Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Review: Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson #8) by Darynda Jones

With twelve hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale. Fortunately, a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums.

Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders. They have the entire team on edge, especially Reyes. And if Charley didn’t know better, she would swear Reyes is getting sick. He grows hotter with every moment that passes, his heat scorching across her skin every time he’s near, but naturally he swears he’s fine.

While the team searches for clues on the Twelve, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….

Charley’s back and bigger than ever, literally. She’s about ready to give birth to a baby who could very well change the world as everyone knows it. But first, she and Reyes have been holed up in an old convent for months, trying to escape the ever present hellhounds who are surrounding the grounds just waiting for their chance to get at Charley.

There are, as always, many different storylines all taking place at once. We have Charley’s pregnancy nearing an end. Reyes is becoming very weak and secretive (shocker) and Charley’s determined to figure that mystery out. Charley’s step-mom is around a lot and is part of a big reveal that took me by surprise. We get a wedding, which is fun and really the only light hearted moment in the book. And let’s not forget the big bad, the devil himself, is a major threat here and some things come to head with this guy.

It’s always a fun time with Charley. She has a new case to solve which she somehow does amidst all the craziness that’s going on around her. She learns a little bit more about her abilities and what she’s capable of (pretty much any and everything). While the faceoff with Reyes’ father is a major deal here, the really big story is the baby. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that we actually get a birth, yay! Charley is nearly through her pregnancy when the book starts and frankly, had the baby not been born I’d have been peeved. But we get the birth and we get much more understanding about this little baby, all the bad guys, one specifically, who want to get their hands on her and one incredibly tough decision that changes Charley’s life forever.

To be honest, the ending…I really don’t know what to think about it. I suppose you could call the ending a game changer. Charley makes a decision that rocks her world and I don’t know if I like it. Of course Darynda Jones didn’t call me up to ask my opinion, so there is that, but still weeks after finishing the book, there’s something that just doesn’t sit right with me with this ending. I have faith that Jones will make this all work out, but in a way I feel like we might get shortchanged with some things that could have happened in the future. Vague, much? I know, sorry, but it’s just too pivotal and big to spoil. I’ll just leave it as, the book ends with everything flipped upside down and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m both disappointed in one sense, but interested to see where Jones is going with this. So in that respect, well done Darynda, I’ll be coming back for #9.

Rating: B

Release Date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Darynda Jones: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*ARC provided by publisher for review* 


Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: The Duke and the Lady In Red (Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place #3) by Lorraine Heath

Sparks fly in the finale of the Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James Place series, as the last wicked rogue meets his match.

When Rosalind Sharpe gains the attention of the deliciously wicked Duke of Avendale, she’s torn between her distracting attraction to the notorious rogue and the knowledge that he—rich as Croesus—is the perfect target for a deception that will put her swindling days behind her.

However, Avendale is no fool. After he discovers the tantalizing lady packing up to leave London with his coins in tow, he confronts her with a scandalous proposition: she can have all the money she requires…for a week in his bed.

Desperate for the funds, Rose agrees, but on one condition: he must never question her motives. Avendale quickly sees beneath her mask and discovers she is more than passion and pleasure—she is everything he has ever desired. But claiming her requires he unveil her secrets and lose her forever. Unless he can put his own dark past aside and risk everything for a chance at love.

The Scandalous Gentlemen of St. James was a series that I’ve let sit in my TBR pile for months. And months. I stared at books 1 and 2, started to pick them up but always found a reason to just never give page 1 a go. And then I received book 3 in the series, The Duke and the Lady in Red, the blurb sounded really interesting but I always prefer to read a series in order if possible, so finally, I picked up When the Duke Was Wicked. And immediately wondered why in the world I waited so long to read this series. Lorraine Heath has never let me down before, I’ve enjoyed all of her books, so I shouldn’t have been surprised by these characters she brought to life on page and how each book was unique in the difficulties the hero or heroine (or sometimes both) had to face. This isn’t a light and fluffy series. There are fun moments, many that made me smile, but the stories are rich and deep. The books, especially the last book of this trio, is sad and heartbreaking. Yet through all three books which I read back to back to back, the characters and their stories are hard to forget.

