Dragonfire: Dark Kings Book 14, Donna Grant

Dragonfire: A Dark Kings Novel by [Grant, Donna]

Legends and events foretold collide when Roman happens across the beautiful gypsy, Sabina, and her brother.  Powers are maneuvering everyone like pieces on a chessboard and it'll take some creative thinking and pure determination to get through the trials set before them.  Along the way they'll find the fire of passion in one another, soothing a deep ache and yearning that neither were anticipating.  Events are leading them all to a confrontation like no other and it'll take all of their gifts to sort out their path and embrace the courage to travel it.

Roman is soulful, a thinker, and very controlled.  He also feels very deeply.  His life has tossed him from abandonment to loss and back again and the Others aren't through with him.  I liked his quiet manner, his dislike for lying and misleading, and his caring concern for Sabina and her brother.  There's an immediate feeling I get when I "met" him that he needed to be wrapped up in a big hug and never let go.  Roman is a strong and supportive partner to anyone he's working with and the beginning of him and Sabina is no exception.

 Dragonfire: Dark Kings Book 14, Donna Grant

Sabina may have neglected her gift because of the way she grew up but she never lost her respect for or belief in her heritage and gifts.  I enjoyed how smart, determined, and strong she was.  Her forthright honesty was probably my favorite thing about her.  She never felt the need to deceive for any purpose and it often led to humorous or passionate moments that lightened the overall mood of those scenes.  She is really an ideal partner for any of the Dragon Kings but it's the way she sees into Roman and knows on a basic level that she was meant for him.  While it takes a bit for her to recognize that, she never shies away from that knowledge once she's aware of it.

Puzzle pieces are being shifted into place and more are being revealed and each is more pivotal than the last.  The story is getting more and more exciting, heading for a big confrontation and I find myself breathing faster, reading faster, and speculating more and more about what will happen next, whose mate will be the catalyst for the "final" maneuver that brings about a possible war...  There's so much to enjoy about this series and this book in particular embodies everything that's awesome about it.

 Dragonfire: Dark Kings Book 14, Donna Grant

Beard Wanted: Rent-A-Dom Book 4, Susi Hawke and Piper Scott

Beard Wanted (Rent-a-Dom Book 4) by [Hawke, Susi, Scott, Piper]

Perception and reality are rarely ever the same.  In the case of Monty, he's convinced that there's nothing that will ruin his company's image than for his to be seen.  As a twink-like 24 year old it's unlikely that anyone will think him the powerful Dom and CEO of his own company.  For an anniversary party he's determined to hire a beard to project the image everyone is expecting except it very quickly becomes more than just a contract.  Christian is wedging his way under Monty's prickly and controlled disposition and they quickly surrender to one another's magnetism.  But a lapse on Monty's part twice over produces some unintended consequences.  If he doesn't decide quickly what's truly important he might lose out on love.

The beginning was a good introduction to who Monty and Christian are at the current moment but very quickly we get into a confusing mess of emotion with no known foundation, mainly from Monty.  After that the interactions become awkward in a confusing way, as if we're missing something.  It feels like we should know something about why Monty acts the way he does but we don't actually ever get a concrete reason.  There's no event or betrayal that justifies Monty's reactions enough to believe all the angst he imposes on his life and relationships.

Christian's positivity, lightness, and desire are excellent counterpoints to Monty's pessimism, workaholic tendencies, and emotional restraint.  His natural submission seems at odds with what Monty is requesting of him so we get to see him fluctuate between the two.  I never feel a sense of him settling on one or the other and it kind of rubs off on Monty as well.  It's like their innate desires and natural states become less important as the story progresses and I'm not sure if that's intentional or even a good thing.

I did feel that Monty's anniversary party speech was a bit too sappy, like it was trying too hard to be profound, but shortly after the start of the book Monty's manner of speaking seemed to change rather quickly to reflect that same thing, too poetic, too aloof, just trying too hard.  Overall the story had a great premise and some serious steam as well as a lot of tender feels.  The anniversary party took a much better, healthier turn for Monty and I was glad for that.  When their "oops" moment became something to bond over rather than a wedge to drive them apart it was the time they had before that to get to know one another and to give in to their feelings instead of just their lust that made for a much more believable and lasting connection.

