Tag Archives: contemporary romance novel

Beautiful Mess

Beautiful Mess (Rock ‘n Ink Series) by Kasey Lane

Overview by Publisher:

When attorney Jami Dillon strides into the conference room to meet her new client, she’s stopped in her tracks by an all-too familiar figure. Jackson Paige. He’s her tall, tattooed, and sexy as hell hook up from law school-who also broke her heart.

Hell’s bells.
Jackson Paige was, in fact, Jax Pain, the drummer of Manix Curse.
That thing in Jami’s chest tightened, making it hard to breathe.

Jackson Paige, aka Jax Pain, has worked hard to put that unfor-frickin-gettable fling behind him and the nasty secret that made him leave her. Truth is, life as the playboy drummer of Portland’s hottest metal band hasn’t helped him to forget the fiery, sexy woman who stole his heart. Lucky for him, Jami was just hired as his band’s new attorney. But when he sees the look on her face when she realizes who her new client is, Jax wonders if maybe being this close to her again isn’t such a great idea. The explosive chemistry is there, but so are the dark secrets…

Look at this cover!!!  How could I resist this book?!  The model that portrays Jax is hot, hot, hot!  I know you aren’t supposed to judge a book by it’s cover, but this one definitely got my attention!

Jax and Jami have a past together that didn’t end well.  Things have changed and they get a second chance.  It’s how that second chance unwinds that is so interesting and yes, hot!

Jax gave up law school so that he could persue what he really wanted – being a tattoo artist and being in a band.  Jami however, followed the path that was prescribed for her by her horrible parents.  She became a lawyer and works in a firm that she doesn’t like.

What makes this book work for me was how the story isn’t just about Jax and Jami and sex.  It’s about the evolution of Jami and how she starts to actually live.  We see it through her interactions with her brother Mason, her challenging relationship with her parents and the second chance she gets with Jax.

While Jax feels confident in the choices he has made, he never forgot Jami and how their relationship ended.  This book deals with ‘second chances’ realistically.  The same problems that caused issues to begin with are still there and they have to deal with them.  They also have really hot sex!

A fun read!  I definitely liked seeing buttoned up Jami fall for the tattooed bad boy Jax all over again!

 

ICED

ICED box set by Veronica Forand and Susan Scott Shelley

Iced

Have you ever read a book and start to think that you may have read this before?  At least you hope that you have, otherwise you are reading something that pulls from other material.

That’s what happened when I read this box set!  I realized that I have read one of the stories previously!  BUT – it was a story that I really enjoyed so it was a pleasure to read it again and fall in love with the characters one more time.

Both books featured are hockey themed books.  They feature the players from the Atlantic City Hustlers, which is a team of amazing hockey guys!  I have been a fan of Veronica Forand for a while and this was my first introduction to Susan Scott Shelley.  If you are appreciative of the sport and the hot men who give it their all on the ice, you really need to get to know these authors.  This is a great box set to get started with and then you can devour the rest of the series!

Crossroads

Crossroads (Wind Dragons MC Series) by Chantal Fernando

crossroads

Overview by Publisher:

Ranger is at a crossroads: he has a chance to leave the motorcycle club and do something else with his life—but he keeps getting dragged back. When the Wind Dragons Motorcycle Club asks for his help, Ranger agrees, not only because it is hard to say no to them, but also because he has a vested interest.

A woman is missing.

And Ranger knows her.

The Wind Dragons aren’t the only ones hoping this girl can be found—on the hunt is Johanna Chase, a stubborn detective who won’t give up until the missing woman is found safe. She needs Ranger to navigate the underground world of motorcycle clubs, and immediately, sparks fly. Ranger fights the attraction. He has no plans on going there, no matter how beautiful and badass she is. A biker and a cop? Ridiculous.

But the two of them soon realize that they’re in way over their heads, and now they have to trust each other in order to save her. With the WDMC and the police force at their back, it should be no problem, right?

