A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Monday, June 30, 2014


Million-Dollar MaverickMillion-Dollar Maverick by Christine Rimmer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Million Dollar Maverick ( Montana Mavericks #) by Christine Rimmer is a 2014 Harlequin Special Edition publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nate is in a somber, reflective mood when he sees a motorist standing in the rain apparently having run out of gas. The moral code instilled in him simply couldn't leave a woman alone in that situation. That fateful day would change his life forever.
Callie is determined to start her life over in Montana. She is a nurse, has spunk, really cares for people and despite the nasty comments Nate throws at her about not being capable of lasting through one single Montana winter, she fits right into Rust Creek Falls. That's more than Nate can say at the moment since he has solidified his reputation as a love 'em and leave 'em cowboy, but also a man that shamed himself by playing really dirty pool in the last mayoral race. When Callie calls on Nate a year after he rescued her by the side of the road, to sort of let him know she was tougher than he thought, the two find themselves feeling a little awkward with one another. There is definitely an attraction between them, but Nate is more than a little reluctant to pursue it. Why? Well, unbeknownst to most people in Rust Creek Falls Nate has suffered an unimaginable loss. A loss so profound he may never be able to move past it. But, he is trying to make up for his past transgressions and the big secret he is keeping from everyone is helping him accomplish that.

Dark brooding cowboys are a guilty pleasure for me and Nate fit that role perfectly. Callie comes along and blindsides him. As for Callie she really is perfect for Nate. Smart, dedicated, outgoing, and full of life and is usually really upbeat and optimistic. She knows Nate better than most and believes in him. But, Nate's fears, which are legitimate, and to me understandable, could prevent him from having all the things he thought he had lost.
Nate and Callie make a good match even if Nate is still dealing with all the issues in his life. This is a realistic look at the realities of living with such an incredible heartbreak and being haunted by it daily. Nate wanted to change, wanted to be happy, wanted to be with Callie but he is going to have to dig deep and work very hard to overcome his issues. Callie is the perfect person the help him through that. The money part of the story was not as prominent as you might think. I did like the maturity Nate showed in dealing with his windfall. Instead of living the party life, Nate stayed in his home town and started paying it forward.
So, this is a really sweet small town love story that will touch your heart and leave you will feeling of satisfaction knowing that everything is looking up for Nate and Callie as well as all of Rust Creek Falls.

This one gets 4 stars.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Mist on the MeadowMist on the Meadow by Karla Brandenburg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mist in the Meadow by Karla Brandenburg is a 2013 independent publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Marissa, a pastry chef, is celebrating her twenty- fifth birthday when she discovers with a little help from her uncle Bart , that she has inherited psychic powers. Uncle Bart arranges for Marissa to adopt a very special cat named “Hex”.
Hex had once belonged to Wolf's grandmother, and since Wolf is the legal executor of his family's company, Harper Electronics, he freely allows Bart to take the cat. In the meantime Wolf has been told that to unlock a certain codicil in his grandmother's will he will have to find a “Kundigerin”. He has no idea what that is or how to find one.
But, all the time there is a “Kundigerin” right under his nose- Marissa. Marissa's German heritage is behind the “gift “ she has now inherited as well as having been born with a mass of red hair.

Wolf learns that Harper's is in bad shape financially. He is dealing with the board and his grandfather's bad bookkeeping when it becomes apparent Marissa knows a great deal about his family. Immediately suspicious of how she knows all the things she does, Wolf doesn't trust her. But before long he and Marissa are tearing at each others clothes.

However, Marissa and Wolf seem to be the victims of someone's wrath and a mystery develops, one in which Marissa's new gift could be very helpful, but could also put her in serious danger.

This paranormal fantasy is rich in imagination and told a very interesting story of Wolf and Marissa's family history. Wolf and Marissa are pretty much glued to one another on impact despite Wolf's initial confusion about Marissa's abilities. A question involving the accident that killed Wolf's parents is at the heart of the story. The paranormal elements were outside the box and mixed German mythology with folklore and helped to answer questions and resolve long buried secrets. The romance was sensual, not overly angst filled, but Wolf and Marissa do have a lot to deal with and go through their fair share of misunderstandings and hard times.
There were a few contradictions and a few areas that could have been more explanatory. Marissa was to keep her new gift a secret, but she was rather open about it, and the German words were not defined for the reader. If things like that bother you, you can always go to the internet and look for translations, but I don't think the reader should have to work that hard. A brief explanation as what these words meant would have helped the reader understand the complexities a little better.
Other than those small complaints this is a quick and enjoyable read and crossed genres into romance, mystery, and fantasy. This is an excellent book to lose yourself in for awhile. I'm giving this one a 3.5 rounded up to four.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014



Not Quite Dead

by Lyla Payne



A broken engagement sends Graciela Harper crawling back to Heron Creek with her tail between her legs, but finds the sleepy little town too changed to set her life right. Not even her budding drinking problem can obscure her Gramps’s failing health, or erase the mental picture of her first love happily married to her childhood best friend. To top it all off, she’s having a heck of time convincing the town’s dashing young mayor of her unfit-for-dating status.

When the ghost of 18th century lady pirate Anne Bonny starts insisting on a near daily audience, Graciela has to confront something else she never expected—being certifiably nuts at twenty-five years old.

Her brand new "I don't give a crap" attitude makes it easy to dismiss the mysterious threats that seem to be tied to her search for more information on the long dead pirate, but when her family becomes a target, Gracie knows she needs to find out why the ghost insists on being a constant, reeking companion.

If Graciela can put aside her prejudice against people without a pulse, she may discover that Anne Bonny’s problems are intricately linked with her own. The past harbors answers could help the cantankerous spirit find closure, but she is, after all, already dead. If Graciela doesn’t move fast, she might find herself doing the haunting, instead of the other way around.



Maybe it’s lingering fear of Anne’s ghost, or a sudden urge to burn some fat, but my feet find the sidewalk instead of my butt finding the driver’s seat of my car. I have an hour, and the walk will take fifteen minutes. I’ll regret it later, when the trek home in a hundred muggy degrees drenches me from head to toe, but that’s then.

I’m out to prove that I don’t give a shit about consequences after all. Fuck adulthood.

Avoiding my car turns out to be a moot point when, less than two blocks from Gramps’ house, the scraggly redhead from my backseat joins me on the sidewalk. Her gait matches mine, but her feet don’t make any sound on the concrete despite her clunky, knee-high leather boots. Lord if she doesn’t smell bad enough to gag a maggot, even outside.

Yesterday, I ran. Today, for some reason, it’s as though none of this is happening in real life and I don’t go faster, or slower, just keep going, eyes forward, clinging to the hope of waking up. It’s like swimming through the air with my blood pumping through me ten times too fast, depositing a chilly sweat on my brow and palms.

