Mercy by B.J. Daniels (Beartooth, Montana #5)

19486774Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Harlequin

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Michelle

For U.S. marshal Rourke Kincaid, there’s the law…and then there’s his law. When the two don’t agree, he always trusts his instincts. A killing spree has gripped the Northwest, showing a strange connection that only he sees, and now the old rules of justice no longer apply. Forced to turn rogue, he goes deep undercover to track his mysterious female suspect to a quiet, unassuming café in the wild, isolated mountains of Beartooth, Montana.

But encountering Callie Westfield complicates his mission in ways he never expected. As suspicious as she seems, her fragile beauty and sexy charm get to Rourke. Then the gory crimes begin anew. With his heart suddenly at war with his instincts, he has only two options. Either turn Callie over to the law, or put everything—including his badge and his life—on the line to protect her.

It has been a long time since I’ve read a romantic suspense book, and even longer since I’ve read one with more mystery than romance. Now I know why. It took me FOREVER to read this book. It wasn’t that it was bad – I would have tossed it in the DNF pile if that was the case. I just had a hard time making myself care. I don’t know if it was the storyline or the characters that didn’t reach out and grab me, or maybe just the author’s writing style, since I’ve never read anything by B.J. Daniels before.

Callie Westfield is a woman on the run. After having lost her mother at a very young age and spending time in and out of foster care, she rarely settles down in one place for very long. The fact that she can be tied to the murders of a serial killer keeps her on her toes and prevents her from planting roots or forming any real relationships. That all changes when she moves to Beartooth, Montana. Her life remains peaceful for over a year, she has a waitressing job she enjoys and she has even found a good friend in her boss Kate. When a sexy, mysterious cowboy walks into the café, Callie is instantly drawn to him. Despite her misgivings about letting anyone get close to her, she finds herself unable to resist his charm.

Roarke Kincaid, a former police officer and now a U.S. marshal, has been obsessed with Callie since he first saw her face in a crime scene photo. While investigating a series of murders that he believes are tied together, he notices Callie in the background. All of his instincts tell him she is the missing link in solving the crimes, but he refuses to believe she is the killer. Determined to prove himself right, he takes two weeks off and travels to Montana to track Callie down. En route he convinces his former partner to help him with the case. Laura is now a criminal profiler and Roarke wants her help in finding the killer. Laura is convinced that Callie is guilty, but Roarke refuses to believe her, insisting that someone else is behind the murders.

If this had been a straight up mystery I might have liked it better. Neither Roarke nor Callie stood out to me as lead character material. I liked them both, but my ambivalence toward them kept me from becoming too invested in their happy ending. It’s difficult to write a review when you just feel so-so about a book. Whatever it was, I picked up this book and put it down dozens of times over the last few weeks. Maybe I’m just not a mystery reader. I think I wanted a little less creepiness and a little more romance. I had figured out early on who the “bad guy” was, so it seemed to me that the author dragged the suspense out way too long while nothing much really happened. This book had likeable main characters, but I didn’t fall in love with them the way I often do with a romance.

I give Mercy by B.J. Daniels 3 stars

Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra (Dare Island #4)

Carolina Blue by Virginia KantraAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Berkley

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Jack Rossi is Dare Island’s new police chief. The laid-back North Carolina community is just what he needs to recover from a rocky marriage and a big-city police department. He’s learned his lesson: no more high-profile women or high-pressure jobs. The last thing he wants is an unconventional alt girl rocking his world.

Grad student Lauren Patterson made headlines when she kept a bank robbery from going bad. She’s fled to Dare Island to clear her head and focus on writing her story. However, sexy Jack Rossi is a distraction that’s too hot to ignore, and it’s igniting an affair too combustible to resist—or quit. But when their pasts come looking for them, Jack and Lauren find themselves fighting for the future they deserve, whatever the price.

I have fallen in love with Dare Island and all its inhabitants. Enjoying each book in the series and always look forward to more. The immediate Fletcher family is featured in the first three books and now Ms. Kantra has branched out to other residents who are loosely connected on this small island. Carolina Blues is a great addition to the series.

Lauren Patterson is an author on deadline, she is staying on the island because of issues with focusing, and Meg, her publicist wants to help. About a year ago Lauren was the heroine in a bank robbery, she was held hostage for a short time and talked one of the robbers into giving up. It was a sad situation where an older brother, Ben was trying to save a younger brother and things escalated out of control. Ben is currently in jail and Lauren writes to him often and sends money to the family. Before her celebrity status, she was a psych grad student but has put her studies on hold until her life settles down. She wrote her first best seller, Hostage Girl about the experience and is currently trying to write the sequel.

