I’d sworn off men. And then I met Nick Christiansen. Technically, I fell for him, literally, the moment I landed in his quarterback-sized arms and looked into those soulful eyes. I blame the rum. Or was it tequila? Spoiler alert: It was those delectable dimples. Either way, Nick was stupidly handsome and ridiculously charming. He held me like he cared and listened to me like I mattered. Captivated by great conversation and rock-hard abs, Nick had me reconsidering the “No Men” promise I’d made myself.
I still regret walking away the next day. ~ I can’t stop thinking about the one who got away. But then I run right into Natalie St. James. She’s still unwittingly gorgeous, if not more so, and as wildly quirky as I remember. Sidebar: She’s on a date. What do I expect? For her to still be thinking about me? I still regret what happens next. We didn’t get the love story we deserved the first time, then I screwed up our second chance. When the universe shifts and our stars realign, is the third time a charm?
He shoves his hands in his pockets and rocks back on his heels. “About that date? The offer still stands if you’re up for it.”
Checking my watch, I purse my lips in thought. “I don’t know. I’m coming off a bad date, so that puts a lot of pressure on you to redeem my night. If you don’t, that will be two bad dates in one night. Might be a record.”
“I’m up for the challenge.” I knew he was, but I love that he takes the bait . . . I mean, up to the task. When he looks at me, it’s as if he sees my thoughts, and my cheeks heat in response. Taking a few steps closer, so close that my eyes dip closed as if I’m about to be kissed, he says, “As I see it, we have several options.”
Playing off how bad I just misread that situation—again, I might add, recalling the last rejection from him that I barely survived—I tap my eye as if dust invaded the corner. “Sorry,” I reply, blinking like a crazy person. Lowering my arm, I latch my good eye onto him. “Several options, you say? Do tell.”
He gives me a second full once-over and then rubs the pad of his thumb over his bottom lip as if he’s devising a plan. The intensity of his eyes lands back on me. “We can get a drink at a nearby bar. Or maybe you’re up to hang out at my hotel suite . . . or your place. Whatever you want to do, I’m all yours.”
A smirk splits his lips. “Since Catalina, but that’s old news, and I want to hear about the new you.”
“Natalie in New York versus you in California.”
Undecided on what I want to do, I look down the street one way and then the other, but with him standing so close, his scent has our past trickling back into my memories. I turn back to face him. “I know a place not too far from here. It’s low-key at this hour, but then turns into an after-hours dance club.”
“I prefer low key.”
“Then we have ourselves a date.”
We make it to the corner before he says, “You look good, by the way.”
“Thanks. You aren’t so shabby yourself.” The sound of his laughter is addicting, and don’t get me started on that cute smile. I’d almost forgotten about those dimples.
He playfully knocks his elbow into mine. “Looking on the bright side paid off.”
“You told me that if we look on the bright side, we won’t be strangers the next time we meet. And here we are—not strangers.”
“At the time, it was one of my wiser pieces of free advice.”
“What about now?”
“I’d tell you to get my phone number. Much wiser, but you know, we could reintroduce ourselves and share our numbers just in case one of us goes MIA.” Hint. Hint. Hint.
If you are a believer in fate and destiny and nothing in life being a coincidence, then Never Got Over You is a beautiful second-chance romance that has all that and more.
Nick and Natalie fall hard and fast for one another one night at a bar when she trips and falls into his arms… even though they don’t share as much as a kiss the first night they spend together. He lives in LA, she’s a New Yorker, and one night is all they think they will ever have. They each regret the morning after, but destiny intervenes months later when Natalie and Nick literally bump into one another in Manhattan. It’s a moment so magical that it sends them on a whirlwind long-distance romance.
Everything is easy between them. There is such an ease between them, and their rushed relationship doesn’t seem rushed at all.
Until it all blows up spectacularly.
Could the issue have been avoided if there was more talking about details of their lives? Of course. And that bugged me. They are unofficially engaged by the time the shit hits the fan. But I let that go and just went along for the ride, because these two are written in the stars.
So suspend belief and go for the ride, because Nick and Natalie are a special couple. This book is swoony, sweet, sexy, full of family drama and instalove.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet S.L. Scott
New York Times and USA Bestselling Author, S. L. Scott, was always interested in the arts. She grew up painting, writing poetry and short stories, and wiling her days away lost in a good book and the movies.
With a degree in Journalism, she continued her love of the written word by reading American authors like Salinger and Fitzgerald.
She was intrigued by their flawed characters living in picture perfect worlds, but could still debate that the worlds those characters lived in were actually the flawed ones.
This dynamic of leaving the reader invested in the words, inspired Scott to start writing with emotion while interjecting an underlying passion into her own stories.