*$3.99 on Amazon or FREE on KU!
 Beard Wanted: Rent-A-Dom Book 4, Susi Hawke and Piper Scott

Witchbane, Burn, Dark Rivers: Witchbane Series, Morgan Brice

Witchbane by [Brice, Morgan] Burn: A Witchbane Novella by [Brice, Morgan] Dark Rivers: A Witchbane Novel by [Brice, Morgan]

Love and magic are all wrapped up in trying to escape the clutches of dark witches bent on fulfilling the wishes of their dark master.
Seth and Evan have their work cut out for them,
but not if they can't decide once and for all that they're all in.
All in for the hunt and with one another.

Witchbane by [Brice, Morgan]

Captivating right from the start, Seth's introduction to the world everyone else is blind and oblivious to is harrowing and gory.  The horrible, painful, and formative moment sets the tone in a way that was difficult to forget.  When Seth meets Evan we have a deep understanding of what drives him to do what he does and feel what he feels.  Their interactions are subtle, tame, and hopeful until they decide to act on the barely banked passion they both feel; it's the sense of promise in their hesitancy that makes me want more from them together.  Once things really ramp up action-wise it's clear that there's going to be a whole lot of adrenaline-fueled arguments and sex but only time will tell if they can translate that into the softer, more stable things that make a lasting relationship.

The story is definitely dramatic once it gets to the point.  There's a bit of a feeling like it took forever to get to the details that mattered but I can't say that the slog through everything to get to the point wasn't informative, entertaining, or necessary.  We get to know both men very, very well allowing us to root for them individually and together right from the outset.  The confrontation was big, loud, and bloody...nothing there was glossed over so it fit the tone of the overall story.  By ending where it did, we were left on a high note full of passion and a hope for more.
 Witchbane: Witchbane Book 1, Morgan Brice

Burn: A Witchbane Novella by [Brice, Morgan]

On the heels of the dramatic events in Witchbane Seth and Evan are faced with the reality of what life will look like if they stay the course.  Evan struggles to reconcile everything that was with everything that could be and Seth is always assuming Evan will wise up and leave.  With both of them avoiding the communication that matters they're getting farther away from where they both yearn to be but don't know how to get to.  They've got a lot of work and confessing to do if they're going to build a foundation and make progress toward a solid partnership.

This was a great novella to connect books one and two of the series because it delves into both of their hangups as well as giving a sense of what else is out there in the world of hunters.  We're able to see the ups and downs of adjusting to the relationship that started with such drama.  Seeing them both training and hunting keeps the overarching plot fresh in our minds and also gives us a chance to see how they work together in a more "normal" setting and I have to say that I think they make a great team...they just need to get on the same page and stay on it.  It's not all happiness and roses, in fact, aside from their passion Burn is mostly filled with a lot of frustration, mistrust, second-guessing, and hurt.  When the big decisions come it's not without pain, but it is honest.  Burn is a believable segue between the uncertainty after Witchbane to all the crazy that's coming in Dark Rivers.
 Burn: Witchbane Book 1.5, Morgan Brice

Dark Rivers: A Witchbane Novel by [Brice, Morgan]

The action is ramping up.  Well, it eventually does.  We're "treated" to the leg-work aspect of hunting down immortal dark witches and while the pacing suffers sometimes, it's interesting to see all the work they put into investigating all the leads, locations, and connections necessary to finding the villain.  We also get to see more of the relationship angst as well as Evan's hard road to recovery from his involvement in the bloody events of Witchbane.  There were quite a few things that could have been left in Burn but since it's a novella that not everyone will read I can see why some of the hesitancy, doubts, and  fears are reprised here.