Jack Rossi is the new chief of police on Dare Island. He is starting over after a failed marriage and partnership; he left his police job in Philadelphia after he found his wife and partner cheating on him. He needed to get away from well meaning but suffocating family and friends. When Jack sees Lauren at the local coffee shop he is intrigued, but cautious since he is not sure he is ready to move on, but sometimes you have to take a chance.

Carolina Blues takes us back to Dare Island, this quant island town features engaging characters, emotional drama and wonderful stories. I was hooked from the beginning; I love the Fletcher family and have watched the poignant journeys each has made to find true love with their strong family by their side. This book features Lauren and Jack; both new residents of the island brought to this place for peace and to heal from deep wounds.

Jack is very intriguing, he moved here after a devastating upheaval, not only did he lose his wife but also a man who he trusted with his life and you can tell he is hurting. He has enjoyed living here and has no plans to return to the big city. He notices Lauren as soon as he sees her and the attraction is mutual, and when she makes a remark to him that he needs a rebound romance and that she could be it, his reaction is quite amusing. The issue is that their chemistry is off the charts and neither will be able walk away when it is over, despite what they believe.

Lauren is on the island trying to find her muse; she is writing her follow-up book but can’t seem to find the words. But as she gets to know Jack the words start to flow again, I love that. She is an interesting person and does not consider herself a hero, more of a therapist who was able to break through to Ben, a scared young man. She has moments of guilt about the fame and the money she received from the book and struggles to work thorough these issues but helping Ben’s family is cathartic for her.

The two together are perfect for each other but must face trust issues in order to get over the bumps along the way, she pushes for more but he pushes back, and she gets upset when he does not tell her about his ex-wife’s visit, but I like the way she handles it, upfront and in his face. The attraction between the two is palpable and they set off sparks when they are together.

Secondary characters are key to this book, this is small town life and we know several of the residents and their stories. Many Fletchers are absent in this story, but I enjoyed catching up with those that appear. That being said, this is the fourth book in the series but since the author has veered off of the original Fletcher family it can easily be read as a standalone and the teaser for the next book has me wanting more sooner than later. This is a wonderful series full of heartache and promise, definitely something not to miss if you enjoy contemporary romances.

I give Carolina Blues by Virginia Kantra 4.25 stars!

The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler

The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa CutlerAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: St. Martins

My Copy: Net Galley

Reviewer: Pam

It’ll be a Christmas to remember when hotel heiress Carina Briscoe falls for cowboy James Decker, the bad boy stable manager of her family’s Texas resort, after they’re roped into pretending marriage.

The marriage might be a sham but the sparks between them are anything but. Still, with a little help from the heroine’s interfering family, they might end up with the greatest Christmas gift of all: true love.

I have enjoyed many of the books by this Ms. Cutler and when I saw she had this Christmas book, I jumped at the chance to read it. This is a cute holiday themed story that gets you in the spirit of the season.

Carina is all about the family business, she works long hours to make others happy while they are staying at the Briscoe Ranch Resorts, guests are either enjoying a dream vacation or their dream wedding. There is something special about a Briscoe Wedding, a lasting legacy that many couples want to be a part of, in the fifty years they have hosted weddings at the ranch, there have been no divorces, a phenomenon called the Mistletoe Effect.

Carina’s sister Haylie is having her wedding at the ranch, starting off the wedding season with a grand affair that will include a spread in a national wedding magazine to showcase the ranch. Unfortunately when they are about to exchange vows, the groom confesses to one and all that he did not write his because he was spending the time enjoying a second bachelor party with strippers. Chaos ensues as Haylie runs down the aisle. Carina’s parents and grandmother become nervous about the Mistletoe Effect and quickly decide they need a stand-in for a wedding, as they look at Carina and the ranch foreman Decker.

James Decker has been the foreman on the ranch for over nine years, he has enjoyed working there but is about to make a change, moving to another larger ranch. Decker and Carina do not know each other well, she is always working and he has always known she is the boss’ daughter and off limits. Keeping up with a fake marriage will be difficult for the two but since it is only a month, they feel up to the challenge, it doesn’t hurt that the chemistry between them sizzles.

This is an entertaining story that shares the magic of the season.

Carina is a workaholic, I am not sure how she gets everything done in a day, she not only oversees all the weddings at the resort but she also creates wedding gowns that are in such demand that there is a waiting list. She is torn; wanting to do what is correct for her family and their legacy but also wants to do something for herself. Most times when facing her family, she lets them make decisions for her but Decker is different, he wants her to make her own decisions and waits for her to choose, and he gets mad at times when he feels she is being taken advantage of by her father.

