Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Sunday Spotlight: Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin

Posted February 18, 2018 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

Today we’re bringing you an excerpt from Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlin. Y’all, the series is called Whiskey and Weddings. How can I resist?

Sunday Spotlight: Maybe This Time by Nicole McLaughlinMaybe This Time (Whiskey and Weddings, #2) by Nicole McLaughlin
Series: Whiskey and Weddings #2
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: February 27th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 300
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Goodreads

Jen Mackenzie has been knocked down more than a few times, but she always gets up and makes sure she has the last word. It’s the reason she now considers herself equal parts self-sufficient and free-spirit. But since losing her job and trying to help her mother beat cancer, real life―and her occasional careless choices―have begun to catch up with her. Her one saving grace: The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s go-to wedding venue. The only catch: One of the owners, TJ Laughlin, happens to be the one man who somehow manages to make Jen feel inadequate.

TJ has secretly had a thing for Jen since high school. Now, as her new boss, it’s a daily struggle between revealing his feelings and wringing her beautiful neck. Only one thing is for certain: he can’t stand idly by and watch the woman he cares for struggle. She may be convinced that accepting TJ’s help is a weakness. But all he sees in Jen is beauty and strength, inside and out. As things finally heat up between them, can TJ find a way to convince Jen that love is about give and take―and having it all, together?

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Excerpt

One

Twelve years earlier

Apparently, blondes did have more fun. Or at least got more attention, Jen Mackenzie thought as she made her way down the main hall of her high school. Three guys had already made lewd comments, she’d received one request for her number, and several girls had given her dirty looks.

And the day was only half over.

The first tardy bell sounded as she took a left toward the history and social sciences wing of Green Hills High School.

“Looking good, Jen,” the best friend of the most popular guy in school said. Did that make him the second-most popular guy? Jen didn’t hang around with—or give two shits about—popularity. It wasn’t for her, so she just gave him the finger and kept on walking.

He laughed in response. “Anytime you want.”

She rolled her eyes, but smirked. She could appreciate a guy that could take it as well as he gave it. Jen was no stranger to male attention. However, she wasn’t used to it being so blatant. Not at school anyway, where she was normally an outcast. Or the kind of girl guys propositioned in secret. But the previous week she’d performed the role of Sandy in her high school’s musical rendition of Grease. Apparently dyeing your normally dark hair blonde, proving you could act and sing, and donning tight-as-hell pants, could turn an obscure emo girl into an overnight sensation. Now the catcalls were loud and proud. Who’d have thought?

Although she was smart enough to know none of it was genuine, not even a jaded and bitter soul such as herself could deny the instinctive pleasure this new attention brought her. It wasn’t that she’d wanted to be a nobody … necessarily. It was just so much easier to not care. Case in point: She was already feeling the pressure from this newfound attention. The blonde hair had to be part of the appeal, and yet, there was no way her mother would give her the money to maintain it. The director’s sister did hair, and so she’d let Jen come to her shop and get a head full of platinum highlights for free. But a few weeks from now she’d be the girl with the nasty dark roots—a clear reminder to her peers that she was not one of them. With a sigh, she picked up her pace as her stomach gave a tiny moan of protest. Don’t you dare humiliate me, stomach.

She’d purposely not eaten lunch for two reasons. One, she didn’t want to risk spilling anything on her top, and two, to ensure she didn’t have bad breath for this hour. And okay, probably a little bit because her lunch account was negative nine dollars. At ten, they held the right to refuse you, depending on the mood of the cashier, and Jen wasn’t willing to risk suffering that humiliation. Not again. Asking her mom for lunch money was only successful when she was in a good mood. Otherwise she’d get the “if you want to eat lunch every day, then get a job” speech. But a job would not allow her to attend rehearsals. A dilemma, but they didn’t call them starving artists for nothing. Someday her talent would pay off.

As Jen approached the door to her fifth-hour Government class, she slowed, trying not to appear overeager. Normally, that would have come naturally. She hated this class. Mr. Timmons was a bore, and she hated the texture of his hair, which looked like a toupee but supposedly wasn’t. All she could do was stare at it all hour to try to see if it moved in conjunction with his head. Incredibly distracting, and several times she considered just raising her hand and asking if he’d just give it a good tug so everyone could finally focus on the three branches of government.

Today, however, she was nervous and excited. Popping a piece of gum in her mouth, she entered the class as the second bell rang, the reason for her anxiety staring back at her from the far row.

TJ Laughlin.

