Stranded: 8392 Book 2, Cara Dee

Stranded (Auctioned Book 2) by [Dee, Cara]

Gray has been rescued, Darius has been successful.  It should be smooth sailing from there on out, right?  Not so much.  If the extraction itself was full of surprises, additional dangers, and unforeseen pitfalls, why would the escape be any different?  Especially when the rescue changes from one young man to sixteen abuse survivors and a different enemy on their heels.  When Darius realizes that Gray isn't just a job, he finds that his heart has a mind of its own and it's set on keeping him.  But unless Gray can come to terms with finding a new normal, the real struggle in keeping him is just beginning.

 Stranded: 8392 Book 2, Cara Dee

Intense.  I seriously couldn't stop reading this.  I re-read Auctioned right before jumping into Stranded and was so glad I did.  There were so many nuanced reactions and thoughts that enriched what followed.  I forgot that this wasn't a duet so I was a bit shocked when it ended and at the edge of my seat knowing there's something big coming.  Gray is nowhere near the end of his journey and is dragging Darius along for the crazy.

This book was in Darius' POV whereas Auctioned was from Gray's and I have to say that I thought that was a fantastic choice.  Gray is going through incredible turmoil from what happened before and what he has to endure here that if we were to have his thoughts only we'd be just as lost as he becomes.  Seeing it all through Darius' lens gives us a perspective that feels a little more in control, as if we are the ones orchestrating the escape rather than being led and positioned like we would from a rescuee's point of view.  Plus, reading all the gooey, sappy, tender feelings Darius, the cold machine, comes to feel for Gray is all kinds of awesome.

There were a lot more light moments to enjoy because the imminent threat of torture and degradation weren't looming.  That's not to say there aren't tense moments and dangerous situations to navigate, not in the least, the circumstances just lent themselves to a sense of relief that was palpable and it showed in the boys' actions more often than not.  It helped when the we got to the challenging moments for Gray because it allowed you to feel when the seriousness shifted and to be on alert to the pivotal changes that will lead us to Deserted.

 Stranded: 8392 Book 2, Cara Dee

I wasn't sure if I would be okay with the darker nature of this series but I have to say that I'm impressed over and over again how brutal, frustrating, and moving this story is.  I'm more surprised at all the softness and hope I feel when each part comes to a close.  It's all mixed up with anticipation, anxiety, and reticence for the next part as well.  The seemingly incongruous jumble of feelings is why I love it so much.  I'm utterly invested and wouldn't have it any other way.

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 Stranded: 8392 Book 2, Cara Dee

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“You have my word, Gray. I will get you off this island, and I will bring you home.”

It was supposed to be an easy in-and-out job. Nothing Darius Quinn hadn’t done before. But this job had something none of the others did: Gray Nolan.

Like Murphy’s Law advised, anything that could go wrong, would. A mission to save one hometown favorite son was turning into a quest to rescue thirteen traumatized young men against odds so steep, he’d need an oxygen mask to scale them.

Facing new dangers and an uncertain future, Darius keeps Gray close and is soon forced to accept that this has become much more than an assignment. For a man whose reputation was built on being ice-cold under pressure, Darius is beginning to discover how good it feels to burn.

*Stranded is the second book in The Auctioned Series.
Before you read further, you should read
Auctioned by [Dee, Cara]
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 Auctioned: 8392 Book 1, Cara Dee

