Narrator: Karen White
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We received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.
Leslie Reilly is a police officer in the small town of Santa Anna Springs. He has a job he loves, a supportive family, and good friends, but he’s lonely. He hasn’t had much luck with romance. And he’s not the only one. Since the death of his wife, Gavin Donovan has been alone—raising his young son Ben and trying to protect Ben from his homophobic grandfather, whose attempts to get custody of the boy are growing more and more desperate. When Leslie and Gavin meet, they know making a life together might not be easy, but they’re willing to do whatever it takes to be a family.
All Leslie wants is to protect Gavin and Ben, but it’s proving harder than he expected as Gavin’s father-in-law’s violence escalates. When Gavin is injured and Ben is kidnapped, Leslie must decide how far he’s willing to go to keep the ones he loves safe.
I really enjoyed reading this one. What a cute story. It was nice, a little predictable but sweet nonetheless.
Officer Leslie Reilly’s life had grown monotonous. He works with this father, the Chief of Police, and he hangs out at home with his cat puddles. When a routine theft investigation led him to meeting Gavin Donovan, Leslie’s life bloomed.
I love stories involving little kids and extended family. They always add shading to protagonists because it allows the reader to see the main characters through the eyes of others. Both characters had complimentary temperaments. Leslie was a tad goofy, shy and naive. Whereas Donovan was reserved, confident and a tad more cultured. I liked how guileless Leslie was around Donovan. I found it endearing and amusing at the same time.
I liked Gavin and how his family was so protective of him and his five-year-old son Benjamin. I also enjoyed Leslie’s relationship with his dad. It was clear that the Chief of police had no qualms about his son’s sexuality. In fact, for a small town, it seemed that only Gavin’s ex-father in law Samuel was the only homophobe around.
I appreciate the author focusing more on growing relationship between Leslie and Donovan and not as much on the father in law’s obsession. It kept the story on the positive and hopeful. The author’s writing had a natural progression and flowed well to me. I just delight in reading this journey to love and would love to explore of this author’s work.
<i>*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Atlanta’s billionaire heiress Annie Hartford has been under her father’s thumb her entire life. At 29, he is now forcing her to marry a man she doesn’t love in front of 600 guests. With only moments to spare, she hijacks the family limo, which breaks down in small town Pinckney, Georgia. Annie, who has never wanted for anything, suddenly finds herself homeless, penniless, and with only the clothes on her back: a designer wedding gown and diamond tiara.
There she meets small town lawyer and restaurant owner Sam Ballard. Unlucky in love, the last thing Sam needs is a red-hot waitress who seems hell-bent on breaking every dish in his Dixieland Café. Still, he can’t very well fire her; she has already won the hearts of everyone in town.
After a lifetime of riches, can Annie find happiness in a garage apartment, second-hand clothes, and making her way around town on a borrowed bicycle? And how can Sam be certain that Annie won’t run home to daddy when her new life presents one obstacle after another?
I received this audio by the author in exchange for an honest review. First of all, I want to thank Ms. Hughes for reaching out and offering this book. I really enjoyed Elizabeth Klett, the narrator. This was a sweet romance without any angst. Annie leaves her future husband stranded at the altar in Atlanta, GA. Her father is a billionaire and has chosen Annie’s husband for her. Annie’s father thinks that she is only good for hosting and preparing for large parties and wants a man to run his empire. However, Annie has decided that she will no longer be ruled by her dad or any man. She quickly leaves the church without her purse, any money, or clothes.
Annie drives until the Mercedes that she hijacked from her father dies and winds up in Pinckney, GA. I had to laugh as Annie is wearing a dress that most women would die for but quickly realizes the predicament that she is in when the local sheriff demands that she gets out of the car. With miles of tulle, Annie squeezes out of the car to be met with gaping eyes from the small Ga town.
Annie’s first round with the sheriff/restaurant owner/lawyer does not go well. Sam Ballard wants no part of loving a woman since he also had a bad experience with his future bride. Reluctant, Sam hires Annie as a waitress in his restaurant. He can’t very well fire Annie, even though she breaks several dishes. The town folk have come to love Annie and want to help her to become settled in her new life.