Just the sight of him made her nauseous and tingly. And did he just shift in his seat and look away in disgust? Was he annoyed? The seating arrangement had just changed at the end of class yesterday. Maybe he wasn’t happy, considering he used to sit next to a group of his friends.

“Hey, Jen,” a second-tier popular girl named Renee said from her seat. “Cool hair.”

Jen glanced at her, trying to analyze if it was a sincere compliment. Unable to tell, she replied, “Thanks.” No smile. Better to play it safe and not look foolish.

Making her way to the table she was now sharing with TJ, she pulled out her chair and sat down. He said nothing, but his left leg was bouncing nervously beneath the desk. Her first instincts must have been right.

“Feel free to request to move to another seat,” she said under her breath.

His leg froze as he looked at her. “Why would I do that?”

He almost looked pissed off. She glanced down at his leg. “Either you have to take a piss, or I make you uncomfortable.”

He let out a huff of a laugh and shook his head. “You have no idea.”

That was a vague answer. Before she could demand he clarify, Mr. Timmons was beginning his droll lecture. TJ, having always been a perfect student, wouldn’t appreciate her talking to him during class. Nerd. Except he was a hot, rich nerd. The kind of guy who would never want anything from Jen but what she could give him in fifteen minutes in his car. She was no prude, but she wouldn’t give any guy the satisfaction of looking down on her any more than he already did.

Mr. Timmons went on about Congress, and it wasn’t long before Jen was leaning back in her chair and doodling in her notebook. Anything to take her mind off how good TJ smelled, or how his forearm muscles constricted as he furiously took notes. He was left-handed, and she liked watching the way his wrist curled in as he used his pen. Almost like he was writing upside down.

“The way you write looks messed up,” she whispered.

His hand stilled as he turned to look at her. “I’m left-handed.”

She gave him a long look. “No shit.” She sat up, scooted her chair forward, and leaned on the table, looking at him. She whispered. “Does that mean you jerk off with your left hand?”

“What the…” He turned away, as if to be sure no one overhead her. Redness bloomed on his cheeks and down his neck.

Jen smiled, biting her bottom lip as he faced her once more.

“Why would you ask me that?”

She shrugged. “Just curious. There’s no shame in jacking off, TJ.”

He gave her a side-eye. “I didn’t say there was.”

They stared at each other for a long moment until his eyes finally roamed over the blonde waves framing her face. “You gonna dye it back?” he asked, surprising her.

“I don’t know. Should I?”

He lifted an eyebrow. “Doesn’t really matter. But the blonde isn’t you.”

She wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but she assumed it was because her normal dark brown hair was drab. Just like her. Jen wasn’t meant to be a sweet, beautiful, upbeat, Sandy kind of woman. In fact she’d auditioned for Rizzo, thinking she was a shoo-in. She felt like she was made for the role. But the minute she’d got done singing, the director had stood up, clapped, and said, “I did not expect that voice to come out of you. But I think we have our Sandy.” Nobody had been more shocked than Jen, and probably most of the student body. And she still hadn’t decided if his initial reaction was a compliment or not. She was leaning toward him being a stereotyping jerk, but she did appreciate the part.

Jen looked away, trying to convince herself that TJ’s comment about her hair didn’t sting. From anyone else, it probably wouldn’t. There was no explaining her thing for him, but she knew it went beyond the fact that he was beautiful to look at. They had four classes together this semester, and she often found his eyes glancing away from her, which made her look at him more, always hoping to catch him staring back. It made her feel a little insane and obsessed.

Maybe she was tired of his judgment and subconsciously wanted to convince him that she could make him want her. Stupid her should realize that boys didn’t want girlfriends who talked about pissing and jacking off. They wanted a lady. If only they could see those “ladies” in the locker room. They were all crude, even the popular ones. In fact they might be the worst.

Mr. Timmons stopped in front of their table and handed them each a worksheet titled FROM BILL TO LAW. “Feel free to work together,” he said. He probably thought Jen couldn’t handle the work on her own. Jerk.

“Don’t feel obligated,” she muttered, pulling a pen out of her purse.

TJ scooted his seat to face her a little more. “I don’t, but it would be stupid not to work together and get this finished faster. It’s front and back.”

Jen sighed, covering up her relief. “Fine.”

It didn’t even take them fifteen minutes to get through the entire thing, and she had to admit, he was a good partner. Didn’t try and answer all the questions first. That surprised her.

“You really know this stuff,” TJ said, stuffing his pen into the backpack on the floor at his side.

