Guarding Georgia by Anna Brooks

Title: Guarding Georgia
Author: Anna Brooks
Genre: Romance Suspense
Release Date: May 12, 2020
Cover Design: Melissa Gill Designs

The one girl I could never have was the only one I ever wanted. She made it clear I was beneath her and she didn’t want my hands on her… until she needed them for protection.
And then she left.
 
Now ten years later, she’s back and looking for redemption. She thinks all she needs to do is aim her baby blues at me and tell me she’s sorry and I’ll forgive her for what she did.
 
Well, she’s right.
 
But her returning home comes with consequences, and this time, I’ll do more than protect her body. I’ll also guard her heart. 
 
NOTE: Guarding Georgia is part of the Susan Stoker’s Special Forces World

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Rating: 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Amazon link:

Guarding Georgia combines two of my favorite things, Susan Stoker’s world and a story by Anna Brooks.

In Guarding Georgia, Georgia and Beau have quite the history together and not a good one. He was the bad boy from the wrong side of town and she was from a wealthy family. In their younger years, their interactions reminded me of a little boy pulling the hair of the little girl he likes in order to get her attention. She pretends to hate it but really likes him in return. She finally let her feelings for him show and they have a short time together until something horrible breaks them apart. Georgia leaves without any warning, breaking both of their hearts. Now ten years later Georgia is back, needing Beau’s help.

I’m not going to tell anymore of the story except to say Anna Brooks gives us the perfect second chance romance. You get all the feels. There’s so much to resolve between Beau and Georgia and Ms. Brooks is adept at making you feel the angst, loss, betrayal as well as forgiveness, love and passion the couple deals with. I love how the author made me care about the characters.

Guarding Georgia gets 5 stars from me and I highly recommend it. Can’t wait to read more of the Bradford boys! Congratulations, Anna Brooks, on a well-written story

 
The first time Anna tried to read a romance novel, her hair caught on fire when she leaned over a candle to sneak a peek at her mom’s Harlequin. She thinks being hit on the head with a shirtless Fabio until the smoke cleared is what sparked the flame for her love of romance.
 
Anna was born in Wisconsin, but currently lives in Texas with her husband and two boys. She writes sexy romance that always has a happy ending and loves bringing characters back for cameos. Less than six degrees of separation connects any of her novels.
 
When she’s not writing or reading, she’s watching reruns of her favorite romcoms, talking to her dog and cat like they’re human, eating carbs, or practicing hand lettering.
 
She loves to hear from readers and can be found on social media as @annabrooksauth everywhere.
 

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Murder on the Mountain by Carolyn LaRoche

Title: Murder on the Mountain
Series: Marshall Brothers Book #1
Author: Carolyn LaRoche
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 2, 2020
Emma Thomas hasn’t been home in years. Only back in Staunton for a few months, she plans to put her investigative reporter skills to use in exposing the trafficking group using her peaceful, idyllic hometown to move drugs. But when she stumbles onto more than drugs, bullets start flying and she has to ask the one person she left Virginia to avoid for help.


Detective Adam Marshall has been working this cartel case for months. On the precipice of breaking the organization wide open, he can’t believe the one woman he’d never been able to get over now holds the key to closing his case. His head warns him to steer clear, but his heart won’t let him walk away when Emma’s life is on the line.

Thrown together by chance after so many years, Adam and Emma work together to break the biggest case of both of their careers and heal some old wounds in the process. Falling in love wasn’t on the docket for either of them, but things don’t always go as planned.

.

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Rating: 4 stars

Murder on the Mountain is my first book by Carolyn LaRoche. I enjoyed it very much. From watching former best friends Adam and Emma reconnect to their race to find the murderer, I was drawn in. I give it 4 stars and recommend it. Looking for more books from this author

Emma reached up and straightened the collar on the flannel shirt he wore. As a kid, he had always been half a mess. One shirt-tail untucked, unruly hair, a half-popped collar. Emma liked things neat and orderly and had always been the one to keep him straight. It was kind of nice to do it again. She smiled up at him. “I feel the same way. This is our home and I hate what these criminals are doing to it.”He toyed with a strand of her hair. “So, you’ll behave and let me do my job?”

She pushed him away. “I’m not a child, Adam.”

Adam put his arms around her and pulled her close. Emma studied the floorboards, hoping Adam didn’t notice the heat in her cheeks. She couldn’t be sure it was from her anger at him rather than his nearness so she chose to believe the former.