Annie had grown up with not wanting anything, but now she has to learn to survive on her own. Wearing second hand clothes, moving into a garage apartment, and getting around on a bicycle are just a few of the new changes that Annie must face. Sam has come to love Annie but is worried that she could easily run back to her daddy and beg for forgiveness.
I really enjoyed listening to this book. There was a twist and a slight mystery towards the end. I felt that the end of the book was rushed and could have included more detail on both Sam and Annie’s life. The twist that occurred could have also been a tad bit longer and could have given the reader more detail on how Annie’s relationship changed with Lillian and with Sam. I am from Atlanta, GA and could definitely see how a small town would embrace Annie as one of their own.
When a McKinney brother falls in love, powerful emotion and overwhelming desire are never far behind.
Two hearts locked away . . . Hannah Walker spends her days coaching children through injury and trauma, one therapeutic horseback ride at a time. She knows all too well how violence can change a child and leave scars that never heal. It’s easy for her to relate to the kids; what isn’t easy is the thought of facing her own harrowing past.
Millionaire playboy Stephen McKinney could use a little coaching himself. Five years ago he encountered his most horrible nightmare—and the nightmare won. No matter what he achieves, nothing can make up for that awful night . . . or so he believes. Both desperate for a second chance . . . Stephen is used to getting what he wants. And he wants Hannah. So when she turns him down, he’s intrigued. What he doesn’t know is that her secrets will lead him to a place he never wanted to go again . . . to a side of himself he’s tried to forget . . . a side that would scare Hannah away from ever loving him. Now his only chance to win her trust is to bare his soul, risking everything he tried so hard to protect.
This audiobook fell short of the high expectation that book 1 set up. The writing was good, the narrator Johanna Parker was excellent. I just never warmed to the hero Stephen McKinney and I never bought the chemistry with heroine Hannah Walker.
26 yr old Hannah had gone through trauma that left her scared to trust people. She spends her time healing and helping young kids rehab from physical trauma through horseback riding. A chance meeting at the grocery store led to an evening of drinks with the millionaire playboy Stephen. In Hannah, Stephen saw a warm body to lose himself and keep his nightmares at bay. In Stephen, Hannah saw an opportunity for a fresh start because this man who knew nothing about her past. Still, there was fear for both characters to let the other in. This is where the lack of communication led to miscommunications and drama. I tend to find them irritating. I understood them here as Stephen faced his own tragedy but it was no longer a viable excuse midway into the novel.
I loved Hannah and her will to overcome her tragedy. She was strong and so considerate of others. I loved both Hannah’s brothers and Stephen’s family. This book included cameos from Book 1 characters which was so nice to see the love was still passionate.
A little more character development on Stephen may have redeemed him for me. For most of the book, Stephen viewed Hannah as a challenge. She said no when others were so willing. Stephen wasn’t looking for a relationship. I was just lukewarm on him at the end. I didn’t feel intensity in feelings that I felt with Matt and Abby. I missed that love connection here until the very end. I really wanted to feel that angst but Stephen’s focus on the surface matters left me underwhelmed.
I enjoy stories revolving around big families and do like the author Claudia Connor’s story telling so I look forward to book 3 in this series.
Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook received in exchange for an honest review.
Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.
But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.
When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.
It’s holiday time and 30 year old Jack Horwood is having a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. Christmas time is full of bad memories for him, so this year, his partner Gareth Flynn tried to life Jack’s spirits by reminding him of the good things he has in his life now. Gareth has known Jack since Jack was 17 years old and Gareth used to be his Commanding Officer. So while they have known each other for a long time, but Gareth had hard time trying to decipher Jack’s moods. Adding to Jack’s own issues, was the unease that Nico and Daniel felt with their chief victimizer still on the loose, Jack had a full plate trying to keep his past ghosts at bay.
