Gone Too Deep

Gone Too Deep by Katie Ruggle

gone too deep

Overview by Publisher:

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder…

George Holloway has spent his life alone, exploring the treacherous beauty of the Colorado Rockies. He’s the best survival expert Search and Rescue has, which makes him the obvious choice to lead Ellie Price through deadly terrain to find her missing father. There’s just one problem-Ellie’s everything George isn’t. She’s a city girl, charming, gregarious, delicate, small. And when she looks up at him with those big, dark eyes, he swears he would tear the world apart to keep her safe.

With a killer on the loose, he may have no choice.

Ellie’s determined to find her father no matter the cost. But as she and her gorgeous mountain of a guide fight their way through an unforgiving wilderness, they find themselves in the crosshairs of a dangerous man in search of revenge. And they are now his prey…

You know what is really great?  When you like both the lead characters in a book.  When you find them intriguing and you are rooting for good things to happen to them.

This was the case with this book.  I really enjoyed Ellie’s conversion from city slicker to mountaineer.  Ellie drops everything in her life in Chicago (but to be fair, she wasn’t setting the world on fire) and races to a small town near Denver to find her mentally ill father.  She needs to hike to a remote cabin that belonged to her grandfather to get to her father and bring him back for medical attention.

She arrives in the small town of Simpson and right away meets a mountain man – George.  He was such a fascinating character!  Imagine an enormous man who never speaks.  He’s very good looking, but outrageously shy.  George could crush with his bare hands, but was gentle and kind.

George agrees to take Ellie hiking for three days to get to the cabin.  It’s winter weather and this is no pleasurable stroll through the woods.  Ellie is totally out of her element and is completely reliant on George.

We never really uncover why George is so silent.  He doesn’t do small talk or idle chit chat.  Slowly he begins to open up to Ellie, but is never a great conversationalist.  The intimacy of being together for three days and sharing a tent brings Ellie and George closer together.

I was worried that this book wasn’t going to have any ‘good parts.’  But don’t worry – George and Ellie don’t just spend time smooching in the woods.  There was a big surprise about George and the bedroom, but I won’t spoil it.  George is revealed to have deep feelings for Ellie and he’s the type that defines, ‘still waters run deep.’

This book is not just about a rescue mission.  Ellie’s father is involved in a situation with some dangerous men.  Things don’t go as planned and it allows George to look like the hero and Ellie to face her fears.  The action element makes the plot move quickly and it was really well paced and planned.

I found this to be a great book!  I definitely want to check out the other books in the series, as the other couples from previous books in the series make appearances in this one.

Rogue

Rogue by Michele Mannon

rogue

Overview by Publisher:

My lover is dead.

And they think I killed him.

I’m running rogue. Hell bent on both revenge and redemption. Whatever it takes, I’m going to finish a job that began nine months ago. An unauthorized assignment that turned horribly, devastatingly wrong. My miscalculation. My fault. My heart left shattered into incomplete pieces which will never wholly fit back together again.

But first I have to outsmart my former organization and the hired killer they’ve sent after me; a killer who knows my every move, who’s been inside my head, my heart, and my dreams.

I’m the traitor, Kylie. The rogue mercenary. Jaxson’s newest assignment. And this is our love story.

This was a great book!  It was a fast and furious plot with great action and a love story too.

Kylie is recruited to a covert military operation to help bring down a local mafia with ties to a shadow world power.  She wants revenge for the death of her beloved father and the terror the mafia has brought to her sleepy town.

She enters a strange world where she is tested and manipulated.  Her saving grace is the hot as hell Jaxson.  His flirting and winks set her heart fluttering while she is in a living hell.  Kylie undergoes intense training before she is to be given missions.  Think Fight Club.

The story starts with Kylie on the run.  We don’t know what happened to her and how Jaxson dies, but slowly the past is revealed as she is battling her way through France to complete her mission and avenge her lost love.

The chemistry between Kylie and Jaxson is fantastic!  I love characters that have tremendous charisma.  Jaxson has it in spades – sexy fighter, smart and a leader.  The minute he sets eyes on Kylie, he stakes his claim and declares it inevitable that they will be together.  Sure, it’s an alpha male move, but Jaxson makes it look so good.  He really is irresistible and you can completely understand why Kylie falls under his spell.

