Publisher: Harlequin

Throwback Thursday Review: Should’ve Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson (with spoilers)

Posted March 11, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Should’ve Been A Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson (with spoilers)Reviewer: Holly
Should've Been a Cowboy by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Sons of Chance #4
Also in this series: Wild at Heart (Sons of Chance, #11)
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: June 1, 2011
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: No
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Westerns
Pages: 224
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Wanted: One hot cowboy...

Party organizer Tyler O'Connelli is on the fast track to her dream career. She's so close she can almost taste it. But when she returns to her family and sees her one-night stand, Alex Keller, all done up in his cowboy gear, her self-control is stretched to the "breaking point...."

They're worlds apart. She's a busy career girl, and Alex is a cowboy. But while getting together might not bode well for anything long-term, it more than makes up for it in sheer hot chemistry Problem is, this is one wrangler she might want to get tied down--and tied up--to...indefinitely

This review was originally posted on May 25, 2011.

I was anxious for this story after finishing the previous in the series. I’m glad VLT decided to write it. My review contains mild plot spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Alex and Tyler shared a passionate night together at the wedding of his sister, who was marrying into the same family Tyler’s sister had. As an activities director on a cruise ship, Tyler doesn’t have much opportunity for relations with the opposite sex. She figures she’ll see Alex again after their night – they are related through marriage, after all – but she isn’t worried about it. Having a one off isn’t that big a deal to either of them, especially since Alex is recovering from a divorce.

10 months go by before they’re reunited and both are surprised to find that they haven’t been able to forget the other. If circumstances were different, they might even consider trying to build a relationship. As it stands, Tyler is up for a major promotion and getting ready to set sail on a world cruise. She isn’t interested in settling down on a ranch in the middle of Wyoming.

Although the longer she spends with Alex and the rest of the Chance family, the more she questions her desire to continue being a world traveler. But is Alex willing to commit if she sticks around? And is she willing to stick around if he’s not?

I have to take this story in two parts. 1) the romance. I think the romance worked very well. The connection between Alex and Tyler is well established going into the story, so the small page count doesn’t hurt it. Their decision to keep it light was obviously doomed to failure – both had their emotions engaged early on. I felt the connection between them and enjoyed it.

The second part of this was less easy to like. Tyler’s focus on her career really played a large part in the story. It was the main conflict that kept them apart and the whole reason they resisted entering into a deeper relationship. And yet Tyler decides, rather unexpectedly, that she’d like to settle down after all and perhaps become the marketing director for the town. A position that doesn’t even exist. There was no talk of Alex taking a position on the cruise ship – something he was qualified for with a communications and DJ background – or of them working on something long distance so that Tyler wouldn’t have to give up her career.

That in and of itself wouldn’t have been such a big deal, but once she mentions her plan to Alex and he vetoes it (because he thinks she deserves more) that’s it..she gives it up. It was obvious her only reason for staying was because of Alex. I can understand him being a consideration, but to give up a life long dream and a career, I felt she needed to do it for a better reason than a man.

While I enjoyed the romance, the fact that all the give was done on Tyler’s part really brought the story down for me.

3 out of 5

Sons of Chance

three-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Last Carolina Sister by Michelle Major

Posted March 7, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Last Carolina Sister by Michelle MajorThe Last Carolina Sister by Michelle Major
Series: The Magnolia Sisters #3
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: March 30, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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“Perfect for fans of Debbie Macomber.”—Publishers Weekly

In Magnolia, North Carolina, love might be waiting right next door…

Meredith Ventner knows a wounded creature when she sees one. Though her temporary new neighbor may be—on the surface at least—a successful, drop-dead gorgeous doctor, she recognizes the deep hurt Ryan Sorensen is carrying, and it’s catnip to her soul. But even though Meredith is the youngest, scrappiest and single-est of Magnolia’s most famous sisters, she’s committed to expanding the animal shelter on her newly inherited farm. She can’t waste her energy on a man who’s only passing through town.

Ryan is hoping that after a month of small-town living he’ll be healed enough to return to his busy ER. His injured leg isn’t half as painful as his guilt from the tragedy he's trying to forget. Yet somehow, helping feisty, tenderhearted Meredith care for her menagerie is making him question his career-first priorities. Here in this quirky small town another future is coming into view, but can he change his life, and open his heart, to claim it?   

The Magnolia Sisters

Book 1: The Magnolia Sisters
Book 2: The Merriest Magnolia
Book 3: The Last Carolina Sister

Excerpt

Excerpted from The Last Carolina Sister, by Michelle Major. Harlequin, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

She laughed softly. “All animals have personalities, most of them more appealing than humans you meet.”