She doesn’t talk, but based on my sideways glances, the premise that she’s Anne Bonny seems legitimate. The smell and her stiff men’s shirt, trousers, and boots, combined with the sword and dagger belted at her waist, convince me that she’s Anne Bonny or that I’m going nuts. Or both.

The expression on her face wavers between frustration and sorrow, but nothing about it or her posture suggests causing harm is on her agenda. We walk side by side a few more steps, me and my reeking ghost, before my nerve returns out of nowhere.

Dead or not, she’s kind of starting to bug me.

"What do you want?" The question would sound more at home in the mouth of the first victim in a horror flick, but it has to be asked.

Even so, Anne—if it is Anne—doesn’t reply. Maybe she thinks it’s a dumb thing to ask, too.

"Okay, obviously you left your tongue in your grave. Let me guess, you want to grab a coffee and a bagel? I’m thinking about stopping at Westies, but I’m not sure…Oh," I gasp as my body turns to ice.



AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us - past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla's hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.

Lyla Payne is represented by Kathleen Rushall at Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.

If you want to know more, please visit her at http://lylapayne.com

If you're a fan of Young Adult fiction--science fiction or otherwise--please check out her work that's published under the name Trisha Leigh. http://trishaleigh.com


Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lyla_Payne

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Website: http://www.lylapayne.com/

Goodreads: mailto:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6903785.Lyla_Payne

Buy Links for Not Quite Dead:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Quite-Dead-Lowcountry-Ghost-Story-ebook/dp/B00JASQGFQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395975127&sr=1-1&keywords=lyla+payne+not+quite+dead

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Not Quite Dead (A Lowcountry Ghost Story)Not Quite Dead by Lyla Payne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not Quite Dead ( A Lowcountry Ghost Story) by Lyla Payne is a 2014 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Graciela is dealing with inner demons , an ill grandfather, tense family relations, old memories, and the mayor of Heron Creek , and one stinky and persistent ghost. That's a lot of for anyone, but Grace is tougher than she knows and she will need every last ounce of her strength to survive.

Graciela has lots of regrets and is nursing a broken heart and deep humiliation. Now she is face to face with her old boyfriend, Will and his wife, Melanie who was once Grace's bestie. Awkward. Being back in Heron Creek has also stirred up old memories for Grace. Her cousin who was like her sister growing up hasn't spoken to her in years, her relationship with Will which was a sure thing has her feeling like she missed out on something great with him, and to rub salt in the wound she has to watch him and her former best friend live the life she could have had. Instead she ended up with a guy that cheated on her countless times and left her in rotten state of mind. But, now the most important thing is her grandfather. Her elderly grandfather is struggling with his health and trying to maintain his dignity. He worries about Grace a lot, but tries not to show it. When the new mayor in town takes an instant liking to Grace, she puts up all her defenses. However, Beau refuses to give up on Grace. The town has decided that Grace may be one brick shy of a full load and she suffers odd looks and is the subject of much gossip. When the ghost of Anne Bonny shows up ,Grace has her memory refreshed about the legend of Anne and the reports of seeing her ghost from time to time.
It becomes apparent that Anne wants Grace to help her and if Grace wants any peace she will have to go along. As Grace begins to feel a little sympathy toward her ghost the history about Anne begins to put many things into perspective for Grace. But, before she can get all the facts she needs, her grandfather takes a turn for the worse and Grace has to deal with her bitch of Aunt, Melanie warning her away from Will, and before long a dreaded reunion with her cousin, Amelia. Not only that but Beau has found a way to break down some of Grace's walls but a disturbing story about Beau has left just a niggle of doubt in Grace's mind as to whether or not she can trust Beau in general, much less with her heart.

Grace is quite a character. Snarky, sarcastic, funny, and flawed, but you will root for her from start to finish. Gramps is also a great guy, but the other characters in the story all had me wondering who to trust or like . Melanie was kind of an odd duck I thought, Will was wishy washy, Beau was too tight lipped about his past, but didn't have any trouble pumping Grace for information about hers, Aunt Karen made me want to reach through the pages and slap her, Amelia was just in a really bad situation and I couldn't help but feel for her. Another of Grace's old friends from Heron Creek provides a mystery that we don't get to the bottom of in this chapter of the series, but I have a feeling we will learn a lot more about that soon. Then Anne Bonny and her sadness, determination, and her back story made her one of the best characters in the book. Of course she doesn't speak out loud, but her story is still told in her own words.
There is a lot going on in this book. The ghost story was really interesting as we get to hear about events of over 200 years ago from Anne herself. The family dynamics are really heavy and frankly realistic. Not all families are just perfect and Grace has pretty much been left on her own except for her grandfather due to some delicate situations in the past. An old curse that threatens all the descendants of Anne Bonny comes to light but Grace is having a hard time getting to the bottom of it because of a librarian who is overprotective of the archives. The relationship with Beau seems like a good one for Grace and I thought she deserved some happiness after everything she had gone through. While a part of me was glad to see Grace shrug off her doubts about Beau, another part of me wondered if that was a good thing or not. The reader will have to decide that for themselves and of course I'm sure the next book will reveal more about Beau and his all so secret past. There was closure for everyone thankfully on all other fronts. Amelia and Grace are going to finally be alright with each other, Will and Melanie are on solid ground and maybe Grace and Melanie's friendship will regain some of it's strength now that Melanie is not as insecure. But, it looks like Grace's job is not over just yet.... so stay tuned.
This is a New Adult Mystery/Ghost story with mature themes and some romance. The heat level is a one, there is some language sprinkled throughout and some mild violence.

This one gets a 4 star rating.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


We Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear: Intimations of Their ImmortalityWe Give Our Hearts to Dogs to Tear: Intimations of Their Immortality by Alston Chase
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We Give Our Hearts to Dog to Tear: Imitations of their Immortality by Alston Chase is a Transaction Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The title of this book is taken from a quote by Rudyard Kipling and if you have ever forged a close bond with your canine pals you know what is meant by that sentiment.

I confess to feeling just a little jealous of the author and his family and the life they chose to live. I can see myself living that lifestyle someday. This story is about how the family came to love the Jack Russell Terrier breed of dog sort of by accident. A spur of the moment decision to take a puppy even though the timing for the family was somewhat dubious, began a journey for them as they learned all there was about this wonderful breed of dogs.
There is a wealth of information pertaining to the history of the Jack Russell terrier as well as the disposition of the breed and health issues the dog is predisposed to. Through the years the Jack Russell has grown in popularity and is now recognized by the Westminster Kennel Club. This decision spawned some debate and that was understandable.
The 1980's would prove to be a pivotal time for the JR terrier as it gained popularity as a companion dog and times were changing bringing about the formation of anti- fox hunting animal rights groups in England. This was sort of confusing since people loved the “ hunting parson” Russell but not the hunting.
Once we have been armed with all this knowledge about the breed, the author begins to share his family's personal relationships with their JR terriers. There were touching stories, funny stories and of course tears.
The family grieved hard for some of the dogs they had bonded with and attempted to genetically keep them alive through breeding. The live and learn part of live taught them that this was not the solution and tells a cautionary tale in regards to inbreeding. Through the years the family has added so much enhancement to their lives by loving and caring the this breed. They now wish to spread that love and information on to others.