Living in the capital of Texas with her family, Scott loves traveling and avocados, beaches, and cooking with her kids. She’s obsessed with epic romances and loves a good plot twist. She dreams of seeing one of her own books made into a movie one day as well as returning to Europe. Her favorite color is blue, but she likens it more toward the sky than the emotion. Her home is filled with the welcoming symbol of the pineapple and finds surfing a challenge though she likes to think she’s a pro.
Title: Guilty Pleasure
Author: Jessica Prince
Contemporary Romance; Small Town Romance; Second Chance Romance; Enemies to Lovers
What do you do when the most intense passion you’ve ever felt is with a person you hate?
Sit back, hold on, and enjoy Clay and Lark’s bumpy ride.
The only thing worse than living in a town where everyone hates you is having to work for the man who broke your heart.
Redemption, Tennessee held nothing but painful memories that Lark Ashton had no desire to rehash. After the only man she’s ever loved crushed her soul and spirit, and all her friends turned their backs on her, she swore to herself she’d never go back. But when her aunt calls, asking a favor she can’t possibly refuse, Lark finds herself public enemy number one . . . again
Clay Morrison has spent seven years trying to convince himself he’s no longer in love with Lark Ashton. But when the woman he thinks betrayed him and his family returns, she brings with her a whole slew of feelings he’s worked hard to ignore. Now he can’t get the bane of his existence out of his head.
She’s in desperate need of a job. He can’t resist the chance to have her at his mercy.
And they’re both about to discover what happens when the most intense passion they’ve ever felt is with a person they hate.
**The Redemption series is a series of interconnected, standalone, small town romances.**
Get it for the special release week price of $2.99.
Price will increase after release week.
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Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars
Guilty Pleasure is a perfect addition to Jessica Prince’s Redemption series! I loved this second-chance romance and all of the history between Clay and Lark.
The last thing that Lark wants to do is return to the town where everybody has shunned her for something that she was innocent of, but she does so anyway when the aunt who raised her needs help. An awkward situation becomes even more so when the last place she is able to get a job is working for her ex-boyfriend at his construction company. And it’s not long before Clay realizes that he never stopped loving Lark during the 7 years she was gone… but does he believe that she was innocent, or does he still think that she was capable of the betrayal that she was accused of?
There is so much to unpack between these two, and I loved every delicious second of it. My heart broke for Lark so many times. She is such a sweet soul and she was just raked over the coals for no reason. When Clay realized that he was wrong, he really went all out to prove his love and his belief in Lark. Swoony!
Guilty Pleasure has some great side characters, too. I loved Pope, and would love to see him get a story of his own! And Callum and Aurora… please!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
At Lumpy’s little yip of excitement, I looked down and covered my mouth with a finger. “Shh!” I whispered. “Do you want us to get caught?”
I could have sworn he understood me, because he turned and looked at the kitchen’s doorway, raising his ears slightly like he was listening closely to make sure no one was coming.
“Good boy,” I crooned quietly when he looked back up at me with those big, round chocolaty eyes. “You keep quiet and I’ll give you all the treats.” Just to show him I was a woman of my word, I pulled another piece of thinly sliced chicken from the deli bag I’d found in one of the fridge’s drawers. That was the fifth slice I’d given sweet Lumpy since I spotted Clay’s name written on one side of the bag in black permanent marker.
As far as I was concerned, he totally deserved it. “Is that good chicken?” I cooed, smiling wide when Lumpy’s tail began swishing back and forth across the floor like a hyper little bunny. “Yeah. I bet it is. I bet your daddy spent a pretty penny, getting that from the butcher instead of the sandwich meat section like a regular person.” I pulled out another slice and tossed it up so Lumpy could chomp it midair. Next I was going to teach him how to balance a treat on his nose before catching it.
“Serves him right for making me clean out the stupid fridge.”
I’d been with Morrison Construction for three days, and as I suspected, Clay was going out of his way to make my job miserable. There hadn’t been another blowup like the insanely tense scene in Callum’s empty office, however that didn’t mean he was taking it easy on me. Because he absolutely wasn’t.
But I wasn’t going to let him see how much he was getting to me. The more I swallowed down my snide comments or bit my cheek until it bled to keep from calling him every vile curse in the history of the human word, the angrier he seemed to get. For some reason, it felt like he wanted me to fight back. So I wouldn’t give him that luxury. It was childish, pushing his buttons like that, but I was giving myself that little rebellion.
Visit Redemption a series of interconnected standalone romances
Born and raised around Houston Texas, Jessica spent most of her life complaining about the heat, humidity, and all around pain in the ass weather. It was only as an adult that she quickly realized the cost of living in Houston made up for not being able to breathe when she stepped outside. That’s why God created central air, after all.
Jessica is the mother of a perfect little boy–she refuses to accept that he inherited her attitude and sarcastic nature no matter what her husband says.
In addition to being a wife and mom, she’s also a wino, a coffee addict, and an avid lover of all types of books–romances still being her all time favs. Her husband likes to claim that reading is her obsession but she just says it’s a passion…there’s a difference. Not that she’d expect a boy to understand.
