Publisher: Harlequin Blaze

Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry

Posted January 16, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Her Secret Fling by Sarah MayberryReviewer: Holly
Her Secret Fling by Sarah Mayberry
Publisher: Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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four-stars

Jake Stevens—star reporter and celebrated literary genius—is a snake. How else to explain the way he turns Poppy Birmingham's hero worship into loathing with a single conversation? So what if she's got a lot to learn about journalism? Aren't they coworkers now? On the same team? Jake can take his attitude and…

Then during a job-related road trip, their relationship goes from antagonistic to hedonistic in no time flat. And suddenly Poppy can't think of anything more delicious than having a secret fling with Jake. But with all this intensity, can she really keep it no-strings-attached?

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

This review was originally posted on January 18, 2010.

I really like Sarah Mayberry. I don’t know why I haven’t read more of her books.

I bought this book because I’ve enjoyed Mayberry novels in the past, but I was kind of put off when I realized the hero and heroine are both journalists. As it turned out, there was no reason to worry. The characters were stellar and their careers played a minor role in the overall story.

I liked both Jake and Poppy. Our first impression of Jake isn’t a favorable one. He resents Poppy being hired with so little journalist experience and sets out to let her know right away. He isn’t one of the wounded-heart types who’s only an ass to hide his true feelings. He’s just isn’t afraid to say what’s on his mind.

Although Poppy is out of her depth and intimidated by Jake, she doesn’t let him walk all over her. She stands up for herself and gives as good as she gets. Although writing is a new career for her and doesn’t come naturally, she’s determined to make it work.

I really liked that both Poppy and Jake were real characters. They weren’t perfect, they were just two people getting to know each other and dealing with everyday life. It was very refreshing.

The way Poppy acted toward the end kind of bothered me, but I’m not exactly sure why. I think it was that she started acting like a silly girl, pining over a man thinking she could change him. She did wise up – and without too much fuss – so I was able to move past it, but it struck me as not quite fitting in with her character.

Overall this was a very sweet love story with solid characters. I every much enjoyed it.

4.25 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Blaze. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh Taylor

Posted April 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh TaylorReviewer: Tracy
Playing Dirty by Taryn Leigh Taylor
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Format: eARC
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four-stars


A game they both want to win

Lainey Harper has never been a puck bunny. She wants nothing to do with hockey or hockey players--not after what she's been through. So why can't she resist Cooper Mead?

Portland's newest hockey star, Cooper, is all muscle and charisma. And he's Lainey's worst nightmare. Hooking up with him would bring back memories that Lainey needs to keep buried. And risk the hard-earned anonymity she's sacrificed everything to protect.

When Lainey finally gives in to Cooper's sexy charm, the chemistry's intense--but so is the media exposure. And now Lainey's got even more to lose than her secret--she's got Cooper.

Lainey Harper grew up in a hockey family and loved it.  That is until her father walked out the door when she was 10 and never came back.  She did end up playing hockey, however, but ended her career scoring on her own net and never living it down.  Now she’s back in Portland, OR trying to sell the bar that her father left her when he died.  She wants nothing more than to sell it and get back to her life.

She meets professional hockey player Cooper Mead when her half-brother, Brett, brings him into the bar.   Cooper tries to get her number time and again but she doesn’t fall for his lines.  Despite that they end up hot and heavy after hours.  Lainey decides it was just sex and tries to move on.  Cooper, however, can’t get Lainey out of his mind and keeps showing up wherever Lainey is.  When she’s photographed with Cooper her past comes back to haunt her and she pushes him away. Lainey has to decide what she wants with Cooper, if anything, and what that means for her future.

Lainey was a wonderful character.  She was down to earth and realistic about life.  Yes, she had issues but she was open to change and that made a huge difference in the way I saw her.  Cooper was just a sexy as hell hockey player and I really liked him.  He was kind yet rough and tumble.  He has his own issues and secrets and because of them he tries to act, at times, like someone he’s not.  I loved how he dealt with everything in the book (I don’t want to give it all away) and how he came to tell Lainey, and others, about his issues.

The romance and sex was extremely hot and well written.  Taylor didn’t overdo it and throw too may sex scenes in when they didn’t further the story along, and I appreciated that.

This was a great little book.  Lainey really had a chip on her shoulder when the story first started but throughout the book she came to realize many things about herself and the way she saw life, her father, her brother, and love.