Decker is an interesting man, always stayed away from her throughout the nine years he worked there, I found it amazing that not once in that time did he flirt with her even though there this attraction. It seems all the employees at the ranch had a certain idea about the type of person Carina is, all business and no fun, but Decker found out quickly that she has a totally different side of her, fun and sexy. When they enter into this fake marriage all bets are off and they have enough chemistry to light up a room, the scenes they have together are amazing and make for some fun reading.

The pace is fast as the story is on the short side and it works well as the two have a month together in this fake arrangement. They both work long hours but they strive to make the most of their time together. There are several bumps in the road mainly when he gets angry that she does not stand up for herself and then there is the upcoming end of not only their fake relationship but also their working relationship since he is about to take another job. Secondary characters are key, as this is a family business, I really enjoyed Granny Jane, she is funny and although pushes to get things done no matter who she involves, I like her. And when Carina’s sister comes back expecting the world to be excited for her, I was pleasantly surprised with their father’s reaction, not only about Carina but also about Decker, the ending is perfect.

I give The Mistletoe Effect by Melissa Cutler 4 stars!

The Chalet by Tara Sue Me (The Submissive Trilogy #3.5)

22472218Available: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Erotic Romance

Publisher: Intermix

My Copy: NetGalley

Reviewer: Nikki

Submitting her body was only the beginning.

Abby King didn’t know true passion until she gave herself to Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors and desired Dominants. Now, on the eve of her marriage, she realizes all her dreams are coming true. And with a romantic honeymoon getaway planned at a secluded Swiss chalet, she’s sure Nathaniel will find even more fantasies to fulfill…

Nathaniel never thought he’d settle down until Abby broke down his barriers and changed his plans. With their wedding only weeks away, he can barely wait to possess her completely—heart, body, and soul—and show her the true meaning of being both a wife and a submissive.

Only Abby has one more challenge in store before she becomes his: no sex and no collar for one month before the wedding. Nathaniel is willing to give it a shot but he has one scandalous stipulation—once that month is up, anything goes…

 

There’s just something about this series that I love beyond words and reason. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that Tara Sue Me has taken a hero who I loathed at the beginning and turned him into one of the most enigmatic yet endearing men. After book three I figured that was it, my warm fuzzies were over with this series and I’d just have to re-read them. Then The Chalet popped up on my radar and I went after it like a dog with a new bone. I devoured this short novella in one sitting. Each book just gets better!

Nathaniel and Abby are finally heading down the aisle. But first Abby proposes a stretch of celibacy to heighten their upcoming nuptials and the honeymoon. Of course Nathaniel agrees because his love for Abby means he’d give her anything she asked for, even if it’s ummmmm hard to accomplish. As their big day approaches the need to slake their lust grows steadily but their need to hold out wins in the end. This makes for an all consuming, scorchingly hot, whoa momma book filled with drool worthy scenes that set me on the very edge of my seat. For real people, it….was….SEXY. And over way too soon.

I enjoyed the vivid imagery Sue Me weaves with ease that had me picturing the chalet perfectly, right down to the minute details. Not that a lot of the novella took place outside the bedroom *waggles eyebrows* but there was some. The dialogue feels quite real, esp for a BDSM centric book (series) and it’s obvious that they have a connection. In addition, the nervousness and aggravating aspects of planning a wedding were also very realistic…even for a wedding where money is no issue.

Nathaniel has made a lot of progress over the course of the series. Like I said, at first I hated him. He was so hard-headed and his icy personality set my teeth on edge. As the relationship between him and Abby grew, so did my understanding of his psyche. Abby was and will forever be the one in charge even though Nathaniel is very much the Dominant. The way he masters her body and worships is truly something to behold. I loved how Abby finally understands her role in their relationship and is secure enough to not worry about every little aspect.

I loved every single thing about this novella and I can’t wait until The Enticement comes out next year…although I think with a new book you can’t call it a trilogy anymore LOL. This is a novella that is best read if you read the prior three books first, and since I loved them, hell yea I’m going to say read them all. :)

 

I give The Chalet by Tara Sue Me 4.50 stars! 

Heat Of The Moment by Robin Kaye

Heat Of The Moment by Robin KayeAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Contemporary Romance

Publisher: Penguin InterMix

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

Cameron O’Leary, a 4th generation firefighter turned arson investigator, thinks he’s the luckiest man in the world—after a year of sickness in the family, everyone’s finally on the mend, and his life can go back to its even keel. But even though Cameron has moved to Boston to be there for his family, some sort of live-in nurse is still necessary, given the demands of his job.

