suspense novel about a woman who works as an advocate for missing children. She got into this because her brother was kidnapped and murdered when she was just 16 and was supposed to be watching him. Now she’s back in the town where it all happened and is helping a family try to find their missing 14 year old daughter. While there she runs into her old love (the guy she was with instead of watching her brother) and the sparks fly once again. There’s a lot going on in the book but it was a good one. I do wish that there had been less romance during the search for the child as it kind of took to focus off of that part of the story but still a good book. 3.5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Last for the week was Everybody’s Got A Story by Heather Wardell. The book follows Alexa who was assaulted by her longtime boyfriend. It’s been 2 years but after his trial she realizes that she hasn’t been living at all. She moves to Toronto to start again and tries to get a life and friends without everyone knowing what happened to her. This was a very emotional book but very well done. 4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

 


My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Kinked by Thea Harrison
Forgiveness: Alek & Rose by Amanda N. Richardson

Happy Reading!

Review: The Valentine's Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich

Tattoo artist Ronnie Clark is counting the days until Valentine's Day is over. Ronnie doesn't do romance. She doesn't do flowers or dates, and she sure as hell doesn't do love--not anymore. After her fiancé cheated on her while deployed, she has vowed never to fall in love again, especially with a soldier.

Sergeant First Class Kale Emerson is home on his mid-tour leave from Iraq, but he can't wait to return to finish leading his soldiers on their mission. He's got no time for a relationship...but casual sex, that's a different story. And when he meets Ronnie, a snarky, gorgeous, take-no-prisoners kind of woman, a fast fling is all he can think about. But when Kale realizes he's met his match with a bombshell woman who is hell bent against love, will just sex be enough? And will winning her over both body and soul be the toughest battle he ever fought?


Ronnie Clark hates Valentine’s Day. She’s working along and hoping that the hearts and flowers time of years just gets over with. She thinks that men and women alike should show their love 365 days a year rather than just 1. She’s a bit cynical since she found out that her fiancĂ© was sleeping with someone while deployed. Now it’s been 3 months and she’s ready to just get her house sold (the one she bought with her ex) and move on.

Then Kale Emerson walks into the tattoo parlor where she works and sparks fly all over her body. Despite her best efforts she finds herself with Kale and he’s making an arrangement – on Valentine’s Day. He proposes no-strings attached sex (the only kind either of them like) for the 5 days he has remaining on his R & R and then they’ll part happy and satisfied. The problem ends up being that both of them find themselves having deeper feelings for the other and the small shit-storm that occurs after that.

This was a cute book. I really liked Kale a lot and Ronnie as well – her take no crap from anyone attitude was great. The problem I think I had with the book was that almost insta-love. They fell in love within about 3 or 4 days and it was just too fast for me.

Now Kale was a great guy and tried to get Ronnie to admit her feelings, even after he left again. Ronnie was a stubborn ass though and just couldn’t give in to her feelings which made me hurt for her because she had closed herself off.

The end was a bit sappy and frankly a bit odd (they had sex when Kale was completely wounded) but in the end an enjoyable story.

Rating: 3 out of 5


Kelsie Leverich

Saturday Song

I love Christmas music, I truly do.  This year, however, it seemed like every station I turned to had it playing constantly at least a week or so before Christmas.  I think I'm kinda done with "Here Come Santa Claus!" lol  A good way to wash that away?  Listen to Eve to Adam singing Immortal.  Enjoy!

 

Review: If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle

Harrriet Hathaway has loved only one man her entire life: the Earl of Roxley. But when he ignores her at a ball, she takes rather desperate steps to catch his eye and her plans find her ruined and without any hope of gaining Roxley’s heart. So it is much to her amazement when Roxley proposes marriage to save her from ruin. But Roxley’s proposal isn’t quite on the up and up and when she finds out she’s just another piece in one of his plots and japes, she vows revenge.

Roxley is desperate to pull his family from the brink of ruin, and the only way to gain a lost fortune is to prove to his aunts that’s he’s “reformed” his life and is determined to settle down. But the bride-to-be that he thought would be most amiable is doing everything to turn his life and his heart upside down. Harriet Hathaway had always seemed the most sensible girl he knew, but now this siren of a stranger he’s engaged to is leaving him feeling anything but sensible. Harriet is about to steal not only his heart, but quite possibly the keys to the Roxley fortune.


Harriet has been in love with Roxley for years. Roxley has been in love with Harriet for years. He has tried to hold himself back from her (although he’s not sure why) but one night she tempts him just one time to many and they share a wonderful night under the stars. Unfortunately Harriet wakes up from a night of being thoroughly and deliciously ruined to find that Roxley is gone.

Now it’s 8 months later and Harriet is back in London with Roxley’s Aunt Essex. She is determined to get Roxley and not let him escape this time. Unfortunately what she finds is Roxley “almost” engaged to another woman! She figures out that everything is not right with the soon to be match and is unwavering in her decision to stick to Roxley like glue and decipher what’s going on.

Roxley left the morning after he bedded Harriet to ride to London to get a special license so that they could marry immediately. Needless to say he never got the license and hadn’t seen Harriet in the 8 months since then. He still loves her with all his heart but he’s in a bind. His luck the last 8 months has been horrible with losing games, his man running off with his money and now one man holds all his vowels and wants him to marry his daughter, Miss Murray. He puts it off as long as possible but he fears he’s going to have to propose before he finds out what’s or who’s behind all of the bad luck. He just has a hinky feeling that someone is behind it all and he needs to find out who.

Let me start out by saying that this was a very good book. I really liked the writing style (as I usually do with Boyle), the characters and for the most part, the story. Roxley and Harriet were so very perfect for each other and I could feel that whenever they interacted. Unfortunately this didn’t happen quite as often as I would have liked during the book as they were constantly being torn apart from each other.