Jessica has been writing since she was a little girl, but thankfully grew out of drawing her own pictures for her stories before ever publishing her first book. Because an artist she is not.
If there is one truth that Bellamy Davenport knows, it’s that. Hands-down. (Well, that and the fact that she didn’t mean to hurt him. Physically. Coy can’t be hurt emotionally because he doesn’t have a heart.)
Coy is not just the small-town, literal boy-next-door. He’s a heartbreaking, womanizing, mischief-making (and delicious) man and was all of those things well before he became a hot-shot country music sensation.
He’s a dream standing in her doorway with no shirt, messy hair, and a ‘Do you wanna?’ grin. But he’s also a nightmare for her heart and she knows it.
Their enemies-to-lovers relationship always ends the same way—heavy on the enemies, light on the lovers.
So why is she still standing there?
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars
Ah! I loved Coy and Bellamy! After getting a tease of their love/hate relationship in The Relationship Pact, I couldn’t wait to dive into Reputation and get their story!! This childhood friends/enemies-to-lovers/second chance romance has all the feels.
There has always been a special connection between Coy and Bellamy, who grew up next door to each other and hooked up here and there. They never really dated, but their friendship was so deep… and because Bellamy felt betrayed by the one guy she always thought she could depend on, she wanted nothing to do with Coy when he returns he to Savannah to lay low and rude out a scandal threatening to ruin his reputation and music career.
There is a great connection between these characters, and I really felt the depth of their connection as childhood friends. It doesn’t take long for Coy to realize that his heart has always belonged to Bellamy, but is she willing to put her heart on the line again when it’s clear that he’s not staying in Savannah long term?
My heart really broke for Bellamy as she tried to be so strong in the face of her dad’s dying. She is utterly alone, and even though she once thought she could depend on Coy, she wasn’t sure if he was the same kind of friend these days. This story only spans a handful of days, but Coy really goes all out to show Bellamy that he’s there for her. And the scene between Coy and her dad… well, it left me sobbing! And when push comes to shove and Coy has to make a choice between the life he is existing in and the life that he wants to be living, it’s a romantic grand gesture of epic proportions!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
About the Author: USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author Adriana Locke lives and breathes books. After years of slightly obsessive relationships with the flawed bad boys created by other authors, Adriana has created her own.
She resides in the Midwest with her husband, sons, and two dogs. She spends a large amount of time playing with her kids, drinking coffee, and cooking. You can find her outside if the weather’s nice and there’s always a piece of candy in her pocket.
My name is Jace London, And I may have screwed up.
Change My Game, an all-new, angst-filled standalone romance from Kelsey Clayton, is available now!
I’ve always been the guy who had it all. Privilege, entitlement, and a life of luxury. But after one college night gone tragically wrong, Nothing has ever been the same.
Everyone thinks I should be happy. With a trust fund like mine, who could be sad? But no one knows what’s going on with me, Or the nightmares that keep me awake at night.
I finally found salvation in a parent’s worst nightmare. The only thing to ease the pain just enough to breathe. My friends are worried I’m going to ruin myself. What they don’t realize, is I’m already dead inside.
Now they’re ready to pull out all the stops, Including a therapist that gets paid an ungodly price. No amount of money can bring back the guy I was, But the girl that got away might be enough to try.
Gorgeous, strong, and confident to a fault. If anyone can save me from myself, it’s her.
Change My Game is a standalone and part of the North Haven University series. It deals with sensitive topics that may be triggering for some readers.
Grabbing my pillow off the couch, I make my way back to my room as Paige follows. It’s only a twin size bed, so the two of us are going to end up practically on top of each other, but at least it’s more comfortable. I wasn’t allowed to change the mattress out, but I was able to put a pillow top on it to make it a little more bearable.
“Do you want the wall or the edge?”
She tilts her head to the side as she thinks about it. “The edge. I don’t want to wake you up in the morning when I’m trying to get out of bed at quarter after six.”
I purse my lips as I realize she’s right. “Good point.”
Climbing onto the bed, I get as close to the wall as possible, and she gets in behind me. Even with my one arm flush against the cold sheetrock, we’re still pressed together. I roll onto my side to try to give us more room, but she stays staring up at the ceiling.
She doesn’t move an inch, not even to look over at me. “Goodnight.”
A few minutes pass as I wait for her to close her eyes, but that time doesn’t come. She blinks up at the ceiling, like it’s not even there and she’s watching the stars. It isn’t until she moves her hand just slightly, that I realize I wasn’t imagining things all night.
Her hand moves across the bed until it ends up directly on my dick, and it instantly twitches. I can’t really blame it, since I’ve gone longer than a monk without sex lately, but it’s a bit disappointing when she rips her hand away.
“Oh my God,” she gasps. “I’m sorry. I was…I’m sorry.”
I can’t help but chuckle as she covers her face. “It’s fine. If you want to touch my cock, it’s free game.”
