Publisher: Harlequin

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan Hart

Posted July 1, 2021 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Space Between Us by Megan HartReviewer: Ames
The Space Between Us by Megan Hart
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: September 4, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars

Tesla Martin is drifting pleasantly through life, slinging lattes at Morningstar Mocha, enjoying the ebb and flow of caffeine-starved customers, devoted to her cadre of regulars. But none of the bottomless-cup crowd compares with Meredith, a charismatic force of nature who can coax intimate tales from even the shyest of Morningstar's clientele.

Caught in Meredith's sensual, irresistible orbit, inexpressibly flattered by the siren's attention, Tesla shares long-buried chapters of her life, holding nothing back. Nothing Meredith proposes seems impossible—not even Tesla sleeping with Meredith's husband, Charlie, while she looks on. After all, it's all in fun, isn't it?
In a heartbeat, vulnerable Tesla is swept into a spectacular love triangle. Together, gentle, grounded Charlie and sparkling, maddening Meredith are everything Tesla has ever needed, wanted, or dreamed of, even if no one else on earth understands. They're three against the world.

But soon one of the vertices begins pulling away until only two points remain—and the space between them gapes with confusion, with grief and with possibility….

This review was originally published on Oct 9, 2012

I enjoy Megan Hart’s writing. There’s something about it that just grips me right from the get go and that’s how I felt with this book. Also, her characters are so interesting, I wish they were real.

Tesla Martin is happy with her life. She works in a coffee shop and she really takes pleasure in her job. Her boss is another matter, but the customers, her regulars, make up for it. She had an unorthodox upbringing, with her parents taking her and her brother to a commune every summer until they divorced. Now her and her brother are close and she lives with friends, in their basement.

One of her regulars, Meredith, is someone that’s always intrigued and attracted Tesla. So when they take their friendship outside the bounds of the coffeeshop, she’s pleased. But Meredith had a reason for her friendship. She was looking for a woman to be a third in the bedroom, and Tesla fits her and her husband’s requirements. Tesla is open enough to consider it and meet with Charlie, Meredith’s husband. Because this is not the first time Tesla has been involved in a threesome.

As Tesla becomes more involved with Charlie and Meredith, her other relationships suffer a bit. Namely, her friend Vic, whom she lives with, doesn’t exactly approve of what she’s doing and has some guilt he needs to deal with. And then Meredith, the one who drew Tesla into her marriage begins to pull away.

I was engrossed in this story. The developing friendship between Tesla and Meredith, how her attraction to Meredith draws her into a threesome with Charlie, whom she’s also attracted to. The dynamics of how that played out in the bedroom. And later how Meredith’s true nature is slowly revealed. All very interesting.

Another character that pulled me in was Vic and Tesla’s history with him. She lives with him, his wife and their two kids. She helps out a lot around the house. And she loves his wife. But Vic is keeping secrets and Tesla doesn’t want to get drawn in there. He also took in Tesla and her younger brother when their family life imploded and he does not like this new relationship so that drives a wedge between them. The conflict that derived from those two things definitely pushes the story further, especially as it directly relates to what’s going on with Charlie and Meredith.

So as much as certain aspects of the book appealed to me and drew me in, there are some flaws. Meredith and Charlie. LOL I know, I know. The other couple. First there’s Meredith. I can see where she would attract Tesla but she definitely doesn’t appeal to the reader. Especially as I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and figured it would be from her end. Like does the author want us to root for an HEA for all 3 characters or just for Tesla? There’s a tension there, that’s for sure. And then there’s Charlie. I didn’t feel like we got to know him as well as we did Tesla. His character was bland. Sexy bland, but bland. I wish there had been more depth to him. So not knowing him as well, the ending was a bit flat for me. When I finished the book, my reaction was “Huh.”

However, the overall story was engrossing. I do recommend this. 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Wildflower Season by Michelle Major

Posted May 23, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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: Wildflower Season by Michelle MajorWildflower Season: A Novel by Michelle Major
Series: The Carolina Girls #1
Publisher: HQN
Publication Date: May 25, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
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"A dynamic start to a series with a refreshingly original premise." —Kirkus Reviews on The Magnolia Sisters

She always followed the path of least resistance…until it leads her to a small town where she can follow her dreams.