The book plays out like a Bourne movie – on the run, flashbacks and shadowy figures.  I really enjoyed the fast pace of the novel and how the past is revealed layer by layer.  Kylie is a very intriguing character and her motivations are fascinating.

 

Play

Play by Piper Lawson

play

Overview by Publisher:

I’m Payton Blake. A successful, balanced twenty-something living the dream. 
OK. So it’s a big-ass lie
I could be all of those things. If I had friends outside of work. And if I didn’t mainline watermelon slushies like they were a food group. It wouldn’t hurt if I’d had sex in the last year, either. (My best friend insists Jorge the Nightstand Boyfriend doesn’t count.) 
But when you know where you’re headed, who needs to enjoy the ride? Even if part of me longed for a steamy, between-the-sheets adventure, Max Donovan would be the last guy I’d call. 
Sure, he made the indie video game that broke the internet. His eyebrow piercing’s sexy, and fighting with him gets me off faster than Jorge on bezerker mode. But he’s arrogant. Presumptuous. Colder than a cactus and twice as prickly. 
None of it changes the fact that I crave Max Donovan like a watermelon slushy on a hot summer day. 
I should ignore him. But I can’t, because he just became my biggest client. And whether he’ll admit it or not, he needs me even more than I need him.
Game on, Max Donovan.

This book was SO fun!  I really enjoy Piper Lawson’s writing and this book is another winner!
I think what makes Piper such a great author is how she develops her characters.  Sure, the characters are well developed, but it’s the little additions that make them shine.  For instance, Payton loves watermelon.  It seems so simple and silly, but her obsession with all food flavoured with watermelon just make her adorable.

Payton has a career at a finance firm – to be totally honest I didn’t really understand her job.  She provides money and support for companies that need loans.  She spectacularly blows her meeting with the newest client and has to grovel to get the account.

That is our introduction to Max.  Video game genius, Max is not the typical billionaire book boyfriend.  He doesn’t spend hours working out with his personal kick boxing champion, nor have a penchant for kinky sex.  He’s a cute geek who is on the cusp of setting the gaming world on it’s head.

The smart mouth and cheeky Charlie is a revelation.  She is the co-worker that Payton calls her best friend.  Honestly, every scene with her was my favourite.  The saucy ways she torments the office stud to her brash and bolder than life personality made her so fun to read about.  There were subtle hints that she may have her own story told and let me say right now that I am first in line for her book – as long as her story doesn’t involve stupid Avery.

The romance between Payton and Max takes a while to develop as they are business associates and Max plays hot and cold.  The attraction is there, but they are reluctant to act upon it.  The will they/won’t they dynamic works well between these two characters because it’s realistic.

The good and juicy parts are well covered.  No fear of a sweet novel here.  Max knows his way around a woman’s body as well as the game controllers he wields.  Author Sarah McLean has said that a sex scene should bring conflict and be used to move the plot along.  Piper Lawson does this really well.  The dance of seduction between the two is exciting to read about and very fulfilling.

This book offers an interesting view into the world of computer games and how they are developed.  I particularly enjoyed the visit the duo takes to Comic Con in San Diego – if you have never been it describes the event really well!
Check out this new book by Piper Lawson for a great story!

 

Bella and the Beast

Bella and the Beast (A Cinderella Sisters Novel) by Olivia Drake

bella and the beast

Overview by Publisher:

OF ALL THE FABLED TREASURES
Bella Jones feels like a fish out of water in civilized England. Raised abroad by her explorer father, she’s amused by the very proper manners of the nobility. Nevertheless, to save her younger siblings from ruin, she must infiltrate a ducal household in order to find the map to an ancient treasure trove. Alas, the haughty, handsome duke stands in her way…unless she can tame his beastly temper, that is.

THE MOST PRECIOUS ONE IS LOVE
Miles Grayson, the Duke of Aylwin, prefers antiquities to, well, everything else. Especially prying females with their irksome questions. But Bella’s blue eyes and beguiling smile are improbably charming, and the temptation of her kiss is impossible to resist. As the pair is swept into a mystery that reaches back to their childhoods, Miles realizes that Bella has made the rarest discovery of all-the key to his heart…

I found this book on Netgalley and it has been published since November last year.  I am surprised that it was up now, as usually that means that a book hasn’t garnered enough attention since it was published.  This book is great and I am really happy that I was able to get a copy of it!