Stranded Excerpt...
Even though the situation was serious, it was impossible not to find humor in it. Gray was endearing as all hell when he was high, and Darius was confident he hadn’t administered too much—or too little, for that matter.
   “Any nausea?” He smiled faintly and sat up. Easier to see Gray that way, and he was on his back with one arm stretched up while he was trying to pinch stars between his fingers. He wasn’t very successful.
   “Nope.” Gray wore a silly grin, trying to grab another star from the sky. “That’s the ninth time you’ve asked.”
   It was the second, but who was counting. Clearly not Gray.
   “First-time users get sick sometimes,” Darius answered.
  “Oh.” Gray yawned and folded his hands under his head instead. “Are we sleeping here tonight? Can we go catch bananas?”
   Darius coughed around a chuckle and dug out his battered pack of smokes from his jeans. “We’re staying a few hours, at least.” So far, no fresh blood had painted Gray’s bandage, and Darius was counting his blessings for it. That said, he wanted to be careful and not move around. “Can you wiggle your toes for me?”
  “Again?” Gray took on the huffy, insufferable tone of a complaining teenager. “See? I’m doing it.” Nothing. Nada. His feet were still.
   “You’re actually not,” Darius drawled. “Try again.”
   Gray frowned and concentrated, and the tip of his tongue poked out. It was…cute as fuck. “What about now? I’m trying to contact them.”
   Darius chuckled once more, and he was relieved when the toes did move. “There we go.”
   “Told you,” Gray sang. “Can’t cut off my pulse.”
   “Circulation,” Darius corrected with a laugh.
   “Hey.” Gray pushed himself up and supported his weight on his elbows. The silly, lazy grin was back. “You laughed, gorgeous.”
   That made Darius snort, and he lit up a smoke.
  “I’m just sayin’.” Gray plopped down again. “I’d let you wear my letterman jacket.”
Good lord, where the hell were the kid’s thoughts this time?
   “Mr. Stone-face,” Gray whispered at the sky. “Hottest cover, but the pages are blank. No, wait. I mean, they’re in another language. I can’t read your book. You know?”
   Darius’s forehead creased, and he exhaled some smoke. “I can’t even pretend to know what you’re rambling about, boy.”
   Gray waved a hand. “I know some things.”
   “Like, you’re a good man. But then…? Poof. You were born in Greece.”
  “Because your book is in Greek!” Gray’s triumphant yell echoed and bounced between the trees.
Instantly alert, Darius narrowed his eyes and observed their surroundings. “Keep it down, knucklehead.” They hadn’t searched the whole island yet, and they couldn’t be too careful.

 Stranded: 8392 Book 2, Cara Dee

Touch of a Yellow Sun: Colors of Love Book 2, V.L. Locey

Release Date: February 27 2019
Cover Design: Designs By Sloan
Length: 88,600 words approx.

It's been a rough couple of years for Marek Hafer, roaming hockey protagonist and pugilistic expert. Ending up in Berger Lake, Pennsylvania, on a financially unstable minor league team might just be the ending his wretched career deserves. On the other side of thirty, Marek knows his time on skates is dwindling. His goal now is to spend a few quiet years playing for the Berger Lake Badgers, knock a few helmets together as needed, and then call it quits before his salty personality gets him booted out of hockey permanently.

After a bloody encounter his first night on the ice, the Badgers coach suggests that Marek find a way to lower his violent tendencies before he’s sent packing yet again. That decree leads Marek to knock on the door of his next-door neighbor, Shey Pierson, the owner of Sun Touch Yoga Studio. Shey ticks every box Marek has with his soft blue eyes, flowing golden hair, and long limber legs. The only problem is that Shey is yin to Marek’s yang.

Can a man famed for throwing punches find serenity in the arms of a man known for his tranquil ways?

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Lost in Indigo (Colors of Love  Book 1) by [Locey, V. L. ]
 Lost in Indigo: Colors of Love Book 1, V.L. Locey

USA Today Bestselling Author V.L. Locey – Penning LGBT hockey romance that skates into sinful pleasures.

V.L. Locey loves worn jeans, yoga, belly laughs, walking, reading and writing lusty tales, Greek mythology, Torchwood and Dr. Who, the New York Rangers, comic books, and coffee. (Not necessarily in that order.) She shares her life with her husband, her daughter, one dog, two cats, a pair of geese, far too many chickens, and two steers.

When not writing spicy romances, she enjoys spending her day with her menagerie in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania with a cup of fresh java in one hand and a steamy romance novel in the other.