When Emma Cantrell’s marriage imploded, she learned a fast and painful lesson about trusting her heart. Then, on a visit to Magnolia, North Carolina, to see her brother, an elegant, if dilapidated, mansion for sale presents the opportunity to start over. Risking everything on her dream of opening the Wildflower Inn, Emma buys the house…just as the storm of the century hits, severely damaging the structure. But a chance meeting with Holly, a bride-to-be in desperate need of a new venue, gives her hope…and the name of a contractor who’ll work fast and cheap, allowing Emma to repair the inn in time to host the wedding and save her investment.

A furniture builder who hasn’t picked up a tool in the five years since his wife died, Cameron Mitchell has no intention of agreeing to help this beautiful—and, he’d guess, entitled—woman insisting that he fix her inn. Until he learns that Emma was sent by Holly, the little sister of his late wife. Grudgingly, Cameron agrees to do the work, with one condition: that he be left completely alone. But the more time they spend together, the more Emma touches a part of his heart he was sure died long ago, forcing him to try making peace with his past.

The Carolina Girls

Excerpt

Excerpted from Wildflower Season, by Michelle Major. Harlequin, 2021. Reprinted with permission.

She’d gone to the dock south of town as Holly instructed, only to be told Cam was at home today. The guys that gave her directions to his property appeared both curious and amused a woman was seeking him out. But they’d been nice enough to her face—polite in a down-home kind of way—even with the comments about Cam not having friends or entertaining ladies at his home.

Emma could see why as she approached the house. It wasn’t run-down per se, and the front yard was relatively tidy compared to the chaos on the way in. But there was something unapproachable about the cabin. A weighty emptiness hung in the already thick, sultry air.

If only one of the contractors she’d contacted earlier had returned her call. Maybe she should turn around and try them again. Or insist Holly come with her to talk to Camden.

“Can you read?”

She stopped in her tracks at the question that carried to her from the cabin’s front door, spoken in a deep, almost disbelieving tone.

“Yes, I can read.” She plastered a smile on her face and took another step forward. “Are you—”

“Then you need to turn right around, ma’am. Because the signs posted are pretty clear to someone claiming to be literate.”

“I’m not looking for trouble.” She lifted her sunglasses to the top of her head, held a hand over her eyes and squinted up at the porch, but all she could make out was the silhouette of a man in the door.

He chuckled, a rusty sound that reverberated through her like the vibration of a tuning fork. “Somehow I don’t believe you.”

The screen door squeaked open. Emma heard a booming bark and caught a streak of tan fur and then she was on her backside in the dirt with at least a hundred pounds of damp dog circling her in glee.

Emma liked dogs, all animals, really. She’d never actually owned one, but when she ran her family’s charitable foundation they’d funded various local shelters and animal rescue organizations.

The dog seemed overenthusiastic but not threatening. “Good boy,” she said, peering under his belly to confirm he was indeed a boy. She got to her feet as he ran back to the house with her sunglasses in his mouth.

Sunglasses that had cost her over three hundred dollars and that she couldn’t afford to replace on her current salary of less than nothing. She wasn’t about to explain that to the man who stared down at her from the top step.

Her breath hissed out like she’d just taken a blow to the stomach. Holly had failed to mention that her former brother-in-law was hot as all get-out, in a Paul Bunyan sort of way. Rugged had never been Emma’s type. Her ex-husband was handsome enough, polished and a little nerdy. But Cam Arlinghaus was every lumberjack fantasy Emma had never had come to life. He had dark, wavy hair and a shadow of stubble covering his angular jaw. It was nearly ninety degrees so there was no flannel to be seen, but he wore the low-slung cargo shorts and faded T-shirt like he was a cover model for a deep-sea fishing guide magazine.

“You ignored the No Trespassing and the Beware of Dog signs,” he said, his voice flat. “Those signs are there for a reason.”

She nodded, her flummoxed mind trying hard to put together a coherent thought in the face of all that strapping masculinity. It rolled off him in waves and felled Emma like a riptide. Turn around, her sense of self-preservation screamed. Run as fast as you can.

The Carolina Girls

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: May 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: 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
Add It: Goodreads
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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
Add It: Goodreads
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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
Add It: Goodreads
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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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