~☆Review & Excerpt☆~ You Had Me At Cowboy by Jennie Marts

TourGraphic_YouHadMeAtCowboy

This cowboy is falling hard.

Mason James is the responsible one who stayed behind to run the ranch while his brother, Rock, took off to play professional hockey. Women have used him before to get to his brother—and Mason intends never to get burned again. But after he meets quirky Tessa Kane at his brother’s wedding, Mason discovers he’s ready to take a chance on love.

Tessa Kane is a reporter on the verge of losing a job she desperately needs—unless she’s clever enough to snag a story on the famous Rockford James. But when she falls for her subject’s brother, she’s caught between a rock and a hard-muscled cowboy. What will happen when Mason finds out who she really is?

Cover_YouHadMeAtCowboy

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Author Bio:

Jennie Marts is the USA Today bestselling author of award-winning books filled with love, laughter, and always a happily ever after. She is living her own happily ever after with her husband, two dogs, and a parakeet that loves to tweet to the oldies, in the mountains of Colorado.

 

✫★REVIEW★✫

 

Jennie Marts’s latest, You Had Me At Cowboy, hooked me from the first page of this fun book.  Tess and Mason’s meet cute is perfect for these characters.  Tess’s grandmother was a hoot and a fun addition to the cast of characters.  Marts’s trademark humor shines through this novel.  I always enjoy a good cowboy and Mason is on my favorites list.

 

✫★EXCERPT★✫

The first kiss Do-over

“Looks like your ‘new friend’ has arrived,” Vivi said, a note of amusement in her tone.

Mason ignored his mom, too busy trying to quell the flurry of sensations that had just taken off in his gut. He pushed out the front door, pausing on the porch to steady himself as she parked her car next to his pickup. His border collie, Theo, raced up to greet her as she stepped from the car.

Tess had on a simple tank top and shorts, but her hair was loose and curled around her shoulders, and when she pulled off her sunglasses and smiled up at him, she took his danged breath away.

He sauntered down the porch steps, trying to act casual since he knew full well that his mother and brother would have their faces plastered to the kitchen window.

A grin broke out on his face as he approached her. Forget the food at the barbecue. Tessa Kane looked good enough to eat.

She took a step forward, and without thinking, he grabbed her hand and pulled her toward the barn. “Come on, I want to show you something,” he mumbled.

“What is it?” she asked as they stepped into the cool shadow of the barn.

He turned to face her, suddenly feeling awkward and shy. “Nothing. My family was just watching us, and it felt weird saying hello to you while they stared at us through the window.”

She smiled. “Understandable.”

He rubbed his hand along the back of his neck. “And also, I’ve had something that’s been bugging me all night, and I thought if I could take care of it right off the bat, we’d just get it out of the way and it wouldn’t be between us all afternoon.”

“Oh…kay. This sounds serious. What is it?”

“It’s about that kiss I gave you…”

Her eyes widened, then she shook her head as she stared at the ground next to his boots. “Oh yeah, that. Of course. You were probably worried that I would get the wrong idea. Or that I would think this was more than just a casual date. I know you just asked me to help with the busybodies, and that I’m just a stand-in. I get it.”

What the hell was she talking about?

“No. It’s not anything like that.” He lifted her chin, tipping her face up to his. “I just feel like maybe it wasn’t my best work.”

A grin tugged at the corners of her lips. “Oh.”

“I think if I had another chance, I could do better. You know, make it a little more memorable.”

She shrugged, looking up at him through her lashes. Her voice was soft, barely above a whisper. “I thought it was nice.”

“Darlin’, I never want a woman to think a kiss I gave her was ‘nice.’”

A sly grin crossed her face, and she pushed her shoulders back and took a step closer. “In that case, I think you’re right.” She lifted her hands and rested them on his chest. “You’d better try again.”

He swallowed, the heat of her hands warming his chest.

She scrunched the folds of his shirt into her fists. “I’m ready when you are.” Her voice lowered, taking on a breathy tone. “But if you’re going for memorable, you’d better make it a good one.”

Holy shit. Flashes of heat darted down Mason’s spine. And through his groin.