“Based on some of the characters I’ve run across in the ER, I can only imagine.”

“You must think I’m a silly, crazy pet-rescue lady, when what you do has life-or-death stakes. Most people do.”

As they watched the animals, he shifted closer to her, not so they were touching but enough that he felt the startling connection like a physical force between them. “I don’t think you’re silly, Meredith.” Her name on his lips felt right. “I’d considered crazy with the way you showed up on my doorstep, but now I get that it’s passion. You’re passionate.”

The moment the word slipped off his tongue, he regretted it. She glanced up at him, and he took a step away, not wanting to spook her. Her gaze had sharpened but held the tiniest speck of vulnerability, like she needed someone to tell her she wasn’t silly or crazy.

He wanted to say a lot of things in this moment that wouldn’t be smart for either of them. Ryan had come to Magnolia to recover on his own, not to make friends and definitely not to acknowledge an unexpected attraction to his gorgeous, spitfire neighbor.

“I should be getting home.” He made a show of yawning.

“Right,” she agreed, calling out good-night to each of the animals by name as they passed.

The damp air of the barn made Ryan’s lower leg stiffen, and he did his best not to be too obvious about how much he had to rely on his cane as they walked to her truck.
He noticed each time Meredith’s gaze tracked to his bum leg, but thankfully she didn’t ask any more questions. It was as if they’d both used up their allotment of words for the day, and by mutual agreement they drove the short distance between the two properties in a companionable silence.

“Thank you again, Doc,” she said when she pulled to a stop in front of the cottage. “I owe you.”

“Just promise me you won’t trust any more idiot men who tell you they’re interested in your kittens,” he said, then opened the door.

She grinned. “Cross my heart,” she said as she traced the shape over her thick jacket.

Ryan’s heart thumped in his chest. Despite a job that must entail hours of manual labor, her fingers were slender and elegant. Noticing them made him wonder about the rest of her body, which was not a path he had any intention of letting his mind wander down.

“Good night,” he told her and closed the car door with more force than was probably necessary. Time to remind himself that their little adventure tonight had been an aberration, not the start of anything more.

He waited until her taillights disappeared around the curve in his driveway and then limped up the steps to his front door.

The Magnolia Sisters

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: March 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Michelle Major

Michelle Major author photo

Michelle Major is the Publishers Weekly best-selling, RITA award winning author of over thirty sexy and sweet contemporary romances. She loves second-chances love stories, smart heroines and strong heroes. A Midwesterner at heart, she’s made the Rocky Mountains her home for nearly half her life and is thrilled to share her books with readers. Connect with her at www.michellemajor.com.


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Throwback Thursday Review: Suspect by Jasmine Cresswell

Posted March 4, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Suspect by Jasmine CresswellReviewer: Casee
Suspect by Jasmine Cresswell
Series: Raven #2
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: October 1, 2007
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: No
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For twenty-five years, multimillionaire businessman Ron Raven played the loving husband and father--to two very different households. But when Ron disappears, his deception is revealed. Faced with the ultimate betrayal, both families are left questioning who can be trusted... and who remains SUSPECT.

Cynical attorney Liam Raven hid his father's bigamy... until it was too late. Ironically, Liam specializes in divorce cases. But when Chloe Hamilton is charged with murdering her husband, a popular Denver mayor, he makes an exception.

Liam's relationship to Chloe quickly surpasses client and attorney. Her former husband had many secrets--including a connection to Ron Raven's other family. And aquitting Chloe means uncovering a string of lies and treachery that leads back to Liam's father.

This review was originally posted on October 4, 2007.

Suspect is the second book in the Raven Trilogy. You can find my review of the first book, Missing, here.

Liam Raven went into family law as a divorce attorney as a way of thumbing his nose at his bigamist father. Having discovered years prior to his father’s death that he was married to another woman, Liam kept quiet. I thought it was strange that he wouldn’t tell his mother. What kind of son wouldn’t tell their mom that her husband is married to another woman? I’m sure it makes for awkward dinner conversation, but come on. Well, it seems that Daddy Dearest was blackmailing Liam. Daddy told Liam that if he ratted him out, he would choose wife #2 over Liam’s mom. Obviously Liam cared a great deal about his mother and couldn’t risk his mom having the heartache not only of finding out her husband is a bigamist, but being thrown over for the “other woman”.