She whimpers and reaches over to smack me, though it lacks force. “Ugh, this was a bad idea.”
“What were you trying to do?”
Her head turns my way, and she huffs. “I was looking for your hand.”
I lift my hand from next to my head. “It’s up here.”
“I see that now.”
Thankfully, my fears of her insisting she sleeps on the couch dissipate as she doesn’t move. Instead, she goes back to staring up at the ceiling, but I’m rock hard at this point. Even just a second of her touch was enough to wake the beast.
I slowly drag my fingertips down her arm, starting from her shoulder. Then, I skate over to her leg and make my way up her thigh—really taking my time in case she wants to stop me. But she doesn’t. She stays completely still, until just before I reach the waistband of her shorts. My fingers dip under the fabric, and her breath hitches.
“You said no funny business,” she whispers into the silence.
I hum. “Trust me, I find nothing funny about this.”
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars
I knew from the end of Corrupt My Mind that Change My Game was going to be an emotional second-chance romance. But I was NOT expecting the roller coaster that Jace and Paige’s story took me on!
Change My Game starts out as an enemies-to-lovers second chance romance, but it morphs into something so much more. Paige and Jace are the loves of each other’s lives, even though it’s taken them years to get to where they are today. And even where they are today… it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Jace is going through some pretty heavy stuff, and at times Paige isn’t sure if she’s enough to be the one who brings him out of the darkness.
This book had me on the edge of my seat. Just when I thought things had turned a corner, another major bombshell was thrown at me! By the time I got to the end, I felt like I’d been put through the wringer. I loved how dedicated Paige and Jace were to one another once they finally got over the BS that they were each holding on to from their previous attempt at dating. She stands by his side through SO MUCH, no matter how hard he tries to push her away! She makes him want to be a better person, and he really puts in the work to turn his situation around.
This series is a spinoff from one of Kelsey Clayton’s previous ones, so there are some crossovers from characters in the Haven Grace Prep series. But the North Haven University books are standalones, and do read as such. I haven’t read any of the Prep books, and I did not feel as if I was missing pieces of the story. There are some chapters toward the end of Change My Game where characters from Paige and Jace’s high school days at Prep turn out to show their support during an incredibly difficult time, which I loved from the standpoint of these characters having a history and backstory. For longtime KC readers, I’m sure they will love this nod.
There’s a great tease at the very end for the next book in this series, and it really has me smacking my lips in anticipation!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
About Kelsey Kelsey Clayton is an internationally selling author of Contemporary Romance novels. She lives in a small town in Delaware with her husband, two kids, and dog.
She is an avid reader of fall hard romance. She believes that books are the best escape you can find, and that if you feel a range of emotions while reading her stories – she succeeded. She loves writing and is only getting started on this life long journey.
Kelsey likes to keep things in her life simple. Her ideal night is one with sweatpants, a fluffy blanket, cheese fries, and wine. She holds her friends and family close to her heart and would do just about anything to make them happy.
From the outside, looking in, it probably seems as though Anna Eubanks has it all. Beauty, money, and plenty of shiny things. But things are not always as they appear, and sometimes, not everything that shines is really gold. Deep down, she’s stuck under her mothers’ thumb, always feeling like she’s not enough. But what happens when she feels a connection with someone she shouldn’t while at her boyfriend’s family dinner? As she tries to navigate life to accommodate her own needs and not her parents’, will they accept it? Or will she be pushed out like an unwanted guest?
Mason King is living the good life. Being one of the star football players at New England University certainly has its perks. Popularity, the best parties, and an unlimited supply of women throwing themselves at him. When his half-brother brings his girlfriend to a family dinner, he can’t help but be intrigued by her. Time and time again, the universe drops this green-eyed, smart-mouthed beauty into his path. Will he fight their undeniable chemistry forever? Or will their circumstances make it impossible for them to deny their true feelings?
She was the hot diner waitress putting herself through school.
I was the rich, arrogant player everyone misjudges.
On paper we didn’t match.
Yet all it took was one day. One single day to change her mind.
She wasn’t planning to spend her day off with me.
She wasn’t supposed to fall for my charm.
But one day, one smile, turned into several nights of her calling out my name.
I’m not the guy she should end up with. I’m jealous, possessive. Not here for a long time – just a good time.
She’s changed me.
But, for some reason, I feel her slipping through my fingers and no matter what I do, I fear I’m going to strike out with the one and only girl I’ve ever fallen for.
“Four patty melts, then?” Harmony asks, with a little more attitude in her voice than before.
“That would be—”
“Is there something wrong?” I ask, interrupting Knox before he can say something douchey like “that would be lovely.”
“Nope.” She pops the P with a snap of her lips and refuses to look at any of us.
“Then the patty melts would be—”
“Do you have something against us being on the baseball team?” I ask, turning my entire body toward her. Carson groans. He becomes “ravenous” when he’s drunk, and I know all he wants is his patty melt with a plateful of fries, but I want some answers first.