As an animal lover I was completely engaged in this book. I have a neighbor that rescued a JR from the pound and he is just adorable and smart and a really good dog. This is my only experience with the breed so I found all the information in this book very helpful and interesting. I also felt the emotional ups and downs that go with having dogs … the smiles, the fun, the joy, and the risk you have to take when loving and bonding with your dog.
For me and my family it's always been Cocker Spaniels and my husband and I can relate to the issues addressed here. One of the dogs we had so bonded with my husband we couldn't have just one dog after that. We wanted to breed them so we would always have a family of them, but just as the author state here, this is not always the best idea. Thankfully, we decided against that in the end.

So, even if you are not an owner of JR terriers don't let that deter you from reading this book. This information and experience could apply to all dog lovers and you will certainly understand and relate to how dogs enrich our lives and what a joy they are. Yes, a time will come when you will have to say goodbye but the time I have had with my dogs is worth it and I will continue to bring them into my life always.
This one is 5 stars.

Monday, June 23, 2014


The worst time to be charged with murder is:
A. When you have no alibi for the night in question.
B. When you have no memory of the night in question.
C. When you told people you hated the victim.
D. When the detective is the 1st guy you ever slept with--which didn't end well.

Check all of the above for Luanne Mayfair. If it wasn't for bad luck, she wouldn't have any luck at all. Okay, maybe a little luck. As it turns out, Detective Chase Merritt doesn't hold grudges.

He still looks at Luanne just as he did in high school, except he's grown some serious 'hot cop' muscles--very distracting when Luanne is trying to avoid the very law Chase represents.

Is she the killer? Is she being framed? Is she the next victim? As Chase and Luanne race to find some answers, danger and heat ratchet up in this fast-paced romantic mystery that will stop your heart one second, then steal it in the next.


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Deathwatch is currently free in most online stores right now. To win a copy of one of Dana's previously released Broslin Creek novels -winners choice- leave a comment on this post. 

Dana Marton Author Bio:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Dana Marton has thrilled and entertained millions of readers around the globe with her fast-paced stories about strong women and honorable men who fight side by side for justice and survival.

Kirkus Reviews calls her writing "compelling and honest." RT Book Review Magazine said, "Marton knows what makes a hero…her characters are sure to become reader favorites." Her writing has been acclaimed by critics, called, "gripping," "intense and chilling," "full of action," "a thrilling adventure," and wholeheartedly recommended to readers. Dana is the winner of the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence, the Readers’ Choice Award, and Best Intrigue, among other awards. Her book, TALL, DARK, AND LETHAL was nominated for the prestigious Rita Award. DEATHSCAPE reached the #1 spot on Amazon’s Romantic Suspense Bestseller list.

Dana has a Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction, and is continuously studying the art and craft of writing, attending several workshops, seminars and conferences each year. Her number one goal is to bring the best books she possibly can to her readers.

Keeping in touch with readers is Dana’s favorite part of being an author. Please connect with her via her web site (www.danamarton.com) or her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/danamarton).

Having lived around the world, Dana currently creates her compelling stories in a small and lovely little town in Pennsylvania. The fictional town of her bestselling Broslin Creek series is based on her real life home where she fights her addictions to reading, garage sales, coffee and chocolate. If you know a good twelve-step program to help her with any of that, she’d be interested in hearing about it! INCLUDEPICTURE "https://danamarton.com/wp-includes/images/smilies/icon_smile.gif" \* MERGEFORMATING  

Visit Dana’s website to read the first chapters of her books!

Broslin Creek Series Purchase Links


The only person who can identify the most notorious hit man in the country, Kate Bridges is running for her life. Murphy Dolan is in the Army Reserves, returning from his 2nd tour of duty, only to find a stranger hiding in his house. She's scared spitless. He's completely burned-out on violence. Neither of them has any trust left to give.

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After a near-death experience, artist Ashley Price is compelled to paint visions of the dead, and fears she's gone crazy. Then she paints a man buried alive and, recognizing the surroundings, she rushes to save him. Instead of being grateful to her for rescuing him, Detective Jack Sullivan accuses her of being in league with a serial killer. He swears he will put her behind bars. Except, the more time he spends with her, the more he falls under her spell. Can he trust her, or is he walking into another deadly trap?

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She'd been "the sick girl" for most of her life. She refused to go straight to "the weird girl". Heart-transplant recipient Sophie Curtis has been in her own antiseptic bubble for so long, she just might not be able to venture out into the real world again. Her spooky body memories are scary enough, but then she finds herself in the cross hairs of a killer.

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Former small-town football hero turned cop, Joe Kessler never met a linebacker, perp, or a woman he couldn't handle. Then a troubled single mom walks into his life, and the only place this hot jock will ever see 'easy' again is in the dictionary.

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#5 BROSLIN BRIDE 6/26 Release Date

Luanne Mayfair might have killed her boss a little. Fine, a lot. Pretty much all the way. Okay, it sounds bad when you say itlike that. But he was a sleazebag. Honest. The maids at the Mushroom Mile Motel that Earl Cosgrove managed often prayed for lightning to strike the lecherous bastard. Alas, God had seen fit to send Luanne instead.

Broslin Creek Boxed Set (Books 1-3)

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Broslin Bride: Gone and Done it (Broslin Creek, #5)Broslin Bride: Gone and Done it by Dana Marton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Broslin Bride by Dana Marton ( Broslin series # 5) is a 2014 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This addition to the series has lighter tone that previous novels in the series. Luanne Mayfair has had a few hard knocks in life but things are about to really get sticky. With her mother's death Luanne became responsible for her four year old twin siblings which meant dropping out of school and working two jobs to make ends meet. One of those jobs is as a maid cleaning motel rooms and working for the sleazy manager, Earl. When Earl is killed in a hit and run all the evidence points to Luanne.

Chase Merritt is the detective working the case and he and Luanne share a past. It's embarrassing to both of them and Chase could harbor a grudge but he can't seem to stay mad at Luanne. He just can't imagine Luanne running someone down in cold blood, so he is determined to find out what happened to Earl and frankly there is no shortage of suspects.