Chantal Fernando has become one of my favourite authors recently.  I will read anything she writes.  I have a particular fondness for the Wind Dragons MC series.  Take all the cool elements of Sons of Anarchy and mix in guys who love their women.  While they may be badasses, they are faithful and good men.

Ranger is new the MC. He switched after his former club went down in flames.  Ranger is struggling to find his place.  He doesn’t have the ties like his buddy Talon (another great book).  He is asked by resident badass Faye to investigate a missing persons case.  It turns out that Ranger knows the woman in question and he agrees.

Ranger meets the cop he has to work with, Johanna.  From the start there are enough sparks to burn down the house.  While they are investigating Elizabeth’s disappearance, the lines between law enforcement and criminal are blurred.  This leads to some delicious and seriously sexy scenes.  Ranger is like sex on a stick.  He’s super smart, hot and alpha male.  He plays havoc with Jo’s hormones and she can’t resist the temptation he offers.

What works so well is the emotional consequences of their relationship.  They have to deal with Elizabeth and her girlish crush on Ranger and also with the reality of a cop and biker dating.  Chantal Fernando has that magic touch.  She writes characters that you really care about.  You are giddy with excitement when they connect, are heartbroken when they experience problems and relieved when they get their happily ever after.

This is the final book in the series (I think) and if you haven’t read this series, you really need to!  Even if you aren’t into motorcycle clubs, the men and ladies of the Wind Dragons are more than just bikes and bad behaviour.  They have depth and love breathed into them by the author.  This book was the perfect ending to the best series!

Falling For the Bad Girl

Falling For the Bad Girl (The Cutting Loose Series) By Nina Croft

falling-for-the-bad-girl

Overview by Publisher:

As a second generation detective, Nathan Carter is a cop, through and through, one who definitely sees things in black and white. But his work ethic—and libido—are thrown off balance when he heads up the case against jewel thief, Regan Malloy. Because with one sizzling look, she’s got him hot and hard. And he’s been that way, ever since.

Growing up, Regan’s favorite hobby was learning to crack safes, and she was very, very good at it. Still, she’d always tried to keep to the straight and narrow, and only strayed when she believed a friend was in desperate straits. Now she’s out of prison and starting over. If only she could forget that she’d spent the last three years fantasizing about the stunningly gorgeous detective who locked her away.

It’s inevitable that they meet up again—in bars, hotels…and hotel beds. Despite their differences, they can’t keep their hands off each other. Still, it’s just desire. If they give it enough time, it’ll burn itself out. Because a good boy and a bad girl can’t possibly make it work. Can they? 

It’s interesting what our preconceived notions are.  When I read the blurb on this book and began reading it, it tool me by surprise that the story is set in London, England.  I was expected Boston or New York.  It was a good jolt to remind me as the reader not to make assumptions.

In this case, I was wise not to jump to any conclusions.  This story could have been so trite and surface level, but thankfully it wasn’t.  Instead what I found was a complex and layered story that had two really interesting characters at the heart of it.

Nathan and Regan should have been enemies.  He is a detective and she’s from a criminal family.  In fact, he put her in jail.  But something simmers between them.  It’s so strong that Nathan waits the three years until Regan is released to find her again.

What starts out as strange and somewhat revenge sex, turns into more.  We get to know Regan and the hopes and dreams she had.  The author doesn’t dwell more than necessary on her time in jail, but rather focuses on Regan’s future.  Nathan is a complex man.  He is full of contradictions, yet is focused on his goals.

I found myself really enjoying this story and desperate to know if the thief and the cop can make it work!

Love Story

Love Story (Love Unexpectedly) by Lauren Layne

love-story

Overview by Publisher:

When Lucy Hawkins receives a job offer in San Francisco, she can’t wait to spread her wings and leave her small Virginia hometown behind. Her close-knit family supports her as best they can, by handing over the keys to a station wagon that’s seen better days. The catch? The cross-country trip comes with a traveling companion: her older brother’s best friend, aka the guy who took Lucy’s virginity hours before breaking her heart.