I enjoyed the story but I had difficulty with connecting with the romantic relationship because it felt like Jack and Gareth didn’t really communicate well other than work related issues. For people who had saved each other from life and death situations, their couple vibe felt superficial. They obviously had a physical intimacy, but their emotional intimacy felt like it was held in place by other things, like a thirst for justice and advocating for the abused. I did enjoy the unraveling of the mystery surrounding Daniel’s parents. It made this story feel like an episode of Law & Order SVU. The crime solving aspect of this book overtook the romance part. Gareth and Jack did love each other, I wish I felt their passion. There were glimpses of it here and there.
“Love is something enduring that lets you deal with your past, live in the present, and look towards a future.”
But I guess Jack’s pasts still ruled him and he hadn’t laid those fears to rest enough to fully let Gareth in. Gareth deserves an award for his patience and steadfast loyalty. Jack’s mom really damaged his trust by selling him to a pimp and the hell Jack endured would be hard for anyone to overcome.
The secondary characters in this story were likeable from Gareth’s mom to Daniel and Nico. I wish I read book 1 for a better understanding of the journey Jack and Gareth took to get Daniel and Nico. I was happy with the placement of these two young boys. The writing style was easy to follow and smooth. I didn’t feel like Jack and Gareth were developed as characters in this book, but I suspect it was done in book 1. At the end of the book, I finally felt that Jack was truly letting Gareth in. It was an HEA so I felt satisfied in the end. The writing was good so I blame myself for not starting at book 1.
*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.
At a benefit dinner, community activist Maria Cervantes overhears two men plotting a terrorist attack that could rock Miami to its core. But before she can alert authorities, she’s almost killed in a massive explosion—and wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what happened. As the sole survivor of the attack, she is now a person of interest to the NSA—and especially to Agent Cade O’Reilly. Because Maria is the one woman Cade has never been able to forget. Years ago, they were closer than either was willing to admit—until Cade disappeared when Maria needed him most. Now he’s sticking by her, whether she likes it or not. Because the memories locked inside her mind could hold vital clues to the next attack. Because terrorists want her dead—and because he never wants to let her go again.
I enjoyed this book but I hope that every hero and heroine in this series won’t be second chance romances because I am already over the “lack of communication” or “misunderstanding” thing.
Similar to book 1, Agent Cade O’Riley was thrust back into Maria Cervantes life after she became the sole survivor of an explosion due to a terrorist attack. The actual plot was entertaining and was as much a focal point as the romance. I was just as invested in their reunion as I was in eliminating the bad guys.
Now I know this is going to sound weird, but I actually found the bad guys and their motivations just as fascinating in this story. While I never condone or enjoy acts of terrorism, the author wrote them in a way that they didn’t seem purely evil. One could empathize with their loss and their desire to cause pain to those they felt wounded them. While I completely hated their actions, I didn’t find myself hating the bad guys here.
I enjoyed Maria as a heroine because she wasn’t a pushover and Cade had to work to regain her trust.
This story was enhanced by the flashback via letters/emails that Maria and Cade shared in their younger years. So the author used the past to weave a love story that was passionate and sweet. Maria came from a privileged life but she wasn’t defined by the money. She showed compassion and loyalty even when it seemed that Cade didn’t have her back.
If you enjoy stories where the plot doesn’t take a back seat to the romance, then this series is for you. I hope Levi and Allison’s journey takes a different path though.
Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another.
And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight.
This series is quickly becoming my favorite. Book 2 was even better than book 1, and I didn’t think that was possible. I do suggest that book 1 is read first, because this book does tie up quite a bit of loose ends. There are a couple of stories going on, which I really liked. Supporting characters also had a role.
The primary story was Mac and Gina’s. This couple had been best friends for years and finally has gotten together. Mac’s ex-wife comes to town requesting to see their children. Since she has not been around for 10 years, the kids and Mac really aren’t interested. Another side story was Gina’s daughter Ashley who had a major meltdown over a boy. This story was so real and a little scary. Ashley also met her biological dad, Erick. Ashley is one strong young lady.
Sara and Cooper, who were the main characters in book 1, continued with their story. Pressure from Sara’s job created issues along with one of Cooper’s ex. girlfriends. This issue created a life changing event for both Sara and Cooper. Sara’s brother Landon and Mac’s daughter became much closer.