The stigma on campus is that the players on the Brentwood baseball team are entitled assholes—which might be true for some of the players who’ve worked through the system, but not for us. There’s also a good chance, at least once a day, that we run into a student on campus who hates us. Didn’t think it would happen before school started.
“Dude, you’re so aggressive right now,” Knox says. “Maybe she just—”
“Yeah, I do.” Harmony props her hand on her hip.
“Okay, never mind.” Knox leans back in his booth and folds his arms over his chest.
“Let me guess,” I say in an irritated and affronted tone. “You think we’re a bunch of entitled assholes who rule the campus and don’t deserve half the benefits we receive for being on the team.”
She folds her arms as well and with a whole lot of sass, she says, “Yeah, I do. Your expensive stadium, equipment, staff, and full-ride scholarships eat up half the tuition on this campus, leaving nothing for us peasants. You’re obnoxious, self-righteous, and think the world revolves around you. Meanwhile, the rest of the students around you work at shitty diners, earning low wages, serving drunk morons like you at all hours of the night, just to put ourselves through college so we can earn a degree, graduate to a shitty job that won’t pay for our student loans, and wind up in debt with the rest of the country.”
Silence falls. What do you say to that?
Clearly, she’s bitter, but with the passion flaming in her eyes and the claws ready to shoot from her fingertips, I think I should slowly back away.
Jason takes that moment to appear from the bathroom, and he sits with a resounding plop. He glances around and asks, “Did you order me a patty melt?”
Rolling her eyes, Harmony takes off toward the kitchen, leaving us concerned. Is she going to put in our order? Because we want our patty melts.
Sunny Shelly’s Review: 5 Stars
Ah, The Strike Out is finally here! I read the first few chapters of Holt and Harmony’s story in the Team Player 2 anthology over a year ago, and now we finally get the rest of the story between the alpha baseball star and the feisty waitress who wants nothing to do with him!
In this #TowelBrigade series, The Strike Out lines up with Carson, Knox and Jason’s stories, as Holt is one of their teammates at Brentwood. The book takes place while they are in college, and there’s a great scene between Holt and Knox’s girl, Emory, that is a throwback to their story in The Locker Room. Meghan Quinn’s heroes keep getting better and better in this series!
Holt is such a swoony alpha male who completely goes bananas over Harmony. She is feisty and strong-willed, determined to make something of herself. Harmony really tries to keep Holt at an arm’s length, but he just keeps showing up until he wears her down. She is fiercely independent, and there are several occasions where Harmony wants to stand on her own — and Holt shows her that she can in fact stand on her own with him by her side as a support. And when things get a little bumpy for the two of them, Holt is determined to not let Harmony know what’s going on in his mind… leading to a heartbreaking break-up and eventual make-up where he realizes that he can lean on her for support, too.
The Strike Out is a wonderful enemies-to-lovers romcom full of hysterical moments, lots of witty banter, Meghan Quinn’s signature use of awesome text messages, and so much more! You will absolutely fall in love with Holt and Harmony!
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Man, oh, man, Manning!!! I have been waiting for his story ever since the first Only One book, when I read that he was unhappily married. I couldn’t wait to see how his story unfolded, and I loved every minute of Manning and Evelyn’s tale! I binged this book in a day!
Manning has been going through the motions of life until the day he literally bumps into Evelyn at a restaurant. She brings a fire back to his eyes, makes his heart beat faster once again, and gives him a reason to look forward to each new day. She has no idea he is the captain of an NHL team, and he loves that she is genuinely interested in him. They have an amazing one night together before she takes off the next morning. She’s just moved back to Dallas after finding her boyfriend had been cheating on her with their business partners (yes, a threesome), and is in no place for a new relationship. Still, she regrets leaving without telling Manning goodbye… and is shocked to find out a week later that her nephew and his son play on the same junior hockey team. Even more of a shock is finding out that Manning is married!
Having been cheated on herself, Evelyn doesn’t want to be a homewrecker. But Manning insists there is no home to wreck. This story beautifully plays both sides, as she struggles with the relationship and he struggles with wanting to be free of his sham of a marriage. Technically, there is cheating in this book as Manning is still married when he and Evelyn begin seeing one another. But he’d been living a separate life apart from his wife in the same house for more than four years, only staying because she threatened to take away his young son. So while he is still legally married, it is in name only. Their situation is complicated and messy, but I loved how it developed and how Manning ultimately puts the pieces into play to get what he wants: a life with Evelyn.
I am so enjoying this series, and I loved that tease for Becca and Nico’s story at the end! I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet Natasha Madison
When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
That’s what I lost before I realized nothing good comes from dating my co-workers.
Usually, I don’t have much self-control. So, the fact that Frankie Grant is a hot, talented tattoo artist means it’s a damn miracle she hasn’t already been in my bed. But nothing can happen between us because Frankie comes with Jolie, her young daughter, and a crap load of baggage from her ex. And those are two things I never entertain.