This review will be for The Duke and the Lady in Red, but having read the series in order, I’d urge you to do the same. No you certainly don’t need to, the books read fine as standalones. And in fact, the hero of book 3, Avendale, is in and out of the first two books rather quickly and the heroine, Rosalind, isn’t introduced at all, so it’s not necessary to read the books in order. But if you don’t, you’ll miss the overall theme and tone that Heath has given this series – characters who are going through painful, sometimes ugly ordeals that aren’t easily accepted in society; most not accepted at all. These characters are dealing with breast cancer, losing loved ones, surviving rape, the topics are heavy, but the stories and characters are so memorable and watching their lives unfold on page and for the heroes and heroines, finding love, was such a satisfying ride. With The Duke and the Lady In Red, we meet Rose, a swindling woman who has her sights set on Avendale, a man with more money than he knows what to do with. He’s a darker hero, with a past that has kept him unsettled for years, he wants nor desires to have any attachments in his life, including a wife. But after seeing Rose, he wants her however he can have her. After quickly uncovering Rose’s plot to free him of some of his funds, he strikes a deal with her: he’ll give her the money if she’ll spend one week with him. She accepts and their relationship takes a turn to the bedroom before turning into so much more than either Avendale or Rose ever expected.

This is really Rose’s story to tell. Yes, she’s a swindler, stealing from wealthy men to help support her unique family. I don’t want to spoil anything related to one of the main supporting characters. But will leave it as this: Harry, the man who Rose will do anything for, has such an amazing impact on this story. From his own personal hell, to the people he meets and especially for Avendale, he impacts so many people and left this reader in tears.

So you have Rose who has lived her life full of lies, and as a result, never really living it at all. And Avendale who’s held everyone, his family included, at arms-length, with a different woman in his bed until he grows tired of them and moves on. He’s never thought about wanting a family, never wanted or had someone to care about or care for him. He gets a taste of that with Rose and he’s addicted. He feels something for her that he’s never felt before and it changes him. To see this man’s heart come out on page in the things that he does, both for Rose and the people in her life, it made me love this hero a little bit more with every page that went by. Their romance is incredibly sexy (mmmhmmm) but it’s their relationship that caught and kept my attention. It’s so easy to just feel for these two characters, I really couldn’t wait to see them find their way together in the end.

I loved everything about this story. It was engaging and kept me hooked in from the start. Avendale and Rose, especially Rose, are such interesting characters with so many layers. It took pages and pages to start to peel all those layers back before they finally lay themselves bare to each other. But it’s worth the wait. While Rose and Avendale are the driving force of this story, the heart is Harry. He’ll steal yours just as he did with mine. The Duke and the Lady in Red is a huge must read book, and it’s one that I’ll be thinking about for quite some time.

Rating: A

Release Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Avon
Lorraine Heath: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*ARC provided by publisher for review* 


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Review: Deep (Stage Dive #4) by Kylie Scott

Don't miss a beat with the fourth and final novel in the USA Today bestselling Stage Dive series from Kylie Scott.

Positive. With two little lines on a pregnancy test, everything in Lizzy Rollins' ordinary life is about to change forever. And all because of one big mistake in Vegas with Ben Nicholson, the irresistibly sexy bass player for Stage Dive. So what if Ben's the only man she's ever met who can make her feel completely safe, cherished, and out of control with desire at the same time? Lizzy knows the gorgeous rock star isn't looking for anything more permanent than a good time, no matter how much she wishes differently.

Ben knows Lizzy is off limits. Completely and utterly. She's his best friend's little sister now, and no matter how hot the chemistry is between them, no matter how sweet and sexy she is, he's not going to go there. But when Ben is forced to keep the one girl he's always had a weakness for out of trouble in Sin City, he quickly learns that what happens in Vegas, doesn't always stay there. Now he and Lizzie are connected in the deepest way possible...but will it lead to a connection of the heart?

This is the first book I’ve read in this series and I didn’t realize until after I finished that it’s actually the last book in the series. So coming at Deep from a stand alone perspective, I thought it held up nicely. Sure, I can see where having some buildup to Liz and Ben’s story from the previous books might have made their story a little more intense. But, as a stand alone, I really enjoyed Deep.

Through a flashback, we go back to the night of Liz’s sister’s wedding in Vegas. Liz has wanted Ben for awhile, but he’s only ever kept her in the friend zone, even worse, they’ve only been in the texting friend zone. But their texts are really sweet and their relationship builds from there. But finally in Vegas, the attraction is too much and they have sex. And one faulty condom later, we also have a baby in the oven. Now Ben and Liz need to figure out not only what they’re going to do for each of their own futures, but now for their baby’s future as well. Liz wants it all, a relationship with Ben and to be a family. Ben…has some growing up to do.