That being said I did have a couple of issues with it. The first was Roxley’s friends. He had them, in multitude. He had worked for the Home Office and he had friends there – they even gathered to let him know that they knew there was something weird going besides just bad luck on his part and that they wanted to help them. Wonderful! To me that meant not only would they help find the blackmailer but also since at least one of them was rich that they would buy his vowels from Mr. Murray and therefore stop him having to marry Miss Murray. Of course no one even suggested that – they just wanted to find out who was behind it all. What? He mentions that he has to go see his aunts – one that is in Bath - but then mentions that she told him she wouldn’t allow him in the house until he brings a bride. The guy from the Home Office tells him to get engaged quickly to Miss Murray. Again, what? The whole point is to not get engaged to that woman. Ug. So his friends did help but not exactly in the way that made perfect sense.

Another issue I had with the book was the whole 8 month gap between Roxley leaving to get the special license and then the current time. What the hell was he doing? He says, eventually, that he met with a friend on the way to London. Ok, then were you stuck under a large rock for the rest of the 8 months? I just didn’t get the delay, the non-communication with Harriet, his almost unforgivable disregard of Harriet in general. I loved them together but really, Roxley? You go for a special license the night after you bed the woman you supposedly love but yet you not only DON’T get the license you go on to live your life without one single word to that woman for EIGHT LONG MONTHS. WTH? Seriously. The fact that Harriet never asked and that the information was never offered by Roxley really stuck in my craw to say the least. Poorly done on both of their parts, imho.

As the story line goes these are really two very minor details in the book but I couldn’t stop thinking about them throughout the book and that brought the rating down, unfortunately. Despite those two issues I thought that book was fun, funny, romantic and definitely worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Elizabeth Boyle 


Review: The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes

Lady Rebecca is determined to find a husband on her own terms, rather than marry any of the aging suitors her greedy aunt and uncle foist upon her. Her chance comes at the Kingsborough Ball, where she meets several potential grooms…yet no one compares to the dangerously handsome Daniel Neville.

Daniel Neville, notorious rake and heir to the Marquis of Wolvington, is in need of a bride, but finding a lady who’s willing to accept his past, is an entirely different matter. When he spies a stunning woman across the ballroom, Daniel believes he’s found her…until scandal erupts around them. How can he convince Rebecca to take a chance on him…and on the love that could be theirs forever after?


Rebecca is desperate to find a man to marry her that’s not 5o years her senior. Her aunt and uncle want her to marry one of two men who are frankly going to die soon because they’re so old. One is a Duke but a complete lecher that gives her the heebie jeebies and the other is just…old! She crashes the Kingsborough Ball and ends up meeting Daniel Neville who is a total rake. He needs to repair his ways and get married, however, or his uncle will completely cut him off. He certainly doesn’t want that but when he goes looking for a bride he doesn’t expect to find a beauty like Rebecca.

Rebecca is honest with Daniel and tells him of her plight. Daniel doesn’t want her to have to go through that and he certainly doesn’t want to lose her himself. They make a plan and elope but are then ostracized not only from the ton due to the scandal (as her aunt and uncle had already promised her to the lecher Duke and that’s just bad form) but also from his aunt and uncle. His uncle STILL cuts him off as he thinks that eloping with Rebecca is just one more way he’s shirking society and proper etiquette.

What’s really going on is that Daniel is falling in love with Rebecca and she with him. They compliment each other so well and what started off as a convenience ends up a romance. Daniel is almost happy he’s cut off because he’s determined to be the man that Rebecca deserves and to find a way to support her himself. He takes measures to do this but the Duke is not happy that he stole Rebecca and will stop at nothing to get her back.

This story was such a surprise. Yes, it’s a story that I wanted to read but it was so much better than I anticipated. The romance between Daniel and Rebecca was just lovely. I adored reading about them and what they were going through. Daniel, at first, tried to keep their financial situation from Rebecca but he soon came clean and the honesty between them from that point on was so refreshing!

The lecher Duke was just that – lecherous. He was just a vile old man who thought that because he was duke he could get anything he wanted. He was soon proven otherwise and I loved how Daniel and Rebecca showed him that. Yes, Rebecca’s plan to “get” the duke was a bit far-fetched but well done.

This was a great book with romance, laughter, danger and treachery and I enjoyed every minute of it. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Sophie Barnes

What I Read Last Week

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you're all done with your Christmas shopping.

Last week was very busy with work and unfortunately the blog suffered but hopefully I can do better this week. I’ll only work half a day tomorrow and then will have the rest of the week off – again, YAY! :)

The church had their Christmas Pageant this past Saturday. My girls were in it and they did great. My oldest was Mary and looked like she was giving birth to quadruplets, lol, and my youngest was the star. Both were adorable. :)





We went yesterday and spent the day with my hubby’s family as that’s when we could get together for Christmas. It’ll be nice not having to go anywhere on Christmas day but it will be weird not seeing my family. Thank heavens for group video chat, right?

So what are you doing on Christmas Day?

As I said it was busy so I didn’t get much reading done at all.


The first for the week was an anthology called Stranded With A Hero by Karen Erickson Coleen Kwan, Cindi Madsen, & Roxanne Snopek. There were a couple of good stories in here but I can’t say I absolutely loved any of them, unfortunately. I read this one for Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review is posted. Overall 3 out of 5

The Backup Boyfriend by River Jaymes was an unexpected delight. This was a wonderful m/m story that I really enjoyed reading. I’ll post my review this week.

Last for the week was When the Rogue Returns by Sabrina Jeffries. The story is about a young couple torn apart by a woman’s family who get reunited after 10 years. Unfortunately the lies are hard to forget and it takes a lot to trust again. I really enjoyed this one and I’m loving the series so far. 4 out of 5




My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
*Crickets*

Happy Reading!