“I’m not stupid.”

He gave her a long look. “Will you cut it out with the attitude? I never said you were stupid. But considering you drew pictures of fairies all through the lecture, it surprised me how much you knew.”

She stared at him, wondering how he’d managed to see what she’d been drawing. Wondering why he’d been interested. Shrugging, she put her supplies away. “I find government fascinating and also infuriating enough to hold my attention. I read the chapter last night.”

When he didn’t respond, she glanced up at him. God, he was so handsome, his green eyes sparkling, light-brown hair sweeping over his forehead just right. Even his eyebrows were perfectly placed and groomed. Was that natural or did he maintain them? She wanted to ask, but didn’t, because his lopsided smirk was suddenly throwing her off.

“What?” she asked.

He opened his mouth to speak, but they were interrupted by Evan Peterson, Green Hill South football star and ladies’ man. “Hey, you two.”

Jen looked up to find him leaning on their table. It was only a few minutes until the bell rang and Mr. Timmons was busy with something at his desk, so several students had left their seats to socialize.

“What’s up, Peterson?” TJ said dryly. Jen knew the two guys were friends, so TJ’s irritated greeting surprised her. Evan was kind of cute in the rugged jock kind of way, but sooo not her type. Or in her league. He’d recently broke up with Adeline, a varsity cheerleader and total rich bitch. Could anything be more cliché?

Evan smiled at Jen. “Great job last week. I think you had every guy dreaming of you in those tight pants this weekend. You should wear them to school.”

“Jesus, dude. Shut up,” TJ said.

Evan looked at him, confused. “What for? That’s a compliment.” He turned to Jen. “Right? Shit, I never even go to the musicals, but after I heard about how amazing you were, I had to. Didn’t disappoint.”

Jen wouldn’t mind slapping the dickhead in the face, but for some reason she just gave him a tight-lipped smile.

He took her silence as agreement and leaned in closer. “I was kind of wondering. How would you like to go to the dance together next Saturday?”

Jen’s shock was further intensified by the way TJ froze beside her. His bouncing leg once again halted. And had she seriously just been asked out by one of the most popular guys in school? Why did it make her feel a little excited? Maybe because she’d been watching these handsome yet self-absorbed asshats walk these halls for almost four years, looking straight through her the entire time? Probably also because in those four years she’d never been invited to a dance. Which reminded her.

“Isn’t this a Sadie Hawkins dance?”

“Yes. It is.” TJ’s voice was low and stern beside her. She glanced at him, but his eyes were glued to Evan. “Which is why this is stupid.”

Jen looked at her potential date. He just shrugged. “Didn’t want to take the chance. After last week, you’re a hot commodity. Feel free to ask me instead. Laughlin can keep a secret.”

Jen glanced back at TJ, who finally met her eyes. Why did he look mad? Maybe they were all going as a group and he didn’t want her around? The thought pissed her off. No, she was not popular or rich, but she had every right to hang out with whomever the hell she pleased.

She turned back to Evan. “Maybe I will ask you. Better stay on your toes.”

He gave an awkward and obviously stunned laugh. “Alright then, I will. Can’t wait,” he said before walking back to his seat.

Jen and TJ were both quiet in his absence, so she finally picked up her backpack. The bell would ring any second, and she’d be off to Acting 2. Her favorite class. Drama Club and the performances were the only reason she didn’t just drop out of school already.

“You really gonna ask him?”

She glanced over to find TJ staring at her, his own backpack over his shoulder.

“Do you have a problem with that?” Maybe he’d be honest. Her theory was that she was hyperaware of his constant judgement because she herself was so focused on him. He must sense that she had a ridiculous crush on him, and he was trying to subconsciously send her “no fucking way” signals. She knew other students looked down their nose on the weird poor girl, too, but TJ was the one she felt it from. It must be annoying for his friends to be asking her to join their social events.

“Yeah. It does bother me,” he said, his eyes narrowed, brow furrowed. He breathed in hard and blew it out through his nose before glancing up at the clock.

Jen stood there fuming. Screw this guy. There was no point in being attracted to such an asshole any longer. She would be asking Evan to the dance. Maybe it would finally send hot rich boy the message that she was not beneath him.

Yep. Blondes totally had more fun.