He loved the way she looked shy one moment, then her eyes flashed with the spark of a dare the next. He couldn’t figure this woman out, but he liked her.

There was more to Tessa Kane than he’d imagined, and it would seem that she’d just thrown down a challenge. And he was up for it. If the tightening in his jeans were any indication, apparently in more ways than one.

He pulled back slightly, just enough to gaze down into her face. A light glaze of shimmery gloss coated her lips, and her cheeks were pink with color. She stared up at him, her expression holding a mixture of fear and anticipation.

He knew the feeling.

Then she pulled her bottom lip just slightly under her front teeth, and he didn’t know anything—except that he wanted that pretty, pink mouth.

Keeping one arm around her waist, he reached up with the other and slid his hand along her slender neck, feeling her pulse race under his thumb. He held her gaze, his eyes not leaving hers as he cupped her cheek in his palm.

Her lips parted, anticipating his kiss, and his own pulse galloped through his veins.

“Comin’ in hot,” he warned as he tilted her face the slimmest degree, then leaned in and lightly grazed her lips with his.

She tasted like spearmint and vanilla and something else—something that made him feel the same way he did on a warm summer night when the air was perfect, the stars were out, and the sweetest peace would settle in his soul.

A quiet sound escaped her lips, a cross between a moan and a sigh, as he pressed another soft kiss against her lips.

And it was about the sexiest sound he’d ever heard.

Her hands tightened the grip she had on his shirt, and he couldn’t hold back a grin.

“You said to make it good,” he murmured against her lips.

“Is that all you got?” she whispered back, her voice husky and breathless.

Aw hell. Now all bets were off.

***

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~☆Review & Excerpt☆~ Fighting For What’s His by Laura Kaye

 

What has a sexy, bad-ass veteran hero…
A feisty and independent heroine who won’t hesitate to stand up for herself…
A forbidden, best friend’s younger sister conflict…
And a forced-proximity roommates-to-lovers situation that creates all kinds of sexual tension?

FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS—the second standalone title in New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye’s Warrior Fight Club series! FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS is now available! Grab your copy and join the Warrior Fight Club world today!

 

About FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS (Warrior Fight Club #2, 9/7/18):

This fight club has one rule: you must be a veteran…

Resisting her only makes him want her more…

Private investigator Billy Parrish is good at three things—fighting, investigating, and sex. MMA training with the other vets in the Warrior Fight Club keeps his war-borne demons at bay—mostly, and one night stands ensure no one gets too close. But then his best friend from the Army Rangers calls in a favor.

Shayna Curtis is new to town, fresh out of grad school, and full of hope for the future. With a new job starting in a month, she’s grateful when her brother arranges a place for her to stay while she apartment hunts. But she never expected her roommate to be so brooding. Or so sexy.

Billy can’t wait for Shay to leave—because the longer she’s there, the more he wants her in his bed. To stay. He can’t have her—that much he knows. But when fight club stops taking off the edge, Billy lets down his guard…and starts fighting for what’s his.

 

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✫★REVIEW★✫

Fighting for What’s His is the latest in Laura Kaye’s Warrior Fight Club series.  Billy Parrish still struggles with the demons that accompany being one of a few survivors of an ambush.  When his best friend’s little sister Shayna Curtis moves into his spare bedroom while she finds her footing in DC, Billy can’t help but fall under her spell.  This book is everything we’ve come to expect from Kaye’s writing.  Both Shayna and Billy are dealing with a lot of guilt and Kaye doesn’t pull her punches, but still gives the emotion its due.  I fell hard for Billy.

 

And grab Book 1, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING, right now!