Saturday Song

Here's Otherwise with Die For You.  Enjoy!

Are you a Grinch or a Griswold?

I have to say that I love going to see Christmas lights every year. There are a few areas in our city where the entire neighborhood decorates and it’s like a winter wonderland (one of the neighborhoods actually call their display Winter Wonderland!). It doesn’t snow here or even get too too cold so this is one way the kids and I get to think of an actual winter, with snow. 

This is a picture from one of the local displays

At home we kind of do the basics. We have large white bulbs strung along the roof’s edge all along the front of the house and we have a little reindeer that lights up as well as a snowman. We live on a hill and the way the house is set up you can’t really see that part of the lawn any time whether you’re going up the hill or down the hill so really those additions are just for our own enjoyment. In the end I’m not exactly a Grinch, where I put nothing on the house, but I’m not a Griswold either. :)

Are they Grinch-y or just funny and lazy?  lol

So what are you? Do you put up lights on the house for Christmas? Are you like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation or are you a Grinch and don’t decorate at all? (which is good too, sometimes! lol) 

What I Read Last Week

Happy Tuesday!

Yes, this post is going up on Tuesday because I’m seriously hella behind. Things are falling by the wayside as work is wiping me out completely every day. It’s obviously one of the busy seasons here at the church so I’m just trying to keep afloat. I actually only worked half a day yesterday to try and catch up with laundry, housework and completing my holiday decorating. I thought this post was gonna get done at that time but apparently there was just too much to do! lol Crazy.

Anyway, things here are gearing up for Christmas. The kids are so excited about Christmas. We’ll go to my in-laws this Sunday to celebrate as that’s the only time we can all get together. It will be weird on Christmas to just be at home with the hubby and kids. As ALL of my family is all out of state now it’s just us four. I’m sad I won’t see them in person but Skype will be busy that day. :)

So….what I read last week:


I started off the week with Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane. A wonderful book about 2 boys who are so very different but find what they need in the other. It was great and I highly recommend it. You can read my review here. 5 out of 5








Love this chicks hair!
Next was Jealous and Freakn’ by Eve Langlais. The story was about a woman who has known her mate was since she was 10 but he thinks he sees her as a sister and refuses to acknowledge her as his mate. Along comes another shifter and lo and behold, he’s her mate as well. Once he gets jealous he finally decides to admit that he’s wanted her for years but thought it was wrong. This was a fun and funny story that I really enjoyed reading. 4 out of 5

Elite by Rachel Van Dyken was a re-read. I wanted to read Elect which is book 2 in the Eagle Elite series but it’s a complete continuation from book 1…which I hadn’t read for a while. I wanted to be completely in the know so…it was re-read time. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

Elect by Rachel Van Dyken is the continuing story of Trace & Nixon but also adds Chase, Nixon’s cousin into the mix to make a nice little love triangle. I’m not a fan of love triangles but this one was very readable and didn’t drive me batty – yay! :) You can read my full review of the book here. 4 out of 5 

The Scandal in Kissing an Heir by Sophie Barnes is the story of Rebecca who was orphaned and taken in by her aunt and uncle who are horrid. She would do anything to avoid marrying the ancient suitors they have courting her – even fake madness for two years. Now she’s looking for a younger husband and she’s got her eye on Daniel. Daniel HAS to get married according to his uncle or he’ll be cut off. Turns out marriage is the best thing that ever happened to him. Great story. Liked both Rebecca and Daniel a lot. 4 out of 5

Forgiveness: Alek & Rose by Amanda N. Richardson was the story of, you guessed it, Alek and Rose who grew up together and were close friends who were each afraid to stated their true feelings. Then Rose disappears for a year and then comes back to finally tell Alek what’s up, why she left and how she feels about it. The characters were immature at best and Alek had serious anger issues. Rose seemed strong on one hand and then weak at others and I couldn’t get a true handle on her. This one was ok but really not my cuppa. 2 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)


The Valentine's Arrangement by Kelsie Leverich was about tattoo artist Ronnie who lusts after her soldier client Kale. They start a no strings sexual relationship which quickly turns to love. The love happened rather quickly even though they were parted for months. I guess I thought that because Ronnie didn’t talk to Kale the entire time he was deployed. This was a good one but I did have some issues with it. 3 out of 5

His Teddy Bear by Eve Langlais was about a short chubby bear shifter named Teddy who finds out her mate is big, bad, beautiful wolf shifter, Reece. Reece dates tall, leggy blondes so when he first realizes that Teddy is his mate he’s not thrilled. He then gets to know her, despite Teddy’s best efforts to constantly run away, and finally realizes that its what’s inside that counts. Yes, Reece was an ass but I really liked him by the end of the book. 3 out of 5

 



My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Taming a Wild Scot by Rowan Keats

Happy Reading!

Review: Elect by Rachel Van Dyken

Warning: 
This review contains spoilers of book 1!

Would you die for the one you love?


Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family's enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family's sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend... But Trace isn't ready to give up on a future with Nix--and if he won't fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . . 


We discovered in book one of the Eagle Elite series, Elite, that Nixon Abandonato is the mafia boss of the most powerful mafia in Chicago. He’s only 21 but he is one badass mofo, let me tell ya. While he is a badass he and his friends, who are from other mafia families as well as his own, want peace. They want the families to be able to get along. This might be a tall order as there is nothing but strife between them at the moment. 

Nixon and Trace are in love. We saw most of their love story in book one but here we get to see it x100. The problem with that is that Nixon’s cousin, best friend and Trace’s bodyguard, Chase, is completely in love with Trace as well. He doesn’t want to be but he can’t help himself and while he doesn’t want anything to come between him and Nixon it comes to the point where he’s only thinking about betrayal to be with the woman he loves. This is compounded by the fact that Nixon is more or less pushing them together thinking that Trace will be safer if she’s away from him as he has enemies. Probably not a good idea. 