I really enjoyed this installment in the Broslin series. Luanne has a wonderful outlook no matter how bad things get. She seldom dwells on the negative and is always thinking of others despite her dire circumstances. Although, being a murder suspect is the about the worst thing imaginable, this situation brings Luanne and Chase back together and also introduces Luanne and her siblings to family she never really knew. Chase is a really good guy and I liked that he didn't let the past get in the way of the future. He is really good at this job, and heaven knows we could use more guys like Chase in real life so the real bad guys are caught and innocent people aren't sent to prison.
That's the good news, but the there is plenty of bad news coming and you will never seen this one coming! So, while this story is not all that dark it is still pretty twisted. The suspense element is still strong despite the lighter tone. Great dialogue with a little heart tugging in places makes this a well rounded novel, easy to read, and well worth your time. 4 stars

Sunday, June 22, 2014


Love with a Perfect Cowboy (Cupid, Texas, #4)Love with a Perfect Cowboy by Lori Wilde
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Love With the Perfect Cowboy by Lori Wilde is a 2014 Avon publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Lori Wilde has perfected the small town romance! Who can top a name like Cupid for a small Texas town? This series just keeps getting better!

As we all know occasionally Cupid's arrows sometimes appear to have misfired. Such is the case with Luke and Melody. As teens they relished the forbidden fruit that was their romance. The Hatfields and McCoys have nothing on the Greenwood/Fants and the Nielsons. So, before it even got started Luke and Melody's romance came to a crashing halt.

In the years since, Melody has moved to New York and lived the big city life with relish. The last person on earth she ever gave a single thought to was Luke. Then out of the clear blue sky he's standing in front her on the worst day of her life. Melody's just been fired and kicked out of her boyfriend's apartment.
Luke is in NY to convince Melody to come back to Cupid. A terrible drought has the tourist population down to a trickle and they need a big campaign to get people interested again. With nothing else holding her in NY and with Luke's effective manner of persuasion, Melody agrees to try and help out her hometown. But, the old feud between their families once more comes between the couple.

Before Luke can move on with his life he needs to make peace with Melody even it means New York is where she feels she should be. He feels like the less said about the families the better. Melody has a different idea though and personally I thought Melody was right. It was obvious that Cupid did have a good aim after all and no matter what Luke and Melody were destined to be together. But, first the families will have to somehow make peace with one another and forgiveness will be a must.

This story was so good! A nice example of how years of bitterness and holding grudges will ruin more lives in the long run. While Luke and Melody each carried their fair share of grief and guilt over what happened in the past, really the blame should have been placed at the doorstep of the old family feud and the unwillingness the families had to put the past behind them. It will take something really big to make these people come to their senses though. That's sad because they really could have prevented so much heartache and tragedy if they had only opened their eyes to what was really important in life sooner. But, it's better late than never. This book has a really wonderful, grab a box of tissues, smile through the tears, happy ever after. This is the best book so far in this series!! Highly recommend! Five stars!


w045loriwilde (1)New York Times and USA Today best selling author, Lori Wilde has sold seventy-eight works of fiction to four major New York Publishing houses. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Texas Christian University and a certificate in forensic nursing from Kaplan University. She is a member of the Internal Association of Forensic Nurses.
Her first NYT bestseller, the third book in her Twilight, Texas series, The First Love Cookie Club has been optioned for a television movie. The town of Granbury, Texas, upon which her fictional town of Twilight, Texas is loosely based, honors Lori with an annual Twilight, Texas weekend each Christmas. Click here for more information.
A popular writing instructor, Lori is a two time RITA finalist and has four times been nominated for Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award. She’s won the Colorado Award of Excellence, the Wisconsin Write Touch Award, The Golden Quill, the Lories, and The More than Magic. Her books have been translated into 26 languages and excerpted in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Complete Woman, and Quick and Simple magazines. She lives in Texas with her husband, Bill, and her New American Shepherds, Sassy and Cookie.

Saturday, June 21, 2014


Ash and BoneAsh and Bone by Lisa von Biela
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ash and Bone by Lisa Von Biela is a 2014 Darkfuse publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Eileen packs up what she can carry and takes off on a quest to leave her rather sordid past behind and start a new life for herself. She and her dog, Beau, are passing through a very small harbor town named Cromwell Bay, when she discovers a run down motel and the wheels start spinning in her mind. She looks into purchasing the motel and the real estate agent is all too happy to have a buyer. Things are going very smoothly except for one thing... room number 8. Beau will not go near it and Eileen is chilled to bone while cleaning the room no matter what the weather is. But, it's nothing she can't handle until the guest begin to complain about nightmares after spending the night in # 8.
Finally, Eileen decides to look into the history of the motel. The nervous real estate agent explains that the motel has no sordid history, but once upon a time a mill stood where the motel was built and it burned to the ground killing several of the workers.
When Frank , a freelance journalist, is traveling back home after attending a funeral, he finds himself in a state of sheer exhaustion. He stops in Cromwell Bay to stay the night. Eileen gives him the key to room # 8. Frank experiences some of the most vivid and horrific nightmares he' s ever had. Eileen tells him the story of the mill and it's demise, setting off Frank's investigative instincts. Now, after all these years will the workers who lost their lives in the mill finally get justice? Will the truth come out about what really happened during the fire ?
This is a perfect story to tell around a campfire or read on a dark cold winter night. I love ghost stories because in most instances the hauntings have a purpose and that was certainly the case here. A cautionary tale in many respects, the author examines the damage done by being too stubborn, too controlling, and too greedy to do the right thing and having it come back to haunt you... literally. Once a good portion of the mystery comes to light, lives in the small harbor town will never be the same. Some will have peace , while others will grapple with the consequences of their actions. Overall the story will give you a little chill down your spine and raise the hairs on the back of neck without graphic, overly detailed violence. In other words, the author created an imaginative story that will suck you in by creating a slow build up of suspense and using her skills as a writer to create an atmosphere that will have you on the edge of your seat. A horror story and a mystery combine to give the reader the perfect thrill. I loved it! Overall this one is an A+.

Lisa von Biela worked in Information Technology for 25 years, and still claims there is no application she cannot break in testing. She left the field to attend the University of Minnesota Law School, graduating magna cum laude in 2009. She now practices law in Seattle, Washington. One of her legal articles, a research piece published in the Food and Drug Law Journal, was cited in an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Lisa's first publication was in The Edge in 2002. She went on to publish a number of short works in various small press venues, including Gothic.net, Twilight Times, Dark Animus, AfterburnSF, and more.

She is the author of THE GENESIS CODE, THE JANUS LEGACY, ASH AND BONE (due May 13, 2014), BLOCKBUSTER (coming January 2015), and SKINSHIFT (coming June 2015).