“Look at me, Emma.” He spoke softly but there was something different in his voice. Something she hadn’t heard there before. Not when they were kids and definitely not in the last few days. “Emma? Please.”

Slowly she looked up at him. He had those storm clouds in his eyes again. “What?”

“You are the farthest thing from a child. When I look at you, I see a woman. A woman I want to know better. A woman I never thought would ever walk into my life again. Fate brought you back to me and I’m not about to take that lightly.”

A single tear escaped the corner of her left eye and ran a trail down her cheek. “I don’t want to lose you either. You were the best friend I’ve ever had. We should have supported each other after Miranda’s death, not run away from each other. Maybe if we had, so many things would have been different.”

 

Science teacher by day, writer and baseball mom by night, Carolyn LaRoche lives near the ocean with her husband, two boys, rescue puppy, and four cats. She loves crocheting, books, food videos and trying new recipes.

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Grill (Wounded Sons Series, Book 3) by Leah Sharelle

Title: Grill
Series: Wounded Sons Series
Author: Leah Sharelle
Genre: Military Romance
Release Date: April 25, 2020

 

Marshall ‘Grill’ Webber grew up without a father. His mother died when he was only six years old, leaving him to be raised by his aunt.
Not knowing who his father was and watching his mother slowly give up on life, shaped him into the man he was today: a proud soldier, a more than competent sniper and a fiercely loyal member of Team FIVE. Grill went about living life the best he could with his mates, and the family he’d found in the Wounded Souls. Life was pretty darn good, until a mercy mission to help with the worst bushfires in Australia’s history led him to a night with a gorgeous brunette, a night he would never forget.
Adeline Welham was a loner; she believed her life was better that way, loving people wasn’t something she knew how to do.
Volunteering to help burnt and injured animals was her duty and she proudly did anything she could to help. One night she offered herself to a sexy soldier with deep chocolate eyes and an even deeper voice. It was only meant to be one night, who knew it would follow her home and turn her quiet life upside down?
Two people, both stubborn, both looking for something to make them feel complete. The only thing was, could it be the same thing?

 

 

 

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Rating: 4.5 stars

Leah Sharelle is a new-to-me author and I really enjoyed reading Grill. Marshall “Grill” Webber is an Australian SF soldier and part of the Wounded Souls. Grill’s outlook on life concerning family is based on the fact that he lost his mother, didn’t have his father, and was raised by his aunt. Outside of his fellow soldiers, he only has superficial contact.

Until he meets Adeline Welham, a veterinarian embedded with the soldiers. Addy has even more baggage than Grill. She was given away as a baby, growing up in foster care. Because of this, she feels unworthy and unloveable, never allowing anyone in on a deep level.

Grill and Addy have the proverbial one-night-stand and wouldn’t you know the condom breaks. Fate steps in and Grill and Addy are no longer alone. Their journey starts off with Addy taking off on Grill, his teammate finding her, and then they had to decide what would happen between them. For two people determined to be alone, I could feel them desperately reaching out to the other.

I give Grill 4.5 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves a good HEA.



I love the idea of being in love. Since my early teens when I first discovered Silhouette Desire novels my life has been all about reading. I would find myself re-writing scenes if I wasn’t happy with them and hiding them under my bed. That led me to writing love stories of my own. They all ended up under the bed and are still there, and there they will stay. I don’t do angst, in fact it drives me crazy.
 
 
I am a mum of three beautiful girls, Australian, and have what most say is a weird sense of humor.
 
I spend my free time doing movie, Sons of Anarchy, and Friends marathons. And reading.
 
I love Pina Colada’s and getting caught in the rain….. there’s that weird humor.

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Why It’s Real by S Moose and C. A. Harms

Title: Why It’s Real
Author: S. Moose & C.A. Harms
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 9, 2020
Cover Design: Designs by Dana
Photography: Sara Eirew Photographer

 

Rating: 5 stars

Why It’s Real is the story of Remy and AImee, side characters who were best friends in the first book, Why I’m Yours. They start a friends with benefits relationship that develops into them having serious feelings for each other. Unfortunately, they both make mistakes due to childhood baggage and feelings of unworthiness, making it look like a real romance between them is a no go. Aimee and Remy take you on an emotional roller coaster ride as they try to figure things out between them. It’s angsty, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and you won’t be able to stop reading until the last page. This book is definitely a one-sit read.

I give Why It’s Real 5 stars and highly recommend it. Congratulations, S Moose and C.A. Harms, you’ve written a masterpiece.

