Thursday, December 31, 2015

Best Books of 2015

The clock is ticking down to 2016, and with it comes a slew of books I cannot wait to read. But before I dive into what’s coming, it’s time to take a look back at the books of 2015. I read 169 books this year, some great, some incredible, and (fortunately) only a few that I don’t care to revisit. I tried 65 new (to me) authors, and once again found some amazing authors whose books I cannot do without (Lilah Pace is now an autobuy author and I will definitely be glomming up Jeanette Murray and Amanda Weaver’s backlists). And finally, I participated in my sixth A to Z Reading Challenge, a fun challenge that usually leads me to at least a couple of books I might not have moved to the top of my TBR pile otherwise.

I read a number of excellent books this year, but I did manage to narrow the list down so I could spotlight the best of the best that I read in 2015:

Top Fifteen Books of 2015
Top Re-Reads of 2015

My Top Fifteen Books of 2015

Note: My picks weren’t all published in 2015 (two are even January 2016 releases), but all were new-to-me reads for the year.
Also note: The books are alphabetized by title as I love them all equally

1. Asking for It (Asking for It, Book 1) by Lilah Pace
My Review | Buy Link

2. Begging for It (Asking for It, Book 2) by Lilah Pace
My Review | Buy Link

3. Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, Book 1) by J.R. Ward
My Review | Buy Link

The Deal Cover 4. The Deal (Off-Campus, Book 1) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Buy Link

Dearest Rogue Cover 5. Dearest Rogue (Maiden Lane, Book 8) by Elizabeth Hoyt
My Review | Buy Link

Grave Phantoms Cover 6. Grave Phantoms (Roaring Twenties, Book 3) by Jenn Bennett
My Review | Buy Link

Ink and Bone Cover 7. Ink and Bone (The Great Library, Book 1) by Rachel Caine
My Review | Buy Link

Obsession in Death Cover 8. Obsession in Death (In Death, Book 40) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link

Off the Clock Cover 9. Off the Clock (Pleasure Principle, Book 1) by Roni Loren
My Review | Buy Link (*2016 release*)

Playing Knotty Cover 10. Playing Knotty by Elia Winters
My Review | Buy Link

Rock Chick Cover 11. Rock Chick (Rock Chick, Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
My Mini-Review | Buy Link

Rock Chick Redemption Cover 12. Rock Chick Redemption (Rock Chick, Book 3) by Kristen Ashley
My Mini-Review | Buy Link

The Score Cover 13. The Score (Off-Campus, Book 3) by Elle Kennedy
My Review | Buy Link (*2016 release*)

Shards of Hope Cover 14. Shards of Hope (Psy-Changeling, Book 14) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link

This Book Will Change Your Life Cover 15. This Book Will Change Your Life by Amanda Weaver
My Review | Buy Link

My Top Re-Reads of 2015

Aidan and Ethan Cover 1. Aidan & Ethan (Seeking Redemption, Book 1) by Cameron Dane
Buy Link

Devil in Winter Cover 2. Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, Book 3) by Lisa Kleypas
Buy Link

Festive in Death Cover 3. Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
My Review | Buy Link

Slave to Sensation Cover 4. Slave to Sensation (Psy-Changeling, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
My Review | Buy Link

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

The Score by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus, Book 3
Publisher: Elle Kennedy
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 11, 2016
Source: Author
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Elle Kennedy Reading Order

He knows how to score, on and off the ice
Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over
Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

Like its hero, The Score should come with a warning: too sexy for words. Elle Kennedy has pulled off a hat trick – this third Off-Campus novel is as swoon-worthy, funny, and utterly addictive as The Deal and The Mistake.

I’ll be honest, going into The Score I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Dean. I knew from the first two Off-Campus books that he was cocky, brazenly sexual, and fun to read about, but I wondered if he had the makings of a good hero. I shouldn’t have doubted Ms. Kennedy for a second. Dean isn’t just a good hero, he’s a great one. The first two books in the series only show the tip of the iceberg, the face Dean shows to the world. He is shameless, loves sex, is funny, and “Confidence” could be one of his middle names. But he’s also extremely smart, self-aware, honest, and has an incredibly big heart. He has a liveliness that simply springs off the page and yes, he practically oozes sensuality, but it’s the way he wholeheartedly cares for people – and how he shows he cares without even seeming to realize it – that sealed the deal for me.

It takes a strong heroine to hold her own on the page when the hero is Dean, and Allie is definitely up to the task. She’s incredibly talented, hardworking, and funny – the kind of heroine you would love to be friends with. She’s at a crossroads in her life when she first hooks up with Dean, and I loved watching her find her way and grab hold of her future over the course of the story. It may be a spur-of-the-moment hookup that brings Dean and Allie together, but it’s clear from the start (to readers, if not to the characters themselves) that these two have the potential to go the distance. Their chemistry, banter, and emotional connection made the pages of the story fly by. And watching Allie and Dean bring out the best in each other and grow both as individuals and as a couple was fantastic. As a pair, they’re by turns sweet, hilarious, and heartwarming. It also would be an absolute crime not to mention their erotic connection. Because The Score is off-the-charts hot, with Dean and Allie steaming up the page right and left like nobody’s business.

The Score is both a sexy-as-sin romance and story about growing up, and the two elements blend seamlessly thanks to Ms. Kennedy’s talent. Dean and Allie face serious obstacles and real life issues that aren’t easy to handle. What makes the story work is that they don’t always handle things perfectly. Allie and Dean are flawed, and they recognize that, which makes them endearing and interesting. I can’t say more without spoiling the story, so suffice it to say that there’s not a storyline in this book that isn’t compelling. On a lighter note, it would be remiss of me not to mention Dean’s roommates, Garrett, Logan, and Tucker, along with Allie’s best friend, Hannah. The secondary characters light up the page even more, adding more heart and a number of moments that made me grin. I dare fans of the series old and new not to be charmed by our favorite Briar students. Add in a curveball involving Tucker that I did not see coming and it’s a guarantee that I’m not going to be the only reader who can’t wait to read the next Off-Campus book. While I wait, I’m more than happy to fall in love with Allie and Dean all over again with multiple re-reads of The Score.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Review: Stealing the Bachelor by Sonya Weiss

Stealing the Bachelor by Sonya Weiss
Series: Stealing the Heart, Book 3
Publisher: Entangled: Bliss
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781633754096
Release Date: January 11, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

She needs his help, but he has a price…

Having missed out on the "drop-dead-gorgeous" gene in her family, Ann Snyder decides to kick a little butt in the business world instead. That is, until her skeezy manager's "side business" has the FDA raiding her chocolate shop. Now Ann's in huge trouble…and the only person who can help her is the adorkable guy who completely humiliated her in high school.