Trace loves both Nixon and Chase but each in different ways. She’s been pushed away from Nixon so often that while it feels wrong to be with Chase, but he’s very comforting for her. He’s a great friend. She doesn’t actually believe Chase when he tells her how he feels and believes that he’s just being charming and playing a part. That’s until a plan gets put into action to find a rat in the organization, find out who killed Trace’s parents when she was six and to take that person down. In order to do that Nixon has to put himself on the line and the outcome is devastating for everyone - people die, a rat is found, a man redeems himself…and that’s just part of the story. 

I would love to go into great detail about this book but I just can’t without giving up huge spoilers and part of the power of the story is how it unfolds. Was I frustrated when we kept getting clues and not told what the hell the big secret was? Oh absolutely. I’m not a patient girl when it comes to stuff like that! lol But in the end the way it played out was completely satisfying and very well done. 

The story is well written and done is such a way that we get many different points of view. It’s alternating 1st person POV’s between Nixon, Chase and Phoenix. I would have loved to have gotten Trace’s POV in this book as well (as we did in book 1) but that was not to be. Despite not having her POV I thought that the insight we received about what was happening from those three was wonderful. I really like Nixon so very much – much better than I did in the last book. Chase I didn’t like as much. I think it was because he was betraying Nixon and I thought Nixon and Trace were the better couple. He was a good guy though so I couldn’t outright hate him. Trace I liked much better in this book. The multiple bouts of crying she had in the last book went by the wayside and she learned to turn her tears into anger. You go girl. :) 

The book had me, again, on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happened next with the plan, with the mafia, with Trace and Chase and Nixon - all of it. The intensity of the characters working together (or not), and how that will all turn out in the end, to be a real page turner. I really enjoyed the book and even the who love triangle thing which I normally will not read. This was worth all the nail biting in the end. I would never have thought that I would enjoy not only a love triangle but a story about the Mafioso. Who knew? I guess when it’s done as well as this one was it’s easy to love the books.

I definitely recommend this book and its predecessor. I can’t wait to read book 3 in the series too see what happens next with these awesome characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5

 

Rachel Van Dyken 

Saturday Song

Eyes Set To Kill is a new to me band that I've been hearing a lot lately.  Infected is a great song.  Enjoy.

Review: A Christmas To Remember by Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon & Marilyn Pappano

Jill Shalvis, Dream a Little Dream: Melissa has kept every man at a safe distance-especially firefighter Ian, a sexy friend with sexy benefits. But Ian secretly longs for more. Luckily, 'tis the season for giving love a chance . . .

Kristen Ashley, Every Year: Holidays don't come easy for Shy and his brother, Landon. But with the magic of Christmas, along with a little help from Tabby and her family, the Cage brothers are about to get the gift of a lifetime . . .

Hope Ramsay, Silent Night: Down on her luck and evicted from her apartment, single mother Maryanne hopes to start over in Last Chance. When the snow begins to fall, it looks like her baby might literally spend Christmas Eve in a manger. And Maryanne might celebrate the holiday with a handsome stranger.

Molly Cannon, Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas: Lincoln is a bachelor who's set in his ways-until a professional organizer dressed up as Mrs. Claus changes his life, one tip at a time. . .

Marilyn Pappano, A Family for Christmas: War widow Ilena doesn't mind spending Christmas alone. But when a new doctor blows into town with the winter wind, will she get her secret Christmas wish?



Jill Shalvis's story set in Lucky Harbor had Melissa regretting her breakup with firefighter, Ian, but she just didn't know how to fix it. A life threatening experience puts everything into perspective, now she just has to get Ian to go along with the plan. Such a great story. Really, I love Lucky Harbor and all the people in it. This one was no different. Obviously shorter than the novels, this one packed no less of a punch in the romance department and had me smiling from ear to ear.

Kristen Ashley's story was great. Christmas with the Chaos MC is new and different for Shy and his brother Landon. The fascination they have with Tack and Tyra's kids is incredibly emotional and so heart warming it was awesome. I loved, loved, loved when Cutter, who is 4 years old, woke up in the morning and was running around announcing how “Sanna” had shown up. OMG so freaking cute!

Hope Ramsey's was a probably the most upsetting book. Maryanne and her 3 month old baby are homeless and go looking for her aunt. She thinks she finds the house after having her car break down and walking in sleet but ends up in the barn when no one is home. What's she really found is Daniel who has a kind heart and needs Maryanne to show him the true meaning of Christmas. While reading this book I was so heartsick over Maryanne's choices near the end of the story. I understand the meaning of the story but I can't say this was my favorite.

Molly Cannon gave us a story about a professional organizer who is hired by a man's mother to organize her former home before she gets there for Christmas. Lincoln moved into his childhood home after his parents retired and moved away. He's not big on cleaning the messes away so when Dinah shows up he's surly and uncooperative at first. He kind of gets into it after a time and he certainly likes working with Dinah. Unfortunately Dinah remembers too late that she's never to get involved with a client – especially one who doesn't like Christmas. Lincoln has a secret up his sleeve that might make her change her mind about him. This was just a cute, fun story. It was pretty much upbeat from start to finish and I enjoyed the absence of uber-angst.

