Until Joe: Happily Ever Alpha Book 2, CP Smith

 Until Joe: Happily Ever Alpha Book 2, CP Smith

Wow.  Possessive, sexy, determined, domineering, intense...every word that could describe Joe could very easily be shared with every stalker or abuser except for a couple thingsif he weren't so loving, so full of sweetness under all the gruff and the growls and if I didn't yearn for a man of my own who would think me a woman "worth living and dying for."  Out of all the softer traits, the one that resonates the most with who we learn Joe is, "freed" seems most apt.  Through finding the woman who makes his heart beat, calls to his soul, and fires his blood, he finds a freedom he didn't think existed for him.  Add in a strong Southern woman who knows herself, trusts her heart, and fights for herself as hard as she fights for her man and we've got a pretty fantastic pair.

There were times that I was a little uncomfortable with the overbearing attitude and the in-your-face sensuality at their first face-to-face meeting.  Once things settled a bit (if you can call making a run from a ridiculously tenacious and powerful father along with pretty much non-stop sexy times settled) they got to know one another and while not a ton of it was on the page, I actually believed that they were building something solid.  There's a lot that goes on and I think a bunch of it was a bit over the top, but I don't think you can not have a good amount of drama in this series as with all the connected stories as well.

 Until Joe: Happily Ever Alpha Book 2, CP Smith

The drama was pretty contained to one factor even though it dragged out for most of the story.  If it were written any other way, like just appearing at the end to up the conflict, it would have been terrible.  So while I think it was a bit much for such a short story, it was done well and was pretty believable if you considered all the players and the themes of the families' stories involved.

What I loved best was Bernice's intelligence.  When confronted with "proof" she reacted understandably, but then she used her brain to logic out what she was seeing, what she knew of the man she'd fallen for, and kept her sense.  I loved that.  It spoke to her strength and intelligence and even though I liked her before, I was completely won over after that.  She really was a woman of worth and Joe was right to do everything in his power to keep her to love forever.  Their story was quick, steamy, and so full of an intense love, one that I wish I had.  I'm always drawn into this world and this story was a fantastic fit.

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 Until Joe: Happily Ever Alpha Book 2, CP Smith
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 Until Joe: Happily Ever Alpha Book 2, CP Smith

Sometimes the greatest love comes in the middle of your life.

Joe Rouger (Uncle Joe from the Until Series by Aurora Rose Reynolds) is ready for a woman who completes him. He finds what he’s looking for in a feisty Southern belle named Bernice Armstrong (Wallflower Series by CP Smith) The question is, can he leave his world behind for a chance at happiness? 

And if he does, can he keep Bernice away from outside sources that threaten to steal what he’s waited for his whole life: a soul mate he can live and die for!

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 Until Joe: Happily Ever Alpha Book 2, CP Smith

About CP Smith...

CP Smith lives in Oklahoma with her husband and five children. She loves football, reading, and card games. Writing for her is about escape. She writes what she loves to read, and leaves the rest to those with better imaginations.

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Fire in the Heart: Metahuman Files Classified Novella 3, Hailey Turner

Fire in the Heart: A Metahuman Files: Classified Novella by [Turner, Hailey]
 Fire in the Heart: Metahuman Files Classified Novella 3, Hailey Turner

It would appear that Sean and Alexei just can't catch a break.  A wedding, a honeymoon, a whole lot of fire and explosions...what moment in their lives would be complete without those?  There's so much love, passion, and respect that these men have for one another that most of us die-hard fans of theirs are wishing they could have a bit of uninterrupted peace, and yet, if we're really honest with ourselves, we're hoping even harder that they'll get to show off their own brand of badassery while they watch one another's six.  And here we get it all.

There's something addictive about not just this series, but the couples in them.  For me Sean and Alexei are honestly my favorites.  All that they've overcome is immense and that they're finally embarking on their kind of happily-ever-after is truly triumphant.  But since there're a few strings from their trials that haven't been singed off yet, we get one of them here that pulls them from their honeymoon into something worthy of the action and crazy we've come to love from the series.

 Fire in the Heart: Metahuman Files Classified Novella 3, Hailey Turner

What I wasn't exactly a fan of was that this ended up being an explosive non-ending to that particular string.  Yes, this was absolutely exciting.  Yes, I got more from characters I love.  Yes, there were definitely some fantastic sexy times.  But there wasn't really an ending.  It was more disappointment and frustration that one of their adversaries...well, I'll avoid the full spoiler.  I'm not exactly sure why this was the type of confrontation that was chosen to pull them from their honeymoon bed of insane hotness.

Speaking of that hotness, what I loved most here in this story was how that hotness wasn't tempered, but increased by the emotional depth of it.  Their tender, sultry looks were palpable and are absolutely the stuff of daydreams.  This was everything.  And if we put that with the fantastic writing on top of the action that is definitely edge-of-your-seat reading, it's still a big win.  It's hard to stay mad at the non-resolution resolution because it just means that we're not done with their world.  When that day comes it's going to be a sad, probably devastating day for me.  Until then, I'm adding this to my re-read pile.