Anyone who knows me—the screwed up foster kid from the wrong side of the tracks—knows I’m not the guy you take home to meet your parents, let alone your kid. But I also know what it’s like not to have parents, so things get complicated when Jolie asks me to be her daddy.
Oh Jax! Piper Rayne saved the best for last in the Rooftop Crew!
Months of bickering and sexual tension gives way to a drunken one-night fling between Jax and Frankie, co-workers at Ink Envy. It changes everything between these two and Jax and Frankie are perfect for one another!
I loved everything about this couple! How insecure he is about his place in her and Jolie’s life, how he feels like he has no clue what it takes to be a father, and how patient and understanding Frankie is as she shows Jax that he is a better father to Jolie than the sperm donor has ever been.
Despite his fears of failing Frankie and her daughter, Jax is such a stand-up guy. Even when he’s presented with a situation that could send him running away, he faces it head-on because he realizes that he wants to be the guy they depend on.
A Co-Worker’s Crush was the perfect ending to this series. It’s full of so much heart, so much heat, and an adorable little girl who has the adults around her wrapped around her finger. The last chapter is the opening for a new Piper Rayne series — I can’t wait! Love me some sports romance! — and the extended epilogue is a perfect look into the future for all these couples from the Rooftop Apartments.
I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Meet Piper Rayne: Piper Rayne, or Piper and Rayne, whichever you prefer because we’re not one author, we’re two. Yep, you get two USA Today Bestselling authors for the price of one. Our goal is to bring you romance stories that have “Heartwarming Humor With a Side of Sizzle” (okay…you caught us, that’s our tagline).
A little about us…. We both have kindle’s full of one-clickable books. We’re both married to husbands who drive us to drink. We’re both chauffeurs to our kids. Most of all, we love hot heroes and quirky heroines that make us laugh, and we hope you do, too.
My worst mistake has returned. And he’s all I can think about.
My name is Scarlett Albright and my life is a mess.
Who runs off to Vegas for a girl’s weekend away and wakes up married to a football superstar? I did.
Fast forward four years later and I’m on my second divorce and don’t have any intention of going for a third. I’m done with men. Until the night I run into him…
Husband number one.
Big time football superstar, one night stand turned husband, then ex-husband within twenty-four hours. Last time we saw each other it was drinks, sheets, shower and go our separate ways. Oh and a wedding.
How can I keep him at bay and protect my heart from breaking again?
Something Old is a saccharine-sweet second-chance romance. On the same day that her second divorce is finalized, Scarlett sees her first husband, the hunky Thor-like god she married after a one-night-stand in Vegas and promptly divorced.
When fate keeps putting Lachlan and Scarlett in each other’s orbits, she can’t help but give in and give Lachlan a second chance. Their chemistry is electric, and even though she doesn’t want to date again after her current divorce, being with Lachlan is so easy and natural, she wonders why she didn’t give him more of a chance the first time around. Lachlan, meanwhile, wonders why he didn’t fight harder for Scarlett after their one night together, and isn’t going to let another chance slip through his fingers.
There is some drama between Lachlan and Scarlett due to her stalker ex-husband, and the teenager he mentors through the Big Brother program. Some of it, I felt, was forced and didn’t seem organic in keeping them apart. But it does force them to talk things through.
Overall, this was a sweet second-chance story. I received an advanced copy and voluntarily left a review.
Liz Lovelock is from bright sunny Queensland in Australia. She is the mother of three little monsters, a wife to an amazing husband and very much a lover of everything books and reading. Liz has always loved books and, from a very young age she began reading comic books and then in high school her passion grew. She was given Tomorrow When The War Began by John Marsden for an assignment but, when that was done she continued to discover new books to fall in love with.
Liz always has a book she is currently enjoying and, a notebook beside her bed for in her hand bag for when inspiration hits at those crazy times. She is a stationary addict and will buy more notebooks and pens then what she needs. Her one click finger likes to go crazy as well.
About the Book Title: The Marriage CodeAuthor: Brook BurroughsRelease Date: January 1, 2021Publisher: Montlake Summary Emma has always lived her life according to a plan. But after turning down her boyfriend’s proposal, everything starts to crumble. In an effort to save the one thing she cares about—her job—she must recruit her colleague, Rishi, to be on her development team…only she may or may not have received the position he was promised. (She did.) Rishi cannot believe that he got passed over for promotion. To make matters worse, not only does his job require him to return home to Bangalore with his nemesis, Emma, but his parents now expect him to choose a bride and get married. So, when Emma makes him an offer—join her team, and she’ll write an algorithm to find him the perfect bride—he reluctantly accepts. Neither of them expect her marriage code to work so well—or to fall for one another—which leads Emma and Rishi to wonder if leaving fate up to formulas is really an equation for lasting love.