Rating: 4 out of 5

FYI – This kind of looks like it’s the second book in a series but the life of me I couldn’t find a series name.  The first book is Playing to Win.

four-stars


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Guest Review: To the Limit by Jo Leigh

Posted July 16, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: To the Limit by Jo LeighReviewer: Judith
To the Limit by Jo Leigh
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: July 23rd 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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four-stars

Subject: Captain Sam "Jaws" Brody

Mission: Test his limits…and push hers!

Air force pilot Sam Brody's posting at Holloman AFB is a new start…and a brutal reminder that he'll never fly again. The bright side? It's the same town as teacher (and widow) Emma Lockwood—the woman he's always had a major thing for. The woman who married his best friend….

For years, Emma ignored the spark between her and Sam. Now that he's in town, the spark has turned into full-on electrical overload! She tells herself to stay grounded. She doesn't want another hotshot flyboy, no matter how sexy. But with every night of wicked passion with Sam, she finds herself closer to the point of no return…. 

Uniformly Hot!  The Few. The Proud. The Sexy as Hell.

Romance novels featuring the military in one form or another have become more and more popular as the United States has been involved in the armed conflict in the Middle East over the past decade and beyond.  One of the saddest of ramifications of sons, brothers, nephews, fathers, uncles going overseas is that many are destined never to return.  The fear that one’s special someone may be next is an ever present reality for spouses and families.  This story highlights the fallout and the emotional baggage for a woman whose husband was not only killed, but who frequently chose the adrenaline rush of fast planes and fast women over her long before his death.  Her determination to never again become a kind of victim of an adrenaline junkie is put to the test in this story where her hubby’s best friend, also a fighter pilot, is now assigned in the town where she is now living.  The only thing, though, is that because of a glitch with his eyesight, he is now grounded.  That makes him far more available.  Add in the fact that these two have had “sparks” for one another for years, and you have the makings of a sizzling romance that is definitely loaded with tons of emotional baggage.  There is real fear here, on the part of Emma.  And there is serious disappointment and a sense of loss for Sam.  How do these two work this all out?

This is a beautifully written novel that is serious, edgy, and built around characters that smack of the reality many families and left-behind spouses face when their men go to war or are engaged in war-related professions.  Like all good fiction, the story has the feel of reality and is a fictional look at people who deal with the realities of a nation engaged in armed conflict and how that affects lives here at home as well as overseas.  It is a story that will educate as Sam is involved in some serious ground-related training that well may save many lives, a new slant on his life that he could come to appreciate more than he ever realized.  It is also probing the emotions of a woman who not only lost her husband violently but who knew that his profession of love for her was never enough for him, even before he was permanently out of her life.

Romance lovers, especially those who like it hot and sizzling, will like this story.  And since guys in uniform  are really sexy–trim, fit, and raring to go–who doesn’t like a novel like this?  I think this will be entertaining for anyone who appreciates a really good romantic read.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Harlequin Blaze. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-stars


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Guest Review: Wild At Heart by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Posted June 19, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Wild At Heart by Vicki Lewis ThompsonReviewer: Judith
Wild at Heart (Sons of Chance, #11) by Vicki Lewis Thompson
Series: Sons of Chance #11
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: June 18th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Some men can't be tamed…

Domesticity can starve a man's soul, and drifter cowboy Luke Griffin believes in absolute freedom. His gig at the Last Chance Ranch will end soon, and he'll move on. But then Luke gets splashed by a green energy drink from a platform in a tree, and suddenly things get complicated.

Naomi Perkins was studying the nesting of a rare pair of bald eagles when she accidentally "baptizes" the delish cowboy. And when his shirt comes off…good morning, libido! But this attraction isn't just mutual—it's fierce enough to send them both tumbling into a no-strings fling.

It's a temporary arrangement, even if it is way more intense than anything Naomi could have imagined. But when the time comes, will she be able to let this wild cowboy go?