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Quick Reads, Quick Reviews 35

Parallel Larry by [Rohrbach, Jacqueline] Color My Kiss (Valentine's Inc. Book 5) by [Notaro, Michele] Pisces Floors Taurus: Signs of Love 4.5 by [Sunday, Anyta]

Parallel Larry by [Rohrbach, Jacqueline]A toaster mishap sends Larry to a parallel universe where he gets the chance to see if love crosses as many boundaries as he hopes.  Blind to a love that was right in front of him, Larry discovers that his obliviousness and reticence cost him his ideal partner.  I was intrigued by the premise and the crazy universe-bending potential for this story.  There were quite a few things that were likable and some that were less so.  I found myself quite apathetic when attempts were made at explaining things and yet the DMV scene was both humorous and as confusing as it was enlightening.  The drama was a lot bigger than I expected and felt the short story could have benefited from something a bit more simple.  Instead of spending enough time building a solid foundation between Larry and Greg, we had to go through a lot of crazy to make Larry's ultimate destination work.  It was just a bit too much.  The sweetness that was there, though, was worth the crazy.  I liked that the good Larry was awkwardly persistent and his simple yearnings were the most touching things I've read in a while.  Overall, this was a fun story that could have used a bit of streamlining to make it really sing.  3 stars.
 Parallel Larry, Jacqueline Rohrbach

Color My Kiss (Valentine's Inc. Book 5) by [Notaro, Michele]Needing a wedding date to accompany him to his sister's wedding, Poe takes his her advice and hires someone from a dating service.  What he doesn't expect is a stunner to approach him at the bar as his date...and it's a man.  Dakota gives Poe a chance to truly be himself and honest in a way he hadn't been able to before.  I loved Poe's determination to see things through and how he opened his heart to all the tenderness Dakota offered him.  Their romance built in a believable way and despite the assumptions and leading remarks made out of fear, they were a really good match.  I did think that the resolution between them and the "antagonists" of the story was a bit unresolved and I wished there had been more of a conclusion there.  Poe also didn't really develop a backbone, he pretty much remained the same despite finding freedom.  Dakota was my favorite, actually.  His earnestness and supportive nature really matched Poe and made him very likable.  Together they created a cute couple that embodied effervescence when they were engaged and open with one another as they interacted.  This was a very cute story with a charming couple that I want more of.  4 stars.
 Color My Kiss: Valentine's Inc. Book 5, Michele Notaro

Pisces Floors Taurus: Signs of Love 4.5 by [Sunday, Anyta]Back with my favorite couple from this series, Zane has something specific on his mind and in his earnest, clumsy way, he's trying to get Beckett to be utterly romanced into participating.  But as we all know, Zane's plans never go well and the unfortunate accidents happen over and over.  He ends up disheartened and I ached for him.  Except Beckett would never let Zane stay feeling that way so when he helps guide Zane to their sexy goals, they come together in a way that's utterly perfect for them.  I've loved this couple from their first moment and I'm still loving them now.  4.5 stars.
 Pisces Floors Taurus: Signs of Love Book 4.5, Anyta Sunday

Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 1, Nana Malone and M. Malone

 Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 1, Nana Malone and M. Malone

 Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 1, Nana Malone and M. Malone
Series: Brazen Duet #1

Wham, bam, thank you ma’am? That’s my motto.

There’s no room in my life for anything more complicated than a one-night stand. I’m a bodyguard. It’s easier to put my life on the line when there’s no one worrying if I’ll make it home for dinner.

But then the one woman who made me want more waltzes back into my life needing my protection.

Despite our explosive chemistry, we can’t go there again. What happened in Vegas, has to stay in Vegas.

Except the marriage vows neither of us remember.

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 Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 1, Nana Malone and M. Malone
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 Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 1, Nana Malone and M. Malone

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 Still Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 2, Nana Malone and M. Malone

 Brazen: Brazen Duet Book 1, Nana Malone and M. Malone

M. Malone

NYT & USA Today bestselling author M. Malone lives in the Washington, DC metro area with her husband and their two sons. She holds a master's degree in Business from a prestigious college that would no doubt be scandalized by how she's using her expensive education.

Independently published, she has sold more than 1/2 million ebooks in her two series, THE ALEXANDERS and BLUE-COLLAR BILLIONAIRES. Since starting her indie journey in 2011 with the runaway bestselling novella "Teasing Trent," her work has appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists more than a dozen times.