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“The always amazing Kaye is kicking off a terrific new contemporary romance series that centers around a wounded warrior’s fight club. Kaye does a beautiful job exploring the fallout from war and PTSD as various characters struggle to cope in their own ways. The love story between Noah Cortez and his childhood friend Kristina Moore is both compelling and touching, for the obstacles in their way loom large. A truly memorable read!” ~ RT Book Reviews

 

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Laura Kaye’s FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:

September 8th

Adventures in Writing – Excerpt

Becky on Books – Review & Excerpt

Bookishly Romantic – Review & Excerpt

Elenasbookblog – Excerpt

Kimhe’s Rockin Chicks in the Books Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Melena’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

ROMANCE AS A FIRST LANGUAGE – Review & Excerpt

September 9th

Always a happy ever after – Review

Book Angel Booktopia – Review & Excerpt

Catty Jane Book Lovers – Review & Excerpt

Ecstatic yet Chaotic – Review

For The Love of Fictional Worlds – Review & Excerpt

I Love Romance – Review & Excerpt

Kari’s Book Reviews and Revelations – Review & Excerpt

September 10th

Angel Reads – Review

Bookgasms Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Books According to Abby – Review & Excerpt

Carol Kittie Reviews – Review & Excerpt

East Coast Book Chicks – Review & Excerpt

JordansBookReviews – Excerpt

the bookworms obsession – Review

September 11th

A Fortress of Books – Review

Alphas Do It Better Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

bad boys and bedtime stories book blog – Review

Evermore Books – Review & Excerpt

Lit. 4 Ladies – Review & Excerpt

Nalla Reads – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Readers – Review

September 12th

Book Freak – Review

Feeling Fictional – Review & Excerpt

Kay Daniels Romance – Review & Excerpt

Obsessive Reading Disorder – Review & Excerpt

Red Hot + Blue Reads – Review & Excerpt

September 13th

A crazy vermonters book reviews – Review

Bookwormqueen92 – Review

Ebook Indulgence – Review & Excerpt

Les Chroniques Aléatoires – Review & Excerpt

Same Book, Different Review – Review

The Reading Cafe – Review & Excerpt

The Book Boyfriend Addict – Review & Excerpt

September 14th

All Things Dark & Dirty – Review & Excerpt

My Girlfriends Couch – Excerpt

Novel Addiction – Review

Reading Between the Wines Book Club – Excerpt

Reads All the Books – Review & Excerpt

Stephanie’s Book Reports – Review & Excerpt

September 15th

Abibliophobia anonymous book reviews – Review

Bookishly Yours – Review

Canadian Book Addict – Review & Excerpt

Deluged with Books Cafe – Review & Excerpt

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Lynn’s Romance Enthusiasm – Review & Excerpt

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September 16th

Brittany’s Book Blog – Review

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I Love Books – Excerpt

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Love Notes Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Ripe For Reader – Review & Excerpt

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September 17th

A small girl, her man and her books – Review & Excerpt

Book Nook Nuts – Review & Excerpt

Books 2 Blog – Review & Excerpt

Ramblings From This Chick – Excerpt

Sip Read Love – Review

Two Books in a Shelf – Review & Excerpt

Vivi’s Messy Kitchen – Review

September 18th

Angie and Jessica’s Dreamy Reads – Review

Bobo’s Book Bank – Review & Excerpt

Love Drug Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Romancing the Dispatcher – Review

The Fairest of All Book Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Whispers from the mountains – Review & Excerpt

Wicked Babes Blog Reviews – Review & Excerpt

September 19th

Bookaliciousbabes blog – Review & Excerpt

MSquared Book Blog – Review & Excerpt

Only One More Page – Review

Reese’s Reviews – Review & Excerpt

Romance Reviews and More – Review & Excerpt

Spoons, Hooks, and Books – Review & Excerpt

The Book Dutchesses – Review & Excerpt

 

About Laura Kaye:

Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

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~☆Review☆~: Deadly Games by Karen Rock

Deadly Games
Karen Rock
(Dallas After Dark)
Publication date: July 17th 2018
Genres: Adult, Romance, Suspense

ONE NIGHT ONLY

Special Agent Katherine Bowden doesn’t do girls’ nights out. She doesn’t do blazing hot dances with male strippers or unbelievable, uninhibited one-night-stands. If you ask her ex, all she does is work: study evidence, profile criminals, track them down. And now Katherine’s back home in Dallas, with a new set of all-male colleagues second-guessing her every move, and a possible serial killer hunting women just like her. But just this once, Katherine is going to try all those things she doesn’t do . . .