Lawyer Eric Maxwell has been in love with Ann as long as he can remember. He figured he never stood a chance-don't the beautiful girls always prefer the bad boys to the nerds? So he makes Ann a deal. He'll provide her with free legal services...if she'll move in and help transform him from nerd-without-a-clue to bona fide bad boy.

And once the transition is complete, all he has to do is prove that he's the only bachelor for her…

Stealing the Bachelor hits the ground running and never loses its energy. Sonya Weiss’s third Stealing the Heart story is fast-paced, fun, and too cute for words.

When Ann finds herself in a world of legal trouble after trusting the wrong man, she turns to the only person who can keep her out from behind bars: Eric Maxwell, local attorney and the guy who embarrassed her in high school. What Ann doesn’t know is that Eric has been head-over-heels in love with her for years, but he never seems to say the right thing around her. Eric’s happy to help Ann out of her bind, but he also knows this is his once chance to get Ann to notice him. So he proposes a trade: he’ll provide her with free legal services if she’ll help him go from geeky good guy to sexy bad boy – aka the kind of guy Ann has always gone for.

Stealing the Bachelor has a fun premise, and it works for the most part, thanks in large part to Eric. Ms. Weiss has definitely created a swoon-worthy hero in him, and it’s clear from the start there’s no reason for him to change. He’s smart, sexy, has a giving heart, is adorably geeky but not overly so, and is completely gone over Ann. What’s keeping them apart is a series of misunderstandings, and this is where Stealing the Bachelor falters. It’s tricky to have a story where what’s keeping the heroine and hero apart is a misunderstanding that could easily be cleared up by a simple conversation, and the lack of communication between Ann and Eric was a bit frustrating at times. Where the story also faltered was its fast pace. The book moved so quickly that certain plotlines weren’t as fleshed out as I’d have liked, which lead to obstacles appearing and disappearing without warning. Still, I cannot deny that even with these issues I was charmed by the story overall. Ann and Eric made me smile more than once and I was happy to get swept up in their love story. I haven’t yet read the first two Stealing the Heart books, but I definitely will be picking up Stealing the Groom and Resisting Her Rival soon.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Review: New Leaf by Catherine Anderson

New Leaf by Catherine Anderson
Series: Mystic Creek, Book 2
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780451418357
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

When Taffeta Brown was viciously betrayed by her wealthy husband, she lost everything—including custody of their daughter, Sarah. Now that Taffy has moved to Mystic Creek, Oregon, to start over, she unexpectedly meets the one man who might help her get Sarah back.

Barney Sterling, a local lawman, finds himself drawn to the lovely, guarded Taffy, but he’s stunned by her proposition—that they marry immediately to improve her chances of regaining custody of her daughter. Barney takes marriage too seriously to commit himself to a woman he hardly knows. Yet soon his sympathies fall with the desperate Taffy, and pretending to be in love becomes the easiest part of the plan. But they have no idea what they’re up against, or what they’re willing to risk to make a miracle come true in Mystic Creek.

Taffeta Brown has moved to Mystic Creek in order to rebuild her life and regain custody of her daughter. She has no interest in attracting attention and having her past come to light, so when handsome deputy Barney Sterling catches her eye, she decides to keep her interactions with him strictly in the realm of nighttime fantasies. Then a late-night noise complaint throws her in Barney’s path and suddenly she has his attention. It’s then that Taffeta decides to change her plan of action. She needs help to get her daughter back and who better to assist her than a lawman with a sterling reputation? Taffeta proposes a marriage of convenience to improve her chances and repair her reputation, and to her surprise, Barney agrees. But somewhere along the line, what starts as a marriage-in-name-only begins to feel all too real…

New Leaf is a somewhat difficult book for me to review. On the one hand, it’s sweet and charming, featuring characters who are nearly perfect. On the other hand, there’s something just slightly off about the central characters and their actions that kept me from enjoying the story. To start, everyone in the story reads far, far older than the author tells readers they are. It makes sense in some ways for Taffeta, who has lived a hard life and thus would be more mature than her years. Barney, however, shocked me when I learned he was under thirty. When you add in the fact that the main characters – all born and raised Oregonians – speak like they’re from the South, it’s impossible not to be pulled out of the story by the characters’ speech. Everything about this story felt old-fashioned – which I would enjoy – but it wasn’t at all organic. The pacing was uneven, the type of story it was changed and not in a seamless way. Most of all, I found myself deeply frustrated by Barney. He’s supposed to be this perfect hero with a heart of gold, and most of the time he reads that way, to an unbelievable extent. However, he was incredibly focused on Taffeta’s looks, not noticing her until she wore makeup, then asking her over and over to dress sexier and alter her appearance.

New Leaf isn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t my cup of tea. The story has charm in parts and all the good guys wear white hats while the bad guys wear black. However, the dialogue was stilted, I never connected with the characters as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t suspend disbelief well enough to enjoy the book, and the last quarter of the story took a religious bent I was not expecting. I don’t think I’ll be returning to Mystic Creek, but I would try Catherine Anderson’s work again in the future.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Blog Tour: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

My Kind of Wonderful Blog Tour

If you've visited Wit and Sin a time or two, then you probably know I'm a huge Jill Shalvis fan. Her books are always funny, sexy, and wonderfully entertaining. Her upcoming Cedar Ridge novel, My Kind of Wonderful, is no exception, which is why I'm delighted to be a part of the blog tour. My review of My Kind of Wonderful can be found here, and if you scroll down on this post you'll find a Q&A with Jill Shalvis, information on the Cedar Ridge series, and a giveaway from Ms. Shalvis's publisher, Forever!

