Tag: Samhain Publishing

Throwback Thursday Review: Midnight Encounters by Elle Kennedy

Posted October 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Midnight Encounters by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
Midnight Encounters by Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: June 1, 2009
Format: Print
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 230
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One night with him will change her life...

Between her waitressing job, volunteer work, and college classes, there are never enough hours in Maggie Reilly’s day. Especially not for a relationship. Luckily, she’s got the perfect arrangement: a lover she meets three or four times a year. But when she shows up at the hotel expecting to hop into bed with one man, she accidentally ends up with another—Ben Barrett, Hollywood’s most notorious bad boy.

Ben, determined to lay low after another scandal, just wants some much-needed sleep. What he gets is a scorching make-out session with a gorgeous, naked redhead. He won’t accept her apology, but what he will accept is a place to hide out…and if there’s some hot, no-strings sex involved, why the heck not?

But Ben soon discovers that one week with his sassy, bed-hopping waitress is definitely not enough. He wants more. A lot more.
Now he needs to convince relationship-averse Maggie that a bad boy might be oh so good for her—and the best thing that’s ever happened to both of them.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on February 22, 2009.

Last year I read a Samhain book that had an excerpt for this book in the back and just had to buy it. Midnight Encounters is a steamy contemporary romance by Elle Kennedy. I was drawn in by her writing in the short excerpt I read and wasn’t disappointed with the rest of the story.

Maggie is really buttoned down and determined to make something of herself. She was abandoned as a young child and spent her life in foster homes. As a result she wants to make a career for herself and help other young kids in the system. She has no room in her life for complications, relationships or fun and relaxation. Between work, volunteering and school, she has zero free time. But twice a year she makes time to get together with Tony for hot sex. Yes, you read that right, she only allows herself hot sex twice a year.

When an heiress socialite leaves bad boy Hollywood star Ben $10 million in her will, the media storm is overwhelming. In desperate need of a break, he seizes Maggie’s hotel room mishap as the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone: Get laid and hide out. He’s surprised at how much he ends up wanting to take care of Maggie, though. Seeing her workaholic attitude bothers him more than it should, and it isn’t long before he’s determined to get her to relax.

This was definitely a well-written novel. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. Maggie was a little over the top at times, especially in her insistence that she make something of herself before worrying about the rest of her life. I understood her reasons for wanting a stable career, but all work and no play makes for a bitchy heroine, and she was occasionally that. Of course, if I only had sex twice a year and worked as much as she did I’d probably be bitchy, too, but still…

I really liked that Ben was the one who wanted to take care of Maggie. Too often it’s the other way around. I did find his arrogance to be kind of out of control at times. I wondered many times why Maggie let things slide with him instead of beating him over the head. But then..he was sexy as hell. That might have accounted for some of it.

My main issues stems from the fact that Maggie kept pushing Ben away and blaming him for things going wrong in her life. She needed to lighten up and Ben was trying to help with that. On the other hand, if a man came into my life and tried to complicate it without my permission, no matter how hot or how good in bed, I’d be pissed too. Basically, I understood where Maggie was coming from but thought she went too far.

Overall this is was a light, sexy read. It had some flaws, but I liked both characters and enjoyed the story for what it is.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


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Throwback Thursday Review: Sabine by Moira Rogers

Posted September 6, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Sabine by Moira RogersReviewer: Holly
Sabine (And the Beast, #1) by Moira Rogers
Series: And the Beast #1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Format: eBook
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 68
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

A curse can erase her from his mind, but never from his heart.

" and the Beast, Book 1"

After three years at war, the High Lord of the Forest returns to his lands, a victorious wolf leader intent on claiming his mate. Instead Ciar finds an empty bed and a court with no recollection of the woman he loved. Following her long-cold trail proves far easier than facing what awaits him at the end.

Sabine s first instinct is to beg her beloved to leave. The High Lord s mother hired a witch to curse Sabine, desperate to wipe the lowborn wolf from her son s mind. But the spell worked too well, and Sabine has vanished from the thoughts of everyone who sees her. Including her own family.