No matter how hard you try to put your past behind you, it always manages to catch up with you and make you question your decisions. Those unexpected events that leave you feeling as though there’s nowhere to turn, nothing can change the outcome.

Aimee’s life hasn’t always been easy. She made a choice a long time ago to make a difference. She wanted to prove to those who doubted her that she was strong and could survive anything. The youngest in her firm, she was made partner, and her life was exactly as she wanted it to be.
Or was it?
Remy was strong and confident. He lived a life most men would die for. Dominating the corporate world during the day and partying with socialites at night, he had everything he needed.
Or so he thought.
One changing moment.
One drastic decision.

Together, would they truly be able to discover why it’s real?

Bestselling Author C.A. Harms is an avid romance and mystery reader. She’s always had a love for books, getting lost in writing and storytelling even as a young girl. She enjoys happy endings and HEA love stories.
When she is not writing or reading she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author S. Moose writes emotional stories about second chances and finding love again. She’s a lover of anything and everything romantic, from music to quotes.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially her sweet little boy.
To keep up with the latest from S. Moose be sure to visit her social media sites:

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Coop (Reed Security Series #22) by Giulia Lagomarsino

Title: Coop
Series: Reed Security Series #22
Author: Giulia Lagomarsino
Genre: Contemporary Security Romance
Release Date: April 13, 2020
Coop
Becky is life. She’s the sunshine that lights up my world. But for some reason, I just can’t seem to fully commit. Everything in my head is screwing with me, and if I don’t figure it out soon, I’ll lose her. And to make matters worse, my sweet angel of a daughter has turned into a rebellious seventeen year old that is doing everything in her power to kill me. Something’s gotta give or I’m going to lose everything I’ve fought for in my life.
 
Becky
Coop has always been a mystery, but he was my mystery. Now, though, I can’t take any more. I want him, but I want all of him. If he can’t let me in, I can’t stick around. I need the whole man, not just the pieces he’s willing to give me. But even if I get him, can I hold onto him? He’s the one thing I want most in this world, but I have a feeling that things aren’t going to go my way.

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Rating: 5 stars
Coop is another great book in the Reed Security Series, one fraught with emotions from the very beginning. The baggage Coop was carrying around broke my heart. Especially the way it affected Becky. If there was ever a woman who deserved a gold medal, it’s her. Then throw in teenage angst from his daughter and you can’t help but wonder what’s coming next. Coop was filled with twists and turns and very well-written. The characters were multi-dimensional and the storyline was very original. I give Coop 5 stars and recommend it to anyone who loves romantic suspense.


Sinner (Reed Security Series #1)
Cap (Reed Security Series #2)
Cazzo (Reed Security Series #3)
Knight (Reed Security Series #4)
Irish (Reed Security Series #5)
Hunter (Reed Security Series #6)
Whiskey (Reed Security Series #7)
Lola (Reed Security Series #8)
Ice (Reed Security Series #9)
Burg (Reed Security Series #10)
Gabe (Reed Security Series #11)
Jules (Reed Security Series #12)
Sniper (Reed Security Series – Book 1 of a 3 Book ARC)
Jackson (Reed Security Series – Book 2 of a 3 Book ARC)
Chance (Reed Security Series – Book 3 of a 3 Book ARC)
Phoenix Rising (Reed Security Series #16)
Alec (Reed Security Series #17)

Storm (Reed Security Series #18)
Wolf (Reed Security Series #19)
A Mad Reed Security Christmas (Reed Security Series #20)
Rocco (Reed Security Series #21) – PreOrder

 
 
 
 
I’m a stay at home mom that loves to read. Some of my favorite titles are Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Horatio Hornblower. I started writing when I was trying to come up with suggestions on ways I could help bring in some extra money. I came up with the idea that I could donate plasma because you could earn an extra $500/month. My husband responded with, “No. Find something else. Write a blog. Write a book.” I didn’t think I had anything to share on blog that a thousand other mothers hadn’t already thought of. I decided to take his challenge seriously and sat down to write my first book, Jack. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed writing. From there, the stories continued to flow and I haven’t been able to stop. I hope my readers enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. Between reading, writing, and taking care of three small kids, my days are quite full.