*** Q&A with Author Brooke Burroughs
The Marriage Code is your debut novel. Can you tell us about your publishing journey?
In a word, long! I’m always envious reading about writers who wrote their first book, got an agent, and published in like, the span of six months. Mine was definitely longer as this book was first written as a memoir, then I fictionalized the story which took a few years. The big moment was when Melissa Marino selected my manuscript for Pitchwars, and that led me to find my agent.
As tech experts both your hero and heroine tend to be data driven which leads to the creation of ‘the marriage code’. What is the code and how did it come about?
The marriage code is a customized search for the perfect woman that Emma develops for her coworker Rishi. It only finds women who match his exact specifications (well, his and his family’s). I like to think of it as Match.com (or shaadi.com in India) on steroids.
This is definitely not a love at first sight story! In fact, Rishi and Emma have quite a difficult time getting along at first. Can you describe their first meeting and how this sets the scene for their relationship?
Emma is in a super rough spot. Her carefully constructed world is collapsing because her boyfriend has publicly proposed to her, she wasn’t ready, and he in turn blames her for turning him down. So the next day she goes into work, clinging to the fact that at least she has her job, and this project she’s put all her blood, sweat, and tears into. But then Rishi, a stranger, tells her that this project is no longer hers. For a woman who likes patterns and predictability, well…she loses it. Now Emma is faced with the threat of no job, no boyfriend, no homey apartment—until she convinces her manager to give the project to her, not knowing Rishi is slated to manage it, and that it’s his salvation from the pressures of his family. They still need to work together…closely. And that sets the two of them off on a journey they never expected.
Rivals to friends to confidants … to something much, much more. What do you consider the turning point in their story?
I think the big pivot for Emma and Rishi is when she finally lets her guard down and tells him about her past when they’re in Kerala. Emma is really private and feels like she’s always had to protect her vulnerability to be successful, and I think for a lot of women in tech that can be true (well, probably true for a lot of women in many jobs). That opening up leads to the much, much more!
Emma is from the Northwest and Rishi from the south–southern India that is. There are some serious cultural differences between these two. What are some of the biggest roadblocks they face in their relationship?
Emma’s biggest roadblock is trying to protect herself. She’s carefully constructed this world she lives in to be compartmentalized, practical, and to suit the life she thinks she needs to rely on. Even though Rishi’s not out to get her professionally, she’s been taken advantage of before by male coworkers and she doesn’t want to let it happen again. For Rishi, the pressure to get married to a woman who will fit into the culture of his family is the biggest roadblock. His family depends on him, and their reference point for someone marrying outside their culture has caused so much heartache, it’s hard to get past that.
As much as they are different, Rishi and Emma have a lot in common — including their careers and their drive to succeed. What are some other similarities that you found when writing your hero and heroine?
Food is something that very much brings these two together. For Emma, growing up poor and with her grandmother, who had to work multiple jobs to support her, throughout her childhood she basically survived on canned food and hotdogs. So now that she’s out on her own, she relishes in amazing cuisine wherever she can get it. For Rishi, he is super passionate about the different varieties of Indian food, but his favorite is still what his mom cooks. He often serves as her culinary guide around Bangalore, and Emma helps him open his eyes to the food he’s been eating his entire life. That balance brings them together often, and how they are able to become friends—and more!
This is a very personal story to you—like Emma, you moved to India and had to adapt to your new environment. What are some customs that you liked the best? Which ones were more challenging for you?
When I first moved to India, and especially when interacting with my (now) husband’s family I was constantly trying to make sure I wasn’t offending anyone. In the US, we have one main gesture that is super offensive and it’s easy NOT to use it. In India, what you do with your hands and feet can be offensive, and so it’s more nuanced; there is a lot of using your right hand vs your left hand, not putting your feet towards someone, knowing when to take off your shoes, and that takes some constant reminding and getting used to. Oh, and eating with your hands. In the book, Emma feels like she looks like a toddler eating, and yeah, so do I!
My favorite customs are mostly around how in general, I think Indians cherish their traditions. Despite all the Western influence, it feels like people still care a lot about continuing to practice traditions of their family, religion, and heritage. Whether it’s the clothes people wear, the multitude of holidays, or the weddings chock full of ritual and customs, I think it’s amazing to take the time and intention to continue practicing those. I also really appreciate their reverence for elders. There is a lot of respect given to the wisdom and experience of older people in the culture that feels very different then how we often treat our elders in the US, for example.
Both you and your characters are very adventurous. What advice would you give to someone who is trying to make big decisions for their future?
If you want to try something that feels like it will challenge you (even if it’s scary!) do it! If you make a mistake you can always come back from it. Most of my regrets in life are because I didn’t do something, and it’s hard to recapture and relive those moments. I don’t have regrets on trying to do something new, like moving to another country or going on a safari in an open jeep with a lion five feet away (both scary and amazing). But I have regretted that trip I didn’t take, or words I didn’t say to someone. I think that’s one of my biggest life lessons.