Robyn Carr always ensures that her characters are well developed, and the storyline is always so real. I can almost smell the surf and the sea sitting on the deck of Cooper’s little pub. This is such a heartwarming book. I can’t wait until I get to book 3.
Tommy O’Shea is raising his seven younger brothers and sisters without any help from his drug abusing father and stepmother. Since he was fifteen years old, he's managed to keep the children fed and out of foster care. It takes up every ounce of his energy and the last thing he needs is romance complicating his life further.
Rookie cop Bobby McAlister doesn't belong in Tommy’s harsh world, but Tommy can’t push him out. As their unlikely friendship turns into a tentative relationship, they weather the daily storm of Tommy’s life with a lot of laughs and more than a few arguments.
Tommy isn't used to trusting outsiders, and he's never asked for help in his life. But when a tragedy strikes the O'Shea family and threatens everything he's fought for, he'll have to learn to do both to recover from the brutal hit.
I loved this one! It was everything I had been wanting in a book for a long time.
Big Brother Tommy O’Shea was struggling raising 7 brothers and sisters while his dad and stepmom were off on a drug binge. Tommy worked 2-3 jobs and had been holding the family together since he was 15, trying to keep them outside the purview of Child Protective Services.
When rookie detective Bobby McAlister came to check out a call relating to a neighborhood disturbance, Tommy resolved to keep Bobby at arms length to avoid getting the “cops” involved in their crazy lives. But Bobby wasn’t to be waylaid. He figured out about Tommy and his siblings, so Bobby would come and check up on them. Slowly, a friendship gave way to a romance. Trust was a whole other issue because Tommy had been burned and couldn’t afford to lean on anyone else. Bobby decided to show Tommy and family that he could be a person they could depend on.
The story had family, loyalty, abuse, surviving, love and little kids. It was well written, entertaining and just so enjoyable. I loved both Tommy and Bobby separately and together. They were good men and were trying to do good in their lives. I loved Bobby’s mom, and Tommy’s siblings. I was so engaged in Tommy trying to keep everything together, that the romance wasn’t the most important thing anymore. It’s so nice to see kind and honorable people people. Bobby and his mom are so thoughtful and just what the kids needed.
I highly recommend this audiobook if you enjoy a complex story with a happy ending.
*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.
Alexandra Monzelle is a hard-fighting, heat-packing Seattle vice cop, and she’s not much interested in being protected. Her short skirt and sex-kitten heels are tools to lure her suspects into talking about the deadly new drug hitting the streets. She can take care of herself and then some. Unfortunately, she can’t seem to get that through to Kellach Dunne.Kellach is a fresh import from Dublin, and he’s landed at the heart of a vicious motorcycle club that deals in guns, narcotics, and mayhem. He’s all male, all rough power—and all interference in her damn investigation. Maybe he’s one of the good guys. Maybe not. Lex knows an affair with an immortal like him would risk everything. No matter how delicious he looks…
I was really excited when I found out that the Dark Protector universe would continue and Janie Kayrs fulfilled her destiny. Wicked Ride didn’t disappoint. Rebecca Zanetti just writes such entertaining characters that I wasn’t surprised that I connected with the main characters and enjoyed their journey to their HEA.
Kellach Dunne, Realm Enforcer and cousin to Breanne & Moira (Kayrs mates), is the featured hero in the book. He was sent to Seattle by the Coven Nine Witches to find out who is creating and distributing a drug called Apollo. The drug was caused delusions of being a “god” and caused the abuser’s organs to burn. The drug Apollo’s main ingredient was Planekite, a mineral that was deadly to witches.
In the human sector, Seattle vice cop Alexandra “Lex” Monzelle was investigating the drug suppliers as well. Lex was on a persona crusade to eliminate this booming drug trade and her investigation put her on a collision course with Kellach.
When these two finally collided, the chemistry was undeniable. Lex was a self-sufficient woman and didn’t like how vulnerable Kellach made her feel. Kellach wanted a woman who would let him lead and found it quite difficult to tame Lex. Could these two meet in the middle? Who is engineering and sponsoring this drug endeavor and what is their end game?