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Chasing Melody by Erin Cristofoli

Title: Chasing Melody
Author: Erin Cristofoli
Genre: Rockstar Romance

Release Date: April 1, 2020

Rating: 5 stars

Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/review/R16KXEVZGILNDC/

Chasing Melody is the awesome story of the rock god, Chase Brighton, and his daughter’s nanny, Elle (her full name is Melody). At their first meeting, Chase doesn’t give off the greatest impression. He’s grouchy, rude, and accuses Elle of using her job to get close to him. But Elle doesn’t let him by at all and gives it right back to him. She was awesome. And she continues to reign him in later on as well. What Elle doesn’t know is Chase’s reasons for putting her at an arm’s length. He’s been hurt before and he’s completely attracted to his new nanny. Eventually he gives in to his real feelings and the journey to their HEA begins.

I give Chasing Melody 5 stars and look forward to more of Ms. Cristofoli’s work.


Chase Brighton is a dick.
Elle Holloway needs a job that will get her off of her friends couch. When one practically lands in her lap, she is determined to snag it even though the job description is vague. But when she learns that she will be working for the world famous rock star Chase Brighton, her confidence begins to waiver.
Chase might make her heart race, but his attitude sucks. He is cocky and moody. He even accuses her of wanting her fifteen minutes of fame. But he is also a single dad to the most adorable little girl—and he needs Elle to be his nanny.
Heading out on tour, the last thing Chase needs is to be confined on a bus with a woman as sexy as Elle. It’s enough to drive a man insane as his thoughts are filled with fantasies of her instead of the music he should be focused on. To keep her at arm’s length, he gives Elle a hard time at every opportunity.
As their attraction grows, they struggle to keep it professional, but sometimes fate has plans of its own. When the downsides of Chase’s fame pour a cold dose of reality on them, can they find a way to make things work, or will their differences pull them apart?

“If you don’t mind me asking, what is this place?”

“It’s a recording studio,” Claire laughed, “not that you would be able to tell from the outside. But privacy is of the utmost importance to the owner and anyone that he lets use the facility. No one wants a lot of fan fare while they are trying to focus on their music. So, let’s get down to the details, shall we? You will be working for Chase Brighton.”
My eyebrows shot up in surprise. Superstar Chase Brighton? “I’m not sure what job I could possibly do for him. Does he need a secretary for the studio or something?” I stated feeling slightly confused.
“Well, you wouldn’t be providing services for Chase per se, you’d be looking after his daughter. For your reaction, you didn’t seem all that excited when I said Chase’s name.”
I shrugged. “Should I? He’s just another celebrity.”
Claire studied me a moment. “Huh. Most women would fall at his feet.”
Rolling my eyes, I replied. “Well I’m not like most women who lose their mind over someone’s fame. Fame can lead to a big ego and I’m no ego-stroker. I definitely don’t have any kind of ridiculous crush on Chase Brighton.”
She seemed satisfied by my response. “Good, because I need this to work out. So as I said, you would be taking care of Chase’s three year old daughter, Ivy. We’re going on tour, you see, and he wouldn’t agree to go unless she came with us.”
“That’s understandable. So I would be babysitting her.”
Claire nodded. “More like a live-in nanny.”
“Wait a minute, do you mean I would be going on tour too?”
“Yep, that’s the job.”
I leaned back in my chair and let out a breath. “Wow that is a lot to take in.”

Erin Cristofoli resides in Ontario, Canada, with her busy little family. Her publishing career began with her debut novel, Starting Over. She loves the thrill of publishing and diving into each new world and tell the character’s stories. When she is not writing, she thrives on many creative ventures, including photography, painting and crocheting.

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Earth Dragon’s Claim by J Thompson-Live!

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Earth Dragon’s Claim by J. Thompson is now LIVE!

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#Blurb

One spell. A spell she had never expected to work… It will change Gina’s life forever.

She had accidentally awakened a creature of legend, a myth that never should have existed. Bound to the creature, Gina has little choice but to agree to its terms—or lose something more important than her life.

Joren had been summoned only once before in his centuries of existence, and this time, he would be in control. His rage is a force that can bring down a mountain, and he’s determined to use it as a weapon. However, he never thought to consider the possibility that there may just be a treasure beneath the rubble worth more than all the magic in the universe, worth more than life itself. And he isn’t the only one who wants it.

Brought together by fate, they must both battle to save their lives, their hearts and their soulmates.

EDC Now Live

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#Review

Rating: 5 stars

Review link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3255751447

I started reading J Thompson’s books years ago and no matter what the book is about, whether it’s soulmates, demigods, dragons, etc I’m completely drawn in. And the reason is J Thompson puts so much heart into her characters. Just like with Joren and Gina. I love their journey together. I didn’t want this book to end. For the record, I’m so glad crazy evil Morganna didn’t prevail. This couple belongs together. I give Earth Dragon’s Claim 5 stars and highly recommend it. Congrat, Ms. Thompson, on an awesome book. I can’t wait for Calder and Nerina’s story.