Copyright © 2018 by Nicole McLaughlin in Maybe This Time and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

Whiskey and Weddings

Giveaway Alert

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

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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 the Author

Nicole McLaughlin

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | GOODREADS

Nicole wrote her first full length book (6 pages) about the birth of her baby sister, when she was eight years old. She only finished it because her mother bribed her with a Rick Astley cassette tape. Sad, but true. Now her characters are what keep her writing and her subject matter has gotten a little bit deeper and a lot more romantic. She resides in a small town outside of Kansas City with her husband and three sons. When she isn’t writing, she’s a wedding and portrait photographer, loves to cook, and watch historical dramas or documentaries.


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What Are You Reading? (+ Paranormal Giveaway)

Posted February 16, 2018 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 11 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee: I’ve had a pretty good reading month so far. Well, compared to the past two month. I finished Blood Fury by JRW, which I really enjoyed. I am finally reading Archangel’s Viper by Nalini Singh. I can’t believe this book got buried so far down in my TBR pile. I am not ashamed to admit that the Guild Hunter series is my favorite series by Nalini. I usually devour everything she releases right when it comes out, but I missed this one somehow. I am really enjoying Venom and Holly’s story.

Next up is either Storm Gathering by Rebecca Zanetti or Kato: The Stone Warriors by D.B. Reynolds. I haven’t decided yet.

Holly: I had a book hangover from The Others series this week. Nothing I picked up after them really appealed, so I ended up going back and re-reading the series. I feel like I really zipped through them the first time, so it was good to go back and take my time with the stories. I also re-read Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews for a joint review with Rowena.

I’m currently reading The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen (which is fabulous so far) and listening to Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase.

Rowena: This week was for reading The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory. I heard so many good things about it and I really zipped through the book the first time that I read it because there were things that annoyed me in that read that I didn’t think were a big deal until I started writing down my thoughts for my review. The things that annoyed me became much bigger and so I had to read it again, slowly to figure my mind out about it. In the end, I didn’t like it. There were parts that showed promise but overall? It wasn’t for me.

After reading The Wedding Date, I started and finished Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne and loved the hell out of that book. Gage and Ellie entertained the socks right off of me and I was wearing socks because it was cold that night. That was such a great book. I enjoyed it so much more than I enjoyed the first book in the series, Ready to Run. After that, I jumped into Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews and I’m finishing that up today so that I can jump into Living Out Loud by Staci Hart.

Giveaway Alert

We are very fortunate here at Book Binge. We have loads and loads of books to read and we want to share the wealth so each week, we’ll be tacking on a Freebie Friday giveaway to our What Are You Reading posts. This week, we’re giving away…

What Are You Reading? (+ Paranormal Giveaway)Thanks Fur Last Night by Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden, Kate Baxter
Series: Fur #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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Bearing His Sin
Cole should have killed Anja the moment he realized she was his mate. Instead, he let her live and now they’re on the hunt, chasing the morons who think they can force her to marry another man. Like hell. And while this shapeshifting bear might have his share of sins, he’s not going to let little things like murder and mayhem prevent him from having the woman meant to be the keeper of his heart.

Bought by the Bear
Josilyn Martinez just needed the money to help raise her nephew. That's it. There's no other reason she would take a job posing as a shifter's mate so he can assure his grandmother he's settled down. There's no reason to stay at his place so they learn "more about each other." And there's definitely no good reason she should get involved with the hard, hot, and handsome shifter that's hired her.
Xander just needs a fake mate for a week to get his grandmother off his back. But what's a bear shifter to do when the impostor mate he hired turns out to be his actual mate? All sweet, luscious curves and a heart of gold, Xander's not going to let his mate get away. Now all he has to do is show her that they belong together, one kiss and touch at a time...

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What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!


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Review: Year One by Nora Roberts

Posted February 8, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 9 Comments

Review: Year One by Nora RobertsReviewer: Casee
Year One (Chronicles of The One #1) by Nora Roberts
Series: Chronicles of The One #1
Published by Macmillan, St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 419
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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three-half-stars

A stunning new novel from the number-one New York Times best-selling author - an epic of hope and horror, chaos and magic, and a journey that will unite a desperate group of people to fight the battle of their lives...

It began on New Year’s Eve.

The sickness came on suddenly, and spread quickly. The fear spread even faster. Within weeks, everything people counted on began to fail them. The electrical grid sputtered; law and government collapsed—and more than half of the world’s population was decimated.

Where there had been order, there was now chaos. And as the power of science and technology receded, magic rose up in its place. Some of it is good, like the witchcraft worked by Lana Bingham, practicing in the loft apartment she shares with her lover, Max. Some of it is unimaginably evil, and it can lurk anywhere, around a corner, in fetid tunnels beneath the river—or in the ones you know and love the most.