After spending the past four years and every last dime caring for his sick father, Reece Sullivan will do just about anything to break free of the painful memories—even if it means a two-week road trip with the one girl who’s ever made it past his carefully guarded exterior. But after long days of bickering in the car turn into steamy nights in secluded motel rooms, Reece learns that, when it comes to Lucy, their story is far from over. And this time, they just might have a shot at a happy ending.

I was so thrilled to find out that a new Lauren Layne book came out!  I have a serious crush on her books.  They all feature sexy and witty dialogue, amazing characters and terrific plot.  The Oxford and Stiletto series are just spine tingling good, so I had expectations for this new book.

She did not disappoint!  This book can be read without reading any of her previous works, but really, if you haven’t read any Lauren Layne you are missing out!  This story features so  many tropes that work really well.  Reunited lovers, first love, enemies to lovers, this story has it all!

The story is told from alternating perspectives, which is something that the author does really well.  I find it hard at times when a male perspective is presented by a female author because it doesn’t always go well.  Never fear!  In this story, Reece’s frustrations, energy and thoughts leap off the page and make the story well rounded.

Reece and Lucy grew up almost as siblings.  Reece, a year older and best friends with her brother, has wanted Lucy for a long time.  Three weeks before she leaves for college, they finally hook up.  Things don’t end well and they both nurture deep seeded grudges that make the two week car trip to California sheer torture.  Once again, the brilliance of the author shines in this story by the method of how she reveals what happened in the past.  Every few chapters, we get a glimpse of Reece and Lucy as children and as teenagers and slowly learn more about what happened for them to go from love to hate.  It is such an effective tool that it kept me hooked the whole time I was reading.

You know a book is good when you start it and don’t put it down until it’s done.  It was so clear that Lucy and Reece were meant for each other.  Their snipes and digs at each other just ratcheted up the ferocious attraction between them.  Both characters have flaws which makes them believable and relatable, but still immensely likable.

Sexy scenes?  Check.  Witty, biting dialogue?  Check.  Great plot?  Check.

Mr. President

Mr. President (White House Book 1)by Katy Evans

mr-president

Overview by Amazon:

He’s won the hearts of millions. But is he willing to lose his?

I met the president’s son when we were both young. Matthew Hamilton was handsome, polished, and intelligent. I’d never met a guy like him.

He promised me that he’d never run for president. I promised that if he did, I’d be by his side.

Three terms later, an invitation to join Matthew Hamilton’s campaign is the most exhilarating opportunity I’ve ever experienced. I’m determined to make a difference; he is determined to win.

Focused on his goal, Matt is steadfast, ruthless, and disarming. All eyes are on him and his popularity is surging. But soon, the next possible president of the United States is possessing me in more ways than one—and despite the risks, I’m helpless to resist.

We’re stealing touches, stealing moments, and stealing away at night. But our chemical connection is quickly becoming dangerously combustive, putting not only my heart, but Matt’s chance at the presidency on the line.

Winning will take everything. Walking away will be the hardest thing of all.

This book came out in the fall.  I must have been so wrapped up in the reality show of the campaign for President that I missed this book.  To be honest, I found this book hard to read at times.  It was nothing to do with the writing or the story.  It was a sadness because we are not living in normal times.  This book was like an alternative reality where the good guys win and the government isn’t a kakistocracy or kleptocracy.

What works well in this book is the writing.  Katy Evans alternates point of view which is very effective for understanding the relationship between Matt and Charlotte.  Charlotte has admired Matt and his father, the former president for years.  It would be so easy for this book to have transgressed into Fifty Shades of Grey territory with the ‘inner goddess’ subconscious comments.  Charlotte’s girlish remembrances are used effectively to further the plot and her commitment to the campaign, rather than detract from the story.