#Abouttheauthor

jenn

J Thompson is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Paranormal and Sci-Fi romance and a major fan of procrastination. Jenn has always loved history, so using her wild imagination and tying in her love of history and fantasy, she began a new adventure into the world of words. Weaving romance into old worlds and giving life to her mythical inspired novels is what Jenn does best, and she has a lot more planned in the future, including some hard-assed demons.

When she isn’t bent over her laptop with the crazy writer’s eyes, you will find Jenn making jewellery, cross stitching and doing paper crafts. Jenn is also an avid lover of old skool skills like archery and sword fighting.

Maybe a touch nuts Jenn is an author who believes wholeheartedly that people are good and that everyone deserves romance – even Hades.

 

After All (Cape Harbor) by Heidi McLaughlin

Title: After All
Series: Cape Harbor
Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 24, 2020
From New York Times bestselling author Heidi McLaughlin comes a heartfelt story about overcoming great loss and forgiving past sins to find happiness again.
 
Brooklyn Hewett hasn’t stepped foot in Cape Harbor for fifteen years—not since an accident claimed the love of her life, Austin Woods. Desperate to move forward, Brooklyn has focused on raising her daughter for the past fourteen years. But when the opportunity comes along to renovate, and possibly buy, the old Driftwood Inn, Brooklyn knows it’s time to go home.
 
But it won’t be easy. For one, Austin’s best friend, Bowie Holmes, still lives in Cape Harbor. Brooklyn hasn’t quite been able to forget him: not since the night they spent together—the same night they both lost Austin. Separated by tragedy and guilt, they’re brought together by the Driftwood project. And as they rebuild the inn, they discover they’re also rebuilding something else.
 
Brooklyn’s always been desperate to move on, not knowing that she first needs to reconcile past transgressions. She can’t forget, but she can forgive—Austin, Bowie, and herself—on her way toward long-awaited happiness.
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Rating: 5 stars

After All by Heidi McLaughlin is set in the town of Cape Harbor and is the second chance romance story of Brooklyn Hewett and Bowie Holmes. Brooklyn left fifteen years ago when the love of her life, Austin Woods, was killed. Now it’s time to go home except in doing so she has to face her best friend, Bowie.

Bowie has loved Brooklyn from afar yet never revealed his feelings due to her being Austin’s girlfriend. With Austin gone and Brooklyn back in Cape Harbor, Bowie is determined not to let her slip through his fingers. That’s not to say there aren’t unresolved feelings due to her leaving without telling anyone she was going.

After All symbolizes forgiveness. Bowie has to forgive Brooklyn for leaving and Brooklyn has to forgive herself for Austin’s death. All in all it’s a beautiful journey you’re going to need tissues for. It was so beautiful seeing Brooklyn and Bowie finding their way back to each other, even fifteen years later.

I give After All 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone who loves small town second chance romance.

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Instead of heading straight to the Driftwood Inn, Brooklyn detoured and drove down Third Street. This was the only town she had ever lived in or visited that hadn’t had a Main Street. It was such a random thing she picked up on when she and her parents moved here years ago. She never understood why until she learned that when the town incorporated, the people counted the streets up from the harbor, numbering instead of naming, with First Street being the closest to the water.
Curiosity filled her. For years she had not asked questions about her favorite spots, mostly to avoid the feeling of being homesick, but also so she could forget. The less she knew, the better. The less she longed to return, the easier it would be to create a new life. That was what she needed to do: start over, put the past behind her, and move on.
At the red light, she closed her eyes. It only took her seconds to tell Carly she would come back, even though, deep down, it wasn’t what she wanted to do. Yet, she owed the woman and could never tell her no. Brooklyn was content with the life she was living. She was one of the most sought-after home renovators, with homeowners paying her top dollar to come to them, to transform their visions into their dream homes. Her job afforded her many luxuries, except roots. She didn’t rent a home, let alone own one. Each town became her stomping ground, until the next job came in. She traveled thousands of miles, back and forth across the country, leaving her mark everywhere she went.
Heidi McLaughlin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of The Beaumont Series, The Boys of Summer, and The Archers.
 
Originally, from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband, two daughters, and their three dogs.
 
In 2012, Heidi turned her passion for reading into a full-fledged literary career, writing over twenty novels, including the acclaimed Forever My Girl.
 