Previous Work (earliest to most recent):

"Vacancy" (THE EDGE #15)

"Gift Horse" (Horrorfind's Fiction Page)

"Hunting with the Boys" (The Swamp)

"The Performance" (Alien Skin)

"Chain Reaction" (Alien Skin)

"Riptide" (Gothic.net)

"Diversions" (DARK ANIMUS)

"Lost and Found" (Naked Snake Online)

"Resolve" (Twilight Times)

"The Scalpel's Path" (Twilight Times)

"Unintended Consequences" (The Dark Krypt)

"Halcyon House" (The Dark Krypt)

"Waiting" (Flashquake nonfiction)

"Dodge and Burn" (Whispering Spirits)

"Exodus Hotel" (Dark Recesses)

"Final Approach" (Dark Recesses)

"Hideout" (AfterburnSF)

"Meat Market" (BLACK INK HORROR #6)

Friday, June 20, 2014


Country Heaven Cookbook: Family Recipes & RemembrancesCountry Heaven Cookbook: Family Recipes & Remembrances by Ava Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Country Heaven Cookbook: Family Recipes and Remembrances by Ava Miles is a 2014 self publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a collection of down home goodness Ava Miles as compiled from her own recipes and those featured int eh Country Heaven novel. I have lots of cookbooks on my kindle but I have never reviewed any of them because I didn't really know how to go about reviewing a cookbook. But, since this in conjunction with on of Ava's novels I thought I might give it a shot.

First of all all these recipes sound really yummy. I come across that a lot in cookbooks but then when I start looking at the ingredients and the difficulty level I have that “it looks good on paper” thought. If I actually attempted the recipe... well it wouldn't come out quite like the cookbook said it would. Not so with this one. These are recipes that pretty much still to the ingredients we all usually have on hand and are awesome desserts, breads, and pastries. These recipes are not overly complicated and I had my tummy growling especially thinking about those stuffed apple crepes.

This book also contains an extended except from Country Heaven the novel which features a few of these dishes. This book is nice companion to the Country Heaven novel. Also, ( sold separately- LOL) The Country Heaven Song Book is also available.

The only compliant I had was the lack of photos. ( This could be because of the digital copy I have)

This one gets 4 stars.

USA Today Bestselling Author Ava Miles burst onto the contemporary romance scene after receiving Nora Roberts’ blessing for her use of Ms. Roberts’ name in her debut novel, the #1 National Bestseller NORA ROBERTS LAND, which kicked off her small town series, Dare Valley, and brought praise from reviewers and readers alike. Ava has also released a connected series called Dare River, set outside the country music capital of Nashville.

Far from the first in her family to embrace writing, Ava comes from a long line of journalists. Ever since her great-great-grandfather won ownership of a newspaper in a poker game in 1892, her family has had something to do with telling stories, whether to share news or, in her case, fiction. Her clan is still reporting on local events more than one hundred years later at their family newspaper, much like the Hale family in her Dare Valley series.

Ava is fast becoming a favorite author in light contemporary romance (Tome Tender) and is known for funny, emotional stories about family and empowerment. Ava’s background is as diverse as her characters. She’s a former chef, worked as a long-time conflict expert rebuilding warzones, and now writes full-time from her own small-town community.

Sign up for Ava's newsletter at www.avamiles.com/newsletter/
Visit Ava's website at www.AvaMiles.com
Follow Ava on twitter at www.twitter.com/authoravamiles
Join Ava on Faceboook at www.facebook.com/authoravamiles
Join Ava at NORA ROBERTS LAND: www.facebook.com/NoraRobertsLand
Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7133520...

Thursday, June 19, 2014





Gráinne has moved back to Dublin to get her life straightened out. She dreams of college and a better life. She’s working, but the money isn’t enough to support herself and pay tuition. Moonlighting at The Klub! as an exotic dancer seems to be her answer to fast money.

John ‘JD’ Desmond is a detective working undercover in the Blues Tavern. The Klub!, owned by Jimmy Malloy, is being used as a drug front, headed by the notorious Taylor Wade. JD had intended to get Gráinne to snitch for him, but when he falls in love with her, things get complicated.

When Gráinne witnesses Jimmy’s murder, she and JD are forced to go on the run until Wade can be apprehended. Wade lives up to his nickname, The Hunter, and JD and Gráinne quickly find themselves at the end of a gun and running for their lives.

His heart ached as he forced himself to goad her.

The look she shot him would have incinerated the average man, but he wasn’t average. He was a man with a mission, and Gráinne was the only one who could help him.

"By that look, I’d say I’ve hit the nail on the head."

"So, what of it."

"Why haven’t you told Kieran?" he asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

"I somehow doubt he’d understand why I’m . . . moonlighting."

JD chuckled lightly. "Moonlighting? Is that what they’re calling it these days?"

"Just stop. What do you want from me? Not that it’s any of your business what I do on my own time."

"I need your help."

A single brow arched over her eye. "With what? Wait, let me guess," she seethed, throwing her hands on her hips. "You want a private show. Or you want me to entertain some friends. And you’re going to use this," she fingered the bra he still held in his hand, "as a bribe to get me to do it for free."

"Not quite. While I wouldn’t mind a private show, it’s not entertainment I’m looking for."

"What’s this?" Kieran suddenly appeared behind the bar, startling them both. JD saw Gráinne’s face go pale, and thought she would faint then and there.



Kemberlee is a native Northern Californian who was raised in a community known as Steinbeck Country; home to author John Steinbeck, as well as Jack London, Robert Louis Stevenson, and others. With so much literary influence around her, it's not hard to see why Kemberlee fell in love with the printed word.

It was in 1997 while employed by Clint Eastwood that Kemberlee couldn't pass up the opportunity to spend six month in Ireland. While in Ireland, she met a man who eventually became her husband.

Living in Ireland has allowed Kemberlee to study the country's torrid past and unique culture first hand, and has even picked up a cúpla focal . . . a few Irish words.

In recent years, Kemberlee had published several short stories and novels, including the popular Irish Pride Series.

Kemberlee's current work in progress is a time travel romance called The Diary.

Find Kemberlee online —






Shape of My Heart (Irish Pride Series, book 3)Shape of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shape of My Heart by Kemberlee Shortland-( Irish Pride Series - book 3) is a 2014 Tirgearr publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Grainne only wanted to better herself by going to college. Becoming an exotic dancer would help pay for her education. But, it never occurred to her that the club she worked for may have some side dealings that could put her in danger. I think Grainne is not the unlike many young ladies who have fallen under the lure of big money. In the right club with the right looks, an exotic dancer can earn cash a lot easier and faster than having an ordinary job. When it comes to college Grainne couldn't wait to save that kind of money. But, it soon becomes apparent she is working for some really bad people and more is expected of her than pole dancing.