While it takes quite a while to get to the big action there are some inclusions here that bode well for a more interesting series.  Additional characters are introduced that will likely play more of a role than an occasional phone call for passing on intel.  It seems like a team, a make-shift family is being created to support, aid, and carry the weight of everything they'll encounter as they try to stop the dark witches.  Seth and Evan are creating new traditions as they make sense of a new life while making peace with the old.  The confrontation was a lot bigger, more frenetic, and crazier and I absolutely wasn't expecting any of it.  Overall this series is going in a great direction and I'm really excited for more.
 Dark Rivers: Witchbane Book 2, Morgan Brice


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Quick Reads and Quick Reviews 29

HOW TO CATCH A TOMCAT IN SEVEN DAYS by [Speed, Angie] Snowflake Kisses by [Brower, Dawn] Dragon Protector: A WILD Security Book (The Protector Series 2) by [Forrest, Ruby]

HOW TO CATCH A TOMCAT IN SEVEN DAYS by [Speed, Angie]Sweet and simple right from the start, Megan and TJ are obviously perfect for one another but both think they've got zero chance with the other.  With only a week to make a play for the player, Megan goes all out to catch TJ's attention.  But his obliviousness might mean he misses out on forever with a best friend who could be his best partner.

I like that she made him work for her affections but I did feel like she gave in too soon.  Needed more groveling for sure.  Megan was quirky and cute while TJ was humorously blind until it became hurtful.  I've never been a fan of "You know why I'm a player?  I'm too much of a coward to tell the girl I love that I love her.  Also, I'm too blind to notice that she can't actually lie or hide her feelings so I should totally have known she loved me too.  But because of all that I'll still date and sleep with lots of women knowing she can witness my appalling dating habits."  Yet that's always the way these stories play out...

Aside from that, it was kept very simply allowing the couple to move from friends to more quickly without too much drama.  The list was a cute device to move the plot along and watching him be oblivious was actually kind of cute and humorous until it became painful to imagine how Megan was feeling, realizing that she didn't stand a chance before he came to his senses.  3.5 stars.
*98¢ on Amazon!
 How to Catch a Tomcat in Seven Days, Angie Speed

Snowflake Kisses by [Brower, Dawn]Mack and Meghy have a second chance at forever but nothing is ever as simple as just showing up.  It'll take big life changes and granting forgiveness before they can take the next step together, but only if they're willing to lay their hearts on the line.

This story was sweet, simple, but it's simplicity unfortunately meant that it lacked depth.  Issues weren't really resolved, more like confession and an uber simplistic test followed by a huge life change combining to create the magic cure-all for every big and small problem.  I mean, from Meghy being a borderline recluse to having her life possibly thrust into the limelight just because of her partner, her discomfort in crowds, their lifestyle differences, Mack's not sleeping combined with pills that brought him home in the first place, his image, and the fact that they're completely different people after more than a decade apart...  There's just so much to resolve that is totally glossed over.

Overall it was a nice and pleasant story of a second chance, redemption, and going all in on a future that you truly desire.  3 stars.
*98¢ on Amazon!
 Snowflake Kisses, Dawn Brower

Dragon Protector: A WILD Security Book (The Protector Series 2) by [Forrest, Ruby]With her father dead and the head of security making it his personal mission to keep her safe Janet is confused and yet feels something deep and passionate despite the danger surrounding her.  There's nothing to keep them together if they don't admit their feelings, but if her enemies have any say, she won't be around to have them at all.

I wanted so much to like this story.  The premise was interesting but the reality was abysmal.  Giving a dual POV synopsis to only give us Janet's view in the short story was the first disappointment.  After that it was piling on dramatic event after dramatic event in the hopes that the danger would give some basis for growing Fang and Janet's feelings.  Add in the Google Translate version of the story of The Golden Phoenix (a favorite of mine from childhood), and you've got a story full of holes and a severe lack of depth.  The fairy tale took up probably half of the book!  As for the interactions between Janet and Fang they were passionate, for sure, but there wasn't anything of depth or meaning to make me believe they would last.

Including the fairy tale was a good thing but it wasn't incorporated well by any means and the relationship had potential but it fell flat very quickly.  The dragon reveal was rushed and too simplistic for the build-up we were given.  And with the narration of absolutely every detail it's like we were reading a completely different author.  The writing was amateurish and juvenile and I seriously think this wasn't even the author's work at all since the voice and style were drastically different from every other book I've read from her.  Overall this was an incredible disappointment.  2 stars.
*2.99 on Amazon or FREE on KU!