When writing isn’t occupying her time, you can find her sitting courtside at either of her daughters’ basketball games.
 
Heidi’s first novel, Forever My Girl, has been adapted into a motion picture with LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions, starring Alex Roe and Jessica Rothe, and opened in theaters on January 19, 2018.


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Take Me Back by Kathryn Shay-PreOrder/Release

Title: Take Me Back
Series: Hidden Cove Firefighters
Author: Kathryn Shay
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 23, 2020
Six years ago, Kate Cassidy broke Rafe Casella’s heart by abandoning him a few months before their wedding. Now she’s in town with the gut-wrenching news that she had his baby, in secret, and she wants Rafe back. She has to be kidding!
 
But Kate is deadly serious. She made the worst mistake of her life when she left Hidden Cove and she’s determined to fix it. She plans to reinstate herself in the fire department and raise her son in a loving family—one that includes his father.
 
A rollercoaster of emotion, devastating fires, a stalker targeting Kate and a sizzling attraction that never diminished, set the two of them on an irrevocable course to reunion. That is if they can all stay alive.
 
If you liked the face-paced events, breathtaking tenderness, uplifting messages of forgiveness, as well as on-the-edge-of-your-seat fire scenes, all characteristic of the Hidden Cove Fire Department Series, then you’ll love New York Times bestselling author Kathryn Shay’s ninth installment.
 
Don’t miss books 1-8 in the beloved Hidden Cove Firefighter series: AFTER THE FIRE, ON THE LINE, NOTHING MORE TO LOSE, AMERICA’S BRAVEST, IT HAD TO BE YOU, CHASING THE FIRE, THE FIRE INSIDE and A BURNING PASSION.

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Rating: 5+ stars!!

Amazon review link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R25LIYZV14JJZO

When I read Kathryn Shay’s novel, Take Me Back, I did so with mixed feelings. I absolutely love Kathryn Shay, yet I knew this book was going to rip my heart out. And it did but in the best way possible.

Take Me Back is the story of Rafe and Kate who were engaged, only to have Kate get cold feet and leave Rafe a few months before their wedding. His heart is completely broken as there was no explanation. Fast forward six years later, he’s engaged and she shows up on his doorstep and she’s not alone. At this point, I’m not a fan of Kate’s although I will concede she does have some major baggage concerning having children with them both having intensely dangerous careers.

With some life experience under her belt, Kate has returned, yet Rafe has moved on with another woman who he is engaged to. The problem is he and Kate still have major chemistry and now they are forever connected by a child.

I don’t want to reveal any more of the story, but I will say there is passion, angst, push/pull between the characters. and a whole lot of other feels. The major question is whether Rafe can get past her leaving and having a child all without his knowledge.

As with all of Ms. Shay’s stories, this one is well-written, her characters are complex, and the story is a page-turner. I recommend it highly and give it 5+ stars!

“What the hell are you doing here?”“Hello, Rafe.” Kate Cassidy’s voice was still husky; she used to turn him on with just its sound.

He couldn’t swallow, as if cotton was stuck in his throat. He gripped the door handle. Finally, he was able to reiterate, “What do you want, Kate?”

She straightened her shoulders. It was longer, now. “I came to explain some things.”

After six years, she wanted to explain some things!

“From where? I don’t even know where you ran to.”

“Not far. Upstate.”

Ludicrously, because she’d almost left him at the altar and he should be cursing her, he asked, “Did you get a job as a firefighter?”

“No. Long story why.” She’d let her hair grow some, and light brown waves fell around her face past down her back. She’d also put on some weight, but there was still that same sadness in her eyes that she always carried with her.

He shrugged away the observation. “Well, whatever you want with me, I don’t want to hear it.”

“I want you back, Rafe.”

An ugly laugh escaped him. “You gotta be kidding me?”

“I’m not.” She reached out and grasped his arm. “It’s true. I still love you.”

As if he’d been burned, he viciously shook her off. “No.”

Stepping back, he closed the door in her face, but stood there staring at it. In a few minutes, the bell rang again. He couldn’t stop himself from opening the door again.

This time, she wasn’t alone. She held a little boy by the hand. It was a punch in gut. He tore his gaze away and the words just blurted out. “He should have been mine.”

Kate held his gaze. “Look at him, Rafe.”

He did. And noticed some things. The boy was probably about five. His hair was a bit curly, dark brown, with dark eyes. The curve of his mouth seemed familiar. And he stuck his hands in his pockets like…oh, my God, like Rafe always did.

