The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

A Christmas Cowboy Hero (1)

The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all in The Christmas Cowboy Hero

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays—even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances, and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby—and the inescapable longing in his heart—off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

So when I started prepping my  review of this latest release from Donna Grant, I kept thinking it was a novella. Then I looked and realized this book is over 300 pages in length. So one of the big things I can say about this story is that it moves quickly and it’s definitely a story that sucks the reader in. When I started it, I felt like I was halfway through in no time at all. For me, I love stories that flow this well.

Our story starts out with Clayton East avoiding calls from his mother, back in Texas. Clayton is an ex-Navy SEAL and is working in South Africa, protecting animals from poachers. (Yeah, I was swooning in the first chapter). Then he finally takes the call from his mother, where he learns the East Ranch is in major trouble.

We then meet Abby Harper, where she’s running to the police station because her brother, Brice, has been arrested. The crime? Stealing cattle from the East Ranch. Abby is devastated since she’s been raising her brothers since she was 18. With a mother who ran out on them, Abby and her brothers only have each other. Clayton and Abby immediately have an attraction to each other. Clayton decides to extend a second-chance to Brice, by allowing him to work off his major debt to the ranch, instead of pressing charges against him.

While this is happening, Clayton and his family are also dealing with the realization that their CPA embezzled a significant amount of money from them. Abby works for a different CPA in town as an assistant and starts helping Clayton look through the financial records for the ranch.

“No, Abby Harper, I’m going to pay you what you should’ve been earning all this time. You’re worth it.”

This quote really stuck with me while reading. Several times in the story, Clayton lets Abby know that she’s worth it, and someone else’s loss is his gain. Abby’s brothers realize the sacrifices she’s made for them, even though Abby never mentions it, never complains. So to see Clayton see these things in her, and make her feel valued and appreciated, it was like Abby was able to blossom when she was around the East family. This was especially heartwarming to see because as the reader goes along, you realize how much Abby really has done for her family.

This story might be one of my favorite Christmas stories. You get all of the Christmas activity, but then we see forgiveness, fresh starts, love, and even suspense. This is a Christmas novel that any reader could enjoy because there is a little bit of something for everyone.

Advertisements

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

XMasAtTwoLoveLane

Christmas at Two Love Lane by Kieran Kramer

The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

Macy Frost might be a descendant of Cupid. But even if she’s not, she’s one heck of a matchmaker. And that skill is about to come in handy with Deacon, a newcomer who shows up unexpectedly.

The biggest component of this book that I found myself loving was how the story came to life. The descriptions were so vivid and I could easily see Macy and her cat, Oscar, walking to work. I could see her office, her home and it’s piazza. I could see Fran, Deacon, George, etc. This author does a wonderful job with the imagery. I would read this author again for that piece alone.

In complete fairness, Macy was a little hard for me to like. She sort of rode the line between society girl and a little slice of wild child, and because of this, some of her sweetness came off a little too proper to me. One scene that comes to my mind is that she has only known Deacon a day or two and she’s fantasizing about him making love to her. I was fine with that scene, but Macy isn’t that old, and the wording just felt a little awkward. With that said, I felt like a lot of her actions and words did make sense for her character. It just wasn’t a personal favorite of mine.

This story is told in two viewpoints, alternating between Macy and Deacon. I enjoyed Deacon’s chapters a lot more. I think he was a bit more honest, his tone seemed more realistic to me. Deacon isn’t interested in finding a soulmate. He needs Macy’s help to find a few dates to appease the aunt who cared for him growing up. Nothing more. But Macy is convinced that she can find the person he’s meant to be with. But what if that person is Macy?

The other nice aspect of this story is that you get a full-length book. Amazon has this listed as 346 pages, which is significantly longer than other holiday books I’ve come across. So I appreciated that the story wasn’t rushed and I got to really savor the story.

I think this book is perfect for anyone who loves holiday romance but also for someone looking for a lighter, cheerful read. The story comes to life and you feel like you’re in Charleston as you read along.

 

Tropical Ice by Kat Mizera

tropical ice high res

Tropical Ice by Kat Mizera

Garrett “Hawk” Hawkins may be a bad boy in the rink but he doesn’t know what to do when he’s wrongly accused of on-ice misconduct. Given a five-game suspension by the NHL, he heads down to Mimosa Key to lay on the beach for a few days and get his head on straight—until he runs into a troubled beauty who happens to be the sister of his ex-teammate.