Erin Crosby is financing her master’s thesis in social work by acting as a home health care nurse. Working for Cameron seems like the perfect gig—low key, plenty of time to work on her thesis, and the patient is lovely. She might never have lived with a man before—she’s never found anyone she cared about that much, had barely even considered it—but Cameron is easy to live with, and an easy friendship blooms between them. But it gets harder and harder for Cameron to keep his hands off of his charming employee—and for Erin to remember that she hasn’t really moved into Cameron’s life.

This is a very entertaining short story that starts a new series. I have read several of Ms. Kaye’s books and I have enjoyed each one, she writes about New England heroes and heroines with strong family ties.

Cameron O’Leary is from a long line of fire fighters; his family is close and has been helping him raise his four year old daughter since she was born. But when he learned Janie had a brain tumor, he found a safer job as an arson investigator and moved a few miles away. Janie is now clear of any medical problems associated with the tumor but is still gaining strength before she heads back to school.

Erin Crosby is a RN currently writing her master thesis, her good friend Kendall has a perfect job for her and places her as a live in nurse with Cameron and Janie. Erin quickly settles in and becomes great friends with Janie and a little more than friends with Cameron.

Heat of the Moment is a novella starting off a series that looks very promising with strong heroes and heroines.

I like Erin, she is cute and funny with just the right amount of spunk, she just needs something temporary that will also let her finish her master’s thesis. When Kendall suggests being a nurse to a young girl who has been sick, she jumps at the chance, but is a little overwhelmed when she meets her sexy employer. The attraction is immediate for both of them and although they try to avoid the inevitable, they soon find that they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Cameron definitely fits the stereotype for sexy firefighter and Erin has the heart palpitations to prove it when they first meet. He had to grow up fast and has suffered through some tough years recently as he willing took over the care of his infant daughter when she was born. Erin and Cameron have chemistry to burn, they dance around each other for a few days but then give in, there are some bumps along the way with miscommunication and what they each had planned for their future, but as with most shorter stories, the conflicts are settled quickly.

There are several secondary characters that help move the story along, Cameron’s family is entertaining and I could see where they could be overwhelming but well meaning. I adored Janie; she is cute and very fun as she is ready to rejoin life again. I also like Erin’s friend Kendall who will be featured in the next book. The pace is fast but works well and the romance does not seem too quick as it blends well with the growing relationships between family and friends. All in all a great start to a series.

I give Heat of the Moment by Robin Kaye 4 stars!

Moonlight Raider by Amanda Scott (Border Nights #1)

MOONLIGHT RAIDER_cover imageAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Historical Romance

Publisher: Forever

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Pam

A MAN OF HIS WORD

Border lord Walter Scott of Rankilburn, grief-stricken after burying his father, goes to the forest seeking solace. Instead he finds a half-naked young lady fleeing pursuit. Wat offers his protection, but honor demands that he return the golden-eyed beauty to her rightful husband-even though the last thing he wants is to see her in another man’s arms.

A RUNAWAY BRIDE

Molly Cockburn has fled her home, family, and the brutal scoundrel she was forced to wed. Her pursuers are closing in when the powerful new Lord of Rankilburn bravely intervenes, then promises to help prove her marriage unlawful. Though fiercely loyal to her family, Molly fears they might harm the man she is coming to love, and now she must decide whether to remain faithful to her blood . . . or to her heart.

The start of this new series has me excited, Ms. Scott has never failed to provide me with hours of entertainment as I am transported back to the historical vistas of the Scottish highlands. Moonlight Raider is an enjoyable beginning and I look forward to more.

Molly Cockburn is on the run, she left her home in fear for her safety without any protection. She quickly finds a hiding spot before she is overcome with exhaustion, unfortunately her brothers and husband are not far behind and she is hoping for the kindness of a stranger who has come along at just the right time to help.

Walter (Wat) is the new Lord or Rankilburn, a Border area that is usually rife with violence. He has come to the forest near his home to mourn his father’s sudden death when he finds a woman hiding in the bushes. When raiders come looking for who they call a handmaiden who has run away, he is curious and does not reveal her whereabouts. When the men leave, he finds an unlikely woman who is scared and needs shelter, but unlike any handmaiden he has ever met.

When he returns to his home his grandmother takes control of Molly, promising her the needed help she wants. The promise become complicated when Molly’s story comes out, a runaway bride is not taken lightly even when she claims force and it will take the truth as well as help from the clergy to right this wrong, in the meantime Wat and Molly find they can’t deny the growing attraction.