Bella and her siblings have arrived in Oxford after a lifetime spent travelling in the Middle East.  While they have a roof over their heads, they have nothing else.  Voila!  A fairy godmother appears in the guise of Lady Millford and helps Bella secure employment, along with a pair of ruby slippers to wear.

Bella finds employment with the Duke of Aylwin.  The gruff and disagreeable man takes her on as his employee to help with his vast collection of Egyptian artifacts for one reason – to find out what happened in the past.  Bella was only a child of 6 when she accompanied her parents on a dig of ancient pyramids in Egypt.  Miles and his father were also on the dig.  His father was murdered and Bella’s family fled the next day.  Miles longs for answers, so he agrees to let Bella stay and catalogue his collection.

Bella is truly remarkable!  It was so refreshing to read about a lady that didn’t simper and pretend she didn’t have a brain in her head.  She challenged Miles and had her own secrets that she guarded.  In one scene, she pulls a blade on him and it made me love her more.  While she is feisty, she’s not irritating or foolish as some unique characters are portrayed in books.

Miles definitely comes across as a beast.  He can be surly and at times downright rude.  He visits a courtesan one evening and upon his return to his palace, attempts to seduce Bella with the smell of sex still on him.  He was pretty arrogant and deserved to be brought down a peg or two.   But there are reasons that he acts like an ass.  He suffers from the ramifications of the dig in Egypt when he was only a young teenager.  It never excuses his behaviour, but I really enjoyed the fact that Bella was the first one to break through to him.

If you are like me, you always want to read the ‘good stuff’, you know, the sex stuff.  Bella and her beast do a great dance around each other.  The lust and attraction heats up.  Sometimes it flares in the middle of an argument or during a discovery of Bella’s memories.  I think what makes it so good is that Bella doesn’t know how to play coy.  She doesn’t have feminine wiles and considers herself ancient at the ripe age of 29.  Miles is a lusty man.  He wants Bella and prowls around his palace coming up with ways to seduce her.  Bella’s straightforward manner makes the sex scene pretty exciting.

I was so pleasantly surprised that this book was on Netgalley.  It was great and one that I definitely recommend!

 

 

Devil and the Deep

Devil and the Deep (A Deep Six Novel) by Julie Ann Walker

devil and the deep

Overview by Publisher:

A COVERT MISSION
Maddy Powers’s life revolves around cocktail parties, political fundraisers, and charity events – but she can’t forget the daring former SEAL who appropriated her father’s yacht a few months ago … or the scorching kiss they shared before he disappeared into the deep blue sea.

SPARKS A FLAMING DESIRE
Bran Pallidino carries a dark secret behind his lady-killer eyes – one that keeps him from pursuing a serious relationship with Maddy. But when she’s taken hostage during a trip to the Dry Tortugas, the men of Deep Six Salvage drop their treasure hunt for a sunken galleon and embark on a dangerous mission to save Maddy.

WITH EARTH-SHATTERING REPERCUSSIONS
As they fight her merciless kidnappers, they discover this isn’t a simple hostage situation, but something far more sinister. Passion boils between Bran and Maddy, but what good is putting their hearts on the line if they don’t survive the dawn?

This series features really hot former SEALs who are retired and hanging out treasure hunting in the Florida Keys.  Sun, sand and shirtless men hanging out on their own island?  Sign me up!

Bran saved Maddy Powers from a hostage situation on one of his last missions as a SEAL.  I couldn’t help but think of the last line in the Sandra Bullock-Keanu Reeves movie Speed:

“I have to warn you, I’ve heard of relationships based on intense experiences never work.”

Maddy and Bran somehow become email buddies, but there is a simmering tension between the two.  They share jokes and laughs, but also feelings as Bran helps Maddy deal with the aftermath of her kidnapping.

Maddy brings some girls to the Dry Tortuga Island, which is just a short trip away from Wairfair where Bran and the gang live.  Of course she is heading there to be closer to Bran.  I liked that Maddy was pretty much open about her motives.  It is such a girl move and I loved that!

