Standalone Sunday: Sparrow by L.J. Shen

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list
My Standalone Pick this week is: Sparrow by L.J. Shen. 

BLURB:
Troy Brennan

Every southie in Boston knows that name. The son of a dead mobster. The heart throb with steel blue eyes. “The Fixer” who can make or break you in this city.

Oh, and my new husband.

Sparrow Raynes

That’s me. No one seemed to remember my name up until he barged into my life.
But then he caged me.
Kidnapped me.
And killed every chance I had to runaway from the place where we grew up.
Put simply, Troy Brennan clipped my wings.

I have dreams, big ones, but I doubt he’d ever let me chase them. I have no idea why he’d decided to take me as his wife. But I do know this: pissing off this man will not do me any good. At all.

Sparrow is a standalone, full-length novel. It contains graphic violence and adult situations some may find offensive.

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently listening to this audiobook narrated by Michael Pauley. I chose this book after discussions with Geybie at Geybies Book Blog and TJ at TJ Loves Books Blog . We both enjoy Mafia romances and people have been recommending this book to us. Have you read or listened to this book? Did you enjoy it?

Enjoy wonderful Mother’s Day with your loved ones 💕!

Nico (Ruin & Revenge #1) by Sarah Castille

Series:
Narrator: Aiden Snow
Source: Tantor Audio

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

Title: Nico by Sarah Castille
Series: Ruin & Revenge #1
Release Date: December 27, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs 19 mins)
Genre: Romance, Mafia Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

In , Las Vegas Mafia boss Nico Toscani is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off . . . Sexy computer hacker Mia struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties . . . but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?

four-half-stars

This story was well developed, well written and completely engrossing. The narrator, Aiden Snow, nailed the voices of the main characters with an authentic Italian accent. His voice was a perfect complement to the entertaining writing of Sarah Castille.

Mia Cordano is a mafia princess but she wants nothing to do with the life. Mia’s father is obsessed with power and he has lined up a marriage for his daughter that will gain him an alliance with more power. Mia attempts to rebel against her father’s decree and begins making a life as a hacker. When it’s clear that Mia can’t escape her father’s arranged marriage, Mia find a champion in Nico Toscano. Nico is a Capo who wants revenge against his Uncle and all those who had a hand in the murder of his parents. Marrying Mia will create an alliance between the Toscano and the Cordano family. When Mia and Nico sneak off and marry subverting Don Cordano’s plan, the Cordanos vow revenge. Now Nico and Mia have to navigate the treacherous mafia world while fighting a growing attraction to each other. In the end, will love win over family loyalty and revenge?

I really enjoyed Mia as a heroine because she did not relish the role of being a mafia princess nor did she glamorize it in her head. She had a good grasp on what she wanted out of life as well as a husband even though she was forced to marry Nico Toscano to escape a worse fate.
The evolution of Mia and Nico’s relationship was gratifying to witness. She had a good sense of herself and so did Nico, who was looking for his place in the mob world. I like that Nico and Mia’s relationship wasn’t instantaneous, instead the author slowly developed their relationship. It added authenticity to the love they eventually found.

This book is one of the best written mafia romances I’ve read in a long time. The characters and the plot were commendably developed and the entire listening experience was so enjoyable. There was action, suspense, sex, love and drama. The only thing missing for me was a little more emotional angst given the environment the main characters existed in. Still, I found this book to be in the top echelon of mafia romances and I am anticipating an awesome series.

Ezi

Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon

Series:
Narrator: Kevin Chandler
(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)

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

Title: Never Lose Your Flames by Francis Gideon
Series: New Canadiana #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 9 mins)
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon USAudible

Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

two-stars

This one was a pretty dry audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t engaging enough to save this plot or make it interesting.

Gabe Dominguez was a bounty hunter hired to capture Nat Wyatt for his crime of arson. Gabe at first seems like a stoic character but clearly certain things about Nat chipped away at Gabe’s façade. As Gabe made his way with his captured prisoner in tow, Nat revealed more and more truths to where Gabe began questioning his sponsor’s intel.  There was a lot of world building as well as various supernatural characters but I didn’t feel the romance enough amongst the plot. I was hoping to “feel” instead of being told about their attraction. There were too many creatures and the author could have gradually introduced them in subsequent books.

I liked Gabe more than Nat but both characters were likeable. The story just wasn’t smooth and engaging enough and I had to really push myself to finish the audiobook. The premise was interesting but execution was a fail for me.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

Tease Me, Baby (O’Connor Family #2) by Katie Reus

Series:
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

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

Title: Tease Me, Baby by Katie Reus
Series: O’Connor Family
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Format: Audiobook (2 hrs and 43 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: KR Press LLC
Purchase Links: Audible Amazon US

She never wanted perfection, but that’s what she finds.