As usual, Ms. Scott has delivered a wonderful romance filled with the rich history and mystic of ancient Scotland. I have enjoyed several of her books as they are always entertaining.

Molly is an amazing heroine, she is smart with a bit of naivety but she knows what she wants and goes after it, even in these times when woman do not have many rights. She realizes she has a say in who she marries and when she is forced by her father and brothers, at first she runs, but now wants her say in front of others to protest this shame.

Wat is perfect, a decent person even in the days of wars, raids and violence. He wants to protect Molly but also wants to do the right thing. When he goes to find answers it is with a heavy heart because he does not want her to go back to her family, yet he does not want to admit his feelings for her. Wat just inherited a title and all the responsibilities that he did not expect for years and does not want to add a wife just yet.

The relationship between Wat and Molly is complex, they have many obstacles to overcome, the biggest is that she is married, although by force and at first they do not look at each other as anything more than neighbors. She is just trying to find a way out of her marriage and he has been asked by the King to help with the Border raids. As they spend more time together, their growing attraction becomes apparent, but they both fight it until the pull is too strong.

Secondary characters play pivotal roles, there is Lady Meg, Wat’s grandmother and the godmother of Molly who runs the household and is instrumental in Molly’s life after she is found, also enjoyable are Wat’s sisters and his men at arms. Molly’s brothers were a conundrum, I was ready to hate Will for treating her poorly but was pleasantly surprised by him in the end. I am not sure who is featured in the next book but I am excited to read another in this series.

The pace of the story works well, the author loves to create a historical background based on actual people and actions during the time the story takes place, it can be overwhelming but if you love that time period, as I do, it makes for fascinating reading. I also enjoy reading her notes at the end of the book to bring the setting to life, the author will talk about her inspiration and the real people she may have based her characters on and it brings everything into focus.

I give Moonlight Raider by Amanda Scott 4 stars!

Wanted: Wild Thing by Jessica Sims (Midnight Liaisons #4)

Wanted Wild Thing by Jessica SimsAvailable: Now Amazon/B&N

Type: Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Pocket

My Copy: Sent

Reviewer: Nikki

Ryder is hiding a dark secret from her coworkers at Midnight Liaisons. Every time she’s sexually attracted to a man, her dragon side breaks through. Not exactly man-bait! But she needs to lose her virginity before her twenty-fifth birthday, or she’ll become a dragon forever.

Her solution? Big, hunky Hugh, the appointed guardian of her chastity. He’s clearly hot for her, but he has powerful reasons to resist Ryder. Can temptation—and love—possibly find a way?

 

Ryder is a changeling. A fact that she finds disgusting and embarrassing. She didn’t think it could get much worse until an otherbeing shows up claiming to be her owner and informing her he’d be breeding her with another changeling because they are incredibly rare and prized. When he  leaves a bodyguard in his place to protect her virginity until her changeling side completes a final change Ryder is outraged.

Hugh just has a job to do. Protect Ryder’s virginity for his boss and then he’ll get what was promised to him and his brothers. He never intended to like the woman he’s supposed to be watching. Ryder is slowly wearing down his resolve to fulfill his promise. Instead he might have found something more important than a vow. He might have found love.

This series has always been fluffy easy reading that was great to fill the time between harder hitting books. Perfect for unwinding and just flowing along with the breezy story lines. Wanted: Wild Thing wasn’t any different though it was a bit anti-climactic for a series ending book. It’s not that I didn’t like it. I totally did. But it didn’t feel like an ending book. I guess that’s because there really wasn’t a story arc that went from book to book. The only real connection between the characters is the paranormal dating agency they all somehow end up at.

Previous books had characters faced with a bit of danger and I didn’t really feel that in this one. Ryder and Hugh’s story mainly focused on their budding relationship with a healthy amount of snarky dialogue. Ryder is incredibly likable, and I did feel bad for her plight of being someone elses “property” but I wish there would have been a bit more thrill at the ending to bring the series to a close. Also….Hugh is a VIRGIN just like Ryder…which I won’t lie….I enjoyed immensely. He’s this huge, socially inept guy who doesn’t really understand the human realm  and Ryder’s constantly changing emotions. Hugh is the exact opposite of Ryder’s outgoing, bubbly nature and watching them together just made me feel good.

I found Wanted: Wild Thing to be cute, endearing at times and witty. I’m sad to see the series come to an end.

 

I give Wanted: Wild Thing by Jessica Sims 3.50 stars