This one wasn’t exactly like the Dark Protectors and I liked the fact that the witches were front and center. We still got a visit from the King of the Realm with an update of the royal family. We even got two young vampires helping on this case. I enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed the first installment of the Dark Protectors. There was romance, hot loving, a good mystery and lots of action. The characters were likable and we got a good set up for the next book. If you enjoy Rebecca Zanetti’s other work, then you are in for a treat because this one was definitely a great beginning to this new spin-off series.
**Review copy from (Kensington Books) Via Netgalley
Newly promoted police captain Evan Cerelli takes command of his own precinct as Matt Haight’s security business begins to expand at a rapid rate. Both of their careers require more and more of their time—away from home and each other. When his most famous clients, Daisy and Bennett Ames, suffer a traumatic breakup, Matt is drawn into a dangerous and dramatic situation. With attentions diverted, Evan and Matt's tight-knit home life begins to unravel.
As Griffin Drake’s movie nears final edit, his thoughts turn toward building a home with his new fiancé, Jim Shea—and maybe even starting a family. Before he can think of a new family, Jim is caught up in his past. The possibility of putting Tripp Ingersoll in jail once and for all beckons, and Jim wants the closure that has long eluded him. As a new lead spurs him on, Jim begins to lose sight of the future by chasing an old ghost.
Both couples struggle to remember that "happily ever after" requires hard work, trust, and tender, open hearts.
This sixth book started off with the official ceremony of the newly promoted Captain Evan Cerelli. All the usual suspects were present including a pleasant Miranda with her boyfriend Kent. It was a festive event, but it quickly became evident that Evan’s new position would impinge on his boyfriend Matt Haight’s ability to be devote adequate time to his security business. The more Evan’s time and attention was required at his office, the more Evan reverts back to old habits off dumping on his home partner and assuming that Matt would just suspend whatever projects he was involved with. While Matt enjoyed taking care of the children, being taken for granted began to chafe and Matt wasn’t okay with his needs and wants getting relegated to the backburner.
Meanwhile Griffin Drake and Jim Shea were making preparations to get married and Griffin was finishing a movie when their best friend Daisy came running to them for comfort. Daisy and Bennett were having major relationship woes and Daisy need time to figure out what she wanted. Daisy brought her daughter to live with Griffin and Jim while that led to Matt is drawn into the Daisy-Bennett drama. When Matt leaves for LA work, but didn’t to return home or take Evan’s calls. While Matt is trying to deal with his resentment at Evan for taking him for granted, Evan and the kids are distraught because they are worried he won’t come back. Evan had to weigh his priorities and decide if it was even possible to balance the career he wanted with the family life he craved. Matt also had to assess what he was willing to sacrifice in order to be with Evan and the Cerelli children. That was the most emotional part of the book for me because it is clear Evan and Matt love each other so much. What I hated was that as soon as I got into Matt and Evan’s struggle for a balanced life, we got dragged back into the Jim, Griffin and Daisy show. It ruined the continuity of the emotional flow of the story.
I have never connected with Jim and Griffin, nor Daisy and Bennett. I was hoping the author would give them their own book so I could avoid them, but she keeps intertwining their story with Matt and Evan to my utter dismay. Evan and Matt are really all I care about, so to have Griffin, Jim, Daisy and Bennett monopolize this book with their drama really diminished my enjoyment. Matt and Evan are dealing with an issue many dual-income couples face as far as managing couple and family time with and respect of each other’s careers. I wanted the author to really delve more into how they were going to sacrifice to meet in at a comfortable median. Just as things progressed between Evan and Matt, the author cut to a commercial break (those other people). It was frustrating.
The Matt and Evan journey is always a 5-star for me. They are my favorite couple after Ty and Zane but I fear that I have reached my limit. I am not interested in continuing the series if the couples are intertwined like this again because I just don’t want to read about Jim & Griffin nor Daisy & Bennett. I have never cared for them and I won’t share Evan Cerelli and Matt Haight with them any longer.
Purchase your copy at Dreamspinner Publishing.
*Special thanks to Dreamspinner for the advanced reading copy.