Fling, Baylin Crow

Fling (Nothing Serious Book 1) by [Crow, Baylin]

When lust becomes love it takes courage to look beyond your fears and fight for the future you want.  Dean is afraid of becoming just like his father so he avoids any and all strings.  It't only when he sees his little sister's best friend all grown up and hot that he gives in and starts something he's hoping doesn't turn into more, until it does.  Hayden has always loved Dean but after learning Dean isn't as straight as he thought he was he gives into their chemistry hoping he can hide how his childhood crush is turning into a deeper love than he expected.  When truths are revealed Dean's fear might ruin his chance at keeping Hayden for more than just a fling.

Hayden had all kinds of teenage romantic angst going for him.  The subtle pining, hiding his feelings, sorting through their complicated chemistry, and discovering that love isn't simple or easy...his romantic evolution is complete from childhood to adulthood, even though he's still very young when he gets a shot at a happily ever after.  I enjoyed him and the way he was sifting through feelings, trying to decide if moving on was more important, the way he was trying to come to grips with settling versus reaching, and how he did his best to be considerate when his forays into moving on weren't working for him or his potential partner.  He handled Dean's back and forth pretty well despite the emotional toll.  I felt that he was the more mature of the pair and I genuinely liked him.

As for Dean, though, I had a harder time connecting to him.  He was immature, arrogant, and inconsiderate.  I could understand where his fear was coming from but it doesn't really excuse his epic blowup because it didn't really make sense.  The truth he discovered not only gave hope for his own, but it was in the opposite direction of the truth that caused his original fear in the first place.  I know that sounds convoluted, my apologies, but to be more specific would pretty much be a spoiler for something we don't learn about him until about half-way through the story.

Overall I felt the reconciliation was appropriate.  It required work from Dean, a wake-up call that he can't just show up with a simple apology and expect that everything will be okay for him.  Their confessions were honest and heartfelt and I believed that they could really last despite their young age.  This was a sweet story with a lot of steam that enhanced their story rather than detracted from it.

*$3.99 on Amazon!
 Fling, Baylin Crow

Melt with You: Into the Fire Book 8, J.H. Croix

Harlow and Max have a night to relive and a forever to fight for on November 27th, 2018...

 Melt with You: Into the Fire Book 8, J.H. Croix
Series: Into the Fire #8
Release Date: November 27, 2018

A wedding, a one-night stand, and no happily-ever-after.
That’s how it all started with Max Channing.
Along comes another clich̩ Рa second chance.
A year later, I’m about to face Christmas alone when tall, dark & sexy as hell Max shows up again.
Our lives are worlds apart. He’s a billionaire tech investor. I’m a hotshot firefighter.
Nothing about us makes any sense.
I never thought I’d see him again after the hottest night of my life.
I was wrong, so very wrong.
When our paths cross again, we break every rule.
And set each on fire.

Harlow May tests every limit I have and makes me want to break every damn rule she creates.
She’s a temptation I can’t seem to resist.
She fits no category. She’s strong & sassy and a firefighter to boot.
She fights the fire between us.
Once I have a taste, no one else will do.
I’ll fight for her and for us.
I only want one woman. Harlow.

*This is a full-length, standalone romance with a guaranteed HEA.

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 Melt with You: Into the Fire Book 8, J.H. Croix

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 Melt with You: Into the Fire Book 8, J.H. Croix

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Author Bio

USA Today Bestselling Author J. H. Croix lives in a small town in the historical farmlands of Maine with her husband and two spoiled dogs. Croix writes steamy contemporary romance with sassy independent women and rugged alpha men who aren't afraid to show some emotion. Her love for quirky small-towns and the characters that inhabit them shines through in her writing. Take a walk on the wild side of romance with her bestselling novels!

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Lonely Hearts, Posy Roberts

Lonely Hearts: a novella bundle by [Roberts, Posy]

Love can sometimes be elusive, fickle, or lost.  It can also be surprising, transformative, and right under your nose.  In a chat room there are five men giving and taking and shunning advice regarding their own search, or avoidance, of a forever kind of love.  Meet Luther and Erik who find more than a quick encounter after a glimpse of a tattoo suggests they might have something in common.  Marc loses everything and while he's reestablishing himself he happens across the defensive, prickly, and utterly captivating Cas who's got both potential and baggage.  A geisha who's more than they appear opens William's heart to a whole new world view and how he views himself.  Shep and Andrew have a brief and enlightening experience on a battlefield only to be separated for over a decade inspiring a deep yearning that just might bring them back together.   “Figure out how you keep screwing up your happily ever after.  Once you know, you’re more likely to find the true thing.”  Each couple goes through something different but the outcome may all end in a happily ever after if they can fix what they keep screwing up.