The edges of his memory already blurring, Ciar and Sabine must race to find a way to reverse the spell. Yet every searing moment together is not enough to stop the curse s inexorable progress. His only chance is to bind Sabine to him too tightly to be forgotten, before she disappears once and for all.

Warning: This story contains cruel betrayal, destined love, vile curses, smoldering reunions, wicked deeds between wanton shapeshifters and a happily-ever-after worthy of any fairy tale. "

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 6, 2011.

This is a very short read, clocking in at just 41 pages. For such a short novella this really packs an emotional punch. Sabine and Ciar were going to be mated (this was personal choice – they were very much in love) when Ciar got called away to war. While he was gone, Sabine was cursed by her lover’s mother. Now no one remembers her – not even her mother.

When Ciar returns from war to find Sabine gone from his home, he immediately searches her out. He’s surprised to find her living in a cabin in the woods, cutoff from everyone and everything. Once she shares with him what happened, he determines to fix it by getting the witch to remove the curse. But..will he remember?

I loved the connection between Ciar and Sabine. Ciar loved Sabine just as much as she loved him. I can’t imagine how solitary and depressing it would be to not be remembered by anyone. Ciar remembers Sabine when he first returns, but forgets her soon after. While I would have liked to see this explored further (I think the emotional impact could have been much harder) I think Rogers did a credible job of making it work considering the page count.

I wish there had been more on the final resolution. Especially more about Ciar’s mother, and her part in what happened to Sabine. In the end it seemed too abrupt. I also want to read more about Ciar’s 2nd and his new wife. I’m hoping there will be another entry in the series featuring them.

3.5 out of 5

…and the Beast


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Throwback Thursday Review: Memories of Us by Linda Winfree

Posted February 1, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Memories of Us by Linda WinfreeReviewer: Casee
Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5) by Linda Winfree
Series: Hearts of the South #5
Also in this series: Truth and Consequences, What Mattered Most, His Ordinary Life, Uncovered, Fall Into Me, Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5), Hearts Awakened, Facing It, Hold On To Me, Gone From Me (Hearts of the South, #10)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: June 10th 2008
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Beneath the lies is truth—and temptation that neither of them can resist.

Book Five of the Hearts of the South series.

Investigator Celia St. John is hopelessly attracted to the one man she shouldn’t want, district attorney Tom McMillian. Arrogant and completely alpha, McMillian is the type of man she likes—a tough son of a bitch. The problem? He’s her boss, and he’s still hung up on his ex-wife.

Since his marriage to a law enforcement agent failed after the death of his infant son, Tom has avoided emotional involvement with any woman. Despite his attraction to Celia, he refuses to get involved with another cop.

Their no-strings affair quickly becomes a tangled web of intrigue as they investigate an illegal baby adoption ring and more than one murder, one of which points to Tom as a suspect. The more they dig under the lies, the higher the risk, not only to their relationship, but their lives.

***Every Thursday in 2018 we will be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on August 5, 2009.

At the time of this review, I have completed the Hearts of the South series. So I can say with complete conviction that Tom and Celia are my favorite couple of the series. I don’t know if it was Tom w/ the heartbreaking tragedy of his son dying or Celia with her unequivocal understanding and empathy for him.

Celia has lusted for Tom since she started working at the DA’s office. Knowing him as well as she does, she knows that there is no chance for them. Tom is still hung up on his ex-wife and Celia will never get involved with someone she works with again. When a dead baby is found in a car that was pulled over for a traffic stop, Celia and Tom get much closer than expected.

Babies’ deaths always hit Tom hard. With his ex-wife remarried and now expecting her own child, this case hits even harder. With his emotions going every which way, he finds himself instead concentrating on Celia. He has always known that she’s a good Investigator, he has just never looked at her as a woman. Now that he has, he can’t get her out of his head.