Q&A with Jill Shalvis:

Q: What can you tell us about Bailey and Hudson that we won’t find in the book?
That someday they’re going to have twin boys that will drive them as crazy as Hud and his own twin Jacob drove his mother… :)

Q: What has been your favorite experience as a writer?
Getting to meet so many readers. I’m a reader first and foremost, so it’s like I’ve found my people! But that said, there’s nothing like walking the aisles of Target or Walmart and coming across your books on the shelves.

Q: For readers who have never read a Jill Shalvis book, what would tell them they can expect from your stories?
A warm, sexy, funny contemporary romance with hot guys who aren’t too alpha to gall in love and admit it, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

About My Kind of Wonderful:

My Kind of Wonderful CoverBailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she’s determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn’t realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn't want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn’t the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she’s not planning to stick around.

As head of ski patrol at his family’s resort, Hud thinks he’s seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he's been missing far too long. Now he'll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet…something rare and all kinds of wonderful.

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes | Google Play

Start from the beginning with book one in the Cedar Ridge series, SECOND CHANCE SUMMER!

About Second Chance Summer:

Second Chance Summer CoverCedar Ridge, Colorado, is famous for crisp mountain air, clear blue skies, and pine-scented breezes. And it's the last place Lily Danville wants to be. But she needs a job, and there's an opening at the hottest resort in her hometown. What has her concerned is the other hot property in Cedar Ridge: Aidan Kincaid-firefighter, rescue worker, and heartbreaker. She never could resist that devastating smile…

The Kincaid brothers are as rough and rugged as the Rocky Mountains they call home. Aidan has always done things his own way, by his own rules. And never has he regretted anything more than letting Lily walk out of his life ten years ago. If anyone has ever been in need of rescuing, she has. What she needs more than anything are long hikes, slow dances, and sizzling kisses. But that can only happen if he can get her to give Cedar Ridge-and this bad boy-a second chance…

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes | Google Play

About Jill Shalvis:

Jill ShalvisNew York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Find Jill Shalvis on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads


Enter here to win a copy of My Kind of Wonderful!:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Review: My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis

My Kind of Wonderful by Jill Shalvis
Series: Cedar Ridge, Book 2
Publisher: Forever
Genre: Contemporary Romance My Kind of Wonderful Cover
ISBN: 9781455586783
Release Date: December 22, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jill Shalvis Reading Order

Bailey Moore has an agenda: skiing in the Rockies, exploring castles in Europe, ballroom dancing in Argentina. Now that she has a second lease on life, she’s determined not to miss a thing. What she doesn’t realize is that item #1 comes with a six-foot-one ski god hot enough to melt a polar ice cap. She doesn't want to miss out on him either, but Hudson Kincaid isn’t the type of guy to love and let go. And as gorgeous as Cedar Ridge is, she’s not planning to stick around.

As head of ski patrol at his family’s resort, Hud thinks he’s seen it all. But never has he run into someone like Bailey. She might look delicate, but her attitude is all firecracker. And her infectious joy touches something deep within him that he's been missing far too long. Now he'll just have to convince Bailey to take a chance on her biggest adventure yet…something rare and all kinds of wonderful.

My Kind of Wonderful is exactly that – my kind of funny, charming, heartwarming, wonderful romance. Bailey, Hud, and the entire Kincaid family will make you laugh one moment, then tug on your heartstrings the next.

Bailey Moore has spent a good portion of her life battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Against all odds she triumphed and now is determined to not play it safe and truly live. I loved Bailey; she has a determined mind and a caring heart. Her fight against cancer may have taken its toll on her body, but her spirit is undeniably bright and she simply charmed the heck out of me from the moment she appeared on the page. Falling in love isn’t on Bailey’s list of adventures, but when she lands in Cedar Ridge – and mistakenly in the path of Hudson Kincaid – she ends up making an unexpected detour. Hud is strong and sexy, but also a workaholic who takes too much on his shoulders and carries old wounds he doesn’t want to heal. I loved that Hud doesn’t see Bailey’s battle with cancer as defining her, as other (well-intentioned) people in her life do. He sees her for the talented, sexy woman she is. Bailey, in turn brings joy to Hud’s world, making him come alive in a way he hasn’t been in years.

Neither Hud nor Bailey think their initial flirtation will ever be anything more than some seasonal steamy fun, but it’s clear to readers (not to mention Hud’s family) that these two are meant to be. Their road to happily ever after isn’t all smooth sailing, as both at one point or another put up barriers. They have to face their fears and take a chance if they want things to last. But every bump in the road is worth it because these two have fantastic chemistry and make the pages of My Kind of Wonderful fly by in a flurry of funny, sizzling, and sometimes heartbreaking scenes.

It wouldn’t be a Jill Shalvis book if there weren’t some of the author’s trademark hilarity, and in My Kind of Wonderful the Kincaid family had me grinning more often than not. The Kincaid siblings’ hijinks add a lot of humor to the book, but what makes the family as a whole special is their clear love for one another. The comedic moments in My Kind of Wonderful draw you in, but it’s the book’s strong heart that makes the story stay with you. I absolutely adored Bailey and Hud and I cannot wait to read the next Cedar Ridge story, Nobody But You.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Review: The Final Move by Victoria Denault

The Final Move by Victoria Denault
Series: Hometown Players, Book 3
Publisher: Forever Yours
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781455564057
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him – Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant – Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It's true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she's seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man – even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together – just as they need each other most – Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever…

Victoria Denault blends romantic fantasy and messy, complicated reality with great results in The Final Move. Devin Garrison has always wanted a wife and a family, but the perfect life he set up for himself is falling apart. Now going through a divorce, Devin is on the brink of getting lost in a downward spiral. Luck is on his side, however, and it brings Callie Caplan back into his life. The Garrisons and Caplans have always been close, but almost no one knows that Callie and Devin almost started something a long time ago. Callie needs a place to stay while she’s in town for work and Devin is happy to help her out, especially when she puts a stop to his self-destructive behavior. What he doesn’t count on is their old attraction flaring back to life. Callie doesn’t do relationships, so Devin will have to convince her to overcome her fears and take a chance on him.