J.D. Is with the guard and trying to catch Grainne's boss in the act of committing a crime. He needs someone on the inside to do a little spying. Grainne is of course in the perfect position to help him out, but J.D. Goes about it in the wrong way and the two don't get along so well at first. J.D. knows Grainne doesn't want her brother to know about her moonlighting activities, so J.D. uses that against her to get her to help him out. But, as the two get to know one another better, J.D. Becomes very worried about Grainne working at the club.
When Grainne realizes J.D. Is right and she should cut her losses and get out the club, she finds out her boss isn't about to let her go so easily. Can J.D. keep her safe?

This is a solid romantic suspense novel with an Irish flair. The chemistry between Grainne and J.D. sizzles. The suspense is more on the crime drama arena since we know who the bad guy is and what he's into. It's a matter of trying to keep Grainne from becoming a victim and bringing down a crime syndicate. This was pretty good stuff. I enjoyed the romance, the family ties and I liked the suspense being somewhat gritty. There is also a little bit of a cautionary tale here. It could be someone's honest intention to just temporarily dabble in a certain lifestyle and then find themselves trapped in that life. Working in a “gentleman's club” may earn you lots of cash, but those businesses, no matter how upscale are often seedy and it's not hard to imagine drugs and sex crimes taking place in the background, maybe even human trafficking. Thankfully, Grainne had family and friends and of course J.D. To help her avoid that trap.

J.D. is dreamy! Despite the hard core crime drama they are involved in, Grainne and J.D.'s love story is deeply romantic and sensual. Grainne also learned that her brother's marriage and impending fatherhood didn't mean she was going to be left out of his life and so she had no reason to be jealous. Maybe sometime in the near future Grainne will find herself married too!
This one gets 4 stars.

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:Kemberlee will be awarding a plot of land in Ireland, donated by Macroom Land Trust to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here:  http://goddessfishpromotions.blogspot.com/2014/05/review-tour-shape-of-my-



Wednesday, June 18, 2014


Lord Somerton’s Heir

by Alison Stuart



Can the love of an honourable man save her from the memory of a desolate marriage?

From the battlefield of Waterloo to the drawing rooms of Brantstone Hall, Sebastian Alder’s elevation from penniless army captain to Viscount Somerton is the stuff of dreams. But the cold reality of an inherited estate in wretched condition, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding his cousin’s death, provide Sebastian with no time for dreams, only a mystery to solve and a murderer to bring to justice.

Isabel, widow of the late Lord Somerton, is desperate to bury the memory of her unhappy marriage by founding the charity school she has always dreamed of. But, her dreams are shattered, as she is taunted from the grave, discovering not only has she been left penniless, but she is once more bound to the whims of a Somerton.

But this Somerton is unlike any man she has met. Can the love of an honourable man heal her broken heart or will suspicion tear them apart?


Brantstone Hall

December 11, 1814

The tea, in its delicate porcelain cup, sat undrunk and cold, the bread curled and dried as the little clock on the mantelpiece ticked away the minutes. Isabel sat unmoving, staring out at the winter landscape of the Brantstone Park as if she expected Anthony to come galloping down the carriage way. She knew even before Thompson knocked on the door and stood shifting from one foot to the other, his shapeless felt hat clutched in his hand, that Anthony was dead.

She followed the head groom out into the stable yard again, where a farmer’s cart now stood. She looked at the cart and with her head held high; she walked across it. Thompson interposed himself between her and the inanimate object that lay in the filthy dray.

‘Are you sure, my lady?’ he asked.

She nodded and Thompson flicked back the sacking that covered the shapeless lump in the back of the cart. Isabel stared down into her husband’s face, into his open, staring eyes, already opaque in death. Anthony lay, stiff with rigor mortis, in the filth of a cart that had last been used to shift manure, from the smell. An ignominious end to his life, she thought.

‘We found him over by Lovett’s Bridge. He’d taken the hedge intending the shortcut across the Home Farm fields,’ Thompson was saying. He jerked his head at the saddle, the beautiful, hand tooled saddle that had been tossed into the cart with its owner. ‘Looks like the girth strap broke and he came off. Broke his neck in the fall. He’d not have known anything about it, my lady.’

Aware of the anxious faces that surrounded her, Isabel swallowed. They expected her to break down. They wanted her tears but she had none to give. She had expended too many tears over Anthony, Lord Somerton, while he lived to spare any for him now that he was dead.

Her gaze rested on the saddle. It had been her gift to Anthony on his birthday only a few months earlier. Now it was the cause of his death. It stood as a symbol of everything that had gone wrong between herself and her husband.

She turned on her heel and walked back to the house with her head held high. With every step, the enormity of Anthony’s death sank in.

She was free, but at what price came that freedom?

Her back straightened and her lips tightened.

To attain freedom, first she had to find Lord Somerton’s heir.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Alison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of cross genre historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or wayward ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town. She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, facebook, twitter and Goodreads.

Author Links:

Website: http://www.alisonstuart.com

Blogs: www.alisonstuart.blogspot.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AlisonStuartWriter

Twitter: @AlisonStuart14 https://twitter.com/AlisonStuart14

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4636079.Alison_Stuart

Buy Links:

Escape Publishing: http://www.escapepublishing.com.au/product/9780857991560

Author Website: http://www.alisonstuart.com/lord-somertons-heir.html

Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Lord-Somertons-Heir-Alison-Stuart-ebook/dp/B00JD7EYW6

Itunes https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/lord-somertons-heir/id852042879?mt=11

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lord-somertons-heir-alison-stuart/1119118530?ean=9780857991560&isbn=9780857991560&itm=1&usri=9780857991560


         Lord Somerton's HeirLord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lord Somerton's Heir by Alison Stuart is a 2014 Escape Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sebastian goes through some pretty heavy duty life changes and events in a short period of time. First of all he is wounded in the war at Waterloo. He will most likely always walk with a limp. While burning with a fever, he is discovered by the Dowager Lady Somerton and from that moment on his life will never be the same.

Shocking revelations about his heritage will thrust Sebastian into the role of being the new Lord Somerton. He believes his fortune has changed but soon discovers things are not as they appear.

Isabel is still in mourning for her child who apparently passed away from SIDS. The death of her husband Anthony has given her the hope of freeing herself from the Somerton duties so she can open her own school for girls. So, finding Anthony's heir is a must. As soon as she finds Sebastian she takes him to his new home and begins to nurse him back to health. The sooner he heals and adjust to his new title and responsibilities, the sooner she can escape and begin her independent life.

Alas, things don't work out quite as planned for Sebastian or Isabel. It appears that Anthony squandered all of Isabel's money which ruins her plans for the school. To put the cherry on the cake it becomes evident that Anthony did not die from an accident after all. It seems he was murdered and Isabel is the only likely suspect.