Madison Teller is struggling to get past the trauma of her brother’s brutal attack, but her much-needed vacation is turning into a nightmare. The sexy tattooed stranger who saves the day is just the distraction she’s looking for, but she isn’t prepared for the way he makes her feel.

When his present collides with her past, they’ll have to learn to trust each other before both their hearts end up on ice.

I must confess that Kat Mizera is a new author to me. I recently bought one of her box sets and I know that I’ll be devouring it quickly, based on how much I enjoyed this novella.

I swear that novellas are the drug of the book world. You can just stay reading them, never stopping. Then you add in the fun that is Kindle Worlds and it only gets better.

Tropical Ice is sweet, sexy, and it helped remind me why I love the romance genre. Madison and Garrett first meet when both end up at a super crummy dive hotel. It’s in a seriously bad neighborhood and Madison is having one nightmare after another happen to her. Garrett steps in and their friendship is born.

One thing I really enjoyed with this love story is that Madison and Garrett do have things in common, in particular their love of sports and the need to push themselves. Both characters are competitive and are truly athletic. It was fun watching Madison swim circles around Garrett. I think I loved this so much because I feel like we rarely see the woman outperform the man. Yes, Garrett was better at other things, but to see Madison be able to push him to work harder was enjoyable.

If you enjoy fast love, sports romance, and everything that happens in between, you will enjoy this book. Madison and Garrett have a whirlwind romance that is sexy, endearing, and enjoyable to experience.

Contracted Defense by Piper J. Drake

Contracted Defense

Contracted Defense by Piper J. Drake

Time is running out and the enemy is at the gate. 

Adam Hicks may be the rookie at Safeguard, but he’s no novice in the field. Retired from active duty after multiple tours and back fresh from a brief rest in New Zealand, he’s itching to return to action. But the challenge he hoped for arrives in an unexpected form: his sexy yet stern new partner.

The last thing Victoria Ash wants is to work with the new guy—especially one as gorgeous as Adam. His relaxed attitude about their first “easy” assignment together—setting up a private home defense network for a reclusive client—doesn’t impress her. Easy usually means trouble. She’s proved right when Adam discovers that the multiple incursions on the physical and cyber security systems aren’t just glitches. They’re under attack…and there’s a traitor in their midst.

As tension mounts, so does the attraction between Victoria and Adam. They must protect their client and the research he’s desperately trying to keep secret. Working together, they have to find the mole before their defense measures, in the fortress and online, are compromised and the deadly secrets they’ve sworn to protect are revealed.

Piper J. Drake has quickly become one of my “go-to” authors, and in her latest release, “Contracted Defense”, she continues to remind me why.

We first meet Victoria Ash in an upscale bar in Seattle. She’s just trying to enjoy a nice scotch and take a breather. But nothing ever goes easy for our crew working at Safeguard and tonight is no different. Even though the night ends wonderfully for Victoria, and Adam, the next day changes everything.

Some of the main factors I enjoyed in this book:

  1. I love how this author has so many different cultures in her stories. Not just one character or something. It’s many characters, the cuisine, the lifestyles. It’s always seamlessly integrated. One of my favorite components in every story she puts out.
  2. Victoria’s character is assertive, but never arrogant. One thing I loved about her was her confidence. At one point, she’s annoyed with Adam and she’s explaining her rational. Then we learn that she isn’t someone who will bring up a problem without a solution in mind. That aligns with my own personality a lot and so I naturally had a lot of respect for her on that particular point.
  3. Adam is probably as close to the perfect man as anyone will ever find. He’s handsome, intelligent, and just enough alpha male to be sexy, but not overbearing. He does respect Victoria and her preferences on things. He knows his role at Safeguard, and has no problem letting Victoria, and her tenure with the company, take the lead.
  4. This isn’t necessarily just the story, but more generalized to the author. Sometimes, I read a book in the “military” category and I end up a bit lost. This author manages to keep the story moving, while introducing new information, but yet never overwhelms the reader.  I never get lost in jargon or too many characters. I really appreciate this.

This book is definitely great for readers who enjoy books in the military or suspense categories. Adam and Victoria have an amazing chemistry, and you find yourself rooting for both characters throughout their story.