I’ll admit, when I first found out that Ben was 29 years old to Liz’s 21, I thought, ugh, no. But Liz surprised me in a very good way. She’s mature, sure she has her crazy moments, mostly with the crazy thoughts in her head which had me laughing out loud, but from the start she’s willing to do anything to take care of the baby she affectionately calls Bean. It’s Ben who has to make the biggest changes to his life. He’s perfectly happy having no roots, no strings and likes to be able to pick up and go play a gig anywhere and at any time. Oh and party, this guy loves to party and drink. No one, his bandmates or friends, think he’s the long term-relationship guy, but he’s never had a reason to change his behavior before and initially, he doesn’t let Liz and the baby slow him down. Being around Liz more often now that she’s going on tour with the band and her sister, has Ben slowly opening his eyes to the woman in front of him and what his future could be.

Liz was a delight to get to know. She’s young, but I never felt like she came across as immature. She has some great inner dialogue, she’s doing the best she can after finding herself in a very unexpected position, and she was a fun character to get to know. Ben, he frustrated me a little bit at the beginning. He didn’t want to commit to Liz, didn’t want to do anything but what he had been doing for years, but of course that all has to change. I did like getting to know and seeing him realize what was now important in his life and try to prove it to Liz and Bean but for me, this was Liz’s story, she stole the show.

The sexy times were hot and fun. They didn’t overpower the book, but dang, Ben and his beard were hot on page. We are graced with the presence of Ben’s sister – I hated her. But oddly enough, I wanted to see more of her. Why is she the way she is? Will she get a happy ending at some point? And maybe her storyline was told more in the previous books, but in Deep, she’s just a plain old bitch and I wanted to know more.

Deep was a fun, sexy read centered around Ben’s rock band and Liz, the woman who loves him. This was my first Kylie Scott book and I liked her voice on page very much. The dialogue and interaction between the characters was fun and snappy and had a great flow. I won’t hesitate to go back and read the rest of series, only this time in order!

Rating: B

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Kylie Scott: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: Silver Bastard (Silver Valley #1) by Joanna Wylde

First in the new Silver Valley series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Reapers Motorcycle Club Novels

Fourteen months. For fourteen months, Puck Redhouse sat in a cell and kept his mouth shut, protecting the Silver Bastards MC from their enemies. Then he was free and it was time for his reward—full membership in the club, along with a party to celebrate. That’s when he saw Becca Jones for the first time and set everything in motion. Before the night ended he’d violated his parole and stolen her away from everything she knew.

Five years. It was five years ago that Puck destroyed Becca and saved her all in one night. She’s been terrified of him ever since, but she’s even more terrified of the monsters he still protects her from... But Becca refuses to let fear control her. She’s living her life and moving forward, until she gets a phone call from the past she can't ignore. She has to go back, and there’s only one man she can trust to go with her—the ex-con biker who rescued her once before.

Puck will help her again, but this time it’ll be on his terms. No more lies, no more tears, and no more holding back what he really wants...

Talk about a lot of action right out of the gate. Puck has served his time and now he’s a free man, now fully a member of the Silver Bastards and they’re throwing him party like only an MC can. At this party he sees Becca, he wants her and he has her. Only after the fact he realizes that she’s a bit younger than he first thought, much much more happens but I won’t spoil the details, but Puck sees Becca’s step-father beating her. He takes her away from the man who made her life a living hell and the deadbeat mom who did nothing to help her. That was 5 years ago. Now Becca is trying to make a life for herself in Callup, Idaho, she’s working fulltime, going to beauty school and she refuses to make the same mistakes her mother made. She hasn’t crossed paths much if at all with Puck since that night 5 years ago, but he’s kept his eye on her and when her past comes slamming back into her life, Puck and his MC brothers are the only ones who can help her.

First off, Puck isn’t a roses and sweetheart kind of a guy. He’s harsh, he’s hard, crude, and makes no apologies about it. Why does it seem like all MC heroes are assholes? Puck certainly is and I had to make a huge effort to look beyond that to the man he is for Becca. This poor girl has had a horrible life. She’s finally in place where she feels like she belongs, she’s surrounded herself with people who genuinely care about her, but she’s never been able to get Puck out of her mind. She knows he and his life are all wrong for her, but with him now back in her life and claiming her as his, she can’t ignore her feelings anymore.