*$2.99 on Amazon!
 Fire in the Heart: Metahuman Files Classified Novella 3, Hailey Turner

Surrender to vows.

Staff Sergeant Alexei Dvorkin has come a long way since being turned into a metahuman, and all he wants to do is marry the man he loves. A wedding is easy, but it’s the honeymoon where his past unexpectedly catches up with him. 

A future together.

All Agent Sean Delaney wanted was a romantic honeymoon with his new husband. When he and Alexei stumble into a fellow operative’s mission on the luxury gambling resort island Fortuna-sur-mer, they get more than they bargained for in their newly-minted civilian lives.

Destined to burn.

Forced to choose between staying and joining the mission or leaving to stay safe and postpone their honeymoon, Alexei and Sean make the only decision they can—to fight.

Appeal to You: Beyond the Cove Book 3, Jaclyn Quinn

Appeal to You (A Beyond the Cove Novel Book 3) by [Quinn, Jaclyn]
 Appeal to You: Beyond the Cove Book 3, Jaclyn Quinn

I have wanted to read Avery and Ryder's story as soon as their snipe-and-snark routine showed up in book one.  Their story did NOT disappoint.  From the very start we get all that intrigued us when we met them and then we saw under their skins while they got under one another's.  With plenty of their banter for continuity, this story deepened all of their interactions, gave meaning, showed change, and gave us all the feels.  There were a couple things that bothered me, but overall I'd be hard-pressed to let any of that decrease my rating.  These men just grabbed hold and didn't let go, so who am I to do any differently?

Avery was more interesting than I initially thought he'd be.  He wasn't nearly as uptight and stodgy as he came across when we met him.  In fact, there were a few moments that I wasn't even sure I was reading about the same character.  Not that we were seeing a completely different side of him, but more like they were pieces of different people that I had a hard time reconciling.  It all came together in the end though and I loved that he had his own "big gesture" moment.  Sometimes it's up to only one character to bust out the big guns to fix things, but in this case, each man needed to break free and pull out all the stops in their own way.

Ryder's big moment seemed to happen over and over.  His past was darker, more painful than anyone could have known and it's through a lost boy that he finds all kinds of triggers that force him to face it all.  Without those heartbreaking moments he would never realize just how much he needed what Avery could offer.  Finding the courage to take what's being offered though, that's the rub.  Their sexual chemistry is super hot, but even Ryder realizes that that's just not enough when hearts could become involved.

We always knew something went down between Avery and Ryder, but it isn't until maybe the halfway point that we find out exactly what happened.  And then when we find out why the situation rankled Avery so badly, it's way more complicated than expected.  That's pretty much the story of this story though, that emotional complexity is king.  Nothing is as simple or as straightforward as either man would have us believe; even they don't fully realize the depth of all that they're experiencing and reacting to.  Watching them sift through the mess, find a way to come together because of and in spite of it all, and discover their worth and their place...it's beautiful.  I loved this ride and am really looking forward to the next story that's sure to pack an angst-filled punch.

*$3.99 on Amazon!
 Appeal to You: Beyond the Cove Book 3, Jaclyn Quinn

Will the demons of the past ruin any hope for the future?

If there’s anyone who knows how to have a good time—be it with a man or a woman—it’s Ryder Pearce. Master of the nail-it-and-bail-it theory, he lives his life for one person and one person only: himself. When a man enters Ryder’s life who challenges him on every flirtation, every sexual innuendo he can come up with, Ryder’s thrown off his game in a big way. Because there’s one thing the man has made perfectly clear—they’ve played this game before, and Ryder doesn’t remember the outcome.

Avery Hamilton has seen all of Ryder’s moves and has witnessed his sex appeal. He knows all too well about his cocky sense of humor and his penchant for one-night stands. There was a time in his life when he’d taken the bait, but this time around, he wants more. He’s seen Ryder’s act; what he hasn’t seen is Ryder—the real Ryder he hides from the world.

When both men come together to help a young boy, Ryder’s forced to face things from his past he’s blocked out. Things he never wanted anyone to know. Now, Ryder has one fear… Will revealing that side of himself be real enough for Avery? Or will it be the reason Avery walks away?

In Deep Shift: The Protectors Unlimited Book 3, Keira Blackwood

In Deep Shift: A Shifter Paranormal Romance (The Protectors Unlimited Book 3) by [Blackwood, Keira]
 In Deep Shift: The Protectors Unlimited Book 3, Keira Blackwood

I was expecting more silliness like in Suave as Shift, book 2 in the series, but instead this was much more serious, had quite a bit more action, and the heroine really stole the show.  This was a pleasant change from the previous book.  The drama in this story seemed vastly different from what we got before, but the conflict was extremely fitting for both of these characters and had a lot more depth than I was expecting.  Overall, this was my favorite of the series thus far and I'll happily dive into more from this world if I get more like this book.