She's now a full-time writer and spends 99.8% of her time in her pajamas.

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Nana Malone

USA Today bestselling author Nana Malone's love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense novel she "borrowed" from her cousin.

It was a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana, and Nana was a precocious thirteen. She's been in love with kick-butt heroines ever since. With her overactive imagination constantly channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters.

While she waits for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana works out her drama, passion and sass with fictional characters every bit as brazen and kick-butt as she thinks she is.

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Drawn Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 4, Aurora Rose Reynolds

 Drawn Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 4, Aurora Rose Reynolds

 Drawn Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 4, Aurora Rose Reynolds
Series: Fluke My Life #4

Life isn't turning out the way Courtney dreamed it would.  The same goes for Lucas.  After a divorce, a relocation, and a house purchase, Courtney is finally moving on with her life and is determined to be happy and successful.  What she doesn't expect is the handsome single father that makes her question her decision to be man-free.  Lucas has always wanted forever with a good woman and to build a family like the one he grew up with, unfortunately his ex had a different idea.  What he finds with Courtney could be the dream of all dreams, but he'll have to win her over while navigating tricky exes, a daughter yearning for a mother, and Courtney's most well-kept secret.

I was drawn to Courtney right away and absolutely loved how she stood up for herself despite all the conflicting feelings she had regarding her ex.  She made up her mind and was her own first champion and supporter.  The way Courtney's boundaries included both steel and softness were wonderful.  What also endeared her to me was the way I could absolutely relate to her reflecting on the little things that proved her marriage wasn't as happy as she thought it was.  Her honesty despite her insecurities gave her appeal, her desire to be loved and vulnerability were character strengths rather than flaws, and her heart was her best asset.  I saw her shortcomings but loved her both because of and in spite of them.

 Drawn Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 4, Aurora Rose Reynolds

Lucas was even more wonderful than Courtney in my opinion.  As much as I loved her, I loved Lucas and then some.  His commitment to Courtney showed in everything he did and there was nothing he wasn't willing to do to show her how invested he was in them as a family.  Never letting his ex get the upper hand, upfront honesty and transparency, not rushing into a sexual relationship yet still sharing intimacy, and the way he was with his daughter all came together to make a superlative male lead.

There were probably some things about the story that bothered me while I was reading, but by the time I was done I couldn't remember a single one.  The whole story won me over and made me wish I had started this series from the beginning.  Supportive side characters that enhanced and didn't detract from the story added another layer of depth without distracting from this particular romance.  I'm eager to see if one particular character gets a story of her own.  For now, I'll have to satisfy myself with starting from the beginning.

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 Drawn Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 4, Aurora Rose Reynolds

From New York Times bestselling author Aurora Rose Reynolds comes a flirty romantic comedy of big love and second chances.

Courtney Williams wanted forever. She got six years of empty promises, a divorce, and a well-deserved settlement that’s paid her way to Manhattan. She has a new home under renovation, a new job, and a do-over as a happy “single in the city”—until she meets an architect with designs on more than her beams. He’s also a devoted single dad, a great cook, and has dark lashes to die for. Too good to be true. Now all Courtney can do is whisper, Oh no, not again.

Divorced Lucas Fremont isn’t looking to get swept away. But how can he not with a woman this sweet and sexy? She’s making his broken heart beat fast. His sister-in-law, Fawn, says go for it. But as cautious as Courtney is, Lucas has to do more than that. He has to fight for it. Now all he can do is think, Don’t let this one get away.

But Courtney comes with a secret. And Lucas comes with a bitter ex. If love is to stand a chance, they’re going to have to take a chance.

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 Drawn Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 4, Aurora Rose Reynolds

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Running Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 1, Aurora Rose Reynolds
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 Stumbling Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 2, Aurora Rose Reynolds
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 Tossed Into Love: Fluke My Life Book 3, Aurora Rose Reynolds
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About Aurora Rose Reynolds...

Aurora Rose Reynolds is a New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author whose wildly popular series include Until, Until Him, Until Her, Underground Kings and Shooting Stars.