I love a good hockey player hero, and Devin is an interesting, flawed one. There’s a core of sweetness to him when we first meet him in the past and I loved that about him. He loses that – understandably – when we get to the present and he’s going through a divorce. Devin’s life is in shambles and he doesn’t take it well, going through alcohol and women right in front of Callie. It’s not pleasant to read about and I was often frustrated with Devin. However, because I’d already been hooked on Devin from the beginning of the book, Ms. Denault had me rooting for him to pull himself out of the hole and become the hero I was hoping for. And when he did, The Final Move really took off.

Callie sees Devin at his worst and best and doesn’t flinch. She’s a strong, sassy heroine with a generous heart she’s terrified of risking. Callie has seen her family members devastated by heartbreak and doesn’t want to have that happen to her. Devin is the one man who has ever gotten past her armor and he and his young son grab her heart before she even knows it’s happening. I adored Callie and wanted to see her find the love she so deserved.

Devin and Callie have explosive chemistry and The Final Move definitely heats up once these two get together. But the road to happily ever after is filled with obstacles, Callie’s fears and Devin’s relationship with his soon-to-be-ex chief among them. Devin’s divorce is a major factor and I like that Ms. Denault didn’t sweep this under the rug, especially considering there’s a child involved. The one issue I had with this part of the book is that toward the end, Ms. Denault seemed to keep comparing Ashleigh, Devin’s ex, to Callie in order to make Callie look better. As a heroine, Callie does just fine standing on her own and almost pitting them against one another doesn’t do the story or the characters any favors.

The Final Move is the third Hometown Players book, but it can be read as a standalone. All the Caplans and Garrisons play supporting roles, which will no doubt charm fans of the series. There was a lot I enjoyed about The Final Move – Callie as a heroine, the mix of sweetness and spice in her relationship with Devin, hot hockey players – and it’s definitely a story I sat back and thought about for a while after I finished it. Whether you like sports romances in particular or just enjoy a good love story with flawed characters, The Final Move should definitely entertain.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday in Review

It's cold outside, but never fear - there are plenty of fantastic reads releasing right now, so you'll have plenty of books to cuddle up with by the fire :)

Below are the newest reviews I’ve written here on Wit and Sin. The master list and categorical lists on the right-hand side are updated as well.

Reviews for upcoming releases:
- How to Seduce a Scot (Broadswords and Ballrooms, Book 1) by Christy English (available 12/1/15)
- Just Say Yes (Strictly Business, Book 2) by Elizabeth Hayley (available 12/1/15)
- Coming Apart at the Seams (Riley O’Brien & Co., Book 2) by Jenna Sutton (available 12/1/15)
- Blood Kiss (Black Dagger Legacy, Book 1) by J.R. Ward (available 12/1/15)
- Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz (available 12/8/15)

All other new reviews:
- A Mackenzie Clan Gathering (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 8.5) by Jennifer Ashley
- How to Bewitch an Earl (How To, Book 2) by Ally Broadfield
- Unnatural (Enlightenment, Book 4) by Joanna Chambers
- Designed for Murder (Killer Style, Book 4) by Avery Flynn
- Sweetest Scoundrel (Maiden Lane, Book 9) by Elizabeth Hoyt
- Kissing Her Crush (Sugar City, Book 2) by Ophelia London

Upcoming reviews:
- The Conquering Dark (Crown & Key, Book 3) by Clay and Susan Griffith
- New Leaf (Mystic Creek, Book 2) by Catherine Anderson
- Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, Book 1) by Ilona Andrews
- Skies of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 3) by Zoë Archer
- The Wicked Deeds of Daniel Mackenzie (Mackenzies & McBrides, Book 6) by Jennifer Ashley
- Wild Man (Dream Man, Book 2) by Kristen Ashley
- Down for the Count (Dare Me, Book 1) by Christine Bell
- Down and Dirty (Dare Me, Book 2) by Christine Bell
- The Professional: Part 2 by Kresley Cole
- The Professional: Part 3 by Kresley Cole
- Wicked Ever After (Blud, Book 4) by Delilah S. Dawson
- The Final Move (Hometown Players, Book 3) by Victoria Denault
- Filthy Rich by Virna DePaul
- How to Ravish a Rake (How to Series, Book 3) by Vicky Dreiling
- Soul Weaver by Hailey Edwards
- Some Like It Hot (Rising Star Chef, Book 2) by Louisa Edwards
- Hot Under Pressure (Rising Star Chef, Book 3) by Louisa Edwards
- How to Wed a Warrior (Broadswords and Ballrooms, Book 2) by Christy English
- Air Bound (Sea Haven, Book 3) by Christine Feehan
- Earth Bound (Sea Haven, Book 4) by Christine Feehan
- His Game, Her Rules by Charlene Groome
- Captured (Fallen Siren, Book 0.5) by S.J. Harper
- Reckoning (Fallen Siren, Book 2) by S.J. Harper
- One Taste of Scandal (Redcakes, Book 2) by Heather Hiestand
- Base Instincts (Demonica) by Larissa Ione
- The Volatile Amazon (Alliance of the Amazons, Book 4) by Sandy James
- Breathe (In Vino Veritas, Book 2) by Lauren Jameson
- Linger (In Vino Veritas, Book 3) by Lauren Jameson
- When the Rogue Returns (The Duke’s Men, Book 2) by Sabrina Jeffries
- If the Viscount Falls (The Duke’s Men, Book 4) by Sabrina Jeffries
- The Art of Sinning (Sinful Suitors, Book 1) by Sabrina Jeffries
- The Art of Taming a Rake (Legendary Lovers, Book 4) by Nicole Jordan
- Archer (Hard Body, Book 1) by Debra Kayn
- Midnight Revenge (Killer Instincts, Book 7) by Elle Kennedy
- Everything at Last (Magnolia Beach, Book 2) by Kimberly Lang
- Before You Break (Between Breaths, Book 2) by Christina Lee
- There You Stand (Between Breaths, Book 5) by Christina Lee
- Caught Up in You (Loving on the Edge, Book 4) by Roni Loren
- Yours All Along (Loving on the Edge, Book 6.5) by Roni Loren
- Break Me Down (Loving on the Edge, Book 8.5) by Roni Loren
- Off the Clock (Pleasure Principle, Book 1) by Roni Loren
- Kiss of Steel (London Steampunk, Book 1) by Bec McMaster
- Keeping Secrets in Seattle by Brooke Moss
- While You Were Writing (Watkins Pond, Book 2) by Virginia Nelson
- Prince’s Gambit (Captive Prince, Book 2) by C.S. Pacat
- Raw Desire by Kate Pearce
- Soul Sucker by Kate Pearce
- The Fifth Favor by Shelby Reed
- Laugh (Burnside, Book 2) by Mary Ann Rivers
- Festive in Death (In Death, Book 39) by J.D. Robb
- Blood Magick (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, Book 3) by Nora Roberts
- Beauty’s Kingdom (Sleeping Beauty, Book 4) by A. N. Roquelaure
- Nights of Steel (The Ether Chronicles, Book 4) by Nico Rosso
- My Kind of Wonderful (Cedar Ridge, Book 2) by Jill Shalvis
- Rock Addiction (Rock Kiss, Book 1) by Nalini Singh
- Fighting the Fall (Beyond the Cage, Book 2) by Jennifer Snow
- The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, Book 1) by J.R. Ward
- Takeover by Anna Zabo