Last was Marilyn Pappano gave us a doctor who moves to a small town in Oklahoma to start a pediatric practice. His parents and practically his whole family are snooty surgeons and physicians and they don't understand his medical career choice. He's in Tallgrass for a two year contract but he's just not sure that after that he'll stay there. He starts to fall in love with Elena who is a military widow with a 6 month old boy. She's sunshine and light but as much as he loves her he's not sure what the future will hold. My first read by this author and I very much enjoyed it. Like the previous story it was pretty light and airy until near the end. Even then it wasn't angst heavy and I got my HEA – bonus. :)


What a fantastic way to begin the Christmas Season! Truly. These stories all were such great reads and had such a sense of Christmas spirit that I can't help but tell everyone to get this one and read it. My only minor complaint was that the stories were separated by excerpts from each authors upcoming novels. These were great to have but I think it took away the flow of the Christmas theme just a bit. I would have appreciated them more if they had all been at the back of the book. Despite that I very much enjoyed all the stories which is a definite plus when it comes to an anthology.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: On A Highland Hill by Kara Griffin

They were destined to meet, but they never expected to fall in love…

His tormented soul

Kenneth McInnish, guardsman for the powerful Gunn Clan, is not prepared for the tender devotion from the lass his clan steals from the king. Tricked into marrying her, he decides to make the best of it. But it’s her kisses that win him over to the fact that he just might enjoy being wedded. Beneath Kenneth’s wounded heart lies a protector. But Elisa is more than capable of taking care of herself. The only place he’s sure of himself with her is at night when he shares the most passionate experiences of his life.

Her giving nature

Elisa always thought she’d wed the ruthless warrior who abducted her. When she finds out the truth behind her abduction and is mercifully rescued, she is forced to wed for her protection. She chooses the warrior whose soul needs saving the most. Everything she does to aid him goes awry and puts him in a worse position. Faced with the possibility of endangering his clan, she risks her own safety to save him.

Their dangerous encounter

When Kenneth learns of the trickery which caused him to marry her, and forces him to confront his demons, he’s not sure how to handle it or her. She’s everything he never knew he could have. As they aid all those around them, can they save each other and find the love they both need and desire?


In the year 1210 Elisa Macquarrie's family was slaughtered and she was taken by a man looking to save his own skin from both the King of Norway and the King of Scotland. Domhnall at first thought that he had kidnapped Elisa's twin, Mauri, who was betrothed to Alexander, the heir to the Scottish throne.  He was wrong but even after finding out who she really was he kept her captive.

Five years go by and Alexander is now King. He seeks out Grey Gunn, Laird of the Gunn clan to go to Domhnall's keep and retrieve Elisa for him. Grey protests but eventually heads out with his guardsmen to find the woman. They find her and kidnap her. Grey realizes that the only way to keep Elisa safe from both Domhnall and the King is to have the protection of his clan, therefore she must marry one of them immediately. She declines but is overruled and is soon married to Kenneth McInnish who is actually the Laird of the McInnish clan but doesn't want the job.

When the Gunn's find out that Domhnall is on his way to their keep he talks Kenneth into going home to McInnish keep and taking his rightful place as Laird. Kenneth protests and blames Elisa for his troubles. He isn't exactly welcomed home by his people but is determined to make the best of a bad situation. The people love Elisa but Kenneth wants her to just stay cooped up and not help in any way. She loves him but feels like she's nothing to him. He forgets she's there, doesn't miss her when she's gone, and certainly doesn't need her assistance with anything. She soon figures out how she can help Kenneth, the Gunn clan, the King and Domhnall all from breaking out into war over her and a simple piece of parchment, but to do that she must distance herself from not only Kenneth but the clan she's grown to love.

I love a good medieval romance every once in a while and this one delivered everything a good medieval should. A great romance, a wonderful and hot hero, men in kilts, a well done story, men in kilts, a strong heroine, and...did I mention men in kilts?

When the book started off I have to admit that I was a bit leery of continuing. The first couple of chapters are very information heavy and there are a lot of characters to keep straight. I did continue though and was so happy I did. Kenneth had some serious emotional issues, I must admit. He carried guilt over the death of his brother, his father had treated him so very badly, he hadn't taken up the Lairdship when his brother Greer had died, and then he went and married Elisa and she seemed to be causing him anguish as well. He kind of needed to get over himself and deal with things but it took him quite a while for that to come about. He wasn't the best husband as, as he said, he just didn't know how to be a good one. He loved the bed sport but other than that he kind of sucked until he truly pulled his head out of his ass and got his brain working. Lol

Elisa had really been through hell. She knew she was betrothed to someone so when Domhnall took her and told her that he was her betrothed she believed him. She wondered why she had never heard from her family but just thought they had washed their hands of her. She had absolutely no knowledge that they had been slaughtered by Domhnall's hand. She is smart in resisting Grey's command to get married but even she could see the benefits of protection. She wanted to be a good wife to Kenneth and she had such a kind heart – always thinking of others before herself – that she continued to see the good in Kenneth until he hurt her feelings time and time again. He was a big brute but had never had to deal with a wife. That was no excuse but hey, he was a medieval guardsmen, they're definitely not known for their cooth! Elisa made some, imho, bad choices during the book but it all ended well, which was wonderful.

The story was well written and I look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Kara Griffin

Book Spotlight/Blog Tour: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane (+ a Scavenger Hunt & a Giveaway!)

Blurb:
Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

20% of all proceeds from this title are donated to the Ali Forney Center in New York, whose mission “is to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) youth from the harm of homelessness, and to support them in becoming safe and independent as they move from adolescence to adulthood.” To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit http://www.aliforneycenter.org/


Bio:

Amy Lane has children, pets, consuming hobbies, an amazing spouse, and a very dirty house. The only time she does housework is Christmas, so that children, pets, spouse, hobbies, and home may exist in peace on hearth for at least once a year.