Pastry chef, Fallon O’Connor is torn between her dreams and her obligations. Right before she reluctantly sets off for a degree she doesn’t want, she’s reeling from a mind-blowing encounter with Mr. Perfect. But one sexy, toe-curling kiss isn’t nearly enough when a Boy Scout like Sheriff Fulton lights her fire.

After one delectable taste, he’s never letting her go.

Brad Fulton would do anything for more time with Fallon. After all, he’s wanted a chance with her ever since she moved back to town. And just when things start to heat up, Fallon starts packing her bags—for a future without him. Now, it’s up to Brad to show Fallon that everything she’s ever wanted is right in Holly, North Carolina. But can Fallon trust her heart enough to stay?

three-half-stars

This novella was short but enjoyable. The narrator, Sophie Eastlake, is one of my favorites so I knew I was in for a treat. The story was set up as a good boy – bad girl trope. I didn’t read book 1 so I felt like I was missing a little of Fallon and Brad’s history. It was clear though, that the attraction that developed between the two was reciprocal.

Brad is the kind of guy I would want my daughter to marry. He is the sheriff, he is respected and he is completely responsible. Fallon wasn’t as wishy-washy as she appeared. She just held her cards close to the vest and didn’t share her dreams because she was afraid of visible failure.
These two had great chemistry and they actually communicated about their expectations and wishes for the future. For a novella, it was developed nicely and felt complete.

Ezi

About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.

Review: Sweet Ugly Lies (Green County, #3) by Nazarea Andrews

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

BLURB:

Gabriel Delvin is three things: a problem, a liar and irresistible. Elijah Beasley’s known that for years. He knew before they slept together, and he knew when he walked away from Gabe, unwilling to put up with more lies. The problem is he keeps going back.

Elijah Beasley is three things: a cop, a fucking problem, and Gabe’s. Gabriel Delvin’s known that for as long as he can remember. It’s why they fell into bed together, and why Gabriel stayed in Green County, when all sense said to get out.

But as the underbelly of crime in Green County comes boiling to the surface, Gabe is forced to chose between the man he’s always loved and the family he can’t help but be loyal to.

Love has never been the problem, for these two.

It just might not be enough, this time…

three-stars REVIEW
I wanted to like this one more than I actually did. I just couldn’t connect with the main characters.

I believe I would have benefited by reading this series in order because I felt like I was missing something. Gabe Delvin worked at a bakery and Officer Eli Beasley kept coming into Gabe’s store to buy baked goods for about ten years. Gabe and Eli had what appeared to be purely physical relationship because Gabe’s lies presented a road block to an emotional attachment. It took a while to figure out the lies and Gabe’s reasons for lying to Eli. But it was weird to me that a cop would continue in a ten-year relationship with someone he couldn’t trust. Also, Eli not figuring out Gabe’s motives for continually lying by omission or whatever made me think Eli was a pretty crappy officer.

It took a while for the plot to unfold and reveal what was driving each man.
By the time, we got the tea on their motives, I just wasn’t invested anymore. The author set up an opposite attracts romance but the execution and writing was just okay.

The last third of the book did show more depth to Gabe and made their flaws much more palatable but this story would have been more enjoyable if they had been developed more as well as if I was aware of their motives much earlier. The good news is that the book ends in an HEA.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32762243-sweet-ugly-lies

PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

DIRTY SEXY SECRET (book #1):

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/25xpf0X

 

DIRTY STOLEN FOREVER (book #2):

Amazon: http://amzn.to/28WAhSJ

About Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. Stop by her twitter (@NazareaAndrews) and tell her what fantastic book she should read next.

Audiobook Review: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Narrator: Therese Plummer

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

Title: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) Format: Audiobook: (9 hrs and 39 mins)
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published By: St. Martin Press
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

four-stars

This book was definitely a page turner. I had no idea what to expect and I listened to the entire audiobook in one sitting. At the center of this book was a missing three-year-old boy and his frantic mother desperately looking answers to help her find him.

Violet and her husband Finn took their three-year-old son Bear to Florida for their first big family vacation. Finn takes Bear out so Violet can catch some sleep but when she wakes up, Finn and Bear have vanished. The question became, why would Finn take Bear and disappear.

I knew something wasn’t right after I heard how perfect Violet and Finn were. Those kinds of comments foreshadow some unfortunate revelation that the only insiders would be privy to know. Then there was Caitlin, Finn’s best friend but also a close friend to Violet who was caught in the middle.

The author weaved this tale using the viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin both using the past as well as the current situation. I was able to follow the audio without getting lost because each person has different voice and different motive. As the secrets began unraveling, the true fear and driving force behind each character’s actions were exposed.