Review: Coming Apart at the Seams by Jenna Sutton

Coming Apart at the Seams by Jenna Sutton
Series: Riley O’Brien & Co., Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780425279960
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
Jenna Sutton Reading Order

Love can take some time to break in…

Teagan O’Brien, heiress to the Riley O’Brien & Co. denim empire, is anything but a spoiled rich girl. She’s worked hard to secure her place in the family business and can hold her own, in and out of the office. Only one man has ever been able to get under her skin—sexy football star Nick Priest. Years ago they crossed the line from friends to lovers, but he left her heartbroken. Since then, she’s been determined to keep him at arm’s length—no matter how tempting he looks in his jeans…

Nick has fortune, fame, and looks that make most women hot and bothered. But he doesn't have the woman he really wants. He knows he screwed up when he walked away from Teagan, and now that he has a second chance, he’ll do whatever it takes to win her over—no matter how tongue-tied he gets…

Coming Apart at the Seams starts off fast, furious, and red-hot, then turns into something much more. Jenna Sutton’s second Riley O’Brien & Co. book is an excellent blend of sweetness, hope, heartbreak, sensuality, and second chances.

Teagan O’Brien is smart, confident, and can’t be rattled – except by Nick Priest. Nick has always been her brothers’ friend, but a few years ago Teagan and Nick became friends in their own right. Then – for a brief moment – they became something more before everything came crashing down around them, shattering Teagan’s heart. Since then Teagan has studiously avoided Nick, which wasn’t hard to do until he decided to retire from football and take a job at her family’s company. Nick is determined to win Teagan back, but he has his work cut out for him, because she can’t forget their past and won’t give him the time of day, no matter how fierce the attraction between them still is.

Coming Apart at the Seams is set up in an interesting manner. It starts off in the present, then steps back into Teagan and Nick’s past where we spend about half the story. I do wish we had spent a bit more time in the present, as it would have made the resolution after all the push-pull moments more satisfying. But overall the story had a nice pace, going from the breathtaking rush of the beginning to the innocent beginning of Nick and Teagan’s friendship. I absolutely adore a good friends-to-lovers story and when we’re in the past, Teagan and Nick’s is a great one. The two of them are both bright and likeable, and it was nice seeing their bond develop and deepen, even knowing it had to crash and burn before we return to the present (or we wouldn’t have a story). Their romance was organic and the banter, sexual tension, and truly sweet moments between Nick and Teagan made them a couple to root for.

What makes Coming Apart at the Seams work is the personalities and chemistry of Teagan and Nick. Teagan is bright and eager when we see her in grad school and she gets under Nick’s skin before he even realizes it. Nick is a stunningly gorgeous football player, but he has a secret: a severe stutter he’ll do anything to hide. Nick didn’t grow up in a supportive environment – quite the opposite in fact – and Ms. Sutton does a stellar job of showing the emotional and psychological toll Nick’s stutter takes on him. Nick’s pain and frustration is palpable and when things go south with Teagan my heart broke for them both. That being said, one of the things that kept this story from being a perfect read is that I did sometimes want to shake Teagan for her obliviousness and Nick for his unwillingness to open up and go after her.

Coming Apart at the Seams is the second book in the Riley O’Brien & Co. series and since I haven’t read the first book, I can safely say Teagan and Nick’s story can be read as a standalone. If you don’t like spoilers and haven’t read All the Right Places, fair warning that there are some mild spoilers for Amelia and Quinn’s book. The O’Brien family is utterly delightful and I was so entertained by Coming Apart at the Seams that I will be picking up All the Right Places as soon as possible and will definitely be grabbing the next Riley O’Brien & Co. book, Hanging by a Thread, as soon as it comes out.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Legacy, Book 1
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Paranormal Romance
ISBN: 9780451475329
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N
J.R. Ward Reading Order

Paradise, blooded daughter of the king’s First Advisor, is ready to break free from the restrictive life of an aristocratic female. Her strategy? Join the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training center program and learn to fight for herself, think for herself…be herself. It’s a good plan, until everything goes wrong. The schooling is unfathomably difficult, the other recruits feel more like enemies than allies, and it’s very clear that the Brother in charge, Butch O’Neal, a.k.a. the Dhestroyer, is having serious problems in his own life.

And that’s before she falls in love with a fellow classmate. Craeg, a common civilian, is nothing her father would ever want for her, but everything she could ask for in a male. As an act of violence threatens to tear apart the entire program, and the erotic pull between them grows irresistible, Paradise is tested in ways she never anticipated--and left wondering whether she’s strong enough to claim her own power...on the field, and off.

Blood Kiss rocks! J.R. Ward’s first Black Dagger Legacy book is sexy, fun, exciting, utterly addictive, and totally kickass. It’s also a tightly-written, character-centric paranormal romance that is unquestionably my favorite Black Dagger Brotherhood-verse story since Lover Revealed.