Zane is dark, broody, challenging, and in need of a good laugh.  Thankfully Mia is just the sneaky little fox shifter to take on that challenge.  She's plucky, good at her craft, lives up to the fox's stereotype, and has a very agile mind.  She knows her talents and her job and despite her draw to believe in the organization that saved and employs her, she doesn't let that loyalty blind her to the truth.  What her intelligence does is astound me at virtually every turn.  She becomes the hero of the story and of her man.  Gotta love strong, independent women that happen to find love along the way.

It's a little harder to pin down Zane, mostly because he's pretty basic in his description.  The fact that he's a dragon almost wins me over despite him being pretty predictable.  He's not a bad male lead, but he does pale in comparison to Mia.

With an enemy that may or may not have a name, they have their work cut out for them in knowing who to trust.  I love that we get to see the silly Logan again and that the family relationship there is much more clear than what we previously learn.  It's only after reading this book that I really understand some of the interactions and ramifications of stuff that went down in book 2.  There's no clear prediction for what kind of drama we'd get if the series continues, but no matter what happens, if this book is any indication of the trajectory, I'm in.

*$3.99 on Amazon
 In Deep Shift: The Protectors Unlimited Book 3, Keira Blackwood

She stole my wallet--and my heart.

Dragonkind is all but extinct. My mission is simple—protect the survivors of the Therion Tribunal’s assault.

After centuries of searching, I've finally located the weapon that could shift the balance of power. This is the battle I’ve waited for my entire life. I’m ready to do what I must, whatever it takes.

But then she walks into my life. I know that Mia is my enemy. I know I shouldn’t let her in. Still, I find myself drawn to her. She is impossible to ignore, impossible to deny. She challenges me and stirs desires long suppressed. Being close to her allows me to hope, to feel. I can’t afford to give in.

And yet even if I wanted to, even when my mission depends on it—I can’t let her go.

Saved by the Manny: Manny's Mannies Book 4, Lorelei M. Hart

Saved by the Manny: An Mpreg M/M non shifter romance (Manny's Mannies Book 4) by [Hart, Lorelei M.]
 Saved by the Manny: Manny's Mannies Book 4, Lorelei M. Hart

While not a slow-burn romance, I loved how Edwin's care, concern, and attraction were slowly building and simmering until he and Judson worked up the courage to act on all that heat.  There were a few minor conflicts that could have vied poorly for attention, but rather than overloading such a short story, the major conflict was sufficiently large, though I will say that it was a bit abrupt and anticlimactic.  From start to finish Edwin and Judson's awkward earnestness was endearing and sweet and their story was worth the quick read.

Edwin was simple and straightforward in everything he did.  He didn't hold any of Judson's past against him even when the less savory aspects became known.  Once he decided to be all in, he was in for good.  I respected that about him, that he was willing to understand what Judson did, why he did it, and never made him feel less-than while assuring him he'd never be going back to his former career.

Judson wasn't weak, but I wouldn't say he was a strong character either.  There were great attributes to him that were a wonderful balance to Edwin and his troubled boys.  All of their relationships worked in their own way and their unit was better together.

As I mentioned before regarding the many conflicts, I think at least one of them could have been completely removed because it detracted and distracted from the story's flow instead of supporting or advancing it.  Regarding Judson's profession, this was an issue but not the main conflict and for that I was appreciative.  If we had fixated on that there would have been a lot of emotional turmoil and angst to have to deal with and would have been unpleasant in a story this short.  As in the synopsis, it's the ex wife that gets the "honor" of being the antagonist.  When she appears, how she appears, and the fallout from her actions were super condensed and kind of awkward; like a flash in the pan rather than anything to actually deserve page time.  So all's well that ends well, I suppose, but this was a cute story that I enjoyed and would likely recommend to any of this author's or genre/sub genre's fans.

*$3.99 on Amazon
 Saved by the Manny: Manny's Mannies Book 4, Lorelei M. Hart

Life Lesson: Groupies are not the best choice of a mate. 
Alpha Edwin loves music. Unfortunately, he can’t carry a tune in a bucket. He can, however, run a sound system like a boss and soon finds himself touring the world with some of the biggest bands. He is living the dream: great music, a good living, and wonderful twin boys. His mate is...less wonderful, leaving him with his twins when she figures out Edwin is not the staircase to her own freedom.

Life Lesson: Not everything you hear about concert tours is true—just the good parts.
Pregnant Omega Judson needs a job and now. When he is offered a job teaching and tutoring two kids whose father tours with the biggest band on the billboard charts, his gut reaction is to decline. They are alcohol-and-drug-filled month-long parties, or so the rumor goes, and the one thing Judson doesn’t need is to be around a bunch of drunks. He had enough of that in his past career as an exotic dancer.

Life Lesson: Always get it in print. 
Traveling across the world and teaching two of the most creative children turns out to be one of the more challenging things Judson has ever done. The most challenging part is keeping his hands, lips, teeth, and other parts away from his sexy boss, Edwin. It would be far easier if his boss didn’t flirt back. 

Iliana, the kids’ mother, comes around making noise about wanting the kids, and all semblance of normal—normal for a concert tour anyway—flies out the window. Threats are made, lawsuits are filed, and things get ugly quickly. Judson refuses to leave Edwin’s side, determined to help him keep his family and possibly make one of his own.