This story got off to a really slow start for me. The first half of the book dragged along as Sebastian recovers from his wound, meets relatives he didn't know he had, and begins to realize the estate is in debt and he learns of Isabel's cold and loveless upbringing and he discerns her marriage to Anthony was one of duty and love was not a part of the partnership. It wasn't until nearly half way into the book the plot picked up steam. This is where the murder mystery really starts to become intriguing. Many stunning revelations will come to light as Isabel will learn things about Anthony she didn't know. While there is romance, I think the book was more along the lines of historical fiction/mystery. If you go into it knowing that upfront you will like this story a lot. If you are expecting a lot romantic angst and steamy sheet twisting, that doesn't happen in this one. In fact the romance was really low key. However, the mystery part of the story makes up for that and I was really into the second half of the book. There were lots of twist and turns in the murder plot and I also liked the super sweet and sentimental ending of the book. Overall this is good effort and the author shows a lot of promise. I 'm giving this on a 3.5 and rounding it up to four mainly because I love a good historical mystery.



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Tuesday, June 17, 2014


Blogger Kit – HIT & RUN BRIDE by Nana Malone and Misty Evans

About the Book

Title: Hit & Run Bride

Author: Nana Malone & Misty Evans

Release Date: June 2, 2014

Tour Dates: June 2, 2014 – June 8, 2014

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble :
Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1mN5Qjk


Book Summary:

Dangerous Intersection Ahead

Marketing analyst Becca Daniels has a life that looks good on paper - a coveted promotion in an exciting new city and a successful, handsome fiancé. But with her Hawaiian honeymoon fast approaching, she has to face her biggest fear…water. She can’t swim. On her way to her first swimming lesson, however, she veers left instead of right and nearly runs over her hot, new instructor.

Caution: Rising Waters

Liam Caldwell has put his life on hold to look after his sick mother. The last thing he needs is the hit-and-run brunette who ruined his motorcycle disrupting the adult swim class. But from the first lesson, he realizes there’s more to the curvy, smart-mouthed Becca than meets the eye, and no matter what he does, he can’t resist her luscious lips and her driving determination.

No U-turn

With each lesson, Becca discovers that what looks good on paper isn’t making her happy. Should she play it safe in the shallow end with her career and fiancé? Or should she dive into deep waters with a man who offers passion and freedom like she’s never imagined?

About the Authors

Nana Malone

USA Today Bestselling Author Nana Malone’s love of all things romance and adventure started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love with kick butt heroines ever since.


With her overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a time before she started creating her own characters. Waiting for her chance at a job as a ninja assassin, Nana meantime works out her drama, passion, and sass with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she is.


Nana is the author of twenty novels. And the books in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble bestseller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books list and most notably the USA Today Bestseller list.

Connect with Nana: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter


Misty Evans


USA TODAY Bestselling Author Misty Evans has published over twenty novels and writes romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. As a writing coach, she helps other authors bring their books – and their dreams of being published – to life.

The books in her Super Agent series have won a CataNetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award, CAPA nominations, the New England Reader’s Choice Bean Pot Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2010 and the ACRA Heart of Excellence Reader’s Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense in 2011.

Her Witches Anonymous series was dubbed a Fallen Angel Reviews Recommended Read. The Super Agent Series, Witches Anonymous Series, and the Kali Sweet Series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle bestsellers lists. Her culinary romantic mystery, THE SECRET INGREDIENT, and the first book in her Deadly series, DEADLY PURSUIT, are both USA TODAY bestsellers.

Misty likes her coffee black, her conspiracy stories juicy, and her wicked characters dressed in couture. When not reading or writing, she enjoys music, movies, and hanging out with her husband, twin sons, and two spoiled puppies.

Connect with Misty: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Newsletter / Pinterest

Excerpt from HIT & RUN BRIDE

Becca stared in shock as she struggled to regulate her breathing. No. Not him. He could not be her instructor. He could not—her brain stuttered as her gaze drifted past his surprised, clearly annoyed—although attractive—face.

Oh wow. Holy shoulders. The Tribots at work weren't kidding when they talked about swimmers’ shoulders. He had a broad chest to match equally impressive abs worth staring at. He looked exactly like the kind of guy who did triathlons. Perfect. Her swim instructor was a totally hot Tribot. Shoot her now.

No. She wouldn't freak out. She had a task to complete. An assignment. Learn to swim. She could do this. All she had to do was ignore Mr. Shoulders and Abs. Oh yeah, and get in the water.

Her heart rate ticked up, and she swallowed hard. Stay calm, Becs. Focus on the things you can control. And twenty-three-year-old Becca was in a hell of a lot more control than seven-year-old, learning-to-swim Becca.

She shook her head. She was an adult, damn it. It was just a little water. She forced a smile onto her face and dragged her unwilling eyes back to Mr. Couldn’t Drive’s face. “Sorry. I’m late.”

He stared at her long and hard, and Becca shifted from foot to foot. She resisted the urge to tug on her bathing suit. There was no hiding her boobs in this thing. Or her ass, for that matter. She’d looked for her Armani racerback for nearly thirty minutes this morning, but all she’d been able to find was her beach bathing suit. With its double ties at the straps and the low cut of the bottoms, it was made for sunning and getting attention, not actual swimming. Of course, the lack of fabric had never bothered her before because she’d never planned on being in the water.

Finally, he shook his head. “Please join the rest of the class.”

Right. Sorry again.” She scuttled over to join her new classmates gathered on the concrete near the shallow end. They looked like a herd of baby cattle off to a too-early slaughter. Only one brave soul, a rail-thin woman who was more limbs than body, had the courage to smile at her. Everyone else just stared at the water, looking terrified.

Stay calm. Stay calm. It’s only water. She repeated her new mantra to herself over and over again.

As I was saying, I’m your instructor, Liam. Today, we’re going to start with the basics. I don’t want you to worry. I’m here to help you. We’re in this together.” He smiled.

Becca blinked. Yeah well, he should certainly not be allowed to do that in public. If he’d smiled at her in the parking lot, she would have been less annoyed.

He continued. “Can I get a show of hands for anyone who’s never been in a pool before? It seems like a silly question, but I’ve learned it’s a good one to ask.”

Everyone slid covert glances around. No one dared actually turn their heads and look. Becca did not raise her hand. She’d been in a pool. Like on those floating chair thingies. And maybe if she were feeling brave, she’d stood knee-deep in the shallow end. No need to embarrass herself, especially since no one else raised a hand.

Liam nodded. “Okay, good. I’m going to ask each of you to follow me into the shallow end then. Feel free to hold onto the sides. We’re going to do some introductions and get to know each other a little bit before we get started.”

A few brave souls sitting on the edge of the pool plopped right in with tiny little splashes that spritzed their neighbors’ legs and torsos. Most of the class opted for the relative safety of the stairs.