As the daughter of the king’s First Advisor and a member of one of the Founding Families, Paradise is at the near top of the vampire aristocracy food chain. But she wants more than the life the glymera would have for her. Now she has her chance. The Brothers are recruiting for their training program and Paradise is seizing the chance to learn to fight, to be a soldier, to break free from the box society would put her in and become her own person. Just making the cut to get into the Brothers’ training program is harder and more terrifying than she could have imagined, but Paradise has an inner strength none can match, which is why I loved her. Paradise wasn’t born or raised to be a warrior, but she’s got grit, heart, intelligence, and a determination not to fail that I admired. Paradise isn’t perfect – that would be boring – but she has that perfect mix of kindness, strength (physical and emotional), and guts that make her an awesome heroine. Even when she’s out of her element, or thrown for a loop, Paradise doesn’t quit. And her classmate Craeg definitely throws her for a loop…

Craeg is a civilian vampire with a chip on his shoulder. His family was murdered during the raids, so he has nothing but the Brothers’ training program to work for and he is all business. Except Paradise is throwing him off his game, threatening to be a distraction he can’t afford and could never have anyway. Craeg is as easy to love as Paradise is. He’s a soldier to his core, but he carries internal scars and a heavy burden of anger in the wake of his family’s murders. He doesn’t want to care about his classmates, but it’s clear he does. And he definitely doesn’t want to notice Paradise, but everyone knows what happens when two vampires are destined to be together. Their chemistry is electric right from the start and their romance is by turns fiery, sweet, and sexy as hell. Every up and down, every time these two are on the page, you can’t stop reading and I loved it.

Paradise and Craeg are unique, fully drawn characters in their own right, but if I had to draw comparisons to the original BDB series couples I’d say they are most like Marissa and Butch. It’s fitting, then, that the second storyline of Blood Kiss involves those two. Happily ever afters aren’t easy, even for a couple as in love as Butch and Marissa. It’s no spoiler to say that Butch puts Marissa on a pedestal – he always has. And though both readers and Marissa know that Butch admires, respects, and loves her strength and intelligence, by placing her in a defined category he limits their relationship. It’s natural Marissa would grow frustrated with this and with his unwillingness to talk about his life before he entered the Brothers’ world. I absolutely love that the issues Butch and Marissa face are ones that seem like a natural progression for their characters; it’s a fitting and extremely satisfying follow-up to their story in Lover Revealed.

Blood Kiss is the first book in the Black Dagger Legacy series and it’ll leave you hungry for more. Paradise and Craeg’s classmates are intriguing (I especially can’t wait to learn more about Novo) and will have me grabbing future books as soon as they’re released. The concentrated focus on the four main characters rather than worldbuilding gives the book a different feel from the later Black Dagger Brotherhood books and also helps to make this new series stand on its own. You don’t have to be current on the original series to enjoy Blood Kiss, but you should probably at least have a familiarity with the Brothers’ world before diving in (I recommend at least having read the first four BDB books, Dark Lover, Lover Eternal, Lover Awakened, and Lover Revealed).

If I talk more about the characters than the plot of Blood Kiss, it’s because (1) the characters are fantastic and (2) the story is one best uncovered on its own. Ms. Ward includes twists, turns, connections, and revelations that are far too spoiler-ish to talk about. Suffice it to say you’re in for a treat. Between the training program, romance, mystery, danger, and glimpses of some beloved characters, the book is a fast-paced page-turner. Just don’t start it late at night or you’ll be up reading into the wee hours of the morning.

It’s been more than ten years since I entered the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood and Blood Kiss reminded me why I first fell in love with Ms. Ward’s writing. Her world envelops you, the characters grab your heart, and the story is one you’ll finish and love so much you’ll want to dive right back in again. I cannot recommend Blood Kiss highly enough and I am more excited than ever to see what Ms. Ward has in store for the recruits, the Brothers, and their shellans.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Entangled: Scandalous New Releases

Get your highlander fix, follow the search for missing family heirlooms and meet mysterious Russian royalty in this month's new Scandalous releases.

On sale today!

The Highlander's Accidental Marriage by Callie Hutton

About the book:

Scotland, 1817

The Duke of Manchester’s sister, Lady Sarah Lacey, always abides by the rules of etiquette. Fate, however, has no such confines. On a journey to the Scottish Highlands, Lady Sarah is set upon by misfortune-leaving her without carriage or chaperone, and left to the mercy of a kind and handsome gentleman. Whom (in order to secure a room at an inn) she announces is her husband.

When she proclaims they’re married in public, Professor Braeden McKinnon can’t bring himself to correct the lovely Lady Sarah. After all, her reputation would be ruined. Nor can he tell her that her proclamation is not only legally binding in Scotland, but sharing a room is considered to be an act of consummation…

Now they are bound together until death do they part-even if Sarah has no intention of becoming anyman’s wife.

Find it online:

The Royal Conquest by Stacy Reid

About the book:

After being cruelly jilted by a lord who claimed to adore her, Miss Payton Peppiwell swore her future husband would be as ordinary as she. Now if only her family would listen to her. Then she meets Mikhail Konstantinovich, an untitled horse breeder, in a highly improper and scandalous encounter. Never had Payton expected to be so attracted to the dark, intriguing man, who seduces her to recklessness with a mere stare.

Mikhail abhors anything to do with intimacy. Yet Miss Peppiwell stirs hunger and a need long forgotten in him. But Mikhail has a dark past—one that means his lust must be sated in a way entirely unsuitable for a lady. But his biggest secret will be the hardest for Payton to overcome: Mikhail is not only titled, he’s a prince…

Find it online:

How to Bewitch an Earl by Ally Broadfield

About the book:

Edward Adair, heir to the Duke of Boulstridge, is more interested in finding a missing family heirloom than a wife. But when his parents issue an ultimatum – marry or lose your allowance – he reluctantly agrees to attend a house party to find a bride. Instead, he discovers attractive but infuriating Miss Isabella Winthrop in his library, reading the private family journal that holds clues to the location of the heirloom.