In my mind, I saw Matt like JFK Jr.  A charismatic and charming leader who is unfailing in his energy, passion and love of country.  Running as an Independent candidate, his bachelor status makes almost as much news as his platform.

Charlotte is the daughter of a Democrat Senator.  She is from the appropriate pool of women that Matt should be dating from, yet he remains single.  Many hot looks and late nights at the campaign office turn Matt and Charlotte into more than work colleagues and former children of politicians.  I totally enjoyed how they had to sneak around to be together and find moments alone to have some pretty passionate encounters.

What also works in this book is the campaign trail.  With the recent election so fresh for the world, the nuances of primaries, debates and campaign speeches, it was not foreign to read about it.  Anyone who watches the news knows how grueling the campaign trail can be and this book really highlights the rigors and stresses of the job.

There is a second book in the series, which I have not read yet, but will be getting to as soon as possible!  This book was really enjoyable and make me wistful for a man like Matt in the White House.

Endurance: A Sin Series Story

Endurance:  A Sin Series Story by Georgia Cates

endurance

Overview by Amazon:

I’m a doctor. Mobster. Killer.
My hands are covered in filth. I don’t have the right to touch anything as clean and pure as Ellison MacAllister.

I distance myself … always remaining obscure, composed, restrained.
Careful to never allow my eyes to linger too long.
Careful to hide my interest.
Careful to keep my burning desire buried beneath the surface.

I do it for her—suffer in silence—because it’s what is best for the woman I love.
And she has no idea.

She’ll be initiated as a Fellowship member soon. One of my mafia brothers will go through endurance so he’ll earn the right to claim her.
Make her his wife.
Kill. Me. Slowly.

I’m running out of time. Only a month remains before she’s beyond my reach forever.
I want to taste her. Share sleepless nights. Ride out her storm.
I want to give her the kind of nights she will still feel between her legs the next morning.
I want us to share the kind of passion that forms on our skin and drips down to saturate the sheets.
Between the sweat and the moans and the messy hair, I want her to know how hard she’s been loved.

To have her is to taint her.
I should stay away. But I won’t. I can’t.
I’m a selfish bastard.
A selfish bastard in love.

I am deeply disappointed that I didn’t realize this book was out.  I have adored Georgia Cates’ writing and the Sin Series and was hoping for another book about the Scottish Mafia, The Fellowship.  I probably shouldn’t be to surprised that I missed this release as it came out November 11th, which was a few days after the US election and the whole world was reeling.

However, I found it and am grateful.  You don’t need to read the three books featuring Sin and Bleu before reading this book, but I highly recommend it.  The Sin Series features the story of Sinclair, the heir to the Fellowship mafia organization.  Bleu has infiltrated the organization with the mind to kill Sin’s father as retribution.  It’s a fascinating series set in modern day Scotland with lots of sex, violence and danger.

This story is about Jamie and Ellison.  Jamie is Sin’s best friend and the doctor for the Fellowship. This is how he has chosen to serve instead of being a fighter.  He’d rather save lives than take them.  He has met Ellison, as she is Bleu’s sister from America.  She has been hidden away from the Fellowship until Sin is ready to initiate her into the family.  A man, a brother, must step up and take responsibility for Ellison.  It sounds so old fashioned, but the rules of the Fellowship are fascinating.

Ellison is a nurse.  She has no family left and has moved to Scotland to be with Sin, Bleu and the babies.  If you have read the Sin Series, you will love spending more time with all the characters from the previous books.  Ellison is beyond frustrated with Jamie.  They make a great team, if only he could see it.

Jamie desperately wants Ellison, but he worries for her safety as he won’t always be around to protect her due to his role as doctor.  He has reason to worry as the women of the Fellowship are often targeted by their enemies.  Ellison doesn’t care and embarks on a month long fling with Jamie hoping that he will change his mind.