Before his days as Denver’s most prominent divorce lawyer, Liam was a criminal lawyer. When the Mayor of Denver is murdered, Liam is more than surprised when his widow shows up at his office begging him to defend her. Having started divorce proceedings for her months earlier, he hadn’t talked to her since she told him she was stopping the divorce. Chloe Hamilton drops a bombshell on him (and me) right from the get-go. Liam fathered Chloe’s daughter, Sophie. Liam argues with her until she reminds him the exact when and where of their encounter. After that, his arguments went out the window.

Even though Liam agrees to help her, he’s leery. Having successfully defended a woman charged with murdering her husband, Liam didn’t find out she was guilty until the verdict came back as Not Guilty. Oh and that was after he fell in love with the murdering bee-yotch. So while he wants to believe that the mother of his daughter isn’t capable of murder, experience has taught him to be not so trusting.

As in Missing, the plot in Suspect circles back around to the mysterious disappearance of Ron Raven. It seems that Ron’s business partner and the brother of his 2nd (and not legal) wife was doing business with the Mayor before his death. Rational that he is, Paul Fairfax wants to make Liam’s life as painful as possible when sees that Liam is involved with the late Mayor’s wife. He does this by leaking DNA of Liam and Chloe’s daughter given to him by the Mayor’s Chief of Staff. Though not willing to take the risk, he’s blackmailed into it. He either does it or the project that will refill his financial coffers will be axed permanently.

Though Chloe obviously played a substantial role in the book, I was more fascinated by Liam’s character. Chloe had been in a sham marriage from Day 1. Not knowing that she was marrying a gay man (yes, the Mayor was gay), Chloe had high hopes for the life and family she would make with her husband. That was a mistake. When she tried to get a divorce, Jason blackmailed her into staying married by threatening to out her father’s gambling habit. As a public figure, her father would have lost his job and his livelihood. On the night of his murder, her and Jason got into a spectacular fight where she vowed that she would be leaving no matter what his political aspirations were. Having encouraged him for years to come out of the closet, Chloe was sorely disappointed in his decision not to.

So together Liam and Chloe try to figure out who Jason’s lover was. What they don’t realize is that finding out the identity of his lover will also lead them to the identity of his murderer.

4 out of 5

Raven

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Do You Take This Cop by Beth Andrews

Posted January 7, 2021 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Do You Take This Cop by Beth AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Do You Take This Cop? by Beth Andrews
Series: Serenity Springs #4
Also in this series: A Not-So-Perfect Past
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: May 1st 2010
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 256
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one-half-stars
Series Rating: two-stars

Without the badge, he'd be perfect!

The last thing Faith Lewis needs is a cop poking his nose in her business. Okay, yes, Nick Coletti is gorgeous. And charming. And great with her son. But dating the town's most popular boy in blue is hardly going to help her keep a low profile. This guy could blow their world apart if he discovers her secret.

Funny thing is, he may also be her only hope. If she had someone like Nick on her side, maybe she could finally be free, and give her son the life he deserves. But trusting Nick means telling the whole truth about her past. He might protect them. Or he just might turn her in….

This review was originally published on September 9, 2010

I’ve read novels by Andrews before and enjoyed them, but this one fell far off the mark for me.

I was liking the heroine of this book until she decided to manipulate the hero into caring for her because she needs protection. She’s on the run from an abusive husband and wants to settle herself and her son somewhere. I can understand that. But why not just tell him the truth and ask for help? You really think leading him on and lying is going to help your cause? The good news is that the hero is onto her. He knows she’s playing a game, he just isn’t sure what it is. Which is the whole reason I kept reading.

She also played the “let’s pretend everything is okay and it will be” game a little too often for me. Pretending a problem doesn’t exist doesn’t make it go away. She was the type to stick her fingers in her ears and say ‘la la la la la la’. Her son greatly suffered because she refused to deal with her issues. Had it just been her, I might have been able to overlook this. Her son deserved better, though.

This brings me to the next thing that I didn’t like about her, her skills as a mother. She expected her son to be perfect. He wasn’t allowed to make messes or play outside or be loud or..talk, even. Everything he did she scolded him for it. I can understand wanting your kids to behave, but she expected way too much from him.

I kept reading because of the hero. He was strong, caring, and compassionate. He genuinely liked Faith and wanted to get to know her better. I thought it was sweet how he acted with her son. He really worked for me all the way up until the end. That’s when he stopped acting like a cop and started acting like a jerk who’d been scorned by a woman. It was so frustrating! He was the only reason I kept reading, and then he totally ruined it the last 1/8 of the book.