Following the trail to the person(s) responsible for the baby’s death takes Celia and Tom to a place they’re ill prepared to go. Not only that, but it makes Celia a target. Someone doesn’t want her finding the answers to the questions she’s been asking and they’ll do anything to prevent it.

The relationship between Tom and Celia was just so real. I can’t think of another way to describe it. I continued to be amazed by the characters that Linda Winfree writes.

Hearts of the South Series

4.5 out of 5


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Sunday Spotlight: All I Need by Linda Winfree

Posted June 19, 2016 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we’re running in 2016. Each week, we will spotlight a release we’re excited about. We’ll be posting exclusive excerpts and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

I know none of you will be surprised by my excitement for this week’s Spotlight book. Winfree secured her place on my auto-buy list ages ago, and I can’t tell you how thrilled I am she’s writing again. Two books in one year? ::dies::

All I Need (Hearts of the South #11) by Linda Winfree
Releases on July 19, 2016 by Samhain Publishing

Pre-Order the Book:


He’s nothing she wants…but everything she needs.

Hearts of the South, Book 11

Two years after she buried the love of her life, ER physician Savannah Mills remains buried in her work and keeps her heart under lock and key. But if anyone could tempt her banked desires to come out and play, it’s her neighbor. A couple of casual interactions with the former police officer has her considering a friends-with-benefits arrangement.

Emmett Beck is forging a new career after an on-duty shooting nearly cost him everything. His love life has been in cold storage during his recuperation, but when Savannah proposes a no-strings relationship, his body warms to the idea. After all, it’s just sex. What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty—once Emmett realizes that hot kisses and steamy nights aren’t enough. And that he’s fallen in love with a woman who intends to never love anyone again.

Warning: Contains a younger man determined to be everything his woman needs, in bed and out, and an older woman unafraid to explore her wild side. Also features cops who talk like cops.

We met Savannah in the previous book, Gone From Me, and I’ve been dying for her book ever since. I love the sisterly love in this scene.


Southwest Georgia’s summer heat lingered into late September. Leaves turned straight to brown and dropped to sidewalks that radiated the sun’s warmth even in early evening. Sweat trickled down Savannah’s spine and formed damp pools under each breast in her sports bra. She slanted a wry look at her sister, walking beside her. “Tell me again how this is better than yoga?”

“Maybe not better than yoga.” Amy brushed her damp bangs away from her forehead. Perspiration glistened on her upper lip, and she lifted her water bottle for a long swallow. “But you’re not supposed to talk during yoga. We can have a conversation while we do this.”

“How about next time we wait until the heat index isn’t so high?”

Amy laughed and bumped Savannah’s shoulder with her own. “You know you’ve missed walking with me.”

Savannah admitted no such thing. When they’d both lived in Valdosta, these evening walks had been a sisterly ritual, a time for chatting and laughing, sharing and weeping. She had missed this, but letting Amy know she was right could be a recipe for disaster.

“So, is this transfer as bad as you feared?” Amy glanced both ways at the intersection of Broad and Harney Streets, and they hustled to cross against the light.

Enjoying the momentary cooling shade of a magnolia tree, Savannah pondered the question. When Southwest Georgia Medical had bought out a set of small hospitals in the counties close to Lowndes, she’d dreaded being transferred away from the ER she’d served for three years. She’d thought being closer to her sister would be the only positive, but she had to admit Coney had its own charm.

“Not really, but I don’t want to stay here forever. The staff at the hospital is great, even though they really need to hire on some more nurses. Small towns are not my thing, but at least there’s a coffee shop and a decent grocery store. The parks are pretty.” She let a half-smile, half-smirk curve her mouth. “So’s my neighbor.”

“Really?” Amy’s bright pageant-princess smile lit her entire face. “That’s awesome.”

“I said he was pretty, not welcoming. He’s kind of grouchy, but that may be because he’s recuperating. You could tell he was in pain when I got to introduce myself last night, and he had a cane with him this morning. He has a nice smile, though.”