Bent Arrow:  While I wish I had more from Erik, I loved Luther.  His desire, yearning, and struggle carried the story.  Seeing his feelings and how he came to terms with his sexuality and his feelings for Erik was believable despite the short length of their story.  It was also important for them near the end that they acknowledged their languages of love, both in their appreciation of what they expressed and commitment from that moment on to express in ways to make sure their hearts were heard.

Stroke of Luck:  Big, sweet Marc was interesting.  He felt so deeply and wasn't afraid to express himself, clear misunderstandings about himself, and to lay his cards on the table.  When he becomes overwhelmed, though, is when he has the potential for self-sabotage.  Cas is similar in that he wears his feelings on the surface.  His heart belongs to one person but as he gets to know Marc it becomes quite obvious that there's a major shift in who his most important person is.  Trying to fit everyone into the boxes he wants them to belong in is the wrong thing to do and it almost costs him everyone.  Their reconciliation was simple, no artifice, no posturing or drawing it out, no pointed jabs, just honesty.

Momo, My Everything:  The evolution of William was beautiful.  I loved watching his change.  That he owned his concerns and fear while he made conscious decisions to deny the negative and embrace the positive, to embrace Nate and everything he is.  Nate was quite interesting, such a multifaceted character that gave William the balance he needed.  He was understanding, didn't pressure William, was direct, bright, and so very vibrant.  While the actual discussion regarding homophobia and shaming wasn't had, it was clear by the end that William really did work through it all and that Nate understood his inner turmoil and demonstrated how very perfect they were together.

Love on a Battlefield:  I ached for Andrew so hard.  The story moved along slowly, cautiously, just like Andrew himself.  Every word seemed steeped in sentimentality and self-reflection.  Their ending was very sweet and showed them coming full circle but in a much healthier, freer place and state of mind for the both of them.  They got the happiness they yearned for through honesty and not letting fear steal their chance for a future.

At each interval there was a dialogue in the chat room that brought them all together in the first place and I enjoyed their banter and brief discussions.  It gave cohesion to the whole story, tying all the novellas together with a common thread of fixing what keeps you from your own happily ever after and then reporting back that love is really worth all the effort.  The wrap-up was very cute where all the couples met together to share in the love and happiness they found and the camaraderie that got them there.  Such a great collection of stories.

*$2.99 on Amazon!

Only You, Kay Doherty

Only You by [Doherty, Kay]

Case needs a new life. Preferably one that he likes and one he chooses for himself. His trip to see his aunt doesn't start on a high note... How can it when his car dies and leaves him stranded on the side of a road in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain and no cell signal or battery to speak of? But not all is disaster, a stunning roadside savior gives him a lift to his temporary home. As Case gets to know Rawley the mixed signals give way to passion and have him wondering just how temporary his stay might be. It's when their budding romance is threatened by their pasts that they'll have to decide if they're willing to fight for a future where they're the only one for each other.

Case was a mess, but an honest one. I enjoyed his zest for life, his determination to live a better life, the way he owns everything he is. And when he is faced with his past he doesn't become bitter or revert to the selfish, callous jerk he once was, he tries to do the right thing for everyone as best he can.

It's Rawley who has the hair-triggered responses that hint at an uncertain future for them. His lack of communication shows up at almost every chapter and while I can tell he's a good man with quite a bit of emotional damage, I have doubts that he can be what Case truly needs. After his little trip to get his head and heart on the same page he's better in terms of knowing what he wants and we can see him finally growing into his potential.

Their reconciliation is good mostly because of Casey. The way he refuses to lash out in confusion, hurt, or to make Rawley jealous proves just how far he's come, just how good of a person he always was and with a healthy, happy environment that part of him is finally able to thrive.