Bran is intensely attracted to Maddy.  Amidst all the action, which I will get to in a minute, the author takes time to delve deeply into Bran’s fucked up childhood and the scars he carries.  I was surprised at the depth that went into developing his character considering how the rest of the book plays out.

So the whole book really takes place in one long day.  Maddy shows up at Dry Tortuga and just when Bran, Mason and Alex arrive, so do the bad guys.  It seems that Maddy’s troubles are not over.  The plot of the book takes place on the island where they shoot it up with the bad guys.  Lots of running, shooting and arguments between the men and the women.  I was seriously questioning how romance was going to fit into this.  As the reader you really need to suspend belief, because even after multiple shoot outs, an injured leg and attempted abduction, the characters are ready to get it on.  Foreplay for Maddy and Bran seems to involve barked orders and a machine gun.  If you can suspend belief, than it’s a fun ride with a lot of flirting and heavy looks.

The author has a very relaxed style of writing.  The euphuisms are constant and Maddy’s Texas drawl is heavily evident in the writing.  Sayings like, ‘Cheese on a cracker’ and lines from famous movies punctuate the dialogue frequently.  It takes a little while to get used to, but it definitely defines the characters.

This book worked really well for my imagination.  Hot, hazy summer night in the keys with heavily muscled and armed ex-SEALs running around chasing bad guys to save the ladies!

 

Bound Beneath His Pain

Bound Beneath His Pain (A Dirty Little Secrets Novel) by Stacey Kennedy

bound beneath his pain.png

Overview by Publisher:

Real estate mogul Micah Holt exerts absolute control over all aspects of his life. As a founding member of the Dominants Council that oversees San Francisco’s sex club scene, he keeps his dark side hidden away from the press, who will chase down any hint of scandal. He’s always in command of his world, careful to expose his closely guarded secrets only to those he knows he can trust. Then Allie Bennett shakes his legendary discipline. She’s beautiful, pure, untainted. But is Micah willing to sacrifice her innocence for his own selfish obsessions?
 
When that sexy smile makes her body burn, Allie tries with all her might to ignore it. For one thing, Micah’s her new boss. For another, he’s as complicated as he is devastatingly handsome. Still, Allie can only fight so much before she gives in to his dangerous games. She knows he’s got dark secrets. But when she discovers the true depth of his pain, Allie must decide how far she’s willing to go to light the way for love.

I really enjoyed this book!  Allie was a great character – strong and smart!  She meets the impressive Micah and hold her own.  While there may be some sub/dom content, Allie is definitely not submissive in the boardroom!

Allie’s character only became more likeable as the book progressed.  As the reader learns more about her, it is easy to be impressed.  Allie falls for Micah, but resists his allure because she isn’t interested in being part of the glamorous life of high society.  That takes a lot of backbone – as Micah even wonders why she denies what many women would jump at.  Allie just wants Micah.

Micah has some demons from the past (seriously though, what hot billionaire doesn’t these days?)  He worries that he is walking the same path with Allie and that messes with his head.  He stands at a precipice and must decide what he can live with and without.  I enjoy stories that have deep moral issues at the heart.

While Micah used to frequent sex clubs, he doesn’t with Allie.  The bedroom scenes between these two are very hot and this book is definitely for a mature audience.  Scorching hot and steamy, Micah and Allie have fantastic and electric chemistry.

Allie’s brother and her best friend feature heavily as secondary characters.  There is history between these two and it looks like the next book will feature them.  I will be picking up the next one in this series!  The book is well conceived and written.  The plot was charming at times and then sexy as hell.  This is what all billionaire contemporary novels should be like!

Wild Ride

Wild Ride (Wind Dragons MC Series) by Chantal Fernando

wild ride

Overview by Publisher:

Talon has a complicated relationship with the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club. He’s the president of their rival club, the Wild Men, but he’s also related to one of their members—who hates him. He could handle that, but he’s also got problems in his own club; someone is leaking information and disrupting their business, but Talon can’t find the mole. So the last thing he needs is even more complication in the form of a beautiful single mother who’s bolder than half the bikers on his squad. But he can’t take his eyes—or his hands—off her…

Tia’s always been a little reckless, up for a good time wherever she found it, but she’s also a great mom to her young son. So even though she thinks Talon is basically sex on a stick, when she realizes she wants to be more to him than just a club groupie, she has to take things a bit slow. Plus, a momentary attraction, no matter how smoking hot, isn’t worth risking her son’s happiness in any way. Is there any chance that Talon might be up for a more permanent arrangement? Or has Tia leapt before looking once again?