This story reminds me that communication is the foundation of any lasting relationship. These characters didn’t divulge some seriously important facets of their pasts and those secrets came to threaten their shallowly built future. It was well written and completely absorbed in the story.

I was desperately trying to figure out what the mystery at the heart of the abduction of a little boy. The author did a job of creating sympathy for Finn, Violet, Caitlin and George. They were all flawed but were redeemable. This book was quite intriguing and it had a lot more depth than I was anticipating. The ending was satisfying and I would recommend this book to those who love suspense thrillers.

Release Day Blitz: Seized by Seduction (The Protectors #2) by Brenda Jackson

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Social Butterfly PR

SBPRBanner-SBS-ReleaseBlitz

Seized by Seduction, an all-new sexy standalone from Brenda Jackson is now LIVE!!!

Cover_2_Seized by Seduction_Brenda Jackson.jpg

Seized by Seduction by Brenda Jackson
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

One glance is all it takes

From the moment his eyes meet hers across the crime-scene tape, ex-con turned bodyguard Quasar Patterson knows he has to see the mysterious Dr. Randi Fuller again. She’s a renowned psychic investigator who can foresee danger for others, but not for herself. That makes Quasar doubly determined to watch over her—the closer, the better—as she’s drawn into a dangerous gang rivalry.

Both her psychic gift and their blinding chemistry tell Randi that she and Quasar are fated to be entwined. Even as they surrender to the heat between them, there’s no guarantee of a happily-ever-after now that an enemy has her in his sights. And claiming a future will take more than Quasar’s strength and skill. If he can’t risk the heart he’s always held in check, they’ll both lose for good…

SBPR-BJ-SBS-NOWA

Read Today!

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2ozP10R

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/LywwH7

iBooks: https://goo.gl/TNLWw7

Nook: https://goo.gl/Wv0EIl

Kobo: https://goo.gl/f9ka4K

Google Play: https://goo.gl/zrvSZw

Add to GoodReads: https://goo.gl/0qGK3s

Release Day Blitz Teaser

About the Author

Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. She married her high school sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-six and thirty-four, respectively. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever. Since then she has written over 100 titles, which includes a made-for-television movie by BET, One Special Moment as well as the movie, Truly Everlasting. She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread; and was named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.

BRENDA-IN-RED

If you would like to know more about Brenda Jackson, follow her here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrendaJacksonAuthor/

Twitter: @AuthorBJackson

Website: http://www.brendajackson.net

Stay up to date on Brenda’s latest news! Subscribe to her Newsletter today!

Sign up here: https://goo.gl/RkCqCn

About Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of over 100 novels and novellas, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Jacksonville University. She married her high school sweetheart, Gerald, and they have two sons, Gerald Jr. and Brandon, ages thirty-six and thirty-four, respectively. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her professional writing career began in 1995 with the release of her first book, Tonight and Forever. Since then she has written over 100 titles, which includes a made-for-television movie by BET, One Special Moment as well as the movie, Truly Everlasting. She was a 2012 NAACP Image Award Nominee for Outstanding Literary Fiction for her book, A Silken Thread; and was named Romance Writers of America’s Nora Robert’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.

Teaser Blitz: Lethal Lies

Title: LETHAL LIES​

Author: Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Blood Brothers, #2

On Sale: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions. Zanetti’s brilliance at storytelling is on full display…When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don’t get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker’s lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that’s sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE 

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that’s hard to put down.” —HeroesandHeartbreakers.com on DEADLY SILENCE


A deadly secret can’t stay buried forever . . .

 Revenge. It’s the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can’t do this alone.

 Private investigator Heath Jones’s job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it’s personal. He knew the Copper Killer’s latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he’s all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath’s identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath’s every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they’ll use anything and anyone to get to Heath. 

PREORDER THE BOOK 

AmazonBarnes & Noble; Books-A-MillionGoogle PlayiBooksIndieBoundKobo

EXCERPT 

“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

“The less you know the better. Believe me.”

“What a bunch of bullshit. Go back to your ‘This is fake’ proclamation,” she all but yelled. “Your position is one of work . . . and this is just work.”

His chin lifted. “You think this is just work?” The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body.

Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?” His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit.

As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now. “You can’t.” Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved. Faster than she could track, he had her by the armpits and up in the air as he carried her toward the bedroom with such speed that her legs automatically wound around to clasp his rib cage. By the time she sucked in air to protest, her butt was on the bed, and he was flattening himself over her.

She struggled, her body on fire, fighting the urge to laugh out loud.

His mouth crushed hers, and she stilled.

Heat.

Fire.

True danger.