Though Isabella finds Edward haughty and arrogant, she offers to take him to the next clue mentioned in the journal if he will pay her, which will enable her to help her brother restore his estate. Edward counters with an offer of an even larger payment…if she agrees to masquerade as his betrothed to deter the other ladies until the house party ends.

As they work together to solve the mystery their mutual attraction grows, but just when they begin to think they should make their engagement real, a secret is revealed that could destroy everything.

Find it online:

Be sure to pick up your copies today!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz

Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Romantic Suspense
ISBN: 9780399174483
Release Date: December 8, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.

They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother’s hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn't be bothering them anymore…ever. Still their lives would never be the same.

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother's mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts…and wants.

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack’s brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth…

Secret Sisters is part romance, part mystery, part family drama, and one hundred percent gripping entertainment. Jayne Ann Krentz knows how to hook readers and keep them on the edge of their seats, and that’s exactly what she does in this novel.

Madeline and Daphne were childhood best friends, until one fateful night when Madeline was attacked on the grounds of her grandmother’s hotel. The perpetrator died that night, but left behind information others would kill to possess. Only five people knew what really happened all those years ago, and now two of them are dead. It’s been eighteen years, but it’s clear someone wants the information Madeline’s attacker possessed, and they’re willing to kill to get it.

Now Madeline and Daphne have to return to the scene of the crime and solve an old mystery before someone takes them out. But they won’t be going alone. Madeline knows she can’t trust just anyone with the truth, so she asks for the help of her new security expert, Jack Rayner. With the help of Jack and his brother, Abe, Madeline and Daphne will unravel the secrets of one powerful, dangerous family who will do anything to stop them.

I love a good mystery and Ms. Krentz takes readers on an action-packed journey as Madeline, Jack, Daphne, and Abe dodge killers and put the puzzle pieces together. Secret Sisters has fantastic twists and turns and a compelling storyline that made it difficult to put the book down. But an exciting mystery is nothing without great characters and Ms. Krentz has delivered some great ones. Madeline and Jack are the center of the story and they’re both strong-minded, wary individuals. Jack has hard edges and a heart of gold, but his past makes him hesitant to trust people. Something about Madeline calls to him, though, and it’s easy to see why each of them couldn’t resist the other. Madeline is a tough businesswoman with a sharp mind you have to respect. She also has scars that have never been able to heal because her attack had to be kept secret, and this adds a vulnerability to her character that broke my heart. She and Jack have excellent chemistry and he complements her perfectly. Their romance was brimming with potential, but it never quite reached it because the focus of the story was more on the suspense storyline. The secondary romance between Abe and Daphne was also more in the background, which was a pity as well because these two were a lot of fun. If I had one wish for Secret Sisters, it would be that the love stories were better developed. Yet even taking this into account, I loved this book. The story is compelling, the characters fascinating, and the suspense is top-notch. Jayne Ann Krentz is a master of several genres and her talent for writing romantic suspense shines in Secret Sisters.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Review: Just Say Yes by Elizabeth Hayley

Just Say Yes by Elizabeth Hayley
Series: Strictly Business, Book 2
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9780451475534
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

Magazine columnist Quinn Sawyer has always attracted sweet, innocent, and safe men. And something tells her it’s because she’s just as harmless. So when she starts craving a guy with an edge, she realizes she may have to get one for herself.

When her boss asks for a unique pitch, Quinn’s quest to live outside her comfort zone prompts her to suggest an idea that will cause her to break her good-girl rules. And who better than Tim Jacobs to help her push her boundaries? For a while now, Quinn’s had a hot crush on the tattooed executive chef with a checkered past. If anybody can bring out her inner rebel, he can.

It’s no surprise that as Tim and Quinn cross each task off the list she’s made for herself, the sparks between them grow more and more intense. Soon there’s no denying the attraction they each feel. But Tim’s troubled past reveals an even tougher edge than Quinn expected—which means for her, falling in love might just be the greatest rebellion of all.

The quintessential good girl decides to take a walk on the wild side in Just Say Yes. Author duo Elizabeth Hayley make Quinn’s quest to step outside of her comfort zone a fun one once our intrepid heroine is joined by her sexy, streetwise crush.

I absolutely adored Tim. He’s unusual for a hero in that he’s an addict, one who has been clean seven years. I loved that the authors didn’t simply pay lip service to Tim’s addiction, and they perfectly walked the fine line between giving this part of his character the attention it deserved and not letting it overpower the story. Tim has a big heart, but has been buried under the weight of his past. It was great watching him fully embrace life as he joined Quinn on her adventures and – apart from one painfully overused romance hero moment that seems to have been included for dramatic reasons – I was rooting for Tim the whole way. Because of his past, he doesn’t think he’s good enough for Quinn, but as he helps her complete the tasks she’s set out for herself, he finds he can’t resist her.

Quinn, unfortunately, is where Just Say Yes hit a snag for me. She came off a bit judgmental and too perfect to begin with, and though it rubbed me the wrong way, I was eager to see her grow as a character. Unfortunately, for me Quinn never lost that “too perfect to be real” quality, and though I ended up liking her well enough, I simply couldn’t connect with her. Her journey was fairly by-the-numbers, even with her learning to take risks, and I didn’t find her as interesting as Tim. Still, even with these little niggles, I found Quinn and Tim’s romance to be sweet, sensual, and fun to read about.

Just Say Yes is the second book in Elizabeth Hayley’s Strictly Business series, but as I have not read The Best Medicine I can safely say that Quinn and Tim’s story can be read on its own. Just Say Yes had its ups and downs for me, but overall I found it to be an enjoyable romance that should please contemporary romance fans.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Blog Tour: Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt

I absolutely adored Elizabeth Hoyt's newest Maiden Lane story, Sweetest Scoundrel. It's sexy, unique, and a fantastic addition to one of my favorite historical romance series, which is why I'm so delighted to be a part of the Sweetest Scoundrel blog tour. My review of Sweetest Scoundrel can be found here, and if you scroll down on this post you'll find a Q&A with Elizabeth Hoyt, an excerpt from Sweetest Scoundrel, and a giveaway from Ms. Hoyt's publisher, Forever!