I am IN LOVE with this series!  It has inspired me to re-watch Sons of Anarchy when I am not reading!

I basically begged the author to get approved for a copy of this book!  I LOVED it!  I was slightly disappointed that it was a novella because I wanted MORE!

This series follows the Wind Dragon MC and the ladies that tame the wild men.  This book features secondary characters who have been highlighted in previous books.  Tia is friends with the Wind Dragons, but she can’t help but lust over Talon, who happens to be President of the Wild Men MC – a rival.

Tia is a single mom and struggles with wanting Talon and staying single for her son.  This was so relatable, especially since Talon doesn’t exactly have a normal life.  What is different about this book from the others in the series is that Talon’s MC is dangerous.  Tia challenges Talon at one point about going to his club house and he won’t let her because it isn’t safe with his brothers.

Talon is hung up on Tia, but like her he has reservations.  He worries about being involved with a single mom.  He has his hands full with the club and when the dead body of a member shows up in the clubhouse it’s a wake up call to him.

I really liked seeing the difference between the MC’s.  It seems like something bad is going to happen with the Wild Men.  I am totally wishing here – but I am hoping that the Wild Men will shut down and Talon will become a member of the Wind Dragons.  Talon is also protecting his cousin Shayla and the next book will feature Vinnie from the Wind Dragons!  Can’t wait!

If you haven’t heard of this series, but you like a bad boy on a bike – you NEED to pick up this series!

Lord of Deceit

Lord of Deceit (Heiresses Game, Book #2) by Sara Ramsey

lord of deceit

Overview by Publisher:

Thousands of readers have already fallen in love with the Briarleys — a family known for centuries of sin and scandal, now on the verge of extinction. In LORD OF DECEIT, Octavia Briarley continues the family tradition of revenge while fighting to reclaim her birthright — but in the Heiress Games, love doesn’t always follow the rules… 

Rule #1: Never give your heart to a rake… 

Octavia Briarley took society by storm during her debut season — until one disastrous night changed everything, and she was forced to become London’s most notorious courtesan. She’s already paid the price for trusting too easily, and she won’t make the same mistake again. But when she finally gets a chance to take revenge against the cousin who betrayed her, Octavia needs a willing partner for her schemes — someone charming, aristocratic, and devilish. The kind of man she might have married, in a different life. And the kind of man she absolutely can’t risk giving her heart to…. 

Rule #2: Never fall in love with the target… 

Lord Rafael Emmerson-Fairhurst survived as a spy in Spain through charm and subterfuge. In London, he uses those same skills to pursue justice against those who are above the law. His next mission is Lord Somerville — Octavia’s former patron. When Octavia asks Rafe to help sabotage her cousin’s house party, he can’t refuse. If he can destroy Somerville by using her…well, Rafe never claimed to be a saint, and he never promised to protect her. But he never expected Octavia to be quite so delightful — or quite so inexperienced, given her bold demands and reckless smile. And falling in love is a mistake he’s never made before…. 

Rule #3: Never ignore your destiny… 

As Rafe and Octavia set out to ruin the most illustrious house party of the summer, they discover that revenge can’t possibly compete with the pleasure they find in each other’s arms. Can an innocent courtesan and a broken charmer risk losing everything they ever wanted to seize the love they never expected to find? 

This is the second book featuring the Briarley’s.  I really enjoyed Duke of Thorns, so I was really excited to read this one!

Three Briarley ladies are in competition to inherit the estate.  A wild and bloodthirsty family, their deceased Grandfather chose to have the ladies battle it out for who will inherit, rather than naming an heir.  The invitations have been sent, the potential grooms have arrived, and now it is time for the games to begin.

Octavia is one of the most fascinating characters I have read about in a long time.  I loved her!  A simple kiss leads to a duel, the death of her brother and her fall from society.  Rather than grovel for acceptance and a pacifying marriage, she choses to become a mistress to a political Lord.  Not only is it unheard of for a young, unmarried miss to do this – it’s beyond scandalous!  Octavia’s cousin, Lucy, will have nothing to do with her now.