As word spreads that neither the immune nor the gifted are safe from the authorities who patrol the ravaged streets, and with nothing left to count on but each other, Lana and Max make their way out of a wrecked New York City. At the same time, other travelers are heading west too, into a new frontier. Chuck, a tech genius trying to hack his way through a world gone offline. Arlys, a journalist who has lost her audience but uses pen and paper to record the truth. Fred, her young colleague, possessed of burgeoning abilities and an optimism that seems out of place in this bleak landscape. And Rachel and Jonah, a resourceful doctor and a paramedic who fend off despair with their determination to keep a young mother and three infants in their care alive.

In a world of survivors where every stranger encountered could be either a savage or a savior, none of them knows exactly where they are heading, or why. But a purpose awaits them that will shape their lives and the lives of all those who remain.

The end has come. The beginning comes next.

Where do I even begin with this book? I feel like it has plagued me since it was first released, followed me through Christmas and into the new year. I thought that if I could just sit down and get into it, I would have no problem finishing it. That was true and not true. It was really hard to put this book into the “paranormal romance” category because it’s not really a romance, but it is paranormal. It has more of a “post-apocalypse” vibe, yet there was no apocalypse. You could go either way. I went with paranormal romance because there is romance in it. Maybe a “paranormal almost post-apocalypse romance”?

It was not easy for me to get into this book and this had nothing to do with the time I had or didn’t have to read. This is a new world for Roberts and I think it might be a series that’s going to go on for a little while (don’t quote me on that). My reasons are 1) the series is called the Chronicles. That’s it. That’s my reason. Plus there is no way that she went through everything she did in this first book for a trilogy. I am known to be wrong. So there was a lot, a lot of time spent getting to know this world, these characters and how The One was going to be important. Maybe too much time? It is also incredibly hard to bring you a good review because there was so much going on and so many characters.

The book began in Scotland as these books usually do. Or Ireland. From all the information that I was trying to take in, I gathered that it all began at a stone circle in Scotland. Ross MacLeod didn’t know that going hunting for pheasant was going to end his life, the lives of his family, and billions of others. That’s what happened and all because of the bird landing in the stone circle that has been talked about in whispers within his family. Poor guy. The MacLeod family seemed to just be a family on the peripheral, but their daughter ended up being an important part of the book. Ross and his wife, Angie, went home to New York and spread what was going to become known as the “Doom” from Scotland to New York and everywhere in between.

At the same time the Doom started spreading, anyone with any magical ability had their existing ability enhanced. Some that didn’t know they were magical found out they were faeries or elves. Anyone with magical abilities became known as the “Uncanny”. Not everyone was crazy about the Uncannys, which is putting it lightly. The Uncanny’s learned to hide their powers because some people would kill them on sight.

I really want to tell you about every single character, but that would be so boring. I’ll just try to break it down as simple as I can.

First we have Lana and Max, witches from New York who add human Eddie and canine Joe to their caravan. Then you have Jonah, Rachel, Katie (MacLeod’s daughter) and her three newborn babies. You also have Arlys, Fred, and Chuck. So everyone from New York on a mission. They each have their own journeys that eventually lead them to each other, but it wasn’t an easy one. And who is The One? Well, I’m not going to spoil that.

Once I got into it a little more, I finished it in a day and a half. I found myself really enjoying it. There was something I didn’t see coming which I adjusted to, but the ending? Good Lord help me. It was such a rushed ending that I felt ripped off. Not that the ending didn’t need to come, but it was all tied up in such a nice little bow. Nothankyouverymuch. Still, I’ll read the next one.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Baby, I’m Howling for You by Christine Warren

Posted January 31, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Baby, I’m Howling for You by Christine WarrenReviewer: Tracy
Baby, I'm Howling for You by Christine Warren
Series: Alphaville #1
Published by St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 304
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three-stars

WELCOME TO ALPHAVILLE, where the she-wolves and alpha-males play. . .for keeps.

Renny Landry is a wolf on the run. Pursued by a shapeshifting stalker and his slobbering pack of killer coyotes, she is forced to flee her job as a librarian to find sanctuary in the wooded hills of Alpha, Washington. A well-secluded safe space for troubled shifters, Alpha is Renny’s last hope. But the first person she meets there is a gorgeous alpha male with fiery eyes, fierce tattoos, and one ferocious appetite—for her…

Mick Fischer thought he left his past behind when he moved to Alpha. But fate has a way of biting him in the tail when a female wolf shows up on his property. Wounded, desperate—and disarmingly hot—Renny brings out the snarling, protective alpha beast in Mick like no other woman he’s known. Can these two haunted, hunted wolves manage to mate for life…even as the deadliest past demons howl at their heels?