Shortly after that very sweet scene, though, things go crazy. I don't really understand what the purpose of the accident was because it didn't add to the story, didn't make Rawley more in love or determined to be with Casey, didn't do anything to solve Casey's dilemma with his exes...it just didn't fit. If instead he finally made inroads with gaining closure with his past and used the drama unfolding via his texts to push for a dramatic event at the end that would have been much more organic, a way better fit for the flow of the story. Despite the consequences of the accident bringing reality into the story, I saw absolutely no value in the whole debacle. It ended very abruptly after that with no closure, no settling, no finality. Up to that point it was a really good story.

*$4.99 on Amazon!
 Only You, Kay Doherty
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Rawley had spent the past four days in his truck with his trusty radar gun, nailing speeders at various points across town. The past two days, he’d been sitting at the railroad crossing at the edge of town; a hot spot for teenagers speeding down the main road and over the tracks without looking. It had been a year since the last death occurred on these tracks and he intended to keep the streak going. He sighed loudly as he tore off the latest ticket and gave the seventeen-year-old boy behind the wheel his usual speech about safety. He’d given out half a dozen the past couple of days, but if it saved a life by making the kids think twice, it was worth the mind-numbing boredom.

Rawley climbed back into his truck, shut off the emergency lights, and drove back to his parking spot partially hidden by the wall of the feed store near the tracks. It had been the usual quiet on the crime front the past several days, which was typically a welcome occurrence for Rawley, but ever since Case Holden’s arrival, Rawley’s thoughts had been plagued by gray-blue eyes, dark hair, and a perfectly toned body. He spent his nights tossing and turning, imagining Case in any number of different scenarios, every one of them sexual. The whole situation was frustrating him. He took the edge off every night with his hand, but it didn’t satisfy the deep need he had for another man’s body—Case’s body in particular.

Rawley shifted on the bench seat and adjusted himself. He seriously needed to get a grip. The moment Case climbed into his truck, drenched from the rain, Rawley had suspected he was gay, but after running into each other several times around town the past few days, Rawley was now certain. The knowledge only worsened his predicament because he knew if he wanted Case badly enough, he could have him. The man didn’t even try to hide his sexuality or his attraction to Rawley. When they’d seen each other the day before at the general store, he’d been wearing a dark-blue T-shirt that had “Out and Proud” stamped across the chest in rainbow lettering.

They’d found themselves face-to-face in front of the dairy display — Rawley in his tan police uniform and Case looking like a model in his skintight T-shirt and painted-on jeans. Conversation had been polite but stilted. Rawley knew it was his fault because he was too busy noticing every little dip and curve of Case’s body to speak coherently.

Knowing Case was gay and that he wouldn’t make a play for the younger man had Rawley short-tempered and sniping at everyone. That was why he was sitting alone on the outskirts of town, doing traffic duty; no one wanted to be around him, including himself. Rawley stared into the distance, wondering what the hell he’d done in this life or a past one to earn him this level of torture, when a vehicle he would’ve been hard-pressed to miss caught his attention. The bright-gold Mustang roared past him, registering ten miles per hour over the speed limit.

“Oh, you’ve got to be shitting me,” Rawley muttered. He turned on the emergency lights and siren as he pulled onto the road.

There was only one person in Clover City who drove a Mustang. He caught up to Case quickly, and they pulled to the side of the road, Rawley coming to a stop a few car lengths behind Case. Rawley exited the truck and walked up to the driver’s side of the car to find Case had rolled down his window and held out his license and insurance card. Rawley took them, willing his body not to react to the beautiful smile Case offered him. Rawley couldn’t help but notice that Case wore a black shirt that made his hair seem even darker and those gray-blue eyes brighter.

“Get pulled over a lot, do you?” Rawley asked, averting his gaze to Case’s papers.

“My car tends to draw attention,” Case answered. Rawley rolled his eyes at Case’s nonchalant shrug.
“Your car draws attention,” Rawley muttered.

Everything about Case drew attention, or at least Rawley’s. He put his mind to the task at hand, making sure Case’s license and insurance were up-to-date before handing them back through the window.

“I didn’t get pulled over driving my aunt’s Jeep.”

“Did you speed in the Jeep?”

Case shrugged. “It was a manual with no oomph.”

“Slow down,” Rawley said as he turned on his heel to return to his truck.