Her writing career started in an attempt to get the outrageously alpha men who resided in her head to leave her alone and has blossomed into an opportunity to share her stories with readers all over the world.

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Build: Burns Brothers Book 1, Gillian Archer

 Build: Burns Brothers Book 1, Gillian Archer

 Build: Burns Brothers Book 1, Gillian Archer
Series: Burns Brothers #1

A struggling single mom and a celebrity bike builder don't really travel in the same social circles, let alone spend days together snowed in at a luxury cabin, but that's just how Austin and Rachel begin a tumultuous road to their own forever.  Their first meeting is less-than ideal but as they share insecurities, vulnerabilities, and their bodies, they begin to build something that scares them with how much they don't want to let go.  It takes time, disappointment, re-prioritizing, and a whole lot of humility before they can hope find the road they're meant to travel and if they wait too long, they just might miss their chance to stay on it together.

Austin impulsively escapes from the craziness of family and news of his father's impending parole with a plan to get completely wasted and forget all of it for as long as possible.  I wasn't a fan of his at first.  Not at all.  His thoughts and actions were demeaning, prick-ish, selfish, whiny, and overly dramatic.  I understood why he ended up that way, but it doesn't mean I liked it.  Yet as he softened to Rachel, started making the effort necessary to keep her and move forward, I found myself softening toward him in return.  It didn't take long for him to win me over, even with him pulling another runner.  If not for that he wouldn't have seen what his ultimate problem was with not just his relationship with Rachel, but with everyone in his life that matters.

 Build: Burns Brothers Book 1, Gillian Archer

When Rachel heads up the mountain in the beginnings of a snowstorm it takes every ounce of courage she possesses to not turn around.  I admired her strength and understood her vulnerability.  As for her being a single mom, I truly feel what she felt because it was described with such heart.  The way she reacted to Austin's mistake was understandable, but it was beyond frustrating how she prolonged the agony and refused to see his selfless efforts to show what he was truly made of, that he could change for the better and was worth another chance.  I also got super annoyed by all the meddling, even if it eventually turned out alright, mostly because it was so constant and there was nothing really said that was poignant enough to let her think in silence about what was right in front of her.  Instead it was all thrust in front of her face and even I felt myself getting defensive on her behalf despite being on the meddler's side of things.

But when we get to their resolution I could forgive all that because it was so honest, sweet, and heartfelt.  I loved where they ended up and came to terms with how they got there.  Learning about Austin's brothers all along the way and especially at the end with how connected, forgiving, and supportive they all were, even with their own brand of attitude to rough up the softer feels, went a long way to keeping me invested in what's to come from this series.

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 Build: Burns Brothers Book 1, Gillian Archer
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 Build: Burns Brothers Book 1, Gillian Archer

Welcome to Bad@ss Builds where the motorcycles are as sexy as the brothers building them.

Austin Burns:
I thought she wasn’t real the first time I saw her. To be fair I was a hungover mess when I woke up and looked into her gorgeous eyes. After getting the second worst news of my life—that my father would be paroled soon—I’d escaped to my buddy’s posh cabin near Lake Tahoe. Now the maid with the gorgeous eyes is snowed in with me, and I wonder if she might be a better distraction than the mountain of booze I’d planned on drinking. She’s curvy in all the right places, and the snow is falling faster.

Rachel Tannenbaum:
As a single mom, I don’t have time for men, especially irresponsible tattooed bad boys like my ex. But Austin is hot. And sexy. And stuck here in the cabin with me. I can’t say no to a fling with this bad boy, especially since Austin is so gorgeous and awkwardly sweet.

One night becomes two, and I don’t know if I can risk my heart—and my little boy’s—if Austin wants it to become more when we get through the snow and back to reality.

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About Gillian Archer...

Gillian has a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering but prefers to spend her time on happily ever after. She writes the kind of stories she loves to read—the hotter the better!

When Gillian’s not pounding away on the keyboard, she can be found surfing the couch indulging in her latest reality tv fixation, baking something ridiculously tasty (and horrible for her waist line) or snuggling with her husband.

Home is currently in the wilds of Nevada with her amazing husband, ridiculously cute kiddo, and goofy dog.

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