Something So Perfect by Natasha Madison

IMG_3384 (1)

Amazon

iBooks

Nook

Kobo

Goodreads

Matthew

Drafted first round pick when I was seventeen, playing first line at eighteen, branded NHL’s bad boy at nineteen. At twenty-three I was cut from the team and living back home with my parents. A knock on the door brought an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. All I had to do was prove I learned from my mistakes, so no way would I fall for a chick with a pouty mouth even if I wanted to spend all day devouring it.

Karrie

When my father gave me a job, I had no idea it would be to babysit some washed up NHL player. He wanted me to be his chaperone, his overpaid babysitter. I thought it was a joke. Then I met him, Matthew Grant. I wasn’t prepared for this particular bad boy. He’s not only hot but he’s arrogant and kinda sweet in a ‘you make me crazy’ kind of way.
Basically now that he’s finished screwing up his life, he’s decided to turn mine upside down.


She’s the first thing I’ve ever wanted more than hockey.

He’s the guy I know I should stay away from.

But what if this thing that started out so wrong turns into something so perfect?

So I read “Something So Right” when it came out. This book is really fun because now we see Matthew, who is Parker’s son, all grown up and playing hockey himself. The thing I really enjoyed was that if you haven’t read “Something So Right”, you never feel like you’re lost. Some books get more and more interconnected as they go along. While you can still understand everything, it starts to get so complex with so many characters around. This book doesn’t have that and I appreciated it.

One of my favorite aspects of this book is Matthew’s character. I enjoyed seeing the hero being the one really pursuing the heroine. Karrie is obviously attracted to Matthew but she tries to deny her feelings toward him. Matthew just keeps barreling through that and is adamant on how he feels about her.

Another factor I enjoy was seeing Karrie with her friend, Vivienne. She shows up periodically through the book and their friendship was, and I feel cheesy saying this, but heartwarming. The women frequently speak in French, and the author ties in the translation and I loved that too.

Natasha Madison is an author that I really enjoy reading. Her books stay focused on the couple and their love. And she’s also got some of the dirtiest sex scenes. I swear I don’t know how she does it. But the scenes are hot and the love is strong. An absolute must read for anyone looking for romance.

Excerpt:

“Okay,” Robert starts, “we have your contract here. It’s a one-year contract for two point one million, as per your agent.” He smiles at me because I don’t have an agent. I have Cooper. “We also have the stipulation clause. I know last time you weren’t happy with some of them, but it’s the only way we can both win.” He opens the folder in front of him. “You will be living in a brownstone in Brooklyn.” The page flips over while he continues to read. “Your chaperone will live with you.” He looks up, waiting to see if I’ll say something, and I almost say fuck off. “It’s a three-story brownstone. You each have your own floor to do as you please.”

I nod at him. It isn’t as bad as I thought and maybe me and my roommate will be each other’s wing man. “Your chaperone will be at your side each time you go out. Especially, game day and traveling. Of course you will each have your own room when traveling, but it will be connecting.”

“I hope this guy is up for Netflix and working out.” I smile at them, my hand itchy to sign the papers before I call it all off.

Doug gets up, going to the phone on the table, pressing a couple of buttons. “Can you come to the conference room, please?” He hangs up right after.

“If you mess up even once, your contract is null and void,” Doug says, sitting down just as the door opens and I turn my head to stare at the person who just walked in.

“You?” I stand up, looking back at the other people at the table. The chick from the gym walks in, this time wearing black tight pants and a white button-down shirt, rolled up at the wrists. “Is this a joke?”

“I can assure you I had the same reaction when I was asked,” she says sternly. “I don’t want this any more than you do, but it is what it is.”

“She tried to pick me up yesterday.” I put my hands on my hips, telling the table.

“Are you insane?” she huffs out, her voice rising. “You and your anatomy landed on me.” She looks at Doug. “Right in my back.”

I roll my eyes at her.

“Karrie,” Doug says, looking at her.

“What?” She shrugs at him. “He couldn’t even contain himself, and he thinks I tried to pick him up.” She looks at me. “You wish.”

I pfft out. “Please, one word and you would have come home with me.” I look at the men in front of me. “You guys can’t be serious.” I then look back at Karrie. “Besides, how old is she? Twelve?”

“Pervert. I would have pulled the fire alarm and kicked you in the nuts.” She crosses her arms over her chest, making her tits strain against the buttons. “Either way you would have ended up in the same place. Alone. With bruised nuts.”