In the past several weeks I have read several Vicki Lewis Thompson pieces and I think it safe to say that she has been a very busy writer.  And because I have been reading not only several of her cowboy stories but some of her contemporary romances as well, it is easy to see why she is such a favorite with romance fiction fans, no matter the setting or subject of her stories.  Her “Last Chance Ranch” stories go in lots of directions but this one is a bit different.  It involves people who are as different as it is possible to be.  On the one hand you have Naomi who is connected to the land, loves her friends and family, and who wants to make a long term difference with her science and her ecology studies.  Luke, on the other hand, is a man who moves about so much that he truly leaves no residual of his presence behind.  He’s a no-strings kind of guy in almost every area of his life, not just in his love life.  Yet when he and Naomi begin their fling, neither is aware that there are connections already that may sneak up on them and ultimately sandbag them both.

This is a very sexy and emotional tale, one that will please those who love a sexy cowboy and lots of hot loving.  It will also highlight the efforts modern ranchers are putting forth to be environmentally responsible, and also is a setting for this story wherein an entire community is more concerned with protecting the earth than they are with the bottom line.  This story is very intense, with a sexual tension that weaves itself throughout the text.  Yet hearts are in danger, just as much as those baby eagles Naomi is protecting.  I think readers will also be aware of the strong ties that all the folks at the Last Chance Ranch share, another way in which Luke is really on the outside looking in.

So if you like hot cowboys and hot cowboy stories, this is you book.  It’s fun and engaging and I think will be a very entertaining read, especially for Thompson fans.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-stars


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Review: Lying in Bed by Jo Leigh

Posted December 29, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Lying in Bed by Jo LeighReviewer: Rowena
Lying in Bed by Jo Leigh
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Blaze
Publication Date: December 18th 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 224
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two-half-stars

Get Intimate: The Workshop

Explore sensuality and true intimacy at the luxurious Color Canyon Resort.

Private assignments include sexy "homeplay" and more…

The setup was simple. To ferret out a blackmailer, FBI agent Ryan Vail and his partner are going undercover as a couple at an intimacy retreat. But when Ryan wakes to find a replacement "wife" in his bed, he knows he's in big trouble….

FBI agent Angie Wolf is on the job. Sure, there's a wicked attraction between her and Ryan, but they're professionals. Touching, kissing—it's all part of the sting. But the intimacy retreat is doing its job, because each tension-filled night in bed is blurring the line between truth and lie. Now this investigation has turned into one irresistible temptation!

This was a really quick read for me and it sounded like a good read, which is why I requested it for review.

So the set up for this story is two undercover FBI agents are going to work.  Except one of those FBI agents gets caught up on a case and a new agent is sent in to take her place.  A new agent that Special Agent Ryan Vail has an attraction to..one that he doesn’t want to be anywhere near for fear of acting on his attraction to her.  Special Agent Angie Wolfe has had a thing for Ryan Vail since they almost kissed at the Bureau’s Halloween party but by silent mutual agreement, they’re not going there.

So now they’re thrown together, having to pretend to be a happily married couple and it’s straining the already fraying control that they have over their attraction to the other and well, it was cute at first.

Getting to know Ryan was interesting.  On the surface, he’s this total playboy who doesn’t commit to anyone longer than a weekend and he likes his life that way but there’s something about Angie Wolfe that speaks to him and being with her every minute of the day for this undercover operations brings all of that to the front of his mind.  Keeping their relationship strictly professional and platonic has added a new dimension to his attraction to her.  He gets to know her and he likes what her and I thought it was cute, the way that he lusted for her but wanted to keep a distance between them because they worked together.

Then there was Special Agent Angie Wolfe.  She’s had a crush on Ryan for a while now but she’s determined to keep things professional with him because they have to work together after all of this and well, things could end spectacularly bad and she didn’t want to have to deal with the fallout of that so she decided to stay away.

The back and forth between both Ryan and Angie got kind of old as the story progressed.  They’re supposed to be in love and in character but they acted like shy teenagers with all of the not meeting of the eyes, the not speaking up and just overall not acting like grown folks.  What started off as cute, quickly turned into an, “Are you kidding me?” because throughout most of the book, Ryan is trying to give Angie space and I wanted to smack Angie a few times, tell her to get over herself already.

I wish I could have gotten to see Ryan and Angie’s best friends more.  I thought the way that they kept both Ryan and Angie honest was funny and I really wish we could have gotten more from the both of them.

So while I had a few issues with their relationship, I still ended up enjoying the book.  I just wished that Angie and Ryan could have handled their attraction and their issues a little better.

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin Blaze. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

two-half-stars


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