I certainly felt more for Becca than anything else with this story. I wanted this girl to find some happiness. I’m still not sure that Puck is the one to give it to her though. They have a strong, intense relationship with Puck calling all the shots and while I like that he gives her a sense of safety, something she’s never had, I still just found something about him to be off putting. Even with all the sex scenes, which don’t get me wrong, they were steamy, but with Puck it was always about how he was going to claim her, in every way possible, and on and on. It got a little old I guess.

It’s funny, as I was reading Puck and Becca’s story, I really did get caught up in it and I guess it’s easy maybe to fall into the MC world and just accept how the men live and act. But as I started typing out this review, my opinion changed. It goes against everything Puck is, I get that, but I still wanted to see him soften up, just a teeny tiny bit. Which is maybe another way of saying maybe I should put down the MC books for a bit. These heroes are a hard bunch of men to sometimes like and I was never able to warm up to Puck and his personality.

I might not have been a fan of Puck’s, but I really did enjoy getting to know Becca and seeing her struggle and succeed and live the life she’s so desperate to have. I also liked seeing a few familiar faces show up throughout the story, Picnic, London, Painter to name a few. I’ll certainly give the next book in this new Silver Valley series a shot, even though I’ll still be hoping the hero is a bit more likable.

Rating: C+

Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Joanna Wylde: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Review: Rock Hard (Rock Kiss #2) by Nalini Singh

In New York Times Bestselling author Nalini Singh’s newest contemporary romance, passion ignites between a gorgeous, sinfully sexy man who built himself up from nothing and a shy woman who has a terrible secret in her past…

Wealthy businessman Gabriel Bishop rules the boardroom with the same determination and ruthlessness that made him a rock star on the rugby field. He knows what he wants, and he’ll go after it no-holds-barred.

And what he wants is Charlotte Baird.

Charlotte knows she’s a mouse. Emotionally scarred and painfully shy, she just wants to do her job and remain as invisible as possible. But the new CEO—a brilliant, broad-shouldered T-Rex of a man who growls and storms through the office, leaving carnage in his wake—clearly has other plans. Plans that may be equal parts business and bedroom.

If Charlotte intends to survive this battle of wits and hearts, the mouse will have to learn to wrangle the T-Rex. Game on.

This book, the characters, the set up for the story in general, is one that sucks me in, every single time. The heroine, Charlotte, had a bad, traumatic experience in her past that’s left her dealing with panic attacks, anxiety and zero self-confidence. She’s scared and nervous all the time, she rarely stand up for herself, but she’s wicked smart and has a dry sense of humor that she only lets out around people that she lets get close; that basically consists of her one and only best friend. She’s in a job she’s over-qualified for, but she doesn’t have confidence to demand more for herself. The company she’s currently working for is going under and the board has hired a new CEO to right the ship. Gabriel Bishop made a name for himself playing professional rugby, but an injury ended his career and now he’s made a new name for himself as a businessman who can make miracles happen – turning failing businesses around into being profitable again. He’s now heading up the company and his first order of business is cleaning house. When he realizes that the old CEO’s personal assistant was taking credit for the work Charlotte was doing, he promotes Charlotte into the position she should have had all along. She nervous around Gabriel, a man she calls T-Rex behind his back because he chews up anyone in his path. But now that she’s forced to be around him daily, she slowly becomes more comfortable, whether it’s in her job ability, or in just being more comfortable not taking any crap from the demanding Gabriel, she goes from a meek mouse to someone Gabriel can’t stop thinking about.

I’ve read this general setup many times over the past year – rich, powerful businessman falling for his quiet, shy personal assistant. A match that doesn’t make sense at first, but once the history and real personalities of the characters come out, it makes them more believable as a couple. There was something about Charlotte that I connected with right from the start. It was her shy, nervous personality that clicked with me. That’s easier for me to find relatable in a heroine than some over the top, super confident woman. There was a fragileness about Charlotte that was endearing. I just liked her. I liked how she cared about her friends, I liked that she was a straight shooter especially once she became more comfortable around Gabriel. I really liked getting to know her history, the pain she went through and how she started to be more comfortable leaning on Gabriel for support, knowing that she couldn’t deal with her hangups on her own and needed someone to help her along the way.

