My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I haven’t done a romance review in awhile and I’m glad I had this one to read and review right now, because I really liked this fun and sexy book that’s the first in a new sports series by Violet Duke. I would have given the book five stars but I felt the beginning was a little slow moving and the ending brought in some unusual events that didn’t seem to mesh with the rest of the story.
That said, all the chapters in between are fabulous fun in a story of brilliant network sports analyst Jackson Gray being asked to mentor newly hired sideline reporter Leila Hart in this football oriented story. Jackson immediately senses that Leila is hiding a keen understanding of the game and he can’t imagine why.
The two begin a very flirtatious and fun working relationship, both vowing they won’t allow their attraction to turn into anything more. And Jackson admits he has some deep, dark secrets, as well, which we find out about late in the story. Sports and romance, what could be better?
I received this as an ARC from NetGalley.
He’s still looking at me with that hard look on his face. “Yeah, sure, hope it doesn’t cause a problem for you with Reggie,” he says cryptically and strides down the hall toward his apartment. Too late I realize he doesn’t know my friend, Reggie, is really Regina.
Hmm, he’s kind of cute when he’s jealous…
The next time the doorbell rings it really is Reggie and I pull her in for a big hug. “Yay, you’re here. It’s been too long since we went out.” “It has,” she agrees. “And since it’s research for your story, we let the guys buy our drinks, right?” Reggie and I have known each other since we lived on the same floor freshman year of college. She’s sort of the yin to my yang.
“Of course,” I nod. “And I can’t thank you enough for having your brother pick up my car. I didn’t want to have to ask Mike to do it after all the weirdness,” I say. Reggie shrugs slim shoulders. “Of course, he didn’t mind. But what’s up with you and Mike? I thought you said he was an okay guy.”
I’m embarrassed just thinking about the other night and my striptease for Mike. I tell Reggie what happened and she’s practically bursting with laughter by the time I’m done. “For God’s sake, girl, what would you expect him to think? What guy could refuse boobs shoved up in his face like that? And you doing a striptease,” she goes off into more peals of laughter.
“Well, I’m not quite sure how to take that,” I say, trying to sound hurt, but I can’t help grinning a little. It was pretty out of character for me. Then I show her my gorgeous bouquet and try to explain how Mike acted when I said “Reggie” was coming over and he thought I had a date.
“Well, I’d say he’s definitely interested. A guy doesn’t buy flowers like that just to say sorry to his neighbor,” she says. “C’mon, let’s get going and then we can talk some more. Did you call Uber for a car?” “I did,” I say. “I’m glad you’re going with me. I hate doing this myself. I know, I know,” I say in answer to her sigh. “We have to split up when we get there so we’re more approachable.” Reggie assures me that we’ll be fine and we go outside.
Now, a few hours later, we’re silly and feeling no pain after several drinks at the bar. The crowd turned out to be a little older, lots of business guys and women, pretty normal. Except, of course, for the one guy who talks to me.
On the way home, Reggie gets the giggles and even the Uber driver is smiling because it’s hard not to laugh when she starts. Her blond hair is coming out of it’s messy bun and her mascara might be just a little smeared from wiping the tears out of her eyes so many times. “That guy,” she keeps repeating. “That guy was just too much!”
I don’t know why I seem to attract these people. At first glance Brett had seemed the perfect choice. I’d seen him from across the room and given him my look and it got his attention right away. He had that blond, sun streaked surfer look, wide shoulders and beautiful blue eyes. He smiled and sauntered over to my end of the bar.
We started with the normal stuff, you know, hi, I’m Jamie, hey, Jamie, I’m Brett. I told him I was a writer, he told me how he picked up road kill raccoons from the side of the road and used them to make coonskin hats to sell, hand to God! I really didn’t even know what to say to that. And, big surprise, he lived in a camper in his sister’s driveway when he wasn’t traveling around looking, I assume, for more road kill. Then he called me boo. He wanted to know if I wanted to hang with him. In his RV. You know, when he wasn’t sewing dead raccoons into hats. And I actually ended up buying him a drink, because the raccoon business apparently wasn’t booming.