*Other Purchase Links

Ninestar Press | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

 Only You, Kay Doherty

Meet Kay

Kay lives in Colorado with her husband and their animal children. Family is important to her, so there are weekly visits to her parents and frequent text messages with her brothers. She has a severe addiction to coffee and Mexican food. She loves to read and write and can easily become consumed by it for hours, much to the dismay of the husband and dogs. On occasion, she can be convinced to venture out into world of the living.

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Teddy and His Bear: Oh My! Book 1, Andi James and Lila Wilde

Teddy and His Bear (Oh My! Book 1) by [James, Andi, Wilde, Lila]

One announcement and the world under Teddy's feet has dropped.  Feeling sad and alone, abandoned, he finds comfort in friends and work.  There's one other bright spot, though, and that's the handsome older man that frequents the coffee shop where he works.  Barrett has a crush on Teddy too, but with his damaged heart and their age gap, not to mention his suppressed desires, he can't see a future where they're together the way he truly wants.  With the help of an accident-prone co-worker Teddy gets a glimpse of what a future might look like with the older man who's captured his attention and maybe a piece of his heart.  If they can get past their pasts and accept one another for everything they are and enjoy they just might have a chance at forever.

Right from the outset I was moved by Teddy's pain.  His ache became an echoing ache in my own heart.  Partly because of things I'm going through but also because the writing was simple, clear, and good enough to convey the depth of what he felt.  His evolution felt natural and organic, to a point.  I think the new relationship dynamic he found with Barrett suited him to a T though I did feel he became a bit more naive than merely endearingly innocent toward the end.  The way he could be sappy and scattered and yet perfect for Barrett's yearnings made up for that though.

Barrett was an interesting character.  There's a lot about him to love and to root for.  I will say, though, that he was endearing up to a point.  The way he complemented Teddy and how they fit just right for one another's desires was a little too simplistic.  Not that simple isn't good, it was just so nice that it felt a bit more sappy than deep.

The burn was very slow to start in this story but it was very much appreciated.  It made their evolution all the more believable and created a great foundation to build on.  Teddy and Barrett fit together very nicely, share a lot of passion, and have a seriously happy future ahead for them.  With a great cast to encourage and support them they were able to overcome their individual difficulties to find a solid partnership in one another.  I'm actually looking forward to reading the other couples' stories as well.  There's definitely going to be some interesting roads they'll have to travel to earn their HEAs.

*$3.99 on Amazon!
 Teddy and His Bear: Oh My! Book 1, Andi James and Lila Wilde

Lumberjack Werebear: Saw Bears Book 1, T.S. Joyce

Lumberjack Werebear (Saw Bears Series Book 1) by [Joyce, T. S.]

Brooke is lost.  She's lost her muse, lost her way in life, and it appears that she's lost in a very real sense since she finds herself on the dilapidated doorstep of a trailer park instead of a cozy cabin retreat.  When her mentor sends her out into nature she never expected the sexy, burly, ill-tempered men she's expected to stay near.  Tagan wasn't expecting a human woman to wind up on his doorstep either.  But it seems that Fate has other things in mind when these two learn that their best chance at forever is each other.  They'll have to fight demons inside and adversaries outside to claim their happiness and if their inner strength isn't up to the task, it just might spell the end...permanently.

This was a sweet story with a lot of healing, individual evolution, an endearing cast of side characters, a little passion, and a whole lot of heart.

As much as I love it when a Change happens and the Changed fully accepts with wonder and a firm sense of reality, not underestimating all the challenges they'll face, this instance of Change was very different and, dare I say, better. The way Brooke felt at that moment and then what she realized needed to happen and finally to her full evolution...stunning.

There were quite a few cheesy moments but they were overshadowed by the need to come to grips with personal tragedy and not just overcome it, but to own it and all its facets. I truly enjoyed getting to know these characters and felt that Tagan and Brooke were fantastic together. They had both chemistry and feels. I do wish there were a bit more with getting to know Tagan since we get to know Brooke quite well. Other than that small issue and the fact that this was a bit too short for such a good story, this was a great read and I'm very eager to dive into the rest of the series.

*99¢ on Amazon!
 Lumberjack Bear: Saw Bears Book 1, T.S. Joyce