Why is The Marriage Code the perfect book to introduce you to readers? The Marriage Code is very personal to me because I wanted to write a book that echoed some of the experiences I had moving to India and meeting my husband. So if there is any kind of introduction to my writing and me, this is definitely a good one! *** The Marriage Code Excerpt
Two cups of coffee. His laptop bag hung on one shoulder, threatening to slip off. His sunglasses fell from his head and teetered on the end of his nose as he approached the room. He tried to use his hip to push the handle down and splashed coffee on his jeans. He looked through the glass door. Emma was sitting there, laughing at him.
“Help, please,” he said, a thread of irritation in his voice, through the practically soundproof glass.
She made a big production of sighing and taking off her headphones and rolling her chair back inch by inch, the wheels moving as slowly as bad bandwidth. Yet the whole time, she was still smiling with complete amusement.
She pulled open the door, her arm sliding up the edge and blocking his entrance to the room with her body. “Can I help you? I mean, you look like you need help.”
“Uh, yeah. I got you a coffee. Apparently the last time I’ll do that. Take it.” He thrust it toward her. Now he could slide his sunglasses back on top of his head and save his suffering forearm from his laptop bag, which he was carrying like an old woman with an oversize purse.
“Oh, why, thank you.” Her eyes lit up in surprise as she tasted the coffee, just a sip, and looked up at him through her eyelashes. He tried not to notice how cute she looked, her nose hidden inside the cup, inhaling the coffee. But puppy cute. Like a tiny stray he’d found outside his house who needed help.
Rishi shook his head and glanced up at the projected screen. Now it was his turn to laugh. It reminded him of when his professor had once said, “Done code is better than perfect code.” This was definitely just done.
“Wait, are these the bugs you’re trying to address? What is this code?”
“Look, I’m not an app developer, but I’ve been reading up.” She unplugged her monitor, like she could hide the evidence. “I told you I needed help.”
“I’ll fix the bugs in the log. I think you should leave that to us app devs, honestly. You might break something.”
“Oh? Well, hopefully I didn’t break your marriage code.”
Sometimes she really exasperated him. “Emma, you can’t be perfect in every aspect.”
She tilted her head and pursed her lips, doing that puppy thing again. Or maybe like her part-android brain couldn’t process what he’d said.
He didn’t mean perfect in every aspect, of course. He shook his head. What was wrong with him? “I just meant you’re not an app developer. You’re good at web crawls, right? Desktop development? That’s more than most people can say.”
She straightened up and typed on her laptop. “Well, I guess you’ll be the judge of that. Should I put the candidates for the future Mrs. Iyengar on the big screen?” She looked at him before plugging in the HDMI cable.
He looked at the hall, still empty. Still way too early for anyone to be in here. “Sure. I’m ready for the big unveiling.” He took a deep breath and crossed his arms, leaning back in his seat. Was he ready? What if it hadn’t worked? Or what if he felt insta-love just by looking at the screen? Should he pray or something before she showed him what the results had come up with? He’d practically promised his mom he would take care of it. That he could find “the one.” And after his conversation with Sudhar, one of these women had to work.
Rishi’s feet tapped on the floor. Why was a sudden cocktail of impatience, dread, and curiosity swirling in his stomach? A perfect match could be presented to him in a few short seconds. Because if he knew anything about Emma Delaney, it was that she strove for perfection.
And with passion.
If they really went on an Indian tour together, outside the confines of Bangalore’s best eateries, what would it be like? He’d have to show her the best things about the country he called home. Let her taste the coconut-seeped curries of Kerala. Visit a roadside dhaba in Punjab where the paneer melted on your tongue. Show her the famous Madurai temples in his hometown, but also his favorite Ganesh temple, the tiny one near his apartment.
She’d have to see the flower vendors at Gandhi Bazaar, with their overflowing baskets of marigolds and roses, and eat chaat from his favorite cart in Vijayanagar. She’d take his India, place it in her mouth, and suck the joy of his country like a mango seed.
And end the tour by seeing what other flavors they could search out in the curves of each other’s skin.
What the hell was wrong with him? That couldn’t happen. Obviously, it couldn’t. And yet the thought snaked through him, a depraved viper swallowing his brain whole. He slumped over on the table, his elbow on the cold metal, his palm catching his forehead.
“Are you okay?” Emma had pulled her laptop up and slid it over toward him.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Just forgot something.” Like my mind.
“Here you go.”
Rishi took a deep breath. ***
Author Biography Brooke Burroughs has worked in the IT industry for over ten years and lived in India—where she met her husband—for three. Burroughs has experience navigating the feeling of being an outsider in a traditional, orthodox family. Luckily, she and her in-laws get along well now, but maybe it’s because she agreed to a small South Indian wedding (with almost a thousand people in attendance) and already happened to be a vegetarian with an Indian food–takeout obsession.