Ah, Gabriel. I loved this guy. He’s definitely the T-Rex Charlotte calls him in the business world. He loves working, to the point of working too much, he’s demanding and he always goes after and gets what he wants. He knows there’s something about Charlotte that makes her panic and feel generally nervous, so he takes things slow and is determined to have her. We get to see all sides of Gabriel, from his take no prisoners businessman side, to the man who loves his family, to the guy who will do anything to keep Charlotte safe. He’s a great hero to get to know and I loved the hero he was for Charlotte.

I was instantly taken with this story, all because of Gabriel and especially because of Charlotte and it’s my favorite Rock Kiss book so far. Charlotte is so sweet, I loved getting to know her and seeing her relationship with Gabriel come to life on page.

Rating: A-

Release Date: March 10, 2015
Nalini Singh: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by author for review* 


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Review: The Unleashing (Call of Crows #1) by Shelly Laurenston


Kera Watson never expected to face death behind a Los Angeles coffee shop. Not after surviving two tours lugging an M16 around the Middle East. If it wasn’t for her hot Viking customer showing up too late to help, nobody would even see her die.

In uncountable years of service to the Allfather Odin, Ludvig “Vig” Rundstrom has never seen anyone kick ass with quite as much style as Kera. He knows one way to save her life—but she might not like it. Signing up with the Crows will get Kera a new set of battle buddies: cackling, gossiping, squabbling, party-hearty women. With wings. So not the Marines.

But Vig can’t give up on someone as special as Kera. With a storm of oh-crap magic speeding straight for L.A., survival will depend on combining their strengths: Kera’s discipline, Vig’s loyalty… and the Crows’ sheer love of battle. Boy, are they in trouble.

Kera is killed after trying to stop an assault behind the coffee shop where she works. She takes a knife to the chest and can’t quite believe it when she wakes up naked, in a strange room filled with Giants who are trying to kill her. Once that dust settles, she learns that she’s now a Crow, part of a group of women, sister-Crows, who fight for their God, taking on battles when they’re called upon, and living (somewhat) normal lives when they’re not. The Crows, along with other clans “are the human representatives of the Viking Gods on this plane of existence.” And that’s the most simple/basic way to describe who these people are. The group of Crows is made of up all kinds of women, from Hollywood actresses, agents, business-women, a hypochondriac, a mute – you name it, this group has it. There are various other groups in this world, including the Raven’s, the group that Kera’s boyfriend, mate, sex partner – no label really fits him, Vig, belongs to. He helps Kera become familiar with her new life and also provides back up during a battle that gets this series off to a bloody start.

Vig first meets Kera when she’s fully human at the coffee shop she worked at. She’s a former marine and when she first sees Vig come in for coffee, she assumes he’s a former vet as well and judging by the crazy look in his eye, she also assumes he’s a PTSD sufferer and one step away from being committed. Vig is none of that and his friends and family find it hilarious that Kera assumed he was headed to the looney bin. Vig is one of the few people who actually helps Kera try to settle into her new life, and that includes learning to fly, learning to fight with her enhanced strength and learning to deal with her new “team” of Crows, woman who are as far from military/battle type people as Kera has ever known. They know nothing about training! Schedules! Combat planning and missions! Kera and her clipboard become feared among the group and Vig steps in to help ease the transition for Kera with her new crazy sister-crows.

“I [Maeve] can feel the virus moving through me. I need to call my doctor. I need a course of amoxicillin. Or flucloxacillin. Or ticarcillin. Something with a ‘cillin’ attached to the end of it.”

“If you have a virus, an antibiotic will not help you,” Kera explained.

“So you’re a doctor?” Maeve snapped. “You know what I’m dying of?”

“Dying? Two seconds ago you had swollen glands.”

“Swollen glands today. Riddled with cancer tomorrow. Dead by Thursday.”

Kera glanced over at Amsel. “Wow.”

If you’ve read Shelly Laurenston’s books, you have a great idea about the type of characters you’ll get in The Unleashing. Over the top, insane, crazy, hilarious, off the wall – you name it, this book has it. I love the level of complete insanity that Laurenston writes her characters with. Nothing is off limits or too much when it comes to the comments they make, the actions they take. It’s simply: crazy fun.