Growing up on the Reservation led Nash Hawkins down paths he’d rather forget. When his dream of joining the police force was crushed, he turned his hard body and wicked imagination into a meal ticket. His chemistry with Katherine is like nothing he’s ever felt. And though he’s sure a woman like her won’t want to get seriously involved with him, Nash knows things—things that might help catch a killer.

Nash and Katherine can save lives, if they put aside the desire that torments them both. But the closer they get, the more they have to lose . . .

“A highly entertaining and cohesive suspense novel with an emotionally satisfying romance that will keep readers glued to the page.”

RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars on Dangerous Moves

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Author Bio:

Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet & spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of YA and adult contemporary books writes spicy suspense and small-town romances. A big believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers smiling. Karen is an avid reader and baker who loves having the Adirondack Park as her backyard, where she lives with her husband and daughter who make her life complete.

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REVIEW!

Deadly Games is the second in the Dallas Heat series by Karen Rock.  The first book was Magic Mike meets drug kingpin and the majority of the action was inside the club.  This book take Nash Hawkins – star dancer – outside the club and makes him an integral part of a major FBI serial killer investigation.  His partner, FBI Agent Katherine Bowen, has a personal stake in the case, only she doesn’t realize how personal it really is.  Nash and Katherine make a great team.  It was fun to see Nash come into his own as a detective.  Katherine deserves Nash who trusts her instincts and provides support, but never rescues her.  I really enjoyed Katherine and Nash as a couple.  I hope there are more installments in this series.

 

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~☆Review☆~ All Night With The Cowboy by Soraya Lane

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✫★REVIEW★✫

All Night With the Cowboy combines some of my favorite things:  second chances and beautiful islands (Fiji).  Tanner needs the best help he can find to recover from a devastating injury after his last bull ride.  Lauren is the best sports physical therapist around.  Unfortunately she broke his heart twelve years ago.  Tanner’s road to recovery, and the road to healing both their hearts, goes through Fiji where the island works its magic on everyone.  This second chance romance is a must read.

 

~☆Review & Excerpt☆~ Fighting for Everything by Laura Kaye

 

From New York Times bestselling author Laura Kaye, comes the first standalone title in her brand, new Warrior Fight Club series, FIGHTING FOR EVERYTHING. Join the Warrior Fight Club world today!

 

 

Loving her is the biggest fight of his life…

Home from the Marines, Noah Cortez has a secret he doesn’t want his oldest friend, Kristina Moore, to know. It kills him to push her away, especially when he’s noticing just how sexy and confident she’s become in his absence. But, angry and full of fight, he’s not the same man anymore either. Which is why Warrior Fight Club sounds so good.

Kristina loves teaching, but she wants more out of life. She wants Noah—the boy she’s crushed on and waited for. Except Noah is all man now—in ways both oh so good and troubling, too. Still, she wants who he’s become—every war-hardened inch. And when they finally stop fighting their attraction, it’s everything Kristina never dared hope for.

But Noah is secretly spiraling, and when he lashes out, it threatens what he and Kristina have found. The brotherhood of the fight club helps him confront his demons, but only Noah can convince the woman he loves that he’s finally ready to fight for everything.

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✫★REVIEW★✫

Laura Kaye’s new Warrior Fight Club series begins with a bang in Fighting for Everything.  At times this book is hard to read; it is totally wrenching.  Building on a friends to lovers trope it is really more about figuring out how to love who you are:  warts and all.  It is only when you accept yourself can you accept someone else.  I highly recommend it, but be prepared, the PTSD is strong with this one and cannot be taken lightly.

 

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✫★EXCERPT:  No Good Right Now★✫

“I’m no good right now, Kristina,” Noah said in a low voice.

She shook her head. “That’s not true. You’ve been through something horrible. And you’re still recovering. Still hurting. That’s all understandable—”

“I am fucked in the head. You saw it yourself. Twice,” he said, his voice suddenly loud, bitter. Under her hands, his muscles tensed.