That is what makes this book so good.  We spend the month watching Jamie and Ellison work as a team in the Fellowship infirmary and also as lovers.  They are falling hard and fast, yet as the reader you have no idea how things will end up.  Georgia Cates is one of those great authors who isn’t afraid to take the plot to places you didn’t expect.

I really enjoyed this book and was beyond excited to find out that Jamie’s sister, Westlyn would be getting her own book very soon.  I have high hopes that Leith and Lorna will get their happily ever after as well.  This series and Endurance are must reads if you like contemporary romance novels and men with Scottish accents.

Roman

Roman (A Cold Fury Novel) by Sawyer Bennett

roman

Overview by Publisher:

In a league full of troublemakers, Cold Fury defenseman Roman Sýkora stands out—at least when it comes to negative publicity. When he’s not chilling in the penalty box, the sizzling Czech skate demon is racking up tabloid headlines for his scandalous behavior with the ladies. But now Roman’s feeling the burn from management to clean up his act, or else. Luckily he’s got an enticing distraction: a fun-loving barista who plays the ukulele and brings out a side of Roman he didn’t know he had.

Lexi Robertson came to Raleigh, North Carolina, to finally meet her father, Brian Brannon, and her half sister, Gray, both of whom work in the Cold Fury’s front office. That’s where she first meets sexy, intimidating Roman—who’s really a big softie at heart. As one relationship takes off, another begins: Brian seems to be clicking with Lexi’s boss at the coffee shop. But when the friction between Roman and her new family heats up, Lexi wonders whether she’s a pawn in their game. Feeling hurt and foolish, Lexi’s ready to quit while she’s ahead. Trouble is, Roman’s not ready to quit on her.

I adore this series by Sawyer Bennett.  Well, to be honest, I adore ALL books by her!  This book was another hit for the Cold Fury Series!

Roman is one of the bad boys of sport.  He plays hard, he parties hard and he pushes the limits.  His boss is trying to reign him in and threatens him with a trade if he doesn’t change his bad boys ways.

What is different about this book is that the Brannon family is featured heavily.  We meet Lexi as she is telling Brian Brannon, the owner of Cold Fury, that she is his long lost daughter.  We get the perspectives of Lexi, Roman and Brian in this book.

Lexi is searching for family.  While Brian accepts her right away, her new half sister Grey, is a harder sell.  The family dynamics are fascinating and I really enjoyed seeing Brian find love for a second time.  For those who loved Ryker and Grey’s story, there is a lot of time spent with them in this book.

Lexi is a free spirit.  She works at a coffee shop, plays the ukulele, and dresses how she likes.  She isn’t after the Brannon money, she just wants family.  Lexi meets Roman at the start of the book and the sparks fly.  She likes her men on the bad side and Roman fits that bill.

The relationship between Lexi and Roman is a good fit.  Roman is a loner.  He needs someone like Lexi to give him a chance at a real relationship.  The romance is going all well until Lexi’s new family interferes, which creates some great dramatic moments and pushes the relationship along.  The two of them have incredible sex – not surprising since Roman is as intense in the bedroom as he is on the ice and Lexi’s free spirit extends to her sex life.  This is one of Sawyer Bennett’s great strengths.  She writes loves scenes that are titillating but also emotional.  Each time the characters slide between the sheets, it furthers the plot and the evolution of the relationship.

If you like hockey and contemporary romance novels – you HAVE to check out this series!  The next character Luc was briefly introduced and I was so relieved there would be another book in this series!

Going for the Goal

Going for the Goal (The Perfect Play Series) by Sara Rider

going-for-the-goal

Overview by Publisher:

Sara Rider returns with the third book in the Perfect Play series—a fast-paced, icy hot romance featuring a sports agent fighting an attraction to the NHL’s bad boy…and his ability to melt her heart.

In this perfect book for romance and sports fans, professional sports agent Jillian Nichols knows how to play the game to get what she wants. But admitting to what she needs has always been a challenge. Will she ever let her guard down long enough to let someone in? Or will the bad boy hockey player Nick “the Punisher” Salinger have to fight harder than ever for a chance to win her heart?