Renny is on the run from a pack of coyote’s when her car breaks down.  She’s so close to her destination of Alphaville but she ends up having to make a run for it.  She shifts to her wolf and takes off.  She’s almost caught when she is saved by Mick Fischer.  He’s a wolf shifter as well and surprise, surprise, her mate.

Mick Fischer had a mate but she was murdered 8 years previously.  He has no idea why he is still alive as so often mates follow one another into death.  When he meets Renny he knows why he’s still alive – to be with her.  He’s determined to keep this mate safe despite the psycho that’s after her.

Mick and all of Alphaville step into the help Renny with her coyote problem, which she thinks is great but feels guilty about anyway.  She meets lots of new people and gets her dream job – she loves Alphaville!  She just wishes that she could figure out if Mick loves her for her or only because they are destined mates.

This was a cute paranormal romance story.  It was pretty standard stuff but it was cute, none-the-less.

I can’t say that I loved Renny, but I did admire the strength it took her to keep running from the psycho who wanted her for himself. Mick was kind of your stoic, protective mate who wouldn’t let anyone hurt Renny.  I liked the book, but I did wish we’d gotten more romance and less hunting for coyotes.

There were some secondary characters that got my attention in this story, and I’ll be reading more of the Alphaville series just to read about them.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Guest Review: The Way Back to Us by Jamie Howard

Posted January 18, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Way Back to Us by Jamie HowardReviewer: Tracy
The Way Back to Us (Love Unplugged #3) by Jamie Howard
Series: Love Unplugged #3
Also in this series: All The Ways You Saved Me
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: December 12th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 350
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four-stars

Gavin MacCormack found the one. He fell in love. Hard. Until one night he ran out for some ice cream and came back to an empty dorm room, closets bare and nothing but a quick hand-written note saying, I’m sorry. Those two words taught Gavin the meaning of heartbreak. A feeling he never wants to encounter again. And as the lead singer of a Grammy award-winning band he's had plenty of opportunities for casual, no-strings fun, which is just the way he likes it.

Dani Winters has had more names than birthdays. On the run with her father for nearly as long as she can remember, she’s lived her life by three rules—always plan for the worst, maintain a low profile at all costs, and never let anyone get too close. Except she broke that last rule once and her heart has never forgiven her.

One chance encounter changes everything. Seeing Dani resurrects feelings in Gavin he thought were long buried, and this time he’s not letting her disappear without getting some answers. But Dani’s life is the definition of complicated and she’s playing with fire by letting Gavin back in. When the time comes to run again, Dani needs to decide if a life without love is worth living, or if it’s time to stop running and fight.

Gavin has been heartbroken for years.  He thought he was over his one true love, who suddenly left him without a word when he was in college.  When he sees her again he thinks he’s angry but really he just can’t believe that she’s back in his life.

Dani Winters has been running most of her life.  When she was in college the last thing she wanted to do was leave Gavin, as she loved him so much, but her life is unpredictable.  When she reappears in Gavin’s life she lets him know that it’s only for a short time.  He agrees they’ll be together as long as they can and when they have to part it will be fine.  They’re each lying to the other, however, because they both know that when they part the last thing it will be is “fine”.

The Way Back to Us was a wonderful reunion story.  With Dani coming back into Gavin’s life we didn’t quite know what to think.  The author was pretty closed-mouthed about what was going on with Dani until further along in the book.  We knew that Dani had been on the run for years but we didn’t know why until near the end of the book.  Because I didn’t know the facts it was hard for me to get too attached to Dani.  Sure, I knew that all would work out in the end (I mean, come on, it’s a romance novel!) but while I felt for her and her situation I felt more attached to Gavin and didn’t want him to get hurt.

I loved Gavin to pieces.  He was an incredible anchor for his (all female) family and a great friend.  The last think I wanted for him was to lose Dani again.  I was happy when he made the decision he did in the end I was truly happy when all worked out.  Howard had me on the edge of my seat there for a while – good on her as normally figure those things out ahead of time.  I never would have guessed the ending of this book.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed the Love Unplugged series and I’m looking forward to Ben’s story. If you haven’t picked up the series yet, you should do that as the books are wonderful.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Love Unplugged Series

four-stars


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