Kera and Vig are our romantic leads in The Unleashing and to say the book is filled with tender romantic scenes would be a complete lie. That’s one thing I really enjoy about Laurenston’s books, there’s really not “romance” per se. The couples have down and dirty sex, there’s no BS, they like each other, they want to be together and they are, simple as that. No long drawn out ‘should we or shouldn’t we’, no relationship drama, it’s refreshing in a way. And it’s necessary here as the world building took up so much of my mental power just trying to keep all the clans, characters, and who’s who straight, I wouldn’t have been able to deal with relationship drama on top of that.

As with any first book in any series, there’s a learning curve that goes along with being introduced to a new world and this world if very detailed, has A LOT of different players and will hopefully become more clear as more books come out. We do get a good introduction to Kera’s closest sister-Crows, women who I can’t wait to learn more about. They all have a little something…“special” about them, which will be fun to see play out on page.

I enjoyed the crazy ride that is The Unleashing. It’s pure fun in a pretty complex world, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Rating: B+

Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Kensington
Shelly Laurenston: Webpage
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*ARC provided by publisher for review* 


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Review: Return to Me (Covington Cove #1) by Kelly Moran

With every beat of the heart comes a memory of what could have been…

Ten years ago, Cole Covington was just another rich kid who got everything he wanted—including young and trusting Mia Galdon. Then one night everything changed, and two hearts were shattered. Cole buried his guilt in the military, where love was just part of the past. Now Cole has come back home, emotionally damaged, guarded, and unprepared for what’s waiting for him…

At the urging of Cole’s sister, Mia has returned to the Covington family’s coastal home in Wilmington as a private nurse to help Cole recover. With her uncertain personal life at a crossroad, Mia doesn’t have the luxury of saying no to the job. And she soon finds out that the attraction is still alive. So are memories of betrayal. But Mia will discover more than the power of resilience. She’ll discover a secret Cole has held for years, one that will force them to confront the past and give new meaning to letting go, forgiveness, and a future worth fighting for.

Cole and Mia were young and in love, but from very different social and economic circles. It didn’t matter to either of them, but Cole’s mother was and still is a rich-bitch and when she found out that Cole and Mia were together, she put down an ultimatum to Cole: drop Mia or she’ll ruin her, her mother and her sister who has down syndrome. Cole only wanted to protect Mia and her sister Ginny, so he broke Mia’s heart and lied through his teeth telling her he got everything he wanted from her, her virginity, and now she needed to go. A chain of events happened that night that ended in a death and it’s now been 10 years since Cole and Mia have seen each other and a lifetime of changes have happened.

Cole enlisted and was badly injured serving overseas. He’s suffering from PTSD, he has scars all over his body and he needs to rehab his leg, something that’s impossible for him to do since he’s fired every nurse his sister has hired and refuses to leave his bedroom. Mia went to nursing school but was recently laid off and has no idea how she’s going to make the next tuition payment for her sister’s school. Cole’s own sister contacts Mia asking her for help. Mia accepts because the deal is just too sweet, taking care of Ginny’s school and expenses. But Mia doesn’t know if her heart can take seeing Cole again after all these years but she’s looking at this as a chance for some closure.

I found it very easy to fall into Cole and Mia’s story. Their history is shown to us in various flashbacks, and I guess I’m a sucker for two people kept apart by a third party, in this case Cole’s mother and her threats. It’s awkward at first, and of course Cole fights any type of rehab, but Mia’s the one person that’s always gotten to him and he slowly starts to come around. I found their relationship and romance to be sweet and it was one that I just couldn’t wait for all the truths to come out and for Mia to finally understand the pain Cole’s been living with all these years in trying to protect her and not being able to be with the woman he loves.

That said, I did want to shake both Cole and Mia at one point when the mother tries to interfere again and toss her threats around. At one point Mia is described as shaking she was so nervous. Mia’s now a grown woman and I really just wanted her to put Cole’s mother in her place. I wanted Mia and Cole, as adults, to act that way and not let other people come between them like they start to do again. But it was one little frustration in a story that really enjoyed.

This was a very nice start to a new series by Kelly Moran. Both Cole and Mia are very likable characters and it was incredibly satisfying to learn about what they went through and how they still find their way back to each other.

Rating: B

Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Berkley
Kelly Moran: Webpage | Facebook | Twitter
Buy Here: Amazon.com | B&N
*eARC provided by publisher for review* 

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