Up until that point he knew Faith was hiding a secret but wanted to let her work out telling him on her own. I can respect that. But when he shows up at her place to find her packing and realizes she knocked someone out and HID THE BODY, but does nothing about it, my head (almost) exploded.

Had the hero not turned TSTL at the end, I probably wouldn’t have disliked this book so much. As it stands, I can’t find much to recommend it.

1.5 out of 5 (the .5 is for the hero during the first half of the story and the kid. I liked him.)

Serenity Springs

one-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Wife He Needs by Brenda Jackson

Posted December 6, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Wife He Needs by Brenda JacksonThe Wife He Needs by Brenda Jackson
Series: The Outlaws #1
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Publication Date: December 15, 2020
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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Will this billionaire bachelor say “I do” to love? Find out, only from
New York Times
bestselling author Brenda Jackson!


He desires her more than any other woman.

But falling in love isn’t part of the plan.

The arrangement is simple: a two-week getaway, then a marriage of convenience. Until Garth Outlaw’s potential bride is a no-show. Now family pilot Regan Fairchild is sharing his bed—and he can’t get enough…even though he’s vowed never to love again. Can Regan convince him the wife he needs and the woman he desires are one and the same?
From Harlequin Desire: Luxury, scandal, desire—welcome to the lives of the American elite.
Westmoreland Legacy: The Outlaws
Book 1: The Wife He Needs




Excerpt

THE WIFE HE NEEDS by Brenda Jackson Excerpt

“So, when is the wedding, Garth?”

Garth Outlaw raised his eyes from studying his cards. Was his brother playing mind games to mess with his concentration?

“And just what wedding are you talking about?”

Garth glanced around the table and saw the smirks on the faces of all four of his brothers. Even Jess had made a trip home from the nation’s capital for a week long visit.

“Is anyone going to answer?” Garth asked.

Jess grinned as he threw out a card. “I heard it from Dad the moment I walked through the door. He claims you’ve gotten over Karen Piccard, decided to settle down and do whatever needs to be done for the benefit of the company, which includes getting a wife and making babies to guarantee the Outlaw dynasty. Those were his words, not mine.”

“We heard the same thing,” Cash said, with Sloan and Maverick nodding in agreement.

Garth didn’t say anything. Being the oldest son of Bartram “Bart” Outlaw wasn’t easy, especially when his father liked spreading information that wasn’t true. However, in this case, it was. At least partly. He was planning to do what needed to be done for the company. But he seriously doubted he would ever get over Karen. She would always have his heart.

“No wedding date has been set because I haven’t chosen a bride.”

His brother Cash sat up straight in his chair. “Are you really thinking about settling down with a wife and making babies?” he asked, as if the thought of doing such a thing was as unheard of as living in outer space.

Garth threw out some chips. “Why not? I don’t see any of you guys rushing to the altar to continue the Outlaw legacy. Not even you, Jess, and you’re the politician in the family. You of all people should be thinking about acquiring a wife.” A couple of years ago, Jess had gotten elected as a senator from Alaska.

A grin touched Jess’s lips. “No, thank you. I’m not ready to fall in love.”

Garth shrugged. “Who said anything about falling in love?”

“You’re thinking of marrying a woman you don’t love?” This question came from Sloan.

“For me there’s no other way.”

There was no reason to explain what he meant. They knew.

“And you’ll do it because Bart says it needs to be done?”

Garth rolled his eyes at his youngest brother, Maverick, who’d been quiet up to now. “No, I’ll consider doing it because I think it’s about time I settled down. I’m thirty-eight, and dating gets old.”

“Speak for yourself,” Maverick said, grinning. “I happen to enjoy dating a lot of women.”

Garth shook his head. “And Walker got me thinking. Look how long he was a loner before he got married. If he can do it, then anyone can.”

Walker Rafferty was Garth’s best friend. A couple of years ago, Walker had met his current wife and now they were parents to twins, a boy and a girl they’d named Walker and Westlyn. Nobody thought Walker would ever remarry after losing his first wife and son in a car accident. Surprisingly, ten years later, Walker had fallen in love again. Garth was happy for Walker, and inspired to settle down, but honestly, he couldn’t see himself falling in love. He was convinced Karen was the only woman he was meant to love.

Westmoreland Legacy: The Outlaws

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2020

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Brenda Jackson

Brenda Jackson Author Photo

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 Americas Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award recipient for 2012.


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