Realization slammed into him. “Oh, my God?”

Kate said, “Go back in the car, honey.”

“But you said—”

“Just for a bit. Mommy has some private things to talk to about, then you can see him again.”

When the boy trudged out of sight, she raised her chin. “He’s your son.”

“You said when you left if you ever had a baby, you didn’t want two first responders as parents. That you couldn’t bear to have him end up alone like you did and risk him having a childhood like yours.”

“I meant every word.”

Again, he moved await because he didn’t want to grab her in anger. “You left out one little fact back then. That you were already pregnant.”

“You wouldn’t have let me go if you knew.”

“You’re right I wouldn’t.” His voice came out gruff. “I would have insisted we go through with the wedding. I’d have forced us to go to counseling, for as long as it took. Damn you, Kate, I would have protected you!” The last came out loud.

The boy came running over. He must not have gotten into the car. “Mommy, why’s he yelling?”

Immediately, Rafe squatted. “I shouldn’t have. It’s wrong to shout at people. I’m sorry.” He smiled. “What’s your name?”

“Tomaso Rafael Casella.”

He held her gaze. “After my father?”

“Yes, and you.”

Holding onto his mother’s legs, Tommy asked, “Are you my daddy?”

“Did your mother say I was?”

“Un-huh, after my other dad, Connor, died.”

He took in a breath. “You married someone else?”

“I’ll explain if you let us inside.”

“Come on, Tommy.” He stood and led them inside.

At the exact moment when two little guys rumbled down the stairs which led to the foyer. “We’re ready to go outside.”

“Oh, dear Lord, you already have two boys. Mitch and Megan said you weren’t married. But…” She frowned. “I don’t understand.”

“Let’s go to the back and I’ll explain.” They by-passed a big living room to the right and entered the kitchen. Kate had loved this old Victorian that he’d bought when he was twenty and fixed up the three lives.

She stood behind a chair, frowning, as he addressed the kids. “Tommy, this is Mike and Mattie. I’d like you guys go in the family room to watch that movie you two wanted to see?”

The boys scurried away. Tommy hesitated. Until one turned back. “Come on, Tommy, we got a great movie.” So, he went with them.

It took excruciatingly long to get the boys settled in front of the TV.

“We’ll talk at the table where we can see them.” The kitchen overlooked the family room.

When Rafe served her mug, she’d blanked her face.

“I have only one thing to say to you, Kate. Any future with me is impossible.”

#

Sweat soaked the shirt of Rafe’s uniform inside his turnout coat as he crawled along the duplex’s first floor. Burning timbers fell on each side of him and his group that followed. “Everybody okay?”

His squad checked in. Brick said, “It’s hotter than hell in here, Cap.”

Firefighters suffered some ill effects of the protective gear. It slowed them down and made movement harder. Which increased heat fatigue.

“Yeah. You okay?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Sounds like you’re having trouble breathing.” The physiological effects of higher heart rate and higher core temperature restricted breathing.

“The heat’s gettin’ to me.”
“Me, too,” Lorelei Lane put in.

“There’s the stairs,” Rafe told them after seeing a brief outline of them through the thermal camera. “I’ll take Brick and Lorelei with me.” Which wouldn’t incur as much exertion as climbing. “The rest of you check upstairs. Lieutenant, you’re in charge.”

Bronson said, “Yes, sir.”

Laborious minutes later, even for Rafe, they reached their destination, the first-floor bedroom in the back. “There’s not time to quiz you, Lane. Let’s just get to the beds.”

In here, too, black smoke curled around them like fog as they continued their creep, feeling their way along the floor. Rafe, first in line, put his hands on one side of the bed. “A body.”

Brick had gone to the opposite side. “Another one here.”

“Can you get him alone?”

“Does a bear shit in the woods?” His friend sounded offended. Rafe would chide him afterward.

Rafe grunted as he picked up the woman. She was slight and he considered letting Lane carry her out but just then a bad feeling seized him. And he trusted his gut.

“Follow me out, Brick. Lane, you take up the rear.”

Crashing timbers and the sound of water slapping the flames had gotten louder back here. Rafe coughed. Conditions were worsening. They’d just reached the exit from the bedroom, when they heard five repeated short blasts of a horn above the cacophony.

Into the radio, BC Peter Baker barked, “Evacuate now. Evacuate immediately.”

“Everybody hear?” Rafe asked on their internal channel. He forced himself to stay calm.