I clutch Reggie’s arm suddenly. “I know,” I cry. “Let’s go see if Mike is working at the golf club bar.” I smile triumphantly. “Nah, Jamie,” I don’t think that’s such a great idea,” Reggie says. “Aww, c’mon, Reg, it’ll be fun, we can see him and all. It’ll cheer me up!” “Oh, boy,” says my snarky friend, rolling her eyes, “that does sound fun, seeing him and all. I don’t think now’s such a good time to talk to him when you’re just a little bit trashed.”
“Okay,” I say brightly, “I’ll text him then, just to see if he misses me.” Reggie snatches my phone out of my hand and luckily we pull up in front of my building before I smack her to get my phone back. “What the hell, Reg?” I yelp. “Give it back.” “In a minute,” she says. “Let’s go inside and make some coffee.” “Okay,” I say, “Do you want to stay over so you don’t have to drive home?” While she thinks about it, I unlock my door and we go in to make coffee. And I snatch my phone back and before she can stop me I send Mike a text, “Are you working? Do you miss me?”
~ Diane D.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
One of my favorite authors, Cindy Gerard, is a master of the sexy, action-packed alpha male novel and she proves it again with her new book, releasing today! Former special ops turned government contractor, Bobby Taggart meets a beautiful Israeli while on assignment in Kabul. He knows she’s working hard to get his attention but he can’t figure out what her end game is. And soon it doesn’t matter as he finds himself falling hard for the sexiest woman he’s ever met.
But when Talia Levine uses him to lead her elite organization to find and kill a man that the Americans wanted alive for questioning, Bobby can’t believe he’s been played. And when he gets back to the hotel room where they’d had some extremely hot nights, there’s no trace of her.
Fast forward six years to when Talia and Bobby meet up by chance right before the embassy in Oman that they’re in is bombed. Forced together to help each other escape, Bobby soon finds that Talia’s young son was kidnapped and the bombing was targeting her in retaliation for the assassination her organization committed six years earlier. She is nearly hysterical when her son’s bodyguard is found murdered and she knows who’s taken her son. Bobby is still furious with her for what happened years ago when she put a tracker in his phone, but he sympathizes with her fear for her son — a son that is just about the right age to be his…
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was one of my favorites of the Christmas series that I’ve read so far. Chloe O’Connor and her twin sister Cat were introduced in a previous book, but this one works fine as a standalone.
Chloe is a well-known soap opera star, a diva who made a lot of people’s lives difficult, so the rest of the cast don’t really mind too much when her character is killed off. But Chloe hates it because her soap opera character is her life, her identity. So she’s licking her wounds by the time she returns home to Christmas, Colorado where her mother insists she make an appearance at her sister’s engagement party. She’s especially overwrought about seeing Easton McBride, the former high school football player she had a crush on back in school the whole while she was a chubby, bespectacled duckling who turned into a gorgeous swan her senior year. But she played a dangerous jealous prank on Easton, pretending to be Cat, after he dated her self-confident cheerleader twin, pretty much ending all hope of her and Easton remaining friends.
Easton is working in security after injuring his leg badly while serving in the Middle East and he doesn’t want anyone’s pity, particularly haughty Chloe O’Connor’s. It’s easy to dislike someone like Chloe, but in this book we see glimpses of a sweet and generous girl she really is, one who never felt good enough growing up. She had heart problems as a small child and suffers from severe panic attacks because of it. But no one’s ever figured that out before Easton, preferring to think our little diva is just a huge drama queen.
The sparks really start to fly when Easton decides to teach Chloe a lesson for acting the way she did in high school and his little prank backfires completely on him when he starts seeing her as the sweet girl he played chess with back in high school and falling in love. But what chance do Easton and Chloe have at a relationship when her life is in L. A. and the acting world and his is firmly entrenched in Christmas? It’s a cute book that had me rooting for the seemingly spoiled little diva!
I received this as an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.