Feel free to visit Amy in the following places:
Blog: www.writerslane.blogspot.com
Website: www.greenshill.com
Twitter: @amymaclane
FaceBook: Amy Lane
FaceBook Fan Group: Amy Lane Anonymous
Or to contact her at: amylane@greenshill.com


The Scavenger Hunt-- (from Amy)

In addition to the Riptide giveaway, I'm having a scavenger hunt on my own blog. At the beginning of the blog tour, I'll publish the tour dates on Yarning to Write. For every stop on the tour I'll have a "phrase" for the scavenger hunt. At the end of the tour, I'll put up a post for the people who have found the phrases. If you comment -- and then send me an e-mail with six of the twelve phrases and your address!-- I'll send you some Christmas Kitsch swag. The post collecting the winners will go up on the 13th (the day of the last stop on the tour) and you will have a week to go read all of the tour stops and collect your phrases. The hunt closes on December 21st, at the end of the day and I'll get your swag into the mail between Christmas and New Years! (Hopefully after I get my own Christmas cards out in the mail. I'm not known for my punctuality, I'm afraid;-) Look below for today's phrase! 


Today's phrase:
And don’t forget to collect “Backroads Boogie” for the scavenger hunt on Amy’s blog on December 14th!

 
Riptide contest details: 

Enter your details in the Rafflecopter below to gain entry in the *Home for the Holidays* giveaway! This week of the tour closes at midnight, EST, on December 13th. Then, one grand prize winner will be contacted at the end of the Home for the Holidays tour on December 16th. Contest is valid worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.


Rusty doesn't believe himself to be very smart. In fact he calls himself stupid constantly. He thinks he's just a big dumb jock. He's a nice guy though and when a new kid, Oliver Campbell, starts at his school, he's nice to him – it doesn't matter to Rusty that Oliver's gay. They become best friends and by summer they're constantly hanging out together. When Oliver kisses Rusty the night before he leaves for college he really likes it until he finally clues in to what he's doing – kissing a boy. He feels he should be more bothered by kissing Oliver but he's really not.

Rusty heads off to Berkley where he doesn't feel he belongs at all. His parents have such plans for his future that Rusty doesn't really want any part of. He does want to at least try to pass. He struggles constantly in his classes and texts Oliver daily to get help. He's barely hanging on with his studies and with his belief about his stupidity but he manages. He does have a breakdown at one point but Oliver and his roommate, Rex pull him through.

When Thanksgiving break comes along Rusty is more than ready to head home. He's finally realized that Oliver is much more than a friend and that he is in love with him. When Rusty gets home Oliver kisses him and Rusty's mom sees them. Within minutes she's kicking him out of the house – unless of course he gets rid of Oliver and then he's more than welcome home. Ug.

Rusty then has to deal with the emotional fallout from his family and his feelings of inadequacy when it comes to taking care of Oliver. Oliver's large extended family embraces Rusty as do his sister and their housekeeper. The story centers on Rusty's growth as a man, a son, a brother and a lover. The

This story was such an amazing read. While at times quite funny it was pretty intense most of the time and heartbreaking just as much as it was heartwarming.

Rusty is just an average person. Her parents are distant and think that their kids will love them for what they can give them. Rusty and his sister were basically shown affectionate love by the housekeeper and she's the one they felt closest to. Having grown up in that kind of family he really didn't know what to do with all the emotions he was feeling when Oliver came along. Oliver showed him the person he could be and then sat and waited for Rusty to catch up mentally. He certainly wasn't stupid but his brain definitely worked at a slower pace than some. Of course when he got it, he really GOT it. Oliver was just the perfect guy for Rusty. While Oliver did have his impatient side (though small) the flip side of that was one of the most patient men ever. I thought the two of them together were perfect.

I adored the secondary characters in this book almost as much as I loved Rusty and Oliver. Oliver's dad is the kind of guy you want for your father – and your friend. He was kind and understanding and a really great guy. Oliver's extended family were all wonderful too and accepted, loved and supported Rusty when his own parents threw him away. Rusty's sister stood by him and she was awesome, just like Rusty - I loved their relationship. Rex, Rusty's roommate at Berkley was another incredible character. At first I thought he was a real douche but he proved to be a true friend and took care of Rusty when he hit his rough spots. The guy cracked me up with his sexual antics!

I don't think I can adequately describe how much this book touched me. It's a wonderful story that made me laugh, cry – I even laughed while crying! It's well written, has great characters and I loved every word.


Rating: 5 out of 5


Amy Lane

What I Read Last Week

Top of the morning to you! Uh, afternoon, I mean. Well I started this post this morning but it just didn’t get done very quickly!

There wasn’t a whole lot of action in Tracyland this week so I’ll just get on to what I read. :) 


First on the list was If Wishes Were Earls by Elizabeth Boyle. I know this doesn’t come out til later in the month – and I’ll be posting my review later as well – but I was so looking forward to this story. The book was about Harriet and the man she loves, Roxley. Roxley wants Harriet as well but he’s being blackmailed into marrying another woman. The book is their story and it was a good one. I did have a couple of issues with it but nothing huge. 4 out of 5

Rumor Has It by Jill Shalvis was up next. The story was a great one and had us reading about Kate who is a giver and a doer for everyone but herself, and Griffin who is back from the Army and is completely out of place – or so he thinks. I really enjoyed this one as I have all Shalvis books lately. :) 4.25 out of 5 (read for Book Binge.)


Next up was a paranormal called Delicate Freakn’ Flower by Eve Langlais. This one made me laugh out loud more than once. Naomi is the only girl in a sea of brothers and she hates that they argue and fight all the time. her parents’ house is always wrecked and she hates that too. She moved out and always has a serene home. She meets her mates, Ethan and Javier, but refuses to accept them as she just sees them as brute shifters just like her brothers and wants nothing more than to marry a staid human. She is stubborn and has a serious temper but insists she’s a delicate freakin flower. lol The story was fun and funny and sexy and I liked it a lot. 4 out of 5

My next read was Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti. The story follows Matt who was born in a test tube and raised to be a soldier and killer at the whim of a psycho. He and his brothers escaped but are in dire need of help before they all die due to implants in about six weeks time. Matt’s in Charmed, Idaho, looking for a doctor that they’ve tracked down, who can possibly help them with deactivating the implants, when he meets Laney – a bar owner. This is their romance. A good one, lemme tell ya. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

On A Highland Hill by Kara Griffin is a medieveal historical romance that has Kenneth McInnish marrying Elisa Macquarrie for her own protection. Neither wants the marriage but they must keep her hidden from the Scottish King and a man who had kidnapped her and kept her captive for 5 years. This was a good story and I’ll be posting my review of it this week. 4 out of 5 

Last for the week was A Christmas to Remember by Jill Shalvis, Kristen Ashley, Hope Ramsay, Molly Cannon and Marilyn Pappano. This was a great Christmas anthology! I’ll post my review of it this week as well. 4 out of 5

 







My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Her Soundtrack by R. Matthews

Happy Reading!
 