Octavia is a Briarley through and through.  She is bloodthirsty and manipulative – but utterly open about her intentions.  She needs a partner in crime and calls upon the charming Rafe to be her accomplice.  Nothing is how it appears – Rafe is actually a spy for the Crown and is after her former lover’s secrets so he can ruin him for rebuffing his sister.  So this is personal for Rafe, which is always a dangerous combination.

Rafe becomes Octavia’s partner in crime and it was so fun!  I loved how they bantered and flirted while plotting to disrupt the house party.  The hijinks were hilarious and Rafe is truly game to help Octavia.

While Octavia gave up being a debutante, she gained the opportunity to explore her sensuality and her brain. While a debutante’s conversation revolves around shopping trips and the weather, as a Madame of a salon, Octavia was at the centre of the political machinations of the day.  It was so wonderful to read about a character who is not a simpering miss, but a well read and astute politician in her own right.

Rafe and Octavia want each other.  It’s bad for business, but sometimes lust just can’t be denied.  Things get heavy between the two and Rafe learns Octavia’s deepest secrets, but not the ones he wants.  He is deeply conflicted about his intended betrayal of Octavia.  A physical relationship with her doesn’t make it any easier.

Octavia is also experiences a lot of conflict.  Her protector has let her go and she needs to figure out her situation.  She must face her ghosts from the past and determine what she wants for the future.  I loved this tension in the story.  Complications make a story great!  These characters deserve a complex plot as this isn’t the story of a young miss in the first blush of love.

I loved how the story ended.  I didn’t anticipate all the twists and turns that the author delivered.  Octavia and Rafe got the ending they deserved!

An Affair in Winter

An Affair in Winter (Seasons Series) by Jess Michaels

an affair in winter

Overview by Publisher:

Widow Rosalinde Wilde is on her way to her beloved sister’s wedding when an unexpected storm waylays her at an overcrowded inn. There she meets a tempting stranger who sweeps her into a night of unforgettable passion.

Grayson Danford never expected a night with the irresistible Mrs. Wilde, but she was a welcome distraction from the unpleasant duty of breaking up his brother’s impending nuptials. He’s shocked when he discovers his passionate lover is none other than the sister of his brother’s intended.

Now Rosalinde and Gray will butt heads, even as their simmering desire for each other threatens to boil over. Who will win? And who might lose it all?

You know what I love about Jess Michaels?  She writes steamy and hot romance novels.  When I read a review, I want to know that there is some action in the book.  It doesn’t need to be Fifty Shades of Grey level, but I am not into ‘sweet’ romances.  Jess Michaels book are interesting, well written AND erotically charged.

The Regency equivalent of a one night stand opens this sensual novel.  Rosalinde and Gray meet each other in a dingy inn, stranded by a snow storm.  Fate pushed them together and they take advantage of the opportunity.

But things are never that simple.  They find out that they are to be in-laws.  Gray’s brother and Rosalinde’s sister are the most unhappily engaged couple.  Gray was against the marriage before he had even met Celia, the bride-to-be and definitely before he knew that Rosalinde was her sister.  I love tangled situations like these!

The setting of the story also makes it so delicious!  Retiring to a country estate for the nuptials, it’s like a house party where sneaking around makes the illicit affair even more spicy.  Gray isn’t the only one with reservations.  Rosalinde had a horrible first marriage.  She wants her sister to marry for love – not because of expectations or bribery.  Rosalinde’s ruminations on her sister’s future compliment her own situation.  She is a passionate woman who lives life with her heart on her sleeve.  She sees the opportunity for a future with Gray, but the complications bring her down to reality.

Gray is a second son and a successful business man.  He has watched his parents and siblings live with the pain from failed relationships and I really loved how Jess Michaels explores his confusion about what he wants.

Of course, the book has great sensual and sexy moments.  I adore how she crafts excellent characters and emotions, but it’s a real strength how she develops the relationship through sex.  Rosalinde is so sensual and while she is a widow, she comes alive through Gray’s touch.

The story is really well balanced between the emotional responses of impending marriage, family obligations and desires.  It’s another hit for Jess!