He held nothing back, kissing her hard, pressing her head into the comforter. His tongue worked hers, his powerful body plastered against hers, and his hands dug into her hair to hold her in place. Desire spun so quickly into need she couldn’t breathe, even when he wasn’t controlling her mouth.

She shifted against him, closing her eyes to kiss him back. This was what she’d wanted. All of this.

He nipped her lip, soothing the slight pain with another kiss. Then he traced along her jawline, kissing and nipping, finally reaching her earlobe, where he bit.

She arched against him, letting out a soft sigh.

“Anya.” His fingers tangled in her hair, and erotic pain tingled down her scalp. One of his strong arms slid around her waist and then down. His palm spread across her butt, and he ground her against his hard cock.

Pleasure swamped her, and mini explosions flew through her sex. The idea passed, somewhat fleetingly, that he wasn’t playing. Not at all.

Yet she couldn’t stop herself. Her knees widened, and she rubbed against him. “This feels real,” she whispered.



THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

 DEADLY SILENCE, #1

LETHAL LIES, #2

TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

Series Page on Goodreads


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

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Review: Scarred by Mia Kerick

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

Title: Scarred  by Mia Kerick
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: March 1st 2017
Pages: 201 • Format: e-arc
Published By: Mia Kerick
Purchase Links:   Goodreads Amazon

Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island—with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.

Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.

Gradually, Vedie and Mateo unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s scars if they’re to find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?

three-half-stars

3.75 stars.

This read was quite an emotional ride. At times, I had to close my eyes, take deep breaths and count to ten due to the author’s haunting writing style. The author wrote the story in where we felt the characters pain immediately without knowing the source and that made it that much harder for me because my imagination went haywire. It felt like watching horror film and being afraid to turn the page for fear of what’s about to appear. 
This book featured two deeply scarred heroes who were barely surviving day to day. When Matt and Vedie paths crossed at the Tiki Hut, it began the process of them facing their traumas. While they were both hiding from family, Vedie and Matt dealt with their pain in different ways. Matt chose to live an almost invisible life while Vedie seemed to be more flashy and in your face. One person didn’t want attention or touch, and the other needed to be truly seen and acknowledged. 

I had an easier time understanding Matt than I did understanding Vedie but I suspect that was because the author developed that backstory much deeper than Vedie’s. I also felt that both heroes were barely a step away from hurting themselves and that kept me on edge even when Vedie and Matt began opening the door to their hearts. 

Their times together on the island was quiet, peaceful, loving and healing. I am glad we got to experience those because honestly, those times made this book more bearable. Mia Kerick definite has a visceral way of telling stories. The author’s message was clear though, love and acceptance goes a long way to heal broken people. There is no way to finish this book without being amazed at the resiliency of the human spirit.
 

About Mia Kerick

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue #1) by Katie Ruggle

Series:
Narrator: Rachel Dulude
Source: Tantor Audio

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

Title: Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue #1) by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #1
Release Date: April 5th 2016
Format: Audiobook (9 hrs 53 mins)
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Purchase Links: Amazon USBarnes & NobleGoodreads

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

As the captain of Field County’s ice rescue dive team, Callum Cook is driven to perfection. But when he meets new diver Louise “Lou” Sparks, all that hard-won order is obliterated in an instant. Lou is a hurricane. A walking disaster. And with her, he’s never felt more alive…even if keeping her safe may just kill him.

Lou’s new to the Rockies, intent on escaping her controlling ex, and she’s determined to make it on her own terms…no matter how tempting Callum may be. But when a routine training exercise unearths a body, Lou and Callum find themselves thrust into a deadly game of cat and mouse with a killer who will stop at nothing to silence Lou-and prove that not even her new Search and Rescue family can keep her safe forever.

two-half-stars

This series and the characters had a lot of potential but it was never realized in this book. I also found the narrator less than memorable.

Louise “Lou” Sparks moved across the country to assert her independence and build a life helping others. She found work with the Field County Ice Rescue Team where Callum Cook was her supervisor. When Lou found a dead body in the water, along with the tires on her car slashed, she turned to Callum for help.

This book had a steady pace of action and suspense. The author did a job of developing Lou and Callum, but I never connected with Lou and Callum. Lou was kind of amusing but Callum was too gruff for me. They were opposites and it worked for them. The romance just wasn’t developed that well and there wasn’t enough creativity to differentiate this book from other books in this genre.

For those who like more adventure and less romance, this book would be entertaining. Their relationship make sense on a cerebral level, there wasn’t enough emotional intensity to make it engaging. I like more romantic development of the characters so I didn’t really feel the connection between Lou and Callum.

While I didn’t enjoy this book, I will try book two before I decide whether this series is a keeper. There is an interesting premise and I want to give it a chance.

Ezi