Becca shivered despite the warmth of the room. She knew that they kept the pool at a balmy ninety-three degrees, which was the reason she’d chosen this pool as opposed to the one closer to her place in Golden Hill. It didn’t take her long to realize that she was the only one still standing on the sidelines.

Shit. Okay, it’s fine, Becca. It’s fine. It’s only water.

Brittle, determined smile in place, she forced one foot in front of the other until she was at the edge of the stairs. The woman who’d smiled at her before gave her an encouraging nod.

And Liam, damn him, waited patiently for her to join her classmates.

Okay. Now or never.

She gripped the railing and took a tentative step in. Oh wow, that was nice. Just like a bath. The water lapped gently at her skin, and she gripped the rails even tighter. Another step. Shin level. Great. She was really going somewhere now.

Everyone was waiting on her; she had to do this. It was either this or tell Holden that she couldn’t swim. And she was not doing that. She had the perfect guy with the perfect honeymoon planned. And the perfect job. If she didn’t do this, everyone would know eventually. With another deep breath, she took another step. Knee-deep. Yay! Except, she was expected to go farther.

Liam half swam, half walked through the water to get to her. “It’s okay.” His smile was softer, and his voice was low, soothing, as if they were the only two people in the pool. “What’s your name?”

Name, what was her damn name? Her energy was so focused on not letting go of the railing and not drowning that she’d forgotten her damn name. Deep breath. “Uhm, it’s Becca.”

Nice to meet you, Becca. Now why don’t you give me your hand? I’ll help you the rest of the way in.”

N-no. That’s okay. I think maybe I can learn from here.”

There were a few snickers from her classmates. Liam ignored them and lowered his voice even further. “Have you been in a pool before, Becca?”

Well, maybe she shouldn’t have lied about that part. “Yes. But usually with a floating chair or something.”

He nodded. “Okay, no problem. Focus on my voice. We’ll get you into the water together.”

She glanced around at her classmates. Some of them looked impatient. A few looked encouraging. But the vast majority were focused on clutching onto the side of the pool, oblivious to her torture. “I—maybe I can’t do this. Can I just watch?”

Liam chuckled. “You’ve already been brave enough to come this far. Let’s see what happens if you trust me. You have nothing to lose by trying.”

You mean besides my life?”

She could tell he was trying to contain a smile as his lips twitched. “Now how would that make me look if I lost a student on the first night? I have my reputation to protect.”

This time, Becca did smile. Slowly, she let go of the rail with her left even as she gripped tighter with her right. She slid her hand into his warm and firm one and he held her tight as if he’d never let her go. “D-do you have me?”

Look at me, Becca. Focus on me. Nothing else matters right now, except you and me.”

She nodded. His voice really was soothing, washing over her like warm rain. She focused on his eyes. The deep blue color mesmerized her, and she took another step in. Water lapped at her upper thighs.

That’s it, Becca. Well done. Two more steps, and you’re in.”

With a little more coaxing, and a lot more focusing on Liam, her feet hit the bottom of the shallow end. Holy shit. The water lapped at her waist, and there was no shock of cold making her panic. This wasn’t so bad.

She grinned up at Liam, and he smiled in return. His eyes narrowed slightly, and his gaze fell to her lips. Warmth bloomed from her chest and—a wave suddenly hit her in the back, nearly knocking her off her feet. She squealed and wrapped herself around Liam, octopus style, unwilling and unable to let go.

Liam held her tight as she squeezed her eyes shut. She heard him say, “First rule of the pool, no deliberate splashing of the other students. Do you understand me?”

His voice was stern and a little intimidating. The warm, lazy, mellow quality had vanished. From behind her, a male voice muttered a weak apology.

With her arms and legs wrapped around Liam, Becca hid her face, letting his strong body carry her to the side. “You can let go now. You’re safe.”

Becca blinked. A small, kitten-like whimper issued from the back of her throat. From over her shoulder, she saw all her classmates watching her with curiosity. Okay, maybe she’d overreacted. But did she really have to let go? Because it seemed so much safer with him holding her. What are you going to do, take Liam on your honeymoon? Her whole body flushed, and she reached out for the ledge. Only when she felt the cool concrete under her fingertips did she unwrap herself from her instructor.
Hit & Run BrideHit & Run Bride by Nana Malone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hit and Run Bride by Nana Malone & Misty Evans is a 2014 Beach Path Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What a great love story! A hit and run accident brings together two people who are both dealing with heavy issues and gives them the courage to grab true love and happiness despite having to step off the beaten path to catch it.

Becca has a new promotion with a company she doesn't really enjoy working for. Her boyfriend, Holden, proposes and has big plans for their honeymoon and their life together. But, he gave her a hideous pink ring and the honeymoon will be all about what HE wants to do and swimming might be involved. The problem? Well, Becca doesn't know how to swim. In order to be ready for her honeymoon trip she signs up for adult swimming lessons. Seems like a great idea. But, Becca's luck runs a little like mine. She rear ends a guy who turns out to be her swim instructor.

Liam is a trainer and doesn't just give lessons. He scouts possible Olympic hopefuls. His own dream of being an Olympic swimmer died after a physical problem sidelined him. It also caused a rift between him and his father who had pinned his hopes and dreams on his sons.

Curvy, sexy, Becca has Liam thinking about things other than swim lessons. When Becca explains she is in a hurry to become a fast swimmer they begin working overtime. At the same time Holden is being a jerk by insisting the wedding be planned by someone else because they need to train for Kona. But, as Becca explained, she wants to plan her own wedding like every little girl before her. As she tries to get Holden to bend just a little bit, she starts to see holes in the relationship and she finds she is developing a serious crush on her swim instructor.

When Becca finally wakes up and smells the coffee she does what she knows is the right thing to do. Liam is the guy for her. He's mature, patient, giving, and not only does he listen to her, he HEARS her too.
But Holden isn't about to lose the game and won't give up without a fight, and that might mean a dirty fight.

Both Liam and Becca are dealing with poisonous relationships and find comfort from one another which leads to a real love match. But, problems still exist. Holden is a very manipulative person and knows just what to say and do to get under Becca's skin and keep her confused. Becca has a few moments where she waffles under the pressure from Holden and the help he can give her with her job , and the security that she would have with him,and he swears he will change. ( How many times have we heard that line?) Liam has lived under his father's constant insinuations that he is a loser and his confidence is not at an all time high sometimes so he tends to give up too easily, perhaps also becoming a victim to Holden's overbearing personality. But, in the end it is Becca who will have to decide if she wants true love or status quo. Frankly, it was time for her to stand up the men in her life and take responsibility for her own future. So, while there were times I wanted to shake her she eventually shakes off the fog and sees things as they really are. Thank goodness!
Here's to true love and HEA!
4 stars

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