“You are not fucked in the head,” she said, anger and determination gathering deep in her belly. Not anger at Noah, but irrational anger for him. She hated that things had happened to him that left him feeling this way. So out of control, so sad, so unlike himself. “Sure, you have things you’re dealing with. And you will get a handle on them—”

“No,” he said, shaking her off and pacing in the narrow space behind the door. “You don’t understand. I’m…” Noah’s hands squeezed into fists at his sides. “…so goddamned angry. All the time. It feels like I could tear the world to pieces. And I want to.” He whirled on her. “Because the perfection of everything around me makes me feel so much more wrecked inside that I can barely breathe.”

 Oh, God.

Tears pricked at the backs of her eyes, but she wouldn’t let them fall. She wouldn’t let herself fall apart. Not now. Not in front of him. Not when Noah needed to lean on her so damn badly. “The world around you is not perfect, Noah. It’s an illusion. And you are not wrecked—”

“I am.” He got right up in her face.

Kristina held her ground. “You’re not—”

“I am!”

“Noah—”

He grabbed her by the arms, not so much that it hurt, but with enough force that it surprised her. “Here’s your proof. I want to fuck you, Kristina. I want to bury myself in you and stay there forever. Just lose myself in you until I don’t know who I am anymore. I’ve been fantasizing about it, dreaming about it, imagining it. Having you is all I can fucking think about. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

Noah’s words unleashed a flash fire in Kristina’s blood. Her heart tripped into a sprint. Her breathing shallowed out. Heat roared across her skin. One heartbeat. Two. And Kristina knew what she had to do.

Acting on instinct, she pulled out of Noah’s grip and stepped backward. Away from his confession. Away from him.

 

 

And don’t miss the second standalone romance in the Warrior Fight Club series coming August 7, 2018, FIGHTING FOR WHAT’S HIS

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Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in contemporary and erotic romance and romantic suspense, including the Blasphemy, Hard Ink, and Raven Riders series. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. Laura also writes historical fiction as the NYT bestselling author, Laura Kamoie. She lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

 

 

 

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~☆Review & Excerpt☆~ Hooked on You by Kate Meader

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Book details

The Chicago Rebels series, Book 4

The eBook is on sale May 7, 2018!

The mass market is on sale May 29, 2018!

Mass Market Paperback • Price: $9.99 • ISBN: 9781501168574

eBook • Price: $5.99 • ISBN: 9781501180903

Hooked On You, book cover

Book description

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

✫★REVIEW★✫

Calling all fans of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and their Cinderella journey to the Stanley Cup Finals…  Kate Meader’s last installment in the Chicago Rebels series, Hooked on You should be your next read.  Filled with heart, an underdog hockey team run by women that no one took seriously, and the perfect team of misfits, this book has it all; there is even a cameo by a reader favorite couple from the Fighting Dempsey’s.  I have loved this series from the beginning and reading it during Finals was absolutely perfect.

 

Kate Meader, author photo

About the author

Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at KateMeader.com.

Bren-1

✫★EXERPT★✫

She blew out a breath that was half growl, picked up a can of Italian wedding soup, and examined the ingredient list like she was studying for a test. Why wasn’t she taking this opportunity to get under his skin using those taunts that tripped off her tongue like sensual ninja knives?

“Have I offended you in some way, Violet?”

Keeping her chin dipped, she shook her head, but it was a shake of disbelief, not of disagreement with his question.

“Violet, look at me.”

Glittering eyes snapped to his, in them a flash of something—a visceral response to his demand—but it was gone so quickly that even the rewind called him a liar.

“Has something happened?”

“Look, St. James, you and I have never meshed, so we don’t need to pretend to get along. We just ran into each other at the store and you ‘saved’ me from the unseemly interest of a fellow shopper. ¡Maravilloso! ¡Gracias! Now you can take your steel buns and your sexy scowl off in the opposite direction.”

Color flagged her cheeks, making her olive skin glow. She was furious, and he still didn’t know why. He was also furious, and he had a better idea of the reason.

She’d changed the social contract. They’d been moseying along with her teasing and taunting and flirting, and him acting like it was the worst thing ever to happen to him. Like Violet’s attention was a fresh slice of hell, because in a way it was. She reminded him of everything he couldn’t have. She reminded him of the man he used to be. His body came alive around her, and alive was dangerous. Alive was the opposite of numb, and numb was his best defense against the demons whispering in his ear.