Q&A with Elizabeth Hoyt:

Q: Finish this sentence:
My hero will always punch first, ask questions later.

Q: What scene from SWEETEST SCOUNDREL was the hardest to write?
Ooo! Good question! I think it was the climatic ending. You want it to be action-y, but it has to make sense and it has to be emotional. And fast. Harder than it would seem. ;-)

Q: You’ve written both contemporary and historical romances—what are some of the unique challenges for each?
Well, with contemporary, staying contemporary. I’m fifty and usually writing about people in their twenties and thirties and I’m conscious of that. With historical, making sure my twenty-first century voice doesn’t slip in to the book too much.

Q: Are there any other time periods or settings that you’d like to explore in one of your books?
Oh, don’t get me started. There’s the (English) civil war and all those families turning on each other and death and treason. There’s a reason so many swashbucklers were set in that time period. But! The fashions. Men were wearing what amounted to pajama pants. Shudder. Soooo sad. Then there’s the Elizabethans. Men in tights! And being literate and able to write poetry was sexy. Think what you could do with that! Oh, and late Victorians! With all their prim manners and wealthy Americans! That would be fun.

But I think I’ll probably stay in Georgian England for the nonce. ;-)

Q: What do you hope readers can learn from SWEETEST SCOUNDREL?
It’s never too late to be healed by love.

Excerpt from Sweetest Scoundrel:

“What do you see when you look at me?”

What did she see when she looked at him?

Eve inhaled, trying and failing to tear her gaze from his.

Mr. Harte sprawled across her dainty settee like a Viking marauder in a pillaged Christian church. His broad shoulders took up more than half the width, his arms lazily draped over the back. His scarlet coat was spread open, contrasting with the sedate gray-
blue of the cushions almost shockingly. One long leg was thrust straight before him, the other cocked open and resting on a booted heel. The pose made the apex of his thighs very...obvious...and even as she kept her eyes locked on his she could feel heat rising in her cheeks.
What did she see?

She saw violence and anger, kept under a control that was tenuous at best. She saw power and a strength that could hurt her—kill her—if he so chose. She saw the innate brutality that was, in larger or smaller part, in all men.

She saw her most terrible fears.

But—and this was the truly unprecedented part—she saw more in him. She saw temptation—her temptation—alluring and frightening at the same time, his virility so strong it was nearly a visible miasma in the space between them.

She wanted him. Wanted that brash gaze, those long, muscled thighs, that mocking, insulting mouth, and the shoulders that went on forever, big and brawny and so
very, very male.

This was madness—she knew that intellectually. She’d never wanted a man before—was in fact afraid of almost all men, let alone one so obviously, blatantly sexual.

She took a breath, hoping that he couldn’t read all this from her gaze—and knowing it was a lost cause already.

His heavy-lidded green eyes were far, far too perceptive.

“I see...” She paused to lick suddenly dry lips. “I see that your hairline is nearly a perfect arc across the expanse of your forehead. That your eyebrows tilt ever so slightly up at the ends and that the right has a scar through it. I see that when you are solemn, the outer edges of your lips reach just to the midpoint of your eyes, but when you smile, they go beyond the corners. I see that your chin and jaw are almost in classical proportion and that a small white scar forms a comma on your chin just to the right of center.” She finally glanced away from him, breathing heavily, certain that she’d not thrown him off the track with her artist’s eye’s impressions. She inhaled again and ended, “I see every line of your face, every line’s intersection and how they relate. That is what I see when I look at you.”

“And is that all you see? Lines?” His voice was deep and amused.

She chanced a peek.

He still watched her, his gaze utterly unperturbed by her observations about his countenance.

No, she’d not fooled him at all.

She licked her lips again, buying time. “I see,” she said carefully, cautiously, “a very self-possessed man.”

Self-possessed,” he drawled. “I’m not sure what that means, frankly. It sounds, just a bit, like a coward’s answer.”

Her gaze flew to his, outraged.

But before she could take him down a peg, he chuckled softly. “Tell me, Miss Dinwoody, would you like to know what I see when I look at you?”

She shouldn’t. She really, really shouldn’t.

“Yes,” she blurted, and then winced because she knew well enough what men thought when they looked at her: ordinary, if they were charitable. Plain if they were not.

She braced herself for mockery, but when she glanced again at him, his gaze was hot and hard. Certainly not gentle. Certainly not kind. But he wasn’t dismissing her, either.

He looked at her as if they were equals. As if he really saw her, a woman to his man.

“I see,” he said, his deep voice musing, “a woman afraid, but fighting her fears. A woman who carries herself like a queen. A woman who could rule us all, I suspect.”

She gazed at him, her breath caught in her throat, afraid to exhale and break the spell.

A corner of that wicked mouth tilted up. “And I see a woman who has a deep curiosity. Who wants to feel but is worried—of herself? Of others?” He shook his head. “I’m not sure.” He leaned forward slowly, destroying his pose, and she had to fight herself not to scoot her chair away from him. “But I think she has a fire banked within her. Maybe it’s only embers now, glowing in the dark, but if tinder were to be put to those embers...” He grinned slowly. Dangerously. “Oh, what a conflagration that would be.”

About Sweetest Scoundrel:

Prim, proper, and thrifty, Eve Dinwoody is all business when it comes to protecting her brother’s investment. But when she agrees to control the purse strings of London’s premier pleasure garden, Harte’s Folly, she finds herself butting heads with an infuriating scoundrel who can’t be controlled.

Bawdy and bold, Asa Makepeace doesn’t have time for a penny-pinching prude like Eve. As the garden’s larger-than-life owner, he’s already dealing with self-centered sopranos and temperamental tenors. He's not about to let an aristocratic woman boss him around…no matter how enticing she is.

In spite of her lack of theatrical experience – and her fiery clashes with Asa – Eve is determined to turn Harte’s Folly into a smashing success. But the harder she tries to manage the stubborn rake, the harder it is to ignore his seductive charm and raw magnetism. There’s no denying the smoldering fire between them – and trying to put it out would be the greatest folly of all…

My Review | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | BAM! | iTunes | Google Play

About Elizabeth Hoyt:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

Find Elizabeth Hoyt on the Web: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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