“Oooh, you could help him recuperate.” The pageant-princess smile took on a decidedly naughty note. “You know, give him the benefit of your vast knowledge of human anatomy.”

Amy’s enthusiasm could only be described as infectious, and Savannah laughed despite herself. She wouldn’t mind exploring Emmett’s anatomy at all. His rugged features—a square jaw, high cheekbones, and thin lips—kept him from being too pretty, and those blue eyes of his were gorgeous, contrasting with thick, tobacco-brown hair. He had lovely hands, too, long-fingered and capable-looking. And nice forearms, leanly muscled and dusted with brown hair. Lord, the possibilities. Plus, he seemed smart. Grad school and involved in reading? She loved nothing more than an intelligent, good-looking man.

He was younger than she was, probably midtwenties to her thirty-four, but what the hell? She wasn’t looking for a lifetime commitment.

Shaking her head, she grimaced. “You’re not helping. I miss sex, and he makes me think of it.”

Amy sketched an airy gesture with her water bottle. “So ask him out.”

“I did, very subtly, and he was not-so-subtly not interested.” Savannah sighed, indulged the disappointment a moment, then shrugged. “It’s okay. I’m sure there are other eligible men in this forsaken place.”

“A coffee shop and a decent grocery store, remember?” Amy’s brown eyes gleamed with a familiar teasing light. “Somewhere here there is one eligible man who’d be thrilled to date an independent professional woman who admits to liking sex.”

Savannah rolled her eyes.

“I could have Rob find you one.” The eagerness of having a new plan to execute suffused Amy’s voice. “There has to be somebody he works with that—”

“Uh, no.” As much as she loved her brother-in-law and actually respected his opinion, he owed her some major payback for the hell she’d given him over a certain ER visit a couple years back. She was not providing him that opportunity. “I’ll just look where most women do. You know, bars, grocery stores, and church.”

Well, maybe not church, since her idea of a relationship no longer involved happily ever after. She didn’t need to get tangled up with a guy who wanted vows and forever-and-always. Friendly companionship and a little hot sex—that was all she needed. Besides, to look for a man at church, one had to actually go to church, which she hadn’t done in well over two years. She didn’t intend to get tangled up with that either.

Their conversation shifted to other topics—work, their parents, Amy and Rob’s nearly yearlong adoption process—as they wrapped up the last block of their walk. Amy wrangled a promise for Savannah to come cook with her one night later in the week, and they parted with a hug despite being sticky and too warm. The Adirondack chair next to Emmett’s door sat empty, his curtains drawn, even though a now-familiar Ford truck sat in the spot assigned to his apartment.

Inside her still-new home, the blessed flow of air conditioning greeted Savannah. She glanced at the kitchen and headed straight for the shower. Cooking was not on her menu tonight. She stripped off her athletic wear while the water warmed. Pondering takeout versus trying a new restaurant, she stepped beneath the spray. The little retro diner a couple of blocks away looked cute and interesting. She’d try that, maybe pick up a movie from the rental kiosk outside the drugstore on her way home. No romantic comedies, no romantic tragedies…nothing romantic, period.

Shower over, she left her face bare except for moisturizer, a smudge of eyeliner, and a quick coat of mascara. She half-dried her hair and pulled it into the messy twist she preferred when in the ER. Dressed in cuffed boyfriend jeans and a black T-shirt, she considered sparkly flat sandals versus the sexy black pumps she’d bought on her last girls’ day with her mom and sister. She reached for the heels because, dammit, she’d been dying to wear them and it wasn’t like they were appropriate footwear for the ER. She snagged her pearl studs from her small jewelry box and let a fingertip trail for only a moment over the sparkling diamond solitaire nestled in the blue velvet. On a deep breath, she closed the lid before she slung her leather bag on her shoulder and headed out.

She swung the front door open to find herself face-to-face with Emmett. Her heart thudded hard with surprise, and her breath whooshed out. His blue eyes widened, and she laughed, a hand to her chest. “Oh, dear God, you startled me.”