Robert slaps the table. “That’s enough, you two.” He looks at both of us. “Now, you two have a lot of catching up to do. I will forward you both the travel schedule.” He stands up, grabbing the papers, and slapping me on the shoulder. “Good to have you.”

Coach Dan gets up also, smirking at me while I stand here speechless that they allow a girl to chaperone me. Not just any girl, the hottest fucking girl I’ve ever set eyes on. I had to take care of myself three times since I stumbled on her.

“You two try not to kill each other.” Dan looks at Karrie. “Be good, sweetheart.” And he kisses her cheek.

“Really?” I throw my hands in the air. “Does no one think this is a ridiculous idea?” I look around the room and the only one left is Doug, who gets up.

“I think it’s the best thing to ever happen to you.” He walks over to squeeze my shoulder. “But if you make my little girl cry”—he leans in, whispering—“they won’t find your body.”

My mouth opens and closes, and then opens again, not a sound coming out.

 

*About the Author*

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

Author Links

Goodreads  Twitter Facebook Instagram  Amazon Readers Group

Something So Perfect by Natasha Madison- COVER REVEAL!

Pre-order exclusively via

Coming July 31st

Matthew

Drafted first round pick when I was seventeen, playing first line at eighteen, branded NHL’s bad boy at nineteen. At twenty-three I was cut from the team and living back home with my parents. A knock on the door brought an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. All I had to do was prove I learned from my mistakes, so no way would I fall for a chick with a pouty mouth even if I wanted to spend all day devouring it.

Karrie

When my father gave me a job, I had no idea it would be to babysit some washed up NHL player. He wanted me to be his chaperone, his overpaid babysitter. I thought it was a joke. Then I met him, Matthew Grant. I wasn’t prepared for this particular bad boy. He’s not only hot but he’s arrogant and kinda sweet in a ‘you make me crazy’ kind of way.
Basically now that he’s finished screwing up his life, he’s decided to turn mine upside down.


She’s the first thing I’ve ever wanted more than hockey.

He’s the guy I know I should stay away from.

But what if this thing that started out so wrong turns into something so perfect?

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…

Author Links

The Surgeon’s Cinderella by Susan Carlisle

The Surgeon's Cinderella

The Surgeon’s Cinderella by Susan Carlisle

From matchmaker…to perfect match?

Whitney Thomason prides herself on being able to find the perfect partner for anyone, but heart surgeon Tanner Locke is a real challenge! He wants to settle down, but he’s adamant there’ll be no falling in love…

When Whitney’s candidate falls through, it’s up to her to be the girlfriend Tanner needs for his weekend business getaway, but two days in close proximity proves torturous. They know giving in to temptation is a bad idea, but desire is more powerful than reason…

This is my first book from Susan Carlisle, but it won’t be my last. I really loved the story of Tanner and Whitney. I say the story of them, and not their story because while this is a love story, this book also encompasses a lot of the challenges that both characters have to face themselves.

Whitney runs a matchmaking business and Tanner becomes a client. Whitney knew who Tanner was in college, but he had no idea who she was. Now, in college, Whitney was heavier and has since lost weight. However, she still carries insecurities with her. For me, this was actually one of my favorite parts of Whitney’s character. I enjoyed seeing a real character. Whitney doesn’t dress that well, partly because I felt she was still hiding herself. Then we see that she’s very aware of what she eats and how the world saw her when she was heavier. I think we can all say we’re against body shaming and whatnot, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still happen or that you don’t feel still feel the sting of people’s words. So to see a character dealing with that was an aspect that I appreciated.

Tanner was harder for me to like. He was actually somewhat harsh to Whitney on a few occasions. But I almost enjoyed that because as he gets to know Whitney more, you can see how he becomes more comfortable with himself in Whitney’s presence.

I hinted at this earlier but one thing that really stood out to me is that even while Whitney and Tanner are exploring their relationship, both have insecurities and issues they need to deal with on their own. Finding love can’t magically fix your problems and I appreciated that a book touched on that. Until Tanner and Whitney address their issues, they really can’t move forward. It’s sort of like that saying of you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

I would definitely recommend this book. It was an easy read and the story flowed really well. I enjoyed that I got the goodness of a love story but that the author included issues that people do face everyday. It was an all-around great reading experience.