One drink won’t hurt. Thirst like yours can’t be quenched with anything but whiskey.

If he allowed himself to want her, it was a slippery slope to succumbing to the demons at the door. Of course he couldn’t tell her this, so instead he latched on to her words.

“Steel buns?” There was also “sexy scowl,” but he figured he’d start with the ass stuff.

She rolled her eyes, then coasted those same eyes down his body, half hidden by the grocery cart. “As if you don’t know.”

“That I have an ass you could bounce a puck off of?” He twisted to check himself out. “S’pose I do, lass.”

She burst out laughing and muttered something in Spanish.

“What’s that?”

“Not for your ears, Scot.”

One day she’d tell him. One day, he’d get it out of her, preferably while her body arched into his and his body drove into hers.

 

~☆Review☆~ Beauty and the Beefcake by Pippa Grant

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☆¸.•*¨*★☆Synopsis☆★*¨*•.¸☆

She’s my sun and moon.
My stars, my air, my sunshine.
She’s every heartbeat.

There are two kinds of women in the world – those I can bang, and those I can’t.

My teammate’s sister?

She’s a can’t.

I moved in with her to protect her from a nasty ex, not to be the next guy in line.

She’s the brains.

I’m the brawn.

She’s the fruit.

I’m the sausage.

She talks too much.

I don’t talk at all, if I don’t have to.

Should be easy to resist her.

But every minute I spend with Felicity is another minute she gets under my skin. She makes me feel like something more than a dumb puckhead with a big Zamboni pony. And it’s getting harder to remember why I need to keep my hands to myself.

Beauty and the Beefcake is a vegan-friendly standalone romantic comedy featuring a hockey player whose vocabulary is the only thing smaller than a hockey puck, a book smart but aimless ventriloquist with too many voices in her head, a dilapidated old house that may or may not be haunted, and no cheating or cliffhangers.

Available now on Kindle Unlimited!

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B&B1

☆¸.•*¨*★☆Review☆★*¨*•.¸☆

Your honor, I’d like to enter into evidence exhibit one, The Beauty and The Beefcake by Pippa Grant on why you should never underestimate the romance genre, why people should stop referring to it as “mommy porn”, and why people (women especially) should stop being embarrassed to read it.

Yes, The Beauty and The Beefcake has all the requisite requirements of a romantic comedy – humor, shenanigans, and of course, sexy times. But Ms. Grant’s ability to weave words into an entertaining and enjoyable story is not what sets her apart from other contemporary romance authors. No, it’s Ms. Grant’s ability to insidiously insert an underlying message about the human condition, social norms, and acceptance into an otherwise fluffy, feel-good story that truly makes this novel stand out.

On the surface TB2 reads like any other book in the genre – silly, steamy, and full of as-expected tropes – but it’s so much more. She took a silent, brooding secondary character and turned him into a hero with depth and emotion and managed to do it while giving him only 176 lines of dialogue. Additionally, the heroine of this story is not at all whom I expected her to be when she was introduced in the previous novel, Royally Pucked. Ms. Grant served up the expected on a silver platter, but when the cloche was removed we instead find the surprising and the unexpected.

Let’s move past the characters because as likeable as they and their story are, it’s the underlying theme of this seemingly irreverent romantic comedy that I want to explore. That of acceptance; of looking beneath the surface; of not judging the book (or the beefcake) by the cover. Perhaps that wasn’t Ms. Grant’s intentions. Perhaps she meant to write a regular romance about regular characters, but she failed. She gave us human, hurting, flawed characters searching for someone, anyone, to see who they truly are (no, I did not intend to evoke Moana, but it works so I left it). To see past the brawn or the brains, or the weirdness and awkwardness, to understand that they are so much more than what society sees and disregards because they aren’t “normal”. 

And THAT your honor, is why I loved this story. THAT is why I couldn’t put it down and read it straight through at eleven o’clock at night. Because I’ve been the awkward one, the weird one, the one who talks too much or doesn’t talk enough, the one who has been underestimated or condescended to because of how people perceived me without taking the opportunity to really know me. 

So please, don’t let the cover or the title of this book fool you. It’s not your ordinary, run-of-the-mill romance.