Review: Sweet Revenge by Rebecca Zanetti

The One Man She Can't Have

Matt Dean was born to fight…and kill. A member of a secret black-ops military unit, he and his brothers were genetically engineered by the government to be the perfect soldiers with an expiration date. Now, with time running out, he's gone rogue in a relentless quest for the one person who can save them. His mission leads him to Charmed, Idaho…and to a beautiful woman with eyes like emeralds and a body made for pleasure.

The One Woman He Can't Resist

Laney Jacobs knows the mysterious, handsome stranger is trouble from the moment he walks into her bar, looking for a job. She's spent years running from her own past—the last thing she needs is a romantic entanglement. But Matt's strong arms offer her protection, and his gentle touch promises passion unlike anything she's ever known. As lethal forces surround them, revealing explosive secrets about Matt's past and putting everything—and everyone—he holds dear in danger, can he save them all before time runs out?


Matt Dean and his brothers escaped from a life that was torturous and horrific. Raised from birth as soldiers they were under the command of a man referred to only as The Commander. He was evil and wanted to use Matt, Shane, Nate and Jory only as killers – and not for good reasons. It's been 5 years since they escaped that life and since that time they've been looking for a doctor that once worked for The Commander. The doctor they want can either remove the chips implanted in their back (that need to be either “renewed” every 5 years or they will explode and kill them). Matt is now in Charmed, Idaho, which is where they believe the doctor to be.

Right before he arrived in Charmed Matt was in a knife fight. He escaped but not without getting stabbed. He is hiding in an alley when a door opens and a woman comes out looking for her cat. She sees him and brings him into her bar to recover. He takes her up on her offer and ends up taking a job as bouncer and an apartment above the bar.

The woman is Laney Jacobs and she's not sure she's made the right decision in hiring Matt. She can tell that he's a dangerous man but she really needs a new employee - plus she's attracted to him so lets him stay. The attraction that simmers between the two is explosive and when they finally give in to their passion it's all they thought it would be and more.

Matt is investigating the women that he believes could be the doctor but while this is happening a woman is murdered. The locals believe that Matt is the murderer but he's actually trying to protect her from the murderer who has his sights set on Laney as well. When Matt finds out that Laney isn't who he thought she was he's devastated but finds that he loves her and will protect her no matter what.

This is the second book about the brothers Gray and I liked this book even better than I liked the first book. This one grabbed my attention from the first and just wouldn't let go.

Matt was a great hero. Yes, he could be a little over the top with his protection of Laney but overall he was everything you would want in a boyfriend. He was kind, could be gentle when the occasion called for it, protective, and really an all around great guy. His disappointment when he found out that Laney was hiding something was understandable but I thought he handled it really well, considering.

Laney was a very strong character. She had been through a lot as well and just wanted to live a quiet life. She fell for Matt despite her best efforts not to and having him by her side really made her a better person all around. I thought that she handled the ups and downs of her life really well.

The story is a good one. It has romance, suspense and a plot twist I did not see coming at all. This was a great addition to the series and I definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Rebecca Zanetti

Saturday Song

I've been loving this band - Smile Empty Soul - and False Alarm is one of my fav songs.  Enjoy!

Blog Tour Book Spotlight (+ 2 Giveaways!): Lost and Found by ZA Maxfield

Lost and Found Blurb:

Lost: one dog and two men in need of each other. Found: love.

RV resort security chief Ringo never believed in love at first sight . . . until he saw Gavin playing his sax on the beach for the tourists. But their on-again, off-again affair—even counting all the great makeup sex—doesn’t come close to the relationship he wants. All he really wants for Christmas is a commitment from Gavin.

Instead he discovers that Gavin has had surgery without telling him, so he lays down a relationship ultimatum while Gavin recuperates. Complicating matters even more, Gavin’s beloved dog Bird runs away, and Gavin blames Ringo for the disappearance.

While Ringo throws every resource he has into finding Bird, he learns deeper truths about Gavin—how hard it is for him to trust and how little faith he has in love. Maybe if Ringo can find Bird, he can salvage Gavin’s faith. Maybe this Christmas, they can all find each other.

You can read an excerpt or purchase Lost and Found HERE. Remember, when you purchase Lost and Found in either ebook format, which you can find HERE or in the print anthology format, which you can find HERE, you’re helping to support the mission of the Ali Forney Center


Author Bio:
About Z. A. Maxfield: ZAM started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”

Readers can visit ZAM at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr



Lost and Found contest details:

To recap, you can find all the blog tour information you need at the Riptide Website, HERE. Be sure you attend all the stops and follow the Rafflecopter instructions for the chance to win a $20.00 Riptide Publishing Gift Certificate and all the songs on my Lost and Found Playlist! (Winner to be drawn on December 8th at 5pm EST. Contest is valid worldwide.)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Riptide contest details:

Enter your details in the Rafflecopter below to gain entry in the *Home for the Holidays* giveaway! This week of the tour closes at midnight, EST, on December 6th. Then, one grand prize winner will be contacted at the end of the Home for the Holidays tour on December 16th. Contest is valid worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

Review: Lost and Found by ZA Maxfield

RV resort security chief Ringo never believed in love at first sight . . . until he saw Gavin playing his sax on the beach for the tourists. But their on-again, off-again affair—even counting all the great makeup sex—doesn’t come close to the relationship he wants. All he really wants for Christmas is a commitment from Gavin.