Hearts of the South Series

Giveaway: 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

Linda Winfree

How does an English teacher end up plotting murders? She uses her experiences as a cop’s wife to become a writer of romantic suspense! Linda Winfree lives in a quintessential small Georgia town with her husband and grand-dog Poe. By day, she teaches English/Language Arts and is an all-round education nerd; by night she pens sultry books full of murder and mayhem.

To learn more about Linda and her books, visit www.lindawinfreewrites.com, follow her on Twitter @lwinfreewrites, or connect with her on Facebook at http://facebook.com/lindawinfreewrites. You can also contact Linda via email at lindawinfreewrites@gmail.com.

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Review: Hold On To Me by Linda Winfree

Posted March 15, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Hold On To Me by Linda WinfreeReviewer: Holly
Hold On To Me by Linda Winfree
Series: Hearts of the South #3
Also in this series: Truth and Consequences, What Mattered Most, His Ordinary Life, Uncovered, Fall Into Me, Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5), Hearts Awakened, Facing It, Gone From Me (Hearts of the South, #10), Memories of Us (Hearts of the South #5)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: December 11th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 405
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

She keeps a secret buried in the past. He wants the truth—now. But an unknown killer could destroy their future.
Book Three in the Hearts of the South series.
For FBI profiler Caitlin Falconetti, immersing herself in her job is the only way to quell the memories of a vicious, near-fatal attack and all it cost her, including the only man she ever loved. Better to let him think she simply rejected him, rather than reveal a painful secret that she’s certain would have destroyed his feelings for her.
Investigator Lamar “Tick” Calvert is determined to clean out the corruption-riddled sheriff’s department in his hometown. While he understands Caitlin’s drive to excel at her job, it doesn’t mean he’s happy about the prospect of working with his former lover, the one woman he tried and failed to hold onto.
A rash of unsolved murders brings them together to find the murderer before another woman dies. Daily contact re-ignites the lingering attraction between them, but Caitlin won’t risk opening herself and revealing her secret. She plans to complete the killer’s profile, make an arrest and get out of town for good.
Tick plans to solve this case, too, but now that Caitlin’s back in his life, he also plans to finally dig up the truth about why she left him.
But there’s an added complication—the killer isn’t done, and Caitlin could be the next target.
Warning: Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, light bondage, graphic language, violence.

She keeps a secret buried in the past. He wants the truth—now. But an unknown killer could destroy their future.

This is the third book in Linda Winfree’s Hearts of the South series.

Caitlin and Tick were getting pretty hot and heavy when he was given and undercover assignment and disappeared. While he’s away Caitlin is attacked and almost dies. When he gets back he tries to rekindle things but she pushes him away for reasons of her own. Heartbroken, Tick returns home and begins the process of cleaning out the corrupt sheriff’s department. When Caitlin is called in as the profiler in a serial killer case, they’re forced to work together. Tick doesn’t want to let her go, but Caitlin is determined to keep him at arms-length. Too  bad for her he’s more stubborn than she could ever be.

This is an emotionally compelling tale. The heartbreak and loneliness both characters felt really came through. Caitlin’s reasons for pushing Tick away seem flimsy on the surface, but Winfree did such an excellent job showing her pain and anger it really worked. Caitlin was a great heroine. Strong and independent, yet fully relatable. For his part, Tick was a pretty solid character. He was steady and honest, and his determination to win Caitlin back was wonderful to witness.

The procedural stuff often frustrates me in romantic suspense, but Winfree does her beautifully. Though there were some minor points I could nitpick, the truth is I was wrapped up in the story and barely noticed until it was over.

This is Winfree’s fourth book. Her plots are tighter, her characters more balance and her overall story better than in the previous releases. I’ve noted before that she only seems to get better with each release, and I find that’s absolutely true here.

This is an emotionally wrought tale filled with love, redemption and a good amount of suspense. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

3.5 out of 5


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