Bronson, Ruggero and Sullivan checked in with yeses. “We’re on our way down. No one up here.”

“We need to move faster,” he called behind him. The acrid scents of burning wood had kicked up.

He walked as fast as possible with the woman over his shoulder.

They’d almost reached the exit when Lorelei shrieked, “Oh, my God, Cap, Brick just went down.”

“Went down to his knees?”

“No, he collapsed forward.”

Rafe sounded his mayday alarm. A high-pitched screeching rent the air. In seconds, Beth relieved Rafe of the woman, and Murray scooped up the victim who’d gone forward with Brick. Rafe, his heart beating fast, snapped out, “I’ll get Brick under the arms. Ruggero take his legs.”

It seemed to take forever before they got outside. Not only was Brick heavy but they were experiencing fatigue, now, too.

“Get away from the house, quick Rafe,” Baker shouted as they carried their brother to safety.

They were 30 feet away when the duplex exploded.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY bestselling author, Kathryn Shay has been a lifelong writer and teacher. She has written dozens of self-published original romance titles, print books with the Berkley Publishing Group and Harlequin Enterprises and mainstream women’s fiction with Bold Strokes Books. She has won many awards for her work: five RT Book Reviews awards, the Bookseller’s Best Award, Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year and several “Starred Reviews.” One of her firefighter books hit #20 on the NEW YORK TIMES list. Her novels have been serialized in COSMOPOLITAN magazine and featured in USA TODAY, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL and PEOPLE magazine. There are over ten million copies of her books in print and downloaded online. Reviewers have called her work “emotional and heart-wrenching.”

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The Anti-Honeymoon by Bethany Michaels

THE ANTI-HONEYMOON

by Bethany Michaels
Publication Date: March 16, 2020
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Lovestruck, Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Comedy

SYNOPSIS

No groom? No Problem.

When her fiancé tries to turn their wedding into a publicity stunt, Jenna ditches the nuptials—and the groom she shouldn’t have been with in the first place—and skips straight to the honeymoon. The getaway driver, her ex-fiancé’s former business partner, Zach, is the perfect guy to help reshape her romantic newlywed itinerary into an anti-couple, anti-romance, anti-honeymoon adventure for two.

They trade couples yoga for kickboxing lessons. Five-star dining on the beach for pizza and beer at a dive bar. Forget couples massage—Jenna’s getting that tattoo she’s always wanted, and dares Zach to get one, too. And those naughty boudoir pics she took in place of romantic sunset snaps? Those aren’t going in anyone’s wedding album. Not that Zach will forget them anytime soon.

As each item on Jenna’s anti-couples list is checked off, the anti-honeymoon with Zach feels more and more like the real thing, and she wishes the list was just a little bit longer…and even steamier.

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REVIEW

5 stars!!

  • Amazon-https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RUWNLXBKLOJIX
  • Goodreads-https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3237425642
  • Bookbub-https://www.bookbub.com/reviews/2804448519

I enjoyed The Anti-Honeymoon so much. This was my first book by Bethany Michaels, but the premise of the book sounded interesting so I gave it a try and I”m so glad I did.

Jenna is engaged to Elliot, why I have no idea since he has no redeeming qualities, and makes the impulsive decision to literally leave him at the altar. She’s looking to make an escape and with Zach, who she thinks is an Uber driver, gets out of there.  Zach ended up being a former business partner of Elliot and their friendship was on the rocks as well.

Zach is happy to help her get away safely, but once they’re at the resort, he doesn’t really want to leave, making them decide to spend Jenna’s honeymoon together, replacing all the couples’ activities with ones that are not, thus labeling it The Anti-Honeymoon.

The chemistry between Jenna and Zach is apparent from the beginning. I was rooting for them right away. Zach is a good guy and Jenna is in desperate need of one. The only thing I worried about is what would happen when their time together was over.

Can they maintain a relationship in the real world? Will their personal baggage get in the way and is Elliot really out of the picture? Find out when you read The Anti-Honeymoon. I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it. I would love a novella for these two just to see their lives together in the future.

ABOUT BETHANY MICHAELS

Bethany Michaels is the author of over a dozen contemporary novels and novellas as well as a handful of Regency-set historicals and light paranormal romances. The first book in her Nashville country music series, Nashville Heat, was an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee.

When not working on her next book, Bethany enjoys movies, traveling, camping, hiking, and volunteering with her kids’ scout troops. She lives in Nashville, Tennessee with her husband and four teens.

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