It’s hockey season in North America.  We desperately need this distraction and I would much rather read a hockey book than watch the game on tv!

This book was great!  It has all the things you want in a contemporary sports romance novel.  Jillian is a sports agent in an industry that is almost exclusively male.  I really adore when the character is strong and principled in their beliefs.  She is the ultimate feminist – fighting for what she believes.  The story takes place at a time in her life when she is at crossroads in her career and struggling to find her place.

After a chance encounter with Nick years ago, they get another shot.  Nick needs an agent to help him stay with the team he loves.  He puts his trust in Jillian and follows all her rules.  What works so well is that we really get to know Nick – not just the brute hockey player.  The author skillfully reveals his layers to the reader and my respect and admiration for the character grew as the story progressed.

The struggle between Jillian and Nick is not just agent and player.  They are battling intense attraction between them.  Jillian wants Nick, but she has professional boundaries that she doesn’t want to cross.  This creates some great tension and drama between the two and for the reader, it makes for some outrageously sexy scenes.

I think what I enjoyed so much about this book was learning about Nick.  How gentle and kind he could be under the tough exterior.  I adored his sense of justice and how bewildered he could be by courting Jillian.  There are some really awesome scenes in the book that make this a must read!

Enforcer’s Pride

Enforcer’s Pride (Demon Horde Series) by Sarah Hawthorne

enforcers-pride

Overview by Publisher:

A man looking for redemption 

Colt spent eight months in prison for trusting the wrong woman, nearly bringing down his entire motorcycle club in the process. Now he needs to fix the MC’s cash flow problems or watch the only family he’s ever known fall apart. 

Meeting Krista wasn’t part of his mission. 

Falling for her could mean his destruction.  

A single mom trying to get by 

Krista was ready to leave hooking behind when her ex cleaned out her bank account. Stuck working to provide for her daughter, she protects herself with one rule: never get involved with someone at the club. 

Not that she wants to. Sex has become a job, a means to an end. 

One night together as an escape 

Krista’s body wakes at Colt’s touch, allowing her to imagine a life after the MC. A future. A happily-ever-after, if only briefly. Krista brings out feelings in Colt he forgot could exist. But just as he begins to trust again, Krista’s truth is revealed—testing the very boundaries of Colt’s jealousy and faith.

So….this was a different book!  I was surprised, because to be honest, I didn’t really read the whole blurb when I requested this book on Netgalley.  I just saw *BIKER* and clicked YES!

What an experience.  This book was really worthwhile.  It was the first time I have read a book at a woman who is sex worker.  We all think we understand why women work in the sex trade, but to read a story about a woman who you get to know, makes it personal.

Krista is a single mom.  She works as a bartender at the biker club and sleeps with the members on the side.  She is a great mom and has put herself through school.  Since she got pregnant at age 16, she is a statistic that society doesn’t care about.

The author makes it so easy to slip into Krista’s world and understand her life.  It doesn’t mean that it is easy to read about her work.  What I appreciated as the reader was that Krista’s life and work was not romanticized, nor glamourized.  She didn’t like being a stripper or prostitute.

Krista meets Colt when he beats up her dead beat baby Daddy-meth head.  He takes an immediate interest.  For Krista it was the first time in a very long time that she felt actual attraction.  He made her feel alive.  That is so liberating and was exciting to read about.  However, misunderstanding abound and the two are on and off and on and off.

There is a purpose for Colt being in Tacoma.  He is about to patch over the club, but has to find who is skimming off the club books.  I really enjoyed this sub plot.  It was an interesting story of the dynamics of biker clubs and the investigation allowed more time to get to know Colt.

The sex is quite prevalent throughout the story.  As a reader, I was able to clearly distinguish between the work Krista did and the emotional moments she had with Colt.  I found this to be an interesting and thought provoking story to read.