Instead he discovers that Gavin has had surgery without telling him, so he lays down a relationship ultimatum while Gavin recuperates. Complicating matters even more, Gavin’s beloved dog Bird runs away, and Gavin blames Ringo for the disappearance.

While Ringo throws every resource he has into finding Bird, he learns deeper truths about Gavin—how hard it is for him to trust and how little faith he has in love. Maybe if Ringo can find Bird, he can salvage Gavin’s faith. Maybe this Christmas, they can all find each other.


Gavin is a musician who lives at a RV resort year round. He loves his music and his dog Bird. Besides that he can't seem to be bothered to be nice to anyone else – including his on again off again lover, Ringo.

Ringo is the security chief at the RV resort and is totally in love with Gavin. He seems to take a lot of shit from Gavin but he keeps coming back. He finally decides one day to change things between himself and Gavin and refers to it as the New World Order. Ringo knows that Gavin has a temper and lashes out at him but Ringo has decided that as much as he loves Gavin if he can't get his shit together then he'll have to move on.

When Gavin's dog, Bird, goes missing Gavin is beside himself but Ringo is determined to find the dog for him. While this is happening Ringo is making the changes in his life that will hopefully bring Gavin to see that they belong together forever.

Oh what a great story. Ringo and Gavin's story brought a smile to my face and made my heart hurt all at once. As Maxfield does so well, she took two very different men and brought them together in a love story that was very touching.

I have to say that I didn't really care for Gavin all that much at first. He was verbally abusive to Ringo and I thought Ringo could do a lot better. But as the story went on I realized that Gavin was hiding behind his temper to hide his emotions and his fear. He grew so much in the story and I really loved him by the end of the book.

Ringo...wow. He was awesome. A wonderful man with so many great qualities. He was so patient and kind to everyone and even when Gavin was being such a bastard he never really lost it. He figured out what was wrong in their relationship, made a plan as to how he was gonna fix it and then went for it. You gotta love a man of action. Ringo really made this story.

Again, this was a great story that I very much enjoyed reading it from beginning to end. This is one Christmas story you don't want to miss.

Rating: 4 out of 5


ZA Maxfield


Review: Foolish Games by Tracy Solheim

Bridal gown designer, Julianne Marchione knows better than to lose her head at a client’s wedding. But, much to her embarrassment, a mix of migraine medication and a smoking hot football player lead to a steamy one night stand resulting in a surprise pregnancy. Julianne has every intention of leaving her NFL hookup far in the past until her son, Owen, is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.

Will “William the Conqueror” Connelly grew up tough, shouldering the stigma of being a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks. He refuses to let any child face the same discrimination. When he finds out about Owen, he’s furious that Julianne kept his son a secret. But when he sees her again at the hospital, he realizes that his feelings for her go far beyond anger.

Will insists that Owen recuperate at his home in North Carolina, and he’s adamant that Julianne become his wife—even if it’s only a temporary marriage in name only. But will their simmering attraction ever lead to a real connection? Or are they just playing foolish games?


Will Connelly is completely blindsided when he's called to a Senator's office and told that he's someone's father. Not only is little Owen's father but Owen needs a blood transfusion to save his life and the doctors are positive that Will's blood will provide the antibodies to save the baby's life. Will is pissed that he has a son and no one told him about it but especially at the mother, Julianne.

Julianne Marchione had a one night stand with Will and never planned on telling anyone who Owen's father was. Now not only does she have to tell but endure Will's wrath for not having told him. Not only is Will mad but he insists on getting married so that he can be near to and bond with his son. Julianne and Will get married with a prenup and an already signed separation agreement in hand.

The attraction that Will and Julianne feel for each other can't be denied and the couple are acting on their passion in no time. They create a wonderful little family unit but Will has trust issues that he can't get past with Julianne. She's falling in love with him but he's not sure what to make of it all.

When it comes to light that Will is subpenoed in a racketeering scheme and he believes that Julianne sold him out for money, Will can't get away fast enough but is he correct in his beliefs or did he just walk away from the best thing that had ever happened to him?

This was a great follow up to the first book in the Out of Bounds series. I had some issues with the first book but still liked it. This was definitely a better read for me.

Will was the strong and silent type and had serious trust issues. He also had self-esteem issues as well. Despite those issues I really liked the guy. He could be a bit brash but seeing him with Owen made me think the man was just a big glob of goo on the inside that hard shell exterior. When he loved he loved with his whole heart and I had to admire him for that. Now, did he jump to conclusions with Julianne? Oh yeah he did and he wouldn't let her explain which I found frustrating. He wouldn't even talk to his Mom as he felt she would tell him what Julianne had said. Stubborn thy name is Will. Seriously! He was, however, one that would admit his mistakes when he made them and made up for them well, I must say.

Julianne came across to Will as an airhead and a fly by the seat of your pants girl. She was those things in some respects but she was also a savvy businesswoman and intelligent. She was a devoted mother and would stop at nothing to do the best for her son. She definitely made mistakes during the book – some really ridiculous ones too but she had a huge heart and I really liked that about her. She may do dumb things but they had the right thoughts behind them.

The romance had its ups and downs but it was pretty good overall. It was originally based strictly on sex but Will and Julianne got past that eventually. The supporting cast in this story were wonderful. We got to see more of Shane and Carly, Will's mom Annabeth, Will's GM Hank Osbourne and his daughter Sophie as well as Will's best friend Gavin and fellow teammate Brody. All of these well written characters played a part and contributed to make this a story worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5


Tracy Solheim